Today's (this week's, this month's, this year's - I am anything but a consistent blogger, but I am trying to mend my ways) interview is with fellow funny LDS writer Heather Horrocks. You can find information about Heather and all her books here:
There are even a couple of spiritual ones, to show that funny and spiritual can co-exist in the same person. Who knew? My favorite of her titles is "Old Maid of Honor." I love that often a clever title is the beginning of the process for Heather, but I'll shut up now and let her tell you about her process.
HOW DID YOU DISCOVER YOU WERE FUNNY? SHARE YOUR JOURNEY OF BECOMING A FUNNY PERSON.
I’ve used humor as a way to keep things light since I was a kid, and my sisters and children know I’m a tease. I’ve always known I could be ‘on’ around other people and make them laugh, but I didn’t realize I was a funny writer until after I’d written a couple of seriously themed, healing books. Then I started to have fun as I went ‘toward the light’-hearted. Since then, people regularly tell me I’m funny, and I choose to believe them. I go through each first-draft scene at least five times, and the fifth time through I’m looking specifically for anything that can add more humor.
If I think something is funny, I’ll add it into a scene. If my critique partner tells me it’s not funny but I love it, I may still leave it in because funny and writing are subjective. But if several of my cold readers also comment that they didn’t get it or didn’t think it was funny, then I know it needs to come back out or be tweaked. Sometimes my comedic genius is off. Luckily for me, at other times, it’s on.
When readers write and tell me they laughed throughout my book, that’s my biggest payoff for all the hours I spend getting each book ready.
One of my first reviews was by a woman who said she’d been reading darker fantasy novels for months and was feeling heavy-hearted, and when she read my book, she felt better; she said my book was a good read—even if it was a little cheesy. Ha. I was incredibly offended—my book wasn’t cheesy!—until my critique partner laughed and reminded me that all of our favorite books and movies are cheesy. We love cheesy. And we do—we love books and movies that are funny and down-to-earth and make us feel good.
WHAT FUNNY PEOPLE, AUTHORS AND COMICS HAVE INSPIRED YOU?
Every two or three years, I re-read the wonderful Southern Sisters cozy mysteries written by Anne George. I want to write just like her!
I love Bill Cosby, who literally had my sides aching after I went to one of his comedic performances. And if someone can be funny while also keeping their act clean, so much the better.
I love (and wish I’d written!) movies like Galaxy Quest, Undercover Blues, While You Were Sleeping, and Princess Bride. I love books and movies that can make me truly laugh out loud.
SHARE WITH ME BRIEFLY SOME OF YOUR FUNNIEST LINES, SITUATIONS, AND CHARACTERS.
Regally Blonde has my favorite beginning:
Feeling trapped, Jamie could feel everyone in the restaurant staring at her as the conversations around them swirled down to whispers.
Why did Christopher Ellington always have to propose in such public places?
In Snowed Inn, I love funny, crazy Grandma Ross. And I absolutely love the scene where Vicki pulls David into the pantry to hide him so Grandma won’t know he’s been cooking in her kitchen and then they burst out laughing because they’re hiding in the pantry like kids.
Murder is Misunderstood (the first Bad Mothers Club mystery): I love that the cat, who the heroine’s ex-husband demanded in the divorce, totally ignores the lawyers and keeps coming back to her home.
Old Maid of Honor: Isn’t that the best title ever? My sister, who is also funny, told my son, when he was getting married years ago and my sister was still single, that she wanted to be his bride’s ‘old maid of honor.’ And I knew in that instant I had to write a book around that title. (Which is how most of my books begin. I come up with an awesome, witty title and then plot to that.)
My sometimes free/99-cent Christmas novella, Bah, Humbug!, puts a grinch of a bestselling writer, on a deadline, next door to an up-and-coming Martha Stewart type. She builds the perfect snowman for her next show—and, since he thinks it’s just the neighbors doing their usual get-him-into-the-mood thing, he beheads the snowman as he’s trying to find a place to hide the weapon in his latest book. As one reviewer said: "Hilarity ensues."
Right now, my books are available in ebook form on Amazon (Kindle) and B&N (Nook). By the end of 2012, most of them will also be on Kobo, in the iBookstore, and in print, and available as audiobooks in the spring of 2013.
TELL US YOUR FAVORITE SACRAMENT MEETING JOKE.
One of my favorites is when my son’s shortest friend gave his post-mission talk. He said he would like to sing part of his testimony. He then proceeded to sing, "I’m glad they called me on a mission—and I’m still waiting to grow a foot or two."
Another one, funny enough I included it in a book, was the story someone told me of being in Fast and Testimony Meeting and having a little boy go up to the front and say he loved his family, even though they used the f-word—and the boy’s father, with a pained expression on his face, going up afterward to clarify that, in their family, the f-word was f-a-r-t. Yup, pretty much a parent’s nightmare.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE ABOUT YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR AND HOW IT HAS COME IN HANDY?
On a serious note (yes, even I can be serious : ), I find that humor is one of the keys to a happy life, along with faith and hope. If you can keep your sense of humor, it may save you during the hard times that come far too often into our lives. When you’re going through a rough patch, a funny book or movie can help you laugh your way to a better perspective.
Laughter is healing. My favorite review was by a reader who told me that, after she’d been depressed for a couple of months, she read one of my books, laughed all the way through—and then felt better. Funny is good. Funny can lift your spirits. That’s what I do—I lift people’s hearts and create smiles. And I have a blast doing it.
I like to say I write chick flicks in a book. And they’re PG-rated. That’s important to some of us.
I love happy endings, too. Life has enough troubles and I’m hoping my readers are going to escape from reality in my books and come back ready to tackle their world again. I love taking my characters and readers through tears, but I give them something to hope for in the end.