Saturday, February 16, 2008

My Day In The Media



As writer's we spend a great deal of our time locked away indoors, hunched over a keyboard, battling it out with invisible characters who refuse point blank to co-operate. So a day out here and there can be quite the treat. Just over a week ago I had my great adventure in London with the Mills & Boon Centenary Party launch - and a very grand affair it was too! With a host of fellow authors all looking fantabulously glam dressed to the nines mixing with editors, marketing folks, the PR team, booksellers and the media. This kind of party is a rare occassion - and not just because publishers centenaries can be a tad of a rarity - but also because, in the UK, this kind of gathering isn't done too often. In fact, the last time I was at a gathering with this kind of a mix was at the RWA conference in Dallas last summer. And believe me when I tell you I was never quite as aware of the media at that one!!!

I got to meet some of the very lovely gals from a National newspaper who have been involved in something I've been doing recently that I STILL can't talk about (but I can tell you has been put back a couple of weeks) AND I even got to speak to some lovely people on camera for the BBC!!! Yes indeedy. Quite a night. And a lot closer to that glamorous author life I used to write about on this blog way back in the day ;) Actually, this blog has become quite the diary of my writing life really, hasn't it? I kinda like that.

But Valentine's Day was the day I stepped into that glamorous author role in a much MUCH bigger way than I ever had before. And to say I was wound up about it beforehand would be an understatement. To me, being a writer never involved all this 'in the public eye' thing...

I may have mentioned I'd become quite the media darling this last month. And I may also have mentioned that a large part of that is because of Her One And Only Valentine being a Valentine titled book in Centenary year. I've done newspaper interviews all over the place - you can read one online here to see the kind of thing I've been doing - and I had already done a couple of radio things late last year, so I knew where I was a bit with those. TV however - a SCARY prospect!!!

My Valentine's Day began with an early morning phone call from BBC Radio Ulster for their Good Morning Ulster show with Wendy Austin - it was a brief chat, which was just as well seeing I hadn't had much time to let the caffeine absorb into my system yet - but it was bright and cheery and it was lovely to get a few minutes chatting with one of Northern Ireland's media celebs.

But we weren't done there - oh no. Having preened and tweaked and sprayed and polished it was in the car for me with bags of books and off to Belfast for my day at UTV's Havelock House. By the way can I just say it took this trip into the big smoke through all the roadworks and traffic for me to remember why it was I moved to the countryside to begin with??? HORRIBLE. But the folks at Havelock House - LOVELY. I was met at reception by both Ian and Laura - Laura then whisking me off upstairs to the U105 Radio studios for my slot on Lynda Bryan's show. Laura was lovely (an ideal Mills & Boon heroine I should add!) and we chatted books and heroes and the competition they were running on the show for the most romantic marriage proposals. And then it was in to meet Lynda - who can I just say is INCREDIBLY good-looking (Another potential M&B heroine - plots abounding in my wee head at this point...). Far too good looking for radio really. Whereas me - well as you know I have the perfect face for radio...

