The Novel Approach is pleased to welcome author Jay Northcote today on the Passing Through blog tour. Enjoy Jay’s guest post, then be sure to leave a comment right here for the chance to win any e-title from her backlist, reader’s choice.
THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED
The challenge of writing British English for a global audience
As a British writer, I love writing books that are set in the UK. I enjoy working with settings that I’m familiar with and that have some resonance for me. Passing Through, for example, is set in Cornwall—a very beautiful part of England that I visit often and adore.
However, when I first started writing with a view to publication, I was worried about how readers in other parts of the world would respond to my characters with their Britishisms and their penchant for cups of tea and marmite on toast.
I sometimes get asked whether I tone my writing down to make it more palatable for a global audience, and I would say that the answer is mostly no. I try and keep the vocabulary and slang authentically British. As a British reader I sometimes come across words or phrases I’m unfamiliar with in a book that’s set in another country. But I never mind looking them up—it’s so easy to do that from an ebook—and I enjoy learning something new. I’ve had readers tell me they feel the same about my books. They might sometimes find a word or expression that’s new to them, but it’s not a problem. Most people enjoy the authenticity of a British voice for a book set in the UK.
Leo is a lonely workaholic with no time for romance in his life. His job in London takes all his energy and commitment. When he goes to Cornwall to stay with his terminally ill uncle, Edwin, love is the last thing Leo expects to find.
Tris lives in a cottage on Edwin’s land. Gay, but still half in the closet, he and Leo bond over their affection for Edwin, and the pull of attraction between them proves too strong to ignore. In Tris’s arms, in the wilds of Cornwall, Leo finds a peace he’d forgotten existed.
On his return to London, Leo finds himself grieving for more than just the loss of his uncle. When some unexpected news gives Leo the chance to return to Cornwall, he’s afraid it will be too late to rekindle things with Tris. But having learned much from his stay with his uncle, Leo doesn’t want to look back and wish he’d done things differently.
It’s time to seize the day—if it’s not already too late.
Excerpt: On the beach they crunched along the shingle to the edge of the rocks, then turned to look out over the sea. It was almost completely dark now, and the moon was rising, casting streaks of bright silver on the oil-black water.
They stood in silence, watching and listening to the crash of the waves. Leo’s heart felt suddenly too large for his chest. He was overwhelmed by the beauty of the place, a place that had barely changed since his childhood. The sea came and went with the tides, the sands shifted, but the rocks were constant. Yet here Leo was, an adult now rather than a boy, and his uncle reduced to an echo of the man Leo remembered—physically, at least. Unexpected tears prickled the backs of Leo’s eyes as a rush of emotion so strong that it made him draw in a sharp breath assaulted him. He swallowed hard, forcing the feelings back down.
Out of his peripheral vision,he saw Tris turn towards him, but Leo carried on gazing out at the gentle, rolling movement of the sea. Tris shifted his feet in the sand, bringing him closer. The warm skin of his arm brushed Leo’s, and Leo ached for more contact. He needed human warmth and touch to chase away the cold emptiness in his heart.
She comes from a family of writers, but she always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. She spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content. One day, she decided to try and write a short story–just to see if she could–and found it rather addictive. She hasn’t stopped writing since.