WIDOMV 2010 – Part 1 – James’s BronxTalk TV interview

WIDOMV 2010 = What I Did On My Vacation 2010

I started typing this as one document that covered two weeks, but it got really long…So I’m going to break it into sections for both your and my sanity…  I’ll back-fill the “/?” part of the title when I figure out how long I end up dragging this out…

Well, its Sunday October 24th, 2010 and its the last day of my two week vacation – Its back to work tomorrow.  And while I didn’t “go anywhere” for my vacation, I did seem to do an awful lot of stuff if you believe the pictures I took from the last two weeks…

My vacation officially started on Friday,  Oct 8th, but I can’t talk about that week without telling of something really cool that happened on Monday of that week…   I did an interview on TV for my book Lost Boys of the Bronx – The Oral History of the Ducky Boys Gang !!!

It was for a Bronx community access show called BronxTalk with Gary Axelbank and it was my first real interview on TV…  (There was something on Scotch Plains TV a few years back for my RYL Documentary, but we don’t talk about that anymore)   Bronx Talk is a show on the BronxNet network, and everybody in the Bronx (estimated population 1,411,654 people) with cable gets this channel so its not small potatoes…  It was also repeated 3 times a day – every day for the week.  In addition it was also simulcast on the http://www.bronxnet.org/tv/bronxtalk website — What I’m saying is that a LOT of people had potential to watch the show..

The show broadcasts at 9pm Monday out of my old alma mater Lehman College in the Bronx.    After some driving around, I eventually found parking  — Surprisingly it was hell to find a pot – I guess more people have late classes than I thought..    I rushed thru the campus to get to the studio on time.  It was kinda weird running thru the Lehman Campus years after I graduated from there – but it was a good weird… 🙂

Photo: Bronx Talk with Gary Axelbank – Oct 4th, 2010 show “Bronx Books”
(l-r)Fernando Peguero author of “Stop Being Poor”, James Hannon author of “Lost Boys of the Bronx: The Oral History of the Ducky Boys”, Liz Murray author of “Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard”, Gary Axelbank, host of BronxTalk, Jane Folloro, Producer of BronxTalk , Bernard Blue Rowell, author of “Son I Got Your Back”

I made it to the studio on time, and met everybody who was going to be on the show.    Very cool that Liz Murray who is on the NY Times best seller list is also going to be on the show…We talked a little bit before the show, but I have to admit that my nerves were getting the best of me, and I was a little distracted…  She mentioned that she just came from Martha Stewart’s show (or maybe Martha’s daughter – like I said I was a little distracted), and that she was off to Canada for interviews the next day – which got me thinking about if my book miraculously took off, how the hell would I be able to handle that kind of schedule if I’m nervous already about a local Bronx show?  Eventually the panic subsided and the show started and I was fine (or at least pre-occupied with listening to the other authors while they were being interviewed).

At this point, I need to digress a bit and tell you that I was interviewed with Kevin Byrne – Kevin is an actual Ducky Boy gangmember, and we’ve become good friends over the course of this project.  Even tho we lived 200 feet away from other throughout 1969-1993,  I only met him while researching the Ducky Boys.   Kevin is a really good guy and has been helping me out promoting the book to the non-internet crowd and reaching his network of “guys from the old neighborhood”, and putting up book flyers all over Manhattan and the Bronx.    Kevin was also nervous about the interview as well, but hid it pretty well.

Back to the show – When the other three authors had finished, Gary got to me and Kevin.  From multiple sources, I heard that many interviewers haven’t read the book they are interviewing people about.  So I provided a list of talking points ahead of time to Gary.   Well, Gary read and knew the book pretty well, and went off the page of talking points…  Which is awesome that he did that, but it threw a curve ball to the nervous Kevin and myself…  We handled ourselves pretty well considering, but of course ended up kicking ourselves afterward for not having better prepared answers.   Hey, it was our first interview and we definitely learned from it, and the next interview will be better… And the one after that will be even better…We finished the interview, and Gary closed the show.  We talked a bit and hung out a a bit with Bernard Blue Rowell (who’s a really nice guy), and traded signed books and tips on promoting.

Overall, it was a really good show…  Sure we stumbled a bit, but not too noticeable…   I was told my numerous people afterwards that Gary’s enthusiasm for my book really came thru, and that while we seemed a little nervous at first, by the end we were old pros…

Here is the show so you can see for yourself – My clip begins around the 18:50 mark…

I’ve watched this interview numerous times, and it wasn’t that bad from a spectator’s view… Gary is a great host, and really moved things along – As a biased observer, I really felt that he liked the book a lot, and that enthusiasm came thru…

And it seems that I got quite a spike in book sales afterwards, so it seemed to work!  Mission accomplished!

Ok,  that’s about all I’m betting you are willing to read right now, so I’ll cut it short…  Next on the Vacation 2010 agenda – NY Comic Con 2010!!   Probably won’t be a lot of text to read, but there are tons of pictures which I think you’ll enjoy…

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