My dear American and Canadian readers,

I have received mail from some of you querying my use of the word 'fenders' in place of 'wings' throughout The Distant Hours. You were right to be confused, and please allow me to set your minds at ease. This substitution is not an odd quirk of Australian English, nor is it my own attempt at creative description. The word 'fenders' appears in The Distant Hours erroneously.

Books written in other parts of the English-speaking world are often given an additional edit for publication in North America: spellings are changed, along with certain terms that US editors are concerned their readers might not recognise. 

In the case of The Distant Hours, a line of dialogue on page 90 of the US manuscript -- 'Oi! Don't you go marking my polished bonnet and wings there with your lounging' -- was changed to read 'Oi! Don't you go marking my polished hood and fenders there with your lounging'. The substitution of 'fenders' for 'wings' was then carried mistakenly across the whole book in production, a fact of which I was unaware until the book was published.

A thousand apologies to anyone whose reading was interrupted by the error. It has been fixed in subsequent editions and in e-book format, however it was too late for the copies already printed and purchased. Perhaps, in time, those books, and all their references to people spreading their fenders and flying (oh, what a curious image that is), will be more special for the story behind their creation?

Meanwhile, if you would kindly see 'wings' each time 'fenders' rears its metallic head, I'd be much obliged.

Best wishes,