Guest post: An American Abroad by Kenneth Rosenberg + Giveaway

Filed in Giveaways , Guest Post , Kenneth Rosenberg , The Latin Lover Posted on September 2, 2011 @ 6:00 am 10 comments

Today I am very happy to welcome back to BLI Kenneth Rosenberg (you’ll be in on the secret as to the special reason for that once you read his guest post ;-p)! Kenneth is celebrating the release of his latest novel: Sweet Ophelia and the Tinseltown Blues, and he is here today sharing with us his thoughts and experience about being an American author living abroad.  Please give him a warm welcome and there is also a giveaway waiting for you at the end! 

In his memoir, A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “Maybe away from Paris I could write about Paris as in Paris I could write about Michigan.” As an American writer living in Budapest, I can see where he was coming from. Somehow being in a completely different environment from that which your story takes place seems to clarify all of the details. Things that you might have otherwise overlooked stand out in comparison to your new surroundings.


That doesn’t mean I’m not met with plenty of blank stares when I try to explain this to people I meet here in Hungary. “Are you writing about Budapest? Does your story take place here?” the locals eagerly ask. When I explain that, no, it takes place in Los Angeles, they are never sure what to make of it.

“Will you write about Budapest later?” they wonder. “Some day?”

“Yes,” I assure them. “Someday when I am in Los Angeles, I will write about Budapest.”

Of course the dream of being an ex-pat writer is one that runs deep in the literary consciousness of Americans. This is due in large part to Hemingway himself, as well as authors such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and Ezra Pound, all of whom called Paris home in the 1920’s. Trying to recreate that time and place has been an obsession of many writers, and I suppose I would have to count myself as one.


But what exactly is it that draws American writers abroad? I suppose the answers are many. Financial reasons, for one thing. Rents in Budapest are a third what they are in LA. Inspiration is another. Life in a foreign country is an adventure each and every day. Thirdly, for someone who likes to sit and write in cafes, the European culture of lingering for hours over a coffee provides an infinite number of places to work.


Mostly, I think American writers often work abroad simply because they can, to immerse themselves in a foreign culture rather than just visit as a toursit. If you are lucky enough to earn a living from writing, it doesn’t really matter where you are when you are writing, especially in the Internet age.

For me, one of the best things about living and writing in Budapest is all of the great local friends I’ve met. At the same time, with book blogs and the ebook revolution, I’ve made even more friends online. Now for the first time, it seems the two will come together.


When I finished my first book last year, No Cure for the Broken Hearted, I was given the opportunity to post on this blog by Stella, one of the contributors here. She was very helpful and gracious, so when I finished my second book, Sweet Ophelia and the Tinseltown Blues, naturally I wrote to Stella to tell her about it.

I’m not sure why, but for some reason I thought she must live in the Midwestern United States somewhere. Perhaps Iowa or Illinois. I mentioned to her that I was currently living and writing in Budapest, and small world, it ends up she lives here, too! Not only that, but she’s a local!

I suppose it is a reminder that one person’s adventure is another’s home. In any case, thanks again to Stella for giving me a guest spot here, and hopefully we’ll be able to meet for coffee sometime soon!

To learn more about Kenneth and his books, visit his official website at

Kenneth has generously offered an ebook copy of his novel Sweet Ophelia and the Tinseltown Blues to one lucky commenter!

All you have to do is leave a comment for Kennth or answer any of these questions:Have you ever lived abroad or far from home for some time? What was your favourite thing about it?

 (You can read our full giveaway policy here)

Please leave us a way to contact you.
(Email in blogger profile or twitter name – no way to contact you – no entry).

This giveaway is open worldwide!

Giveaway ends on 17 September and we will announce the winner on Sunday.

Good luck!

About Stella

Stella is a proud bookaholic and a self-taught multilinguist in training. Besides reading, her other great passions are travelling and baking. When she is not globetrotting she lives in sunny Budapest, where she loves to spend her free time preparing (and feasting on) delicious cookies or devouring equally yummy books. Her favourite genres are urban fantasy and romance and she couldn't live without her daily dose of sunshine. Besides being the Latin Lover on BLI Stella also blogs about books and a bookish life on Ex Libris.

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Join the Discussion
  • Andrea September 2, 2011 at 9:19 am

    I'm looking forward to reading this book.
    I love to find new authors! The pics are gorgeous.
    Twitter Name: @andrea_desherb
    Email: andrea_desherbinin at yahoo dot com

  • Karen C September 2, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Sad to say, I've never been abroad, much less lived there. Do you plan to live in Budapest for long? What made you decide to go to Budapest – why not a different city/country?

    Thanks for the chance to win your new book.


  • LSUReader September 2, 2011 at 11:31 am

    I've never lived abroad for an extended period, but it sounds wonderful. I enjoyed the column today. Meeting new authors is always fun. (Email in profile.)

  • K. Rosenberg September 2, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Thanks for the comments so far, and to Karen for the question! I'm not sure how long I'll stay here in Budapest, but I'm in no hurry to leave. I'm just taking it a day at a time. I came here in particular because I heard it was an interesting city with a great cafe culture, and I also saw on Craigslist that the rents here are really cheap compared to back home! I figure I can write anywhere, so I might as well pick a place where I can stretch my dollars! 🙂

  • Karen C September 2, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Thank you for answering my questions! Are there things that you miss not having? Apart from cheap rents and great cafes, what else do you like about Budapest?

  • K. Rosenberg September 2, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Actually, what I miss the most is the surf back in California! Today the waves are ten feet in my hometown of Laguna Beach, and I'm missing it! What I like about Budapest is the atmosphere of the place, and all of the great friends I've met over here. I first came here for the summer in 2009 and met a lot of people, so when I came back this year I felt right at home!

  • Karen C September 2, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    I hope that your time in Budapest is all that you hope it will be – enjoy!

  • Sabrina September 2, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    I agree with Andrea…the pictures are gorgeous!

    I have never lived abroad but I did spend a lot of time in my youth in Germany. My mother is German so I would go a couple times a year to visit family.
    The thing I loved the most (aside from the food) was the sense of history. I loved mix of old, really old and modern. It's just not the same when you live in a place where "old" means 50 years versus 200+ years.

    Thank you for the giveaway opportunity!

    ssosborn atgmail dotcom

  • JenM September 3, 2011 at 10:53 am

    That's a pretty smart move – going overseas where it's cheaper so you can pursue your writing dream. I've never lived away from the US for an extended period of time, but I do travel extensively. It's my main hobby other than reading. We try to take at least two or three trips a year for 3-4 weeks at a time and we don't usually country hop – we like to at least get a glimpse of the local culture, not just visit all the tourist stops.

    jen at delux dot com

  • Jen B. September 3, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    I have never lived abroad. I haven't really wanted to. There are lots of places I would like to visit.

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