Wednesday, 22 February 2012

TALKING ABOUT THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND MR DARCY: NINA BENNETON, COMPULSIVELY MR DARCY (INTERVIEW AND GIVEAWAY)

Nina Benneton and I discovered we share more than our love for Jane Austen ... Read through our lovely chat and try to discover what it is. Moreover, leave your comment to get a chance to win Nina's new amazing book: Compulsively Mr Darcy. You'll find the details below.

Q. Hello, Nina and welcome on My Jane Austen Book Club . Would you mind telling us about your book?

A: Compulsively Mr. Darcy is a modern, romantic comedy update of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. In this re-telling, Mr. Darcy is a control freak with obsessive-compulsive disorder who, during a trip to Vietnam to help the Bingley family adopt a trendy third-world orphan, meets an impulsive, carefree, infectious disease doctor Elizabeth Bennet.

Q:  In one recent blog post,  you wrote you started writing to conquer your fear of writing?  Fear of writing? Why?

A:  Because, besides that it's easier for me to do a complicated calculus problem in my head than write a sentence, in any language, I'm not a native English speaker. I struggled with English and writing through high school and college—in America— and it's the one subject for which I'd received very mediocre grades in school.

Q: Yet, your book received a Best Book rating from Long and Short Reviews, and the reviewer wrote, 'Some of Ms. Benneton's turns of phrase were brilliant and utterly entertaining.' When you read that, how did that make you feel?

A: Astounded. Tickled to death. Proud. That was the moment I felt I've finally conquered my fear of writing in English.

As a child, I'd been taught some rudiments of British English by French nuns, but not enough to be fluent. When I was a teenager, my family moved to America. American English confused me.

For example, in British English, it’s: 'The faculty are meeting in the teacher's lounge.' 
In American English, it's: 'The faculty is meeting in the teacher's lounge.'

With American English, in this context, 'faculty' is a used as collective singular noun; 'faculty' is considered as 'one collective body.' But, it's more logical and natural to me to think of 'faculty' as plural, because there are more than one person.

There are other rules that have continued to confuse me, no matter how long I lived here in America.

You arrive at an airport,  you don't arrive 'to' the airport—which would make more sense to me.

You wear pants, not pant.  That extra 's' has always seems so inefficient to me. How many one-legged person there are wearing trousers?

'You have a butt, not butts, Nina,' my writing teacher recently pointed out. But, I argued cheekily, when I look behind me, I see two.

I don't know why, but my mind was not able to grasp the intricate and illogical rules of English grammar, British or American, until I took up writing to tackle my fear of writing  a few years ago.

Q: Curiously, for your debut novel, you decided to tackle a retelling of one of the most beloved, classic English novels, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Any trepidation with regard to the subject matter or writing fiction in a language not your mother's tongue?

A: Quite cheeky of me, was it not, to tackle a Jane Austen's novel?

Trepidation? Gosh, gobs and gobs of it, but not with the subject matter. I've loved Jane Austen's novels for years. I knew her characters as well as I knew my siblings and I felt, as a storyteller, I could tackle the subject. I wasn't so confident about the technical aspects of writing the story, however.

Fortunately, early in my writing journey, I found incredible, talented women on the Jane Austen fan fiction forum who loved Jane Austen as much as I did, and when I approached them for help with copyediting for grammar mistakes, they generously agreed. 

One person in particular, Sharon, took the trouble to not only correct my grammar, she began to teach me—using my own words in my writing—why this rule was this and why this rule was that. Her physicist mother was from Cuba, so Sharon had grown up with a non-native English speaking mother. Sharon intuitively understood my difficulty. She could explain exactly why and where I—a non-native English speaker like her mother—was confused with regard to certain rules and conventions.

Best of all, Sharon corrected my mistakes, yet she didn't rewrite or change my 'writer's voice'—my writing still sounded like my writing instead of hers. 

After Sharon, I’d gained enough confidence to hit the grammar books and enrolled in editing classes. Now, the rules begin to make sense because I could apply them to my own writing.

