Sometimes I wish I'd become a cameraman, uhm woman. See, that's where the trouble starts already. Words can be such a nuisance. While German is my mother tongue (hm, my father tongue as well), I've wanted to write in English ever since attending the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA.
In the US, I quickly adapted. Gotta fit in if you don't want to hear the question, "Oh, where are you from?" every time you open your mouth. Very important survival strategy since your answer might prompt a lengthy explanation of a complete stranger's family history. After a few weeks, I'd mastered a perfectly pronounced "Hi" that didn't raise questions.
Around that time I started thinking and dreaming in English. Years later, when I seriously attempted writing fiction, I started in German, but English phrases kept popping up in my head, particularly for dialogue. Naturally, I'd never listened to Germans so carefully, assuming they all talked like I do, which of course they don't.
Nudged and encouraged by American friends, I switched to writing in English. To add a little language challenge, I set my thriller Strays of Rio in Brazil, sprinkling in Portuguese, and my psychological suspense Crumple Zone in Chile, spiced with some Spanish. Fairly easy in comparison to what lay ahead.
A few years ago, Francene Stanley invited me to co-write a post-apocalyptic fantasy with her. Born in Australia, she has been living in the UK for decades. Since Wind Over Troubled Waters is set in Cornwall, I had to revert to British English--while I was still editing Strays written in American English. Fortunately, Francene never complained when she had to fix any of my slips into American spelling. In return, I weeded out her Australian instances of 'no-body'.
Since a US or UK publisher would have been far too boring language-wise, our Australian-German-British novel ended up with Canadian Double Dragon Publishing. I half-expected a South African editor for further coverage of English language flavors. Maybe for the next book in the series.
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Edith Parzefall can be contacted via her blog or website.