Interviewing Ramsey Campbell

So here I was at Albacon in the audience waiting for the Guest of Honor talk with horror author Ramsey Campbell (there via Skype) when the con chair says to me, “This is going to be an interview. Chuck, you’ll be conducting it.”

This was the first I heard I’d be doing it. :eek:

I had about 30 seconds to get ready, learn the setup, and start the interview. I came up with one question – “How’d you get started in the field?” – and then desperately listened to him to see if anything he said brought another question to mind.

This was especially hard since, while I know he’s a major name in horror, I have read next to nothing of his work, and rarely read horror at all.

A couple of times, I asked the audience for questions. I only got one volunteer. :smack:

I was also granted some time when David Kyle* was caught by the camera, and Ramsey noticed and chatted a bit.

Somehow, it all worked out. I was lucky that Ramsey was quite talkative, so each question could elicit a ten-minute answer. Several people have said it was one of the high points of the con. Though it was mostly due to Ramsey charm and storytelling, I do feel a bit proud of myself for keeping it running smoothly.

*Kyle is one of the last of “First Fandom” – those who were active in SF fandom before 1938. He’s 97, in relatively good health, and a beloved name in the field.

Good on you! Impromptu stuff like that can go either really well, or really really badly!

Query: what is the significance of 1938 for First Fandom?