Monday, September 17, 2012

Liz's Lair: Meet Debut Mystery Author Susan Boyer

In Which I Moonlight as a Translator

Thank y’all so much for having me visit today on Mysteries and Margaritas! Those are two of my very favorite things in the world, by the way. I brought along margaritas —did everyone get one? They just seemed like an appropriate hostess gift. Please keep the glasses. Aren’t they darlin’?

Like y’all, I write mysteries, but lately, I’ve developed a sideline. It’s more of a hobby right now, but I’m thinking I could maybe turn it into a money-maker if I set my mind to it.  And what with the economy being in such turmoil, who couldn’t use a little extra cash?

What is it I’ve been doing? Translations. No, I don’t speak French, Spanish, Russian, or German. Now, I did take French in college, but that has been a while. I occasionally fake a little French for entertainment purposes, if you know what I mean. Heaven only knows what I’m really saying, so let’s say no more about that. I know enough Spanish to order in most Mexican restaurants, but that’s the extent of that.

No, lately I’ve been getting calls from other writers who need help translating their characters’ dialogue into my native language—Southernese.

Why just yesterday, I got an emergency call from a writer friend out west who needed to know how her character, a Southerner, would say, “Why would you go out with such a bad man?” Now, as her character is a lady, I told her the proper usage would be, “Why on God’s green earth would you even consider going out with that no-good scoundrel?” There are other acceptable variations, of course, and had her character not been a lady, “scoundrel” would have been replaced with a more colorful noun and a few more adjectives. And, of course, “in this wide world” is always interchangeable with “on God’s green earth.”

So far, only my friends have asked me to translate into Southernese, and of course, friends don’t charge friends. But I was thinking I could put up a website and offer my services on a per-word basis. I could also translate from Southernese for those who have the need to know things like what to expect when his wife is fixin’ to pitch a hissy fit, what to do when his wife has a hankering for something, or the proper form of y’all to use in any given situation—you, y’all, all y’all, y’all’s, or all y’all’s.

Then there are the more practical aspects of Sothern living that could be useful to the Nouveau Southern—things like what constitutes proper funeral food, how to season cast iron frying pans, or how to make red eye gravy.

It’s just a thought. Right now I have my hands full telling folks about my new book. LOWCOUNTRY BOIL releases tomorrow! It’s the first in the Liz Talbot series. Liz is a private detective—I hope y’all are going to like her! She has a Golden Retriever named Rhett that must look a lot like one of Cassy’s.

Thanks again for having me over! Y’all come see me on the web any time. I hang out in all the usual places:

Hey, before I go, do y’all have a favorite southernism? Or maybe you need something translated? We’ll have a drawing from those who leave comments, and the winner gets a free copy of Lowcountry Boil (format is winner’s choice).

Susan M. Boyer has been making up stories her whole life. She tags along with her husband on business trips whenever she can because hotels are great places to write: fresh coffee all day and cookies at 4 p.m. They have a home in Greenville, SC, which they occasionally visit. Susan’s short fiction has appeared in moonShine Review, Spinetingler Magazine, Relief Journal, The Petigru Review, and Catfish Stew. Her debut novel, Lowcountry Boil, is a 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense recipient and an RWA Golden Heart® finalist.


Anita Clenney said...

Welcome Susan, and thanks for the margaritas! I'm a southern girl, born and raised in Virginia. I've managed to lose some of my accent, but it's still lurking there. Where I grew up, the accent was so strong we made English sound like a foreign language. Your book sounds great. I'm off to check it out now.

Larissa Reinhart said...

Love it! My favorite southernism is "feeling puny." I come from country, although not the South, and lot of southern lines are ones I grew up with. However, feeling puny took me back a step. We used puny quite a bit growing up (for small), but I had never used it to describe feeling a little sick.
Great post!

Susan M. Boyer said...

Hi Anita! Thank you so much for the warm welcome!I know exactly what you mean about English sounding like a foreign language. :) Thank you! Have a great Monday! (Okay, looks like today is going to be one of those days I talk in exclamation points--but I am really excited!)

Susan M. Boyer said...

Hey Larissa! Yes--I'm familiar with feeling puny. :) There is a lot of cross over between Southern and country most anywhere. I personally believe this is because many folks migrated from the South to farmland in other places in the 1800s. So really, you might be descended from folks who passed through the south on their way from Europe to the Mid-West. :)Thanks so much for stopping by!

Terri L. Austin said...

I love it! Southernese! I don't know how likely it is, but if I ever have a grits question, you'll be the first person I call!

Susan M. Boyer said...

Terri, I can help you with grits any time. :)

Diane Kratz said...

Wonderful interview Susan. I'm a Kansas hick here. Yes, I know how to season a cast iron pan. My family fought over granny's pan (that hadn't been washed in about twenty years) when she died because it was perfectly seasoned. It fried up the crispest bacon and chicken you ever ate!

Thinking about my mother and aunts fighting over her homemade quilts and her frying pan speaks volumes about where I came from. These items meant more to them than any diamonds or money did.

One of the sayings I remember hearing growing up was, "Don't let the door hit cha where the Good Lord split cha." I'd love to win a copy of your book!

Wonderful post,
Diane Kratz

Susan M. Boyer said...

Thanks so much, Diane! I remember well the family politics in dividing up my grandmother's cast iron collection. :) There's nothing like it for frying pretty much anything.

LynDee Walker said...

Cast iron cookware for the win! You know, people waxed poetic about my mother's cornbread at her funeral. The secret was that she baked it in granny's cast iron skillet (after she melted a spoonful of Crisco in there while the oven preheated, of course).

Love this look at southern language -- I've done the same for my writer friends. :) Congrats, Susan, and thanks for such a wonderful novel!

Susan M. Boyer said...

LynDee, I will never give up my cast iron, and my mother cooked with Crisco the entire time I was growing up.

Thanks so much for coming by! :)

Cheryl Green said...

Susan - the book looks like a winner.

Nancy said...

The only southern that I have knowingly used is Ya'll, which I was teased about when visiting NY after having moved to FL as a teenager.

the book sounds real good.

Susan M. Boyer said...

Thanks so much, Cheryl and Nancy!

Liz Lipperman said...

Just popping in to say thanks to Susan for sharing her debut with us. I, for on, can't wait to read this one.

And Susan, you are welcome to come back anytime.

I am a Yankee by birth, but I've lived in Texas for half my life. One of the things I've picked up is "She threw me down like a dirty rag." It drove my copy editor crazy.

Susan M. Boyer said...

Liz, thank you so much! I've enjoyed being here so much today! I love, "She threw me down like a dirty rag." That's a new one for me. :)

Liz Lipperman said... chose Terri Austin as the winner of Susan's book.her she or I will get in contact with to get her snail mail address.