On the Air, Live and Alive

It’s been an adventurous weekend, beginning with my first-ever live radio appearance. Now, I’ve done a couple of radio interviews before, but they were always pre-recorded, with all the assurances that any obscenities or demented faux pas would be edited out. At least, in theory. However, this was live, which meant that, as far I knew, there would be no safety nets. If I was suddenly possessed by a demon, and began spewing forth threats against everyone who walked under the sun, well, there would be no escape.

The interview was to be on my local ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) station, 666 ABC, at the uncivilised hour of 7:10AM on Saturday. Which meant that I would, inevitably, not be at my most alert. I have many sterling qualities, but being a morning person is not one of them.  And I can recognise this about myself, which is why the previous evening I spent some time thinking up possible lines to use, and also grimly contemplating the likelihood that I would forget all of my planned lines, and produce naught but several minutes of dead radio air, broken only by the incredulous chortling of the radio personality. This was my nightmare.

However, when I woke up, at the ungodly hour of 6 in the morning, none of those concerns was in my mind. I shambled from bed to shower to car, and only really assumed full consciousness when I was halfway to the radio station. When I arrived at the ABC building, the shadows were still lying long, and there were barely any cars on the roads. There were no lights illuminated in the windows, and I began to worry that I had drastically misunderstood the situation. Or possibly come to the wrong building.

I leaned on the ‘after hours’ telecom button, and eventually a member of the staff emerged from the corridors, and cheerfully ushered me in, guiding me through the darkened bowels of the building to the broadcasting room, and delivering me into the merciful hands of my host, Greg Bayliss, a man whose voice I recognised immediately. We howdied, and shook, and then he and the producer bolted off to make some toast and stretch their limbs, leaving me alone with the control room. I briefly – briefly – gave thought to cutting into the newsfeed and reading some pages from The Rook, but sanity prevailed, and I wandered around cautiously, peering at the control boards, and keeping my hands behind my back.

Eventually they returned, and failed to congratulate me for not declaring the creation of Pirate Radio Dan. Instead, they supplied me with a cup of coffee, and I sat down in front of a microphone. Although they told me I didn’t have to wear the headphones, there was no way that I wasn’t putting them on. After a few minutes’ chat, we were thrust onto the air, and I manfully resisted the urge to holler ‘Good morrrrrrning, Canberra!’

Instead, we talked about the book, and last week’s literary festival in Jindabyne, and why on earth I had an American accent when I was born and raised in Canberra. I almost completely forgot that I was on the radio (apart from preventing myself from dropping any swear words into the dialogue), and had a blast. This very blog got mentioned, and I talked a bit about writing, and what I’m working on at the moment, and it went just fine.

Since the interview, a few friends have told me they heard it, and assured me that I sounded okay. (Although one work colleague let me know that I use the word ‘absolutely’ too much. So I set him on fire.)

In other news, there’s a few reviews and articles and interviews for your reviewing pleasure.

I chat with Marshal Zeringue at ‘Writers Read’ about the various outstanding books that I am currently devouring. You can read it at:

Also, The Rook is subjected to the rigors of The Pg. 69 Test, wherein the sixty-ninth page of a book is dissected, and reviewed according to the extent that it represents the book, and whether it might draw a reader in. It’s actually quite merciful, because they let the author do the testing. The diagnosis is at

Julika reviews The Rook at BookVenturer’s Musings at

And although yesterday’s radio interview is not yet available, you can hear a podcast of me talking to 4ZZZ’s Bookclub on the 29th of March. I have reviewed it, and I don’t think I say ‘absolutely’ that much. There’s quite a few ‘uh’s’ though. You can hear my gravelly tones at

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Conference Calls in the Dark

So, on Friday morning I had to go into work late. This was because I had to be in my house at 9:00 am to take part in an international conference call, which is a much more dignified reason than accidentally sleeping through my alarm. The call consisted of me (in Canberra) and my agent and editor and some of the publicity team who would be spruiking The Rook (in New York. I mean, they’re located in New York, they won’t just be promoting the book in New York.) This conference call stands out among all my Rook-related conference calls (and there have been a few) because it took place at an hour when I was entirely awake.

When my agent started putting The Rook out in the world for various publishers to consider, I was a little startled to learn that the publishers would be interested in talking to me. After all, they were thinking about buying the book, not employing me for my speaking abilities. It’s possible they wanted to ensure I wasn’t a complete psychotic, or they wanted to check if I had an endearing Australian accent. (For the record, I don’t. Despite being born in Canberra, the combination of American parents, Sesame Street, the Ninja Turtles cartoon and six years of higher education in Michigan and Ohio have ensured that I have a solid American accent.)

In any case, there were to be conference calls, during New York City business hours. Which meant that they were during Canberra sleeping hours. I didn’t mind this at all because, well, they were publishers, and I wanted to be published. But it did mean that I took several potentially life-changing phone calls at 5AM, sitting on the floor in a darkened hallway, and striving frantically to sound erudite while wearing my t-shirt and undies, and yawning madly.

For the record, however, I was fully dressed for work in a suit when I got the call that let me know that Little, Brown & Co. were going to be publishing my book.

Anyway, the call on Friday was at a c ivilized hour in Canberra, because everyone in New York was willing to stay beyond regular business hours. Which was very considerate of them. They have some very exciting plans for promoting The Rook, and it looks as if January 11th, 2012 is going to be a pretty cool day. Oddly enough, I will be in Japan on that day, attending a friend’s wedding. But, they have internet in Japan, so I expect that I’ll be able to keep abreast of all developments.

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