Ask Alicia Keys, George W. Bush, Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman, and Many More Authors a Question!

Posted by Patrick Brown on November 6, 2014
One of the most common questions authors get from their readers is, "What inspired you to write your book?"
But what if the author isn't just a writer, but a Grammy award-winning R&B singer-songwriter?
Or a performer who delivered one of the most-watched TED talks this year?
What if the author is the 43rd President of the United States?
Over the next few weeks, we're looking forward to seeing what you'll ask the likes of Alicia Keys, Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman, George W. Bush, who are all taking questions on Goodreads as part of Ask the Author!
Readers, get ready for in-depth answers that tell you more about their personal lives and their work as writers, as well as, of course, what inspired them to write their books!
She earned five Grammys for her debut album, Songs in A Minor. Now the R&B singer-songwriter is venturing into the world of children's books with a magical fairytale about a young Native American girl from the 17th century.
The 43rd President of the United States has written a biography of the 41st President of the United States... who also happens to be his father, President George H. W. Bush.
You've probably seen Amanda Palmer's now-famous TED Talk about the Art of Asking. She asked for $100,000 and received over $1.2 million via Kickstarter to finance her indie rock album. Her book, The Art of Asking, tackles the challenges of the changing rules of exchange in the 21st century.
Neil Gaiman is the author of numerous bestselling books, including The Sandman comic books, the novel American Gods, and the children's book Coraline. He and Amanda Palmer were married in 2011, and in celebration of the publication of Amanda's new book, The Art of Asking, Gaiman and Palmer will be answering questions in a special Goodreads group.

We've seen some amazing exchanges since we launched the Ask the Author program, and continue to explore and share the many answers that are now on the site. Check out Maggie Stiefvater discussing how to juggle her art and being a parent, Khaled Hosseini on writing as an expat, and what Richelle Mead likes to do for fun.

There are thousands of authors taking questions on Goodreads right now. So jump on in! You can ask authors a question directly from their profile page, and you will receive an email and a notification on Goodreads if your question is answered. Be sure to follow the authors to see all their answers! To see who else is answering questions this month, check out our list of featured authors answering questions.

So, what will you ask your favorite author?

Ask away!

Comments Showing 1-50 of 135 (135 new)


message 1: by ☆Dani☆ (new)

☆Dani☆ To be honest, that is one seriously weird combination of people.


Rambling Reader Why am I looking at this?

The election results of Tuesday was bad enough, and now this?


message 3: by Wren (new)

Wren ☆Ciara☆ wrote: "To be honest, that is one seriously weird combination of people."

It definitely is...


message 4: by Mac (new)

Mac Bush? To be an author shouldn't you have to write the book yourself, as opposed to simply hiring a ghostwriter?


message 5: by R. (new)

R. Bush? It was really necessary to include Bush in this list?


Rambling Reader Well, we can safely surmise a school librarian was his ghostwriter.


message 7: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Petersen What is the genre of this book? i am doing a book report on it and need to know soon plz help!


message 8: by Julie (new)

Julie Ehlers Only one of these people is an actual legit book author. As for GWB, I wonder if it would be against the Terms of Service to ask him if he ever figured out where the WMDs were? I think it's a fair question.


message 9: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Patrick you should warn up front that there is a 421 character limit to questions. I had to rewrite my question twice to get it under the limit.


message 10: by Lobstergirl (last edited Nov 06, 2014 04:46PM) (new)

Lobstergirl Julie wrote: "Only one of these people is an actual legit book author. As for GWB, I wonder if it would be against the Terms of Service to ask him if he ever figured out where the WMDs were? I think it's a fair ..."

Julie, you can ask whatever you want. But your question remains private until the questions are answered, and presumably the author will pick what questions to answer. Would GWB pick your question? I kind of doubt it, but you never know.


message 11: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Courtney wrote: "What is the genre of this book? i am doing a book report on it and need to know soon plz help!"

Amish erotica.


message 12: by Erin Lynn (new)

Erin Lynn Chris wrote: "Well, we can safely surmise a school librarian was his ghostwriter."

I think a third grader could probably write anything better than W.


message 13: by Kellene (new)

Kellene I just want a free book.


message 14: by Rambling Reader (new)

Rambling Reader LOL This is the funniest thing I've read all day long!


message 15: by Richard (new)

Richard Tokebroker Um, yes I would like to ask Bush what inspired him to write such a book, how is paintings are coming, and why he hasn't been charged for crimes against humanity yet?


message 16: by Muhammad (new)

Muhammad ehehheheeeheheheheheheee Bushhhhhh


message 17: by Noor (new)

Noor ☆Ciara☆ wrote: "To be honest, that is one seriously weird combination of people."

