Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I WASN'T BORN IN THE SOUTH BUT I GOT HERE QUICK AS I COULD! (not originial with me and I can't tell you who coined it either.)

Okay so I've had my helping of blogs for the am. Could read on and on and more but at some point a writer has to stop reading about writing and actually do it! Yesterday I was finally able to get back to my southern story after having that project interrupted by my Hawaii book and other projects.

Am amazed at how easy it is to slip back into my character's voice!

I love southern literature AND being a southern writer but am not sure I'd want to be typecast. Still, after writing the Hawaii story and struggling so with voice and authenticity it would be so easy to stay here in my southern comfort zone. Not that I'm afraid of hard work. But I do want to be authentic and I do fear getting something wrong when working with, what for me is, a "foreign" context.

Speaking of southern - BLUE has received some questions about the use of dialect, a hazard I knew was there and believe me - I went back and forth on that before it went to publication. I know the speech feels foreign to some readers but here in the south, I hear from lots of people who identify. And get comments such as this one from a local school teacher (whose job it is to teach proper grammar) - "Don't change a word!"

Well, Ann Fay Honeycutt speaks the way Ann Fay speaks and I suppose only a stint outside of her home turf would begin to change that.

But I have other southern characters who're dying to get a word in edgewise (if only there were more time!) They don't all talk like Ann Fay. But at least, because I'm so at home here, I do feel confident about their ability to represent the south with authenticity.

My background is actually Pennsylvania Dutch. I was one year-old when my family migrated to North Carolina. There are aspects of Pennsylvania/Mennonite culture that are as familiar to me as pinto beans with onions - maybe even more so. But that's another story, somewhat reflected in my first book, BEST FRIENDS FOREVER.

The characters I'm hanging with for the next little while are North Carolinian's all the way!

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