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The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules

For novelist Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg, her book The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules seemed to be a perfect fit for English readers. The only problem was that it was stuck in her native Swedish...

Posted on 6th April 2014 by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg

Back in 1991, when I wrote my first book (The Battle against the Breakers), I dreamt of having it published in UK. I have always been a fan of the English and the English sense of humour and the UK publishing industry just has something special about it. Authors all over the world want to be published there. Traditionally for Swedish authors it has been very difficult and not many have succeeded in translation. I have 17 other books published in Sweden but I had no luck getting these published in the UK. Then, to my delight, The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules finally got me the UK publishing deal that I have always wanted. When I was writing the book I thought about films like The Ladykillers and Whisky Galore and realised that my book turned out to be similar in tone. I have always felt at home with the English and the English sense of humour. So I hoped that the British public might like The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules.

So I dug deep down in my purse and paid for an English translation of a couple of chapters of the book. I then gave the translation to my agent at the Grand Agency and waited with my fingers crossed. I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard that Pan Macmillan had bought World English rights. Since then I have been a very happy woman.
Not only have my agents manage to sell The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules to so many countries that I have lost count, but I really feel that my English editor, Natasha Harding, has been great and done everything right. Just think of the English title, isn´t it wonderful? And they have let me take part in their work with the book (the translation, the cover, the marketing etc) in such a nice way. Once they had acquired the book, my editor found the talented translator Rod Bradbury to translate the full manuscript into English.
As an author you are always worried about what is going to happen to your book. It is not easy to give your "baby" away. Will it be taken care of? What about the distribution? Are you going to find it in the bookshops, what about PR, marketing and all that? In this case it did not take long until I realised I did not have to worry. I could sit back and relax on the sofa and just see everything happen the way I wanted. Ah, that's smart, I thought to myself, ah, that´s good, ah, that´s just the way I wanted it to be and so on. And when I joked with my editor as we exchanged e-mails, my humour was immediately understood. In fact, my editor and publicist even replied with jokes themselves...

At present The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules is being read all over the world. I am not saying this to be polite, I am saying this because I feel this way: I am really happy the way the book has been taken care of in the English-speaking market. I love to work with professionals and I feel that my dream of being published in the English Language has been fulfilled beyond my highest hopes.