Publishing abroad – Katie Fforde

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By Katie Fforde

It is strange being published in a foreign country. My books are very English and I’m surprised they work in translation, but I have been published abroad for a very long time.♥

It’s odd enough having an idea in your head that somehow you get onto the page, but then it has to get off the page and into the head of the reader. This is hard enough, but supposing you don’t share a language or a culture? Languages are all different and many words don’t directly translate.

So as writers, we have to trust that our stories are good enough to overcome language barriers, strange words and concepts. It’s lovely when we know that we have succeeded.

It will be different being able to reach an American audience. We are supposed to be two nations divided by a common language, but actually, we are very familiar with American culture because we see so much US TV. But will it work the other way? I know Americans watch Downton, Upstairs Downstairs and all those historical costume dramas, but although my books have mostly rural settings, and sometimes they feature big houses, they may seem a bit odd.

An American reader at a talk once asked me what a hot water bottle was. They do have them in America, but obviously not in the part this woman came from. Will they know what Marmite is? And flapjack? I’m sure my books are sprinkled with things they don’t have in America. My American readers may very well wonder why my characters drink so much tea! Actually some English readers do that too. But a lot of us do drink tea, most of the day.

But do these minor details really matter? We may have different words or pavements and elevators, sidewalks and lifts, but mostly we do share a language. And while one my characters might pick a lot of cow parsley (I think this translates as Queen Anne’s lace, but I’m not sure) it should be enough to know she has a big bunch of something!

I recently re-read all of the Anne of Green Gables series. I was in need of something comforting but good (rather like hot chocolate) and I loved them all over again. And while it described a life very different to anything I had experienced, I still recognised and could relate to an anxious orphan, full of passion and a desire to learn.

I think I’ll stop worrying about the small stuff!

Katie Fforde has written more than twenty bestsellers and has sold in excess of three million copies worldwide. Bookouture will be publishing Fforde in the US – Summer of Love on 8th July, A Summer At Sea on 12th August and Recipes for Love on 14th September.

1 Comment

  1. Joan Beldin Geisbrecht

    July 11, 2016 at 11:18 pm

    Love British and Irish authors. I have read so much over the years, Catherine Cookson, Maeve Binchy, etc, that I’m pretty good with slang. Occasionally have to look up a word. My heiritage is British and Irish, so I often catch words that my Mum and grandmother used. I live in the mountains of Pennsylvania where my ancestors worked in coal mining and lumbering. I enjoy your books and sense of humor.

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