Thursday, 18 September 2014

Linguistically Challenged Part Ten: Zahra Owens


Zahra Owens is a multi-lingual globetrotter who loves big cities, but also has a weak spot for the wide-open spaces that are so rare where she lives.
She likes her men every which way they come, and never tries to change them. Men who are tough on the outside but have a huge soft center get extra credit, though, as do the strong, silent types who think they hide their damage well…but don’t. She makes it her personal goal to find them their happy-ever-after, even if the road toward this leads via hospital beds, villas with gorgeous vistas or ranges full of horses.
Zahra is a proud member of the Rainbow Romance Writers, a special interest chapter of the Romance Writers of America, and won’t quit until m/m romances are treated like every other romance story. RWA allowed her into their Professional Author’s Network, but she hasn’t quit her day job yet, since it allows her to work in a man’s world. And what girl can resist that?
If Zahra had her wish, a day would have at least 36 hours, because how else would she find the time to finish all the novels still inside her head?

The questions

-     What language do you speak most of the time?

When I’m with my family or at work, I speak Flemish, which is to Dutch what American English is to British English or Norwegian is to Swedish. Flemish and Dutch speakers understand each other (almost) perfectly, but we sound different and some words have a different meaning.
When I’m at home alone and in front of my computer I usually speak/type English.

-     What language do you think in?

Depends on where I am. I think like I speak. But again, alone at home I mostly think in English.

-     What language do you dream in?

Depends on the dream. If it’s anything to do with my writing (happens quite often) then it’s in English.

-     What language do you swear in after you’ve really hurt yourself?

English. Our swearwords are not as powerful (and longer!)

-     What language are you most comfortable in?

Between English and Flemish it doesn’t matter. All that matters is what the people surrounding me speak. Now throw me into a bunch of French speakers and I’m a lot less comfortable all of a sudden (although I can hold my own in French too)

-     How easy or difficult is it for you to switch from one language to the other?

Since I’ve been doing it since I was six, it’s effortless. I don’t even think about it.

-     Does it affect you when you’re in a group where both languages are being spoken?

I can easily switch, but it becomes more difficult (or easy-depending on how you look at it) if there are more people like me who are fluent Dutch/Flemish/ English speakers. If you’re ever in the same room with both Blaine D Arden and me, you’ll know what I mean. I never know in what language my next word will be, let alone the next sentence. Blaine and I speak in this weird mixture of English and Dutch, even if nobody else is listening. We just become very lazy in translating anything and will say whatever pops up in our head.

-     Do you ever speak the ‘wrong’ language to someone?

It happens. Especially in a large group where I need to switch languages often.

-     Would you translate yourself from one language into the other or ask someone else (professional) to do it?

I’ve been translated, but not into my native language. I don’t think I could translate my own books into Dutch, because I think translations are weird. These characters talk to me in English and reading them in another language is just… it changes their voice and somehow it changes them. (I’ve read parts of my books in French and German, and well… not my thing)

-     If size of (potential) market wasn’t an issue what language would you be writing in?
Still in English. I don’t have much of a writing voice in Flemish/Dutch.

Zahra’s latest release:

Edward “Ted” Cleary and Cazimir Palit have shared everything for eight years. Well, almost everything. They own a successful business together, share a house in West Hollywood, and never travel anywhere without each other, but they've never slept in the same bed.

There's one more thing Ted hasn't shared with Caz. Ted has a mother, sister, and brother in Atlanta Caz has never met. With good reason. They threw Ted out when he wouldn't "change his ways," and he's never looked back. When Ted is rejected all over again, Caz steps up and proves he isn’t the superficial man Ted always took him for, and Ted’s long-hidden feelings might finally be returned.


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