So it’s the usual thing; you’re doing an interview for some form of public advertisement or another and the same questions come up. I refer to them as the FAQs of Self-Promotion. These are the most common questions that I notice are asked or that I have been asked in various places. I’m not giving you my answers, but just an opinion of what I think about them. I’m really annoyed by most of these questions, I feel that they display a lack of interest in what I actually do and a lack of knowledge about what I’m all about. I warn you, I am making fun and being quite bitter. I also actually will answer these questions if asked, but please, don’t open a conversation with me using any of these questions. I think we need some more creative FAQs, don’t you?
1. “Where do you get your inspiration?”
“First, I have to read a lot of British political books and some Ancient Greek philosophy. Then I smoke a lot and drink like a fish to channel my inner Hunter S. Thompson. Then I have to deface a piece of public property and get into a fight with a stranger. Then I go to the pub for fish and chips and Guinness. Then I scribble notes on a dirty bar napkin in between rounds of karaoke. After that, I go home to sleep for three days. If I’m lucky, I’ll have written something inspiring on that napkin. If not, the process has to be repeated until I do.”
My immediate response to this question is usually ‘My brain’, but that answer can vary depending on how sarcastic I’m feeling or how genuine the person asking the question is being. If I get asked the question ‘where do you come up with [your ideas]?’ I’m usually less offended. I think that asking for inspiration is used mostly as an ice breaker and to gauge how in depth you’re willing to go on your answers. I feel that a lot of journalism, especially in the current information age, is timid, afraid of offending or losing their exclusive when it comes to the types of questions asked. (I could be wrong about that considering how cutthroat the industry is.) I also understand that it’s a common question and that everyone who is inspired by (you) me wants to know where ideas and inspiration come from. I just think it’s a terrible way to start a conversation.
2. “Who are the biggest influences on your work?”
“H.P. Lovecraft and my psychiatrist. Dr. Yoko P.h.D. says that the drugs are really taking effect and that the voices in my head should subside any day now.”
Why would I openly admit to drawing influence from pop culture? I think there ought to be a time limit on who and where you’re allowed to draw influences from. I hate this question SO MUCH, mostly because I never know how to answer it properly. I also rarely draw influences from pop culture, I prefer to steep my work in world mythology and religious theory, so I guess my answer is God?
3. “You have been compared to [insert celebrity name here] how does this make you feel?”
Why should I compare myself to someone who has won multiple awards or, in the cases of the creator of sparkly vampires, written something that should be abolished? Having no awards under my belt and being compared to someone who I admire (or theoretically SHOULD admire) seems like a compliment but in reality it makes me feel like I am just a kid with no chance in hell. I mean, honestly, Stephen King was told that he should stop writing and that he’d never make it. I dunno if I’d be flattered to be compared to him. Besides, there’s no guarantee that my books will sell a billion copies, even if I am called ‘the next Robert Jordan’ or something equally ridiculous.
4. “How old were you when you started [writing]?”
“Seeing as the public school system was pretty awesome when I was a kid… I’d say like 4.” (And my first words were ‘Mom’ and ‘Cat’.)
Oh wait, you mean professionally? Um… I dunno. It seemed like a natural progression in my life. (I was 13 when I decided I wanted to work towards getting published and I started writing screenplays, in case you were legitimately wondering.) It really isn’t something that you kind of make a note of in your diary. Except I did. Because I was convinced that I could get published at 14, like that Paolini guy (That’s his name right?) who wrote the Eldest series. Then I found out that he had an inside edge ’cause his parents owned a publishing company. *le sigh* I’m still working on it, and I’m still writing. Why does it matter when I started?
5. “What words of advice do you have for [people aspiring to be like you]?”
“Don’t. No. Seriously. Don’t. I’m a caffeine fiend, I’m an insomniac and I’m pretty stressed out all the time. I also have become a hermit and like to stay in my house in my pajamas for days at a time eating Cheetos and watching British comedy. Oh and I guess I write sometimes, but I don’t remember that part much.”
I don’t really have any advice to start with. And then you add that this is for people who wanna be like me? There goes whatever small amounts of advice I had to give in the first place. And why would you ask me this question more than once? It’s not like the advice is gonna change much. If I’ve answered this question in the past month or six, please don’t ask me again. Or else I WILL give you a snarky answer.