So, I did my first live radio interview about The Transatlantic Marriage Bureau with my local radio station, BBC Radio Bristol. I was really nervous beforehand as, although I obviously know all about the book, radio is one of those mediums where you can’t predict what you are going to be asked. I had sent the presenter a copy of the book a couple of weeks prior to the interview date and then emailed to ask if there was anything particular he wanted me to do to prepare, but was told that it would be a straightforward chat, so no need for any extra special preparation. Fair enough but it didn’t help my nerves…
On the morning of the interview, which was at lunchtime, I just decided to keep myself as busy as possible, which turned out to be a good strategy. For me, the more I focus on something the more nervous I get, so making sure I had a huge list of work to get through helped to pass the time. When I arrived, the producer of the programme put me at ease and explained that I would be interviewed for around twenty minutes or so, much longer than I expected.
I met the presenter briefly a few minutes before my slot and then I was on! I was given a curveball straightaway, as knowing that I was raised in Coventry, the presenter asked me about the city’s history with ska music, which I know absolutely nothing about! A bit before my time! But after that bump in the road, it was surprisingly easy to just relax and treat the interview like a chat with a friend. We covered a lot about my background, career so far and the book of course, and surprisingly having a longer interview slot really did help in getting me into the conversation more. When it was over I felt reasonably pleased with the whole experience. I’m sure I wasn’t the perfect radio guest, but I don’t think I was the worst either and it was very good practice.
So, here are my top tips for any other authors about to embark on their first radio interview:
- Make sure you or your publisher send the book to the presenter/interviewer a couple of weeks in advance of the interview.
- Contact the programme a few days before to ask if you should prepare anything in particular. Do they have a list of questions they will ask?
- Ensure the presenter has a bio of you to refer to – it can help spark off conversation.
- Try and relax when you get in the room and treat the interview like you are just talking to a friend about your work.
- Take a bottle of water with you, just in case your voice goes mid-sentence.
- Enjoy it!