Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A Trip Down Under

When I got my first contract with Cerridwen Press, I was assigned an editor who, to my surprise, lived in Australia. Then again, everything is done electronically these days, so why should it matter where she lived. I had the pleasure of visiting Australia in 1993 (yikes, that's a long time ago) and it's a fantastic country. I'm delighted to have editor Helen Woodall as my guest today. Sit back and enjoy your tour.

Desert - Australia has a lot of desert in the center of the land.

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Beaches – Australia is the largest island in the world so there are lots of beaches with gleaming clean white sand.

And tropical rainforests in the far north.

And food. Here are five foods that are native to this sunburned country.

Vegemite. A thick yeast spread that has helped make little Australians healthy since 1922. Made from brewer’s yeast it is black, salty, malty and full of B group vitamins. Delicious on toast for breakfast.

Meat Pie. No Australian Rules Football game can be watched without a meat pie and tomato sauce (ketchup) in hand. Invented in Bendigo, country Victoria, in 1947. The average Aussie eats 12 meat pies per year.

Pavlova. Named in honor of Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova this is a fluffy meringue dessert that is eaten at celebratory meals – such as after your team wins the AFL Grand Final (as mine did last year! Go Hawthorn!)

Lamington. This spongy Australian treat can be found in cafes, bakeries and supermarkets. They are small cakes coated in chocolate icing and coconut, possibly named after Lady Lamington wife of the Governor of Queensland at the time of Federation (1901).

Dim Sim. This dumpling-type snack was invented by Chinese Aussie chef William Wang Young in Melbourne in 1945. They are larger, a different shape and have a thicker skin than traditional dim sum.

Helen Woodall, editor for Ellora’s Cave Publishing Inc (which includes the Cerridwen Press line as well as the Ellora’s Cave line and Cotillion Traditional Regency novels) lives in Australia. Since she works for an American firm and many of her authors are American she considers it her duty to educate people from all around the world about the wonders of Australia.

Note: Helen will respond to comments, but remember, she's not in the same time zone. At the moment, she's 14 hours ahead of me here in Florida. I'm sure she'll accept questions about being an editor for those writing in American English as well as anything about her homeland.


Sassy Brit @ Alternative-Read.com said...

Oh, goodness, I am hungry now!

Hello Helen and Terry,

I'd like to ask something if I may - and it's a bit of a silly thing, but it's something I have often thought about.

When British authors write for American publishers, do they have to learn how to Americanize words before they submit - or are these changed in the edits?

I would also like to ask, what is the worst part of your editorial job? :)

Thanks for having me.

I'm off to get a snack. Oh, how I wish I had some Pavlova handy!

All the way from sunny England.

Nina Pierce said...

I want to visit Australia, it's so intriguing. I had no idea the food would look so incredibly yummy. It is amazing editors, authors, and publishers can be spread all around the world and interact as if they were next door!

Very nice interview ladies.

Terry Odell said...

Sassy- thanks for following my blog. I'll let Helen deal with the editing question as far as submitting. I have an Aussie and a Brit as crit partners, and we just ignore the spelling differences (although we often have to 'translate' idioms and sayings for each other).

Nina - glad you stopped by. It's amazing how much 'smaller' the planet has become since the Internet. I swear, there are days when my husband and I do more over IM than actual talking.

Katie Reus said...

No questions for Helen since she's actually my editor *g* Just wanted to pop in and say hi :)

Julia Barrett said...

Great photos and always interesting to learn something new about our editor down under.

Mona Risk said...

Helen thanks for the tips about what to eat. I will be in Sydney around July 16, for a family wedding. I tasted the Pavlova during my first trip to Australia. Delicious.

Terry, great blog as usual. No questios as Helen is my wonderful editor.

Unknown said...

I am just aboout to have vegemite of toast as I write this. Australia - best country in the world

Terry Odell said...

Australia was great, but I never did develop a taste for Vegemite. Of course, I'm not a fan of peanut butter either. Give me Nutella.

Desiree Holt said...

Helen, Australia is at the top of the list of placesI want to visit. What gorgeous piscures. And the food made my mouth water. I'll have to hurry and sell a lot of books so I can afford the trip. And can I share with everyone what an absolutely terrific editor you are?

Anny Cook said...

Heh. Maybe Helen should tell us what the temp is when she considers it's COLD. Just about gave her a heart attack when I told her how cold it was in Baltimore.

Of course, I'm not sure I would want to deal with 118, either!

Saving my money, H!

Shelley Munro said...

Hey, are you trying to steal the pavlova from New Zealand again? ;)

I love visiting Australia, although I haven't been for a while. I love the beaches near Brisbane and also shopping in Melbourne. That's my favorite city.

