Live on air – talking about summer reads on BBC Wiltshire

At the end of last week I received an email from Roo Green, producer on BBC Wiltshire’s weekday afternoon radio show, asking if I would be interested in taking part in a summer reads recommendation segment the coming Monday. Anyone who follows my more personal posts, here or on social media, will know that the idea of such participation takes me way outside my comfort zone. I find it hard to think on my feet preferring the written word where I can carefully consider what I say before committing it to public scrutiny. Nevertheless, the opportunity to talk about excellent books that too often fly under readers’ radars was too good to pass over.

Never having attempted anything like this before I was unsure what to expect. I was told that I would be asked about my blog and then invited to talk about one book I would recommend to listeners. I submitted half a dozen suggestions and Their Brilliant Careers by Ryan O’Neill, published by Lightning Books, was selected. I duly wrote out the words that I wished to say as a script and practised reading it out loud. When I arrived at the studio in Swindon I was gently told it would sound obvious that I was reading and I should simply talk to the show’s host, answering his questions as in a conversation.

Back home my children were primed to record the show that I may listen to it afterwards. They also picked up this 15 second ‘coming soon’ announcement a half hour or so before. How strange it is to hear my name mentioned in this context.

In Swindon the segment got under way and I was asked about how I started book blogging, how I selected the books I read and my opinion on ereaders. James Thomas, the show’s lovely host, was doing his best to put me at ease. I managed a shout out to small publishers: Galley Beggar, Influx and Salt Publishing.

We then moved on to the discussion of the book selected – Their Brilliant Careers by Ryan O’Neill. Sadly I did not do it justice. The inspired concept and nuances of structure and presentation did not come across in the words I managed to extract from my nervous brain. Could do better would be on my report card.

To finish I was asked to mention the books I was currently reading. John Boyne’s A Ladder to the Sky was successfully recalled but I didn’t include the title of Patrick Gale’s new book – Take Nothing With You. I then got my blog address wrong (doh!). I truly struggle to think on my feet.

If you wish to listen to my performance it is here (lasts just under 9 minutes).

The plan is to run this segment on BBC Wiltshire every Monday afternoon throughout the summer with a different book featured each week. I have been invited back next Monday to discuss a non fiction book and have suggested Under the Rock by Benjamin Myers, published by Elliot & Thompson. I am delighted that my local radio is talking about books. Wish me luck in rising to the challenge and learning to enjoy the experience.

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6 comments on “Live on air – talking about summer reads on BBC Wiltshire

  1. How exciting! I was asked yesterday to be on TalkRadio to give my views on computers writing Shakespearean Sonnets – and then they didn’t do the feature! It might be on later this week but I don’t know if I’m available…

  2. BookerTalk says:

    I’ve spent a large part of my life advising people how to talk to the media. The reactions n from first timers is usually along the lines that they didn’t get time to say what they really wa ted to say or that they forget key points. So rest assured you are not alone in finding the radio show a challenge. Even captains pf industry struggle. Your piece sounded good to me. it’s a skill and like any other skill yiu improve with practice.

    • Jackie Law says:

      Thank you for that encouragement. The hosts have been lovely and I’m a lot less nervous now I know what to expect. Of course, I still don’t manage to raise all the points prepared 🙂

      • BookerTalk says:

        You won’t raise all the points. Normal advice is to decide on between 3 and 5 “key messages” – people won’t remember any more than that anyway

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