Q:  In the acknowledgement of your book, you thanked your agent for 'believing in your writing voice. Above, you mentioned 'writer's voice' again.  Every writer explains voice differently. Could you explain what you mean by 'voice'?

A:  A writer's voice is an author's unique style—a quality that conveys an author's attitude, character, personality. The word-choice a writer chooses, the way the writer arranges and composes those chosen words in a sentence, the cadence of the words when a reader read the sentence aloud—all that is 'voice.'

Some writers struggle and write for years without attaining that recognizable, distinctive voice, because, as I mentioned, it's also 'attitude, character and personality' that go into the 'voice.' Yet, some writer's voice is very distinct—when you read a sentence they've written, you immediately recognize their 'voice' even if there's no signature. 

Readers either like a writer's voice or they don't. It's very subjective.

Yet, this should not be an excuse for writers, native or non-native English writers, to not work hard to give clarity to their writing. The more I learned the rules and edit my work, the more my voice came out.


Q:  Tell us one surprising thing you learned in your writing classes that you could share with other non-native English writers?

A:  What's considered 'good writing' in another language is not necessarily 'good writing' in English. That surprised me.

For example, in Spanish, a beautiful, melodious language, good writing means long sentences to express a general idea. Good writing in Arabic is ornately decorative with adjectives and loaded with proverbs. Good writing in Chinese can be full of flamboyant cliches. I hope readers well versed in those languages will forgive me for being simplistic here.

In comparison, good English writing is plain. Concise. Boring to non-native writers. 

Non-native writers like myself tend to be too wordy when writing in English. Always, less is more, Nina. That's probably the most surprising and important thing that I've learned from my writing teachers.

In first draft, write as wordy as you want to freely express yourself, but in editing, you want to cut and cut and cut until you can have imparted the same message in as fewest number of words.  It's the editing that allows a writer's voice to come out more vividly in English.

There are some writers who manage to successfully carry the style of their native language over to English.  Isabelle Allende or Rudolph Anaya—two of my favorite non-native English writers—for example, can write in long sentences overflowing with decorative adjectives and proverbs and still be appreciated by the native American ear. But I think this is uncommon and requires an unusual amount of talent.

Q: How did you come to know so much about different languages?  Are you multi-lingual?

A: No. I do not consider myself multi-lingual, for I'm unable to retain any language I've learned in my too-small brain. At one point, I was fluent in French as a child, but when I was last in Paris, I found myself speaking very bad Spanish to our French friends.

As to where I came upon my knowledge from languages, from my father. He's multi-lingual. He knows how to read, write and speak in at least probably seven or eight languages. When I was young, he used to freelance as a translator for children's books and even a few romance novels. I used to sneak into his office and tried to read the books in foreign languages. I just loved the sounds of foreign languages. Unfortunately, I didn't inherit my father's facility with languages, just the fascination.

In Compulsively Mr. Darcy, I indulged myself by including a scene where Elizabeth and Darcy discussed the linguisitic difference.


  
“Cyclo?”

Darcy paused.

A small Vietnamese man smiled at him. He pointed to the cyclo behind him and said something Darcy couldn’t understand.

“No, No. I’m waiting for my friend.”

The man began to talk in a conversational manner.

Darcy couldn’t decipher a word the man spoke. He wondered how to walk away politely. Spotting Elizabeth at a distance, he breathed a sigh of relief.

“Sorry  to  keep  you  waiting. Elizabeth reached them,  smiled at Darcy, and turned toward the cyclo driver. “Hello.  I’m  Lizzy. Are you busy today with many rides? The driver responded and Elizabeth answered, “We go to Marble Mountain. Too far for cyclo.”

The cyclo driver spoke again and pointed at the ocean.

“Enjoy the beach. It’s beautiful.” Elizabeth said good-bye.

Once they were settled in the backseat of a taxi and had given the driver their destination, Darcy asked, “How did you under- stand what he said?”

“What do you mean? He was speaking in English.”

