It’s lovely to be featuring Nic Tatano’s latest book on my blog. Ever since ‘Wing Girl’, I look out for his books and they always make me smile and often laugh out loud. Nic’s characters are ‘larger than life’, yet retain their authenticity. He shares a few secrets of making your characters’ shine below in his post about accents and slang.
PUTTING THE ACCENT ON THE ACCENTS IN ROMANCE
By Nic Tatano
We’ve all heard the old saying that “opposites attract” and that usually applies to personalities and appearance. But to me it’s a lot more fun to add another element into the mix: different accents and the slang that goes with them.
Do you hear a character’s speaking voice when you read? I do, and also when I write. And having lived and worked all over the country, and traveled extensively, I’ve heard a lot of different accents. So why should all characters have perfect diction and similar voices? Giving a character a distinct accent adds flavor to a personality.
And putting two “opposite” accents and the slang that goes with them together in a romance is fun.
I have some favorites:
-New York. (The accent I had to lose when I started working in broadcasting.) When you know a character has a Noo Yawk accent you immediately get the picture. Fast talking with an attitude in the voice. There’s nothing remotely genteel about this accent or manner of speech, but to me it is still cool, and I slip back into it when I visit the city.
There are some rules about this accent. “You guys” becomes “youse.” Many questions are ended with “or what” added to the end. “Youse wanna pawty afta woik, or what?”
“Fuhgeddaboudit” is the famous all-purpose phrase which can mean several things. “Is Henry Cavill hot? Fuhgeddaboudit.” In this case it basically means, “Damn right.” It can also mean you disagree. “You actually think Episode One of Star Wars was a good movie? Fuhgeddaboudit.”
-British. Nothing sounds more proper to an American than a British accent. And few things are more attractive to us when it comes to the opposite sex. I have loved visiting the UK, and hearing the accents is a treat. Good things are “lovely” and great things are “brilliant.” The Brits make everything sound polite and nice, even if something is really bad. Imagine the difference between an American television news anchor and a British presenter covering the end of the world. The American would add a ton of drama. “The bombs are on the way! We’re all gonna die!” While the Brit would maintain composure. “The nuclear warheads will arrive on schedule (pronounced: shed-jool). You may feel a slight bit of discomfort and a tad warm as you’re vaporized, but this will pass in a nanosecond.”
-Southern. A slower pace of speaking, and much more polite, especially compared to a New Yorker. “Youse” becomes “y’all.” And “I’m” becomes “ah’m.”
One favorite southernism is “fixin’ to” which means “I’m going to.” As in, “Ah’m fixin’ to go the beach.”
Then there’s what I call the “Southern disclaimer” which allows the polite Southerner to insult someone… sort of… by adding “bless his little heart” at the end of the insult. As in, “He is such an idiot… bless his little heart.” Which sort of means the guy is stupid but can’t help it.
-Boston. Fast, nasal and somehow charming. A favorite word is “wicked” and a common phrase is “wicked hard.” Add the Bastin accent and you’ve got someone who is going to “pahty wicked hahd.” (Have a lot of fun with some alcohol involved.)
-Upper Midwest. Watch the movie Fargo for an example of an accent actually being a key element of the story. Nasal combined with old fashioned values, and without the profanity. “Yah. Fer sure.”
Now that you’ve got your accents, put a few of them together in a romance. My favorite combo is New York and British, as I did in “It Girl” and you’ll also see in “The Love Triangle.” Lots of opportunity for “lost in translation” moments as well since the slang which goes with the different accents can mean different things.
Writing characters with different accents is very enjoyable… at least till the editing stage when I hit spellcheck.
And then? Fuhgeddaboudit.
When you need damage control, you call a doctor.
Nope, not a medical doctor. A spin doctor.
And public relations expert Lexi Harlow is so good at getting her clients out of trouble, she’s known as Spin Girl.
After an incendiary breakup (setting fire to her cheating boyfriend’s pants) she decides to play the field for the first time in her life. Two suitors are vying for her affections; pro quarterback Jake Frost, New York’s most eligible bachelor; and sports agent Kyle Caruso. But when the athlete hires the agent, and both enlist her services to take care of public relations, well…
There’s only one way Lexi can spin her way out of a love triangle before everything blows up in her face.
But when the candle she’s burning at both ends meets in the middle, the choice is no longer hers.
Take one intelligent and independently minded woman. Add a drop dead gorgeous celebrity sports star and a hardworking, yet to hit the big time sports agent and you have a ‘Love Triangle’ with a difference. Not reliant on political intrigue or rampant sex, this story is humorous and poignant, full of charm, glamour and good old fashioned romance.
The setting is vivid and realistic adding to the story’s vibrancy. Who knew there was so much affordable fun in New York? The characters are complex and distinctive.
The triangle is interesting and realistic, with plenty of dramatic irony. It’s easy to choose a side and hope Lexi makes the right decision. The support characters and sub plots enhance the story. Notably, Lexi’s assistant who is male and British, with a unique take on Lexi’s love interest, which provides lots of comic moments.
The media knowledge is evident in this story and this air of authenticity makes the story more enjoyable for the reader.
With a surprising twist, later in the book and a lovely ending, this is a page turning read.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
I’ve always been a writer of some sort, having spent my career working as a reporter, anchor or producer in television news. Fiction is a lot more fun, since you don’t have to deal with those pesky things known as facts.
I spent fifteen years as a television news reporter and anchor. My work has taken me from the floors of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions to Ground Zero in New York to Jay Leno’s backyard. My stories have been seen on NBC, ABC and CNN. I still work as a freelance network field producer for FOX, NBC, CBS and ABC.
I grew up in the New York City metropolitan area and now live on the Gulf Coast where I will never shovel snow again. I’m happily married to a math teacher and we share our wonderful home with our tortoiseshell tabby cat, Gypsy.