Tuesday, November 06, 2012

In case anyone is paying attention…

I don’t expect many to bother looking at Type M today with that other “distraction” going on in the US. But it’s Tuesday and my turn to post something, so here goes.

With my new novel, The Fallen One (do you have your copy yet?), having just completed its first month of full release, I finally got a fairly major interview this past weekend. It was on the early weekend radio show on the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) Fresh Air and the interviewer was the host, Mary Ito.

You can listen to it by clicking HERE.

I prepped for the interview by going over the sort of questions I might be asked. My main assumption was that Mary had actually read the book (a big yes), but I also have had a number of interviews where the person couldn’t even remember how to pronounce my name, let alone knowing what book I had written.

Mary only threw me one curve and that was the question about golf. She was trying to draw me out on my Ed Sullivan story “party story”, and it took me a moment to figure out just what to say.

The description of the book’s plot is the one I give to people at book signings when they ask what the book is about. I’ll let you judge how effective it is. At this point, I don’t really have the perspective to know other than that a lot of punters have found it intriguing. I’ve said it enough times to have it down pat.

Other questions would have given me pause to think if I hadn’t anticipated them beforehand. When that’s the case, you leave yourself wide open for a lot of “ums” and “ahs” as you try to fill the dead air – really bad things to do for a whole bunch of obvious reasons. My son Karel, who has a public relations diploma, really rides me about this, and it’s been exceptionally helpful when he’s attended something where I’ve spoken and brings me up a list of how many times I transgressed. I’ve only listened to the interview once, but I didn’t notice any. Karel’s also been after me to slow down my speaking which I’m beginning to get the hang of. The issue is, the more excited I am about something, the faster I speak. It’s something we all tend to do. I’ve found taking a breath before answering has helped a lot.

Any chance an author gets to be interviewed for a wide audience is an opportunity you simply cannot waste, and a little time spent preparing can make even a bad interview work for you. Have some good stories available. Practise telling them. Record it to see what you sound like. Be critical and then try again.

Mary Ito, a real professional, made this interview easy and I found I enjoyed myself a lot. The best payoff is that I did a signing at a bookstore in a suburb west of Toronto a few hours later, and there were actually people who came in to meet me and buy copies of The Fallen One. That happens so seldom that it made my entire week.

The key to giving a good interview is just like everything else: preparation. Somehow we too often forget that truism.

1 comment:

Charlotte Hinger said...

Rick, you keep reminding me that I must get ready for an event next weekend. I'll be going back to Kansas. And my presentation needs spiffing up.