I have had the privilege of being interviewed about my book and about my writing many times.
Each experience has been unforgettable . . . to me, perhaps, but not to the interviewer who interviews many others far more interesting. My face has no doubt blurred to them . . . Except, perhaps to one interviewer – Kelly on KNWA’s Morning Show. She will no doubt remember me for a long time. Not because my 2 cents’ worth was so marvelous, but because it was not. But I had good reasons for my lack of poise.
It started when I arrived at the studio. I had preconceived ideas of what a tv studio would be like. Suffice it to say, I did not expect flip-flops, an abundance of bed hair, and a studio the size of 2 Wal-mart bathrooms side-by-side. That is counting the sound booth AND the entry. The abundance of bed hair, however, can be easily explained by the ungodly hour of their first telecast. I cannot explain the flip-flops.
The only person that looked old enough to drive was the lone camera-man. He looked like the cool biker uncle that all teenagers want. He did his job with a weary, silent air that I knew right away could NOT have been a hangover – he was too good at his job.
And then there were the news anchors, Tom, Jason (the weatherman), and Kelly. They were so beautiful and so perfectly groomed, by contrast I felt like I’d spent my last year cradling a Jim Beam bottle and sleeping under the Highway 62 overpass.
Then it was time to ‘mic up’. I had 60 seconds.
No one had told me beforehand that I was going to have to run the wire UNDER my shirt. I wore a turtle-neck. After five frustrated attempts to ‘mic up’ in a modest manner, I gave in to panic, hearing the seconds ticking away in my head, and was forced to lift my shirt and JUST DO IT! . . . In front of 8 people. I had plenty of time to count the onlookers while my shirt was raised. I think the sound guy was trying not to cry.
I get into position, sitting on my high stool behind my extremely wee bistro table.
Here is a word to KNWA . . . Do NOT place the decidedly non-anorexic people there. When your show airs, your guest will look like Buddha on a stick. There is no amount of poise that can distract viewers from the drama of that startling spectacle.
As I perch, I have only 15 seconds to tell Kelly how to pronounce my name. I do. Then, 10 seconds before going on live, she fixes me with those lush eyes of hers and says, “Just how do YOU know Alex Flippin?”
My mind, at that point, has to travel a long way to fix on KNWA’ s senior reporter, Alex Flippin, the one who set me up with the interview. “Uh . . . my husband . . .”
“Oh,” she says, then looks down at the book in her hand as if she was seeing it for the first time. Her beautifully arched brows draw together in confusion. “Is this a children’s book?”
“No, it’s not. It’s a . . . ”
“Today, in the studio, we have Thea Phipps, author of ‘Charades with a Lunatic’. Good morning.”
I mumble ‘good morning’, trying not to squint into the klieg lights. I feel my eyes tear up from pain. I am sweating like a bull now, from those mini-suns, and I spare a valuable second wondering if my mic will short. Will it stop my heart on live tv? Or will it merely burn the hair off my chin?
Kelly smiles brightly, stunning and utterly poised, and asks her first two questions back to back.
I begin my spiel. I am fine into the first two sentences. Then I catch sight of Kelly’s face. It is obvious from the get-go that she has interviewed far more interesting people than me. I pause, go utterly blank, and wonder what she is looking at. It isn’t me. It is something past my left ear. I resist the urge to turn around. I gather my thoughts and forge ahead. Once again, I glance at Kelly and lose my thoughts. After it happens a third time, Kelly is giving me a warning look from her perfect eyes. I’m not sure what she was warning me about, except that I knew it had to do with my lack of sentence structure and her desire to not be the one to interview me. It didn’t help that I chose to say the word ‘bequeath’ two times – a word that I find extremely silly. Each time I said it, I wanted to snort. I was finally forced to stare at the exit door instead of at Kelly while I rambled, and the show’s producer was forced to go to a close -up of my face in order to hide my maneuver from the more alert viewer.
Finally it was over. I went 2 minutes over my allotted time. The camera turned to Tom, who made a pleasantly joking remark to cover the fiasco – bless him – and then we went to commercial. I had 60 seconds to ‘de-mic’ and hand it off to the next guest. I unclipped the mic from my collar and tried to draw it down through my shirt by yanking on the wire. It hung up on my chest, flipped around, and pointed at Tom, who was thanking me for being on their show. The woman who was waiting to ‘mic-up’ for her guest spot was standing patiently beside me, waiting, quickly running out of time to get into her spot on the Buddha-stool. I sighed, yanked my shirt up to my chin, plucked the mic free from it’s confines, and handed it to her, resisting the urge to say, ‘You might want to wipe that off first.’
Then I exited the building in search of a frozen mocha and a pastry.
Just yesterday, I was told that they would like me back for another interview . . . to talk about my second book, ‘The Doll In The Wall’. . .
Mmmm, a great opportunity. . . But give me a moment . . . I’ll have to consider it . . .
. . . I’m thinking . . . I’m thinking . . .
!!! ATTENTION !!! Don’t forget to register for a chance to win a signed copy of “The Doll In The Wall’ – the second in the Bella Wildeve humorous mystery series. The drawing will be held November 7th. The 3 winners will be chosen from the names of those registered on my Web site, either to leave a comment in the Community Forums, or to comment on a blog. To register on the Community Forums, just check the right side of my Web page. Just click on the appropriate site and follow the directions. To comment on a blog, just click on the blue circle at the end of the blog you want to comment on. Just follow the instructions that pop up. It’s easy.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you!