Question of the Month: Public Speaking

by Susan Henderson on February 7, 2011

What makes you the most nervous about public speaking? And what helps you get through?


I’ve been doing speaking engagements all month–book clubs, a reading in Brooklyn (with the remarkable writers Jessica Anya Blau and Paula Bomer), and a panel at BookMania in Stuart, Florida.

My fellow panelists at BookMania: Elizabeth Berg (author of THE LAST TIME I SAW YOU and the Oprah Book Club selection, OPEN HOUSE), Joyce Maynard (author of THE GOOD DAUGHTERS and the movie-adapted novel, TO DIE FOR), Michael Morris (author of SLOW WAY HOME), and Martha McPhee (National Book Award finalist and author of DEAR MONEY).

The moderator asked the most engaging questions, and while my hands were shaking with nerves (I clasped them together under the table), I found I’m not as nervous when I think more about the other panelists and their answers than I do about me. I try to think of it as a conversation rather than a performance, and that helps a lot.


In other news, UP FROM THE BLUE is in its 4th printing, and it’s now in Costco…

And this photo is courtesy of the beautiful Kiwi screenwriter, Eileen-Rita Folwell, who snapped a shot in her local New Zealand bookstore…

Thank you to everyone who sent photos. I really appreciate them. And thank you to these wonderful people who reviewed UP FROM THE BLUE this month: The Fabulous Beekman Boys, Sarah-Kate Lynch in New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, Nicky Pellegrino in the New Zealand Herald News, Marion at Cover Me Book Review, Laura de Leon at Booking It, Michele Harrod at GoodReads, Karen and Gerard at Grab a Book from Our Stack.

Two quick announcements before I go: Many good friends and cherished colleagues have books out now (or coming out soon) and I’ve put together a shout-out over on FaceBook because I’m so proud of them. And on February 18th at B.B. King’s (42nd Street, Times Square), my 9th grader will be performing Pink Floyd’s The Wall with the School of Rock All-Stars. Oh, and The Today Show will be filming it!