Christmas was coming and my sister Roxanne had recently written and sold a Regency novel called “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” In September, she had a brainstorm: send a letter with a copy of her book to Tim Coco at WHAV Radio, a local station and offer to read a couple of chapters on air. She promptly mailed both letter and book and waited. October came and went. November was almost gone. Thanksgiving was over and we were looking forward to gearing up for Christmas. Roxanne was sending out stories and writing new ones and put it out of her head. Besides, we were both focused on upcoming book readings and signings not to mention shopping for gifts.
Around Thanksgiving, Roxy got a call from Mr. Coco. “I’d like to interview you on “The Open Mike Show” and have you read a bit from your book. How does December 1st sound?”
Now you have to know Roxanne to realize how bone chillingly horrifying this was for her to hear. She wasn’t prepared. She needed time to plan. She needed time to assimilate. She needed more TIME!
But time was not a commodity she had. Mere days away, fear bloomed and threatened to ruin her self-confidence, her interview and the opportunity she herself, sought out.
Roxanne made a conscious decision despite being scared witless, to overcome her fear and talked herself off the ledge. She realized over the past few years, she’d been reading her fiction at various places: a theatre, bookstores and at EWAG, her writing support group. Not to mention reading aloud to me ever since I was knee high to a grasshopper. So she knew she’d feel comfortable reading on the radio show. She was less sure of the spontaneous interview part, but after we played Host / Interviewee for a few hours, she felt more prepared.
That was, until she found out one hour before her interview that WHAV Radio was also a live television show with an audience of at least 64,000 viewers.
My sister confessed, had she known about being on camera, she probably wouldn’t have sent her initial query letter and book. Some surprises from the universe are best left for last.
After Roxanne accepted she was the one who set in motion this wonderful opportunity, she relaxed. Trusting that this was a good thing, instead of freaking out (well, not much) she embraced the challenge and prepared for the show.
It turned out to be a milestone of accomplishment. Tim Coco, was a wonderful Host with a long history on WHAV. At seventeen, he became an intern at “WHAV Broadcasting Co., Haverhill.” He is the Founder and Chief Executive of The Open Mike Show on WHAV Radio where he talks about news, history, holds interviews and yaks about trivia with call-ins. Easy to talk to, Mr. Coco possesses the gift of gab and made Roxanne feel safe. For that, he is my Hero.
Roxanne actually enjoyed the experience and said she would do it again. I thought she appeared calm and natural. Watching the interview with an eye to improve, rather than as a negative critic, she felt she could have elaborated on a few subjects and could have looked more at the camera. But on the whole, she was proud of what she’d accomplished and felt greatly empowered.
Acting on an intuitive idea, Roxanne took a risk and followed through. It made her stronger. She actually said she didn’t think she’d ever be afraid of stepping out from her comfort zone again.
In the past, Roxy remembered attending cocktail parties at her agent’s that included writers, actors and editors. Like her, the writers all sat on couches sipping drinks, not speaking and counting the minutes when it would be an acceptable time to leave. The actors stood around the piano singing and talking about the latest part they were in or exchanging backstage gossip. She envied their ease and gregarious, outgoing ability to talk about themselves and their work. While not everyone has an actor’s personality — everyone can surprise themselves; shed their self-imposed limitations, try something different and expand their horizons.
I have huge admiration for Roxanne. It was a bold and courageous move for her to follow through on her burst of intuition. The payoff was a feeling of accomplishment, and trust in herself.
We encourage you to listen for that hunch whispering in your ear to do something you’ve never done before. You may surprise yourself. Roxanne might still feel nervous about trying something new but insists it won’t hold her back. And that alone is priceless.
Look for our blog week about our attendance at “Authors Night” at the Nashua Public Library where over 50 authors attended. Ciao, till then.