I've just come back from doing a taped segment for Morning Edition
on NPR. It was fun to talk to Linda Wertheimer, whose voice I have been listening to for years, but I fear that I came off kind of dopey in the interview. She asked me a lot of questions about why all my characters are so horrid (sigh) and at no point did I ever really come up with a cogent riposte.Â When will I ever get good at this promotion stuff?Â Earlier in this tour, a guy at a local radio station offered to give me some tips on how to be a good interviewee. I gladly accepted the offer, but sadly, most of what he had to say was not very helpful. It was all along the lines of "try to be really interesting" Â and "act charming." Â Like, who knew?
Other writers I know are brilliant at talking about their books. They don't get nervous. They don't forget the names of their protagonists. They speak in gorgeous, Augustan paragraphs without breaking a sweat. I've been doing this a while now and I'm still crap at it. Confronted with a microphone, I immediately go into one of two modes: pompous and angry or giggly and confused. Either way, every sentence I utter is salted with about 20 Uhs and Ums. In print interviews, you know that most of the real dreck is going to be edited out. Radio interviews, especially the live ones, are much worse. And TV appearances ? which, God knows, are rare ? present the ultimate horror. This afternoon, I'm due to go on the Tavis Smiley show. Not only will I be fretting over how inarticulate I am and how creepy my voice sounds, but I'll also no doubt be freaking about the weird, bouffant hair-do they gave me in the make-up room. Â I think I'm going to suggest that they let me use a prompter. If Obama's allowed, why not me?Â
Last night, in L.A., I went out for dinner with friends. In the course of the evening, I spotted all sorts of famous people, includingÂ Anne Hathaway and Tatum O'Neal and a guy from a TV show, whose name I don't recall. This wasÂ all very exciting for a quiet girl from the sticks, but my favourite part of the night occurred when I went to the restaurant bathroom. The cubicle door was locked when I went in, so I waited. Five minutes passed and then, fearing that I was about to pee myself, I called out anxiously, "Is anyone in there?"
"Yeah," the occupant called back, "I'm just texting.Â I'll be out in a minute." Texting on the toilet? Now that's decadence.