I’m So Nervous I Might Vomit On Your Shoes

“So what’ya in for?” The 40-something aesthetician rested a hand on my shoulder, her southern accent chummy.

“Television interview.”

“Television!” she squealed. “That’s so exciting!”

I didn’t feel excited. I felt like someone had exteriorized my stomach and was poking sharp needles in it. My brain felt completely blank.

I realized, dread washing over me, that I had no idea what questions I would be asked, I couldn’t remember any talking points, and, stupidly, I hadn’t taken the time to practice.

Heather patted foundation onto my face.

It was bright orange.

I have green eyes and a high forehead. I looked like an Oompa-Loompa.

“We’ll lighten that up, don’t you worry,” she drawled when she saw me startle as I looked in the mirror.

Half an hour and $33 later, I was driving to KOBI TV Channel 5 in Medford.

Here’s how I looked all made up and (not so) ready to go:

The dreary gray sky matched my mood.

Why had I agreed to do this? (A more honest question would have been, ‘Why had I actively sought out this opportunity?’ but this wasn’t my most honest hour.) Why hadn’t I taken a media training workshop? What did I have to say that anyone would care about on TV?

I was about a hundred hours early. I sat in my car and fretted. I called my friend Christine. She has a book coming out two weeks after mine. The stress has been giving her headaches. Like me, she’s as terrified of her book getting attention as she is of her book being completely ignored.

“Prepare for the calm before the calm,” is my friend Virginia’s favorite advice about pre-publication jitters. Every writer expects, hopes for, and is petrified about a publicity storm. But for most writers, with so many books being published every day, all we get is … silence.

“I look like a cheap whore,” I told Christine. “The lady put way too much makeup on my face.”

“You’ll be great,” she soothed.

“The stakes aren’t that high. It’s local television. It’s good practice.” I was convincing myself as much as Christine. I hung up the phone, grabbed my bag with trembling hands, and headed into the studio.

“Don’t look into the camera,” the anchorman, who also had orange foundation plastered to his face (maybe my makeup lady knew what she was doing after all?), advised. “Just talk to me. We’ll have cameras on you. Okay, five seconds to rolling … three, two, one!”

The anchorman surprised me by giving me a big smile and asking, “How are you?”

“I’m GREAT,” I practically shouted, gripping his hand firmly and shaking too hard.

I figured, “I’m so nervous I might vomit on your shoes,” wouldn’t be such a good television debut…

Wondering how I did on TV? The “Five on 5” interview won’t air until April 16, which is when my book comes out. In the meantime, you can watch this 1 minute 30 second book trailer in which I appear for approximately three seconds:

Or you could watch this 3-minute clip of me on KOBI last year, extolling the virtues of brocolli:

Related posts:
So You Want to Be on TV?
New Books Coming Out and Why You Should Read Them

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Categories: books and publishing.


  1. I’m sure you will be terrific in the interview. It’s crazy how important book promotion has become. Writers are usually good at writing. Promotion takes different skills and used to be a different profession entirely.

  2. What a great post! Many of us have experienced this combination of stage fright and orange makeup — or some variation.

    In my case, the producer (there was no make-up professional) decided she wanted me to have full lips.

    “But I have thin lips,” I reminded her.

    “We’ll make them full,” she told me, drawing the lips she wanted on my face and filling them in with lipstick.

    I don’t know how it would have looked on TV, because the segment was cancelled — after a cross-country trip and a full morning of filming. Some higher up decided “senior sex” wasn’t what they wanted on the show after all. Arghh.

  3. Good for you. I’m trying to figure out how to promote my walkin gPortland book which comes out next month. I hadn’t thought of tv interviews… I’m not sure that would promote the book or kill it outright…Billy

  4. Natalie B.

    You’ll be great. I’m so looking forward to the book (and feel like I have been for ages).

    Also, enjoyed the food dye piece. We figured out a few months ago that our younger daughter has a food dye allergy/intolerance. We didn’t notice behavior issues, although we weren’t looking, but rather a rash around her mouth and cheeks. It would happen so infrequently that it took us a long time to narrow it down. Once we figured it out, we realized that those dyes were in her toothpaste and medicines too. Yuck.

  5. I always feel like that, too, when I have a lot of makeup on. But the alternative is looking like a washed out ghost or anemic albino. It feels like a ton of makeup and looks like it in person, but on TV under the lights it looks normal. You looked great!
    Alisa Bowman recently posted…4 Ways to Rekindle LoveMy Profile

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