It all started with a message from a contact on Linkedin: Would I be interested in doing a radio interview?
There followed an exchange of e-mails, followed by Hanukkah, then Christmas. More e-mails. Some phone calls. At last, about 6 weeks after that initial query, I headed off yesterday to Drogheda to meet that charming guru of the airwaves, Gerry Kelly.
It was one of those fluid days with no snarls, no anxieties. Buses were on time, people were helpful, and everything flowed.
While I was having lunch I got an e-mail from my initial contact, Laura. “Have fun,” she said. Good advice, I thought. After I’d eaten I took a taxi to the radio station. As I climbed out of the car the driver said, “Have fun.”
It was a sign.
For a long time I was a corporate trainer so I don’t get nervous facing a crowd. Frankly, it’s much easier to do a radio interview and forget that you have hundreds of people listening. Well, so you hope.
I already knew what I wanted to talk about: How I first encountered Sherlock Holmes; the challenges in researching the late 19th century; what I hoped to achieve in writing “A Biased Judgement”, and I had an anecdote or two at hand. In other words, I did my homework.
My wait was only a few minutes then Gerry Kelly came and brought me into the studio. He explained the process, showed me what my relative distance from the mic ought to be, and ran through the subjects we’d be discussing. Then we were off!
Have you read Roddy Doyle’s “The Commitments”? If so, you’ll remember how Jimmy Rabbitt practiced his interviews for when he was famous. Well, it was a bit like that only in real life. And not with Terry Wogan.
Gerry did his homework and asked exactly the sort of questions I hoped he would: When did I first start reading Sherlock Holmes? Was it much of a challenge doing the research? How did it feel when I finally got the book accepted for publication…? Because he’s so engaging and was so enthusiastic about “A Biased Judgement” it was easy to match his energy.
I love my work and I hope I managed to convey that in my answers. The feedback from friends and family who listened suggests I did. “You sounded enthusiastic and knowledgeable” said one. My daughter said her partner’s family listened and told her it was the best interview they’ve heard in a very long time.
Gerry offered a copy of my book as a prize and the switchboard lit up: “They all want the book,” he said, grinning.
We had around half-an-hour and then it was all over. It was easy to take the advice and have fun. Gerry was very enthusiastic about the book and, frankly, made me feel like “A Biased Judgement” is the greatest novel since “Ulysses”.
“I hope you’ll come back again,” he said as he walked me to the door.
I can’t wait.
Many thanks to Laura Walsh at LMFM.ie for arranging the interview. I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.
The radio station’s website has this description of yesterday’s show: