Tuesday, 13 December 2011

I'm A Writer, Get Me Out Of Here!


I’m sure you didn’t watch this year’s I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! Did you? I'm sorry to say that I wasted many hours watching various ‘celebs’ Facing Up To Their Fears.

The fascination lies in the way each individual has a completely different comfort zone when it comes to phobias. The Incredible Hunk (Mark Wright) was reduced to a whimpering bundle of terror when faced with a night in bed with a bunch of rats. Antony Cotton from Corrie had a panic attack at the thought of jumping out of a plane. Fatima Whitbread, on the other hand, battled her way through every trial in a gladiator-like manner, even when a cockroach got stuck up her nose. I’m full of admiration for them all, since I’m the Sinitta of the phobia world – petrified of everything.

Which leads me to wonder: what are your writing/marketing phobias? Where does your comfort zone end?

For months now I’ve been compiling a vast file of ideas for publicising my novel, ranging from having postcards printed (to press upon any poor soul who shows an interest) to randomly approaching well-known people for reviews. I’ve even done a public speaking course (which was actually excellent and enjoyable and which helped on many different levels).

So now I’m asking myself how far I’d be prepared to step out of my own comfort zone in order to let people know about my book? Would I walk into one of the large booksellers and ask them to stock my book? Would I learn how to write a magazine article and trawl it around likely publications? Would I dress up in a silly animal costume and give out leaflets? I realised I’d be prepared to do quite a few of these, if they seemed promising (fortunately the animal costume wouldn't be relevant, unless it was a book worm).

But there’s one experience which really terrifies me and feels waaaaay outside my comfort zone. The Radio Interview. Especially live. I fear that I’d find myself a) unable to talk any sense or, worse, b) unable to speak at all. After all, that's why I write - because I can express myself better on the page than at the microphone.

But a writing friend – whose comfort zone boundaries easily encompass radio interviews – suggested that I prepare myself for the (unlikely) eventuality of an interview by thinking about the kinds of questions I might be asked. Rather as an arachnaphobe might be persuaded to open a book about spiders before facing up to touching the real thing. And she suggested that I ask you, dear readers, for your help.

So here goes.

If you were listening to me being interviewed on the radio, what kind of questions would you want me to answer? And what kind of questions would you expect the interviewer to ask me? (My novel, The Making of Her, is contemporary women’s fiction and is about television, cosmetic surgery, middle age and transformation).

Any thoughts would be hugely appreciated!

And please be gentle, or I might scream...

10 comments:

Helen Black said...

I am a past master of the radio interview, being in possession of the perfect face and arse for it.

First thing you need to remember is that it is not a test. The presenter is not seeking to catch you out. He or she has hours and hours to fill every day and they hope only to squeeze a moment or two of light entertainment out of you.

In short they want you to be good and make every effort to put you at your ease and bring the best out of you.

HB x

Sandra Davies said...

I've only ever been interviewed on radio once, and it was nothing to do with writing, but knowing how inarticulate I am, once he asked me a question I began talking, completely avoided eye-contact and continued, and continued, until he had to wave his hands to catch my attention and halt me mid-sentence, totally embarrassed and thereafter completely tongue-tied. So, short sentence answers, and keep your eyes on the interviewer are two tips I'd offer.

JO said...

Forget all the people listening. Think of it as having a chat with someone who is really interested you and your book! You might even have fun.

Caroline Green said...

I'm always fascinated to hear people's journey's to publication, Susie...

But that might be a writerish interest. People are often very keen to know about whether characters are based on real people you know, so that one would be bound to crop up!

Susie Nott-Bower said...

LOL, Helen - ditto on the face/arse.
And yes, would be better to think of it as an opportunity rather than a test. Mind you:
'in short they want you to be good'
- argh!
Sandra, that made me smile. I wish I could feel sure that I could talk like that! How brave of you to do it.
Jo, fun would be a bonus...
Caroline, that's a good question. Erm, my two main characters being the two halves of myself!
Susiex

Kath said...

I would ask whether you had had, or would consider having, any form of cosmetic surgery. Or where you would draw the line between what a woman should do to enhance her looks and what she shouldn't.

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Kath, very thought-provoking questions - thanks!
I'm pretty clear about the first one, but the second needs some pondering. Very helpful.
Susiex

Anonymous said...

I guess they may ask if the book/main character is based on yourself.

And yes, they would probably want your take on cosmetic surgery.

I guess the thing to do is imagine you are interviewing one of your favourite authors - what would you ask? I'd probably want to know what prompted them to write that particular book, what was the germ of the idea and where did it come from...

Sam x

Derek said...

My question would be whether being published has changed you as a person and as a writer.

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Excellent questions, Sam and Derek - thank you!
Susiex