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Friday, 24 June 2011

Lost In Translation? # 2

I grew up devouring every American teen novel I could. I was obsessed. Sweet Valley High, Caroline B. Cooney, Judy Blume, I just could not get enough. I don't know if it's that there just weren't all that many British teen authors around at the time, or if it was also partly because of the saturation of TV by US shows - Dawson's Creek, Buffy, Friends, Lois and Clark, Gilmore Girls - or if it was just because it was so different from life in the UK, but I lived my teen years yearning to go to America, to be part of that very specific US high school experience, and ultimately it drove me to spend my second year of uni on an exchange in North Carolina (because Dawson's Creek was filmed there - yes, really!), despite the fact I was studying English Literature.

The US culture is so much a part of our own in the UK in fact, that I thought nothing of basing half of my first novel, Someone Else’s Life, in the US. I was sure that I was familiar enough with the country and the culture that I could write about it convincingly - after all, we speak the same language, right?

Wrong. Little did I realise just how many ways our languages are different. It's not just the terminology - tap/faucet, pavement/sidewalk etc but it's the culture itself. I was told having an answer-machine was very odd and old-fashioned in the US, to "get pissed" means getting drunk in the UK, but getting angry in the US, and the UK school system was completely mystifying - what are GCSEs? What's a Sixth Form? - I have a whole list of things I had to reword or explain for the US edition! 

UK Cover
US Cover
Other books too, have I know been modified to cross the Atlantic, even so far as having different titles - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone became Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, while the prize-winning The Two Pearls of Wisdom (Australian edition) is also entitled Eon: Dragoneye Reborn (US) and Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye (UK) - you can find a whole list of them here. Coverwise, books pretty much always have different covers for US/UK editions.

So now my book's also going to be published in Germany and Brazil, I wonder what else will need changing when the language/culture is TOTALLY different, and how much other YA fiction gets altered or lost in translation…

Have you found much difference between different editions of the same book? 

Someone Else's Life will be published by Simon & Schuster in the UK (pre-order here) and Delacorte Press in the US (pre-order here) in February 2012.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Happy First Publication Day - To Me!

Ooh - my first "Happy Publication Day" card! *Squeal!*

Okay, so it's a little belated as I'm so utterly disorganised I didn't find this in some stray post until yesterday, so actually missed my actual publication day (June 6th), but the thrill is still completely the same - Hurrah!


This is a biggy - my FIRST fictional sale, my FIRST complete story is published out there in the big wide world for all to see - and possibly buy! Scary! 
It's a tiny bit like what I imagine becoming a mother is like - exciting, thrilling, nerve-racking, scary... But the great thing is, my story "DEAR TADPOLE" is accompanied by nine other terrific authors, so it's as if it has friends holding its hand as it ventures out into the unknown. 

And it's certainly in terrific company.
The fab Walker Books and the genius that is Tony Bradman have put together 10 edgy stories from 10 different authors, each exploring what it takes to be a boy in the 21st century

After all, teenage boys are trouble, aren't they? It’s in the news, on the front page – everywhere you look they’re doing drugs, messing with knives, terrorizing communities. But what if it’s become a self-fulfilling prophecy? What if you’re 13, an OK kid in a bad life? What if you’re more urban poet than ganster rapper? What if deep-down you want to make your mum proud, but you’ve got to live up to your rep, be a bro, beat or be beaten? Gangs. Hoodies. Young offenders. How do you be a boy in a world that’s already got you tagged?

My story, "DEAR TADPOLE" is about a fifteen-year-old boy who has a baby brother on the way. The problem is, his mum's married to another woman, so it's up to Davey to teach his little brother how to be a boy. 
Trouble is, he's not sure he's figured it out himself yet...

I can't wait to get my hands on the anthology to see what the other stories are about - it'll be like unwrapping a big beautiful birthday present - which I suppose it is, in a way!

On that note, time for some celebratory cake, methinks... anyone care to join me? :) 

Friday, 10 June 2011

US Cover Revealed!!

Another amazing *Squeal!* moment - a whole new incredible cover for the US version!

What do y'all think?!

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