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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Krista D. Ball

Krista Ball has decided to visit me here in Texas, and she brought Canada with her. Please give her a warm welcome and annoy her with comments and questions.

Show of hands. Who's been to Canada?
***

The Six Month Winter

It doesn’t take long before folks figure out that I’m Canadian. I try to inject as much Canadiana into my work as possible, even when it is fantasy and science fiction. Canadians have difficult cultural ticks, different unspoken rules, and different laws than the US. I want my work to reflect that differentness. Easier said than done.

When I first ran “Harvest Moon” by my American beta readers, many pointed out my “typo.” See if you can catch it:

Six moons would pass before the spring thaw, relieving her of seeing her masculine features.

Spot it yet? It was the “six moons” (six months) phrase. I had a lot of feedback saying that winters are never six months in the US Midwest. I asked why did they think it was even set in the US. The response? They didn’t realize it could be set anywhere else. I laughed it off and developed a scene where Dancing Cat actually mentions the geography of the area. The beta readers put the story in the Northwest Territories. A little too far north, but at least closer. A few more twinks and most people figured out that I was writing about Northern Alberta, Canada.

(Americans, don’t feel picked on. My content editor is British and was quite shocked by the length of winter!)

Injecting other cultures and changing up the setting in fiction really helps challenge both the reader and, I believe, the author. It would have been easy for me to have placed Harvest Moon in Idaho or Montana. However, it would have changed the small, subtle differences: what people ate, what people wore. It was those differences, those tiny layers of texture, that I felt changed the tone of the story.

As an author, I feel that it’s important to include different peoples, different cultures, and even different sexual orientations. It’s even more fun when you take those differences and toss them into the mix of a stereotype or cliché. It makes for a rather interesting salad.

About Krista:

Harvest Moon is Krista’s debut single-title work, is out now through Canada’s newest publisher, MuseItUp Publishing. Krista can be found lollygagging on the internet at www.kristadball.com and on Twitter (www.twitter.com/kristadb1). She complains about zombies on her blog and her step-children on Twitter. What’s even funnier is that the kids follow her blog and the zombies follow her Tweets.

Buy HARVEST MOON

UPDATE: Here is a free coupon for "The Amazing Transformation of Wicca Dog" over on Smashwords :) It's valid until October 10!

Coupon: XY28R

Thank you, Krista!

12 comments:

Ellie said...

I found this post fascinating, as my Aunty and Uncle are Canadians. Thank you, Maria and Krista.

p.s. is Krista D. Ball just the best name ever for an author?!

Maria Zannini said...

Ellie: I love Krista's name! I've been meaning to ask her if it was real or a pseudonym.

Krista: What say you?

Real or Memorex?

J.L. Johnson said...

I giggle when an American reviewer corrects my spelling on certain words. :P

I even had one guy wonder if the 'u' key was stuck!

Maria Zannini said...

JL:

Ref: I even had one guy wonder if the 'u' key was stuck!

Oh, no, he di'int!

I have both Brit and Australian CPs and I sometimes wonder if they grumble under their breaths.

Why does that crazy Yank keep dropping her u's?

Krista D. Ball said...

It's my real name :) I add the "D" because it takes a bit of the focus off the "Krista Ball" jokes that got old somewhere around grade 4.

(Though, I have a friend whose last name is Wieler - pronounced wheeler - and we call ourselves Wheels and Balls).

Maria - when I'm sent an interview with the word "favorite" in it, even my spell checker highlights it as red. I get this twitchy "it's a typo" feel :)

JL - I belonged to an online crit group once. I was told to learn how to spell "color" since he could't take me seriously spelling it wrong. I wrote him back and asked if he realized people in other countries spelled english words differently. He said that I need to learn to spell American because that's where english comes from.

I moved along after that ;)

Sherri said...

*raises hand* I've been to Canada...in fact could have been Canadian had my dad not headed to the Bay Area for his continuing education, LOL

Ref: the spelling

My parents still add the 'u' once in awhile, even after all these years, so seeing 'colour' or 'neighbour' doesn't mess with my mind. I think cheque vs. check was the only thing they forced out of their system. The thing I laugh about is the Canadians say 'mum' but spell it 'mom'!!

And Krista, I totally agree with including different peoples and cultures. Adding another book to my TBR pile *g*

Krista D. Ball said...

I spell it cheque. :)

I'm from Newfoundland, that's where I grew up. So, I have a very different dialect compared to the rest of Canada...and the english-speaking world. I don't use my accent in everyday talk (I can turn it off and on)but man, get me drunk or angry and I unleash in a foreign language that happens to be English lol

Sherri - thanks! Harvest Moon is short (only 35 printer pages long), so it's a great afternoon read when you only have a couple hours of quiet. Well, I'm not sure if the story is great, but the length is LOL

Krista D. Ball said...

Ok, I'm feeling rather generous and all because I just ended up on Kindle today :D

Here is a free coupon for "The Amazing Transformation of Wicca Dog" over on Smashwords :) It's valid until October 10!

Coupon: XY28R

Ellie said...

Thanks, Krista!

Maria Zannini said...

I adore Canada even though I almost got arrested there. But that's a story for another day.

Thanks so much for coming over, Krista. Maybe next time you'll tell us about Newfoundland.

Marianne Arkins said...

Even differences in spots in the US are confusing. I'm from California, but now live in New Hampshire.

CA = drinking fountain
NH = bubbler

CA = purse
NH = pocket book

CA = shopping cart
NH = carriage

Little nuances can make a BIG difference!

Maria Zannini said...

Marianne: New Hampshire sounds so quaint, as if it's still holding on to its roots.