Why is Terry Gross such a superb interviewer? Because she is genuinely curious. She asks the question we'd all like to ask at exactly the right moment and does it without rancor or sarcasm or enmity of any kind.

For example, say an author says "Of course my childhood was not like the one in the book." Gross will ask "What was your childhood like?" The obvious question? Maybe, but you would be surprised at how often that question is ignored by an interviewer as "too obvious."

Start listening to the newsies on television, on the radio and in the newspaper. You will see that the more experienced reporters will ask the obvious questions -- short, concise questions that let the subject talk.

Inexperienced interviewers will ask long, esoteric questions that can often be answered with yes or no by the interviewee. What a waste of my time -- I came to listen to the author, not the interviewer.

Larry King is another good interviewer who asks to-the-point questions, but he is so full of himself that the show is still about him.

"Fresh Air" is about its subject, not its host.