My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises by Swedish author Fredrik Backman (of A Man Called Ove fame) was my absolute favourite novel of 2015; it is magical and clever and absolutely brilliant in every way. As an avid lover of the novel I am thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour this week to celebrate the paperback release. As I've already shared my review from the hardback edition and have done an interview with Fredrik before, today I am excited to have something a little different: a Q&A with Fredrik's UK editor, Drummond Moir.
Q&A with editor Drummond Moir
I started as many hopeful editors do, doing work experience at various publishing houses in London and one in Oxford. Luckily a job came up at Jonathan Cape so I started as an assistant there, then moved to William Heinemann as an editor in 2008.
How did you came to work on Fredrik Backman's wonderful novels? Had you already heard about him from his success in Sweden, or did a manuscript appear on your desk among many?
I received a tip-off from a literary scout just as a 10,000-word English sample of A Man Called Ove landed on my desk on the eve of the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair. I fell in love with Ove and Backman’s writing immediately, as did a number of colleagues, and I was being told wonderful things about the novel by a couple of Scandinavian editors as well. To our great delight we signed up two novels (A Man Called Ove and My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises) practically overnight.
How does the editorial process differ for you when you're working on books that are translated, and have already gone on an editorial journey in their native country? Are there any additional challenges to working on foreign titles?
It differs from book to book, but general there is less ‘structural’ editing and more ‘line-editing’, and you’re normally working with the translator rather than the author, which complements the standard editorial process nicely.
I'm always fascinated by the sheer volume and diversity of titles editors work on, what other books have you recently published, or are currently working on, which you think lovers of Backman's quirky sense of humour will really enjoy reading?
In April we’ll be publishing the new novel from Chris Cleave, Everyone Brave is Forgiven. It’s a very powerful love story set during the Blitz, but there is a huge amount of humour in it, particularly the witty dialogue. It’s very ‘English’, in this sense, and although different in many ways from Fredrik’s work, Fredrik has always been a fan of classic British comedy. His is a dry, quite sardonic humour, and readers who enjoy the dry-ness of it rather than the quirkiness will probably really enjoy Chris’s novel too.
My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologies was one of my top books of 2015 and I cannot stop recommending it to people! If you had to recommend the book in just one sentence, what would you say?
I’d say it’s a hilarious, heartbreaking novel about why stories make life worth living – and the perfect read for anyone who’s ever had a grandmother.
Thank you very much Drummond for these insightful answers!
My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises is published by Sceptre books and you can buy your copy from Foyles, or your own preferred retailer.