6 Tips to Help You Conduct Interviews for Your Children’s Nonfiction Book Research

May 11, 2015 | For Beginners, Nonfiction

Peter P. Jacobi, the late journalism professor, was faculty for our Summer Camp in Nonfiction every year. He offered some steps you should take when you have an interview to conduct:

1. Define the purpose of your interview.
Both participants in the conversation should know the purpose for better results and to keep the interview on track.

2. Engage in background research before the interview.
Lack of research, or skimpy research, will result in lack of information or skimpy information. You won’t know enough to ask the right questions and without those, you won’t get the right answers.

3. Plan. Prepare.
These give the interviewer a sense of security. Planning makes for flexibility, the pursuit of new paths opened by something the interviewee said: a new twist, a refreshing insight, an offbeat viewpoint.

4. Take time to familiarize yourself with your interviewee and for him/her to get familiar with you.
Break the ice. Get a feel for the other person’s personality. The rapport that results will lead to better flow and better answers.

5. Consider a beginning, a middle, and an ending.
Ask questions up front which are likely to prompt strong, attractive answers to heighten audience enthusiasm. Build your interview toward a couple of major points. Complete your interview leaving the audience with something to remember.

6. Think always in terms of audience interest.
Try to put yourself into the reader’s mind and heart. It’s not you who needs satisfaction. It’s your audience.

Workshops for Writers & Illustrators

> Online
> In-Person
> On-Demand (Self-Paced Online)

New to the Highlights Foundation? Try these:

About Children's Publishing | The Whole Novel Workshop | Summer Camp


Need help deciding on a workshop?  Ask an ambassador!

Visiting Our Campus

Our campus (The Barn at Boyds Mills) is tucked away in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.  It's a few hours from both New York City and Philadelphia, but worlds away from everyday life.

Line drawing of the Barn at Boyds Mills

Our Mission in Action

Equity & Inclusion in Kidlit

The Highlights Foundation positively impacts children by amplifying the voices of storytellers who inform, educate, and inspire children to become their best selves.  Learn more about our impact.

For Businesses & Organizations

Fund a Scholarship
Partner with Us