Back when I was much younger, I remember enthusiastically talking to an established author. I LOVED reading as a kid, so getting the chance to talk to a Real Life Author was exciting. I babbled to him that one day I’d love to be a writer, too.
His response was… less enthusiastic.
“DON’T,” he answered. “You live in New Zealand. Your cultural references are all wrong for a global audience. Even your experience of the seasons is backwards. You’ll confuse a global audience, and never make any money. Don’t waste your time.”
Which put me off writing for a long time. Until the indie publishing revolution came about, and I thought, “screw it. What do I have to lose? Let’s just see what this global audience thinks.”
Fair to say, the response has been far better than that author led me to believe! But I’ve also been quite careful to avoid New Zealand-isms, and make sure all readers can understand what I mean.
But every now and then, the occasional one still slips through. When I was editing the latest book, Open Home Closed Heart, I made a reference to Tess only drinking long blacks.
And then I thought: have I ever heard someone call it a long black when I’ve been overseas? A quick google told me, nope, that’s a name only used in New Zealand and Australia. (My editor is Australian, which further explains how it slipped through.)
Right, got it, Tess drinks black coffee now.
And then I was on Twitter the today, and I was unexpectedly caught out again!
(Don’t judge me, chocolate porridge is delicious. Or should I say chocolate oatmeal?)
The cross-cultural differences just sneak in there, damn it. You’ve gotta be eagle eyed.
Any differences that have caught you out before? If you’re a writer, do you watch out for them? And if you’re a reader, do they bother you?
P.S. Open Home, Closed Heart is available on pre-order now, for a special reduced price of $0.99. So far all the advanced reviews have been five stars, so grab your copy quick!