Humle & Honning goes to Germany
It took 15 years from when my poetic and naivistic novel Humle & Honning was published by Tiden Norsk Forlag in Oslo to it finally being translated to German and being published as an e-book by Saga Egmont this year.
I remember when my publisher Tiden Norsk Forlag went to the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2001. They had made big posters of the covers of the two titles they would expose most heavily at the fair. Humle & Honning was one of them. The posters were glued on cardboard, and I wondered how they would manage to bring them all the way by plane to Frankfurt without damaging them.
The publisher had awarded me, the author of Humle & Honning, with their own literature prize that year, Tidenprisen, for authorship and for Humle & Honning especially. This novel doesn’t resemble any other Norwegian novels, really. A quote from the Danish writer Jens August Schades novel „Sie treffen sich, sie lieben sich, und ihr Herz ist voll süßer Musik“ in the start of the book indicates a poetic playfulness, but also a little darkness underneath it all.
I use to call the book a children’s book for grown ups and a romantic novel. In the 80-ties and 90-ties I had translated a heap of romantic Harlekin-novels to Norwegian, and in Humle & Honning the story more or less follows the same standard pattern as in a romance, but the language and the characters are following their own ways completely.
Tiden Norsk Forlag didn’t suceed in Frankfurt at that time. I think I saw the big poster later stowed away somewhere in my publisher’s offices, and I regret I didn’t ask them to give it to me so I could take it home with me. Actually the publishing house was going through turbulent times, and I don’t think they had the connections to sell a book like Humle & Honning to the right publisher in Germany or anywhere else…
A few years ago I was on the lookout for a publisher of e-books for my novel Die Ordnung der Worte, published as hardcover in German with Rockbuch/Edel in 2007 and translated by Christine v. Bülow. Another translator, Gabriele Haefs, pointed the Danish publisher Lindhardt & Ringhof in Copenhagen out to me, a publisher who recently had established an imprint for e-books and audio books by Scandinavian authors in German – Saga Egmont. Within short time Die Ordnung der Worte was on the market both as audio book (read by Sebastian Dunkelberg) and eBook.
When this was done I thought the time was due to let Humle & Honning finally be available in German, as eBook first. A test translation was made by Christine Von Bülow some years before and Saga Egmont agreed to let her translate the rest and publish it as eBook first, then probably as audio book later this year.
Saga Egmont is also planning a print-on-demand service for all their their eBook titles. But most of all I would like to get a proper hardcover edition published with a traditional publisher in Germany.
I knew from the start that this book has a great potential with readers abroad, and of course Germany had to be the first stop.