Australian Author Driven To Penetrate American Publishing Market
Professor David Carter of The University of Queensland, in Australia wrote, "While a number of high profile Australian writers are now located in the US and/or routinely have American publishers, little is known currently about the history of the publishing relationship between Australian authors/Australian books and American publishers. What is known at present has largely been the by-product of work on an individual author or oeuvre, for example through biographies or collections of letters for figures such as Christina Stead, Patrick White or Henry Handel Richardson. But the scattered information that is retrievable suggests the existence of a much wider and more significant field of relationships between Australian writers and American publishers and hence the need for substantial research on the dynamics of American publication."
Prof. David Carter went on to point out in his research, America Publishes Australia: Australian Books and American Publishers, 1890-2005:
"The role of American publishers was not confined to popular fiction. Martin Boyd first published The Montforts in the USA in 1928, under the title The Madeleine Heritage, and his subsequent novels were all published simultaneously in Britain and the USA. Lucinda Brayford was a Book Society choice and a best-seller. Barnard Eldershaw’s A House is Built was also published simultaneously in both countries, in 1929, and reviewed favourably in the New York Times (Hetherington). Norman Lindsay published five novels abroad during the 1930s (Holt), first in New York and shortly afterwards in London, at a time when his books were banned or thought likely to be banned in Australia (and so were neglected by local booksellers). W. W. Norton published American editions of Prichard’s Coonardoo and Haxby’s Circus, or Fay’s Circus as the American edition was titled, the latter in a version significantly different from the UK edition. Prichard herself preferred the US edition, but Australian publishers have always reprinted the UK version and the American is largely unknown (Hetherington). Norton published Henry Handel Richardson’s Ultima Thule which was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection in 1929, resulting in sales of over 100,000 copies (Ackland); plus the omnibus edition of Richardson’s The Fortunes of Richard Mahoney (1941), a Readers’ Book Club edition with a preface by Sinclair Lewis, in a print run of 75,000 (Probyn & Steele). Eleanor Dark’s The Timeless Land was first published in New York in the same year, and was another Book-of-the-Month Club selection, as was G. B. Lancaster’s Pageant: A Novel of Tasmania, first published in New York in 1933 (Sturm). More recently, Malouf’s An Imaginary Life (1978) and Child’s Play (1981) were first published in the USA, while Grenville’s Lilian’s Story owes its final, now standard, form to its American edition."
Australian author, Shane Briant said he was prompted to write his thriller Worst Nightmares as a result of his drive to penetrate the American market. "I was determined to have a thriller published in the biggest market in the world – America. And also the U.K. Hitherto, I had had five novels published in Australia," he said.
Briant previously had five thriller published in Australia, in addition to being an actor with a plethora of credits under his belt. "I had had a great career as a film actor, having starred in over 30 feature films worldwide since 1972, and had had five thrillers published in Australia, where I now live. But none had been taken up in America or the U.K. – the biggest English-speaking markets in the world. So I thought carefully about who my target readers might be, and what they might find intriguing. I knew I’d have to come up with a totally engrossing, fast-paced and original story. Personally, I love very dark and disturbing thrillers in the vein of Jeffrey Deaver and Thomas Harris, so I was delighted when New York Times best selling author Katherine Neville read my novel and drew that exact parallel. As did a great many other reviewers," he said.
He said the premise of his current book,Worst Nightmares "explores the concept of how one initial small error of moral judgment on the part of a best selling novelist is slowly compounded by circumstance, resulting in total calamity, as the domino effect kicks in."
Briant, an individual who appreciates literary masterpieces said he was inspired by classic Russian novelists. "Those that have inspired me most would be all the classic Russian novelists of the golden era. Dostoevsky, Gogol, Gorky, Turgenev, Tolstoy. They were, for me, the finest thriller writers that I have read. Since that time, John Le Carre and Martin Cruz Smith have influenced my thinking most. And Deaver, Berry, Tom Rob Smith, Connelly and Crais," he said.
He said he envisions his readers will be impacted by the confrontational nature of his book, but at the same time, he hopes to stimulate his reader's thought process, so they can interact with the ideas of the book. "Although essentially I hope my book will be a thrilling, and at times a hugely confronting read, I hope that it will be in some ways thought-provoking. I hope the reader will ask himself ‘Would I have done as Dermot Nolan did?’ ‘Could I have been driven by despair to have acted improperly?’ Because I tried to make Nolan’s plight totally real and his actions almost excusable. I also would like to think that they will be asking themselves ‘Is it possible that there are those walking the streets who I would never imagine could be would-be killers? People who seem to behave perfectly normally, yet when darkness falls, they reveal the sinister side," he said.
As Briant embarked on crafting his novel, he considered the overall message he wanted to convey to his readers. "When I started writing I wanted to suggest that there are many people ‘out there’ with some very dark thoughts. I explore how people deal with this side of their nature – for we all have such a dark side that we keep in check. Often we are unaware of this side to our personality until we hit real adversity. Only then will we understand our full psyche – when we ‘hit the wall.’ It’s very easy for those of us in modern society who enjoy an untroubled life to judge those that are panicked by adversity and do things they shouldn’t," he said.
Briant's background in acting has sensitized him to understanding the value of being a consummate researcher, in order to be able to portray emotional truth." Research is paramount to a convincing novel. I researched psychosis in great depth. I talked to criminologists and detectives to make my dark character as real as possible. And as for locations, I walk the very streets, eat the food in any restaurants I describe, feel the heat and experience the essential flavors of the city I am writing about," he said.
Visit Shane Briant online: http://www.bmoca.com/praise.html
Tags: Jackie O'Neal , Prof. David Carter , University Of Queensland , Australia , Sydney , Shane Briant , Australian Writers , Tolstoy , Dostoevsky , Gogol
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