Did your parents ever tell you that when you were a kid? My parents did. I guess it was one way of explaining that the earth is round and there are places very, very far away. I would actually imagine a tunnel all the way to China. My fascination with China only increased when my mother decided it was time for the den to be redecorated in a Chinese motif. Soon we had new upholstery for the studio coach displaying a pattern of Chinese temples, and people dressed in elaborate ancient Chinese garb. I loved to stare at the upholstery and the new pictures on the wall, of course, Chinese mountains and ancient buildings. All of this was augmented by the family’s love of going out to Chinese restaurants.
Our favorite restaurant in the whole world, aside from The Seafood Grill, (guess what they specialized in?) was the Far East. Located on a second floor in downtown New Haven, it was a world unto itself. First we climbed up a dark wooden staircase to enter a large room with dark wood paneling, old wooden fans swirling slowly in the ceiling, and little china tea cups, There was strange exotic music that sounded like the black keys on our piano and Chinese waiters that barely spoke English. My parents knew exactly what to order: chow main in dark sauce, along with egg foo young.
When I was very tiny I was given the French bread which they served, along with the white rice and the vanilla ice cream. (No one questions why they served French bread.) Later I graduated to spare ribs and other exotic dishes like Moo Gai Pan.
It took so little to convince my mom, dad, myself and my Aunt Lil and my Grandmother, Baboo, to believe we were in an exotic setting, eating authentic cuisine. How simple those days were.
As simple as those days were, they still left me with a fascination for China. So when I was approached to consider publishing my first book in The Truth Series: The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) in China, I was over the moon. This was an amazing opportunity. All of my old feelings of longing to somehow be part of this strange land came back to me. I leaped at the offer.
Soon, Professor Chen, an English professor in China, and I were corresponding almost daily. I got to know about him, his family and his way of life. He got to know about me. We were penpals. And we were colleagues on a project. He translated the book beautifully. When we finally had a publisher, www.xjpress.com , we brainstormed many extra passages that appeared in the Chinese version, but not the English version. You see, the editor wanted lots of passages about school work, tests, holidays. Basically, the book was educational in terms of how kids live here, as well as being a fictional diary written by a girl growing up, experiencing all sorts of emotions and events in her life.
In the fall of 2009 the book was published in China. When I saw the book I was amazed. It is so adorable. Almost every page has art work on it. Also the book is in both English and Chinese. That way, the reader can also practice her English as she reads. If you go to my Truthforgirls page on Facebook I have some pictures of the Chinese version of the book and also the party I had to celebrate the book coming out.
I encourage every author to try to get your book or books published in at least one other country. It is a wonderful way of sharing what you have to offer. Also, it is a great way to feel that you have contributed beyond your own borders. There are agents that specialize in foreign rights. If you are interested pursue them. I have an agent now, but I still have one more edition of The Truth to come out in a foreign land, that I secured for myself.
Can you guess where? It is Vietnam. My yearnings for the exotic are beginning to come true. Now I just have to book some flights!