Amelia Faulkner on Blind Man’s Wolf and American vs. British English: The Eternal Struggle. ~ Guest Blog

Prism Book Alliance would like to thank Amelia Faulkner for taking the time to talk with us today.

104-Amelia-Faulkner-TC1-Blind-Mans-Wolf-Cover

Title: Blind Man’s Wolf
Author: Amelia Faulkner
Publisher: Self Published
Cover Artist: Scarlet Cox
Publication Date:12/05/2014
Genre/Sub-Genre: Action/Adventure, Gay, Horror, M/M Romance, Paranormal

Blurb:

A night-blind vampire. A werewolf with lousy self-confidence. And a whole hell of a lot of danger…

Tooth & Claw, Book 1.

Ellis O’Neill is an art dealer with too many problems: his eyesight has deteriorated to the point of night-blindness; he’s estranged from his family, to whom he owes a considerable sum of money; and his guide dog went right off him the night Ellis died. Without his dog, Ellis is trapped in a life bouncing between home and work, dependent on his personal assistant.

Werewolf Randall Carter has problems of his own. He loves his pack, he really does, but as their Omega he’s always the one to bear the brunt of their rage. It’s a role he can’t avoid, and Randall isn’t sure he can take it for much longer, so he buries himself in his day job. Randall’s the best dog trainer in the city, and when he’s offered a client who needs him to work evenings he’d be a fool to turn it down.

Soon Randall is falling for someone he should despise. Everything about the undead is anathema to his kind, but Ellis is exactly the kind of guy Randall would want to ask out on a date – if he were still breathing. Worse, they may not have too long to figure their feelings out. Someone or something is gunning for Ellis and anyone else who gets in the way; they won’t rest until the vampire is destroyed.

Prism recently reviewed Blind Man’s Wolf. You can find the review here.

Prism Book Alliance would like to thank Amelia Faulkner for taking the time to talk with us today.

American vs. British English: The Eternal Struggle:

trouserpants

Just between you and me, I’m English, and I was born and raised on British English. There is a sadistic glee in the way we cherish our arcane spelling and absurd linguistic rules. We are married to that u in colour in a way that transcends all common sense.

We are perhaps neck and neck with the Japanese when it comes to perverse pride in the complexity of our language. Despite the millions of people who speak English fluently as a second language, we shake our heads and sympathise with anyone who has to face learning it as a non-native tongue. In a species wired for linguistic communication we seem to find it astounding that anyone manages to grasp English at all.

Imagine, then, what it is like when two languages are so alike as to seem – at the surface – to be identical. American and British English are like alley cats, hissing and spitting at one-anther for territorial disputes one day and then curling up together the next. Despite the daily influx of media from either side of the Atlantic we can still get quite riled up about the differences once they’re written down. Put a British accent on television in the USA and it can be seen as suave, sophisticated (Mr. Clarkson notwithstanding). An American on British television is sometimes just another accent, lost among the myriad dialects and regional voices.

We understand each other. Most of the words are identical. Most are even spelled (spelt is a type of wheat) the same. But once upon a time someone wrote some words down in a dictionary in the New World and decided to use crazy things like logic and common sense. And when we wrote one down back over here we thought it’d be a jolly spiffing idea to make our words fancy and a bit French.

Because French is cool, let’s face it. Who wouldn’t want their language to be a bit more French?

Still, what we are left with is a pair of intertwined languages which bear far more differences than whether or not there are extraneous u’s in places we wouldn’t expect to find them. British English is heavy on context to the extent where we will drop as many words from a sentence as humanly possible to convey meaning (another thing we share with Japanese), and to our ears the American English habit of being specific is odd, to say the least. Take this simple yet common example:

American: “Let’s go back to my place.”

British: “Let’s go to mine.”

This isn’t to say that we wouldn’t use the sentence “Shall we go back to my place?”, but if the “where shall we go” conversation is already underway we figure that “place” is a given, thanks to context. Sometimes we’ll be even shorter:

“Where shall we go?”

“Mine?”

We’ll shed words like chaff in some sort of absurd attempt to reduce communication to purely telepathic levels. Necessity being the mother of evolution I’m sure we’ll get there soon enough, but in the interim British authors are left with quite the quandary:

Should we write in British or American English?