Distracted by the view behind her of a passing bicycle carrying tied-up pigs, he didn’t  reply for a moment  before he confessed, with some embarrassment, “I had a hard time.”

“I’m  used to my aunt Mai’s relatives back home. I learned to keep it simple. They don’t have verb tenses or plurals. You don’t say ‘He walks’ but ‘he walk.’ You don’t say ‘I went to the market yesterday’ but ‘I go market yesterday.’ ‘Two apples’ becomes ‘two apple’—details like that.”


Q: After Pride and Prejudice, tell us what Jane Austen novels is your second favorite and why?

Mansfield Park, perhaps because I identified with Fanny Price— uprooted from her home in Portsmouth and transplanted in the 'foreign' soil of Mansfield Park. At the end, she came to the startling realization that Mansfield Park is home, not Portsmouth.  That's exactly how I feel about America.

Q: What's next for Nina Benneton the writer?

Juggling multiple projects. I'm editing a Pride and Prejudice Regency Romantic Suspense I'd challenged myself to write last year. I'm about to tackle revision of another contemporary romantic comedy next month. I'm writing first draft a romantic time-travel story.  I also write short stories for a change of pace and to have fun. And, of course, I'm taking writing classes.






The Author:  As a child, Nina Benneton promised the French nuns who taught that she would grow up and find the cure for cancer, effect world peace, and win a Nobel Prize for something, anything.  Alas, her own Mr. Darcy and the requisite number of beautiful children interrupted her plans. Tired of alphabetizing her spices and searching for stray Barbie shoes, she turned to writing. 

The Book
Compulsively Mr. Darcy, earned a Best Book review and the Reader's Poll Book of the Month February 2012  from Long and Short Review, 'Hands down…a must read for lovers and fans of classic romance.'  Fresh Fiction Review called it a 'tenderly written novel.'  Savvy Verse and Wit described it as ' 'More than a love story, Compulsively Mr. Darcy is about loving someone faults and all, accepting and not changing who they are, and growing together in love.  Steamy, sexy, and fun, it will have readers giggling and blushing at the same time.' Publishers Weekly wrote,  'Die-hard fans of everything Austen will enjoy this update of her classic tale.'

GIVEAWAY DETAILS


Sourcebooks will offer

1 Paperback copy to US readers
1 e-book copy to readers from the rest of the world


Please specify which country in the world you live in in your comment  and don't forget to add your e-mail address. This giveaway ends on March 1.

Website/blog:  www.NinaBenneton.com
Find Nina on Facebook  
Find her on Twitter: @NinaBenneton
or on her groupblog: www.AustenAuthors.com

49 comments:

Krista said...

I have been wanting to read this. Thanks for the wonderful review. I can't wait to read about Mr.Darcy with a little OCD. Its great to have a different way of seeing my most adored Mr. Darcy!

Im live in the U.S
bookreviewclub@yahoo.com

Patricia F. said...

I live in the us
Patkf2007@hotmail.com

Ive been reading good reviews and cant wait to read this

Cinta García de la Rosa said...

Lovely interview, I loved it. Thanks for the giveaway, I think it is a book that will be very interesting to read. And, Nina, if you talk in Spanish to our French neighbours, they won't understand you LOL!! Now seriously, well done :D

I live in Spain, since I am Spanish.
cintaenglish@gmail.com

Linda said...

Darcy and Elizabeth in modern times - sounds wonderful. Thanks for the giveaway.

I live in the US.

lcbrower40(at)gmail(dot)com

Sue said...

Sounds great, I look forward to reading it!
I live in the USA.
Sue

BeckyC said...

I just finished reading this! I loved it. I was intrigued by this compulsive Darcy and Nina did not disappoint. If you like modern P&P spins, this is a must read! No need to enter me in the drawing as I already own a copy.

BTW-the cover is even more striking in person!

Felicia said...

Thanks for the interview! This sounds like a great read and definitely on my TBR list. Love those P&P modern tales!

Felicia

(US copy)

Heather M. said...

