Ryan is Ready for You Now by Lisa Marks – An Insider’s guide to interviewing a celebrity – from a journalist who was in the room

Ryan is Ready For You Now by Lisa Marks

This is not a usual book to appear on my blog, but from when I picked it up I knew that this vibrant, honest and celebrity name dropping book was a good read. Not that the celebrities are there for kudos or showing off, this is a great book of memoirs of actually interviewing celebrities that have dominated the magazines and newspapers of the last few decades. Perhaps more importantly it is “An Insider’s guide to interviewing a celebrity – from a Journalist who was actually in the room” as the sub title has it. With Chapter headings like “Research is your Rocket Fuel”, this is a valuable guide for anyone who wants to succeed in the area of interviewing and getting pieces published in a variety of mediums; although most of these anecdotes are based on print publications, the skills of writing an attention grabbing headline would undoubtedly translate to online work. The celebrities are not all British based reality stars either, as Marks has spent time in Hollywood interviewing the sort of film stars that have stood the test of time. Indeed the title refers to Ryan Gosling, who was apparently the focus of everyone’s enquiries when Marks revealed what she did; at the time he was enjoying a personal adulation from all age groups. Within the pages of this lively book you will find the joys and challenges of time spent with Hugh Jackman, Daniel Craig and Robbie Coltrane. There are questions that have provided revealing details about giving birth, the need for speed with Reese Witherspoon, Kate Beckinsale honestly revealing belt issues, and how Cher proved unapproachable. This is a good read with real style, and I was pleased to have the opportunity to read and review it.

Technically within this book there are many details that will be of interest to would be journalist and anyone who wants the inside track on coping with the tardy, the time obsessed and the largely silent celebrity, among other challenges. Each chapter ends with “Headlines”, a short list of hints and rules for the tasks. These range from “Be adaptable and open to the experience” to “How and why you ask a question is as important as the question you ask”,  to a general rule for life “Don’t be afraid to be yourself” and the tip for teachers, lecturers and many more, “The first ninety seconds count”. Within the chapters themselves there are also gems, such as carrying a pen and paper for notes; despite the ubiquity of recording devices, smart phones and other electronic aids, there is still a place for the written note. When the technology malfunctions, when writing down keywords and observations would help – “feet on table”,  eats real food, “ignores phone”, and when it is helpful just to have something to hold onto, a notebook and pen can help.

Lisa Marks has obviously had a wide life experience which she freely reveals in this entertaining book. This is a book that I found fascinating for its humour and honesty, and I feel it reveals a lot about the reality of interviewing and writing up experiences that would be helpful in many instances. I note that Marks now lectures students and others in the field of journalism, and I feel on the basis of this book would be an entertaining speaker. She has a real gift for engaging the reader and I found it an enjoyable book. For the aspiring journalist and the general reader who wants to know the truth behind the glitter, this is an excellent read.