Tag Archive | English language

What he said…

Forever may not be long enough,”says Matthieu to Natasha in my new novel, Lost in your time.

He’s French and he doesn’t take no for an answer. Impossible is also denied.

So, will the sparks fizz out? Or will Natasha fall for the forever concept?


“Forever is the most dizzying word in the English language. The idea of staying in one place forever was like standing at the border of a foreign country, peering over the fence and trying to imagine what life might be like on the other side, and life on the other side was frankly unimaginable.”

Emily St John Mandel ( Last night in Montreal)

What’s your take ? 

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Lost in translation, or not

The beauty of writing and reading in two languages

I’m English but I also speak French fluently. On many occasions, reading translated comments or subtitles on the television or at the cinema has provided a few laughs and/ or head-shaking.

I love the fact I can pick up any French book and read it without any problems. It does open the mind to read authors whose mother tongue is not the same as yours. I also find it influences my own writing at times as I might  find another turn of phrase as I think of an expression in another language.

I was very interested therefore to read the interview of an Italo-British author. It struck me how she explained how either language was best fitted for different purposes.

There are subjects I find easier to write in english and vice-versa. When a personal tragedy affected me, I found release by writing about it in French, which is how the French writing adventure all started. I had never written in French before, nor had I thought about it. It just poured out of me, taking me by surprise.

Here is a sample of this interview.


She originally went to England at the age of 17 to study the language. There, she met and fell in love with an Englishman, whom she married at 21. Hornby has lived in England since 1969 and has worked as a children’s lawyer in London for the past 30 years. “There’s Nothing Wrong with Lucy” is the first novel she’s written in English, her second language.

Having completed the English manuscript, when it came to publishing the book in Italian, she decided to re-write it herself rather than have it translated.

There were bits of dialogue which didn’t fit in Italian so I stopped it. And descriptions were different. I remember I was describing the sky in St. James Park. In the English sky I was talking about the color of the sky. In Italian I had to talk about the clouds, not the color of the sky. It’s extraordinary. But when you think of it, logically, it’s right because language is harmony and some words are more harmonious than others in a language or in a particular sequence.

You just have to use different words. That is the richness of a language. A language is the soul of a nation, of people. The language is not just the way of identifying a shoe or a microphone or a finger, it’s just a way of expressing yourself.

Are there any things that you discovered about either of the languages in this process?

I think I discovered that each of them has its own beauties. And I discovered that I feel more at ease with English because it’s crisper, it’s shorter, it’s more to the point.

You can read the whole article here:



Meet Author Phillipa Ashley

I had the great pleasure of interviewing the lovely Phillipa Ashley.







Phillipa Ashley, loves writing lively, sexy, funny romantic fiction. After studying English Language and Literature at Oxford University, she worked as a copywriter and journalist.

Her first novel, Decent Exposure – titled DATING MR DECEMBER for the US – won the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers Award. In 2009, it was filmed as a Lifetime TV movie called 12 Men of Christmas starring Kristin Chenoweth and Josh Hopkins.

She lives in an English village with her husband and daughter and loves Jane Austen, hiking and body boarding.

And here is her interview:

  •  Born with a pen in your hand or writing came as a shock brigade?

Writing romance certainly came as a shock to me! I didn’t start until 2005, after being inspired to write romance by the BBC TV costume drama North & South. But I have always loved reading and writing. At school, I almost always took the nonfiction route when it came to exams and essays so it’s no surprise I ended up as a freelance journalist and copywriter. I’m afraid studying English Lit at Oxford University only made me think more that I could never write a novel. Didn’t you have to be Charles Dickens or William Golding to do that? I had no idea there were millions of romance readers out there and that there’s a huge thirst for escapist, sexy, entertaining books alongside the worthy, serious ones.

  •  Have you ever considered packing it in?

Frequently, but so far, I haven’t actually given up.  If I’m struggling mid-book, I try to take a couple of weeks break and  talk through the issues with my agent or writer friends, Nell Dixon or Elizabeth Hanbury – or even my daughter and husband. Sometimes simply talking out loud about the problems, can crystallize the solution in my mind.

  •  What do you like best about writing?

Being able to create whole ‘worlds’ and spend time with a rich array of characters, gorgeous angst ridden heroes and sparky, witty heroines in settings that inspire me. Writing is pure escapism for me. My new US release, Carrie Goes off the Map enabled me to escape, literally and in my imagination, on a road trip around the South West of England.  Instead of sitting at my desk I could stride along dramatic cliffs and listen to the surf thunder on a beach along with the characters – and get paid to do it!


Thank you for having me on your blog, Elle!

My pleasure!


Website: www.phillipa-ashley.com


Follow me on twitter at @PhillipaAshley or Facebook



Phillipa’s latest releases are FEVER CURE (Samhain Publishing – e-book available now) and CARRIE GOES OFF THE MAP (Sourcebooks paperback and e book – December 1st 2011.)

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How writing in French healed me

English or French?

OK, so I have a novel coming out soon and the thing is I can’t wait to finish editing the follow-up.

I also have a French novel on the back burner, calling me. As I read passages the other day, it struck me how much the style is different from my English novels.

In recent interviews I’ve been asked about the challenges of writing in another language. Writing in French came as a shock, something I had not anticipated at all. It happened after a trauma and unblocked the pain in me, the pain I could not express in English. I had not even planned to write. The pen was placed in my hand and through tears the words just poured out.

I wonder if other writers who write in a different language feel the same and express themselves differently. I do know I love the challenge and the ability to do so, opening new doors in my mind…

Thank you for all the support here, on Twitter and lately on Facebook. I very much appreciate it.

Stay tuned for more news, many thanks, Elle

And do drop me a line, I love chatting with all of you:)

French Kiss here ☛ http://www.facebook.com/Elle.Amberley.Author ♥

Where is home anyway?

A post inspired by:

H- Home is Where the Heart is

I’m British but grew up all over the place, so for a long time nowhere felt like home. I feel quite bohemian.

Since I’ve had my kids, anywhere I am with them is fine by me as long as they’re happy.

I do feel a strong connection with France though and I have a special place in Portugal. I don’t know why but I feel at peace there, plus they adore children.

Also, I speak French fluently and haven’t got tired of confusing the French. When they hear me switching from English to French without accent, they think I am indeed French, hilarious.