Talking to Experts
Since I’ve been a reporter since 2001, I’ve interviewed a plethora of experts on various topics. (Yes, I would say a plethora.) I couldn’t even list all the favorite topics I’ve dug into with the help of experts. (I published a thousand articles for HerbalGram between 2007 and 2010 alone.) But I’m really excited about three experts I’ve had the privilege of interviewing this year: Laura Vanderkam, Gretchen Rubin and Ann McCutchan.
Laura Vanderkam is my spirit animal. She’s the time management expert I’ve written about multiple times on this blog. Stumbling on her book, 168 Hours, changed my life. I went from someone who had no clue how to manage time to someone with a good grip on it. I listen to her Before Breakfast podcast daily, and she’s the reason I’ve read most of the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings books on my phone. Interviewing her was the best moment of my professional career. And I remained professional, for almost the entire phone interview. I didn’t go fangirl until the last 10 minutes.
Gretchen Rubin is the happiness expert, who’s written multiple, best-selling books on the subject. (What cooler job exists?) Her books and podcast inspired me to deepen my quest for the how of happiness. Because of her, I’ve taken every free happiness class on Coursera.org and edX.org. My phone interview with her was one of the happiest moments of my life, because somehow our conversation turned to Harry Potter and the time travel book I’ve been writing for 28 years, and I happened to be wearing a Harry Potter sweater and backpack at that exact moment. If you know me, that’s not at all rare, but who doesn’t want to discuss Harry Potter with their happiness spirit guide?
Ann McCutchan was my memoir professor in graduate school. Hers was one of the best writing classes I ever took. So when I got a chance to find a Texas memoir expert for my Texas newsletter, I thought of her first. She’s published five books, including a memoir, since she taught that life-changing class. Talking to her was like talking to an old friend, and I may have gotten a mentor out of the deal.