By the time you read this, I'll have just finished up a live radio interview
on the Brian Lehrer show, on New York's public radio station, WNYC. I've never done any sort of live radio before, and I'm not entirely confident in my ability to be engaging and articulate on the fly. I trust myself when it comes to my writing, even though of course there are probably more misses than hits. But at least I feel like I sort of know what I'm doing and have some amount of talent for it. I don't trust my talking as much. I imagine part of the secret (well, not really a secret) is making sure to take time to formulate an answer and think about what you want to say, even if it means taking a deep breath and not plunging right in.
I taped a podcast interview last week that hasn't gone up yet, and the questioner asked me to describe the handful of main characters in my book. Should have been a slam-dunk, softball question, but I actually hadn't been asked it before, and besides the one main guy, Anonymous Lawyer, I don't have any soundbites on the tip of my tongue for the rest of them. So I fumbled around ? "Anonymous Wife is the archetype of the kinds of wives that powerful lawyers might have, and he acts like he doesn't love her, but deep down he does, and she probably knows that, and she's not as stupid as she sometimes seems, and…" It was rambling, it didn't make much sense, I didn't know what I was trying to say, and I'm not polished enough to fake it. I feel like not being polished enough to fake it is a characteristic that I really like, in real life. There's a genuineness about it. I like people who don't sound like they're reading from a set of talking points that they decided they wanted to communicate, and who never get beneath the surface. But I'm not sure that translates terribly well to a radio interview.
Part of my concern about the live radio thing is that I have a slight stutter when I'm not entirely comfortable, or having to introduce myself, talk to a stranger on the phone, things like that. It's probably noticeable to a small degree in regular conversation ? some friends have said it's not, and they didn't realize it, but I'm not sure I totally buy it. In any case I'm sure it's much more noticeable to me, in my own head, than to whoever I'm talking to, and once I'm comfortable with someone, it fades into the background pretty quickly. But in an interview setting, it's kind of up for grabs. I've had a bunch of phone interviews about the book, with newspapers and magazines. When I've been able to establish a rapport pretty quickly, when I've felt comfortable with the person, it's been fine, and I've actually been pretty pleased with how I've done. But there have been a few where for whatever reason I couldn't find that comfort level, and was struggling with it the entire time. I haven't yet figured out how to make them all go as well as the ones that do, so the radio thing is kind of an experiment. And, worst case scenario, it doesn't sell any books, and that's not such a worst case scenario. No one will stone me. Maybe my publisher. We'll see.
Before I exit for the week, I wanted to make sure to thank Powell's for giving me the opportunity to blog over here, and I guess point a link over to my personal blog, which has more of this kind of stuff. I meant to devote one post to the act of turning blog into novel, which was a fairly new and interesting challenge I had to figure out while writing. I didn't get a chance to touch on that this week, but I wrote a 2,000-word piece about it that I posted over here. So if you're interested…
In any case, thanks for reading. This was fun.