Thanks for participating in June Jests, Maggie. Why don't you start by telling us how you incorporate humor into your novels? Do you ever draw inspiration from real life?
I make the characters as real to life as possible, so that when they use humor it’s appropriate for who that character is. It generally occurs naturally but I do make sure that it’s tastefully done and at the right moment. I make the humor part of the character and part of the situation - so friends will rib each other about the situations they find themselves in, they will use it as a way to cope with something, to get out of something, they will use it to deflect another character’s attention from something, they will use it when in an uncomfortable situation, etc.
In Tainted Waters, Samantha is being chased and finds herself trapped on an elderly woman’s balcony. Sam gets the bright idea to attract the attention of the police in the area by making a car’s alarm go off. So she starts throwing this old lady’s china - cups & saucers - at a car in the parking lot. Unfortunately, she’s a really bad aim. Wouldn’t that be fun to do though?
Why do you like to incorporate humor into your stories?
I love humor and I think it brings another depth to a story and to the characters. It makes them more real and easier to connect with for the reader. I also use it to break up some of the intensity of the story. And I use it when it feels right for that person. And because I can do things in my books I’d never do in real life.
In Tainted Waters, Sam is really headstrong but can’t seem to settle down into any specific job, so when she gets fired as a reporter, a job she actually likes, she throws a cup of cold coffee into her bosses face. She acts first and thinks later, which is exactly her character. Besides who hasn’t had a boss they’ve thought about doing this to?
Do you think humor can be incorporated into any genre, or are there genres in which it doesn’t work?
I do actually. As long as it is something that fits the character and fits the situation, I think it can work. A few types of books that it can be a bit more challenging is when something horrific happens or horror stories but I still think it can be done and done well. It’s all about how and where it’s placed so that it doesn’t come across cheesy or way out of context. I love even a touch of humor in any book no matter the genre. I think it is such a gift when others can make us smile or laugh.
What is the most challenging aspect of writing humor?
Humor is a very subjective thing – what one person likes, another won’t. It’s also about the timing of when it’s delivered and that it be in good taste. It has to feel natural. I write suspense thrillers so it’s about where the humor is placed so as not to break up the intensity too much that the reader loses touch with the main character.
So true! And now for some THIS or THAT:
Brooklyn Nine-Nine or Big Bang Theory?
I love the Big Bang Theory. I’m a huge fan. I love their sense of humor.
Bugs Bunny or Woody Woodpecker?
Woody Woodpecker – who can forget that:
Huh huh huh hahuh
huh huh huh hahuh
huh huh huh hahuh
huh huh huh huh huh
It makes me smile every time
Knock, knock jokes or Dirty Limericks?
Knock, Knock jokes
Garfield or Peanuts?
Tough choice but have to go with Garfield overall, who doesn’t love that sarcasm
I'm a sarcasm fan as well! And now, here's more about Maggie's novel, Tainted Waters:
He didn’t commit suicide but who’s going to believe her...
Frustrated at being fired from her latest job and overwhelmed by her consolatory family, Sam decides to move to the family’s cabin at the lake. A place she hasn’t been since her dad committed suicide there, twenty years before. Or did he? Snooping is something she’s good at but someone seems to be taking offense to her looking too closely at what has been happening at the lake. What she discovers is shocking. Now she must uncover what’s real and what’s not. All that she learned growing up, may be false.
Keegan, who has recently moved to the area to finish his latest book, is also trying to find out if his grandfather, who’d passed away ten years before, died of natural causes or was murdered? The descendants of the four families, who own the land around the lagoon, are dying off.
Since Sam and Keegan are the only ones questioning the deaths, they find themselves working together to seek the truth. Are people being murdered? Who would benefit from their deaths? Why would there be barricades and armed guards at the north end of the lake? To stay alive, Sam and Keegan must find the answers and convince others, before more people are killed... including them.
Book of the Year 2013 - Suspense and Thriller Turning the Pages Magazine
"Thom’s book was like one of my Nana’s triple layered chocolate cakes, impossible to walk away from... The plot’s seamless, twisting turns and the tension-building exploits kept me flipping the pages..." Author Jeanne Marie
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