I had a chance to catch up with Literary Mama Senior Editor and Columnist Heidi Raykeil after her interview with Ann Curry on the Today Show. Heidi was interviewed about her first book Confessions of a Naughty Mommy: How I Found My Lost Libido and came across as calm, cool and collected.
She revealed the secret of handling the spotlight. Not meditation, not breathing exercises, not an early morning session with a zen master. Nope, truth be known, Heidi had spent the previous evening dealing with a stomach bug which hit her and her family. Instead of drinking champagne or having some well-deserved “naughty” moments in her swish hotel room, she alternated between curling up on the bathroom floor and ringing housekeeping to bring up more towels to throw up in. The next morning she was so happy not to feel nauseous (or to be dealing with vomit-covered (but oh so high thread count) hotel sheets) that her “I’m on national TV!” jitters all but disappeared. Ah, the glamourous life of the writer mother.
Heidi revealed that it also helped to remember that her writing was inspired by her children. She first started writing as a way to help her process the death of her baby boy (her essay Johnny, which also appears in the just-published Literary Mama anthology, is a heartbreakingly beautiful tribute to her son). She says, “So when I was freaking out in the bathroom of the Today show I thought of Johnny, and how this was all a gift from him, and how he would have never got me started on this writing path if it wasn’t something I could handle. And then I was calm.”
Having her husband and daughter with her was also helpful. She says, “seeing them I was able to remember what really matters: no matter what I say on national TV, they’ll still love me, my parents will still love me, my friends will still love me — although my friends will also tease me mercilessly about my hair and nervous habits only they would recognize.”
Since appearing on the Today show, Heidi has done local tv and radio interviews and will be talking about her book on cable radio. She was even ‘recognized’ in a local shop (the shopkeeper failed to cut her a deal, however). She admits that she finds the whole publicity process a bit daunting as she became a writer in part “because you get to sit in a room by yourself” and had hoped to cut her teeth on a few bookstore readings before appearing on national TV. (Her husband, on the other hand, shines in the spotlight, reinforcing yet again why they work so well together (yes, the suggestion that he don a dress and do her readings has been made.)) She also finds it a little strange to think that people she once knew (high school classmates, ex-boyfriends) might see you her in this context.
Heidi details the wild ride that was her 2005 (which started with her New Year’s resolution to get a literary agent) in her current Literary Mama column, Sex in the Suburbs.