BOOK BEAT Naples Sun Times October 3-9, 2007
by Philip K. Jason
Lorraine C. Ladish, a Naples resident for the past two years, has published a dozen books with traditional “trade” publishers. She has published nonfiction titles on eating disorders, pregnancy, and writing – among other topics. And she has published novels and short stories as well. If you don’t know Ladish’s work, it’s probably because you don’t look for books written in Spanish. That may change as Ladish explores the possibility of bringing out translations of her Spanish titles and seeks publishers for new works written English.
Ladish, who moved to Naples because her husband’s career as a civil engineer brought them here, essentially has two first languages. Born in Spain to a Spanish father and an American mother, she was bilingual from the start. Even while a student in Spain, she studied at a British School – King’s College in Madrid. She was also a student of English and Spanish Literature at the University of London. While still a youngster, Ladish taught English in Spain. And she has worked as an interpreter and translator (including translating many television sitcoms), though one career path she hopes to return to is that of fitness instructor. She can “switch from one language to another in a nano-second.”
The writing bug infected her early, perhaps because her father and grandfather were both writers. In fact, her father is a lexicographer who single-handedly writes dictionaries. As one might expect, Lorraine Ladish’s relationship to words is quite different from his.
Ladish began writing and publishing in Spanish simply because she was living in Spain. She has developed a following and will continue to bring out books with Spanish publishers. In fact, her thirteenth title will soon be out, she is pushing to meet deadline on number fourteen, and number fifteen, a novel, is in the works.
“In Spain,” Ladish explains, “I’ve lived in Madrid, Málaga, Valencia, spent a long time in Barcelona and eventually moved to Seville for eight years. My daughters [now six and three years old] were born there and I love that city. I wrote many books in Seville, where I lived in a penthouse that used to be part of a convent. Very inspiring. I also taught a writing course there and this year the syllabus I designed for it was published as a book, ‘Writing, Within Your Reach.’”
When I asked Ladish about her habits as a writer, she told me that she often works from outlines, especially on nonfiction projects. Early in her career, she hated rewriting, but she has since learned its value and now enjoys revising, though she is not compulsive about it. Since becoming a mother and moving to the States, she has shifted her writing time from late-night to whatever fits her children’s schedules. But Ladish confesses that she is a long way from becoming a morning person.
She writes out of passion. “The important thing for me is to have a message to convey, something I feel I HAVE to and NEED to get across. I guess that makes my writing more powerful.” She adds, “I’m a passionate person, and I write passionately too. That is what keeps me in print and hopefully what is opening the door to the English-speaking market for me.”
A few months ago, Ladish signed a contract with a literary agent in New York. This contract is for a book in English that she started thinking about when she moved back to the U.S. Her agent is very enthusiastic, and Ladish and her coauthor are refining the proposal for U. S publishers. She says, “I’m extremely excited, since it is next to impossible to get an agent here, and ours said YES to my proposal fifteen minutes after receiving it by email!”
While continuing her book-length projects, Lorraine Ladish freelances weekly for Hispanic publications in South Florida, writing profiles, kids’ sections, and book articles. But books are what most fully engage her: “Each new publication is like a ‘shot in the arm’ that wears off … and then you need to get another book published to get that fix. Now I’m more relaxed about publishing, because I think I’ve already proven myself (to myself!), and sometimes I wish I didn’t have deadlines.” Other passions include dancing and photography.
Ladish’s titles, rendered in English, include “I Feel Fat,” “Learning to Love,” “Voice Mail,” “The Challenge of Writing and Publishing,” and “I’m Expecting, Now What?” You can find out more about this versatile writer from her bilingual website http://www.lorrainecladish.com.
Philip K. Jason, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of English from the United States Naval Academy. A poet, critic, and free-lance writer with twenty books to his credit, this “Dr. Phil” chairs the annual Naples Writers’ Conference presented by the Naples Press Club.