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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Monday, June 16, 2008

Author Talk - There Was Only Supposed To Be One

When the members of the WNP were brainstorming the Promo topic, I was at a loss.  Then someone suggested I write about Author Talk, so here you go.  It's funny that AT is included in Promotion month on the WNP, especially since it was never supposed to be promotion - just something silly between two authors.

Author Talk began after my friend and critique partner, Gena Showalter, received a series of questions by an interviewer who clearly didn't know anything about her.  This person got everything wrong, from Gena's genre (historical?), number of books (one YA?).  I, of course, thought this was HILARIOUS.  So, I suggested we spoof it.  So one day in January, Gena ordered Chinese food and we filmed our first Author Talk.

I didn't look at what we'd filmed for two days.  I just couldn't.  But, I finally began importing the footage into my laptop.  It took me an entire week to edit.  (My editing skills had gone WAY rusty from my R/TV/F days in J School - I'm much faster now.)

Gena met me in the parking lot while my kids were taking dance, and I showed her the almost final product in the front seat of her car.  I kept expecting her to say something like, "Jill, let's just forget this whole thing."  Even though I'd spent so many hours cutting and shaping the video, I wouldn't have minded - she paid for the Chinese food after all.  But no, she never said just delete - in fact she had suggestions.  Later I added music, the AT purple arrow open and her book cover and had a finished product:

I remember calling Gena the morning before I uploaded it onto YouTube.  "Are you sure about this?" kept coming out of my mouth.  So did phrases like "career suicide" but I hit upload anyway.  Put it on my blog.  She did the same and then I left the house.  I was stunned by the comments we'd received, and so very, very thankful people liked it.  That I hadn't ruined one of my best friend's (top ten) career was also a bonus.  

There Was Only Supposed To Be One

Several people began asking who was next.  Gena said it had to be me.  So, we met again and filmed my Author Talk.  I was pretty sure that would be it.  No more Author Talks after that.

As I am so often, I was wrong.  People began suggesting who they wanted to see interviewed. (In fact, I have an interesting search string list of people looking for a particular author's AT interview.)  For my birthday, Gena bought me the Author Talk website.  So, now I'll answer some questions.

What is Your Favorite Author Talk? 

Wow, that is a hard one.  There are so many good memories associated with each one and each author.  So, we'll call that a draw.

Now my favorite Author Talk Extra is the one we did for Dear Author.  You can view it here.  The questions were a lot of fun, and I was able to use special effects and music to make it even more cheesy.

What's the filming process?

Because I have a news background, we set up AT to look like a studio interview.  That would mean having three cameras, but we're only using one.  So we start each interview with a two shot and then a headshot of individual answers from authors and questions from me.  Everything is out of order and mixed up, but it all gets put together in the editing.

For me, I want to try and make things visually interesting.  So I like things in the background, quick cuts and flashes of covers or pictures that represent an author's book to avoid the  "talking head" effect.

Filming usually lasts no more than an hour.  The editing is a lot longer.  I'll send a low res quick time file of the finished product to Gena and the author for their input and suggestions.  The longest (and most boring) part is waiting for something to upload or video to render.   

Veronica asked, Did it hurt your feelings when you were called a mahjor bitch?

Veronica, I'm so glad you used the correct spelling of mahjor.  Yes, I did receive that comment on YouTube of PC and Kristin Cast's AT Interview.  You can click here for my response.  No, it doesn't hurt my feelings (much), because that's addressed to the Jill Monroe character.

Because we're writers, Gena and I have given our characters motivation.  We didn't really discover the Gena Showalter character's motivation until the Rachel Vincent interview, which is to get as much air time as possible.  Notice how naturally she hogs the camera...

Speaking of character motivation, I'm going to answer the rest of these questions as the Jill Monroe Author Talk character.  Which has absolutely no resemblance to my own personality whatsoever.  None.  Really.
What exactly is Author Talk?

Author Talk is an interview show I do with Gena Showalter.  Actually, I don't do the show with Gena, she was just my first interviewee, and she's never left.  Finally I had to come up with some bogus title for her, right now she's Special Correspondent On The Scene.  But now you know the real reason she's around. 

Some would call Author Talk a spoof, others would call it silliness.  I would call it serious journalism, my friend.  

Jill Monroe takes her job as interviewer very seriously, ready to ask the hard hitting questions to any difficult author.  And they all are - difficult.  But now the people have been asking ME the questions, and while they aren't as good as something I could come up with, being a professional journalist and all, I'll give it a shot.

How Do Authors Get On Author Talk?

We make it so simple - all an author has to do is ask, and we'll get the ball rolling.  For some strange reason, some people are offended that I might want to interview them (see Kresley Cole) in fact, sometimes they have to be a little restrained (once again - see Kresley Cole).  Right now Beth Wilson is handling all requests.  We have many lined up to film at RWA National as well as a waiting list.  However, if people are in Oklahoma (and really, how hard is it?  No matter where you are in the continental US - you're only a day away from Oklahoma.) we can always find a time.

We also film at regional conferences.  One we filmed at the Red River Romance Writer's conference will premier this Friday.  

Why doesn't Gena Showalter have more air time?

Who would ask such a stupid question.  Next?!

Ginger asks, "If you could be any kind of animal, what would it be?"

What an amazing question, Ginger - my kind of question.  I'd be an Acinonyx jubatus.  I'll answer for Gena.  She'd be an anteater.  Actually a peacock.  


You can view all the Author Talk videos on youtube by going here.

You can see all the Author Talk videos and read all the Behind The Scenes Stuff at the Author Talk website by going here.

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At 11:01 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

I love the persona and the interviews. I'm so glad there will be more AuthorTalk!

At 11:36 AM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

I think Author Talk is a fun way to showcase Romance novels! Way to go, Gena and Jill!

At 11:39 AM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

I LOVE Author Talk. Every time I watch a couple of them, the musical theme sticks in my head, but I don't care!

Jill, I didn't know you were another R/TV/F grad! I thought it was straight journalism. Or was it the same, at your U? I switch from J-school to Speech and Comm/R/TV/F after attending my first required art-history course, where you had to memorize the title, artist and date of 500 artworks. Talk about a weed-out class.

At 11:51 AM, Blogger Jill Monroe said...

R/TV/F was out of the J-school, but I did choose that focus. I should have done yearbook, since that's what I've ended up doing for the last 4 years or so.

Radio journalism is where I wanted to go. I would practice saying, "For National Public Radio, I'm Jill Schwoerke in Moscow." (It was always some exotic locale of course.)

AND - the song is in my head, too!

At 12:33 PM, Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

This sounds like a lot of fun. As in many things in life, we all need those moments when we learn NOT to take ourselves so seriously!

At 1:45 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

LOL! I can't stop laughing. You are too funny, Jill. I love these videos. Gena is hilarious too.

And your animal question cracked me up. Acinonyx jubatus is a Cheetah in case anyone else was curious!

At 6:55 PM, Blogger Tiarra said...

Love the, so funny!

I was just wondering if you will ever interview Marjorie M Liu? I would LOVE to see that. I think she is so great!

Thanks Theresa I was wondering!

At 7:41 PM, Blogger Terry McLaughlin said...

What a fun idea, Jill :-). I sure do enjoy watching these!

Next time I see you, I want to hear your NPR voice.


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