Interviewing can be intimidating. It can also be confusing.
I recently visited a location where I have set my story for Knife!, a paranormal murder mystery. While the premise came to me as a dream, and then I fleshed it out, I learned later that the incidents actually occurred in a small town in Georgia many years ago. I went to that town with my brother, who lives in Georgia. He acted as reconnaissance by entering public establishments and then once sure the natives were agreeable, came and invited me in.
The first interview was with an elderly gentleman who had lived in the community all his life. We went through the social amenities and then I asked him, “What was the most exciting thing that ever happened in this town?”
He said, “Nothing ever happened. Nothing in my entire life.”
No matter how I rephrased the question, he denied anything ever happening. Okay, so nobody was murdered – ever.
Next we met with the mayor of the town. He’d been mayor for nearly fifty years. He appeared to be in his late 80’s. Seems like maybe nobody else wanted the job? He was eager to tell me all about everything that ever happened in this tiny village. He was happy to embellish on the murder. His facts did not match the police reports I had uncovered, however his version certainly added color to my story. We could include a gypsy fortune teller and a few other colorful characters.
When I asked my brother about the discrepancies in the two men’s versions, he said, “The old man in the café wouldn’t talk to a Yankee, much less a woman, about local matters. They mayor is a politician and will embellish any story to make a constituent happy.” My brother being the potential constituent.
I was once in a children's play where my character questioned an old wise man. His response to most everything was, "It's all in the way you look at it, Sweetie." How true.
Veronica Helen Hart is the author of eight published novels, several short stories, many of them award winning, and moderates three writing critique groups in the Daytona Beach area. Her most recent work is a short story, Recovery, which is included in the anthology, Return to Earth.