Imagine your audience naked and other advice

ColeNotDoleToday, I spoke on two radio shows about my coal and cake novel, Public Battles, Private Wars: on BBC Radio Leeds with Wes Butters and with Jeni Barnett on BBC Radio Sussex. Prior to this I had appeared on radio only once before to speak about my writing, and so despite chanting ‘I’m not nervous, I’m not’, I was. To quell the building heebies, I sent out a plea on Twitter and Facebook and true to form my wonderful friends, followers and supporters threw back a ruck of brilliant advice, which I’ll share here for any of you who might have to appear on radio or television to talk books. Most will apply to telly, though you might have to take more care about your appearance.

Before that I’d like to say, briefly, how much I enjoyed both interviews. I didn’t swear, I didn’t burp or make any totally stupid noises. I messed up a couple of times (you can find out how later if you fancy listening to the links below), but, you know what, it didn’t matter. The presenters were super lovely and skilled at putting me at my ease. Radio Sussex was easier. Perhaps because I had Leeds as a ‘warm up ‘ and perhaps because it was face to face with the gorgeous Jeni Barnett. Also, it was fab not having to worry about my slutty, chipped nail varnish and washed but unbrushed hair. I love the intimacy of radio, the feeling of a one-on-one chat. It’s a bit like a book in that way.

Anyway, here’s some of the best advice I received:

Imagine your audience are naked (Jess Davies)

Do the interview naked (Helen Wilkinson) – only recommended for telephone interviews from the comfort of your own home

Smile as you talk (Mark Radcliffe)

Don’t drink Coke or Tab or anything fizzy (Gill Hoffs)

Take your time when speaking (I forget – sorry)

Get a list of questions if you can (John Eliot)

Don’t focus too much on your book – engage with the conversation (Mark Radcliffe)

Relax (Mark Radcliffe)

And here are the listen again links:

Radio Leeds listen again – 1 hour, 34 seconds in: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01td4dh

Radio Sussex listen again – 2 hours, 17 seconds in: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01vqq25

Post Punk and beyond: 1980s, the decade style forgot?

The 1980s … close your eyes and what do you see, hear, smell, feel?

Here’s my 80s smorgasbord. Many appear in my novel Public Battles, Private Wars.

MadonnaPeople: Madonna, Princess Diana, Mrs Thatcher, Paula Yates, Debbie Harry, Reagan, Arthur Scargill, Bruce Kent, Tony Benn, Michael Foot, miners, steelworkers…

Fashion: pixie boots, frilly white shirts, huge shoulder pads, terrible perms, flicked fringes, men in make-up…

Sounds: Heaven 17, Human League, Bowie, Prince, Michael Jackson, The The, Yazoo, The Specials, The Pretenders, Blondie, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, B52s…

Places: Manchester, Corfu, Grantham, Yorkshire, Wales, Docklands, Dallas…

Smell and taste: Quiche Lorraine, Dubonnet, Grolsch, snakebites, Vol au Vents, Lasagne, Chilli, Prawn Cocktail, Arctic Roll, Pot Noodle, Findus crispy pancakes, Perrier, Revlon Charlie Red, Calvin Klein’s Obsession, Yves Saint Laurent’s Opium, Brut…

Film & Telly: Dance with a Stranger, Dallas, Back to the Future, Blade Runner, Trading Places, The Breakfast Club, The Tube, The Color of Money, Cagney and Lacey, The Love Boat, Tiswas, Worzel Gummidge, Grange Hill, Boys from the Blackstuff, Bread…

The author in 1984 - tanned and grumpy

The author in 1984 – tanned and grumpy

Here’s a picture of me in 1985, looking tanned (it was taken in Greece) and grumpy. Please feel free to share yours, and if you like Pinterest, I’ve an 80s board there too. Happy memories!

8 Heroines for 8 March – International Women’s Day

To mark IWD here’s a list of eight fabulous women throughout history who evoke fascination and admiration in me. I could go on, but we’re all busy. Happy International Women’s Day – whatever your gender.

come fly with me

come fly with me

Boudica – Iceni  warrior queen, she gave the Romans a run for their money and stuck two fingers up at Nero.

Elizabeth I – ‘Though I have the body of a weak and female woman… ’ Hahaha. Say no more.

Emmeline Pankhurst – the vote, ladies?

Marie Stopes – birth control pioneer and revolutionary she liberated women from the tyranny of unplanned pregnancies.

Violette Szarbo - courage under fire

Violette Szarbo – courage under fire

Amelia Earhart – first female aviator to fly across the Atlantic solo. Bold and stylish her mysterious disappearance only adds to her allure.

Violette Szarbo – SOE agent during WWII, she went into occupied France not once, but twice. Eventually captured by the Gestapo, she was tortured and shot, without divulging any information.

Barbara Castle – forget Mrs Thatcher, Babs, the Blackburn Baroness, was the original Iron Lady.

Helena Kennedy QC – has spent her professional life giving voice to those with least power, championing civil liberties and promoting human rights.

Barbara Castle - solid as

Barbara Castle – solid as