• Fiona McIntosh: Voyager Author of the Month

    Fiona McIntosh was born and raised in Sussex in the UK, but also spent early childhood years in West Africa. She left a PR career in London to travel and settled in Australia in 1980. She has since roamed the world working for her own travel publishing company, which she runs with her husband. She lives in Adelaide with her husband and twin sons. Her website is at www.fionamcintosh.com.

    Her latest book, The Scrivener's Tale, is a stand-alone and takes us back to the world of Morgravia from her very first series, The Quickening:

    About The Scrivener's Tale:

    In the bookshops and cafes of present-day Paris, ex-psychologist Gabe Figaret is trying to put his shattered life back together. When another doctor, Reynard, asks him to help with a delusional female patient, Gabe is reluctant... until he meets her. At first Gabe thinks the woman, Angelina, is merely terrified of Reynard, but he quickly discovers she is not quite what she seems.

    As his relationship with Angelina deepens, Gabe's life in Paris becomes increasingly unstable. He senses a presence watching and following every move he makes, and yet he finds Angelina increasingly irresistible.

    When Angelina tells Gabe he must kill her and flee to a place she calls Morgravia, he is horrified. But then Angelina shows him that the cathedral he has dreamt about since childhood is real and exists in Morgravia.

    A special 10th Anniversary edition of her first fantasy book, Myrren's Gift, will be released in December!



Barking Up A Chinese Gum Tree? by Maria Quinn

The Gene Thieves

The Gene Thieves

My good news for the week came in the form of an email telling me that The Gene Thieves is to be published in Taiwan, Hong Kong and territories, so will be printed in traditional Chinese characters. How cool is that!? It does prompt some funny questions though like, how do you say (or write) ‘Frankly, it seems to me like you’re barking up a gum tree’ in Chinese?

The question of translation is often a vexed one for authors, particularly where idiom, such as the example above used in my book, is concerned. Australian English is rich in colourful colloquial expressions and these can add marvellous texture to novels and the characters inhabiting them. The crossover between Aussie idiom and cockney slang usually makes for relatively easy understanding between us and the English, but Americans often look askance at expressions we use, innocent of their ‘other meanings’ in that diverse country.

When I used to write advertising copy, including Coca-cola themes, I was once enjoying a recording session in Nashville which included some of the best session musicians on earth. During a short break, the fantastic guitarist sat head down, looking glum. I opened the mike from the control room and told him he looked ‘like a shag on a rock’. It took me a minute to reconcile the hilarity with the American meaning of ‘shag’. So I wonder how something like the following translates to a non-Aussie speaker.

She had a good gander at the bloke driving the ute, as it pulled up behind the dunny. She was mad as a cut snake because it was her dunny. Just because this was the back of beyond didn’t mean any galah could drop his daks there, when he felt like it. She was jack of every banana bender heading for the iron- ore further west using the place as a pit stop just because word was out it was owned by a sheila, out here on her Pat Malone.

‘Hey, mate, put a knot in it. This is private property.’ ‘Wrong end love. Don’t go crook at me. I don’t need a blue, just a sh…’ He grinned a daggy, gap-toothed attempt at a smile. ‘I’m no bludger, I’ll leave ya a tip.’ He pulled the wooden door so hard, the little corrugated outhouse shook.

‘You do that.’ She turned back to the rickety veranda, a happy little vegemite…I’m sure the red backs will appreciate it.

I hasten to tell you all this is not an extract from The Gene Thieves, but where dyed-in-the-wool readers would get it, many a translator used to more traditional English might, in fact, be barking up a gum tree trying to transpose it into Swedish, Hindi, Arabic, Japanese or Russian. As a writer all one can hope for is that the meaning remains true, no matter what language expresses it. Actually I plan to send my first copy of the Mandarin text of The Gene Thieves to Kevin. He’ll be able to tell me if the Australian accent can still be heard. But I’m sorry PM, we’ll both have to wait a year or so to see it.

Maria Quinn is the author of The Gene Thieves, published by Harper Voyager earlier this year.  It’s a book that has sparked some interesting debate on the ethics of surrogacy … a future that is already here. You can find out more about Maria at her website and read some of her short stories there.

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