Asking the Right Questions

Hello, world, and welcome to June!

It doesn’t feel like this year should be half over yet. I know that the older we get the quicker time flies, as each second becomes a smaller and smaller percentage of our overall lifespan…but six months into 2011? Really?

And even more incredibly than that…how on earth did I manage to interview 30 authors on my website in the month of May?

It all started out innocently enough: I had a laundry list of authors on my to-do page that needed to be addressed, and I had my fairy goddaughters for Bring Your Child to Work Day. It was a match made in heaven. We came up with a list of fun and silly questions and decided to send them to everyone.

Yes, everyone.

Within a week I had twenty sets of answers from fiction authors whom I’ve known and respected for a very long time. Add to that five authors from the Magical Words Blog, and I was left with only a week to fill on the fly once I got back from the Nebula Awards. Easy-peasy-Japanesey.

What I didn’t realize when the girls and I came up with those quick and silly questions was how incredibly insightful they would be. (More than few of them were turned into Mermaid Profile Questions.) The interviews weren’t only fun to read, they were intriguing and inspiring. They were everything Barbara Walters hopes she can get out of her victims and more. (You can see the full list of interviews here.)

In The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams told us that the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything is 42. What we don’t know is the question. There is much wisdom in asking the right question.

I learned some very interesting things last month. I learned that I am not the only author who chooses coffee or tea depending on the situation, or who is afraid of really silly things. I learned that writers dream big…but also realistically. When asked to list three things they wanted to do before they died, most people listed incredibly attainable things. When asked how many words they wished they could write in a single day, most people’s goals were easily reachable. (Only Avery Mermaid and I really went crazy on that one.) And I found so many more things to put on my Princess List.

Writers are clever. Writers are funny. Writers live to experience things. Writers thrive on a sense of community. Writers love answering questions (but often hate choosing between two things). But most of all, writers are real. We build our castles in the sky, but we know our foundations must be planted firmly in the ground.

Last month, I learned things I never knew about friends I’ve had for…well, for some, around a decade. It is amazing how much you can find out about a person by asking a silly question. What’s your favorite word? Your favorite dessert? Your top 5 desert island albums? What schoolyard songs do you remember? How about your favorite board game as a child?

What are some other great silly questions? Go on, ask them.
If we’re lucky, we might just stumble upon Life, the Universe, and Everything.