I had the pleasure of being interviewed myself via e-mail yesterday. I think it does writers good to be on the receiving end of an interview rather than the giving end every now and then. We can learn so much about the interviewing process from being interviewed ourselves and it informs and improves our own practice. It might be a good exercise to do a mock interview - get your friend, writing buddy, family to devise some questions and interview you. It can be great fun and you'll get a flavour of what your interviewees go through when you grill them!
I find e-mail interviews the easiest to cope with as an interviewee but you can't beat face to face interviews when you are the interviewer. I've performed many interviews and met such a lot of wonderful people through my work as a writer in this way. I've also discovered some surprising things about people that I never knew - aren't other people fascinating? Or is that my nosy streak?! Nosiness is an essential quality in a writer. I find e-mail interviews easy at the moment as there's not much time in my schedule to get out there and meet anyone who wants to interview me. But had I had time to and we lived nearer to each other I would have liked to have met my interviewer.
I think meeting people and sitting down face to face gives you so much more information than telephone or e-mail interviews ever will. You can see facial expression, their environment (if you get invited to their home you are lucky and can use that,) subtle body language, how they speak etc are all important in getting the gist of what a person is really like. It's nice to meet them too and they can also suss you out too.
I went up to the morris dancers again last Monday and delivered my questionnaires that I'm hoping will be completed by next week. The Morris dancers are so welcoming and tried their level best to get me to join them but I'm afraid I have two left feet and an appalling sense of direction! They'd be dancing one way and I'd be off in the other direction! So I did them a favour and declined. I am looking forward to writing about them. And that's what it's all about - enjoying the writing process. If you enjoy what you write about and are genuinely enthusiastic about the subject, person you are writing about then this will show through in your finished article, giving it life and the personal touch - much more interesting than a mere stringing together of facts. Make it sparkle!