When preparing to be interviewed for a memoir, you’ll want to start with a timeline or chronology that lists out all of the important and memorable things that happened in your life or the lives of the person/people you’re writing about. Old photos and memorabilia will no doubt also trigger useful memories.
Here are 25 questions to help you prepare, in no particular order:
• What are the earliest memories you have of your family home?
• Describe a typical family meal in your childhood home. What was usually on the menu? Who sat where around the table?
• What do you recall as the happiest period or moment of your childhood? How about the unhappiest? Who were you with and where?
• What single event shook up your life and opened up new frontiers? What memorable person, experience or thing opened up a new world for you?
• What were the best times for your family? The toughest and most challenging? How did you and your family respond to adversity?
• Would you describe yourself as an optimist or a pessimist? How do you think your worldview has shaped your life choices?
• What are the chief attributes of the role models who have shaped your values?
• If you had all the time in the world and money wasn’t an issue, what would you do?
• What is the best gift you’ve ever given someone? How about the best gift you’ve ever received?
• Whom do you really trust? Who trusts you?
• If you could take a final trip someplace, where would you go and with whom? What would you do?
• If you could listen to only 10 albums for the rest of your life, what would they be? How about if you could watch only 10 movies? What would those be?
• What have you most liked about getting older? What’s been the worst part?
• What is the biggest mistake you ever made, and what did it teach you?
• What is the best decision you ever made? Why?
• Who are your five closest friends? How are they different from one another, and why is each so dear to you?
• What makes you happy? Can you share some of the happiest moments of your adult life? How about the saddest? Why were they so happy or sad?
• What are the greatest challenges or crises you have had to face as an adult? How have you dealt with them?
• What kind of music do you like to listen to in the car or at home? What makes you want to dance? Also, what television shows have stuck with you?
• What health discoveries/breakthroughs have helped you or members of your family? What discoveries do you hope will be made within the next decade?
• Who or what is the love of your life? Why?
• Describe a life-changing trip or journey and why it so mattered to you.
• What five attributes make a human being a good person? Have you always possessed all five?
• In what ways do politics and religion impact your life?
• How have you successfully shared your passions and interests with your close friends and family?