FRIDAY NOTES & NEWS: Researching a story and need the inside scoop? Ask an expert


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WANT TO set your next story in the ice cream business, but feel Wikipedia doesn’t really give you the inside scoop? Well, other than getting a job at Baskin-Robbins, the only way to find out those details only an insider would know is to interview someone in that world.

Interviewing experts can be very useful — if a little scary — for both nonfiction and fiction writers. Here are a few best practices and tips.

1. Do your preliminary research and make a list of experts you’d like to talk to.

2. People are more likely to take your request for an interview seriously if you have already been published, or have gotten a grant to work on your writing project. But even if you are unpublished, it’s still worthwhile to ask.

3. Flattery will get you everywhere.

4. People love to talk about their work or hobbies — particularly if they are passionate about what they’re doing. (Their family members have probably lost interest long ago.)

5. Work your network of friends and family — somebody will know somebody who will know somebody who can introduce you to the right somebody.

6. When experts agree to talk to you, do not waste their time — be punctual, have your questions ready, do not go overtime, say thank you.

7. Go as high up the ranks as you can — middle managers are more likely to ghost you than CEOs.

8. Just go for it — all they can say is no.

Contributor News

Gail Murray‘s poetry has gotten good reviews in The Envoy (Jan 2021, Issue 106), produced by the Canada Cuban Literary Alliance.

Harry Posner will be guest hosting on The Howl radio show, at CIUT 89.5 FM, Tuesday, February 9th, 10 P.M.. He’ll be interviewing Yukon Poet Laureate pj johnson and Owen Sound Poet Laureate Richard-Yves Sitoski.

Ignition Point is a new poetry collection by Gary Beck. The collection looks at some of the struggles and tensions of our times, in what is a confusing life for so many of us.

Laurel Kerry‘s poem “The Tree of Thought” has won an Honourable Mention in a Pandemic Poetry Contest.

Dale Stromberg‘s recent story publication credits include “Omissions from the Unsaid” in Issue no. 10 of CP Quarterly; “Lies Breathed through Silver” in Issue no. 39 of Gone Lawn; and “Earth’s Very Atmosphere” in Belle Ombre.

John Timm‘s flash piece, “Her Favorite Story” is one of 50+ flash horror tales included in Campfire Macabre, coming this January from Cemetery Gates Media. His mystery / crime short story, “What Really Happened at the Microbe Mart” will appear in April in Close to the Bone

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