The Attraction of an Accent

May 9, 2016

M/M Romance




This post was originally published on 9th May on All Romance ebooks Cafe


It’s well known that Americans have a thing for a British accent, and as someone with a British accent, I can attest to this being true.  There is something mysterious and alluring about accents, and they can add to the perceived attractiveness of a person.  Even during a phone call, if a person has a nice accent, we are more likely to respond positively to whatever they request.


Personally, I love a man with an accent -- or even better, a man who can do a range of accents.  For me, there is something incredibly sexy about listening to a narrator with a beautiful voice, and him providing a different accent for each the characters.  (This is why I am a huge fan of audio books!)


In movies, the actors provide us with accents and as viewers; we need do little work in using our imagination to place a character.  When it comes to writing, we have no such audible or visual clues.  Everything we are given to place a character comes from the descriptions the author offers.  Accents help build a more complete picture of a character.  They assist the reader in placing the characters in the world, and utilize the different associations we all have with that accent.  To say a man is French, or Italian gives us an immediate, yet stereotypical image of him, – the Italian’s expressive hand gestures, swarthy good looks, and insatiable appetites.  However, it is the musicality of his accent that will ensure we have the full picture.  The Frenchman has a suave, romantic nature, sharp fashion sense, and eye for beauty.  French is known internationally as the ‘language of love’ and so, on reading that he is French we automatically attribute romantic traits to his voice and personality. 


An accent can also offer a hint of the social and cultural background of a character.  A clipped British accent tells us of perceived class and breeding.  A Russian accent makes us immediately think of cold, calculating, controlling characters.  All these small nuances in the description of an accent, can add to their personality, and bring them to life.


It doesn’t take many pages into one of my own novels, for my love of accents to make itself known.  Pieter Bayer, my androgynous, male model MC from my first M/F/Bi novel “Schonling” was German and his best friend Simeon Duchamp was flamboyantly French.  The way Pieter pronounced certain words in his dialogue, especially during sex scenes, became a huge turn-on for his partner.  And in turn, the interplay between the characters and the nuances of their dialogue make for many funny, endearing moments in the story.


In my latest release from my “Shatterproof Bond” Series, Declan Ramsay is Scottish and Sam Aiken is quintessentially English.  Declan’s Scottish accent is very much part of who he is.  I adore the Scottish accent -- not the touristy “Och aye tha’ noo” type of accent Hollywood would make us believe represents Scotland.  Declan was born and raised in Edinburgh.  The Edinburgh accent has many shades of its own, depending on which area of the city the person comes from.  Declan’s ‘business speak’ has a posh Edinburgh accent, but with Sam, Declan is more relaxed and fun- making him slip into using Scottish slang words and in turn, deliver many smoulderingly sexy lines. 


While writing “Illuminate the Shadows” I was determined to continue to be true to Declan and keep his accent at the forefront of his dialogue.  I’ve read books where a character starts off with a distinctive accent, and then, as the series progresses the accent slips and there is no mention of it in following books.  That scenario was something I wanted to avoid.


Declan is Scottish to his bones.  When we first meet him in “As You Wish”, he comes across as surly, dour, and moody.  He is lost.  Declan’s work life may be successful, but his personal life is a mess.  However, after meeting Sam Aiken, he opens up and surrenders to his feelings.  We find that under his bear-like grumpy Scotsman exterior, Declan is a puppy, and a deeply romantic man.  When I write Declan, I have the Scottish accent in my head, and have fun with thinking about how he would pronounce certain words.  I found using words like, dinnae, cannae, wasnae, couldnae, I can add a flavour of Declan’s Scottish passion, and in turn find the wonderful emotional spark in his personality. 


Sam Aiken’s accent is also a vital ingredient to his personality.  He is British; Oxford educated and is a cunning linguist.  Sam speaks eleven languages and, due to the nature of his work, his character is changeable.  This offers me great scope for future fun with his accents, and I look forwards to using Sam’s many voices to bring other elements into his personality, and the stories.


Accents are said to be attractive based on the positive/negative associations formed with them.  The Scotsman and the Englishman have a certain compulsive allure that some readers will be drawn to.  Whether you are drawn to start reading the ‘Shatterproof Bond’ series based on the lure of an accent, or on the story description.  I hope you find the love story as all encompassing, amusing, and compelling as I did while writing it.    ©Isobel Starling 2016




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