Interviews & Visiting MPR Studios

Since 2008, when my first novel The Suicide Collectors was released, I’ve done a couple dozen interviews. Most have been written blog-type interviews but I’ve also been interviewed by Mary Ann Grossman of the Pioneer Press via telephone and live on-air by Lynette Reini-Grandell at KFAI radio. I’ve got some of my more recent interviews up on this very author site (though a few have been lost to time I guess).

Interviews amuse me. I like listening to Marc Maron’s WTF and Pete Holmes’ You Made It Weird, two podcasts centered around prolonged, often meandering interviews. I like how people slowly unravel when you keep asking the right questions, at the right time, like a friendly detective. You can even enjoy a bad blind date by getting into the whole interviewing aspect of it-almost everybody can tell you something interesting  if you pay attention.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to be interviewed/read from my newest novel The Firebug of Balrog County for MPR News. My host was Euan Kerr, the friendliest Scotsman you’d ever want to meet.

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After I drove to downtown St. Paul to the Minnesota Public Radio building and checked in at the front desk Euan Kerr whisked me away to a cool little radio room/vault where I resisted playing with many shiny buttons and dials (the studios and office space for The Current was one floor above our heads-Euan gets to sneak into a live performance every now and then when a band preforms). We spoke for about thirty minutes for what will be spliced into four minutes of on-air material and I also read a four page section from the book. I forgot to turn off my phone (though it was on silent) and Euan could somehow hear the tiniest of high pitches in his headphones-smart phones are always trying to escape and find a signal, even in a signal-proofed room.

My favorite part of interviews is not the coverage (I have my doubts about how much nearly any coverage sells books) but the personal revelations that sometimes occur when I’m asked a question that makes me look at my work in a new way. One thing I realized during this interview is that FIREBUG could be viewed as the dark side of the Lake Wobegon/Garrison Keillor coin-the small town writ large and crazy. Euan said the town in FIREBUG reminded him of various small towns he’d known, American and otherwise, which was nice of him to say.

The interview should be air next week on Wednesday or Thursday-I’ll post more when I know the deets. Thanks to Euan Kerr for hosting me and asking such thoughtful questions! You could tell he’d read the book.

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