Monday, June 3, 2013

SFR/Romance Author Barbara Elsborg Interviewed by BBC Television

One of our favorite authors, Barbara Elsborg, posted on Facebook recently that she'd been interviewed by BBC, a British television network. Sounds like a dream come true for a multi-published author, doesn't it? (Or if you're like a lot of introverted writers, maybe you'd consider it more of a nightmare?)

I wasted no time in shooting her an email to ask if she'd tell us about what it's like to do a television interview, and she graciously agreed. Barbara's here today to answer a few questions about her experience.

So, Barbara, please tell us how this all came about? How did BBC contact you and what ensued? Was there a particular book or topic that was the focus? 

One of my husband's relatives recently changed jobs from BBC radio to BBC TV. Sarah was actually my little bridesmaid many moons ago. She called me up to ask a question about taking a vacation in the States and asked me how my writing was going. I told her. It was just at the time that sales of Strangers had gone through the roof after the success of Fifty Shades of Grey. Up 3,000%!!

Sarah had been contemplating a program about DH Lawrence, who wrote Lady Chatterley's Lover, Sons and Lovers, The Rainbow, etc. He wrote not just about love, but social prejudice and the plight of the mining villages in the East Midlands. I come from the area where he was born and brought up. Lawrence went to Ilkeston Grammar School - as did I - and he was a pupil-teacher at the primary school I went to. Obviously decades apart!

Sarah had the idea of linking Lawrence's literary erotic romance and the obscenity trial, to me and modern erotic romance as a way to show how times have changed and tastes have changed. The program includes a local reading group discussing Strangers and Lady Chatterley's Lover, and also features Dr. John Worthen, Lawrence's biographer.

What great connections to D.H. Lawrence you have! What were your thoughts on being asked to do the interview by BBC? Excitement? Bliss? Sheer terror? 

At London Book Fair
At first, I didn't think too much about it. I think I'd assumed I'd just be mentioned and then when Sarah starting to talk about filming, I thought - oh flipping heck! She wanted to film in London at the book fair, then in Eastwood in the wood where Lawrence pictured Lady Chatterley and Mellors, the gamekeeper, and also to film me at home, writing. I was petrified in London, less scared in Eastwood and okay by the time I was filmed at home.

I'm not sure my nerves would have settled down even then.

So, what happened next? I'm curious how much planning and preparation went into the interview? Were you able to make suggestions or talk about ideas for the interview? How much time passed between you agreeing to do the interview and the actual filming? 

Sarah first mentioned it just after Christmas - we exchanged a few emails when she asked for background info on me and my books. The book fair filming was done in April, the part at home was done last week and the program will air in the autumn. A lot of editing to be done!

The actual interviews - London and home - I didn't know what I was going to be asked. I was miked up and given a few hints - e.g. chat to Raelene Gorlinsky from Ellora's Cave - about how you feel about being at the Book Fair. My mind went instantly blank. We'd already talked for an hour. I couldn't think of a thing to say! But eventually I blabbed something. The interviewer - who is the head of the program and Sarah's boss, asked me questions off camera and then moments later, asked me on camera. You don't have long to think. I suspect they want natural flowing speech.

I had to do a couple of things twice when I dried up. Raelene was a real pro. I suspect she'd done it lots of times before. They filmed me walking about, not looking at the camera - that was fun. I wondered if people thought - who's she!

What did you do to prepare? Did you study? Rehearse? Buy a disguise? 

I thought about a few things - such as - do I think I owe a debt to Lawrence, what did I think of his sex scenes, what would he have thought of my books, why do women like erotic romance, etc. but I was largely guided by the questions they asked - and no, I didn't know more than a few minutes ahead what they would be. No rehearsal - just filmed straight away!

As for a disguise, well when I went to the Book Fair, I went via daughter's who took one look at my outfit and made me change. I wore her jacket, her top, her necklace!

So tell us what all happened the day for the interview? How did the day go? Where was it filmed? What did you talk about? Were you nervous? What surprised you and what do you think went particularly well? 

The main part for me was here in my house. We had to reorganise the room I write in to give the cameraman the right angle. I should say that both cameramen were lovely. So kind and just really nice guys. Lots praise and no hint that they were bothered about dealing with someone who had no idea what they were doing. They arrived at 10.30. Filmed me typing, filmed me reading and then interviewed me. All over by 1.30.

