I remember the “olden days” when conducting an interview required a small recorder. It was better than hand-written notes because there was no better option.
Now there is the smart phone. When my husband talked me into getting one, I was hesitant because I thought all I needed was a simple cell phone. Now my old cell phone is out-dated. I got spoiled by texting, and email ready at hand. Then I got spoiled by the GPS when we got lost on some country road. I use those features all the time.
I especially became addicted to the voice recorder for doing interviews. I still do written notes on my sheet of questions. It helps me stay organized. When I do the transcription back in my office, the written questions and notes keep me on track. I do not ask the same questions and my notes help me keep up with those I did ask. I have a copy of the questions as a document on my desktop which I use. I fill in the blanks using the recording and my notes. I highlight the asked questions for later ease of use.
The recording provides the emotion as answers are given. I also learn something each time, by the way I ask my questions. I do an evaluation to make improvements for the next interview.
I am working on a biography which is requiring multiple interviews. My subject is a very interesting person, well-known, but now deceased. When I listen to the recordings, I re-live the conversation with total pleasure. They would make an interesting audio book, if I chose that option.
When I get closer to the final draft, I will reveal my subject.
It would be interesting to know how other authors conduct interviews and also at what point the subject is revealed.