I have to say I had the bestest fun on the show. Both on and off the air. Lynda is really really easy to talk to and we ended up chatting like two gals out for coffee. If every radio interview type thingie was that much fun I'd do LOTS more of them!!! Well, a few more of them... ;)
I bumped into a familiar face in the studio too - from way back in the days when I used to do telesales for a recording company and he was the rep for EMI so we had a jolly good gossip and discussed the similarities between publishing houses and record companies. (they actually run pretty much the same for a recording artist and an author when it comes to royalties and distribution) along with Sligo singer Kieran Goss and poor Laura had to physically drag me off to the canteen for lunch! Sorry Laura!
Lunch was a tad surreal. I sat there looking around me at the sea of faces thinking - you look familiar - and you look familiar - only to mentally kick myself as I remembered; oh yes, cos you read the news - and you do the weather... Yuh-huh. SURREAL. And I then got a guided tour with Ian from the UTV Life team and presenter Jeannie Johnston (who as lovely as well!!! I swear - not a single bad thing to say about ANYONE I met that day! Never ever let it be said that local celebs aren't nice people!!!) Now at this point I should maybe point out to those of you further afield that in the UK some of the main television channels are the big four - BBC1, BBC2, ITV and CHANNEL FOUR. Here in the north of Ireland we can also add RTE but instead of ITV we have UTV. So it gives you an idea of how many people watch this station. Me, nervous??? Hell yeah!!!
But in the afternoon it was into what I assume you could call the Green Room for me, where the walls are lined with polaroid shots of everyone from Michael Buble to Michael Caine to Westlife to Colin Farrell to...well... surreal again. And am feeling a little like a fish out of water... UNTIL lovely make-up lady arrived to transform me (and brought me coffee so am loving her around about now). Can I just say I now want this nice lady to follow me EVERYWHERE????? Cos I dunno what in heck she did to my face - but it was pretty much transformational! Didn't want to take it off.
During the session another reporter arrived in only to tell us she wasn't there for make-up cos she was off to interview Colin Farrell in Dublin!!! So I said to send my best cos he was Rory in my book Breathless! last year. Anyone familiar with the theory of five degrees of seperation? No? Remind me and I'll walk you through it sometime. But I'm starting to take all these wee signs as indications I'm where I'm sposed to be at this stage in my life ;)
Pamela Ballentine, co-presenter of UTV Life then arrived to have her make-up done too. She asked was I Trish Wylie and I smiled and said yes. She then introduced herself and genius here said 'You look just like you do on TV'... yes, go ahead, share my pain. Meeting Pamela was like meeting an old friend, especially when she had memories of her own of the way Mills & Boon used to be and we discovered along the way that we have a shared interest in horses. So we chittered the whole way through the rest of my make up and then through hers - she's very talented at chatting without moving her lips while having her lippy done. Though the letters M and B cause her a few problems. So we didn't discuss M&B again til she was done...
At that point in popped Frank Mitchell, the other co-presenter. He's a bit of a whirlwind actually is Frank. Popped in and introduced himself - popped off to get something - popped back again - popped off to get changed - popped back. But when he sat down to chat the banter back and forth was hilarious! Pamela and I walked him through the differences in the colours of the covers and what it meant and Pamela was pretty savvy about pointing out that the cover art alone would indicate the differences in the stories. I've never really thought about M&B from a man's point of view - I guess cos the majority of people I talk to are women who either read, write or edit the books - so it was interesting to hear his perspective on it. Very male. Trust me ;)
And then it was into the studio for a pre-record of my piece. I was really pleased they did it this way, cos it meant I could mentally block out the thought of lots of people watching while we chatted. But thanks to how Pamela and Frank put me at ease, the tips Lynda had give me earlier off air on the radio and my small stint with the BBC crew in London, it was actually really painless. The trick mostly is to pretend there aren't bright lights and big cameras and a mic up the front of your clothing...easy really...*cough*
We talked books and changes in the tone of the books and the colours of the covers now that Frank knows what they mean ;) We then had the rather poetic story of how, way way back in the days when I was dreaming of being an author for Mills And Boon, I entered a UTV competition on the Ask Anne show, trying to find a new author for the company. I must have entered about six times. And I got to sit in the audience with one of my very bestest friends and watch as someone else won...
Thing was - one of those entries? Well, it was what would eventually become The Bridal Bet...
So they had rung Anne Hailes, the presenter of the show from way back when and asked her if she remembered the competition. She did. They told her my story. And her quote back was something like 'Well, that just shows how good we are at spotting talent at UTV...'
How's that for a story? If only I'd known back then when watching someone else win had broken my heart so badly...I guess we all end up where we're s'posed to be in the end...


So that was my day in the media. And if I can get hold of a copy of the interview I'll try and get it posted on Youtube so you guys can see it... Meanwhile, back to the reality of my life and comfy clothes and reindeer slippers (actually it's bunny slippers now) and scads of coffee while I try to get through the last 8k of a book that just doesn't want to be written... Sigh... Though I must confess on Friday I crashed. Big time. I think the whole media thing has caught up with me...

