Questions authors always get asked

I have a bunch of friends who have brand new books coming out next year. Friends who will be doing at least one or two appearances—or in one case (lucky duck!)—going on a book tour. This post is for them because they’re going to be asked certain questions over and over again and it’s best to have a bunch excellent and entertaining answers. Here they are:

    Where did you get your ideas for this book?

    This is a particularly hard one for most of us because often we have no idea where a book comes from. Best to start thinking about that questions and putting together some anecdotes. I have a bunch of different ones for HTDYF because, like most books, the ideas for it came from several different incidents. The first time I was asked it about Magic or Madness I ummed and ahhed and generally made myself sound like my IQ is lower than room temperature. Sigh.

    Where do you get your ideas?

    I tend to respond to this one by talking about how ideas are not the hard part, making yourself sit down and write is. Or I say I steal them from Maureen Johnson. Hey, it gets a laugh. Did I mention that going for the laughs is always the right move?

    What were/are your inspirations?

    I tend to interpret this one as being about what books/writers most inspired me when I was a beginning writer. So I talk a lot about Enid Blyton. I’ve also used it a couple of times to talk about the people who encouraged me to write when I was little. But I think you can interpret it as widely or broadly as you like.

    When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

    People love to hear the story of how and when you became a writer. Is it something you always wanted to do? Or did you just suddenly decide to give it a whirl one Sunday morning when you figured you could write better than the crappy bestseller you put down in disgust? Tales that involve dealing with rejection are always popular. Fortunately almost every writer I know has had to deal with it.

    What’s your favourite book/author?

    This is the question I still don’t have a handle on. Every time I’m asked I kind of freeze and can’t think of the title of a single book or author let alone the many, many ones I love. I always have a difficult time when I’m asked to pick just one thing. But, really, I’ve been asked the question often enough—pretty much every appearance I did on the tour it was asked—I need to prepare for it much better.

Bonus: Questions you’ll be asked if you’re an Australian author touring the USA:

    Do you like vegemite?

    Is the Pope Catholic?

    Can you wrestle a crocodlie?

    I’m sure I could if I tried.

    Did you know Heath Ledger?

    Sadly, no. But I think he was an amazingly talented actor.

    Speaking of acting. Actually, I think that’s a whole other post, which I will now go write.

If I missed any general author questions you’re asked a lot please to share.

Good luck, everyone, with your first appearances. Break a leg! (In the good way.)


  1. Shloopy on #

    I love the bonus questions!
    I often get asked weird questions because I’m a triplet.
    “Are you guys… related?” (In front of all three of us, and we’re IDENTICAL.)
    -“No, we’re twins, and the other one is adopted.”
    “When’s your birthday?” They ask this to each one of us. They never catch on.

  2. Nicholas Waller on #

    But do you like Marmite? Marmite and Vegemite are almost-but-not-quite the same; I like Marmite but not Vegemite the one time I gave it a go (but then I am not Australian).

    I did see some online discussion to the effect that Vegemite-lovers were more likely to tolerate Marmite than vice versa.

    In the UK Marmite’s advertising campaign is based on the fact that some people love it and some find it disgusting (eg a TV ad – girl likes Marmite, unsuspecting new boyfriend kisses her, can’t stand the stuff, retches: . There’s another where a breast-feeding mum eats some Marmite, baby is violently sick on her). Does that work for Vegemite too?

  3. hope on #

    Your IQ, was that Celsius or Fahrenheit? I mean, Fahrenheit would be bad, but Celsius? Wow.

  4. HypotheticalDystopia on #

    I was going to ask the same question as hope. Word for word.

  5. Amber on #

    They rescind your citizenship if you don’t like Vegemite.

  6. Justine on #

    Tragically, I’m a hundred per cent metric, which includes Celsius.

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