The Bookshelf interview on UCTV-3

Posted on August 11, 2009 (Subscribe to Blog)

Today I actually went on LIVE television for a half-hour interview at the local UCTV-3 studio in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. I knew beforehand that it would be a cozy affair, with no audience present but possibly viewers calling in. It was actually a lot more cozy than I thought possible – a large room with several different sets for similar interview shows, and three cameras set up with cables and wires trailing off into a room beyond.

I thought it was odd that no-one manned the cameras. There were two interviewers, Wendy and Tim, and I half expected one of them to get up and switch on the cameras when we were ready to roll. But just before 12pm, a tinny voice came through a speaker and said "Are we about ready? Live in two minutes..."

So that made me squirm a bit.

The desk at which Wendy and Tim sat had a large green backdrop. If I hadn't seen an example of the show already, I might have wondered what kind of scenery the tech guys were going to superimpose. How about a zoo? That would have been funny. Imagine the hilarity of an interview being conducted from the chimpanzee house. Or on a roller coaster ride. But no, the green backdrop was replaced with a scene of a library. I know, because I could see it on the monitor.

The 12-1pm show included two authors, and the first up was Raymond Atkins, author of The Front Porch Prophet and his new book, Sorrow Wood. So I was able to sit and watch him squirm for half an hour while I waited my turn. Halfway through his interview, a huge light started flashing. It was distracting enough that Raymond paused, but the interviewers motioned for him to continue. Turns out the flashing light meant "Caller!" Tim picked up the phone, pressed some buttons, and said, "Hi, you're live on UCTV's The Bookshelf. What's your question?" Then it went dead. The caller had hung up. Either bottled out, or realized that this was NOT the number for Papa John's Pizza.

They cut to commercials at 12.30pm and I got into the hot seat. Oddly enough I wasn't nervous at all. Well, maybe a little bit. I tried not to look at the monitor when all attention focused on me. I just answered questions. I don't know how I sounded, but I do remember being surprised at how much I was able to waffle on without pause. Me, falter? Nope. String coherent sentences together? Hmm. One question was the inevitable "How does an Englishman end up in Georgia?" which I was happy to answer for all those women out there drooling over my English accent. I'm kidding!! ...although I've lost count of the times local people have commented on my accent. I often get the feeling people are listening intently to my accent but not hearing a word I'm saying. And that's okay.

I didn't get any callers. Apparently callers are rare anyway.

So that's the TV interview done. Hopefully I'll be getting a DVD of it soon, and if it's vaguely presentable I'll upload it here so you can all have a good laugh. :-)

PS – I also signed the film agent's contract this morning, so I now officially have a film agent who is (or will be) pitching my book to producers. He has one producer already interested in taking a look, but of course "interested in taking a look" is a long, long way from actual production. More on this in a few days.

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