This is exactly what I am thinking right now.


message 18: by Clover (new)

Clover Grass The Staff of Serapis (Percy Jackson & Kane Chronicles Crossover, #2) by Rick Riordan Rick Riordan

I loved the two crossover books you wrote Rick Riordan! They were completely amazing start to finish. I was just wondering when are you going to publish the next crossover book for that like small short story series? I really would love to know because I love your books so much and I am already like almost done with The Blood of Olympus. I need something more to read like really bad! When are you publishing the next one? Please! I must know!


message 19: by Jiji (new)

Jiji Lobstergirl wrote "Amish erotica."

Hilarious!


message 20: by Sparrowlicious (new)

Sparrowlicious ☆Ciara☆ wrote: "To be honest, that is one seriously weird combination of people."

True that!


message 21: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Gallo I've read all Reacher and Rapp. MISS THEM! I am on Silva: who's very very similar to this line up. Email me at nybabz@netzero.net thanks.


message 22: by Qureshi (new)

Qureshi Julie wrote: "Only one of these people is an actual legit book author. As for GWB, I wonder if it would be against the Terms of Service to ask him if he ever figured out where the WMDs were? I think it's a fair ..."

Exactly.


Nenia ✨️ The Trash Empress ✨️ Campbell This is so weird I have just written a blog post about it.

http://neniasbooks.blogspot.com/2014/...

I am blown away that they have included George Dubya, and not in a good way. I think that this was a terrible move on their part, getting political. I also think it has the potential to turn real ugly, real fast. :/


message 24: by Merna (last edited Nov 07, 2014 02:08AM) (new)

Merna Julie wrote: "Only one of these people is an actual legit book author. As for GWB, I wonder if it would be against the Terms of Service to ask him if he ever figured out where the WMDs were? I think it's a fair ..."

I also really want an answer to that. But I sorta already know his answer.
ah ah wha i didn't know we ah didn't ah find them wa..sorry can you repeat-I mean rewrite that question I ah ah ah it doesn't seem to make sense.


message 25: by ☆Dani☆ (new)

☆Dani☆ Richard wrote: "Um, yes I would like to ask Bush what inspired him to write such a book, how is paintings are coming, and why he hasn't been charged for crimes against humanity yet?"

Something's telling me he wouldn't answer that. =P Too bad, it's like this great opportunity to question what used to be the most powerful man in the world, and we'll just get answers on fairly irrelevant things like his book. I know it's a book site and that, but still. XD


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

All this Bush bashing is silly. The truth is that hundreds of weapons of mass destruction were found and Bush wasn't charged with crimes against humanity because he didn't commit any. I wouldn't expect him to answer stupid questions, but maybe I'm wrong.


message 27: by Megan BG (new)

Megan BG CL wrote: "All this Bush bashing is silly. The truth is that hundreds of weapons of mass destruction were found and Bush wasn't charged with crimes against humanity because he didn't commit any. I wouldn't ex..."

Thank you.


message 28: by ☆Dani☆ (new)

☆Dani☆ Troy wrote: "Julie wrote: "Only one of these people is an actual legit book author. As for GWB, I wonder if it would be against the Terms of Service to ask him if he ever figured out where the WMDs were? I thin..."

Saved more lives? Haha. XD


message 29: by Myridian (last edited Nov 07, 2014 08:34AM) (new)

Myridian Stop griping everybody. These people have volunteered and put themselves out there to respond to questions. No matter whether I agree with them or decisions they have made in the past, I respect the fact that they have opened themselves up to potentially any question. So those with legitimate questions ask away. Everybody else, grow up.


message 30: by Richard (new)

Richard Penn Has anyone asked Niel if he wants to be associated with these... other people.


message 31: by ☆Dani☆ (new)

☆Dani☆ Richard 2060 wrote: "Has anyone asked Niel if he wants to be associated with these... other people."

Well, he's married to one of them, so I'd say he's okay with her. XD


message 32: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Williamson Mac wrote: "Bush? To be an author shouldn't you have to write the book yourself, as opposed to simply hiring a ghostwriter?"

