Twenty Questions!

Actually, truth be told, there are just seven questions here but when you feel under pressure, even a few questions can seem like a few too many!

A prime example is the dreaded job interview, when you know that every answer could change your entire future. Well, maybe just your career, but you get the drift, I’m sure 😉

So … how are you at job interviews?

Are you cool and calm, confident that you can answer any question and dazzle the interviewer with your knowledge and expertise?

Or are you a nervous wreck, terrified that you will forget everything you’ve ever learned and then make a complete idiot of yourself, even though you know you could do the job in your sleep?

I’m a bit of both: I’m cool, calm and confident right up to the moment I take my seat in front of the interviewer(s), and then my mouth dries up and my hands start to shake, and all my careful research stashes itself in the furthermost region of my brain. Fortunately, when it’s mattered, I’ve managed to salvage some scraps of knowledge and confidence, and somehow impressed people enough to prompt them to offer me the job.

I’m the same when it comes to promoting my books. No-one knows my novels better than I do, yet when someone asks me what they’re about or what inspired me to write them, I hesitate and stumble over my words and the terror of making a fool of myself prevents me from giving a good account of my work. I feel like I’m being interviewed for the best job on the planet, and the magnitude of that reduces me to a quivering wreck.

So, dear reader, I’m asking for your help:

  • How do you prepare for important interviews?
  • What tips do you have for remaining calm, and maintaining your confidence?
  • What tricks do you use to remember relevant information under pressure?

And, if you’re really up for a challenge, here’s another question for anyone who has read either of my books: how would you describe the story, in just two or three sentences?


About johannanield

Welsh author of a contemporary British romance trilogy
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4 Responses to Twenty Questions!

  1. Andy Szpuk says:

    If someone asks me about Sliding on the Snow Stone I usually say something like: ‘It’s a true story, underpinned by the history of the period, and with dramatisations to pull out the human side of the story.
    I think it helps to have something like this. It’s hard work trying to develop these summaries, but very useful.


    • johannanield says:

      It definitely helps! I have something similar – “It’s a contemporary romance that explores grief and its impact on emotional and mental health” – and I have no problem opening with that, but I need to get across that there’s more to it. The challenge of explaining the core themes and plot in a calm and confident way, without sounding like I’m reciting an essay, is what gives me brain freeze.


      • Andy Szpuk says:

        How about describing the main character(s)? That would give you a definite hook to work from without drifting off maybe?


        • johannanield says:

          That’s a very good idea! I’m constantly working on my pitch/synopsis/blurb, trying to strike the right balance in an acceptable number of words. I’ve been steering away from including the characters because I keep ending up with something that sounds like chick lit, which gives completely the wrong idea! Describing them may help me bring out their story more clearly. Thank you!


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