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Sunday, 14 August 2011

Hitting the Airwaves

This morning I was scheduled to do an interview with Radio Cumbria, and never having done a radio interview before I thought I'd better supply myself with a crib-sheet of names, dates, and reminders. This is because my debut novel, The Lady's Slipper, is just out in paperback, but since writing it I have written and finished a sequel (to be published soon) and I'm nearly at the end of a third. So it is a long while since I was fully immersed in that book.

Last week when I saw The Lady's Slipper on the book table right at the front of a Motorway service station I could hardly believe I had written it. It is actually great to have ceased to worry about it because I am so busy with another. I stood there, a little dumbfounded, looking at all the other wonderful books on the table with it, thinking, "Wow, did I write that?"

But back to the Radio Interview. Fortunately, on Radio nobody can see you, so I didn't have to stress about what to wear or what I looked like. I arrived early of course - I'm one of those people who is early for everything and would rather be 20 minutes early than 1 minute late. I had my reading glasses and hastily-scribbled crib sheets in hand, and was taken up to the studio which seems to be a tiny cupboard of a place in a vast concrete building.

The feeling beforehand was a little like going in for one of those language aural exams at school where you know they are going to ask you lots of questions, and you are terrified you might not understand the question, let alone know the answer.
Several well meaning friends had warned me not to say "errm...."! (Sorry, folks)

The interview was conducted remotely - my interviewer was in Carlisle, and I was in Kendal, but I was met by the cheerful Suzie in Kendal who let me in, and wrestled with the technology which was playing up by flashing green lights when it shouldn't and refusing to connect us. Anyway, seeing my pile of notes she gave me this lovely advice before I went on air:

Don't worry. It's their job to make you look good and to keep the interview rolling. They will have researched you and supply you with questions which they know you will have interesting answers for. So relax. You won't need your pieces of paper.

The machinery was still refusing to function so we ended up doing the fifteen minute interview by telephone, but Suzie was right. Being on the phone actually made it easier, like chatting with a friend. Belinda asked interesting questions not just about the book but about other aspects of my writing life and I never once looked at the papers. And it was refreshing to chat about some different aspects, not just "what's the book about?"

I enjoyed it a lot and you can hear it the fifteen minute interview with Belinda Artingstoll on Listen Again here. Scroll almost to the end of her programme and you will find it, just after "Forever in Blue Jeans!"


  1. Well done Deborah- Belinda is a brilliant interviewer who puts people at their ease. She interviewed me early in the year about Moon in Leo, and I soooo recognise how you felt!I will go and listen to your intreview now.
    BTW the link you just posted on Twitter doesn't work .

  2. How exciting! I had a similar experience but my heavens not half as lofty as a radio interview.

    I finally got our local paper to feature me in the 'neighbors section'. A photographer kept taking pictures and saying how awful they looked until she backed me into a corner in the dark. merde. Then the interviewer called and said something else had come up, could be do it by phone. humbling to say the least

  3. Hi Connie, nice of you to stop by. I checked out your website - lovely artwork. I enjoyed the interview more than I thought I would, and Belinda had me under control!

    Hi Karen, I don't think it was that lofty, they were very nice. Local papers are hard to tempt, I've found. Even when the only other news seems to be the new traffic control system in town. I couldn't get my local paper to my launch, though one other paper came from miles away and was really nice and took lots of pictures. Having said that, nothing can ruin the launch day of your first novel I think - it's such a great occasion!