How to Investigate the Past with Keith Mason

No matter what genre you’re writing, good research is critical, particularly when you’re writing an investigative piece. And in many cases, the greatest tactic for research is interviewing people. But being a good interviewer takes time and practice. You have to develop the skills and learn how to read people to get the information that you need.

In this episode of The Author’s Corner, Robin sits down with a seasoned interviewer and author, Keith Mason. Thanks to a long career interviewing artists and stars such as Jerry Garcia and Monty Python and four decades in public relations, Keith had the opportunity to develop his chops as an interviewer, a skill that would one day culminate in the fascinating investigative narrative about the once-unsolved murder of his grandfather. His book, Please Stand Up, is a journey to discover the father Keith never knew, and the killer who murdered his grandfather. They discuss the process of interviewing some of the biggest names in entertainment and how a great interview requires being more human in conversation. Keith also reveals his “golden rule”: to never put anything out in the public that will hurt anyone.


Key Takeaways from This Episode:

  • The benefit of asking ‘off-topic’ questions in interviews.
  • The process of investigative writing, from research to interviewing.
  • Keith’s biggest challenge when shifting from short- to long-form writing.
  • How Keith presented his findings to his family and aging mother.
  • And much more…


Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Keith’s website

Please Stand Up book


About Keith Mason:

Keith’s years of storytelling began with music and cultural observation in Philadelphia newspapers, interviewing dozens of top artists from Jerry Garcia and Phil Collins to George Carlin and Monty Python. In 1978, the writer began a nearly forty-year career in public relations, nonprofit development and the performing arts, including stints at Drexel University and the Kimmel Center (home of the Philadelphia Orchestra) and for elderly and disability services. Some of his most satisfying work came at a major addiction recovery center as the opioid crisis unfolded in the early 2000s. He created and taught a senior writing course at Temple University. After years of telling the stories of others, Keith wrote his own tale, Please Stand Up, a story he never expected to experience, much less write.

Related Blogs
Audio Episodes