Friday, June 17, 2011

Guest Post and Giveaway: Phillipa Ashley, Author of Wish You Were Here

Today it's my pleasure to welcome author Phillipa Ashley, author of Wish You Were Here, to Book Addict!  My question for Ms. Ashlely:  One topic I've been wondering about is if there's a difference between US and UK readers/fans and whether UK writers have to keep their US readers in mind when they write (slang words, political or cultural figures, etc).

That’s an extremely interesting question!

I think it’s a balance between making the meaning clear to US readers vs. keeping the author’s voice. When I wrote the four books that are being published by Sourcebooks, they were written for an international audience in that they deal with universal themes of love, relationships and family. Those issues resonate with people pretty much all over the world.

I have tried to make sure any reference in them would be under stood worldwide but it’s not always possible and that’s where a wonderful copy editor comes in!

Some publishers are very strict on keeping references generic, with no trade names or figures who aren’t globally famous like Elvis and the Queen. Personally, I think that you can go too far in removing cultural references and run the risk of a book being bland.

My books probably have slightly stronger British flavo(u)r and that’s also (I hope) partly why Sourcebooks wanted to bring them to the US audience. For instance when I read a romance set in the US, Australia or Canada, I love a bit of slang and the mention of celebs and political figures. I don’t mind looking up a word or reference I don’t understand.

I read these books, imagining myself in these wonderful wide open spaces surrounded by rugged cowboys or the skyscrapers of New York or a small town in the desert. The right words help transport me to these places so I hope readers enjoy imagining themselves in London, or an English countryside or a European city when they read mine.

Sourcebooks do edit my books for US spellings and they work with me on any references that aren’t immediately clear. You’d be surprised how many emails fly back and forth late in the evening between me and the copy ed – she’s fantastic at suggesting changes that everyone in the US should understand, yet that don’t jar as ‘non British’.

For instance in Wish You Were Here, I’d described a character as a ‘young Peter Schmeichel’ a soccer star that the hero admired – but no one in the US would have heard of. So we exchanged emails and Google images and decided actor Paul Bettany (married to Jennifer Connelly) would make a good substitute.

In Dating Mr December, the action is set in the Lake District. The mountain rescue team there always call the mountains, ‘the fells’ so that wasn’t changed. Emma, the heroine, however was wearing hold ups in the English version – that got changed to thigh highs for the US. That made me smile because thigh highs here are more likely to conjure up an image of kinky boots! But then Mr December would probably love to see her in those...

At the end of the day romance has universal language and I think that a few quirks of language are part of the reason we love reading – to escape into another world.

What do readers think?

Wish You Were Here
~Phillipa Ashley

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Publish Date: June 1, 2011
ISBN-10: 1402241445
ISBN-13: 978-1402241444
ASIN: B002V092T2 (May 1, 2009)

From Goodreads:
Can a whirlwind romance ever go the distance?

When Jack proposes to Beth at the end of a holiday romance, she doesn't think twice--she knows he's The One. But then Jack walks out soon after their return, with no explanation, no nothing.

Eight years on and Beth finds a fantastic new job--working for Jack. She could definitely do without having to face him everyday, but then she can't do without the job...

As the two of them are forced to spend time together, Beth unravels the mystery of Jack's disappearance. Is there too much baggage for them to try again--or could they finally be in the right place at the right time?

Phillipa Ashley can be found on facebook, twitter, and her blog.

Thank you Ms. Ashley for answering my question - I certainly wouldn't have gotten the Peter Schmeichel reference, and I would have thought "hold ups" were some kind of suspenders, lol.  How about it readers, do you often come across phrases or people that are unfamiliar to you when reading foreign authors?

I'm giving away my ARC of Wish You Were Here to one lucky commenter - just leave an answer to Ms. Ashley's question in the comments and a way to contact you.  Following is not required but is always appreciated. US addresses only (sorry!), ends July 1.


  1. I do think that we can all connect with the romance in these novels.

    I Follow on GFC under Bethie

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

  2. Hi, I am following you back from Friday Hops. Thanks for coming by!
    Lot of interesting features.

    Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust
    Twitter: @fangswandsfairy

  3. Nice interview ladies. I do like a bit of English slang or words thrown in, and it does't matter if I don't completely understand what it is, it sure adds to the atmosphere of the book. And by the way, I would not have known both the men you name ;)

    Sadly, not eligable for this contest as I live in Holland.

  4. I think we can all agree we read the books for the romance. A bit of slang or word I don't know isn't going to dim my enjoyment of the book.

  5. Lol, thigh highs, I fear my mind goes to boots now too. And I am hopeless with US-UK, I write one thing, spellcheck changes it. So I never know which I use

  6. I love reading books by British/Australian/Canadian/New Zealand authors specifically because of the different cultural references and slang. It's fun to see how people in other native English speaking countries use the language. I hate it when American editors think that all of those things should be edited out.

    jen at delux dot com

  7. I have read a lot of UK / foreign to me authors. I appreciate the fact that they write the way I like to think they probably talk. If there is something I don't totally understand I will look it up. The wonderful internet is my friend.

    hootowl1978 at gmail dot com

  8. I'm sure there's a lot of opportunity for hilarity between the two lingos. The classic's got to be 'fanny' which refers to a quite different part of the anatomy in the UK to the US *blushes*...

    I'm glad the editors don't go too far down the line of taking out the regional references. One of the reasons I love Charlaine Harris (bit of a guilty secret, that) is her wonderful portrayal of life in the US's deep south.

    And, of course, being Cumbrian, I'd have been horrified if our fells were turned into mountains!

  9. Hi - just dropped in to say I'm glad the US-UK thing doesn't put people off. I loved the thigh highs, I wish they'd put them in the UK version!

    I'm waiting to hear the changes inmy next Sourcebooks release.

    Esmerelda - No, fells were non-negotiable! Though in the movie version, they were rather bigger so they did becme mountains. :)

  10. I definitely think that people are drawn to these books because of the romance. Love is something we all strive for and want in our lives.

    jasperjax2003 at aol dot com

  11. I read books for romance, they tend to have happier endings too. This looks like a great now that I would love to read and review, thanks! edysicecreamlover18ATgmailDOTcom

  12. I really enjoyed Dating Mr December and I like characters from other countries with some strange sayings. It's fun to see how they think.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

  13. I think we can connect, and I think sometimes it helps us dream!

    meredithfl at gmail dot com