Isn't language fascinating! Such a fluid, dynamic thing. I live in the US. Thanks for hosting a giveaway!

hmoll(at)nycap(dot)rr(dot)com

MonicaP said...

I loved Compulsively Mr Darcy and definitely look forward to whatever Nina writes next!

Thanks for the chance to win! I'm in the US
monicaperry00 at gmail dot com

Nina Benneton said...

Krista,

Thanks for being the intrepid first commenter! How kind of you to say you can't wait to read.

Mr. Darcy has more than a little OCD, I'm afraid, but, no fear--the reviewers have noted that 'he's a man with OCD, but it does not define him...'

That was a challenge I wanted to tackle--how to give someone as iconic a romantic hero as Mr. Darcy give him a very human affliction, yet still make him sexy and stay true to Jane Austen's character.

Thanks for your comment!

Nina Benneton said...

Hi Patricia,

Yeah! You've been reading good reviews!

My mother is now curious to read my book after she's seen all the good reviews, my sister told me.

I told my mother that she's not allowed to leave a review anywhere--because, knowing my mother, she'll give me a 3 star review because she'd consider that as very, very GOOD. Only BIG God gets a 5 star and 4 star would ruin me and the gods would be upset, she would say.

Oy!

Thanks for commenting.

Baci e abbracci,

Nina Benneton said...

Cinta,

Blushing. Thank you.

LOL. I was not even aware I was speaking in bad Spanish until my husband told me, "Dear, I think you were speaking in Spanish. Bad Spanish."

I blame it on my having kids. My brain shrunk from sleep deprivation for years...

I tried to learn Spanish years ago because I wanted to read Allende and Anaya in Spanish, alas, I never made it.


Thanks for stopping by..

Margay said...

I can't get enough of Darcy and Elizabeth and this looks like another good one to add to my list!

Margay, US

Margay1122ATaolDOTcom

Nina Benneton said...

Linda,

A modern Darcy and Elizabeth with a funny twist.

But no messing with a third party! I don't do that. My D & E are loyal to each other! Although, Elizabeth did get a hug from a famous actor...

Nina Benneton said...

Sue,

And I look forward to you reading it!

Thanks for stopping by.

Nina Benneton said...

BeckyC,

Whoever and wherever you are! You deserve a big BACI e ABBRACCI

for stopping by and leaving that wonderful comment!

I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

After your comment, I'm going to float to my room now...

Nina Benneton said...

Felicia,

You are a dream reader. Someone who likes modern tales.. of P & P.

I admit, it's a bit more of a risk as a JA lover to read a modern version...but an OCD Regency Darcy would not have worked. That chamber pot under the bed--I just couldn't get that out of my head.

Thanks for stopping by

Nina Benneton said...

Heather M,

Love what you wrote about language being a fluid, dynamic thing.

I actually had to go to speech therapy as a child to learn how to speak clearly and be understood--so perhaps that's why I'm fascinated by languages and its power.

In the story, Elizabeth explains that, depending on the language, people use different oral muscles to speak different languages--(it's also in the breathing.) I talked to a speech therapist to get all that information. Don't worry, though, I didn't go on and on about what I learned from my research.

I hate it when writers give me too much of their research... so in the final version, I edited out everything but the bare minimum.

LOL, I just realized I gave you too much information here... see, being wordy again...

Nina Benneton said...

Monica,

A big BACI e ABBRACCI to you for that shout out!

And you read it the first week the book was released three weeks ago!

I'm very honored you still want a copy after you've read it...

Thank you...

Nina Benneton said...

Margay,

It's readers like you who can't get enough of Darcy and Elizabeth who keep us writers happy!

Thank you for stopping by..

Margaret said...

Dying to read this! Compulsively trying to win this book lol! Thank you for the giveaway!

Canada

Margaret
singitm(at)hotmail(dot)com

Sophia Rose said...

I was enjoying the discussion on our confusing English grammar rules. It does scare the willies out of one thinking of writing for public view.
I also was struck by the point about having to write in different ways for each language group-flowery vs. concise.

