Last week, I was interviewed on a local radio show. The interview was timed to coincide with the release of my new book, Sins of Her Father, and I appreciate the publicity. But as a writer, speaking in public or making a media appearance is always a stressful event.
When I sit at my desk and work on a manuscript, the words I type are subject to change. I can have second thoughts and edit my verbs or nouns. I can change the order of words or phrases, add or delete, polish and perfect.
On a live radio show, there are no second chances. The words that are spoken, right or wrong, sparkling or clumsy, can’t be snatched back. Since mumbling a correction or retraction doesn’t work, I worried I’d embarrass myself with answers that didn’t come out correctly the first time.
Experts advise authors to prepare for an interview by thinking of answers for a list of anticipated questions. So I brainstormed and composed several answers. If I was asked why I began writing or where I got the idea for my story, I was ready. I agonized over possible questions and what I might respond, but I wasn’t prepared for the first question. The interviewer said: “Your last book was about a cybersecurity expert, is this one about computer crime too?” To my mind, my spur-of-the-moment answer sounded lame.
Experts also advise authors to have two or three main points they want to communicate to the audience. I knew my talking points and wanted to mention the address of my website and title of my book as many times as possible. Working those facts into a conversation is always a challenge, and steering the interviewer who wants to talk about unrelated topics back on subject can be next to impossible. Politeness versus self-promotion. Which way is best to go?
A radio interview is an interesting experience. This was my third, and each one has been unique. Did I sell any books? Who knows. Did I have a pleasant conversation with a radio personality who I would like to turn the tables on and interview? Definitely. Am I glad it’s over and I no longer have to stress about what gaffs I might commit? Yes, yes, yes.