Saturday, June 20, 2009

Warm Mornings, Interviews and Journalism.

One of the reasons I really enjoy working from home is that I have unexpected visitors. Because I start very early, it is a welcome break when someone drops by at about ten o’clock and I can stop for coffee. On warm sunny mornings we sit out in the garden and put the world to rights.

Since I moved to Dorset I have done more telephone interviews. I hate them with a passion! You have to look someone straight in the eye for them to trust you and know that you are only going to ask questions about writing and not about murky love lives! There is the problem of ‘the pause’, too. If there is a pause, is the interviewee waiting for the next question or thinking? But, as many other journalists have told me, I can do the interview sitting in my bath robe with wet hair and no-one is any the wiser!

It was almost a disaster when I interviewed the popular American crime writer Michael Connelly. First of all, the telephone developed a loud buzz on every handset so I had to use my mobile to re-schedule the time. Then, when we started to talk he was giving me one word answers. That was probably my fault because I was tired and not asking sensible questions that cannot be answered in a word. It was the end of the day and I think he was tired too but again, this is the trouble with interviewing on the telephone. However, it developed into a really good interview and I enjoyed writing it.

I went to Bridport the other evening to hear my friend Katie Fforde give a talk in the lovely library they have there about her new book, Love Letters. There was a good turnout and some very interesting questions. Afterwards, we went for dinner in The Bull Hotel and Charlotte, the publicity director who was accompanying Katie on her promotional tour, bought us champagne to mark the end of a successful trip.

It reminded me that I am giving a talk about my life as a freelance journalist in a month. I seem to get myself in all sorts of scrapes when things should be so straightforward but I have met some very interesting people over the years.

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