Thanks for the good questions and answers ladies. Nina, thank you for the giveaway opportunity.

Sophia
US Resident
sophiarose1816@gmail.com

Helena said...

What an interesting discussion on writing in English! I'm particularly struck by your comments on what is considered good writing in different languages (or countries?).

I'd love to win this book. I live in the UK. My email address is helenajustina[at]hotmail-dot-co-dot-uk

Nina Benneton said...

Margaret,

And I'm dying for you (and all the readers out there) to read the book.

Actually, you don't have to read it, just buy it so I can make some money for my agent. The woman deserves it for liking my 'writing voice.'

She undid years of repression by the nuns. They'd told me my irreverent humor wasn't going to get me far in life, you see, and wheeee! Look, nuns, the classclown wise-cracking I did all those years was training for me to be a writer.

Anyway, if you win, tell your friends to buy the book, okay, Margaret?

Bejos, amica

Nina Benneton said...

Sophia Rose,

Confusing English grammar rules, yes. To my mathematical inclined mind, the rules do not make sense because they can be rather arbitrary.

But, one other thing I discovered in writing classes is that most NATIVE English writers are also weak in grammar, and they suffer the same angst I do. Once I hit the grammar books and learned how to edit myself, I actually could edit other native writers' works (we have to critique and edit each other's work) and I picked up many things they missed. Many of native writers rely on their native ear to tell them if something's wrong, but that's not adequate.

The reason I wanted and needed to learn grammar rules well was so I could break them. You can't use literary devices and have your writing have that impact--that voice--you want without knowing exactly why and how you broke the rules.

For example, in the interview, I wrote:

In comparison, good English writing is plain. Concise. Boring to non-native writers.

See how I set off 'concise' by itself? And how I have the fragment 'Boring to non-native writers.' by itself following? That's breaking the rules purposefully, but it's my voice, and it read smooth and made an impact on readers. They may not know it's because of the staccato 'Concise' bookended by periods, followed by the fragment, but they get the message I wanted to convey.

A native English grammarian (and I had a few!) would correct it as:

In comparison, good English writing is plain and concise, and possibly considered boring to non-native writers.

Do you hear the difference? The second sentence, while grammatically more correct, doesn't have the rhythm, the nice cadence to it? It doesn't sing to my ear.

That's why I had to learn the rules, so I could break them with confidence. ;)

Baci e abbracci to you for leaving a comment, and I'm so sorry you had to read through this wordy reply..

maribea said...

I'm Italian, moving to Switzerland where I will be speaking English and learning German.
I'd love to read your novel in this multilanguage world!!! and seeing I'm relocating to a new country and space is a crucial issue, I'd love to read the ebook version.

lots of kisses
maribea (at) tiscali (dot) it

Nina Benneton said...

Helena,

Thank you for telling me what you were struck by… and now, forgive me, I'm about to subject you to suffer more of my wordy musing on the topic…

In addition to the style of literature from a writer's native country that influenced him or her, it's also cultural and political, even in fiction writing.

Many non-native English writers, who came from a cultural and politically climate different from the freedom-of-speech atmosphere in the West, have a hard time getting over that reticence in expressing their thoughts freely, even in fictional storytelling.

Writing Compulsively Mr. Darcy was freeing to me in many levels. I allowed myself to be irreverent and touched on some seemingly unPC subjects—yet I wanted to do it in organically in the story with humor.

For example, this exchange:

Bingley nudged Darcy. “Look at the guy riding that bicycle. There must be close to a hundred chickens on that bamboo frame on top of his back wheel. How does he keep it balanced?”

Caroline said, “Please, Charles, didn’t you see that Crouching Tiger movie? Asians are born with good balance. I always educate myself about the countries we visit. It’s helpful to have a vast cultural knowledge of the world.”

After spending hours traveling in close quarters with her, Darcy closed his eyes and briefly fantasized balancing her and her vast cultural knowledge at the business end of a catapult and pointing it toward North Korea.


