Saturday, February 2, 2013

Interview Jitters

As an author, sooner or later you have to give an interview. Now I’ve done e-mail interviews for blogs, and I’ve done an interview with the newspaper at a book signing event, and I’ve been part of author panels at events, but I’d never done a televised interview. To say I was nervous was an understatement.

Like most authors I know, I’m a shy, reserved person, preferring to hang around the fringes of a group and watch rather than be the center of attention. Unless, that is, I know everyone around me and/or the topic of discussion is something I know pretty well. Still, I’m not built for public appearances. That’s why I write. Alone. Listening to the voice in my head, not the one coming out of my mouth, which always sounds strange to me when it’s recorded.

When the library’s new volunteer coordinator decided to pursue local authors to give talks, she found me. I agreed to do a presentation at the library, but I was reluctant to do an interview for the local cable access channel. I’d heard one of the “professional” announcers do interviews and knew he wouldn’t be sympathetic to a romance author. So I said no and explained my reasons. She told me she would be doing the interview and she’d provide me the questions ahead of time.

Okay, I said, wondering if I had just doomed myself.

Well, I had a week—in between a gazillion other things—to prepare for 20 minutes of airtime. Being a person who knows she has to be prepared in order to sound articulate, I drafted a 7-page, double-spaced set of answers, including a reading from the book.

Fortunately, they were going to prerecord the show, so any glitches could be edited out. Of course, a few days before the taping my DH gave me his cold. So I went, sniffling and with a scratchy throat, through about an inch of steadily falling snow, to the studio, armed with lozenges and my bottle of water.

The staff and the library coordinator immediately put me at ease. The interview went off without a hitch, and I used most of my material, including some statistics on the romance fiction market from ROMANCE WRITERS REPORT. (I wanted to stress the wide reach of romance.) In the course of doing this interview I learned a few things:

#1 Actors aren’t kidding when they say those studio lights are hot!

#2 My writing “fit my mouth” because the excerpt was remarkably easy to read.

#3 As long as I don’t have to do it live, I think I can do this.
What about you? How have you handled the interview jitters?

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