Tag Archives: In Person

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.


Interview Schedule

In thinking about the information I am looking to gather for my research project, I figured that my best bet in aiming to construct a diverse perspective would be to gather points of view from people of different ages, backgrounds and levels of expertise – however, all having sharing the same core connection to my research topic.

As my project has been progressing, I have been talking with people in my various social circles about my research topic. A friend of mine who, at one time, did not particularity care for books, shared with me how she took an informal course on the creative process, and ended up getting into reading some poetry – but through an unconventional means. I was curious about this, and I asked my friend if she would sharing with me the name of the person she took the informal course under. I figured, if he could get her to actually want to crack a book, there must be something to his course. So, this week I got in touch with him. Turns out that Robert Mulvaney is currently a teacher at a Cape May County high school, and also has some background in theater. He sounded like a bookworm on the phone, but not a real avid enthusiast of electronic/new media. That’s ok, conflict creates an interesting story, (and I’m always open to hear opposing views.)  I am really looking forward to talking with him about his observations in the classroom setting on how students view books these days, and how he feels the creative process ties in with sparking interest in something, where there was no prior interest.  I am not sure what direction this may take, but I’d also like to get into some discussion about the human relationship with tactile, “hands-on” experiences and the corresponding interaction with the sensory memory and information processing. Robert will be one of my in-person interviews, and we’ll be meeting this weekend, either 3/12 or 3/13.

My second, in-person interview will be with an author, Les Tomlinson Jr., who has recently published his first book, The New Song. I had seen the book for sale at my church, but I did not realize that the author actually lives relatively close to me until my dad bought a copy of the book, and I happened to read the biographical information on the back cover. I’d like to ask Les if he is considering having his book put into digital format, so as to sell on e-readers as well as in print. As a published author, I’d like to know what his take in on the publishing industry, and if he would consider it a worthwhile investment to branch into the having his work available online.Granted, Les is a newly minted author, so he is no Stephen King (yet!), but I would still like to hear his thoughts on how he feels having (or not having) his work in digital format would increase profit for him. Les and I are planning on meeting the week of March 20th.

Using some of my own new media connections, I downloaded Circle of Moms app on my Facebook account and proceeded to try and get to know some new moms. Thinking back to the discussion we had in Core 2 with Dr. Wolff last Tuesday, I wanted to look into how moms interact with their little one using books. I ended up connecting with mom, Michelle, who lives in TN, and has a toddler and a five-month-old. Michelle shared with me how her own mom, Linda, used Blurb to create custom books for her two grandchildren, and now the whole family enjoys this personalized, book-making technology. Blurb showcases Linda’s books with high resolution, colorful photos of the family, along with text, which are lyrics to songs that Linda sings with the kids. Michelle shared how her kids love turning the pages, looking at the photos, and hearing Linda sing – sometimes they even sing back! It seems that having these books creates a very special bonding time between Linda, Michelle and the kids, and this bond using books as a vehicle is what I would like to explore. I would also like to ask if Michelle or Linda would ever consider reading to the kids using a Nook or a Kindle, (if they had one), and why, or, why not. Additionally, I am curious to ask Michelle if/ how often/ what kind of books Linda read to her when she was little. If her mom read to her when she was little, did it build degree of  fondness for books which Michelle enjoys today? Michelle and I plan to convene online either 3/19 or 3/20.

For my second online interview, I am still waiting to hear back from a couple of folks that I had contacted earlier last week. I have yet to hear back from them, but I will give it another shot. But, as you have heard it said before, the squeaky wheel gets the oil! These are people in the book designing industry and most likely, they are probably really, REALLY busy. I also feel that having their perspective is vital as it really grounds the research on my topic.  So, instead of settling, I’m hanging in there for now and if, in the next couple of days I don’t hear back, I’ll update this post to include an alternate choice.

More to come soon!