This week there was a fairly interesting discussion over at KindleBoards regarding why some Americans cannot stand to read British English in novels. Some readers, apparently, go so far as to dish out a one-star review for bad grammar and terrible spelling errors, and the authors took a while to realise they meant the dialect.
I found it rather odd, as most American novels that arrive in the UK are written in American-ese and I have never known anyone complain.
I once wrote a novel, not currently in circulation I hasten to add, but it was written as a NaNoWriMo one year. It featured an American detective with an all American cast, and I wrote that in American-ese. I went so far as to hire an American proof-reader to banish any Britishisms. It just made sense to me.
Equally, it makes sense for me to keep His First His Second and Three Years Dead in British-ese because they are British detectives solving British crime, in Britain. Even if I was pushing it in America in a big way, wouldn’t it jar somewhat to alter the whole novel?
I know some books like Harry Potter have American editions, which I think is probably essential since it’s mainly a children’s book, and if every kid whose parents aren’t worried about witchcraft is reading it, translating it to American-ese is a no-brainer.
As are other British authors working in the American environment, such as Lee Child, and Irish people like John Connolly. Their books arrive in the UK with the colors and aluminum intact. People even transport their dead bodies in the trunk instead of the boot.
I just wonder if I am about to learn a valuable lesson in becoming an author – that if I want to crack America, I have to be fluent in American-ese.