Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Guest Post: Kristina McMorris

Today we welcome Kristina McMorris whose novel Bridge of Scarlet Leaves  pubs today.

The novel is about a young women who secretly elopes with her Japanese American boyfriend on the eve before the Pearl Harbor bombing. 

"Radio Tour Nightmares"
by Kristina McMorris

At last, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves has been officially released, and I'm happy to report I've survived the promotional whirlwind—though just barely. And I mean that in a literal sense.

This past weekend, while at a mountain getaway with my family, I participated once more in a charming show called "Book and a Chat" on Blog Talk Radio. Due to blizzard conditions, however, in order to reach a landline for the interview, I had to abandon my car after it got stuck in the snow and trek (in my Pumas) to reach the administration office, where the landline didn't work, and I wound up doing the entire program on my cell phone while seated on a tower of clean towels in their bathroom.

If it weren't for Barry being such a wonderful host, I might have taken last year's mishap with his show as a precaution.

Last spring, preparing for a Saturday morning interview to promote my debut, Letters from Home, I'd chugged enough coffee to achieve coherence, loaded up my kids with diversions of food and cartoons, then locked myself up in a quiet room. I phoned in precisely five minutes before show time, as instructed, and dialed #1 to be placed in the host's queue, as instructed. (See how diligent I was being about following directions?)

As I waited, thrumming to the elevator music, the time ticked away. Nobody came on the line. Hmm. Odd. My concern grew until suddenly I heard Barry greeting listeners, touting how excited he was about today's interview with an author of historical fiction. (Yay, me!) But then…he announced another novelist's name. My mental red flag shot upward—until it dawned on me that, obviously, the show was featuring authors back-to-back and my turn would be next.

Thus, I waited as the two of them chatted away. Admittedly my mind went wandering. A good ten minutes into the show, a dead pause on the line seized my attention. The host was addressing me, but not in the way I'd anticipated.

"Caller, are you there?" he pressed. "Do you have a question for us?"

Oh. No.

All at once, it became painfully clear I'd been given the wrong date. My thoughts raced. Do I make up a question? Do I hang up?

I was mortified. I opted to come clean. After swiftly explaining there was a mix-up in schedules, I dipped into my experience as a former PR Director and spun the situation as best I could, by adding how thrilled I was, as a fellow historical author, to have listened in on their intriguing discussion. We all shared a quick laugh, tinged with a dash of awkwardness, before I hung up the phone, no longer needing coffee to wake up.

Although the fiasco was anything but amusing at the time, I can now look back and smile—the same as I'm now doing about my recent blizzard adventure. Why else would I have agreed to visit Barry's show to promote my next novel? Besides, after everything that's happened, what more could possibly go wrong?

Don't answer that.

For fellow writers, do you have any media mishaps to share? For readers (aka "normal people"), have you ever witnessed or experienced a media fumble that left you in shock?  

Kristina McMorris is a graduate of Pepperdine University and the recipient of nearly twenty national literary awards. A host of weekly TV shows since age nine, including an Emmy® Award-winning program, she penned her debut novel, Letters from Home (Kensington Books, Avon/HarperCollins UK), based on inspiration from her grandparents' wartime courtship. This critically praised book was declared a must-read by Woman's Day magazine and achieved additional acclaim as a Reader's Digest Select Editions feature, a Doubleday/Literary Guild selection, and a 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards semifinalist for Best Historical Fiction. Her second novel, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves (March 2012), has already received glowing reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, among many others. Named one of Portland's "40 Under 40" by The Business Journal, Kristina lives with her husband and two sons in the Pacific Northwest, where she refuses to own an umbrella. 

For more, visit www.KristinaMcMorris.com


  1. Funny, Kristina!

    I once did a radio interview for Military Spouse Talk Radio sitting in my van in the garage to make sure there were no sounds of kids and/or dogs in the background.

    Extravagant bribes were also made before I locked myself in the van!

    Good luck with the book--love the cover!

  2. Thanks for coming to visit us today, Kristina! Those stories are just too crazy!! I'm very impressed with you, because I would've just hung up the phone and then pretended that the whole thing never happened....

    But marketing is now such an important part of what we do, so kudos to you for spinning a funny situation into a PR opportunity!

  3. The only quiet place in my house is the bathroom. Therefore...