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I've never met Cathy Ace, today's guest author. But from her guest column I can clearly hear her voice, and I think you will, too.
Cathy was born and raised in Swansea in Wales, and migrated to Canada in 2000. She now lives in British Columbia, where her ever-supportive husband (and two chocolate Labradors) ensure she's able to write full-time. Cathy's written two series: the Cait Morgan Mysteries, and the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries. Her latest Release, The Case of the Curious Cook debuted on St David's Day (the patron saint of Wales) March 1st.
Please welcome Cathy Ace to the book club. Authors do indeed feel privileged when they hear from readers. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In Cathy's words...
Do authors write, and readers read, with their own accent?
Since we're meeting here, rather than face to face, you won't know what my voice sounds like, so I'll tell you; I have a Welsh accent, and it turns out that's not an accent with which the world at large is overly familiar.
Most Welsh people who become actors, and whose lilt one might therefore expect to be well-known, have levelled-out the hills and valleys of its natural sing-song sound; Ray Milland, Richard Burton, Anthony Hopkins, Michael Sheen, Glynis Johns, Catherine Zeta Jones (honestly, the list goes on and on)--they're all world-famous, but their accent has been, necessarily, adapted to allow them to play non-Welsh characters. The delightfully zany (and talented) Rhys Ifans has managed to convince us he's English for an American TV series (he played Mycroft Holmes in Elementary) though in the movies Notting Hill and The Replacements (he was the "wiry" one!) it was appropriate for his natural Welsh accent to shine through. But there aren't a lot of Welsh characters on the international screens of the world, large or small, so it's not an accent people hear often.
One of the things I do as an author is attend crime-reader conventions, which provide a wonderful opportunity for readers to meet their favorite authors. During these conventions panels of authors answer questions about their work; I've learned this is the time when those who've read my books suddenly realize I speak with "a funny accent."
I don't think we acknowledge, as readers (which is what I am, the same way you are), that we read in our natural accent--but that's not necessarily the accent the author possesses. Thus, the words roll around in the author's head in a way they might not in the head of the reader. Until readers who met me expressed their surprise at my accent, I have to admit this had never occurred to me, despite the fact that I am keenly aware of using different vocabulary and speech patterns for characters with differing backgrounds.
So, what about you? Do you try to make the dialogue of characters from other parts of the world "sound right" as you read them? Or do you allow the words on the page to flow over you, filtering them through your own accent? Having thought about this question, I'm now pretty sure I try to do the former, but lapse into the latter quite quickly. As an author, I'll keep trying to write with the correct accent, and hope that my readers enjoy my work, whatever theirs might be.
Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends.
* This month's Penguin Classics book is THE ENCHANTED APRIL, by Elizabeth Von Arnim. Click the link below to start reading, and be sure to enter the drawing for your chance to win a Penguin tote bag: http://www.supportlibrary.com/bc/v.cfm?L=drclassqqxqT1A55E35225F&c=CLASSICS
AUTHORBUZZ: SPIES & STILLETTOS: A MacKenzie Family Novel (Fiction) by Liliana Hart
I'm thrilled to announce the MacKenzie Family World is returning! I asked four of my favorite authors to create their own characters and put them into the world you all know and love. These amazing authors revisited Surrender, Montana, and through their imagination you'll get to meet new characters, while reuniting with some of your favorites. These stories are hot, hot, hot and packed with action and adventure.
Go to: http://authorbuzz.com/dearreader click on SPIES & STILLETTOS to find out more about the book and the author, Liliana Hart. Send her an email, she'd love to hear from you.