International best-selling author Melissa Hill talks about her books for the foreign market.
Translated editions are one of the true joys of publishing. There’s simply nothing better than the arrival of a book containing a version of a story you’ve written in a completely different language and sometimes a very different cover approach.
While most of my foreign jacket designs tend to take the traditional chick-lit route (pastel colours/swirly writing etc) to suit their markets, others go a completely different direction.
For example my Latvian covers, with their dark tones and shady-looking people on the front seem to me more like detective novels. Some publishers like to get across the Irish connection by using imagery such a green fields and redheaded colleens, and sometimes even shamrocks.
I’m now published in 23 different languages, and most of the time it’s impossible for me to take the time to visit or do promotion for each new version, but when I do, it’s always great fun.
I was recently invited to a literary festival in Italy and while I knew the Italian version of Something From Tiffany’s was doing well there, I had no idea just how well until I arrived.
Checking into my hotel after five hours travel with unwashed hair and no makeup, I was immediately surrounded by Italian journalists requesting interviews, and horror of horrors, a TV camera asking me to say ‘a few words to my Italian fans’! Thankfully they gave me a couple of minutes to freshen up and make myself presentable before going ‘live’.
Covers from Latvia, left; Germany; Spain; Brazil; Italy
Also, when I am asked for media interviews in another language, it’s always an interesting experience, as naturally I need to work with a translator. For radio the translator relays the questions to me, but also translates what I’m saying while I’m answering the question, essentially talking over me at the same time, which is somewhat distracting.
But despite the obvious language difference, it always gives me great joy to think that readers in various countries and from very diverse cultures, can enjoy and relate to the stories and characters I’ve created. For any writer, it’s got to be the best feeling in the world.
Melissa Hill’s latest novel The Charm Bracelet is out now.