18th September 2015
I gave a mini Skype interview this week about my book Veil Of Time on a site called booksgosocial.com. I will post it on my website (clairemcdougall.com, press page) when it becomes available. Not trusting anything to chance, I had prepared a spiel about how I came to write the book and what it was about, so when the interviewer asked for the "elevator pitch," I skipped over the "elevator" component and launched into my monologue. About fifteen minutes later, my interviewer jumped in: No, I just need the elevator pitch.
So I started over: "In my book, Maggie escapes a bad divorce by moving to the ancient fort of Dunadd in Scotland and...." If you don't know what the phrase Tabula Rasa means, it's what happens half-way through your elevator pitch. Blank. The kind of blank I would like around two o'clock in the morning when my mind is doing back flips. I needed one of those Monty Python brain surgeons to step into the frame and hit me over the head. Good thing we weren't going live.
I tried again, but she said I wasn't looking at the camera. I was staring off, as I so often do, into empty space. It goes with the job.
So I trained my eyes on the little red dot and struggled on: "I embarked on Veil Of Time despite the fact that I don't normally write historical fiction..."
She stopped me again. She sounded shocked. "Was that an airplane?"
Are you conducting this interview in the middle of a runway? I had to admit then that I live in the flight path for Aspen Airport. This is where they put you when you belong to the wrong caste in a city of billionaires, when you don't have a private table at restaurants where they charge you $25 for a bottle of water flown in from Bora Bora. It was probably just such a shipment that was flying over my roof in the middle of the interview. This is one of the few places where a lowly waiter can you make you feel like scum.
All you have to do is ask for a glass of Rose when they show you the wine list. "Madam, we don't even count that as a wine." You have to supply the French accent, but, as God is my witness, I was told this once in an Aspen restaurant. I was told on another occasion that a beer I was contemplating was positively wine-esque. I didn't order it.
I got through the interview, awkward as a hippo in a tutu.
"No worries," said my interviewer in the face of my profuse apologies. "It usually happens this way."
That's because you're talking to writers. We don't hide away in our offices for protracted hours for nothing. In my next life, just so you know, I'm going to be an actress. Interview me on Skype then. I might even manage a pirouette.