Actually, just stop me.
I was recently asked to take part in a mystery conference panel. The subject of this panel was the use of humor in the mystery novel, and I was enormously flattered that the organizers thought of me in this context.
I had a scheduling conflict, however, and would in fact be sitting on the tarmac waiting for my plane to take off about the time this panel convened, so I had to bow out. I must confess, though, it was with a hint of relief that I realized there was a conflict. If people think I write humorous mysteries--and my reviews indicate that people do--nothing would scotch that belief half so quickly as seeing me on a panel trying to make people laugh.
Any humor I manage to produce in my books comes at a cost of an entire day's work, more often than not. It's seldom spontaneous, and putting a microphone in front of me is probably guaranteed to make matters worse, not better.
When and if the funny thought arrives, I swear it seems to come out of absolutely nowhere, and then only if I've sat at my desk a long time, staring at the words on the screen until they rearrange themselves into something funny. It's a total blessing when it does happen, and I generally send up a little thank-you prayer for it.
The Midnight Ink authors who use humor in their books will probably back me up on this: If it looks like it just fell off the pen, it probably took the author hours or weeks to get there. It's supposed to look easy, and shining a light on the process by having something like me talk about the process...well...that's just too scary a thought for me. In fact, I could just see people leaving at the end of this panel, shaking their heads, and saying to each other, "That Malliet person thinks she's funny? Sheesh! I want my money back." My book sales would plummet. Returns from the bookstore would skyrocket. Total disaster.
Back me up, Inkers. Many or most of you have an element of humor in your books; many of you are just plain funny, in person and on the page. I won't embarrass you by pointing you out--you know who you are.
But...how easy is it for you to write those killer sentences and paragraphs?
Photo of Steve Martin from guardian.co.uk.
Photo of Eddie Izzard from video.tvguide.com.
Photo of Gilda Radner from dvdtalk.com.
G.M. Malliet http://gmmalliet.com/
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