Interviews

phati’tude Literary Magazine features interviews with well-published or up-and-coming authors of note in the genres of fiction, short fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and other forms of creative writing. In the past, we have published interviews with such authors as Joy Harjo, Opal Palmer Adissa, Luis Francia, Ishmael Reed, Susan B.A. Somers-Willett. Harryette Mullen, Lawson Fusao Inada and others. We are also interested in interviewing interdisciplinary artists, for example, visual artist Jason Lahr (How Jason Lahr Builds Narratives in His Paintings, Vol. 2, No. 3, p. 43) was interviewed as it relates to ekphrasis poetry.

We seek interviews that include discussions of writing craft, the evolution of an author’s work, and literary influences and inspirations that comes across in a somewhat personable and discursive manner. Since phati’tude Literary Magazine is a theme-oriented publication, please query before submitting an interview to see if it is appropriate for an upcoming issue. We also suggest that you check to see which interviews have been conducted (see AUTHOR/ARTIST INDEX, “Interviews”), and review previous interviews in phati’tude Literary Magazine. Please let us know whether or not it is an original submission or previously published. While we prefer unpublished interviews, we may consider reprinting an exceptional piece.

Handling the interview . . .
There are three ways to handle the interview:

In person. Interviews in person present the best case scenario because the subject generally feels more relaxed and open in this setting. Notes are acceptable, but we prefer recorded interviews.

By telephone. If geography or scheduling prohibits meeting in person, we accept telephone interviews.  Notes are acceptable, but we prefer recorded interviews.

By email. In this day and age, email is perhaps the easiest way to conduct an interview, it’s also the trickiest because it lacks spontaneity.  In an email interview it is difficult to predict how forthcoming an interviewee will be, and answers don’t lead to new questions unless you’re assured of multiple rounds of Q&A.  Generally speaking, the questions via email must be cultivated in such a way that you cover all bases and get the most out of your subject to obtain a substantial interview.

There are a number of digital voice recorders devices that have the ability to quickly transfer audio files to a computer via USB, PC connection or removable media.  With a telephone recording jack, you can easily record a telephone interview, however, you should know that in many places it’s illegal to record phone conversations, and you must record the subject acknowledging consent before conducting the interview.  If you have any questions about recording interviews, please let us know.  

Questioning Tactics
Please do your research in advance. Writers are more prone to open up if they feel that you know them and their work. Read as much of their work that you can get your hands on, and read as much historical and biographical information as possible.  Because you should try to present as much new information as possible in your interview, you need to know what’s already been covered. so we highly suggest that you read previous interviews.  Avoid yes or no questions. Instead, try to make your questions as open-ended as possible without sounding ignorant.  Also, encourage controversy. Try to encourage the interviewee to speak freely about whatever topic they desire. Often unanticipated subjects or issues will come up and end up being the best part of the interview.

Listen to the interviewee. Perhaps the most important part of a good interview is simply listening to your subject. The best question is often your followup question asking them to expand upon a comment they have made. You’ll miss these opportunities if you’re not paying careful attention. It’s often best to allow the subject to determine the course of the interview, since that assures their continuing involvement and interest.

Format
We will accept interviews up to 6,500 words. If the interview is absolutely mind-blowing, we’ll accept a higher count. The interview should cover pertinent literary information and philosophical ground. Interviewers should avoid submitting an interview that reads like a “flat commodity advertisement.”

Interviews must be in Q&A format using the following formatting convention: questions are in bold, followed by the answers in a separate paragraph, not in bold.

When so many ekphrastic poems elaborate on the visual imagery within artwork, what role do you think modern artwork has in the field? How does it “fit” with an overall definition of ekphrasis?

I’m actually more attracted to modern and contemporary artwork: photography, video installations, abstract painting, and multimedia work. That may be just because of personal taste, but usually I find more of a challenge in this kind of artwork — I have to think beyond what may or may not be represented and engage more in process, making, and materials.

(“PAINTING WITH WORDS: An Exploration of Ekphrastic Poetry with Susan B.A. Somers-Willett” by Gabrielle David, Vol. 2, No. 3, p. 42)

Refer to Interviews to review our formt first hand.

Editing
Take your time with the transcription process after an interview. Double check everything that you submit for accuracy. Misquoting a subject can be the kiss of death in journalism.

Try to organize the interview logically, especially if it transpired in a haphazard fashion. If the conversation had a built-in logical flow, you don’t need to re-organize. Otherwise, don’t be afraid to move things around to make it a smoother read. Just be sure not to change the meaning. When in doubt, the chronological approach is always solid.

The interview should include an introduction to the author, including all pertinent biographical information that summarizes the life and accomplishments of the writer. The introduction should be thorough and written in a way that is accessible to all readers, but still holds the interest of those readers who already know something about the subject.

Trim the interview before submitting it to the editors. Remove off-topic tangents and irrelevant personal interactions between the writer and the interviewee. Remember that people speak in ways that don’t necessarily translate well into print–pauses, fragmented speech while they formulate ideas, run-on sentences, etc. It is perfectly acceptable to rework the interviewee’s words into more concise and cogent shape, often just by employing the right punctuation, while striving to retain his/her personal voice. If the interviewee is highly critical of specific individuals and groups in a way that he’ll likely regret in the future, try to be sensitive to this and omit the gory details. Whenever you delete anything from an interview, replace the text with an ellipsis (…).

When you submit the interview, please provide four pull quotes that are short and punchy that will pique readers’ attention.

The interviewer is responsible for obtaining images of the writer (ideally a mix of promotional and/or performance photos), which must be of high resolution photographs (300 dpi or higher) in a JPEG or PSD format, along with all necessary credit information for photographers and/or sources.

All interviews are subject to proofreading and editing.  We prefer not to edit heavily. If we feel that your interview requires significant editing, we’ll send it back to you with suggestions and recommendations, so that you can check back with your notes and transcript. Otherwise, we will fix typos, correct grammar (unless used in dialogue) and adjust punctuation to our house style.

As of January 2013, payment is one copy of phati’tude Literary Magazine and a PDF tear sheet of the interview to the interviewer and the subject.  Send all inquiries to editor [at] phatitude.org

Refer to our Submission Guidelines and Open Call Submission for further information.

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DISCLAIMER
Statement of fact and opinion in the articles, essays and interviews in phati’tude Literary Magazine are those of our respective authors and contributors and not of the editors of phatit’tude Literary Magazine. No representation, express or implied, is made of the accuracy of the material in this publication and phati’tude Literary Magazine or the Intercultural Alliance of Artists & Scholars, Inc. (IAAS) cannot accept any legal responsibility for liability for any errors or omissions that may be made. The reader should make his or her own evaluation of the accuracy and appropriateness of those materials.

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