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Radio - a million images in a million brains

"TV gives everyone an image, but radio gives birth to a million images in a million brains."
-Peggy Noonan

In April, I was delighted to join radio presenter (and fellow Choc Lit author) Chris Penhall on her show, Books and Tunes. Books and Tunes is a weekly West Wiltshire radio show, where Chris talks to writers and readers about books and publishing. Needless to say, the friendly, informative chat is interspersed with music. I was one of two guests in the hour long show (episode 5) and although it’s always daunting to be a guest on a radio show, fortunately Chris made it feel as if we were just chatting over a coffee and not recording a show.

If you would like to listen to our conversation, please click HERE and scroll on to 34:22.

My previous experience with radio shows have been with local stations in Cornwall. My first interview, as a debut writer, was with Debbie McCrory on BBC Radio Cornwall. Like Chris, she was also welcoming (as were all the radio staff) and helped me feel at ease… or at least as much as one can with a big microphone picking up every sound one utters! As the quote above reminds us... there are people listening. I knew there may not be a million brains imagining the interview and picturing what I was saying, but there were far more people out there than usually bother to listen to what I say!

I remember the visit well. It was my first 'behind the scenes' look at a radio station in action. Busy reporters, office staff, sound technicians, producers and directors were hard at work in the adjoining large office which I had to walk through to get to the recording studio. To my inexperienced eye, the recording studio seemed crowded with microphones and complicated looking sound systems, but it was also very quiet as it was soundproofed from the noise on the other side of the large glass window which separated the two areas. The interview was a bit of a blur and passed very quickly, but I must have done okay as I was invited back several times, including as a guest on the Christmas Special. I wrote a festive poem especially for the show which appeared to go down well and turned into the inspiration for my sixth book in the Cornish Tales series, A Daughter’s Christmas Wish

I’ve also had the pleasure of being on Coast FM, a West Cornwall radio show presented by John Pestle. All my previous interviews required visiting the studio, however radio interviews are changing and many are now done via the internet. Those that are recorded can be listened to on playback and repeated throughout the week. Is it less daunting to not have to visit the recording studio? There is always the worry that the technology will not work but when it does I think an online interview, from the comfort of your own home, is much less daunting. There's something reassuring about being in familiar surroundings with your favourite hot drink by your side rather than a large intimidating microphone hovering in front of your face threatening to record every lisp, cough or worse when the nerves get too much!

My latest interview, with Chris on Books and Tunes was much less daunting than my first interview for radio Cornwall. As I said before, it was just like chatting with a friend over a mug of coffee... and, I suppose, in our way we were! Why don't you join us and listen in on the Books and Tunes show!


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