Helen Scales

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Poseidon's Steed goes on tour

A few months ago my publicist at Gotham books called me up to tell me I’d been invited to appear on the Diane Rehm Show on NPR in Washington DC. I think she expected more of a reaction out of me at the time, because I must confess that I’d not heard of the show and had no idea how much of a big deal this was. The penny dropped when I passed this news on to a good friend of mine from the states and watched as her jaw dropped and she danced around me in delight.

Of course, I dashed straight off to listen to Diane’s shows on the internet and was astonished to discover that I’d be on air, live, for a whole hour, to the whole of the country. Super super scary.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve done a fair bit of radio, been interviewed, been the interviewer, and by now I’m fine with speaking live on air and hearing my voice wafting out of a radio set. But this was different. For days leading up to the interview I was so nervous I could barely eat. I got upgraded on my flight over to Washington (no, I’m not that famous an author yet to be able to demand 1st class travel), but I barely noticed the comfy chair and tastier food, as I was mentally pacing up and down the isle, worrying myself silly about what was ahead of me.

It got worse as I rode in the taxi over to the studios in downtown DC and the driver had NPR playing. As I stepped out of the cab I told him “Keep listening. I’ll be on in half an hour”.

But the truth is, when I rocked up to the WNYC studios – an amazingly low-key place, I wasn’t even sure if I got the right buzzer – I was met with such a warm, friendly welcome that my nerves instantly vanished. My hour on air flew by as we chatted seahorses and took some fantastic questions from listeners all across the country. I could have happily gone on and on.

You can have a listen to the show here.

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