Thursday, August 18, 2011

Waiting with four eyes!

In my opinion, the English language contains a wonderful array of interesting vocabulary, fascinating phrases and quaint sayings – a veritable Aladdin’s cave for authors! But having worked as a German and Japanese teacher many years ago and having tried to learn a couple of different languages since then, I have discovered some unique and colourful ways of putting things in other languages too.

Recently I was reminded via an email from a friend who lives in Turkey about a wonderful Turkish phrase often used in everyday language there. My friend told me she was seeing a colleague in another town soon who loves reading my novels. She told me that when she promised this friend she would lend her my latest novel ‘Heléna’s Legacy’, the friend immediately responded: ‘Dört gözle bekliyorum’ – which literally means ‘I’m waiting with four eyes’!

Now what did this girl mean? I guess the closest English equivalent I can think of is the old saying ‘I’m all agog’! Each of these little Turkish and English sentences conjures up for me the image of someone with eyes bulging with excitement and mouth wide open, looking forward with eager anticipation to see what will happen next or what something will be like. And I’m sure you’ll agree it would do any author’s heart good to have the news of the release of his or her latest novel received with such enthusiasm – whatever the language!

One reason I was so impacted by the thought of someone ‘waiting with four eyes’ to read my latest novel was that, this time around, I have found it a little difficult to get too excited about its release myself. Not that I don’t believe in what I wrote or think my novel did not deserve to be published – far from it! I love the characters in it and am hoping and praying the book really ministers to people going through similar issues to those of my characters. And I love the cover too, I’m happy to say. I think it is just that after five new novels being released in the space of five years, with all the necessary speaking and promoting that involves, a little tiredness has crept in – and also the temptation to take things too much for granted.

But when I step back and realise what a privilege it is to have had five novels published in that time, that gives me a much better perspective and puts me on solid ground again with God too. I truly am grateful for God’s grace and inspiration and guidance to me that have enabled these novels to see the light of day. I never want to take for granted the wonderful blessing and fulfilment I have received in the process – and I am humbled to know people’s lives have also been blessed and touched by God through my writing and speaking. I truly do want to remain so thankful and God-honouring in it all.

So I’m very grateful for the fact that right now, somewhere in Turkey, one eager reader is waiting ‘with four eyes’ to read ‘ Heléna’s Legacy’! And may any other author out there feeling a little jaded by the journey be encouraged by the thought that right now, somewhere out there, someone could well be waiting to read your next novel too ‘with four eyes’!

Jo-Anne Berthelsen grew up in Brisbane and holds an Arts degree from Queensland University. She has also studied Education and Theology and has worked as a high school teacher and editor, as well as in local church ministry in Sydney. Jo-Anne loves communicating through both the written and spoken word and currently has five published novels – ‘Heléna’, ‘All the Days of My Life’, ‘Laura’, ‘Jenna’ and ‘Heléna’s Legacy’. To find out more about Jo-Anne, please visit her website,


  1. I love that expression!!

    Harvest House will be publishing a companion gift book to my As Grandma Says just after the first of the year 2012. Titled as Grandpa Says, it was written by my friend and mentor, Nick Harrison. "Waiting with four eyes" exactly describes my anticipation to read his work.

  2. isn't language wonderful? There are times I struggle to find English words when the Portuguese feels so right.

  3. I've read Helena's Legacy. Wonderful story.

    I know the feeling after writing six books, Jo-Anne. In fact I'm hoping I can get myself into the mind-set of beginning another. Trouble is sometimes it seems like overload has hit!

  4. Five novels in as many years is astounding, Jo-Anne. And I agree, the study of different dialects is fascinating.

  5. Thanks, Rita and Paula, for your encouraging comments! And thanks LeAnne, Valerie and Judith too. Paula, it isn't as astounding as it might look, as I started writing at the end of 2003, but my first novel wasn't published until 2007. Meanwhile, I had kept writing, so I had a couple of novels up my sleeve. Now there's a good English idiom!

  6. And I finished reading Helena's Legacy only a few days ago. Really loved it, Jo-Anne. Being an ex-registered nurse I especially enjoyed the medical content - the joys, the sorrows too were beautifully shown from the heart of the doctors. Of Course it was wonderful to follow more of Helena's story too after those first two books about her you wrote. It is a wonderful spin-off, shows that you are doing what I hope all of us writers try to do - improve with each book. So, I too can't wait now for your next one - when of course God gives you the green light.

  7. Thanks, Mary! I'm so glad you enjoyed Helena's Legacy. And that's great that you see improvement too - very encouraging.

  8. Jo-Anne, great post! Love the Turkish expression :) And congrats on publishing 5 novels in 5 years - a wonderful achievement :)

  9. Thanks, Narelle! My first two novels were originally one long novel which my publishers asked me to divide into two. By the time they decided that though, I was already launched on my next novel, so I ended up being a couple of novels ahead.