The ‘w’ in bookwitch is slipping fast, I’m sorry to say. I have tried really hard over the last two years to fill the blog with things that range from neutral to glowing with praise, saving negative comments for government departments and the odd, anonymous person. But it’s going to turn into a ‘b’ very soon.
Some of the interviews I’ve done with authors have been very straightforward, from a practical point of view. They’ve been conducted near my home and haven’t taken ages to travel to, to do, or to organise. Most other interviews have also been easy to arrange, except for one, with a very well known writer, where in the end I decided to cut my losses.
I’ve often been tired when doing them, though, but it’s something I can put up with. I’m asking for someone’s time, and me being stupid enough not to live in London, I have to travel. Setting aside the cost for trains and planes and taxis, it often involves getting up really early or returning home really late, and sometimes both.
The ‘w’ to ‘b’ situation has been developing over the last three weeks, over an author who I shall call Alex Smith. He/she is coming to a place near me, so I asked for 15 minutes over coffee somewhere. Alex returned my email immediately, sounding positive, but referring me to his/her publicist. The publicist took a very long time to reply, but said ‘we will definitely set up an interview’.
Three days before the event I had heard no more, so tried again to get an answer. I had hoped to involve a couple of ardent fans to do the talking, so needed to know if they were free to meet Alex. They were.
Unfortunately both Alex and his/her publicist decided the day before the event that Alex would be too tired to fit us in. I’d sort of assumed that getting exhausted for a limited time when on a book launch tour (a short one in this instance) is an occupational hazard that authors grit their teeth and put up with. Just like I do as I drag myself out of bed at four to catch a train.
For myself I don’t mind this time, but would have preferred not to be strung along for weeks. I feel for my young interviewers, though. ‘Will definitely’ looks bewilderingly much like a promise.