I pulled into the television station parking lot, sweating like you would not believe. Half of it was from the insane heat and humidity today (who would have figured?), and the other half was from the nervous anticipation I felt at being on the news, even for a mere 3-4 minutes. I was on television before, by the way, way back in the early 90s, on the Disney Channel, no less, but that is as far removed from me now as Justin Timberlake is far removed from N*Sync. This was real, and substantive, and I was literally freaked out. I even had to take a moment to myself in the lobby before speaking with someone to guide me back to the waiting area, which turned out to be a nicely appointed conference room.
My heart had finally stopped beating out of time after a minute of sitting in that calming environment. Plus, I ran into an actual veteran of NewsTalk (the segment I was to be on) who was already sitting in the room, and she told me how hospitable everything and everyone was, that I would just relax even when I was on camera, and I chose to believe her. When my turn came and I was led into the studio by the lead anchor of the five o’clock news hour, I was struck initially by how tall he was in real life. Those are things I guess I don’t think about when I usually see him sitting down behind a desk, and ironically his co-anchor noted how tall I am. Interesting what your brain remembers when you’re still awestruck by the whole experience.
I sat in the chair and a small microphone was clipped to my shirt while I watched the broadcast up close and personal, sitting right next to one of the reporters while she was live on the news, but no one would have known it as the camera was zoomed in on her. I hadn’t thought about the logistics of the studio, how close everything was, even though on the TV screen it looks so large, so vast and otherworldly. But the room itself was probably the size of the downstairs area of my house, which isn’t so big at all. They maneuvered well around it though, like dancers in a ballroom, trading partners and doing the do-si-do. I was merely content to be a fly on their wall for those few moments.
Then, before I could really take a breath, it was so close to my time. When the news anchor sat down beside me and began chatting during the commercial directly ahead of my segment, I just tried to forget about the cameras. He told me to just look at him and keep my tone conversational, so that was foremost in my mind. Then he said, “I think we’re on in fifteen,” and I cleared my throat. It wouldn’t be cool at all if I came across squeaky in my first televised interview for my debut novel. Almost before I could take another breath, the fifteen minutes was up and so was I.
The interview went by in a blur. I don’t even remember all of the answers I came up with. I barely remember half of the questions. I just recall talking about my book signing to come in July, and about my motivation for writing the book, and then it was done, I was thanking them for their time, and I was back in my car thanking my lucky stars that I hadn’t fainted.
But, you know what? I liked it. I’m excited for the next one.