The Sunday Oregonian ran with their feature length profile of me yesterday, by reporter Jeff Baker. The online version can be read here. Also, a bonus video interview with me can be see at that link.
Participating in the development of that profile was an interesting process. This was straight journalism, so the reporter was developing his own story rather than reflecting written responses from me, as often happens when I’m interviewed in the genre. Over the course of a month or two, we visited in person twice, had several phone calls and a number of email exchanges. The second time he came to my house, the reporter brought a photographer from the newspaper as well. I’ve never been interviewed in such depth before.
Another thing that was different about this interview is the focus on cancer and my life with it. Those are important parts of my experience, that I often lead with when talking about myself in other public contexts, but it was interesting to see how Jeff cast me. I think of myself as a writer who happens to have cancer. The piece in the paper pointed in almost exactly the opposite direction.
Do I object to this? Not in the slightest. The Oregonian is aiming at a general interest audience with a Pacific Northwest regional focus. The way I’m handling my cancer is almost certainly a more interesting and distinctive story for them to cover than simply talking about my books. It was just a view I’d never taken of myself, and as such, pretty interesting to see.
By that same token, this interview will reach a relatively large number of people whom I would ordinarily almost never be able to reach. People who have little to no overlap with my genre colleagues, readers and fans. So for at least a few minutes yesterday, I was on the minds of a whole bunch of readers well outside my usual splash zone. That’s pretty neat.
And honestly, the response to the interview via Facebook and Twitter and my blogs has been gratifying. I’m glad this has had an impact on friends and strangers alike.
Does it mean more than some dozens of column-inches in the paper? Heck if I know. I’m just very pleased and grateful to have had the opportunity to tell my story in such a forum.