Tag Archives: radio

What do I say on the radio?

HeadphonesI love ‘doing radio’.

When I first began to get published I felt that ‘doing radio’ was something other people did. It was a genuine shock when I received a request to be interviewed by BBC local radio. Until then, I had taken part in one radio interview, conducted over the phone, and I think the reason that it went so well was that I didn’t realise I was being interviewed. I thought the journalist was just chatting with me and would get on to the scary stuff later. So I learned early that if I treat radio interviews as a nice chat, they’ll generally go pretty well.

The technique has served me well and now I’m a regular guest on chat programmes on both BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and BBC Radio Northampton.

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire has an afternoon slot on The Sue Dougan Show called In the Chat Room, where Sue invites people in to talk about a couple of topical subjects. It can be anything from finding the money to send a child to university to what you think about while doing the ironing. There’s usually another ‘Chat Roomer’ in the studio and so I have someone to banter with.

Helen Blaby, of BBC Radio Northampton, does a twenty minute discussion of the Sunday morning papers, each week. When I’m invited to be the guest, I arrive about 9am and a lovely production assistant sits me down with all the papers and a cup of tea. I choose five news stories I have something to say about and then I’m shown in to Helen’s studio about 10.10am, tell her what the stories are, and we go on to chat about some of them live on air. To give you an example, yesterday we talked about happiness classes in the British army and social media, which was mentioned in several sections of every paper – business, commentary, social and news.

What’s in these programmes for me? They’re not actually interviews about me or my books.

Apart from the fun of chatting live on air, both presenters ask me about what’s happening to me at the moment, when the next book comes out, what workshops I’m running etc. So I reach their audience, which is about 300,000 in both cases; it’s just a touch less direct than being the subject of an interview.

I’m also often the spokesperson for the Romantic Novelists’ Association (I’m vice chair), which is usually fast and soon forgotten, but it means that I occasionally have my name mentioned on radio stations throughout the country.

Here are my top tips for ‘doing radio’:

  • Chat to the presenter as if the audience doesn’t exist
  • But remember not to swear or say anything you don’t want to be instantly broadcast
  • Keep close to the microphone (except if you laugh. Then pull back.)
  • If there are things you want to mention, jot them down on a piece of card. Try and avoid noisy paperwork.
  • Take/ask for water. You may not have coughed for ten years but the moment you go live on air, you’ll want to.
  • Turn off your phone or put it on silent or airplane mode. Or don’t take it into the studio.
  • Don’t worry that ten minutes after you thought you were going to be on air, you’re still sitting out in reception. The production team have to ensure a smooth flow and have probably built in a few minutes into the schedule so you’ll be there when they want you. Put yourself in their hands and relax. It’s their problem, not yours.
  • But build in time for travel. Better to be early and have to wait than to be late and miss your slot. I once sat outside BBC Radio Cambridgeshire in a traffic jam listening to Sue Dougan say I’d be on air in about five minutes … Not comfortable.
  • Enjoy. It’s fun.
  • NB I did have one slightly hostile interviewer at a radio station in Yorkshire. He obviously didn’t like fiction and particularly not romantic fiction. The trick, if you get a question you don’t like, is to make like a politician and instead of talking about something you don’t want to talk about, talk about something you do want to talk about. Don’t let yourself be drawn into confrontation. Don’t try and score points. See it as an opportunity to tell the listeners about your new book. The presenter isn’t the only one with control.
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Publication day!

ITL?_new packshotToday is publication day for ‘Is This Love?’

I was going to say that a publication day is like Christmas and my birthday all rolled into one – but, actually, it’s more fun.

The lovely publicists at Choc Lit have lined me up a lot of online interviews and blogposts to go live today, fantastic friends on Facebook and Twitter are sending me nice messages, and I’m on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire this afternoon, after recording a segment for Bookmark at Community 105. And I’m going out with friends this evening to celebrate. (I’ve even been able to arrange for somebody else to drive.)

Publication Day is Publication Day, even though the ebook came out a month ago and the online bookstores shipped the paperback copies last weekend. Mere details! Publication Day is the marker, the day I pause in my usual work to enjoy the moment. It’s also a good excuse for a bit of hoopla.

Happily for me, Publication Day more-or-less coincides with the Festival of Romance, which begins tomorrow, in Bedford, so I have an interview on the Nick Coffer show on BBC 3 Counties Radio at 12.30 and a booksigning at Waterstones 1.30pm till 3.00pm tomorrow (Friday 8th November). Then I can relax and watch other authors do their stuff at the ART AND ROMANCE EVENING, The Higgins Museum & Art Gallery.