As you can see, learning to write in American English is more than getting to grips with a few spellings and word substitutions. There is a wealth of culture which informs the differences in language. We call the bottom floor of a building the ground floor, but in the USA it’s the first floor. In the UK nobody signs anything when they use a card to pay for goods or services but in the USA it’s common practice. We don’t have drive-through banking, we don’t carry drivers’ licenses as ID, and we wouldn’t dream of putting gravy on a biscuit.

The very language differs to the extent whereby ensuring that the spelling is correct doesn’t make a text authentically American, and even those of us who have been to the USA and have American friends are often unaware of how varied cultural experience is from one State to the next. I might think I was being terribly clever by dropping an H.E.B. into a story (I do, incidentally, love H.E.B.) without realising that they aren’t a country-wide business (which they should be; get right on that, H.E.B.). I could create a scene where the recipient of a cheque (excuse me, a check) bumps into their love interest in the queue at their local bank without being remotely aware that really he would have just scanned that puppy in and paid it into his account online (thereby never meeting the man of his dreams, alas).

One obvious solution seems to be to only write stories set in the UK, but let’s be realistic here: we write stories about the things which grasp our imaginations, and many of those things don’t exist on this collection of some six thousand islands. We don’t have vast, endless roads that have one car every hundred miles. We don’t have mountain ranges of the scale of the Appalachians. We don’t have cities as tall as Downtown Manhattan or as sprawling as Houston. And those are just settings! Cowboys, American Football players, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs… It’s really not quite the same thing writing about a small office IT startup in Slough, is it? (Sorry, Slough). It’s possible to drive in a straight line for nine hours and not leave Texas. If I got in my car and drove for nine hours in a straight line I’d pass through Scotland and fall off into the North Sea.

Perhaps, then, all we can do is our best, and plead forgiveness for our errors regardless of which direction our writing heads in. We’re very sorry if we get something a bit wrong. We’re doing all the research that we can, but sometimes there really is no substitute for living in the culture we’re writing about.

Or we can go the way Bascule the Teller in the late, great Iain M. Banks’ Feersum Endjinn and write phonetically.

Gird your loins: txt spk bks r comin 2 u!

About the Author:

202-Amelia-Faulkner-Author-ImageAmelia Faulkner was born in the rolling green countryside of Oxfordshire, and moved to London once she was mostly grown up. She has a degree in Computer Science, and spent quite a long time working with computers until her childhood love of writing could no longer be ignored.

Since then she has written for corporate clients and personal pleasure, and finally stepped away from office-bound working in 2011 to freelance from home.

Amelia is also a keen photographer and film-goer, and resides in the city (not the City) with her husband. She is notoriously camera-shy, so please enjoy this picture of her cat!

Author Links:

Website: http://ameliafaulkner.com/

Mailing list: http://eepurl.com/ZiAEX

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+AmeliaFaulkner/posts

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmeliaFaulknerAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8422672.Amelia_Faulkner

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/amelia_faulkner/

Buy Links:

Self Published
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
iTunes / iBooks
All Romance eBooks
Barnes & Noble
Kobo US
Kobo UK

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
This post may contain affiliate links.
Prism Book Alliance® assumes no liability for the ownership of photos or content used in guest posts and interviews.  The post author assumes all responsibility and liability for this content.

7 thoughts on “Amelia Faulkner on Blind Man’s Wolf and American vs. British English: The Eternal Struggle. ~ Guest Blog

  1. Loved this post since it hit very close to home. While I co-wrote a novella set in America I only had the courage to do that since my co-writer is a native AE speaker. As for the stories I write on my own; they’re all firmly set in Ireland. With English being my second language, I have enough trouble getting it all right without also having to ignore a lot I was thought when I learned English in school in Holland.

  2. I’m from England so if I see a book set in the UK and by a Brit I usually buy it. The American books are great it’s just wonderful to read a book with all the slang and Brit speak and have trousers instead of pants which always makes me laugh sorry pants to me are underwear! Also sweets, biscuits etc.

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      H.E.B. are a family-owned supermarket chain based in Texas and with stores in northern Mexico. I love them beyond all reason. They donate a percentage of their pre-tax profits to charities, and they stock fantastic Mexican and Tex-Mex goodies.

  3. I had to look up H.E.B since I never heard of it before. I was a bit confused about it but hey those stores aren’t even located anywhere near area. Thanks for the post =)

Leave a Reply