This writing business is a constant learning curve, and I’m not talking about character development, plot, setting, editing, or even writing motivation, I’m talking about all the skills you need to acquire along the way. And one of them for me last week, was being interviewed on television.
As Red Ribbons has been nominated for the Ireland AM Best Crime Novel of the Year 2012, last Wednesday, I was asked onto the set of Ireland AM to be interviewed by Aidan Cooney. Being new to all this, I thought I’d share something of the whole experience with you. So first things first!
Be calm, be relaxed – was the first bit of advice I was given. Easier said than done you might think, which was the way I felt last week, but then I remembered something. I remembered the first time I read in public, and how nervous I was, and how I made a complete mess of it. So I gave myself a good talking to. I refused to think about the fact that this might be the only television interview I would ever do, I refused to think about what a huge thing this was for me to be inside the media box, I refused to think about how much I love Ireland AM, and how I never thought I would get this opportunity, because if I hadn’t I would have been a nervous wreck and no use to anyone. So even though it was difficult, I put the whole concept into the back of my mind, and got on with the job in hand, telling people about me, and Red Ribbons, remaining as calm as I could be, and simply being myself.
Be prepared, was the next piece of solid advice. – Comparing it to an exam is a little extreme, but you pretty well know if you feel prepared, you are probably going to feel more confident. Now you might say, ‘well you’re the writer, why wouldn’t you know about your own novel?’ Which is very true, but it’s not simply a question of knowing your novel, it’s honing in on aspects which you feel are important, and getting the information formalised in your mind in a clear and concise manner. I spent a number of hours on this the night before, preparing mentally my answers to a zillion questions, far more questions than there would have been time to answer, but it did mean that when I arrived on set, I felt comfortable that I could do the job to the best of my ability.
Also, always good to check directions, thankfully I knew where TV3 was, and I didn’t have far to drive. There was plenty of parking on arrival, which was 30 minutes before the interview was scheduled.
What to wear – easier for guys probably, or maybe we females think far too much about these things, but either way, it is a visual medium, and so it is a component to need to get right. The couch on Ireland AM is red, with patterned cushions, and the set itself has a lot going on, creating a very lively and upbeat back drop for interviews. I went with the plain, smart and simple look, bringing a little life in with a brightly patterned (skull!) scarf. A small microphone was clipped on to the lapel on my jacket, and although I had to bring the scarf to one side so as not to interfere with the sound, it all worked well.
I did my own makeup before arrival, but it got a quick check-over by the makeup department – a tiny bit more powder and some extra lip gloss, and I was well set.
Voice – I got lots of advice on this, but the general consensus was that one should talk slowly and clearly, otherwise some people might miss what you’re saying. I don’t talk slow, I talk rather fast, but I did slow down sufficiently in order that I could be heard clearly; at least I think I did.
Before the interview no one mentioned movement, but afterwards they did. I didn’t know that the slightest movement is exaggerated on television, that it’s not a good idea to be bopping about in the seat. Thankfully I sat rather still for most of the interview, although I did get a bit jumpy as the interview was wrapping up, so it’s another good point to be aware of.
Overall it was a brilliant experience, and the crew at Ireland AM really put me at my ease, and Aidan Cooney was absolutely lovely, making my first time television experience all the more enjoyable for it. I wasn’t aware of the cameras at all, as the set was so well lit, giving you the feeling that the rest of the world was someplace else, and you were simply sitting on a couch chatting to someone about a subject matter which was important to you.
You can view my adventure by clicking the image below, and if you fancy giving Red Ribbons, or any of the other nominated books a vote, you can do so by clicking HERE
Click Image to hear Interview