When the executive producer of Daytime TV at NBC affiliate WFLA-TV in Tampa invited me to do a segment on my book, I jumped at the chance.
The syndicated show airs in 140 markets and I thought my gift book, “Sweet Beams: Inspiring everyone who lives under a new roof,” might benefit from the exposure.
Like any good reporter, though, I needed more information. I emailed inquiries about my hair and makeup (“Do your own and come camera-ready”) and my wardrobe (“Slacks are fine, since we don’t know which set we’ll be using: stools or upholstered chairs” ) and finally, my interview questions (“Oh, you know – stuff like why did you write a book about beams?”)
It was clear the producer hadn’t read it and my anxiety level started to rise. Had I been asked such a question on air, I would’ve blurted out, “Why, it’s not about beams at all.”
A very bad start to a televised interview, indeed.
The morning that I arrived at the studios, I still was anxious. I interview people for a living, which makes it extremely difficult for me to sit in a chair, ANSWERING questions instead of ASKING them (particularly when I had no idea what might be asked.)
I prefer to go to interviews PREPARED – no matter which side of the notebook I’m sitting on.
A security guard walked me to the “Green Room” where a bowl of snacks, a coffee pot and water cooler waited. But my stomach churned like a Maytag washer , so I skipped the food and settled on a couch. By the time I walked onto the set, my hands were visibly shaking . (I‘m fairly certain that if the doctor filming the segment before me had taken my blood pressure, an ambulance would’ve been called.)
I clenched a copy of the book in my lap like a security blanket and figured, if the questions were horribly bad, I could simply read an excerpt from it to fill air time.
Yet, when hosts Cyndi Edwards and Jerry Penacoli sat in the upholstered chairs next to mine, they quoted me…my words.
“You actually read it?” I asked, incredulously.
I was delighted.
Questions were asked and I answered them – though I have no memory of what I said. The beauty of WRITING a sentence is the ability to rewrite it, to polish the thought , until it sounds exactly the way you want it to. Unrehearsed speech is very, very different and utterly terrifying – kind of like being shot out of a cannon and waiting to land in a safety net.
Miraculously, the four-minute segment ended and I hoped the microphone attached to my sweater hadn’t picked up the pounding in my chest. Cyndi gave me a hug and Jerry asked me to autograph his copy of my book. By the time I reached the parking lot, my breathing had returned to normal.
I’m looking forward to watching the interview when it airs…alone. I hope viewers enjoy it. ( I hope I do, too!)
“Sweet Beams: Inspiring everyone who lives under a new roof!” is available on amazon.com