Tag Archives: authors

Pre-Interview Preparation Post: Dr. Andrew P. Surace

This is my pre-interview, preparation post supplementary to my in-person interview with Dr. Andrew P. Surace.

As I stated in my post, Objects of Desire, originally I planned to meet with author Les Tomlinson Jr., but I had a change of plans and made arrangements to interview local author and book lover and area pastor, Dr. Andrew P. Surace instead. The specifics of my arrangement were that Dr. Surace had agreed for an interview in his church office on April 9th, which was a Saturday afternoon, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

I chose to interview Dr. Andrew P. Surace as he is someone who has a direct relationship with books, a local author who has written Stepping Stones Along the Path of Life and Power Points from the Word.

The theoretical approach I decided I would take was that of an active subject, as discussed in Postmodern Interviewing.

In Postmodern Interviewing Holstein and Gubrium describe an active subject approach as, “The image of the  active interview transforms the subject behind the respondent from a repository of opinions and reason or a wellspring of emotions into a productive source of knowledge. From the time one identifies a topic, to research selection, questioning and answering, and, finally, to the interpretation of responses, interviewing itself is a concerted project for producing meaning. The imagined subject behind the respondent emerges as part of the project, not beforehand. Within the interview itself, the subject is fleshed out–rationally, emotionally, in combination, or otherwise–in relation to the give and take of the interview process and the interview’s broader research purposes,” (p. 74).

I felt that this was the closest approach that describes my intent, as through the interview my understanding of my research topic of why people love books was taking form and shape, evolving from my previous understanding to a new one shaped by the conversation.

Some of the questions I planned to bring up were what it was like to grow up in the baby-boomer era, (as it was so different than today, with the myriad of electronic entertainment that kids have access to), favorite books and why, if he had any books that he would give to his kids someday, and his observations of what ways his being a reader and a book lover has effected his kids.


Objects of Desire

“I only like to use gel ink, only black, not blue. I like to buy pens that have a certain feel. It’s the feel of the pen in my hand, it’s the feel of how it writes on the paper. I like it dark and clear, kinda in your face. I like it to dry fast so it doesn’t smear. I love fountain pens too, but they’re just a little too archaic.”

Dr. Surace is the author of 2 books, Stepping Stones Along the Path of Life, and Power Points from the Word. The above quote is from him on his favorite writing utensil.

I was talking with him about some of the rituals and habits that take shape with being both a writer and a lover of books. (As for Dr. Surace, the two go hand-in-hand as he is a writer, but also has an extensive library. For Dr. Surace, writing is a very intimate when he is alone in his thoughts. To properly set a  mood conducive for writing, absolute silence is requisite. He shares that he writes when everyone in his family is sleeping, or he opts to go to the office. Along with the quiet of solitude, Dr. Surace says that sometime he likes to include candles and sometimes music to help get his creative juices flowing. Favorite pen in hand, he usually prefers to put his chapters on paper first. Although, the majority of his writing is composed on his laptop.

Delving into the topic at hand, we discovered that certain products possess not only a quality  of functional excellence, (which is to be expected) but actually give off a spark of inspiration which generates motivation. They cause us to want to engage in the act of writing. For Dr. Surace, using a Pilot G-2Roller Ball Retractable pen makes the sometimes grueling writing process one step easier.

Great design produces a sensory acuteness that makes the  thought process sharper, resulting in the words to shine with clarity. So, can having a writing utensil that not only works great, but is ergonomically and aesthetically pleasing really make that much of a difference? Yep. Apparently, it can and it does.