Update, 4 April 2014: A Swedish-speaking reader responded to this article and has agreed to read the book! Crowdsourcing works, folks!
Hej! Talar du svenska (och engelska) och gillar att läsa skräck böcker? Om svaret är ja, jag behöver verkligen din hjälp.
If you can read what I just wrote–and forgive the cruddy translation, for which I used an online translator–I’d very much like to hear from you. I need a beta reader for the horror novel I recently wrote, called Doppelgänger. The book has been picked up for publication in 2015 by Samhain Horror, the publisher of my previous novels Zombies of Byzantium and Zombie Rebellion. Except for the final edits–which I suspect won’t be coming for several months yet–it’s finished.
Why, then, do I need a beta reader? (Especially after I called for them before I submitted the book to my editor?) And why do I need someone who speaks Swedish? The answer is a little complicated.
Doppelgänger is an old-style Gothic horror story, featuring a haunted house, an angry ghost and a lot of visceral terror. It takes place in the 1880s, the height of the Victorian Era, mostly in New York City, and I was inspired by classic horror fiction like Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting and the 1944 George Cukor film Gaslight, which is one of my favorites. The main character, Anine Atherton, is Swedish. She’s the daughter of a noble Swedish family who marries a young American millionaire, then suddenly finds herself a fish out of water in upper-class New York…and living in a house with a dark spirit that seems to hate human beings, and Anine in particular!
Although the book takes place mostly in the United States, there are a few brief sections set in Sweden, and Swedish culture and language constantly come up in the book. It is these aspects, especially the correct usage of Swedish words, that I’d like an expert opinion on. I’ve been to Sweden twice and researched what I put in the book, but there’s no substitute for on-the-ground knowledge. I also don’t speak Swedish so my use of Swedish words and expressions may not be entirely accurate. It’s also not as simple as sending a list of words taken out of context and asking a Swedish speaker if they’re correct. You really need to read the whole book.
Obviously, someone who is Swedish, or at least knows Sweden and Swedish culture very well, is ideal for the job. I’m not looking for extensive story-level feedback, just a check of whether the book rings true to someone who knows better than me. In exchange, I’ll send you an autographed copy of my new book, Zombie Rebellion, when it comes out on June 3 of this year–even if you do live in Sweden!
If interested, please leave a comment to this article, or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll work out the details on how and where I can send you a copy of the manuscript, most likely electronically.