Saturday is a chance to be in two places at one time as 10am to 3pm sees the ROMANCE FAIR at the Harpur Suite, Corn Exchange, but I’m appearing and reading 10.30am to 12noon at the COFFEE AND CAKE MORNING at The Lane … and 12.45pm to 3.45pm myself and Christina Courtenay are leading the IRRESISTIBLE HEROES WORKSHOP at the Central Library. Other Choc Lit authors Jane Lovering and Laura James are being so kind as to sell my books at the Romance Fair. Of course, they’re busy with their own events so Jane’s partner has kindly volunteered to take over. I’m not sure if he knows this yet.

Don’t anybody expect any real work from me until Monday! Because today is Publication Day and I’m managing to make it stretch over the weekend.

Even Amazon is celebrating with me – ‘Is This Love?’ is available at a special price for Kindle users because it’s part of the 100 Kindle Books promo.

A few of the first blogposts, interviews etc:

Bookgirl of Mur-y-Castell

Female First

ARRA (Australian Romance Readers Association)

Mark West’s Strange Tales

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So how was it for you?

It’s January the 2nd and I’m back at my desk. The only sound is of the birds singing outside. Dawn’s just breaking (dawn’s pretty late in my part of the UK at this time of the year – 8am) and the sky is orange and purple. My lovely Mac computer has just been upgraded and I’m content.

Why? It’s because I don’t like Christmas.

Sorry! I know it’s not a popular point of view but I’m one of Santa’s little elves who make Christmas possible for everybody else. I shop for the presents and wrap them, I shop for the food and cook (and cook and cook) it. Even when someone else is the hostess my conscience won’t allow them to shoulder the burden alone, so I spend the day in their kitchen instead of mine!

Puppy-in-law in a chilled moment on New Year's Eve

Puppy-in-law in a chilled moment on New Year’s Eve

But I’m not completely ‘bah, humbug!’ I love to see my family and it was great that my son, his girlfriend and their puppy were able to come for three weeks ‘home town time’. I enjoyed chats with my brothers and their families, who I don’t get to see all the time. I went to see ‘The Hobbit’, which was absolutely fantastic and I enjoyed every second. I managed to squeeze in two Zumba classes and attendant cuppas with my gym bunny buddies, I found two days where I snatched a few hours to write, I had a day where I refused to cook and sat by the fire reading whilst the rain poured down outside. I enjoyed the several Christmas lunches and dinners I got to earlier in December (ie cooked by restaurant personnel).

I had a pretty chilled New Year and now we’ve crossed that sacred date line I am very happy to be back at my lovely Mac without having totally lost the plot (ho ho) of my book thanks to those two days I managed to write. I’ll be back at yoga at lunchtime, on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire with the lovely Sue Dougan tomorrow and meeting a close protection officer for research purposes on Monday. I’m book in for Zumba on Thursday, Friday and Tuesday. Blissful sighhhhhhhhh …. I feel I’m in my own skin again.

Is it just me? Am I just a curmudgeonly moany guts? Did you all have a fantastic time and you’re sorry to get back to normal life? I really really hope so.

And I hope that 2013 is a healthy, happy and prosperous year for you. x

PS Dream a Little Dream came out in Australia yesterday. I’m a bit jealous it’s over there without me because I’ve always wanted to go. Maybe that’s how I ought to spend next Christmas …

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In conversation

Radio Interview

Had a brilliant morning, yesterday, being a guest on the Bernie Keith Show on BBC Radio Northampton. You can listen in here – move the slider up to 2:37.30

Bernie (and his gorgeous dog, Riley) made it a relaxed and fun experience and I couldn’t believe it was over so quickly. But Bernie kindly said they’d welcome me back in June when All That Mullarkey hits the shelves.

I was invited on to talk about Loves Me, Loves Me Not and was delighted that Bernie had not only read many of the stories, but had interviewed contributors such as Carole Matthews and Joanna Trollope.

The presenter makes or breaks the interview, of course, and Bernie had done his research and gave me the opportunity to mention just about everything I’m involved with, so I came away delighted. And I left him a chocolate bar and signed book – what greater gesture of esteem is there?

On-line interview

You can also read an on-line interview with me about Starting Over, here at Conversations With Writers, a great site, packed with material about authors.

Choc Lit Blog

Speaking of on-line presences, my publishers for Starting Over, Choc Lit, have begun an author blog at http://blog.choc-lit.co.uk/ and I have blogged the first post, Cover Stories. So do go along and tell us what you think.

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