Joanie Chevalier
Joanie Chevalier asked Jackie Weger:

How do you keep the character true in your book Finding Home, i.e., keep up the great dialogue? Do you research phrases or is this ingrained in your past? Thank you.

Jackie Weger Hi, Joanie: You asked an excellent question. Phoebe's dialogue and manner of speaking is her 'voice'. It is her heritage and background. Her people settled in the swamps early in the seventeenth century. Their vocabulary dates back to Chaucer and Shakespeare. It is archaic English, but of course, it was corrupted after her family moved out of the swamps. We have so many different cultures and manners of speaking in the South. What I did with Phoebe's voice is try to maintain the rhythm and pattern of archaic English, not necessarily the words. I once went to fiddle festival in the West Virginia mountains in the heart of Appalachia and the people in those mountains sounded just like Phoebe. In our modern society we consider these folks poor and under educated. Many do not have formal schooling beyond 8th grade or high school, but they are a breed apart. They work, they are proud, own their own land, farm, build their own houses and provide for their families. And gosh--can they make music!
One of the best things you can do as a writer, is know your characters. Dialogue comes when you keep those characters on page together. If they are in one another's space--they talk. It only takes one character with a mission to keep a book flowing because all other characters in the book help or hinder that mission. The mission can be small or large, but it has to be the driving force for the main protagonist. Phoebe's mission was to find a home for the Hawleys. A character's mission could as easily be to keep a secret or expose a secret. Both work.
Here is a P.S. I was not allowed to say 'ain't' when I was growing up. I was taught by nuns. If we kids said "I'm goin' home." We were made to write "going" 100 times. Lesson learned--but, that gave me a good 'ear' and a life long fascination with dialect.
Thanks again for a terrific question. I hope my answer suits. Keep in touch.
Jackie Weger
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