Tag Archives: literary agents

jitterbugs and other novel translations

Mr S and I are back in Dorset after a busy week in London. It was all rather fun – I met my charming Dutch editor, Jacqueline, and saw the cover for the Dutch edition of Mr R. The book is being busily translated at the moment, and editors and translators are starting to send through questions about the text. The biggest challenge seems to be the Dorset dialect. There is a motley collection of local folk in Mr R and they speak in broad Dar-set tones.

This was great fun to write: I scoured old dialect dictionaries, read lots of William Barnes and, of course, Thomas Hardy. The speech is written phonetically with dialect words like ‘jitterbug’ (glow worm) and ‘yow’ (ewe) and ‘noggerhead’ (idiot).  In old West Country speech, nouns are gendered as they are in German or Anglo-Saxon and are nearly always ‘he’. So, a roof in need of repair is: ‘ee’s in a bit o’ a bad way, isn’t ‘ee?’ I chose to elongate the ‘ee’ when transcribing, as I felt ‘e’ as in ‘e’s in a bit o’ a muddle’ sounds too much like cockney.

All well and good – gave the poor copy editor a bit of headache – but I thought it was all finished. Now, the poor translators are going through exactly the same thing. Jacqueline and her translator are trying different rural Dutch dialects and choosing which sounds best. Professor M who is working on Jack in German, is struggling with the eccentric spelling of the dialect. He emailed to ask what an ‘ersey mistake’ is – (it’s an easy mistake to make…)

It’s a very strange feeling to be taking a week or so off writing (agent Stan has Fred) while knowing that other people are busily working on Mr R. I think they are all in need of some of Curtis’s jitterbug cider.

Me still sort of working

I love living in Dorset


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Filed under from summerhouse to summer read, inspirations behind Mr Rosenblum, writer pontification

Happy New Year!

For the first time in about a decade, I spent New Year’s Eve in London rather than in Dorset. Mr S and I joined friends at Wilton’s Music Hall for a twenties-themed evening of decadence, opera and burlesque, instead of the usual fireside supper at my parents’ cottage.

Mr S and I, of course.

Mr S and I dancing...

It was very different to last year, when I’d just signed with agent Stan and was about to embark on the edits for ‘Mr R’. Stan was planning on submitting the manuscript in February and we were all hopeful that it would find a home. So much has happened in the past year: from getting an agent, to selling ‘Mr R’ at auction, signing foreign rights deals and meeting so many amazing people involved in the publishing process. And, I can’t quite believe that 2010 is the year that I’m really going have a book published. It still doesn’t feel real.

Thank you for reading this blog and for your lovely comments, and I wish you all the very best for a wonderful 2010!

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Filed under from summerhouse to summer read, writer pontification

I’m back!

Sorry about the blogging hiatus.  I’ve been away for Passover in a land without interweb. It was very strange. I had a lovely time and am thrilled to be back in Dorset. My garden is now full of tulips and forget-me-nots, violets and daisies are starting to peep up between the stones on the terrace. The wild strawberry patch is looking promising too…

While away I still managed to do some work. It was great to catch up with Stan (my agent at Jenny Brown Associates in Edinburgh). I know there is lots of doom and gloom in publishing at the moment with book sales down and people being made redundant. Stan made it clear that publishers are STILL buying books. Since January JBA have done several deals, check them out at:


I also caught up with my brother-in-law Ross Collins, an award winning children’s author and illustrator. I got to see the proofs of his latest picture book Dear Vampa which will be published in the US by Harper Collins this October. The book has all Ross’s usual wit and brilliant illustrations. If you don’t know his work (or even if you do) you should check out his website:


Lastly, David and I had lunch with our old pals Trudi and Neil Oliver. Neil is an author and TV presenter who you might know from the excellent BBC series Coast or The History of Scotland. Neil’s latest book is out in paperback this week (it reached The Sunday Times bestseller list in hardback, only beaten by Jordan’s most recent biography…) He even gave me a signed copy for my Dad.  The book is called Amazing Tales For Making Men Out of Boys and describes some of the most daring feats of courage from the last century or so. There is Scott of the Artic, bravery from the Battle of Britain and many more. What I love about Neil, is that his enthusiasm for his subject is contagious. He’s every bit as compelling on paper as he is on the telly!

Right. Now back to the edit. 12 days to go. Bother.

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Filed under books I love, from summerhouse to summer read