Sunday, July 22, 2007

What is going on with me?

I've really been surprising myself lately. I'm doing things that are so out of character. I've gotten up infront of a crowd and read my book, I've talked to numerous people(people I don't even know!) about writing, and now I've actually been on the radio.

It started a couple of months ago when my publisher told me that she was going to try to book me and a fellow author on a local radio show. I told her I really couldn't do that. I was barely able to handle the fact that I was going to have to get up infront of people and read my book at the time. She said I'd do fine. I tried to forget about it and hoped they wouldn't want me on.

Fast forward to last month and I am told that I have to go on a live morning radio show. Live radio? And in the morning? First of all, I have lived my life avoiding being a public speaker. I'll barely speak if it's to more than one person at a time. Two's enough of a crowd. Secondly, although I've tried and tried, I am not a morning person. I can barely start thinking before 10am. It sounded like a disaster in the making.

So, what did I do? Did I worry and fret and drive myself crazy? Nope, I ignored it completely. Until a few nights before the event, I just didn't think about it. I was busy. I had manuscripts to get out, lakes to swim in, a wedding to go to, children to play with, floors to clean! Okay, I didn't do much floor cleaning, but my ignoring method worked pretty darn good until I realized I was going to go in there with nothing. And nothing would bad. Very bad. I couldn't have the interviewer ask me a question and just sit there with a blank look on my face. I hate sounding stupid, although I do it quite well.

After a slight freak out I knew where to go--the blue board. The authors there would have some advice. And they did! I got prepared. I overprepared. I memorized my book descriptions, answers to questions I thought the interviewer would ask, and answers to my faq's from my website. I made up bio and question sheets. I tried not to say, "ya know". And I tried to breathe. I did alot of breathing. It would be okay, right? I still did not allow myself to think about the whole radio aspect, that was just too too much.

On the hour-long early morning drive I went between practicing my answers to the all important question: What is your book about? To blasting the music and singing loud enough to drown out my worries. Then I got lost and was afraid I was going to be late. Several times I did consider just not showing up. Hey, I could have gotten a flat tire! But, not being one to break a commitment, I made myself get out of my 4-door cocoon and walk into the station.

There I met two fellow authors, Kimberely Ann Freel and Susan K. Marlow, who were just as nervous as I was. We chatted with the interviewer who was so totally mellow and unconcerned that he wasn't even interested in the info Susan tried to give him, so I didn't even bother trying. But, while everyone stood and chatted, I went over my notes one last time. "This isn't a test," my publisher joked. Yeah. It was worse.

The time to go into the studio came all too quickly. I tried to sit in the far corner seat and was quickly put into the center. I think they knew I might run at any moment. My throat was so dry I wasn't sure any words would come out when I tried to speak. And then I heard the music. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. I looked at the microphone. Yikes! I tried not to look at it again.

And then we started. One by one, we were introduced. I said hi or thank you or something, and I actually spoke! Major relief. Next came THE question: Tell us what your book's about. I was so ready, it was scarry. I couldn't believe it was me speaking. I wasn't stumbling over words. I was actually making sense. Wow! And then my turn on that terrifying first question was over.

The funny thing is, after that it got easier. One thing that majorly helped was the fact that I was after Susan, who had to be first on every question(poor Susan!), so I always knew what was coming next. The other thing was, I had all this great advice flowing through my brain: don't interrupt, just act like it's an everyday conversation, breathe, don't look at the microphone! I did keep an eye on the big clock that sat on the table in the center, waiting for the 8:15 commercial. There never was a commercial. The time came and went and suddenly it was 8:26. We were almost done, and I was almost enjoying myself? Well, at least I wasn't freaking out. I wasn't nervous anymore! I even added a few things at the end when everyone else was quiet. What had gotten into me?

So, that's my story. I could be completely wrong. I haven't heard the show. I'm not sure that I want to because if I sound horrible, I won't be able to do it again. And knowing myself, I know I'll think I sound horrible. So, I'd rather stay in this state of ignorant bliss and be willing to do an interview again if I'm ever asked to do one. But please don't let it be live! Editing is such a gift.

If you want to see the actual room where I did the interview, here's a link: KOMW


  1. Congratulations, Heather! You survived. I thought you'd be fine. Was this interview for the Chocolate story or for the little monster story?

  2. OH, YEAH YOU!!!! We knew you'd be great. I am so loathe to speak publicly (and by that I mean in front of more than, say, the number of people that can fit around my dinner table)...I truly felt your pain. But you did it! And when you think about it, it's no harder than, hmmmm, writing something fabulous that someone will PAY you for!

  3. Yay Heather!! I knew you'd do it! I also felt you pain. I hate speaking in front of people. It's the eyes. People look at you when you talk. Why do they have to do that?


  4. Thanks guys!

    And yes, it was for Chocolate. I got a little in there about Bedtime Monster but I didn't do a very good job on that. Oh well, maybe next time.

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