Sassy Brit - about your question - as a New Zealander, I've learned to spell American and do it automatically. I've set my spellcheck to American spelling as well. The idioms - not quite as easy. I have my editor scratching her head in puzzlement all the time. It's a wonder she still has hair!

Helen W said...

Hi Everyone
It is almost 7am Wednesday here and I have just crawled out of bed to come chat with you all. Thanks for having me Terry!
Sassy Brit for your first book British English or Australian English etc is fine. But when you submit your second book it needs to be in American English. Just set your Word language to English US and it will tell you what you need to change and you will soon learn the differences. And yes, sometimes the idioms will have your editor saying Huh? But that is not a problem.
Worst part of editing? Probably having to reject really good books that just do not fit our audience and/or guidelines. Every aspiring author needs to read the submission guidelines carefully before submitting. It does not matter how wonderful your book is, if it not the kind of book the company sells you are wasting your time submitting it there. Find a publisher who does accept your kind of book.
Hi Nina!
Hi Katie!
Hi Julia!
Hi Mona. I hope you have a wonderful time seeing the Coathanger (Sydney Harbor Bridge), Opera House etc. Make sure you try some lamingtons while you are there.
Yep Amarinda – vegemite on toast is the only way to start the day – I will be bringing Vegemite and Tim Tams to RomantiCon in October to educate the world about the best in Aussie food!
Terry I am sure you will like the Tim Tams even if you pike out on (ignore) the Vegemite!
Hi Desiree! I hope you make it out here soon.
Hi Anny. Yes, anything under 60 degrees is considered very cold here. Although the temperature drops as low as 50 maybe 3 or 4 times in the middle of winter. It is winter here now. Temps are in the high 60s-low 70s. We have had one cloudy day but the rest of the time has been sunshine and a clear blue sky. I love summer, love the beach. And will confess I find anything over 110 a bit too hot – time to turn the aircon on.
Hi Shelley! Melbourne is where I live and I love it– and Victorian beaches are way better than Brisbane ones! Try the Gippsland Lakes and 100 mile beach (see picture on this blog) next time you are over here! And notice the kiwi fruit on the pav! Just for you!

Mary Marvella said...

It sounds like a wonderful place to visit for a year. Thanks for the reminder, Terry! Love the photos.

Regina Carlysle said...

Hi Helen and Terry! This is all so interesting and I'd love to visit Australia some day. As a tennis fan, I watch the Australian Open every year...staying up waaaaay past my bedtime and I love it when the cameras pan through the crowds. Aussies seem so fun loving and friendly!

Helen is MY fabulous editor, too, by the way. Lucky me.

Regina Carlysle said...

Ummmm...did you say TIM TAMS, Helen??? OMG. Amarinda sent me Tim Tams once and they are just the YUMMIEST! I love them. I've heard there is a place in San Antonio Texas that carries them and I plan to pick some up on my next trip there.

Helen W said...

Hi Mary
Hi Regina. When you buy your Tim Tams you need to make yourself a Tim Tam slam. I use Coca Cola but some people prefer it with tea/coffee. You bite the corners off the Tim Tam and use it as a straw to drink through. Purely delicious.

Unknown said...

No questions for Helen...she is my editor after all.
The pictures of Australia are beautiful. I would love to visit one day! And the food looks yummy.

Great interview, ladies

Carolynn Carey said...

Hi Helen,
Thanks for sharing the pictures and facts about Australia. The fact that surprised me most was the temperature you consider cold in the winter. I'm from the upper South in the U.S. but we frequently have lows in the winter in the 20s and sometimes in the single digits. I prefer your wintertime temperatures in the low 70s!

jean hart stewart said...

Loved learning about all you strange Aussies and your weird food. Must say I could adapt to Australia quite easily...Might like quite a bit of those ymmuies.

Helen W said...

Hi Jean
Hi Amber
Hi Carolynn – oh yes we think our weather is pretty nearly perfect. We love our blue skies and warm sunshine. Of course rain would be nice – we have been suffering from a drought down here in the southern part of Australia for over 8 years now (some meteorologists say 8 and some 12).
And once again Terry, thank you for having me. It has been fun

Sassy Brit @ Alternative-Read.com said...

I know I am late in responding, but I wanted to thank Helen for her answer to my question. And Terry, too - for being such a lovely host.


It was a fun and very interesting blog post, and I really enjoyed it.


Terry Odell said...

Sassy -- thanks. I enjoy opening my place to guests. I hope you'll drop by often.

Sassy Brit @ Alternative-Read.com said...

I will, thank you!