Americanisation or Americanization ~ Outside the Margins with Kevin Klehr

Join Prism Book Alliance® as Kevin Klehr goes Outside the Margins today.


A long time ago, my first manuscript was emailed back to me from my assigned editor. She wasn’t happy. She complained about an overwhelming number of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. She’d even made corrections, but when I opened it, red squiggly lines were added under countless words by my Word Processor. This was the beginning of a special relationship.

My editor had Americanised my text. Its original format was Australian English, which is pretty much identical to UK or Canadian. From here we had various conversations about realise being spelt with a Z, about her concept that the word spelt doesn’t exist and should be written as spelled, that learnt should always be learned, and that the abbreviation of Mister or Doctor should always end in a full stop.


Once my initial publisher decided the book would be published in American English, a further world of bilingual delight awaited both my editor and I. So arse became ass, while I kept the UK spelling of theatre when mentioning a certain playhouse in London.

I knew Americans couldn’t use the phrase ‘as red as a beetroot’ because to them, a beetroot is a beet, but neither of us could find an alternative. I explained that pissed meant drunk, while ‘pissed off’ meant pissed.

Then my imagination kicked in and I decided to use a Monopoly Board in an important fantasy scene. She loved the idea and came up with ways to use the street names in context. The problem was, they were street names I’d never heard of. It seems Americans use a different board. In Australia we use the British version. This was a dilemma. It was the Australian characters who were referencing it, but Americans would have been as confused as I was when my editor shared her ideas. I bit the bullet. I used the street names in the US version of the board game.

Like all good editors, I cursed and swore to myself at some plot changes she suggested, and only when I read the final draft from beginning to end did I realise she knew what she was talking about.


Since then, ‘Drama Queens with Love Scenes’ has been re-released by Wilde City where a further amendment had to be made. A bamix is a Swedish kitchen appliance well known in Australia. It is rod shaped and various blade attachments fit to the end of it. It is used to blend and chop ingredients. One of my characters talks about not wanting to be near his nemesis when he’s getting kinky as he may “mistake the bamix for the dildo!” It was sad to lose this, but US readers would not get the joke.

My original editor has since passed, but at certain times when a new work is about to be released, a random spam mail appears from her account, or LinkedIn invites me to connect with her. It’s nice to know that relationship isn’t over.

~Kevin Klehr

About Kevin Klehr

Kevin lives with his long-term partner, Warren, in their humble apartment (affectionately named Sabrina), in Australia’s own ‘Emerald City,’ Sydney.

From an early age Kevin had a passion for writing, jotting down stories and plays until it came time to confront puberty. After dealing with pimple creams and facial hair, Kevin didn’t pick up a pen again until he was in his thirties. His handwritten manuscript was being committed to paper when his social circumstances changed, giving him no time to write. Concerned, his partner, Warren, snuck the notebook out to a friend who in turn came back and demanded Kevin finish his novel. It wasn’t long before Kevin’s active imagination was let loose again.

Kevin’s first novel, Drama Queens with Love Scenes, has been relaunched via Wilde City Press along with the sequel, Drama Queens with Adult Themes. Plus his Romance ebook, Nate and the New Yorker is out now.

Kevin’s website –

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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,

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3 thoughts on “Americanisation or Americanization ~ Outside the Margins with Kevin Klehr

  1. I understand the “Americani(z)(s)ation factor” your editor suggested for your book, Being a born and raised US citizen, I’ve read many great books (mostly m/m which is my preferred genre) where the regional colloquialisms remain the way the author originally wrote them. I think it is a great way to broaden one’s horizons (especially as someone who hasn’t had much opportunity to travel), and I enjoy learning about customs and language differences from around the globe. I do understand the need to change things that would be unrecognizable for us here in the states (like a kitchen appliance you would NEVER want to interchange with a dildo, or unfamiliar street names in a completely familiar board game), especially if that is a large part of your targeted market. But when it comes to linguistics, I’m not sure if it’s always necessary to make changes. With Google at our fingertips, so to speak, it’s easy to look something up, or search out a definition for unfamiliar terminology. Enjoyed your “Outside the Margins” perspective on this subject.

  2. I feel the pain of receiving those manuscripts. As a Brit whose stories are constantly being Americanised/Americanized, I could weep for the loss of my language.

    I had one publisher (who I don’t work with) respond to my enquiry about US/UK English that they only accept US English because they want the books released by them to be of a high standard. I take it that means UK English isn’t?

    What really annoys me though is that the rest of the world is supposed to just “know” every American phrase and colloquialism without any form of reference. We are expected to re-set out brains to know all those word differences while the US readers are shielded from the same.

    When my UK publisher switched to US English as well I could have thrown in the towel right there and then, were it not for my contractual requirements.

    As a reader, I have a collection folder on my Kindle for British books, ones where the writer has been allowed to keep the flavour of the country. Stories where I really feel that I am reading about English characters, in English settings. Too many books set in my country could just as easily be set in a town in the US they have had so much of the British stripped out of them. That collection is one of my favourites, I just wish it had more books in it than it does.

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