Thanks for joining me today, Julie. Why don't you start by telling us, what is your favorite style of comedy?
Puns/plays-on-words and irony. Or there’s nothing like the shaggy dog stories; those run-on funny tales where the listener starts to laugh in anticipation. My favorite example is a delightful Irish folk song called “Why paddy won’t be in to work today”. It incorporates exaggeration, physical humor and disbelief. We heard it sung in a Irish pub.
You can see it coming. Paddy is a construction worker responsible for carrying bricks to the top floor of an ongoing building site. He’s a bit lazy, Paddy is, figures out (erroneously) that he can use the pulley method for bringing them up so he doesn’t have to make so many trips carrying them a few at a time. Paddy completely forgets to factor in his own weight.
He is in for the “ride of his life,” suffering numerous injuries, but always hopeful and then apologetic. So as Paddy sustains blow upon blow and fails at every “good” idea he thought would save him effort, we see graphically why Paddy won’t be coming into work today or for a few days more …
Do you think humor can be incorporated into any genre, or are there genres in which it doesn’t work?
It’s called comic relief and can be subtle irony, or used as gallows humor, or sometimes sarcasm. Eve Arden was famous for her delivery in the movies of the forties. But I’ve given up sarcasm and renamed it sourcasm. The older I get the less bitter I want to sound.
Who is your favorite humor author & why?
The last real laugh-out-loud humor writer I liked was Lewis Grizzard.
Why do you like to incorporate humor into your stories?
Humor adds realism and perspective. In my only Gothic novel, The World the Flesh and the Devil, http://amzn.to/1IHLWSj the subject is serious, a love affair between a priest and a nun, very emotional, touching, sweet and tragic. Both were in the wrong “line of work.” We know nuns can be harsh disciplinarians, and unyielding in their thinking, but these nuns, dignified to a fault in the early 1900’s, named their English Mastiff, Lucifer. They just couldn’t help themselves.
How do you incorporate humor into your novels? Do you ever draw inspiration from real life?
The characters have to be involved in the story so well that the readers are living and experiencing the drama. A surprise, an irony, a funny name, such as OBGYNs named Dr. Christmas, and a gynecologist named Dr. Glove, a root canal dentist named Dr. Borer, and his side-kick Dr. Akers who does extractions, all ironic, and are coincidentally true in my lifetime. Many mystery writers use this gimmick to keep their characters/suspects identifiable.
What is the most challenging aspect of writing humor?
Timing. It’s a known fact that most comedians, humorists, cartoonists, etc. studied music.
Tell us about one of the funniest scenes from your book & where you drew inspiration for it.
An Indian Hill mynah bird morphed from real life into my book, Kill Fee from an experience I had as a teen. My parents, Interior Designers, had a client named Beatty Hill, a serial bride on her third husband. Her parrot liked to tease her current husband by using the name of her most recent husband: “Welcome home, Beatty, and Mr. CLARK.”
The Indian Hill mynah bird in Kill Fee and Medium Rare is heroine Penny’s pet, Bilgewater. He has the same penchant for irony.
In a scene toward the end of the book, Bilgie and Cufflynx, the hero’s black and white tuxedo cat are “incarcerated” in the back seat of a car headed to their new home together. They are NOT friends.
Cole (hero) put the suitcases in the car, and returned to the house to retrieve the cat.
While he closed the car door, he held the cat in his lap and waved to Boswell with the other hand. Why was Bilgie always referring to the Bitch? He’d been right about the shoebox and was no longer harping on it, but who was the bitch? Driving toward his mother’s home near mainland Summerville, and all the way across the bridge, Bilgie screeched.
“Get this cat off me! Help!” Cole didn’t hear him; his mind was on Penny. Where could she be?
Bilgie tried to convince the driver that the cat is attacking him, and squawks about it in barnyard language.
Which of your characters cracks you up the most & why?
Bildgie cracks me up. He’s the bad-beaked bird/the foul-mouth’d fowl. He says what others are thinking.
Now, some THIS or THAT:
Knock, knock jokes or Dirty Limericks?
Dirty limericks. My favorite is one I learned in art school. It’s also historically correct.
“There once was sculptor named Phidias/Who sculpted sculptures most hideous / He made Aphrodite without any nightie/And shocked the good people of Lidious.
Erma Bombeck or Dave Barry?
Both, but Erma Bombeck spoke to my issues as a young house wife in the 70’s. Also she was a really decent person refusing a kidney transplant in favor of a younger woman.
Garfield or Peanuts?
Peanuts. His philosophy and POV humor has held up sixty years. Third Rock from the Sun, the TV show, used the same kind of POV humor. Charles Schulz is an established philosopher for the ages.
Janet Evanovich or Judy Blume?
Evanovich. I just wait for her current car to blow up. Love the characters.
Find Julie at:
or Amazon: http://amzn.to/1sBpDU8