Friday, August 07, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For

by Jennie Bentley

You know this picture you may have in your head, of the gracious author at her book signing: hair perfectly coiffed, nice clothes, friendly smile? That’s me. It’s release week for Spackled and Spooked, and I’ve got back to back events scheduled this week and for the next two. Three bookstore signings, one release party, one Evening with an Author, one TV appearance, and a three-day conference. Plus a couple of interviews, complete with photographer. What that means is an endless round of worry over make-up and clothes, whether my slip is showing, whether my hair is fluffy enough, how overweight I’ll look when the cameras turn on me...

Last year’s TV appearance for the release of Fatal Fixer-Upper was not auspicious. The anchor started the interview by asking me a question I didn’t understand. I kid you not, it sounded like gibberish. The words made absolutely no sense. I’ve watched the clip since, cringing, and it wasn’t just nerves: the question still doesn’t make sense to me, even when I’m calm. The cringeworthy part, though, is the silence that follows. The deer-in-the-headlights look on my face as I sit there, trying to decipher the question and how to answer it. The dawning horror on the anchor’s face as she realizes that she’s sitting opposite a guest who has frozen.

It worked out in the end, and I don’t think it took more than eight seconds or so. (Which, let me tell you, is an eternity on TV.) Eventually, I said something. Anything. I didn’t care what it was, as long as it filled the silence. I didn’t answer the question, but I was coherent. And it got better from there.

This year I get to do it again, along with all the other stuff I mentioned. If you look closely, you’ll see the manic look in my eyes as I worry about the hair, and the slip, and the fact that at home, I’m revising Plaster and Poison, which is scheduled for release in March, and writing DIY#4, tentatively titled Mortar and Murder, which—if I can get it written by the end of the year—might make it into the stores by the end of 2010.

Can you spell P-R-E-S-S-U-R-E?

Oh yes, and that’s without taking into account the ten or so manuscripts I've critiqued for Killer Nashville, the conference I’m attending next weekend; and the ten or so wannabe authors I have to meet with, to discuss their manuscripts; and the panels I have to prepare for, and the fact that at some point during the weekend, I have to write and ship a guest blog I promised to do on the 16th...

It’s the glamorous life of a writer. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. In September, when it’s all over and the only thing I have to worry about is finishing Mortar and Murder by the end of the year, I’ll look back on it and smile. But for now, if you happen to catch sight of me in the next few weeks, forgive me if I’m not the picture of the smiling, gracious author, would you? Ignore that rabid look in my eyes, and the way I twitch when someone says my name? And if I don’t answer your question right away, give me eight seconds for that deer-in-the-headlights look to go away and my brain to fire on all cylinders again? I’ll get there, I promise!

And if you’re in the neighborhood, I’d love to see you. Check out my website, to see where I’ll be, and when!

12 comments:

Joyce said...

So, when are you going to put Pittsburgh on your schedule? Mystery Lovers Bookshop--hint, hint.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I never look very put together at a signing and I stammer during interviews. I can't even imagine having to do a TV spot! I'd look frozen from the get-go...

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Karen in Ohio said...

Jennie, I see you're going to Lebanon, TN. One of my daughters lived there for a couple of years while she went to Cumberland. It's such a pretty area. And the original Cracker Barrel is there.

If you get to Ohio, let me know, via Facebook. I'd love to meet you in person!

Wilfred Bereswill said...

I remember once (on a boat) when I had to worry about my pantyhose being off-kilter-- WAIT! I wasn't wearing panty hose.

In response to that TV person who asked the question, you should have responded, "I craft words for a living, and for the life of me I have no F#&^*^G idea what you just said." People certainly would have remembered Jennie Bentley then.

AH, to be a man! All you need to worry about is if your fly is open.

Good luck, Jennie.

Jennie Bentley said...

Ah, Freddy... but when the fly is open, especially on TV, it's potentially much more embarrassing than a slip showing, isn't it?

Karen, no plans for Ohio at this juncture. I tend to stay close to home. But I'll let you know.

Elizabeth - good to know I'm not the only one...

Joyce, darling, I'd love to come to Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh's a lovely town. But again, I tend to stay close to home. Now, if I could wrangle an invitation to that author day the Mystery Lovers Bookshop has in May every year...

PatRemick said...

Jennie, with your sense of humor, you're going to be great on this release and all the others to follow! Congrats and be sure to let us know how it goes!

Jennie Bentley said...

Aww! Thank you, Pat! I try...

Dru said...

Good luck on your book tours. Too bad many of the authors I enjoy reading live elsewhere and seldom tour here.

Karen in Ohio said...

Shoot, no one ever wants to come to Cincinnati, but they should. This is one of the most literate areas of the country, which one of the best library systems in the US, and more than a dozen bookstores.

And if you let me know that you're coming, I'll be happy to chauffeur, and since we are empty nesters, we even have two guest rooms. ;-)

Wilfred Bereswill said...

BTW, Jennie, I'll be attending fellow Berkley author Laura Bradford's launch party for Sew Deadly tonight.

Karen, I knew Columbus was quite the literary city, but didn't realize Cincinnati was as well.

Jennie Bentley said...

Thank you, Dru! I'm lucky that way; Nashville has a lot of authors, and we're lucky enough to have many others come for signings.

Karen, that is tempting, I have to say... If I do make it to Pittsburgh, I'll have to make sure I stop in Cincy too. And I might just take you up on the offer of that guest room...

Will, be sure to give Laura a big hug and congratulations from me, and have a wonderful, wonderful time!

Diana Orgain said...

LOL- this post made me laugh- I can completely relate!