It all takes a lot longer than you'd think. Not helped by changing light levels as it rained off and on. I was nervous but not as much as I had been in London. I refused to think about what I'd said once it was done otherwise I suspect I'd have freaked out. What's done is done. I can't change it so I hope it edits okay. The program is not just about me. They interviewed Raelene, Dr. Worthen and also went to Lincoln to interview Total-E-Bound.

I think what surprised me most was how hard it was to just speak on camera with no script. It gave me renewed admiration for those who do it for a living. I've never been good at thinking on my feet.

What went well? I hope I made sense when I spoke. I think I was a bit gushy in London but had calmed down by the time I was interviewed here.

Now for the big question. Where and when can we see your interview? Will it be available outside the BBC market? Will you have permission to post links on your blog or website? 

Well, even I don't know the date yet. Only that it will be on in the autumn. The program is called Inside Out. It's a show that covers different subjects every week. It airs at 7.30 so there has to be some care taken over content as it's not beyond the watershed. It will air regionally first and hopefully nationally later.

I did hear something said about a disk so I don't know if I get to look at the show first or not. As for clips - I hope so but I'll have to wait and see.

Any last thoughts on the whole experience? Would you do it again? What advice can you offer to other authors who might be asked to do a television interview? 

Yes, I'd do it again. I'm quite a shy person. I don't tend to post pics of myself but this has made me more forward. No point pretending I'm Angelina Jolie when I'm not! To any other authors who're asked to do a TV interview - absolutely go for it. If you can get copies of questions beforehand, then do because at least it gives you chance to think of an answer.

I don't know what the book club people will say about Strangers. Maybe they hated it, who knows, but it's still publicity. If E. L. James can do it with Fifty Shades of Grey, maybe I can too.

Thanks so much, Barbara, and many congrats on one uber exciting (and scary) opportunity. Now we all know a little more about the question: What if you get asked to do a TV interview!

In addition to the highly acclaimed Strangers, Barbara Elsborg is the author of over 25 other novels including one of our very favorite Science Fiction Romance/Eroticas, Lucy in the Sky. Read more about Barbara's work on her Amazon profile, or visit her web site, Barbara Elsborg Online.

And here's a surprise for our readers. To celebrate Barbara's BBC interview and our Spacefreighters Lounge 125,000th hit, one randomly selected commenter will win a free copy of a choice of Strangers or Lucy in the Sky. (Note: For those outside the US we may have to restrict the prize to an ebook or an Amazon gift card.) 


  1. Excellent interview of being filmed. I loved all the details. Thanks for sharing the excitement of what it was like with us. I hope you rocket well beyond Fifty Shades, Barb. You deserve it and so does the world, anyone who has yet to learn what a fantastic author you are.

  2. I won't forget you when I'm a millionaire!!!!!

  3. After this interview hits, you could be well on your way! Don't forget us 'little people.' LOL

  4. Wow, Barbara, this is so exiting! It sounds like it ended up being a wonderful experience. Congrats and I do hope we somehow get to see it. Have never read 50 Shades but I sure as heck loved Strangers!

  5. Thanks, Sharon and Laurie! Well, I hadn't read 50 Shades until a few weeks ago, but thought I'd better in case I was asked about it. I had to admit, it wasn't what I'd expected.

  6. Can you say in what way it surprised you, Barbara? (Or is that something that should be discussed privately.) :

  7. Yes, I can say. It wasn't as sexy as I expected. It isn't really a BDSM book in many ways. I was astounded Christian was only 27. I didn't really get that his background was the reason for his behaviour. He was obsessed with his up to age 4 upbringing by the person he called 'the crackwhore' and I find it hard to believe that once he was adopted by a loving family, those four years would have set his path in life. he goes through a Mrs Robinson episode in his teens - from age 15 that I can see would have an effect but even that wasn't a strong enough explanation for me, considering that aspect is the heart of the story. I thought the whole story could have been told in one book. It was VERY drawn out. I could go on. It wasn't as bad as I'd expected after hearing what a lot of people had to say - but I've read better.

  8. So glad you're getting all this well-deserved attention,Barbara! Whenever anyone mentions 50 SHADES, I tell them about your books and insist they look you up. Maybe I'm not the only one of your fans doing that!


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