Coming from a long career as a newspaper journalist and layout artist, Barbara “Rusty” LaGrange, is an accomplished writer for news and magazines, desktop publisher, poet, and self-published author. In her book, A Microphone is Not the Muzzle of a Gun: The Art of Interviewing, she selected interviewing topics to help news journalists and broadcast students, as well as new authors, hone their craft of gathering resources and interviewing their subjects for better results.
In a book critique group within the High Desert branch of the California Writers Club (CWC), she developed specific chapters to promote the best practices in interviewing. Not to miss being on the other side of a microphone, she also reflects on tips and techniques for facing an interviewer.
She has an adventurous history as a volunteer firefighter, cross country skier, disaster service shelter supervisor, as well as an American Red Cross disaster caseworker throughout the High Desert. She and her husband, Jeff, also served with the San Bernardino county’s first Search and Rescue Jeep Sweep team for the Sheriff’s office.
Among her writing accomplishments are the Ina Coolbrith and Jack London awards for community service and support to the statewide California Writers Club. She has produced an online digital news magazine—The Bulletin—formatted to share writing news across 22 branches serving over 1800 writers. For the past ten years, Rusty also produced her branch’s monthly newsletter—The Inkslinger—highlighting many of her colleagues’ accomplishments as well as support for the craft of writing and marketing.
Her other interests are collecting old books, rusty collectibles, sitting on the local museum board, amateur radio, writing poetry with The Poemsmiths, and writing Western novels. She won’t turn down any ghost town off-road trip with Jeff, either. You can find her online at AFlairForWords.com or RustyLaGrange.com. She lives in Lucerne Valley at The Rusty Bucket Ranch with her husband and two dogs and two cats. They have one adult daughter and enjoy time with their four granddaughters.
760-248-6777 (land line, leave message)
Websites: RustyLaGrange.com and AFlairForWords.com
Shoving a microphone in someone’s face may get you a response but interviewing takes a bit more finesse. Rusty LaGrange offers her years of interviewing, gaining information from her subjects in a corporate setting, family research for a memoir, and spontaneous “Man on the Street” instant interviews. And what do you do when facing a mic? Do you back away and act as if the microphone is the muzzle of a gun? In fact, that’s her book title: A Microphone is Not the Muzzle of a Gun. She loves exploring the situations that make interviewing the art of conversation.
For 18 years, the time spent travelling and exploring on the historic Mojave Road with members of Victor Valley 4-Wheelers gained Rusty LaGrange the expertise to share its fascinating stories. Based on annual off-road trips with three or more families to as much as a caravan of 23 adventuring vehicles, life on the 220-mile Mojave Road gained the club over 10,000 volunteer hours and a plaque from The Department of the Interior Secretary Manuel Lujan. They offered guided trips for those who helped keep up and repair the trails. Rusty also became the historian storyteller sharing tales of the road by CB radio. She and her husband Jeff, are also trailblazers in the Guide to the East Mojave Heritage Trails, written by Dennis Casebier in 1986.
Newsletters are the easiest way to send information to a group of likeminded people. Crafting a good, readable newsletter can be tricky. Rusty LaGrange highlights the best design and layout methods to grab attention and make your newsletter a classic draw for your club or civic group. Not all news arrives in your email, yet the number one way to reach members is naturally a printed or digital newsletter. She’s crafted print newsletters for American Red Cross, Victor Valley 4-Wheelers, and Victor Valley Amateur Radio Club. Recently she completed five years producing California Writers Club’s The Bulletin for its 22 branches, CWC’s High Desert newsletter, The Inkslinger, for ten years, and is now pursuing a commercial digital imprint, VintageWest Magazine. As a newspaper layout artist and editor for many years, Rusty still loves the cut-and-paste techniques of graphic design but not the smell of hot wax and those all-night sessions “putting a paper to bed.”
FROM THE BOOK JACKET: A Microphone is Not the Muzzle of a Gun is an excellent read that encompasses many techniques on how to successfully interview people in various settings. Rusty LaGrange … has a dynamic way of breaking down the elements of what makes a great interview, how to interview confidently, and what it takes to become an expert in this field. … This book provides an abundance of information and resources to assist someone who wants to conduct interviews. "Personally, I have interviewed many people … and I can confidently say the tips provided in this book are valid, and I learned new ways on how to enhance my interviewing skills. Well done!" – from Tensie J. Taylor, interviews, spotlights with celebrities, and author of the bestselling book, Bullied: from Terror to Triumph.