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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Some Well Meant Advice On How To Avoid Giving Author Interviews

This is a guest post by James Roberts.

As the writer of a one of the funniest books ever written I am often pressed for what I would describe as 'authorial titbits'. (This current article being a case in point). This phenomenon, the desire to know all about 'the author', I am afraid to say, is particularly virulent amongst that generation for which a free university education, affordable mortgages and paying for recorded music are quite fanciful notions. Ergo, younger readers, or the NA market if you happen to be up on your genres. Now being one of those wordsmiths for whom more than a half page of text per day is likely to bring about a seizure, this presents something of a problem. No words to spare, as it were. On these occasions, I often find myself calling upon my old chum Roland Barthes and his seminal monograph Death of the Author (1967). 

Why? you ask. Well, let me tell you. Within the many, many pages of Death of Barthes puts forward a convincing argument (or so I am told) for the breakdown of certainty between sign and signifier, the inadequacy of language as a method of transmitting true meaning, and thus, the inevitable divorce of the author from their work. He also uses a lot of made-up words like  'phallogocentrism' and to be honest the whole thing is one huge semiotic car crash. But that need not concern you at this point. All you need to know is that Barthes, along with fellow 'post-structuralists' Jacques Derrida and some other Frenchmen, whilst being inadvertently responsible for the overuse of the prefix 'post', ditto some public buildings being built inside-out and a large number of monumentally rubbish paintings, should be given credit for pointing out that there really is very little mileage {or kilometers} in the 'reader' getting to know 'the author'.

So struggling wordsmiths everywhere take heart. Next time some youthful book nerd wassails you on the interweb demanding an author interview, try appending them a copy of Bathes' masterpiece. Then, when the unfortunate youth finds his or herself throwing Death of out of the toilet window whilst tweeting "what an impenetrable slab of garlic nonsense", and by doing so perfectly demonstrating dear Roland's most profound spéculation, you will at least have introduced them to the notion of irony, whilst having saved yourself 400 words of authorial pain and strife.

Happy writing.  

James Roberts is a forty-something indie author and misanthrope who currently resides in the remoter outreaches of the Highlands of Scotland. He states his profession as 'freelance copywriter', being far too vain and supercilious to admit to being 'mostly out of work'. His debut novel, Pardon Me: A Victorian Farce, has been described (here) as the funniest book ever written. To learn more about the book and nothing about its author please visit