I was talking to a class of students the other day, and during the Q&A section, someone asked me how I felt the VERY first time I did a book talk like the one I was doing right then and there.
And suddenly I remembered quite vividly how I felt. Like throwing up, that’s how. My first ever event was scheduled three months in advance, and every day I’d think about it, and every day I came down with a bad case of the cold sweats and serious tummy lurches.
That’s because I MIGHT seem chatty and reasonable confident when you meet me, but inside I look a lot like this…
Yes, my inner self is a Slow Loris that “eeks!” a lot – I just hide it well.
But despite my months-long case of the collywobbles, my first talk went okay. I planned it out beforehand (while feeling worried) and the two classes who’d come to Wood Green library in Wood Green, north London, listened nicely (though I think I probably talked too fast). I didn’t properly relax till the last part of my talk, when I said…
It wasn’t the sensible and interesting questions about my books and writing that made me feel better… it was one from a boy whose hand was waving madly.
“Yes?” I said to him, pointing his way.
“What’s your favourite kind of crisps?” he asked, out of the blue.
I think I snorted in a VERY unladylike way, then couldn’t stop giggling.
Since then I’ve done a gazillion book talks, and my inner Slow Loris mostly keeps quiet.
And I still love my Q&A sessions; not just for all the interesting book and writing related questions I’m asked, but for the odd random and bonkers questions I get asked too. The answers to some of those are…
• No, I’ve never wished I was a boy.
• Thanks for the invitation, but I can’t come to yours for tea.
• Conger eels are the one animal I don’t like.
• No, I’m not married to a prince.
So if any of you come to see me give a talk in the future, feel free to ask me any question you like. Me – and my inner Slow Loris – will be up for anything you’ve got…
Karen McCombie :c)
PS In case you’re wondering, my favourite flavour of crisp is…