Adventures of an Almost-Famous Author

Yesterday was quite a day for yours truly. I was on ABC News for an interview about Lead Like Ike in the afternoon and then in the evening Barnes & Noble (on Main Street in  White Plains, NY) hosted a book discussion and signing for me.

The interview was actually taped a week ago, and after being ushered into makeup and then meeting with the producer, I was led to a black hole of a studio that the producer laughingly called the “bat cave.” Except for a large backdrop photo of New York behind me, the entire room was black. A technician hooked me up with an earphone and a lapel microphone, turned on the camera and left me facing the lights, which shone upon me like a torture suspect in a movie scene. (A bad movie with a Third World prison as the locale.) The lights were so bright that I had to shut my eyes, and I waited so long that I dozed off.

And then the news anchor (Tory Johnson) was talking to me through the earpiece and I was trying to answer her questions, but I’d swear that all I said was “Blah, blah, blah, blah, Ike, blah, blah, Ike, . . .” As it turns out, despite being suddenly awakened from a cat nap, I managed to sound semi-intelligible.

Last night was a very different story. I was surrounded by books and human beings — I had a double tall latte from the Starbucks within Barnes & Noble, and the store’s events manager, Grace Cantwell, gave me a nice intro. And then the best part: I got to talk with real live human beings. No matter how annoying people can sometimes be, they are infinitely preferable to a camera, bright lights, and black walls. And this particular crowd was lots of fun.

We talked about Ike (very good!), and we talked about BP and Tony Hayward (very, very bad!). We talked about staying on mission and assessing risk and being honest, no matter what — all things that Ike excelled at, and that sadly, BP has done a poor job of.

Then I signed so many books that I had writers’ cramp. A good time was had by all. If that’s my 45 minutes of fame, it was a helluva 45 minutes.


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