But it WAS fun. So a HUGE THANKS to everyone who made me feel so welcome on the big day!

12 comments:

Fiona Harper said...

Don't you look all glam on the telly! So glad you had a blast.

And, erm, this is your online dairy? hee hee (and don't you dare fume at me for that - you posted a picture of me dancing in Trafalgar Square, remember?)

Janet said...

That was so interesting! What happened to The Bridal Bet after that competition? Were M&B still interested in the story or did you shelve it for a while?

Trish said...

Duly fixed Fi!!! Doesn't bode well for the current WIP tho does it?!

Janet - a little bit of Trish history right there ;) Yes, I'm afraid after that competition the friends who thought I was living a pie in the sky dream by wanting to be a writer finally persuaded me to shelve the whole lot and go out and get a *proper* job. So shelve it I did, along with the rest of them - for wait for it - nigh on a decade. When I decided after my accident (horse riding accident gave me clots in one leg that decided to go a wandering to my lungs and heart when they weren't discovered in time)to write again it was the one set in a place I knew I went back to. Although we only sent a chapter and a synopsis to the competition I did have it finished. And the story basically stayed exactly the same, with a more mature perspective and the flashbacks that hadn't been there in the original...

I got the guts to sub the three chapters and synopsis that time and that was that. Long and winding road though, huh?

Ray-Anne said...

Thank you for sharing that personal history Trish - it must have been a tough experience. Guts indeed. And yes, you DID look glam at the party and on TV!
LOL and hope the sun is shining where you are today as it is in Hampshire. :-)

Natasha said...

Nerves of steel, our Trish.

Have you taken the TV make-up off yet??

Trish said...

Hi Ray-Anne, hmmm, yes testing would be accurate enough I think ;) And no sunshine here - fog and frost - lots and lots of frost - we've been dropping between minus three and minus five at night - brrrrrrrrr!!!! Oh did I ever mention my mother lived in Hampshire for a while? Nice part of England.

Natasha unfortunately yes. Sensitive eyes you see - and they've been protesting the wearing of it for as long as I did ever since :( Mind you - I like to feel I held out admirably ;)

Janet said...

A decade! LOL!

Who actually won that M&B comp? Did her book ever get published by M&B? Is she writing for them now?

Ry said...

Trish Wylie! Im being very nosey and popped on to say hello! Heard your interview on U105 and saw you with Pamela and Frank! You were great! :D
How about an interview with your favorite, soon to be on-air, news reporter then for The Impartial?!

Marcy said...

Wow, Trish! You've had an exciting few days. Sounds very glam!

Can completely relate to the friends thinking your dreams of being an author were 'pie in the sky'. At least you proved them wrong. I hope to do the same.

Cheers,
Marcy

limecello said...

Wow- sounds like a lot of fun was had by all - and everyone looked so great in the pictures!

Suzanne Brandyn said...

Tagged - you're it!
The 'rules' :
1/ you link back to the person who tagged you. Check!
2/ post these rules on your blog. Check
3/ share six unimportant things about yourself. Check!
4/ tag six random people at the end of your entry. Check!!
5/ let the tagged people know by leaving a comment on their blogs. Check!
Six people to tag:

Trish said...

Janet - nope - we don't know who the lady was now. I even asked the lovely Lynne Graham when I met her if it might have been her cos I thought the time frame fit. But nope. And the winner was never published so I don't know what happened to her...

RY!!! HELLO PRECIOUS!!!! *MWAH* And as always - CALL ME! We'll talk...

Marcy you keep at it babes! YOU CAN DO IT!!!

Limecello it was great fun! Nerve wracking and I have crashed somewhat after all the adventures ;) But GREAT FUN.

And Suzanne YOU GOT ME. Shall Blog it next lol. Haven't done one of these in AGES. Now who to tag....hmmmm....