By Mark Alpert
You know that moment when you hear one of your favorite songs on the radio? Or maybe a song you haven’t heard in ages and you suddenly realize just how great it is? I had a religion professor at Princeton (Malcolm Diamond, to be specific) who compared this experience to a moment of grace. It wouldn’t be as exhilarating if you chose to play the song on your iPhone or stereo. What makes it sound so glorious is that the song came to you as an unexpected gift.
That’s one of the reasons why I love radio. Another is the Bob and Ray show, which I listened to fervently when I was a kid. I was also a fan of CBS Radio Mystery Theater and the Dr. Demento show.
And now I love radio even more, because it’s helping me sell books.
I’ve done several radio interviews in the past to promote my novels, but the interview I did last week was the first one that really boosted my sales. I appeared on the Coast to Coast AM show, which is carried by hundreds of radio stations across the country. (The interview is archived here if you’re interested.) I talked with the host, Ian Punnett, about genetic engineering and climate change, the two main themes of my latest thriller, THE COMING STORM. And here’s a funny coincidence: Ian revealed that he was related to Reginald Punnett, the British geneticist who invented the famous Punnett Square. (You may remember the Punnett Square from a high-school biology class; it’s the diagram that predicts the genotypes of crossbreeding experiments.)
My publicist at St. Martin’s Press set up the interview for me. It was great fun. I answered some questions from the show’s listeners, and that was fun too. It reminded me of how much I enjoyed listening to late-night radio way back in the 1970s.
I’m in Nevada right now, coming back from a trip to Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon. I’m pretty exhausted from all the hiking I just did, so I’m probably not making a lot of sense right now, but I plan to write about my most recent adventures as soon as I get back to NYC.