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Guest blogger: Alli Sinclair

23 July 2017

Heroes with accents

Ever since I can remember I’ve been a sucker for a man with an accent. Accents have a hint of mystery about lives lived in distant lands, colourful cultures and different experiences to mine. There’s nothing quite like the Scottish brogue of Sean Connery and Ewan McGregor, the sultry Spanish tones of Antonio Banderas, and who can resist the melodic English accent of Colin Firth? A traveller at heart, there’s no wonder I’m drawn to featuring foreign heroes in my books.

Linguistic experts have found that our perception of accents have more to do with the associations we have of a particular country. For example, many people have a romantic view of France, so they are likely to find a French accent very sexy and romantic, while a Spanish accent triggers sensuality and Latin passion. However, not all accents are attractive to everyone and it boils down to the individual’s perception of a specific culture.

So how do I write characters with foreign accents? It can be quite tricky to have an accent appear on the page but as I’ve spent years living in non-English speaking countries and teaching English as a Second Language to students from all over the world, I have managed to pick up the syntax, intonation and common issues non-native English speakers have. I’m always careful not to do overdo a character’s foreign accent as it pull the reader out of the story, so there’s a special balance needed when writing foreign characters.

Also, I’m also a stickler for research so … sigh … I have to study men and their accents in order to make sure I get the nuances right when writing foreign heroes. My first book, Luna Tango, featured an Argentine hero and, tragically, I had to date quite a few Argentine men when I lived there so I could get a good handle on the accent when putting it on paper. Book number two, Under the Spanish Stars, is set in Spain and as the Spaniard speaking English accent varies from country to country, I had to spend days—scrap that—weeks studying Spanish born men speaking English. Oh, Señor Banderas, thank you so much for all those lovely hours of viewing your fabulous movies. In my latest release, Beneath the Parisian Skies, there is a French hero in the contemporary story and a Russian hero in the historical story set in Bohemian Paris (I write dual timelines). Once more I found myself studying accents, this time listening to Frenchmen speak English in their beautiful, melodious tones and Russians in their wonderfully bold and colourful accent. Gee, the tough things we writers do in the name of research …

I’d love to know which accents you find sexy and if you have a book with a favourite foreign hero (I’m always on the lookout for new reads!).

Happy reading, everyone!

Alli can be found at: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram





If you’d like a sneak peek, you can download the free prequel novella, Parisian Dreams here.


Beneath the Parisian Skies

A sweeping saga about love, truth, grief and passion — and what it takes to fulfil a dream.

Paris, 1917
Ballerina Viktoriya Budian narrowly escapes Russia with her life. She arrives in Paris determined to start afresh with the famed Ballets Russes but her newfound success is threatened when her past returns to haunt her. Forced to choose between love and fame, Viktoriya’s life spirals out of control and the decision she makes seriously affects the lives of many for years to come.

Paris, present day
Australian dancer Lily Johansson returns to Paris, the city that broke her heart and destroyed her ballet career, hoping to ease the guilt over her fiancé’s death and to make amends with her estranged sister, Natalie, a ballerina with the Bohème Ballet. Terrified of loving again, Lily nevertheless finds herself becoming entangled with talented composer Yves Rousseau.

Meanwhile, vying for the role honouring Viktoriya Budian, Lily’s sister Natalie develops an unhealthy obsession. As Natalie’s behaviour becomes increasingly erratic, Lily fears for her sister’s safety and sanity. When Natalie goes missing, Lil and Yves set out on a desperate quest across France to find her and, along the way, battle their own demons.

Could the search for her sister lead Lily to realise that ballet—like love and life—should not be abandoned so easily?

Available from Harlequin | Booktopia | Bookworld | Dymocks | Amazon US | Amazon AU | Kobo | Google | iBooks



One Comment
  1. 23 July 2017 2:55 pm

    A very interesting blog. Having grown up with accents and having taught English as a second language this topic worried me a little. I got around it differently but admire your style.

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