My Interview with NBC Nightly News

By Leigh Court

I was recently interviewed by NBC Nightly News as part of a story on the national recession, and in particular, about how pop culture (TV, movies, music, books) both reflects the state of the economy as well as offers a temporary escape from it (of which romance novels are the perfect example).

But what led up to that interview may be the real story!

My phone rang at noon on Friday, July 24. It was Chris Jansing from NBC Nightly News, who told me about one particular angle of the story -- how romance sales are hotter than ever, despite the dire economy. And she wanted to interview me as a representative of the romance industry!

After I’d picked my jaw up off the floor and agreed to the interview, I realized this was going to be a serious piece, featuring both the president of programming for HBO as well as someone from the Annenberg school at USC. So I wanted to look and sound as professional as possible, in order to ensure that the romance industry was taken as seriously as those two men.

Out of the closet came the yellow suit that I knew would look good on camera. Chris had mentioned on the phone that she basically wanted to ask me just one question -- why, in a recession, are romance novels hotter than ever? So as I was getting dressed, I carefully practiced my answer in the bathroom mirror.

At 4pm, I arrived at the NBC Los Angeles bureau in Burbank. What a beehive of activity that place is! If you saw Chris’ story on TV, you may have noticed that my interview took place right in the newsroom, with people walking behind me, talking out loud, and even moving things around. As if I wasn’t nervous enough!

But when the cameras started rolling, the most amazing thing happened. All the background noise seemed to disappear, and all I could hear was Chris asking the question I’d spent so long in front of my mirror answering. So I told her how women read romance novels because they want a break from their stressful lives, to escape – even if only for a few minutes -- into a story that’s guaranteed to have a happy ending. That women want to know, when they close that book, their mood will be uplifted. And romance novels do exactly that.

Phew, I thought. I did good.

But then… Chris kept talking. Kept asking me questions. I felt the blood rush out of my face as I tried to concentrate on what she was saying, while my brain was thinking -- what? Wasn’t my answer good enough?

But Chris, you see, is an experienced reporter. By continuing to ask me questions I hadn’t prepared for, she forced me to relax enough to loosen up and just talk to her. Girl to girl. And ironically, that’s when I shared something I’ve always believed. “You know,” I told her, “if you’re stressed or depressed, the bottom line is – romance novels are a lot cheaper than therapy.”

And of course, that’s the quote she used. Clever woman, that Chris Jansing!

I’m only on camera for about 8-seconds, but Chris showed a picture of Secrets Volume 27: Untamed Pleasures leading into my soundbite, so I was absolutely thrilled with the way this story turned out! Here’s the link if you missed it when it aired on NBC Nightly News on Sunday, July 26:

I can honestly say it was one of the highlights of my life, even if I was a nervous wreck during most of it. Absolute. Nervous. Wreck.


Jeannie Lin said...

You were brilliant Leigh! You looked and sounded great, a wonderful representative of the genre...and someone I know too! So exciting.

Carly Carson said...

Interesting post, Leigh. But how did she pick you?

Good job getting the cover on national tv. And you were very professional.


Jennifer August said...

You did a fantastic job Leigh and I was proud to be represented by you. I would never have known you were nervous at all. And you gave a basic truth - romance makes us happy. It's why I read them, it's why I write them.
I, too, would love to know how you came to their attention. How cool is that?!

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

I saw that piece 'live' but made my husband back it up 4-5 times, because I just happened to have Nicole North on my blog the next day as a guest and I wanted to look at her name on the cover, lol. So, I got to hear your quote a lot. You did good and I thought the whole piece was a positive for the romance industry!

Carol Ericson said...

You did a great job, Leigh. And that was definitely the "money" quote!

Carol Burnside said...

It's interesting to read the story behind the story. :)

I thought you did a great job with the interview as well. Perfect sound bite and a beautiful shot of the Secrets Vol. 27 cover. Yay!

Leigh Court said...

Thanks everyone! To be honest, I've known Chris for a long time -- we started out as TV news reporters in New York together many years ago (obviously she's had a much bigger career than I ever did, LOL!)

But even so, I was absolutely stunned when she said she wanted to interview me.

Thank goodness she talked me into it!


Hannah said...

You were killer awesome, Leigh. We were so proud!

Saskia Walker said...

Leigh, we've watched the feature several times and love it, you were fabulous! It's fascinating to read about the background to the feature as well.

Leigh Court said...

Thanks Hannah & Saskia!


Armenia said...

Leigh, you were great!! You hit the "head on the nail." Can't wait to get my copy of Secrets.

Natasha said...

You didn't look nervous at all, Leigh! You did a great job :)

Liz Falkner said...

Excellent interview, Leigh. You represented the romance genre very well. I was amazed at how long the Secrets cover stayed on the screen!

Your quote was the perfect one to use and I'll bet you sales went up the next day. :)

Gwynlyn MacKenzie said...

I tried numerous times to get this to play with no luck---however I did catch up on other news. *G*

That said, I sent it to another ISP and hope to see it there. Even if I can't, just reading this made me smile. Sounds like you were a more than capable avocate for the genre. Great job.

Leigh Court said...

You girls are so great! Thanks so much for your support, and for letting me share the story behind the story :)


Maureen McGowan said...

You did a fabulous job, Leigh. And it was so great that your cover got some serious face time. :-)

Gerb said...

Leigh, after watching the drama unfold (will they air tonight? This morning? Etc.) it's so cool to get a peek behind the scenes. You were fabulous. An apt representative. Congrats again.

Leigh Court said...

Maureen & Gerb-
Thanks "sistahs" for sharing the angst of those two days with me and the thrill of the story finally airing!


Kate St. James said...

You did an amazing job, Leigh. What a thrill to see a Secrets cover on the air. Go, Leight! Go, Secrets! Go, Red Sage!