I don't like being in the spotlight. I don't like drawing attention to myself, talking about myself, and especially hate praising myself. I learned through the years that fading into the background is far better than having people watching or actually caring about what you're doing. That way they leave you alone so you can do whatever you want with limited judgement or disapproval. So when I had to begin promoting my book, and essentially myself, it was difficult. If you hadn't guessed when I do talk I am pretty outspoken. I tell the truth, hopefully with a side dish of humor and love, like putting arsenic in the sugar. Goes down better that way. So when I was asked to go on television to promote my book my first reaction was hell to the no. I don't even like people taking my picture (I swear I'm much prettier in person and don't have twelve chins) let alone being seen my potentially tens of thousands of people. But I know a good opportunity when it's presented and couldn't turn it down. (Money trumps vanity every time.)
I had to wake up at four AM to do my hair, make-up, descale my back and claws to be even close to camera ready. I left the house around six to make the two hour drive. By the time I hauled my already weary, badly in need of a touch-up in every department body to the studio I was ready to go home. But no, I had five minutes to sell the hell out of my baby and promote the signing the next day. As I walked in a million concerns flew through my mind. What if I get tongue tied? What if I can't remember what F.R.E.A.K.S. stands for? What if I fart? What if I cuss? What if I scare small children with my twelve chins? It's me. Something is bound to go wrong. But I walked in with my head held high and kept a smile on my face the whole time.
I also didn't know what to expect regarding the studio either. Would it be like CNN with people running all over? Would I get to be in the green room? No, and no. Once again Hollywood has lied. I was ushered from a tiny reception area to a bench. A bench. A few of the other guests of "Virginia This Morning" had already assembeled including the "pie ladies" with one of their adorable daughters dressed as Yankee Doodle Dandy to act as Vanna White during their demonstration, and real life ghost hunters the Richmond Investigators of the Paranormal. Those boys and I had an interesting conversation about ghosts. (Yes I am a believer). One even did a mock interview with me to prepare as they had been interviewed several times before though the years. (They even wanted my picture. Such sweet guys).
Finally it was time to go into the studio. Once again nothing like the movies. It was the size of my living room with three sets: a basic news desk with teleprompter for one, two chairs and a coffee table with a giant TV behind, and the weather station which was a desk with a green screen behind. I sat off to the side while the local Alice Cooper cover band, got ready in the corner. I was on after them.
I took my seat. I recited Federal Response to Extra-Sensory and Kindred Supernaturals a dozen times in my head. I prayed no farts or swear words would be uttered. Then the interview began and I WAS ON. All my years in drama class paid off. A switch was flicked and I went from the exhausted Quasimodo to the articulate, funny, smart girl who I let out only on special occasions. The five minutes flew by and I even remembered what F.R.E.A.K.S. stood for. Then I took off my mike and walked out the back. I don't know if I sold any books, but I sure do feel $%#@&^% good about myself. Though I do need to see someone about my chins.
To see my interview on "Virginia This Morning" go to my website www.jenniferharlowbooks.com. And if you're in the DC area this weekend come see me, Alan Orloff, and seventeen other mystery writers at the Sisters in Crime Mystery Author Extravaganza, East Columbia Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia MD. Hope to see you there!
-TV Star Jennifer Harlow