It's All in How You Say It
I have had a few people ask me why I write Margret's dialog with an accent but I don't do that with her children. In my mind it's pretty simple but I'm sure it could do with a little explaining for those of you who are not in my head.
Margret and her husband were born and raised in Ireland and moved to the U.S. in their late teens. Their speech patterns were learned in Ireland. Elizabeth and Conner, however, were born and raised in the U.S. While I might throw in a stray word here or their that they will say with an accent, like calling their dad, da', for the most part they will be speaking with a neutral accent because of their personal speech influences.
At one point, it is mentioned that they spend a lot of time with a woman who is English. They also spend a lot of time around Americans at the home where their mother works and in the shantytown where they live. The children learn their speech patterns in New York City. Elizabeth even went to school until they became homeless and their mother was too afraid to send her anymore for fear someone might learn of their situation and take the children from Margret. Ironic, I know, since she ends up giving them up on her own, but that is different because it was on her own terms when she was ready to do so for their sake.
See, all it's quite simple really. I have met people who have parents who immigrated to the U.S. and had rather thick accents but the children did not. They might say a certain word here or there where you can catch a bit of an accent to it but for the most part they sound like everyone else where they grew up. It is from these personal experiences that I drew upon for my decided to write their dialog the way I did.
Besides, Dianne Burckhardt, who is doing the voice work for the audio books, says she can only do accents for so long so I need to cut them short.
I hope this answers the question of accents for some of you. If you want to ask me a question about the books you would like answered in a future blog, feel free to drop me a line at Stephen.Burckhardt@aol.com or go to the "Keep in Touch" page at StephenBurckhardt.com. Write "blog questions" in the subject line.
Thanks for reading me!