Today I have a guest post from author Danielle Zinn.
When Detective Inspector Nathaniel Thomas is presented with an anonymous letter and three unexplained deaths in less than twenty-four hours, he realizes that his idyllic home village Crottendorf masks a turbulent reality. Summoning his trusted colleague, DS Ann Collins, Thomas begins to unravel what quickly becomes an overwhelming mountain of conflicting evidence.
So many secrets. So many lies. So many attempts to cover things up.
All is not as it first appears and it proves a lot harder to pin down the killer who prides himself on being more than one step ahead of the DI.
A deeply rooted family tragedy, greed and vengeance are at the core of this crime novel. The twists and turns of Sophomania leave you wondering to the very end who the real murderer is—or if there may actually be more than one killer on the loose in the anything-but-sleepy village of Crottendorf.
You are German – why do you write in English? Does that work?
This is the question I have been asked countless times. And it’s a damn (excuse me) good question.
I was born in Germany to German parents and raised with the German language only. So how come the book turned out to be in English? (Well, both books actually, “Snow Light” is my debut novel and “Sophomania” is the sequel). This is actually my mother’s fault. She is an English teacher and at the tender age of six I got my very first Oxford children’s dictionary. So instead of reading bedtime stories about pirates and witches, my mum and I danced through the names of the seasons and the months of the year. I travelled a lot with my parents across English-speaking countries, always bringing as many English books back home as the airline’s luggage restriction would allow. Later, I went to study in Durham, gained work experience in Wales and took part in a work and travel programme in the USA. My best friends are based in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. So, the English language was and is an ever present constant in my life. To me there was never the question of which language my book should be written in.
Once the writing was done, a long series of editing and proofreading began – I wanted my first self-published book to be perfect – and this is where the actual ‘problems’ of not being a native English speaker started. I let a handful of carefully chosen people into the inner circle of knowledge about me having written a sequel to my debut novel and wanting to self-publish. They were all thrilled and read the manuscript with excitement, however, none of them actually had the time or skills to mark errors. I realized that I was at a dead end with my proofreading and editing skills. One reason for not finding my own grammar mistakes is certainly the fact that I’m not a native English speaker.
I decided that I wanted to have a perfect book without any mistakes and since I was not able to produce that by myself, I needed help. But there was a second reason. I was afraid of people pointing at me saying, “Look, this is the one who tried to write an English crime novel. It reads horribly.”
There are numerous companies out there that provide proofreading and editing services. Most of them also offer to do a free sample. I sent my manuscript out to around twenty different companies based in Germany, the UK, USA and Canada and after comparing their work, decided to go with the latter. Three weeks later, I received my ‘baby’ back together with fantastic suggestions regarding content, style and grammar. I was absolutely satisfied with their work even though it was quite a costly learning experience. Once I had worked my way through the editor’s suggestions and revisions, I got back in touch with her multiple times to clarify sentences and paragraphs until both of us were happy with the manuscript. She encouraged me to go ahead with the self-publishing as my writing was not that bad at all. In the end, I gave the manuscript to a proof reader for some final polishing and then gathered the courage to self-publish Sophomania – an English detective mystery written by a German native speaker.
I can only encourage everybody who has thought about writing in a different language to give it a go! It’s a great learning experience.
Danielle Zinn is a German author, born and raised in a small village in the Ore Mountains/Germany where not only her debut crime novel Snow Light is set but also her second book, Sophomania.
She holds a BA (Hons) degree in Business and Management from New College Durham/UK and has settled down in Leipzig/Germany where she works as a Financial Controller at an IT Consultancy.
She was introduced to the world of English literature and writing from an early age on through her mother – an English teacher. Over the last years, she circumnavigated the globe and loves visiting her friends scattered all over the world.