Thanks for joining us, Helen. Tell us, what is your favorite style of comedy?
I imagine telling you that I am a big fan of Tim Dorsey should let you know my humor bone is not sophisticated. His humor is off-the -wall slap stick.
When was the last time you laughed out loud while reading?
Probably Tim Dorsey's Tiger Shrimp Tango, but it could have been any one of them.
Do you think humor can be incorporated into any genre, or are there genres in which it doesn’t work?
It can be incorporated into any genre. At first glance, a book about a woman with a horrific cancer would seem depressing, yet Sheryl Pascal Gormley injects humor along the way as she relives her journey into the depths of despair and back again in her book, Almost Scared to Death. She is working on a sequel: Almost Scared to Live.
Who is your favorite humor author & why
I have several favorites. I rarely like books touted as humorous because the humor usually falls flat. I do like mysteries and drama that incorporate humor. I love Tim Dorsey and his character main character, Serge E. Storms. The humor is tongue-in-cheek and a little slap stick. It's a Florida noir kind of writing.
Why do you like to incorporate humor into your stories?
I didn't start out to include humor in my writing, it just happened. And continues to happen. Although I have two serious books, with very little humor in them, there are light moments. The Prince of Keegan Bay, which started my Blender Series, began with a pretty tragic idea, a baby abandoned to its aging grandmother in a retirement trailer park, but it quickly emerged as a humorous thriller that won first place in the Florida Writers Association annual literary competition. There are two more published books in the series with a fourth in the making.
How do you incorporate humor into your novels? Do you ever draw inspiration from real life?
I think no writer can get away without using real life situations to trigger incidents in their writing. The humor in my books is all situational. I do not struggle to write "funny" lines.
What is the most challenging aspect of writing humor?
Two challenges: Sometimes when I think something is funny, nobody laughs; other times when I have no idea I've written something funny, a reader will laugh. This happened frequently when I wrote murder mysteries for theater. Who knew naming the town in which the play was being performed would draw belly laughs? One night, the audience would roar at a certain line; the next night as the actors hesitated, waiting for the laughs, there was silence, then they would laugh at a completely different line.
Tell us about one of the funniest scenes from your book & where you drew inspiration for it.
The conclusion of The Prince of Keegan Bay includes a Nativity scene where our heroine and hero pose with the live infant while the Ninjas crawl over the roof of the creche trying to get at the baby. The residents of the park crowd around the creche. The police arrive with an injunction to remove the religious display from public property. The ensuing scene runs like a Keystone Cops film. To explain it all would spoil the ending for those yet to read the book.
Which of your characters cracks you up the most & why?
Old Howard is my favorite. Old Howard is in his nineties. He fought in WWII and doesn't mind telling everyone all about his undercover work with the French Resistance. He manages to insert himself into every book, stalking like a crane through the crowds, observing, advising, and drinking his two servings of Cognac every evening. Even reviewers who are not altogether falling all over themselves with praise for some of the books, always point out Old Howard as a delightful character who adds spice to the story.
THIS OR THAT:
Three Stooges or Laurel & Hardy?
Laurel & Hardy
Much Ado About Nothing or A Midsummer Night’s Dream?
Much Ado About Nothing
Silly animal videos or cute kid videos?
Garfield or Peanuts?
Much Ado is one of my favorites too. And now, a bit more about those novels...
The Prince of Keegan Bay:
When the American born heir to the kingdom of Kushawa is hidden in an age-qualified retirement community, a battle of wits and tactics develops between the Kushawan Alliance of Royal Princes (KARP), determined to eliminate the infant, and a group of senior citizens, The Blenders, equally determined to save him. Doll Reynolds pulls the residents into a unified group while the baby's mother, Moira Robbins, risks her life to lure the KARP assassins away from her child.
Doll Reynolds, although being pursued by Michael to marry him, is forever expecting her husband to return. She buys a house so Barclay will have a place to plant a garden. Her plans are thwarted left and right by the resident homeowner who balks at all attempts to rid the house of her belongings. When Doll is injured during a garage sale at the house, The Blenders, though still peeved at her plans to move away, come to her rescue. Later, Doll is interrogated by the local police when she and her friends, The Blenders, discover a corpse in the swimming pool of her new house…
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