Thursday, November 08, 2007

Bullet Hole hits the airwaves. Insert ear plugs now...!

I had an interview yesterday. I've done interviews before. Several of them, in fact. My first one was the result of a call I made to a radio station after I heard the radio personalities discussing my first book, Calamity Jayne. They put me right on the air. It was 5:30 a.m. in the morning and I was half-dressed, my hair wrapped in a towel, my voice still husky from sleep. It was the best I've ever sounded.

I know everyone says they hate the way their voice sounds when recorded. For me there's good reason to feel that way. Whenever I hear my voice played back, I'd swear I'm listening to a cross between Minnie Mouse and Olive Oyl. Truth be told, I do a pretty good impression of both. As well as the Wicked Witch of the West--but that's another story. It's this whole Midwestern nasal twang I've got going. It just doesn't reproduce well.
Still determined to promote my books as best I could, I took my not-ready-for-radio waves show on the road last summer when my second book, Calamity Jayne Rides Again, came out. Set at the Iowa State Fair, I thought, what better way to promote the book than broadcast live via a 50,000 watt blow-torch from the state fairgrounds. The same radio personalities I had my radio debut with invited me on (brave souls) and as I stammered my way through the interview I spotted McGruff the Crime Dog walking outside the radio studio. I found myself lusting after McGruff's deep, gravelly, hoarse voice. The critique of my radio gig began almost immediately.

Them: I heard you on the radio. Too bad about the cold.

Bullet Hole: Cold? What cold?

Them: You didn't have a cold?

Bullet Hole: No. Why? Did I sound like I had a cold?

Them: Nevermind.

Now as if having a voice that made you wish for fingernails against a chalkboard wasn't bad enough, I also tend to come down with a serious case of motor mouth when I'm nervous. My latest radio interview was no exception. I'd take a deep breath and and begin answering the interviewer's question--not stopping to inhale until I was gasping for air. Real cool.

Next came the faux pax. We all make them. I just happen to do it a lot. And at the wrong times. (Sounds a lot like Tressa, doesn't it?) When the interviewer asked where locally my book could be purchased, he touched a bit of a nerve. I live in a small town and the only place to buy a book locally is the local Wally's World. Unfortunately, for some bizarre reason, the only book of mine the store has stocked was my very first. Since then, nada. Zilch. Zero. Regardless of numerous customer requests. So, I think I must have made some snarky remark like "Unfortunately even though I live in this city and the book is set in rural Iowa, my books have not been available here locally." The radio guy shut the recorder off. "I think we better try that again," he suggested. Motor Mouth strikes again. But I get it. Advertising revenue and all that.

I came home after the interview and dropped onto the couch.

"How did the interview go, Mom?" my son asked.

"The radio guy only had to stop and erase me twice," I responded, "so improvement."

"You want me to listen to it when it runs and tell you how you sounded like I did last time?" he asked.

I shook my head.

"Thanks, but I like you too much, " I told him.

I came home today to a message from another radio station inquiring about an interview. God help me if a TV station rings me up.

The things we do to sell books...!

Oh, and before I go, even though my local Wally's World didn't get my recent release, I went out last night and there was Jana's book Unlucky. Good for them!

I bought it.

Good for me!

~Bullet Hole~


Christie Craig said...


I might switch my Alabama/Texan drawl for your Midwestern nasal twang. I so hate the sound of my voice.

Congrats on your interviews. I'm sure you did good.

Thanks for the chuckle.

Crime Scene Christie

Estella said...

I also live in a small town where there is no bookstore. It's Wallyworld for me too.

Kathy Bacus said...

Hey, I'm up for a trade, Christie.

Still I've always been kind of partial to another Kathleen's voice--Kathleen Turner. She made Jessica Rabbit sexy as all get out. Lauren Bacall's voice would quite all right, too.

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

I do a lot of on-line book buying, Estella, as our Wallyworld doesn't have a large book section. The space for books seems to shrink every time I go in.

~Bullet Hole~

Anonymous said...

Great blog, Kathy. I hate the sound of my voice, too. Unfortunately, my day job requires that I use it a lot, including for voiceover commentary on digital presentations. It freaks me out every time I hear myself. LOL.

As for WalMart, that's the closest "bookstore" around here, too. Aren't small towns wonderful? LOL.


Kathy Bacus said...

I work with middle school students, Faye, and have to wonder if I sound as nasally to them as I do to my own ears. Of course, that only applies to those times I'm not yelling! :)

~Bullet Hole~

Enchanted by Books said...

