Monday, March 17, 2008

Irish Wolfhound on the Prowl

I hate to fly, as I confessed here on February 18. Despite this phobia, or maybe because of it, I've always wanted to skip "across the pond" aboard the Concorde. I may not believe in the physics of flying, but anything that would shorten the time I had to spend in an airplane sounded good to me.

Unfortunately they grounded the SST in 2003. Still, there are other hypersonic possibilities on the horizon – and last week I got itchy for one of them to be rolled out for the regular public. I'm talking about NASA's Scramjet. It cruises at Mach 7, seven times the speed of sound. That makes the Concorde look like a Model-T Ford. At 2km per second, it could fly from New York to Tokyo in under an hour. I could probably handle that.

And why, you might ask, do I want to go to Tokyo? Some delectable sushi perhaps?

Nope, even better. Last week we sold the Japanese rights to Murder Off the Books! Great advance, great press run, and can't you just imagine the book tour – assuming the Scramjet is ready for me?

The foreign rights of a couple of my nonfiction books were sold to Pakistani publishers. I wasn't surprised that my book, The Baffled Parent's Guide to Sibling Rivalry, sparked international interest. Cain and Abel's sorry tale explains why parents worldwide, from the beginning of time, have been trying to figure out how to keep their kids from figuratively, if not literally, killing each other. Hopefully, my book is the perfect antidote to prepubescent familial warfare.

The most recent statistics I could find on Japanese publishing were in a Publishers Weekly article from 1998. Foreign works account for only about 8 percent of all new Japanese titles each year. What I found especially interesting is that while the percentage of foreign titles hasn't changed much in the last 30 years, the type of books has. In the 60's, Japanese publishers primarily imported literature and philosophy titles. Today, the emphasis is on commercial titles, mainly mysteries and thrillers. How exciting that Japanese readers can discover the sleuthing team of Mac Sullivan, Rachel Brenner, and of course, Whiskey!

So, until the Scramjet can get me to Tokyo in under an hour, I'm thrilled that our Irish wolfhound will be visiting the Far East.

Arigato gozaimasu to our new friends in Japan, from your pals in America, Evelyn David.

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