One of my numerous aunts has sent me the sweetest letter. She lives, like my entire family, in France, minutes away from my parents so they meet often. And for the last two months they have seen each other even more.
You know, despite what we read and hear about the end of families and this and that, good things sometimes happen within families.
When my novel Trapped in Paris was released late fall, I sent a copy to my parents and one to my aunt. The rest of the family, very graciously, bought their own. My aunt taught English in middle school – college in France – her entire life. When I was a little girl, most adults I knew were married and had children. My aunt married late so she appeared to me as a very modern woman – she traveled to London and other British locations regularly.
From her trips to the UK, she brought my sister and me small surprises. More than the traditional Big Ben or London bus souvenir, I loved the British food the most – I know British food in comparison to the French is bland but it was as exotic as could be to a ten year old. I ate my first Rice Crispies and After Eight chocolates thanks to my aunt. She also introduced me to the morning orange marmalade and lemon curd and made me my first cup of tea. The French aren’t very good at making breakfast.
Above all my aunt spoke English! It was my dream to speak English like a Brit. I managed to speak English like a Franco-American.
This is for this reason and all of the above that I sent my aunt a copy of my novel. When she received it she was very enthusiastic. I reminded her that I wrote the story for junior high kids, primarily boys, and not for adults, but she couldn’t wait to read it. Since neither my mother nor my father speaks English, my aunt suggested translating the book to my parents. Don’t you think I should have been thinking of my French readers?
In her sweetest letter, my aunt, of course, writes tons of good things about my book. Don’t you wish aunts should be allowed to write Amazon reviews?
But what I loved the most is when she wrote about her careful translating in order to maintain the suspense for my parents.
We all know how important it is for a writer to visualize a scene in order to provide as many sensory details as possible to the reader.
Now I have a good exercise for practice. I have an advantage. I already know the protagonists and the setting. But I still have the ambiance left to my imagination. And believe me, this is worth the try.