Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Wild and Wacky Interviews (part 1)

Deb in London
Someone suggested, as I recently finished regaling a writerly audience with a couple of zany stories about my book interview misadventures, that I jot them down for posterity's sake. And a little literary entertainment.

A fine idea indeed.

So here we go with the first of three abridged versions of some of the stark craziness that goes on behind the scenes of  TV and radio interviews of, yes, even your favorite seemingly well-put-together and unflappable authors.

(Which is why, I presume, some authors flatly refuse to do interviews.)

My publicist arranged an interview with a very popular radio show host on a date when I was scheduled to be traveling with my husband. After unsuccessfully attempting to reschedule, I was forced to do the live interview by cell phone from the back seat of a moving vehicle -certainly no one's first choice, but in this case, it couldn't be helped.

In preparation, I packed the "cheat sheets" for my newest book, More Beauty, Less Beast (meaning the pages containing catch phrases and lucid discussion points I plan to use on the air so not to look like a scatter-brained ninny-muffin). Cheat sheets work famously for radio interviews, but not so well for TV, where you look ridiculous staring at notes scribbled on your hand or taped to your shoe.

Believe me, I know.

So on this ill-fated day, the radio host and I connected just as my husband turned the car onto a congested interstate. I had already done dozens of interviews about More Beauty, Less Beast since it's release a few months before, but going on-air still made me nervous. Especially live, where you can't edit or gracefully cover up mistakes.

I listened intently to the host's introduction with my key point-tabbed copy of More Beauty, Less Beast in hand and all my cheat sheets spread out across the car seat for easy reference. I was as ready as I'd ever be.

"Welcome, everyone, to our show today, " the host announced in her official radio voice. "We're so fortunate to have award-winning author Debora Coty here to speak about her book, Too Blessed to be Stressed."

Aack! What? Back the truck up! My mind flew in all directions at once, like frizzy hair in a gale. Did she say, Too Blessed to be Stressed? But I'm all prepared to discuss More Beauty, Less Beast!

Not only was that the wrong book, but I'd written two books since that one and had no idea what was in which. And I hadn't brought copies of anything but More Beauty, Less Beast with me!

I began frantically gesturing into the rear view mirror for poor long-suffering Spouse to pull over, which took several minutes for him to: a) catch on, b) stop asking if I was having a heart attack and if he should call 911, and c) jockey to the outside lane on the busy highway. Before the wheels even rolled to a stop, I flew to the trunk and began heaving luggage onto the shoulder of the road as cars whizzed by at 80 mph, all the while trying to keep a pleasant conversation going with the radio host as if all were well with the world.

Thankfully, I finally found a copy of Too Blessed to be Stressed beside the spare tire and by flipping pages wildly, was able to (sort of) present some semblance of an intelligent discussion for the next 30 minutes as slack-jawed, head-shaking Spouse reloaded the car and we tooled on down the highway.   

Stay tuned for my next Wild and Wacky Interview post.  


Beth Willis Miller said...

Love this blog post...we were right there with you...great writing!

Debora M. Coty said...

Thanks for the comment, Beth. I'd love to hear more from you!