Tag Archive for: #mystery trivia #podcast

The Benefits of Podcasts by Kathleen Kaska

Two years ago, I was asked to host a
podcast for a local business. Excited to take on something new, I prepared by joining
Toastmasters to improve my speaking skills, signing up for a one-day class to
learn the mechanics of podcasting, and taking a Creative Life class on
conducting podcast interviews. Always a big fan of NPR’s This American Life, I was happily surprised when that class was being
taught by Alex Blumberg, NPR’s producer and the show’s interviewer. Just like his broadcasts, he had me
hanging on every word. Saying his lessons were invaluable is an understatement.


Using what I learned, we recorded
and aired our first two episodes. One listener commented that they sounded like
NPR interviews. When I heard that, I knew that class had been worth it. Then we
got COVID-ed (metaphorically) while I was in the process of interviewing my
third guest, so the company pulled the plug on the podcasts. Needless to say, I
was disappointed because I loved being a podcast host. Even though that project
fell through, the lessons I learned about podcasting benefited me also as an
interviewee. Since many writers use this medium to promote their books,
learning the nuances of podcast interviews is just as valuable to podcast guests.

Here are
some tips:

1. Be
authentic. Don’t be afraid to look like an idiot. Laugh at yourself.

2. Pause before
punch lines, emotional moments, and important revelations.

3. As
interviewer, don’t ask yes-and-no type questions. Instead, ask questions that delve
into the subject. For example:

“Tell me
about the day you realized . . .”

were the steps that got you there?”

“How did
that, or they, make you feel?”

And my
favorite question-preface (used when the interviewee is not sure how to
proceed, is hesitant, or unsure of what to reveal): “I noticed in your voice .
. .”

Interview people with direct experience, rather than “experts.” It’s more
interesting to interview the passenger of a plane that’s been hijacked than the
airline’s official.

5. Once
you’ve chosen your topic and who you want to interview, create a two-statement
hook to grab your listeners’ attention. Example: “This is a story about a
family who sold everything to buy a boat and sail around the world. Then the
father, “abandoned ship,” returned home, and left the mother and three children
to fend for themselves.

Conduct a short pre-interview to get to know your interviewee and decide on a
course of action.

Keeping this in mind, as
interviewee, rather than giving synopses of all your books, talk about an
interesting story behind the reason you write, how you developed your
characters, or why you chose your setting. Your listeners are more likely to
stay engaged until the end. And by discussing the interview ahead of time and
giving thought to what you want to cover, you will help the podcast host move
the interview in the direction you want to go.


Here are two podcasters I highly
recommend: Laurel McHargue’s Alligator Preserve Podcast (
https://leadvillelaurel.com/). Laurel has hosted me twice, on February 18, 2021, and on
February 10, 2019. The links to each follow. Take a look and see how I improved
in the second interview, which occurred after taking Blumberg’s class. You
don’t even have to watch the entire interview to notice the change.




there’s Linda McHenry’s The Writer’s Voice: (

You can find my interview (Episode 36, on January 27, 2021)
by clicking on “Listen to All Episodes.”  


author Kathleen Kaska writes mysteries, mysteries trivia, nonfiction, blogs,
stage plays, travel articles, essays, and poems. Her latest release, 
The Sherlock Holmes Quiz Book, was reissued by Rowman and Littlefield (Lyons
Press). Kathleen writes the Sydney Lockhart Mystery Series and the Kate Caraway
Animal-Rights Mystery Series. Her first two Lockhart mysteries, 
Murder at the Arlington and Murder
at the Luther
, were selected as
bonus-books for the Pulpwood Queen Book Group, the country’s largest book group.

When she is not writing, she spends much of her time with
her husband traveling the back roads and byways around the country, looking for
new venues for her mysteries and bird watching along the Texas coast and
beyond. Her passion for birds led to the publication 
The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane: The Robert
Porter Allen Story
Press of Florida). Her collection of blog posts for Cave Art Press was
published under the title, 
You Have a
 Catharsis Handy? Five-Minute Writing Tips. Catharsis was the winner of the Chanticleer
International Book Award in the nonfiction Instruction and Insights category.

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