*
My agent laughed at the lines above—and she told me that was when she knew I had a unique voice.

I think because of my being an immigrant to America, of having lived in and traveled with my family to many different places in the world, I'm a bit cheeky in writing cultural humor that other writers wouldn't touch.

I once wrote a story in the voice of a South Indian grandmother, and I had many South Indian readers convinced that I was really Indian because I'd managed to capture the voice of a Naani that sounded so much like their unPC South Indian grandmothers.

I also wrote a short story once in the voice of a liquor-loving Irish Poppa, and my classmates were sure I was Irish Catholic.

In CMD, I actually had a Brit reader, a retired banker from Sussex, read a draft to tell me if I'd written Darcy's British dialogue too trashy American.

Okay, I'm sorry to subject you to this long essay here... As I told Maria Grazia, it's a fascinating subject to me...

Btw, the book is available worldwide. ;) You can even buy it through the National Trust of England online store, which tickled me to no ends!

Nina Benneton said...

Maribea,

Wow. Oh. Wow. I'm so GREEN with envy (hey! flamboyant cliche!) at your opportunity--to be put in a situation where you are so out of your element. Learning German via English or Italian?

Don't you think the cultural differences between the Swiss and the German and the Italian are so fascinating?

When my Italian friend came to visit me a couple of years ago, she commented, "You American really do smile too much, even at strangers." It's suspicious to her.

Isn't that fascinating? In America, where I live on the west coast, if you happen to meet a stranger's eyes, you smile and then you pass on. You'd be considered rude if you don't.

The other thing was, she was horrified that I love ham and pineapple on my pizza---the combination made her gag.

When we to a party where the hostess was trying to teach us how to make hors d'ourves, my Italian friend said, "An Italian man would KILL you if you serve him such tiny food."


Thanks for stopping by and I hope the Swiss serve you lots and lots of food!

Marilyn Brant said...

*waving to Maria Grazia*
You don't have to enter me in the drawing, as I have my own copy ;). But I just wanted to say hi to Nina and tell you both how much I enjoyed this interview! LOVED everything in here about writing English as a non-native speaker, and the book excerpt was wonderful, too!!
xox

aurora said...

Dear Nina, I have read your blog and find it very interesting and lovely. Also your book. I am looking forward to reading it.
Have a lovely day.

Helen said...

Been waiting for this one for awhile! Exciting!

Thanks Maria and Nina.

I live in Australia

helen(at)hancock(dot)id(dot)au

cyn209 said...

added to my WishList!!!!

thank you for this giveaway.....

i'm in the US..........

cyn209 at juno dot com

Nina Benneton said...

Marilyn Brant!

The author whose 'According to Jane' made me miss my hair cut appointment because I couldn't put it down!

Thank you for stopping by and saying 'Hi.'

Writers are some of the most classy people I know--Norman Mailer not withstanding...

Nina Benneton said...

Dearest Aurora,

Thank you so much for leaving such kind words.

Your beautiful name reminds me of Disney's Sleeping Beauty. My daughter watched it and wanted to be called Aurora for a long time.

I'm not too keen on Sleeping Beauty deal though... sleeping through all the action? I'd wake up and grab the sword and slay the dragon myself.

Sorry, I'm always trying to brainwash my daughter away from the sleeping beauty thinking. My mind goes off on tangent--and that's how I started writing... What if Mr. Darcy washes his hands too frequently?

Nina Benneton said...

Helen,

One of my early trusted reader was Australian! After she read the book, she went to Vietnam for vacation to search for her own Mr. Darcy. In the final version, I made fun of her by having two flirty Australian girls trying to catch Darcy's eyes at Marble Mountains.

Thanks for stopping by, mate! (Yes, I know not all Ozzie want to be called 'Mate' but humor me. I've become a trashy American girl after all these years of living here.)

Nina Benneton said...

Cyn209

And I added you to my wishlist of readers who will read the book and tell all their friends and neighbors!

