Sunday, 20 March 2011

Talking Writer's Bottom with Jane Wenham-Jones

On Tuesday I had the pleasure of conducting a lovely interview with Jane Wenham-Jones, writer of One Glass is Never Enough, Perfect Alibis and writing guides Wannabe a Writer and Wannabe a Writer We've Heard Of.

I have carried out interviews before but, for convenience, these have always been by email meaning this was my first ever telephone interview and prior to it I was extremely nervous. My method for dealing with this was to put up post-it note prompts for how I can lead from questions, as well as post notes with 'calm, calm, calm' written on them, just incase I forgot.

Jane was lovely to talk to, very relaxed and pleasant, and this made the whole experience much easier and enjoyable. She gave thorough and insightful answers and took the courtesy to ask about my own writing.

Now, the biggest difference between an email interview and a telephone interview is the recording of it. Emails are easy, the answers are written by the interviewee and it is mainly a case of copying and pasting. With a telephone interview, unless you have a fancy recording device, it involves a lot of note-making, which is easier if you can write short-hand, which I can't. Jane was very helpful in this when she realised I was making notes and did offer to help me out via email if I struggle writing up from my notes.

I would suggest to anyone carrying out an interview via the above method to write up any notes immediately afterwards, it can be extremely difficult to read scribbled notes and once time as passed the interview will be more difficult to recall. I made a point of writing everything I could recall and had noted immediately after the interview and simply edited later.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

In The Book Show Audience

I am pleased to announce this weekend has been enjoyable and productive, and one of the key moments has been attending a filming of The Sky Arts Book Show at the Words by the Water festival in Keswick.

The festival is an annual event ran by Ways With Words. This year it has been sponsored by Sky Arts, which is good news in the growth of the festival and its publicity, and Saturday was the filming of two episodes of The Book Show featuring writers attending the Words by the Water festival.

I attended the second filming at 12.10pm featuring Chris Mullin, Salley Vickers and Manju Kapur. Based on Mariella Frostup's comments this was the plan of most attendees and the morning filming was much quieter. It would seem we are late-risers here in Cumbria, Mariella's hotel couldn't even provide her with a 6.30am wake-up call.

I have never been at a television filming before so it was fascinating watching the switch between different cameras and participating in prompted clapping. One thing I did however find strange, was attending an event where the presenter speaks to a camera rather than the audience.

The first guest was Salley Vickers who spoke about her latest book Aphrodite's Hat and who's earlier book Miss Garnet's Angel has sold over 350,000 copies. Salley gave insight into where the idea from Aphrodite's Hat came from and how she rebelled from her upbringing. Manju Kapur's ideas also come from her upbringing and are heavily influenced by her Indian heritage. Her latest book Custody centres on a couple as there relationship falls apart and a custody battle ensues.

The final guest was former MP Chris Mullin, who added humour to the line-up and spoke about the frequent departmental changes under the Labour government, the problems in Libya and the political memoirs of other MPs.

Attending the filming, as is often the case when I see other such events, has also given me a sense of inspiration and enthusiasm. I'm also looking forward to seeing the airing of The Book Show and trying to spot myself in the audience.

The Book Show is on Sky Arts 1 Thursdays at 7pm.