Book News and Book Promotion articles from Publishers Newswire(tm)  

Articles : Talking with Authors

Interview: Bryant Oden, Author of 'Never Lick a Gift Horse in the Mouth!'
Published: Tue, 7 Dec 2004, 03:08 EDT

By Beverly West
Staff Writer, Publishers Newswire
Email this article Print this article RSS Feeds Add to My Yahoo!

Talking with the author of a hilarious new book that examines the ways in which new English students mis-speak everyday phrases. The author has spent more than 3,000 hours tutoring international students in Conversational English.

Q: So, tell us about your book.

Well, it's called "Never Lick a Gift Horse in the Mouth! And 400 Other Innocent Mistakes from New English Language Students" (ISBN 1-932738-13-4, Western Reflections Publishing). It's a collection of funny mistakes from International students that I've tutored in Conversational English.

Q: Can you give us an example?

Sure. For example, I got a fancy Christmas card from a student that said, "May you be full of it this peaceful holiday season." And another student describing a news story said "The police were attacked by a large group of angry mops."

Another student proudly told me "My father is a highly rank government official."

Q: When a student says something like that, how can you keep a straight face?

That's funny, because that's actually what it says on the website: "Sometimes the hardest thing about teaching a new language is keeping a straight face." There were only a few times I actually couldn't help myself and laughed out loud. Usually I would just jot it down and continue tutoring.

Q: And what about your students? Did they know that they might find their foibles published in a book someday?

All my students knew I collected funny mistakes. The students I tutored after I got the idea for the book were all really supportive of the idea. A lot of times they would ask if their mistake was book-worthy.

They understood that this book isn't about making fun of them -- any of us trying to learn a new language will make some pretty funny mistakes -- it is really about enjoying the nature of language and communication and spreading a little laughter.

Q: I know the book is just now coming out, but have you had any response to it yet?

Well, there are some emails of excerpts from the book going around, and there are excerpts on the website. So I've already been getting emails from people saying they laughed all the way through them. You know, I thought it might be funny to have a disclaimer on the back of the book saying "Warning: Do not read contents while drinking liquids."

Q: Most of our readers are also authors, many of them first timers like you. Is there anything you've learned from this process you'd like to share?

I'm about as new at all of this as anyone can be, but there's one thing that all of us are learning that probably can't be overstated: It doesn't matter if you are self published or you have a publisher, unless you are a big name, if you want your book to sell, you gotta go out there and make it happen. The dream of just being an author, while someone else does all the grunt work promoting-that's really gone now. It's up to us.

In a way that's exciting, because that means that it's our actions that largely determine how the book does. So the more action we take-assuming it's pretty informed and effective action, the better the book will do.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us today.

Sure. You were actually my very first interview. So thanks for breaking me in. And if anyone wants to read more excerpts, go to

* * *

Oden, who is from Colorado, has spent more than 3,000 hours tutoring international students in Conversational English. He currently attends the University of Alberta where he is pursuing a Master's degree in Education.

RESOURCES:  Email this article Print this article RSS Feeds Add to My Yahoo!

- Advertisement -

Promote Your Book
book news and marketing information
Member BBB Online Program
book news

Thu, 22 Jan 2009 01:43 PM EDT