The hero in my next romance is a cattle farmer in Southwestern Virginia. I pass cattle farms often. I see muddy areas where the cows have been brought in from the pasture, the tabs stapled to their ears, the machinery, and the farmhouses. These offer little about what my hero’s workday is like, his worries, and his hopes.
So, to develop my hero, I will interview a cattle farmer. I hope he’ll give me a tour of his farm too.
It’d like to use my interview for more than developing my character.
By-Products from Interviews
- Developing interview questions can make my online research easier.
- I could write an article about cattle farmers for guest blogs and my newsletter to promote my book.
- From the farm tour, I could use photos on my Facebook author page.
- Interesting farming tidbits could be fodder for promotional speaking engagements.
I could design a set of multiple-choice questions about cattle farming for a contest.
- The stories the farmer shares may help in developing a plot twist I would never have thought of.
- Thinking up the questions alone can spark possible crises, dilemmas, and conflicts for my story.
Example: Interview Questions for a Cattle Farmer and Wife
1. Why did you choose to be a cattle farmer?
2. Is your farm a family farm, and if so, how did that affect your decision to farm?
3. What effect has farming had on your family?
4. How many acres is your farm, and for the area, what size farm do you consider it to be?
5. What time do you get up and how long is your farming workday?
6. You have a second job. Could you live a comfortable life on the farm income alone?
7. What farm jobs take up most of your time?
8. What jobs do you consider most challenging and why?
9. What worries you most about cattle farming?
10. Have you ever considered giving up farming and why?
11. What do you like best about farming and what is your greatest hope for your farm?
12. What help do you have on your farm?
13. Do you breed cows or buy them to fatten up, and what are the tabs in their ears for?
14. How do you sell cows and to which markets?
15. What breed of cattle do you own?
16. What machines do you use to run your farm and what do they do?
17. What special gear do you wear to do farm work?
18. What do you think are the most dangerous activities in farming?
19.What’s the funniest thing that has happened on your cattle farm?
20. What myths about cattle farming could you dispel?
Questions for Farmer’s Wife
21. What do you like best and least about your husband being a cattle farmer?
22. What is your biggest challenge in being a farmer’s wife?
23. What farm jobs do you help with?
Your interviews on professions for your story can provide by-product benefits. Click to tweet.
What by-products have you gleaned from your interviews on professions? What other questions might I ask my cattle farmer?