Agree!!


message 33: by Scott (new)

Scott I can't help wondering how many people sent spam and worse questions to Bush. I'm sorely tempted, but mature enough not to.


message 34: by Scott (new)

Scott E.G., Mr. Bush, what do you think about Vincent Bugliosi's report on why you should be prosecuted for murder?


message 35: by Scott (new)

Scott Troy wrote: "Bush saved more lives than you know. But you have probably never left the U.S. or been in some of those countries where people hate America. "

ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


message 36: by Johann (new)

Johann Laesecke A lot of folks here seem more interested in their personal politics rather than reading or understanding authors whether they like them or not. If you don't like an author - don't buy their books! History is to be learned from, not sanitized by political correctness and hatred. So it is rather simple, really - if you're stuck on hating Bush you should be commenting on MSNBC or FoxNews. This is a website called Goodreads. It's about books and not a platform for ad hominem attacks.


message 37: by Hunter (new)

Hunter Jones Maybe since Bush is no longer The Decider he had to find something to do. Wonder why he didn't write a book about baseball?


message 38: by Arjen (new)

Arjen ☆Ciara☆ wrote: "To be honest, that is one seriously weird combination of people."

LOL Indeed! :-p


message 39: by Mahrukh (last edited Nov 07, 2014 10:20AM) (new)

Mahrukh I dont even consider these people as Authors...seriously (-__-)


message 40: by ☆Dani☆ (new)

☆Dani☆ Road Trip Dog wrote: "A lot of folks here seem more interested in their personal politics rather than reading or understanding authors whether they like them or not. If you don't like an author - don't buy their books! ..."

Well, it's not really history, George W. Bush and his father(who is the subject of the book in question) have had a huge impact on the lives of people all over the world who are still alive today. And I have to say, Bush seems to be getting a lot less hate than a lot of certain other authors, who haven't started literally started wars. So whatever you want to think of him, he's getting off lighter than people like James Frey and Kathleen Hale do on here.


message 41: by ~♡Nujaba♡~ (new)

~♡Nujaba♡~ Rocio wrote: "Bush? It was really necessary to include Bush in this list?"

Ikr!


message 42: by ☆Dani☆ (new)

☆Dani☆ James Frey wrote a novel he sold as non-fiction, which turned out to be total lies. Then he founded a publishing company designed to create young adult books, where he underpays authors, doesn't give them full credit for their work and is allowed to fire them whenever he wants.

Kathleen Hale received a negative review on here and chose to track down the reviewer, going as far as visiting her house and everything. She then wrote an article about it in the Guardian where she painted herself as the victim, and in my opinion, gave away a bit too much of the user's information.

They're not very popular on here. XD


message 43: by sandyzombie (new)

sandyzombie One of these books was never ought to be written, and that one is definitely '41: A Portrait of My Father' by George Bush. The author was the creator of an unhappy America, and ultimately an unhappy world. It was a much freer world before him, and much happier and more trustworthy.
http://happyproject.in


message 44: by Susana (new)

Susana I think it's fair to assume that this thread will be much more interesting, than the "stories" those "authors" wrote! lol
Although "Amish Erotica" does seem promising!


message 45: by Barbara (new)

Barbara Gallo Myridian wrote: "Stop griping everybody. These people have volunteered and put themselves out there to respond to questions. No matter whether I agree with them or decisions they have made in the past, I respect ..."

THANK YOU I WAS THIS CLOSE TO BLOCKING THIS SITE ENTIRELY! Geesh, what's the what with the griping? Oh, wait, now I'm doing it; but I think you get me.


message 46: by Susana (last edited Nov 07, 2014 05:20PM) (new)

Susana Barbara wrote: "Myridian wrote: "Stop griping everybody. These people have volunteered and put themselves out there to respond to questions. No matter whether I agree with them or decisions they have made in the..."

So, Barbara, you like to read?
Hope you don't take this the wrong way! Just being nosy and curious :) but I couldn't help notice you don't have any books on your shelf's.


message 47: by Susana (new)

Susana Mary wrote: "Barbara just joined. It takes time to build shelves unless you think of books you've read over the years."

Thank you, Mary :)
It's been awhile since I joined GR's (two years) _ and then I really like cheese! _ so of course I had forgotten all about that...
But, my question was totally harmless!
I just got worried when Barbara said she was ready to..basically give up on the whole Goodreads experience!


message 48: by Susana (new)

Susana Mary wrote: "Susana wrote: "Mary wrote: "Barbara just joined. It takes time to build shelves unless you think of books you've read over the years."

Thank you, Mary :)
It's been awhile since I joined GR's (two ..."


Right?
Yeah, I love this!
I know what you mean: after two years in this site, it still manages to surprise me!;)


message 49: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Dines I will gripe if I want to! And I want to!

I don't consider these people (except Gaiman) to be writers - people who dedicate themselves to the craft of writing. Perhaps they have "authored" a book, but I don't find them particularly what I'm looking for on Goodreads. I find that Goodreads is an escape from pop culture, news media, and Facebook - but maybe not anymore?

Should I just go back to my old readers' notebooks?


message 50: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Dines ☆Ciara☆ wrote: "To be honest, that is one seriously weird combination of people."

Agree


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