My first sight of LOUISA ELLIOTT, on sale, was in Harrods, Knightsbridge – how chic is that? I don’t know if my husband had been tipped off to take me in there the morning after the London launch party, but it was certainly a terrific thrill!
Another, next day, was seeing the beautiful Chatto edition, with its silhouette of the Minster, for sale in every bookshop in York. Special, because York was my birthplace and the setting for the book. But I really felt like a princess the following year when, walking through Heathrow airport on my way to Australia, I saw the Pan paperback everywhere – on posters, in displays, on shelves – wow!
In 1990, when the Pan edition reached no 3 in the Sunday Times bestseller list, I was in Australia promoting LOUISA ELLIOTT and completing my research for LIAM’S STORY. It was cause for great celebration, but numbers sold? No idea. Should have asked but didn’t. Just hoped it was lots and that the publishers didn’t regret paying me that fat advance…
The foreign editions, as they arrived at widely-spaced intervals over the next few years, were another thrill. I’d open these lovely new books with their different covers, and look at the words and wonder about the translations. Did they manage to convey the pictures I had painted with my very English words?
I had to trust that they did. It was not until MOON RISING came out in 2000, and the French translator Francoise du Sorbier contacted me about Whitby, that I began to understand something about translation. Francoise wanted to see Whitby for herself, so that she could convey my descriptions in the most appropriate French. Now that is dedication to duty. We have been friends ever since, and I am delighted to say that my husband and I have been able to assist Francoise from time to time in her translations of English classics. Most notably in her translation of Robinson Crusoe, in 2011. Very proud of that!