I was so interested to read your blog on interviewing today.
As you know, since I studied with you and the Writer's Bureau I have gone on to interview many people in many walks of life. Some interviews stand out more than others.
I was the only writer on Anguilla (and yes, there was more than one!) to be invited to interview the Captain of a Royal Naval warship when she came in to Anguilla on a good will visit. The Captain thought the interview was going to be a quick 10 minutes on what the ship's company was doing there. I had done my research though and wanted to know about him, the man I had come to interview, as well as the ship's reason for visiting. When I was shown in to see him, the ship's PR officer came in too. The Captain needed moral support! It had not occurred to me until then that he might be a bit nervous! However, we chatted over a mug of tea, he relaxed and soon sent his sidekick away.
In the end we talked for an hour and a half and I think we both genuinely felt sorry when it was time for me to go. I had looked into his background and asked him intelligent and thought provoking questions, which showed that I knew what I was talking about and was interested. I knew the difference between a 1980's Leander Class Frigate and the modern ship he now commanded. I knew which ships he had trained on, where he had worked and all the different steps he had taken to get to his present position. He was delighted that I had taken the trouble to find out so much and in return was happy to talk. He gave me a lovely interview, which was published in The Anguillian the following week.
The point is, I just asked. I asked for the interview and it was granted. This interview has led to my interviewing several other ships masters, including the Commodore of the Cunard fleet, the master of the Queen Mary 2, Bernard Warner. This interview is in the current edition of Hampshire Life magazine.
To all your students I would add the following advice - enjoy your interview. Be prepared for it so that you know what you want out of it and make sure you get the information you need, but enjoy getting it. As you say Simon, chatting over a cup of tea and a scone is a pleasure. The 'chat' needn't spoil the fun!
So there you have it! Interviewing can be fun. Go on, give it a go!