Weekly Geek time, To know an author is to read more?

It’s Weekly Geek time. I have not participated in a while, but I felt today’s subject would be a good one to discuss here. This week the subject is about authors. From the Weekly Geek blog:
Having recently been told that I’m odd because I’m not terribly interested in author interviews I’ve started to ponder whether there are two types of readers…those who stick to the books versus those who like to know more about the author’s background, thoughts, motivations and writing process.
          So, what about you?
·         Do you seek out interviews with authors of books you’ve enjoyed? Why or why not?
·         Do you interview authors on your blog? If yes what did you gain from the interview process? If no is it because you don’t want to or because you haven’t felt able to ask an author yet?
·         Do you subscribe to the blogs of authors you like? Which ones? All the authors you like or only certain ones?
·         Do you track down author websites or look for biographical information about them elsewhere? Would you skip reading a book if you couldn’t find out anything about its author?
I confess, when I was younger I was obsessed with Stephen King. As I mentioned here before, I was a huge fan. I not only had to be the first to grab a new release, I sometimes bought my books from his home town book store. His home town book store (whose name now escapes me) also used to sell Christmas ornaments based on his work or home town. I still have the ornaments, but no longer put them on the family tree. If the internet existed back then I am sure I would be looking for daily updates from him. If Twitter was around back then and had he participated I am sure I would not have gotten a lot done, as I would be waiting on his next tweet. “Oh, man, what is King doing now?” would be my only thoughts. Luckily I grew out of this crazed stage and moved on to a more mature one. Really, I do not give a lot of thought to a writer’s personal life. The book is all I need to “know”. A writer’s life is not as important to me. As long as I am reading fiction the author’s personal story is of no interest to me. If I am reading non-fiction then I do care about the author’s background, if only to learn what his or her area of expertise is and how it relates to the book.
Sometimes learning about an author’s real life takes away the mystique. I used to feel Neil Gamin must be one of those writers whose personal life was surely be as mysterious and creepy as his books. I follow him on Twitter (why I started I cannot say) and now know he likes to make pancakes for his teen daughter and her friends. Really, I do not need to know this, yet I do, and it makes no difference to me. I still like the creepy books, yet sometimes as I read one of his books, the thought of him making pancakes does spring to mind. On the other hand, knowing about Gaiman and other authors who I have made contact with, either through e-mail or personal blogs, has made their writing less intimidating; they seem more human and ordinary. Having personal contact with authors makes me feel a little more protective of their work and I am more apt to read more of it. This may be the real upside for authors who are accessible to their readers.
I have interviewed Ruth Downie here, only because she was kind enough to contact me after I reviewed one of her books. I am still too shy and intimidated to ask authors for interviews. Susan King and I exchanged a few e-mails and though I still do not like historical romance, I am a fan of hers and will read her more mainstream novels. I do not know anything about her personal life; I just know she is a very nice woman who is a terrific writer. And really, this is all I need to know about any writer.

Author: sarij

I'm a writer, lifelong bibliophile ,and researcher. I hold a Bachelors in Humanities & History and a Master's in Humanities. When I'm not reading or talking about Shakespeare or history, you can usually find me in the garden discussing science or politics with my cat.

10 thoughts on “Weekly Geek time, To know an author is to read more?”

  1. Thanks for stopping by. I agree with your assessment of Frank Delaney's book. He went off on different tangents which was hard to read. BUt I made it through it and it was good….Happy Sunday

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  2. I have not done any author interviews on my blog. I just feel that if I did one, I'd have a hard time refuses others. I don't want my blog to focus on authors–I guess!

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  3. I've made a point of writing to authors when I have a specific question to ask, which I've posted on my blog, but I never think to do formal "interviews." At the same time, though, it does destroy the mystique a bit, and I'll also note that one author I would LOVE to meet (Marilynne Robinson) has no contact information anywhere on the web and it's only made my curiousity about her grow. Neil Gaiman's all-access approach has made him a bit of a cult figure for real fans, but I think it is a bit of a turn-off for people like me who are just casual readers.

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  4. Before I read a book, I always read the author bio inside the back cover. But that is all I need to know about the author. I don't seek out interviews but occasionally when visiting an author's website to check on release dates, I will read one. I don't have any interest in interviewing authors at this time. Didn't even consider looking for author blogs.. hmmm. Oh, I love all Gaiman's books! Loved his old leather jacket publicity photo– he did seem mysterious. Now I know he is flipping flapjacks… Thanks Sari! ;D

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  5. Lindsay, I agree Gaiman at times seems too approachable but then again it is nice to see a very famous author let his fans get to know him on a personal level. Sorry Cozy, it is hard to see Gaiman as mysterious when you know he likes to cook breakfast for his daughter. Maybe he cooks creepy pancakes.

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  6. I am behind the times again, sorry but this is a great question. I am not normally influenced by or seek to much information about an author, but I do enjoy listening to author interviews on things like the The Book Show on our local national broadcaster, not all authors, an author like Terry Pratchett I will always listen to and last week they had an interview with Ian McEwan, which I made sure I downloaded. I do occasionally check our writer's blogs, like Gaiman but not religiously. I am definitely more interested in the book than the author and I think I would find it hard to interview an author on the blog, to shy. I was interested in your interview of Ruth Downie because I had enjoyed her books and I have checked out a few authors after reading and enjoying their work. I do sometimes read author biographies, like the Brontes or Shakespeare. I get the teenage obsession though, mine was with dead authors and recently I have watched B develop an absolute obsession with everything Byron. Now Stephan King christmas ornaments sound really intriguing, I have bought christmas ornaments along literary themes, a raven for the Hogfather and a couple of owls for B in honour of her love of the HP books and she has given me a cheshire cat.

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