The audio edition for the first book in my trilogy about Richard III in the 21st century is scheduled to be released September 3, 2018. As those who have read THIS TIME learned, Richard’s accent is not like current English or American accents. Based on what is known about how someone who had an Early Modern English accent spoke, my narrator, David Stifel, developed the accent you will hear in the 5 minute retail audio sample embedded at the end of this post. The foreword to the audio edition follows, explaining how my character’s accent was created:
Some questioned why Richard’s accent differs from a typical English accent. Richard III lived in the late 15th century. My research suggested a “pure” Appalachian accent is closely related to one from the 16th century England. But would Richard have sounded like someone from Appalachia? Probably not. We know people spelled words phonetically before Webster standardized spelling in the early 1800s. To see 15th century spelling read “The Paston Letters: 1422 – 1509.” Another good reference for how early modern English may have sounded is the YouTube video “Shakespeare’s Original Pronunciation (The Open University).
From these references, David Stifel created Richard’s accent for the beginning chapters. For example, strength is pronounced stren-geth and Anne becomes An-ne. For purposes of clarity, Richard will quickly lose most of his accent.