In person, at a signing, on a panel, or at a conference among strangers, I’m a fairly confident speaker. But when I can’t see the interviewer and have no idea what questions will be thrown, I’m a nervous wreck. I can tell because my voice gets dry, scratchy and pitches shrill. To my ears, I sound, well – terrified.
The best interviewers take a minute to chat before going on air to make you comfortable. I love that because it usually works for me. Just a few sentences spoken in a friendly manner, off mike, is enough for my normal voice to emerge. It also gives my brain a better chance to formulate sensible answers.
My initial approach was to agonize incessantly for days before the interview. I worked myself up into a near panic hours before the event. I was dreading them like spiders – lots of spiders.
I had two courses of action. 1) Call my publicist and cancel all radio interviews or 2) figure out how to enjoy it. As much as I would have liked to take option one, causing my introvert side to yell “yippee.”. I knew I needed this skill as part of my author toolkit.
So I worked on it.
First, I researched the radio station and tried to get an image of the host. When I found one, I printed it out and taped it up on the wall across from my desk at the same height as if we were holding a meeting. Then, I made a list of questions that I might be asked and wrote them on an index card in bold black magic marker. In red, I wrote out an answer. Then, I placed them face up on the surface of my desk.
That worked! I aced the very next interview. Knowing that the probability was high that I would be asked one of those common questions early in the interview and that I had an answer ready was calming. I relaxed and that showed clearly in my voice.
I wasn’t’ exactly enjoying them now, but I wasn’t in a panic, either. I even laughed once – on air!
That was the real lesson. The best radio interviews are a give and take conversation. If you’re stiff, it will sound forced and awkward. If you’re relaxed, everyone will have fun.
Now that I’ve done more than a dozen, I no longer need the index cards, but I spread them out on my desk anyway. Hey! You can’t really have too much support and routine is the enemy of panic. Even now, I can’t say that live radio spots are my favorite type of promotion, but I’m glad they’re a large part of my author toolkit.
About Shards of Murder:
When a glass-making competition turns deadly, glass shop owner Savannah Webb must search for a window into a criminal’s mind…
As the new proprietor of Webb’s Glass Shop, Savannah has been appointed to fill her late father’s shoes as a judge for the Spinnaker Arts Festival, held in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. With her innovative glass works, the clear winner is Megan Loyola, a student of Savannah’s former mentor.
But when Megan doesn’t show up to accept her $25,000 award, rumors start flying. And when Savannah discovers the woman’s dead body on festival grounds, the police immediately suspect her of murder. To keep from appearing before a judge herself, Savannah sorts through the broken pieces of glass scattered around the victim for clues as to who took this killer competition too far. . .
Meet the author:
Cheryl Hollon writes full time after she left an engineering career designing and building military flight simulators in amazing countries such as England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan and India. Fulfilling the dream of a lifetime, she combines her love of writing with a passion for creating glass art. In the small glass studio behind the house, Cheryl and her husband George design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass and painted glass artworks.
You can visit Cheryl and her books at