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I'd never appeared on television before. When the e-mail came from Morgan Potts at UNC-TV inviting me to appear on North Carolina Bookwatch,with gracious host and NC book maven D.G. Martin, I decided some web research was in order a.s.a.p. The taping was set for a few days away. The show is a classic and popular literary interview series on public TV, broadcast throughout North Carolina on Sunday evenings.

When I googled "appear on TV", immediately "do's and don't" came up: Do not wear busy prints, pinstripes, checks, or dots. --No problem, these were not in my wardrobe, but a nice gold jacket with a subtle brocade, which I use for readings, was. Do not wear dangly earrings. Do not look directly at the camera. Wear make-up, whether you normally do or not, or you will look like Richard Nixon did in the debate with Jack Kennedy....Remember who won the presidency?

UNC-TV staff had cautioned me that: "HD cameras magnify any flaw six to ten times." Luckily, I'm not a particularly vain individual, but I headed for my local Sephora store to try out HDTV makeup, made especially for TV. I spent a fun half-hour learning how to apply it. Thirty dollars later, I was well-prepared, in makeup at least, for my fifteen minutes--or rather, half-hour--of fame.

I was sure that the show would be taped, and cleverly edited to bring out the best parts of my witty repartee, and delete all mishaps and stumbles. But just before taping began, I learned that the filming would proceed straight through, sans editing--unless some really spectacularly awful blooper ensued. Ooops.

UNC-TV is in a spiffy new building out in Research Triangle Park. Waiting in the Green Room, I put myself into a light hypnosis to get optimally calm. Before long Mr. Martin came in, with Alexandra Sokoloff (who had just taped her interview for the show). She writes metaphysical thrillers filled w/ ghosts and such...also a favorite subject of mine...and invited me to do a gig together, if schedules align, around Halloween.

After a little getting-to-know you chat designed to relax the guest, Mr. Martin and Mr. Potts, the show's producer/director, led me down the hall into a cavernous stage set. The itty bitty set of NC Bookwatch sits at one end, looking just like it does when you watch the show on TV--except onscreen, it appears to occupy an average livingroom. And there, centered on the set's bookcase between us, spotlighted nicely, was my humble little novel, WHERE THE LAKE BECOMES THE RIVER. Mr. Martin and I were miked by the crew and took our seats, and the countdown to showtime began... (to be continued).
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