I had two radio interviews today. One was good. The other was bad. One was in a studio. The other was from home on the telephone.

The bad interview was like speed dating. That was the one in the studio. Not that I’ve been speed dating mind you, but the premise is the same – in 5 minutes you have to make yourself sound as attractive as possible. In my case it was spruiking my latest novel Little Paradise. I had brought notes, an old photograph and my mum’s sketch book with me. I thought it might spark off interesting conversation. But we didn’t have a conversation. There were two questions which I answered adequately and then the interviewer was summing up and saying ‘thank you, Gabrielle, and now it’s time for the news’ leaving me with my mouth gaping. The interviewer had not read my book because he called it a biography, which it certainly is not. I remember protesting about that fact as I was lead out of the studio like a prisoner who had been wrongly accused.

This kind of interview is normal. But next time I will be prepared. I will have three main points that I want to get across. That’s my plan, anyway.

Ah, experience! How I love thee.

In contrast, in the afternoon I was interviewed at home by telephone. The interviewer, Richard Baillie from Radio 2MCE had done his homework. He asked interesting questions. I didn’t feel rushed. He even asked me to read a paragraph that he had selected from the book which he played at the very beginning of the interview as an introduction. He also interspersed the conversation with reminders to the audience who he was speaking to, and mentioned Little Paradise at least three times. That interview had a beginning, middle and an end. I thought it went very well.

I have five more interviews to go. I’ll be a pro when I’m done, I guess.

Life as an author is never dull and I wouldn’t swap it for all the tea in China. Everyday there are big challenges to face and little humiliations to overcome. And sometimes there comes along a tiny triumph which makes it all worth while.


  1. Gabrielle, I feel for you! There’s nothing quite like feeling like a dill after an interview and knowing your message didn’t get through; the interviewer didn’t have a clue who you were and/or got the information all wrong. Glad the second one was brilliant!

    Having three main points is the key – something I failed to do in both a radio and TV interview during the Parallel Import debate. There I was trying, ernestly, to explain the debate. Not the way to go apparently.

    Oh, well, as you point out, Gabrielle, live and learn!

  2. I’m phoning you today for an interview and am now hoping that I fall closer to your second interview experience than the first. I really enjoyed reading Little Paradise, so I guess that’s a good start.

  3. Oh – Gabrielle! I’ve heard a number of stories about interviewers like that. Euan Mitchell tells a funny one about an experience he had on radio with an interviewer notorious for never reading the books and depending on notes prepared by someone else. In Euan’s interview he dropped the notes and couldn’t get them in order again!

    So glad you had the other interview to offset the first!

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