Tell them to order your book! Shame on them! Thanks for the laugh. :)

Jenyfer Matthews said...

I think everyone hates the sound of their own voice, don't they?

But hey, at least the latest interview wasn't live!!

P.S - count yourself lucky to have Walmart -I miss it!

Dru said...

Congrats on your interview. You're lucky, we don't have a Walmart here. When I visit out of state, it's one of the first places I want to go.

Stacy S said...

Good for you. It must seen kinda different doing a radio interview. Your local Wal Mart should have dozens of your books! They do a pitful job on their books though.

Kathy Bacus said...

I've spoken with the folks at the local store a number of times, Racheal. Sadly, with no success. In fact, the office gal was unbelievably rude on the phone when I simply questioned why they would be able to get my first book but claimed they couldn't get subsequent ones. What's really weird is that I had a signing there with my first book and the manager was thrilled with the turnout and they kept buying books and couldn't keep them on the shelves.

I couldn't believe it when this gal actually hung up on me. Maybe she didn't like my telephone voice...?

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

Oh, buddy! I was very glad that with a click of a button my verbal diarrhea disappeared, Jenyfer!

My other experiences have been live--which considering my propensity for foot in mouth disease--is frightening.

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

Thanks, Dru! I spend a lot of time at Wally's World. Oh, and money, too!

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

I'm always nervous before I do a promo appearance and, strangely enough, find I'm more apprehensive talking into a microphone than to a large group of people. Guess that's because I'm used to classrooms. Kids are a tough audience.

~Bullet Hole~

Jana DeLeon said...

Well, heck. I swear I posted here this morning and now my post is gone!

Soooooo what I said was - Kathy, you are a brave woman for doing radio. I haven't and I'm not sure I want to. The whole idea of being on the spot terrifies me and I was a corporate trainer!

And thanks for the Walmart update AND for buying UNLUCKY! For the record, both the Walmarts I shop at in Dallas always carry you and Gemma (and me). So pppffffffttttt to your Walmart!

CrystalGB said...

All we have is Walmart too. The selection of books they stock is horrible. I get mad every time I go book shopping there.

Kathy Bacus said...

And Wal-Mart makes up a significant percentage of total sales, Crystal. That's why everyone wants their books available at these outlets.

Including me!

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

Thanks for the book info, Jana. Guess Tressa doing Dallas will have to do. It just seems weird given my books' demographics that it isn't stocked in more stores here in the Heartland.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm shooting myself in the foot by putting the ol' twang out there as much as I do but I know you'd knock 'em 'dead', Jana.

~Bullet Hole~

Gemma Halliday said...

I'm sure you did great, Kathy!

But I totally get you on the Minnie Mouse thing. I have the same problem, especially on the phone. I once had a telemarketer ask me if my mommy was home. Lol! I said no and hung up.


Anonymous said...

Oh, Lord. I can't talk to family and friends and sound intelligent. I shudder to think how I'd sound during an interview. Run away, run away!

Kathy Bacus said...

My son reminds me I don't have it so bad, Gemma. He's at that stage where his voice is doing screwy things and often people think they're talking to me when he answers the phone. Hehe.

And I don't plan to listen to the interview myself so I'll never know, firsthand, how awful I really did sound. I'm already bracing myself for the 'I heard you on the radios' once the interview airs. Good times.

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

And to think we seek this kind of stuff out, Tori!


~Bullet Hole~

Lucy said...

Our WalMart recently re-did their book section (well, their whole store actually). The book section is much larger now and they seem to carry a larger variety of books.

And I'm sure you did fine in the interview. :-)

Kathy Bacus said...

That's good news, Lucy. It's always great to have a nice selection of books to pick from. Some stores use a lot of space to stock bestsellers' backlists such as Janet Evanovich's Plum series and that takes away from shelf space for current releases.

~Bullet Hole~

Lily said...

I am always surprised that Walmart hold books and they are much cheaper :)

Anonymous said...

I just saw Unlucky in Montreal at our biggest bookstore :)

Kathy Bacus said...

I recently saw where 32% of mass market paperbacks sales are made at stores such as Wal-mart, Target, K-Mart, etc., Lily, and I think that will only increase as folks look for convenience (one-stop shopping) and low prices.

It demonstrates the importance of distribution, that's for sure.

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

Thanks for the Montreal Unlucky sighting, Lila!

~Bullet Hole~