The book I thought I was writing last year was a handbook for writers. But when I submitted it to publishers, one editor responded by saying, “Why aren’t you writing a book about interviewing? You seem to know something about it.” One chapter in the manuscript I had sent her was about the art and craft of conducting great interviews. After I thought about her note for a while, I had the most articulate response: Well Duh.

A phone call or two later, and a couple of months of putting together a possible Table of Contents, I am now under contract with HarperCollins for “Talk To Me,” a book about the art and craft of conducting great interviews. I am having great fun writing it, drawing from my 22 years of conducting interviews at the annual Writer’s Symposium By The Sea, along with my decades of reporting for local, national and international news organizations. HarperCollins, you may know, also publishes William Zinsser’s classic, On Writing Well, and Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir.

For the past two weeks I have been talking about talking. The audience has been journalists, vacationers, South American university students, and fans of romance novels. Here’s the summary.

This month I spoke at the Excellence in Journalism national convention put on by the Society of Professional Journalists and several other news organizations. My topic was “Talking to Strangers: Craft and Conduct Interviews That Will Get Even the Haters to Talk to You.” A version of that talk was published in SPJ’s Quill Magazine this summer. You can see it here.

Conducting Interviewing Seminar at SPJ Convention, September, 2017


Other recent speaking engagements include conducting writing workshops for a week at Rancho La Puerta, the health and fitness resort in Tecate, Mexico, and a few days in Barranquilla, Colombia, speaking at La Universidad Autonoma del Caribe, at a conference titled “Thinking in the 21st Century.” My topics included addressing the post-truth phenomenon as it related to the news media and religion. Other speakers were former Mexican President Vicente Fox (I did a magazine profile on him a few years ago), and the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Tawakkol Karman, of Syria. 

With Nobel Peace Prize Winner Tawakkol Karman


I was invited to this conference in Colombia after the university president read my comments in this New York Times essay.

Being interviewed in Barranquilla, Colombia (Foto Vanexa Romero/ETCE)

After the conference I got to spend some time in Cartagena, Colombia, just before the Pope got there.

Cartagena, Colombia

The day after I returned from South America, I moderated a panel of romance writers at the Festival of Books put on by the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Moderating a panel of romance writers at Festival of Books

I’ll keep you posted on the progress of my book about interviewing.