Ah, yes, the march of technology …
When my very first book was published–long, long ago and far, far away–I gave newspaper and radio interviews.
Later on, when my career was marching steadily along, I gave cable TV interviews.
This week, in connection with my latest publication–THE FANTASY FICTION FORMULA–I was interviewed for a six-week series of podcasts that will appear soon on the Manchester University Press’s Web site. The time difference between Great Britain and the USA required a juggling act, but we found an hour when people on both sides of the Atlantic are simultaneously awake and functioning. It’s been a long time since I enjoyed a phone call from the U.K., and how easy that is to do these days.
Of course, I had the simple part. Just banish the dogs from the house so there would be no interruptions. Gather my thoughts. Remember to keep breathing. Hold the nerves in check. Try not to babble. It helped that George, my interviewer, was impressively prepared, asked intelligent and well-designed questions, and kept the experience serene and soothing. He was delightfully professional. I could have happily chatted with him for hours, just for the pleasure of listening to his voice.
Over the years, I’ve encountered good interviewers, lazy interviewers, and ill-prepared interviewers. The latter annoy me the most. That ill-prepared reporter out for a news feature with sloppy questions and no actual interest in whatever book I’m trying to promote, pretty much a waste of my time. In such instances I’m inclined to stiffen up, grow steely eyed, and become less than cooperative …. Which category would George fall into? Please let it be the first. Please, please, please not the last!
My imagination was more than capable of running away with me in thinking of several ways the podcasts could go wrong. Admittedly I felt apprehensive about talking with someone thousands of miles away, whom I couldn’t see, and might not relate to.
Fortunately, George belongs to category 1. He has the most beautiful speaking voice. He knows his job. He set me at ease, and I felt comfortable from the start. That’s the way I remember the publishing industry from the “good old days,” when I first began my career. Back then, publishers were independent companies, not penned up in the holdings of enormous corporate conglomerates. Back then, publishers had extensive staff–including separate editors for separate tasks and well-trained, innovative promotional people. This week, I felt as though a door had opened into another universe, where publishing is still a part of civilization and there is time for courtesy, professionalism, and dignity.
Well done, George! I can’t wait to hear the final version once the podcasts are live.
And as soon as I know when the first one is up, I’ll pass along that information–and the link–to all of you.
Now, if only I could speak as beautifully as George.