I don't know about you, but I find radio interviews can be a little daunting. And I hate listening to them being played back - it's something about the sound of my own voice that freaks me out.
But, they're marvellous when you can score one and they're obviously great coverage.
Here I talk about a recent radio interview that didn't start so well... I hope you enjoy the read!
All my best
For the recent release of my latest novel, Running from the Tiger, I was very lucky in that the publicist for Empowering Resources, the publisher of the book, scored me a radio interview gig. These are always exciting opportunities to promote your books but also to talk about yourself as an author to a potentially new market.
This particular interview was set down for a Monday afternoon at 2:15pm. I'd been advised that the radio host would pre-record and edit as needed to play the interview the following day.
The thought of that safety net of a pre-recorded show gave me a sense of security. If I made a mistake it could be deleted and left unplayed. Awesome.
I checked my schedule and 2:15pm was clear, although I did have a three hour workshop to run with thirty children at the State Library in Brisbane. Luckily, the workshop finished at 1:00pm. Plenty of time get packed up and on my way home. Brisbane is over an hour away from where I live on the Sunshine Coast, but I knew that when the radio station phoned me, I'd be on my way home up the freeway and I could pull my car over to take the interview.
Piece of cake, right? So I thought...
I have a pretty busy schedule, so I'm used to juggling a multitude of tasks throughout the day without any problem. These things don't normally phase me.
But I'd forgotten one small detail.
The radio station host was based in Victoria. I'm based in Queensland. And there's this little thing that Queenslanders don't normally have to worry about when we're in our own state - and that is DAYLIGHT SAVINGS!!
So there I was happily going about my business with the children in my workshop until the finish time. As usual, I spent some extra time chatting to the students, answering their questions, packing up and thanking the library staff. I took my time as I thought I didn't have to hurry for the radio interview. I'd take it on my mobile in my car when I needed to.
I wandered off to the bathroom for a final stop before heading to my car to drive home. And just as I was about to push the bathroom door open... my mobile phone rang.
Luckily, I'd turned it back up to normal volume or I may not have heard it in my handbag.
Instantly, I knew that it was the radio station. And instantly I realised my mistake.
It may have only be 12:15pm in Queensland but it was already 1:15pm in Victoria.
The State Library is a busy place, there are people everywhere and it isn't really somewhere you can have a radio interview on your mobile phone. It's not the done thing and it disturbs others.
Anyway, I scurried into the bathroom, answered the phone pretending everything was absolutely hunky-dory my end whilst at the same time frantically scanning the bathroom for people.
Please be empty. Please be empty, I was thinking inside my head while at the same time I was calmly greeting the radio host.
The bathroom was empty. Yay!
While the acoustics might have been a little echoey and hollow perhaps, at least I had a private room where I wouldn't disturb anyone and could talk at a reasonable volume for the radio host to hear me.
We ploughed through the interview for at least five minutes, possibly more, with my heart beating wildly as my mind raced to answer all the questions that were posed to me in a professional and coherent manner.
I'd almost made it through when - you guessed it - someone entered the bathroom.
I was holed up in a toilet stall at the time. I prayed that the bathroom visitor wouldn't make too much noise and that the flushing toilet wouldn't be able to be heard the other end. To help with this, I scurried out into the washbasin area and back out into the corridor that led to the bathrooms.
When she left, the lady did give me a bit of a strange look as she passed by, but if that was the greatest price I had to pay then it didn't make me feel so bad. My struggle at that time was trying to sound cool and collected on the phone.
The radio host asked me all sorts of wonderful questions. He was very positive and upbeat and said the nicest things about the book, which he'd read cover to cover and loved. He really promoted the book and I was very grateful for his time and his support.
At the end of the interview, there was obviously great relief. Radio interviews can be a bit of a baptism of fire in themselves. Thinking and talking at the same time, delivering answers off the top of your head and knowing that lots of people will be listening... it's daunting.
My consolation was knowing that any mistakes would be edited. However, when I asked the radio host about this at the end of the interview, he told me he wasn't going to edit, that the interview sounded just fine as it was. Yikes.
I only hoped that when it did indeed play on the radio the next day there weren't any sounds of flushing loos... or the drumbeat sounds of my heart flipping out.
Mistakes are part of the learning process. Everyone makes them no matter what stage of your writing journey you're at. And from now on I'll try to remember that little matter of daylight savings.