Monday, September 29, 2008

Amusing Cultural Differences

Most of the time, the fact that American Romances are edited by Canadian editors makes no difference. The Canadian editors I've met are conversant enough in American culture--which isn't all that different from theirs--to edit even our uniquely American books.

But every once in a while, a difference pops up that amuses me.

Recently I was going over my line edits for my April 2009 book, THE GOOD FATHER, when I saw this change: The hero wanted to open a box of magazines, so he took out his pocket knife and slit open the box. The editor had him instead grab a box cutter. "It seems odd that he just happens to have a pocket knife in his pocket," she remarked in the margin.

Really? Not in Texas it doesn't. Lots of Texas men I know carry pocketknives. In fact, lots of Texas women I know carry pocketknives. I usually have a small Swiss Army knife in my purse (though not if I have to fly--I had one confiscated at security once).

Since my hero had recently transplanted to Texas from New York, maybe he wasn't the pocketknife type. Yet. So the box cutter change was fine. But it did make me smile.

One time a friend had her rural Midwesterners in her book eat come chili mixed with mac & cheese--a common dish in that region. (In fact, Hormel makes a canned "Chili Mac.") But her Canadian editor (or maybe it was a Brit) thought it was so strange that she asked her to change it to avoid jarring the reader. And another of my Texas writer friends had an editor who wanted to insert a blizzard in her East Texas ranch story. (Um, we don't get blizzards in East Texas. Maybe in the Panhandle ...)

More than once I've seen oddities on my covers--Spanish moss on the cover of a book set in Dallas, and snow-capped mountains in the distance of an East Texas scene. And I've lost count of the number of editors who visited Texas and were genuinely surprised and disappointed that not every man wears tight jeans and a cowboy hat.

I would love to hear other funny editor stories that resulted from a cultural disconnect. I know I've hard a zillion, but I can't remember any more at the moment.

1 comment:

Ellen said...

LOL at the idea of a snow covered mountain in Texas. I'm not sure you would even find a blizzard in east Texas.
I also carry a pocket knife in my purse and would probably carry one in my pocket if I didn't have a purse. They really come in handy at times. And I love "Chilli Mac".