That Time I Interviewed a Celebrity

That Time I Interviewed Natalie Grant

It’s kind of a funny story, really.

I have an article up at RELEVANT magazine today, and so many things went WRONG in the writing of this piece that the backstory became a story of its own.

So, let me back up. In November I did a blog series to raise awareness, money and hope about sex trafficking: the #ACourageousOne project. One of the things I highlighted was a film that I had just seen the premiere to, In Plain Sight: a hopeful and illuminating documentary on the issue. Many, many people read and shared the posts that week, but I was still wondering how else I could spread the word about trafficking more widely.

So, I pitched an article idea to the biggest magazine I could think of – RELEVANT. The editor wrote back and said that while the angle I had suggested wouldn’t quite work for them, if I could arrange an interview with super-famous and multiple-award-winner Natalie Grant, who co-produced the film, they’d run it. I got in touch with the executive producer, David Trotter, who put me in touch with NG’s “people”…

Christmas was upon us, and it took a while to get an interview set up. We finally found an amenable day, and I excitedly emailed the RELEVANT editor to say I’d have the article to her within 3 days of the interview. But then, things got complicated.

First, the day of the interview came and went and the phone didn’t ring. We had to reschedule.

Then, the next day, I got pneumonia and my sewer line at home backed up. Also, my husband was about to leave for a 6 day out-of-state business trip. Meanwhile, I called in emergency plumbing services. The news was bad: we would need a new main sewer line. Think dollars. Lots and lots and lots of dollars.

Picture this, then: the following morning, I had settled my boys in front of the TV while I put on my rainboots and stood in my front yard, literally ankle-deep in crap, while I watched the plumber snake a fancy poop-cam down the line to show me the rotten innards of our pipes. And of course, at that exact moment, my phone rang. 

It was Natalie’s manager. And she had Natalie in her office, available for just 15 minutes for an interview. Wheezing (pneumonia, remember?), I gave the plumber an apologetic nod and said words I never thought I’d say to a super-famous person on first-meeting: “I’m sorry. I’m going to have to call you back…”

Seriously.

Five minutes later I called back and tried not to cough too much while I chatted to the talented, smart, kind and passionate Natalie Grant. She has kids and poop pipes at home too, and could not have been more understanding. And moreover, she too is devoting her time and energy to fighting trafficking. Far from being an “unreachable celebrity”, we were instantly on the same page.

The weekend flew by. I was solo parenting for the weekend and had a ton of work to do for the Pastor Search Team. Still sick, I had  love ninja after love ninja rally around with support and care. Sunday night came, and I emailed the editor: “Sorry,” I wrote, “my interview was delayed by 2 days and I have pneumonia. But I’ll have it to you by Wednesday. Promise.”

She wrote back: “Perfect. I was planning to run it Friday.”

On Tuesday night, I tucked the kids into bed and settled down at my computer. I transcribed the interviews, reviewed my notes and wrote the best interview I could. I finished just before midnight, saved the file and closed the application, before clicking over to my email to send it to the editor. I composed my message and then tried to attach the file: VANISHED.

Not in the trash. Not in the “spotlight” section. Not under recent documents. Not in keyword searches. Not in autosave or auto recover.

I started to cry. My computer had mysteriously lost files before, but my super-husband had managed to scout them out of the recesses of its inner matrix. Now, he was cross-country, and I had promised the article in a few hours. I got to bed at 2am, defeated.

Wednesday was spent moping and trying to find help. In between final sessions at his conference and layovers in airports, my sweet hubby tried to text his tech support. But to no avail. I posted a pitiful message on Facebook: “I think I am going to have to give up writing altogether on account of being too stupid to deal with computers.”

Wednesday came and went. My husband’s plane was delayed, but he finally walked in the door at 1:34am. Punching his magic abracadabra into my computer, he forced it to yield its treasure: there, under the file name I had chosen, he retrieved my folder. “I could kiss you!” I cried, and then I did (Don’t let anyone tell you super geeky can’t be super sexy.)

At 1:36am I wrote an email to the editor and attached the file. Exhausted and relieved, I collapsed into bed.

Thursday came and went, but by late afternoon I was surprised I hadn’t heard from the editor. I checked my email again… only to realize that the email I had written was still sitting in the drafts folder! It had never sent!

Let me just say that I’m not one who is quick to cry spiritual warfare.. but honestly – you would think that someone out there really didn’t want this piece published, wouldn’t you?

It was already after close of business day when I FINALLY sent the piece successfully to the patient and kind editor on Thursday afternoon. And, whiz that she is, she still got it up on the Friday as she had planned. Here it is, in case you were wondering: How to Turn the Tide in the War on Human Trafficking.

Perseverance, friends. We can make a difference.