Friday, March 14, 2014

In Which a REALLY Camera Shy Writer Consents to Appear on Camera (with a brief digression about Italian hand gestures)

When you are writing and submitting and collecting rejections and rewriting and pursuing publication for as long as I have (hint: 20+ years), you tend to have very elaborate daydreams about what it will be like when your book finally appears on the bookstore shelf.

My daydreams included book signings and school visits and conference talks. (Which I am thrilled to say have all come true.) But also, crazier stuff like movie premieres and NY Times Bestseller lists and, okay, I will admit it: my Printz Award acceptance speech. (Alas, these daydreams are as yet unfulfilled.)

But one thing that never flitted across my mind was appearing on camera.

Suddenly, though, I am faced with three such events. To be clear, I am not talking Oprah or the Today Show. 

Thank God.

My three media-related thingys are on a MUCH smaller scale. An interview on a public television station in Connecticut. A taped skype-like chat with the cool people at my publishing company (April 16). And this Saturday March 15 (oh, shoot, I guess that is tomorrow!) a live chat on Twitter with a blogger/book reviewer named Rachel.

Some truths about me pertaining to appearing on camera:

1. I have never appeared on camera.

2. I don't even like having my picture taken. (See here for the angst involved in having my book jacket photo taken and how it almost caused my husband to divorce me.)

I asked a friend who is a bit more media savvy than I am if she had any tips about being on camera and she said, and I quote: "Don't move around too much."

This advice added another layer of anxiety that I hadn't even considered. You see, while I have not been blessed with the well known Italian Cleaning Gene, I have inherited the Italian Hand Gesture Gene.

To put this another way: I cannot talk unless I am moving my hands.


After someone pointed out my talking/hand gesturing style to me, I sat on my hands and words literally would not come out of my mouth.

This tendency may be a problem (tomorrow!!) when I appear on the small screen. But I am going to try to forget about it and have fun with the interview. For the record, I still don't know exactly how it works. I think it's going to be a skype-like chat, with me facing my own laptop screen, My first order of business will be to find a quiet (clean. Ha ha) corner of my house to park myself.

If any of you would like to tune in to this potentially amusing program (which will happen live March 15 from 8:00-9:00 pm EST, but will likely float around online for YEARS), here is the link to do that. (I think) If you are on Twitter, you can tweet me any burning questions you may have by using the hashtag #JodyLiveChat (Ask your kids for help with this. I asked my daughter and she was extremely informative.)

I'll share the upcoming dates and links for the other two events, which will likely be equally amusing. But as of now, you may mark your calendars:

April 8th on Wethersfield CT TV14 

April 16th at 4:00-- online. There's a VERY COOL promotional tie-in, if you tune in to this one--something awesome that I can't mention yet, but I will soon...

PS. If ANYONE has any media advice between this moment and um, tomorrow, at 8:00, please please please feel free to share. (Just don't tell me to sit on my hands.)

(A friend snapped this pic of me doing a book talk--mid hand gesture)

UPDATE: Here's the link to the live chat interview 


  1. The link and your Facebook posts say tomorrow but this post says April 15th. It's tomorrow, yes?

    1. Shoot. March 15th. I have no sense of time anymore.

    2. Okay, I just changed it. Thanks so much, Karrie!!

    3. You are welcome. I hope to see you in action soon. Take deep breaths and all that stuff we tell our students before torturing them with presentations:)