Marie-Claude and I started writing our our accent reduction guide “Change Your Accent: English Pronunciation for Success” in 2011, after I ran into Marie-Claude in the hall during our work as speech therapists. Marie-Claude is “MC” to me, and our careers have criss-crossed for over a decade. MC was originally my boss, and when she moved away from Canada and came back, I re-hired her and became her boss. We were equally passionate about helping people, and knew we shared the same philosophy on speech therapy — keep it simple and make it work in real life.
MC and I started talking about accent reduction, a field we had worked in for many years. I told MC that I had written a self-help book about accent reduction, and that it was almost complete, except for the part on English pronunciation. Marie-Claude looked at me with shock and said, “you’re not going to believe this, but I’m doing the same thing! Only I’ve completed the section on English pronunciation, but not the others!”. Now it was my turn to look shocked. Could we finish a book on accent reduction, simply by putting our work together? Could it be that easy?!
That weekend, I excitedly sent MC my book and she added her English pronunciation section. We had a completed book — sort of. Our first draft was good, but it was far from simple and easy to understand. The challenge was to make changing an accent, which is a complicated process, systematic and step-by-step. And of course we wanted more. We wanted to include stories of past clients and motivate people to change their accents. We wanted to offer effective exercises to change accents in everyday conversations. MC and I knew exactly what kind of book we wanted, and we set out to write it.
Well…it took us a long time, but in the end it was worth it! In 2015, four years and about twenty drafts later, MC and I read our words for the first time on our beautiful book. After all the hard-work, including periods of intense frustration and six months when we almost abandoned our project, it felt fantastic! We knew we had a book that was really good — it was simple, easy to understand and effective. It reflected everything we wanted to convey. And, best of all, we knew that this book could really help people who wanted to change their accent!