Friday, June 13, 2014

America Calling: Radio Ga Ga in the USA

We are thrilled to welcome, author Hazel Gaynor who tells us of her experiences with American radio.

 It’s 8.20pm on 14th April. My phone rings. My heart starts to race. I’ve been waiting for the call all day - my first live radio interview, with a station in Seattle. Ten minutes later, it is all over and a bit of a blur. I think I sounded reasonably sane. I managed not to swear. The kids didn’t interrupt me. One down, nineteen to go.

Two weeks earlier, my debut novel THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME – A Novel of the Titanic had been published in America. Full book-promo mode kicked in: guest posts, interviews, reviews, giveaways and, most unexpectedly, a U.S. radio tour, came my way.
It started with an email from my publicist: ‘Would you be up for a radio tour to promote the book?’ Would I what?! I expected a slot on one or two shows. It turned out to be twenty shows, spanning the entire U.S of A. Gulp!
Most of the interviews were scheduled for 15th April to coincide with the 102nd anniversary of the sinking of Titanic. Most were live on air. Some were pre-recorded. I chatted to energetic morning show hosts (like the alarmingly-named, but ever-so-lovely, Bulldog) and had more serious conversations with hosts like Cindy Wolfe Boynton at Literary New England. I spoke about my characters, Titanic, research, the writing process and my cat. I even managed to get in a song request for my children.
Promoting my debut novel live on air was a strange and wonderful experience. Now that I’ve had chance to reflect, here’s a little of what I’ve learnt …
1) The phone will work. It won’t inexplicably break, just because you’re expecting important calls from America. You don’t need to keep checking the dial tone (although, of course, you will).
2) No matter how quiet you ask the kids to be while they play Hobbits downstairs, real life carries on outside. The ice cream van will blare out ‘Pop goes the Weasel’, the neighbour will cut his grass and someone will call the fire brigade. All you can do is cringe, close the window and hope America can’t hear.
3) At least once, you’ll forget the question. Good idea to scribble them down as they are asked in case you go off on a tangent, or have a ‘Hobbit’ unexpectedly appear and distract you.
4) Listen to live streaming before you go on air. Every show is different. While you are prepared to talk knowledgeably about Titanic and your novel, you may find the host wants to chat about gin, Jägermeister and your cat. Really – they might.
5) Stand up when you’re talking and walk around. Someone once advised me to do this when I worked in an office and had a difficult phone call to make. It works.

6) Give the title of your book – preferably several times. Saying ‘my novel’ won’t help people identify it when they go to buy it.
7) Don’t be put off by the sixteen members of your family you’ve invited round for Good Friday lunch (yes, it really happened). They’ll threaten to start heckling after they’ve drunk all your Prosecco, but you must remain professional at all times – i.e. retreat to the attic and ignore them.
8) Keep an eye on the time, or set a stopwatch. Ten minutes passes very quickly. Make your point and don’t overrun. The stations work to tight schedules (and you have guests to feed, remember).
9) Keep a note of the host’s name. You don’t want to thank Tom when you are now talking to Bonnie. This is easily done when you have back-to-back segments and a ‘Hobbit’ hiding under the desk.
10) Have an extra bottle of Prosecco in the fridge for when it is all over and you can collapse in a deck chair in the garden.
If you’d like to hear the interviews, visit my website where I’ve posted a selection of podcasts. I’m also thrilled to be speaking at the 2014 RNA Summer Conference on ‘Romance and Disaster: Love and the Titanic’ and look forward to meeting lots of you there!

Hazel x

About Hazel:
Hazel Gaynor is a novelist and freelance writer. Her debut novel THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME – A Novel of the Titanic was published by William Morrow (HarperCollins) in the U.S, UK and Ireland in April 2014. Hazel is also a guest blogger and features writer for  Originally from Yorkshire, she now lives in Ireland with her husband, two children and an accident-prone cat. 

Twitter: @HazelGaynor

Amazon page: The Girl Who Came Home

Thank you Hazel

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