May 7, 2020

When Caz from Geelong Regional Library Events asked me to interview award-winning Australian author Tom Keneally about his latest novel, The Dickens Boy, I jumped at the chance. Then panicked. Just a little bit. Not only because Tom Keneally is an Australian icon and such a clever man, but because the interview would be conducted via Zoom.

I’ve done plenty of Zoom meetings and chats with friends but, for a moment, the thought of interviewing Tom, wrangling audience questions and checking messages from my amazing backup crew, Gillian and Christian, overwhelmed me.

Then I laughed at myself.

I spent 12 months working for the ABC in Albury, conducting between 8 and 10 interviews a day, without a producer.

For 3 years I worked as a presenter with ABC Western Victoria, this time with a producer, and again did between 8 and 10 interviews a day. I even had to wrangle the trickiest of interviewees, politicians.

I’ve done a trillion outside broadcasts at agricultural shows, store openings and even at an airshow.

This I could do.

The evening was such a delight. The audience participated and asked fantastic questions, and Tom was every bit as warm, engaging and knowledgeable as I imagined. His enthusiasm is contagious and his intelligence incredible. He has boundless energy and such passion for words and history.

I am honored to have had the chance to interview Tom and am grateful to Caz and her team for their trust and the opportunity,

Man, I hope I have Tom’s energy and passion when I reach 84.

Enjoy the link from Geelong Regional Library Corporation and Tom Keneally’s new book, The Dickens Boy.