Baci to you for that 'Wishlist' and three exclamation points!!!

Kelli H. said...

Lovely interview ladies! I have heard so many wonderful things about this book and I can't wait to read it! Thanks for the giveaway!=)
I am in the US!
kellik115@yahoo.com

Carolina said...

Anxious to read this book...
Oh,Mr.Darcy...

I simply love your giveaways lol.

carol_marques_pop@hotmail.com

I'm from Brazil:D

Kisses,

Carolina

Nina Benneton said...

Kelli,

Give a big baci e abbracci to whoever told you the good things about the book for me!

Word of mouth is the best publicity to help me keep my agent in hand sanitizer. That, and a few good reviews ;)

Thanks for stopping by..

Nina Benneton said...

Carolina,

The web ate up my comment. Brazil! I have a special place in my heart for Brazilian Janeites!!!

Thank you for stopping by...

Sneezy96 said...

Thanks for doing this.

I live in the U.S.

sneezy96@gmail.com

Nina Benneton said...

Goodness, Sneezy96,

You get the award for the most fun username! I cannot believe there are 95 Sneezy before you...

Sorry. My mind wanders... it's a writer's quirk.

A big hand sanitizer bottle to you, Sneezy, for stopping by... and please, sneeze into your elbow, okay?

Lúthien84 said...

I would like an eBook copy if I win since I'm international. I had a great time reading the interview and learning about new Austenesque authors.

Maybe I have asked this question before but I could recall on which blog. So, Nina, just curious to know where were you from?

evangelineace2020(at)yahoo(dot)com

Nina Benneton said...

Luthien!

Buongiorno!

I'm like that store called United Color of Benneton!
A mix (but mostly of impertinence and cheekiness! ;))

Baci, amica, for stopping by here.

Helen said...

LOL Nina! Maybe I should give the book to my husband and we will end up in Vietnam Mate ;) LOL!

Just as long as you don't call me 'Shiela''!

Nina Benneton said...

Helen,

Do go to Vietnam. They'd put a shrimp on the barbie for you! ( Do Ozzies really say that or is that just something Crocodile Dundee sold to us ignoramus Americans?)

I would never call you 'Sheila'--- because that's like calling us trashy American girls 'Yo, babe!'

I have to confess though, I love it when I go to England and EVERYBODY there call me, "What can I help you with, MY LOVE?'

It makes me feel so... so LOVED.

Wait, this has nothing to do with my book--and I have to plug it somehow. Hmm... I know,

Elizabeth's signature greeting to Darcy is "Hi, Love."

His signature greeting to her is, "Have you washed your hands?"

Only of of the above is true in the book. Now you have to buy the book if you don't win it to find out... ;)

lana said...

I agree with you when you are not a native speaker, learning the language, "at " instead of "to" seems more logical. As not a native english speaker who studying english as a degree It is amazing to see someone like you who succeeded into written a book into another language !! congrats

Thank you for the giveaway :))

arshi@live.fr

Nina Benneton said...

Lana,

Thank you for the compliment. Blushing.

As I explained, my father (and even my brother) is so gifted with languages that I have always felt inadequate--and that's why I went to math and science, convinced I couldn't write worth beans.

I had a high school English teacher who told me he thought I should become a writer--but I ignored him.

I still don't think I'm a write (sshhh!) because to me, writers are serious people who wear black turtlenecks, drink martinis, and smoke and write about DEEP DEPRESSING books that explore the human psyche and conditions.

I'm just not wired that way...I make a joke out of everything, so writing romantic comedy and borrowing a dead writer's characters, that's what I can do.

Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your story. I'm very honored.

lana said...

you welcome nina benneton, I feel honored that you replied to me.
On the contrary I have always imagined a writer as person with casual clothes, no timetable.being inspired by something or someone and writting carefully :)
I 'm more a language and literature and history fan. THAT'S why I think I took a more lirature/language path.
I HOPE that teh two girls who won your book will take lots of pleasure in reading it :)
write more !!!
have a nice day :)