In common with other authors, I often receive invitations to visit radio stations to give live interviews. Over the years I’ve visited radio studios all around the UK as far afield as Newcastle and Sussex, Manchester and Kent, Merseyside and Bristol.
In a live interview you hope to achieve a fleeting but intense chemistry between presenter and interviewee, as your words are broadcast on the airwaves to tens or sometimes hundreds of thousands of people. Meanwhile, you perch on a chair in a small room chatting with a single presenter.
Experience helps. Beyond that, in common with everything else an author does, the key to a good interview lies in the preparation. One sneaky advantage of radio interviews is that your audience can’t see you glancing at notes. You can scribble a few points on the back of an envelope – not that I would ever do such a thing, of course! – without anyone knowing.
Yet however much preparation you do in advance you need to be able to think on your feet, because there are always unexpected questions. In a live interview, you can’t afford to get flummoxed.
Most of the presenters I’ve met have been enthusiastic readers of the crime genre, but even with presenters who don’t read crime novels, the genre is so fascinating that there is always plenty to talk about. Apart from your own experience of writing, there are areas like research, plotting, character, the appeal of the genre, morality, violence... the list goes on. In fact, it’s very easy to become so involved in a discussion, you lose sight of your reason for giving the interview in the first place. This could be promoting a new book, or an upcoming event. It’s important to retain a good balance between following your predetermined agenda and simply enjoying the discussion.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of my interviews so far. It’s always slightly disappointing when the half hour or so comes to an end. So if any radio presenter chances to read this, please feel free to contact me on http://leighrussell.co.uk I’d love to join you for a chat!
STOP DEAD, the fifth in the Geraldine Steel series, is out in print this May.
COLD SACRIFICE, the first in the Ian Peterson series, is published as an ebook in June, in print September.