Life as an overseas author
I’m originally from the UK but moved to Rome, Italy, in July 2001. I’ve always moved around right from when I was little and so I adapt quite well to change. In fact, if I’m in the same place for a while I start getting the urge to travel or move again. Since becoming a mum, I’ve noticed this feeling has faded a bit though, and I’m finally settling down.
This constant changing and moving abroad also influences my writing life. Firstly, because I often write about Italy and being an English person living here, but more importantly because it’s taught me to be flexible in life. I’ve embraced life as an expat and adapted to my new environment. I like to try new things with my writing, too. I like to experiment and see where it takes me. This is partly why I’m always trying out new genres and have published work ranging from language guides and other non-fiction to poetry to a children’s picture book. I’m now working on a chick-lit novel. Needless to say, I like to keep things interesting.
I know the experts often tell writers to pick a genre and stick to it in order to create their niche in the market, but I don’t like to limit myself. Why can’t I write a successful travel book and also be a good children’s author and illustrator? For me, working on different projects motivates me more and allows me to take my writing career to new places and levels.
Being a foreigner and having learnt a second language has also effected the way I write. I tend to simplify more now and make my writing tighter. Each word counts, and I edit out all the clutter. Whilst it’s nice to use big, impressive words, I like to write using the common words that everyone knows the meaning of without the need of a dictionary.
As most of my work is in English, I use the internet a LOT. I do mainly online appearances as opposed to in-person book signings and events. Technology really is an amazing thing as it makes it possible for me to be anywhere in the world without ever leaving my own home.
At times I see other authors writing about their get-togethers and think how nice it would be to have more English authors nearby to enjoy meetups. Rome also has a distinct lack of book-orientated events, so I confess to being a tad jealous when I read about all the book fairs happening in other countries. That being said, I have a fantastic online network.
I guess there are pro’s and con’s to being an overseas author but then again that’s the case with most things in life. I like to see my glass as half full. After all, not all authors can say they wrote their book whilst soaking up the sun in one of the world’s most beautiful and historic cities.
Guest post by Jo Linsdell.
Jo is the author and illustrator of the children’s picture book ‘Out and About at the Zoo.’ You can find out more about Jo and her writing at her website http://www.JoLinsdell.com.