Monday, May 21, 2012

Please Welcome The Mystery Author Duo, Evelyn David

Today, I'm happy to host the fab writing duo known everywhere as Evelyn David. Let's see what they have to say about humor in mysteries.

Don't Take the Fun Out of It!
by Evelyn David


It's no surprise that Mark Twain had something to say about the need for humor in life. Actually he had many things to say, but one that stuck out is: “Humor is mankind's greatest blessing.” But we were unprepared that even Mahatma Ghandi understood that the need to laugh is essential for survival. According to Ghandi: “If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.”

Humor is part of each of our books. It's not that we're trying to be stand-up comedians. As writers, we tend to be solitary types, holed up in our attic garrets churning out breathless prose, or as we prefer to think of it, murder and mayhem. But writing is inherently full of rejection and disappointment. If you can't laugh about it, at least most of the time, you need to find another profession. Or to take it a step further, as Ghandi reminds us, if we don't laugh, the alternative may well be much more dire.

Sometimes the humor in our books is essentially slapstick. Take Brianna Sullivan, the psychic who finds herself unexpectedly landing in Lottawatah, Oklahoma. The name of the town is enough to induce a chuckle. She lives in a motor home named Matilda, with hair that, according to her, often resembles a Chia pet. The reader has learned, from that brief description, a lot about Brianna Sullivan – and undoubtedly also about Evelyn David. Sure we like the droll humor of Noel Coward, but we're also perfectly happy to induce a belly laugh ala The Three Stooges.

In the most recent Brianna mystery, GOOD GRIEF IN LOTTAWATAH, our sleuth has taken a job at the local funeral parlor. (Here's a sample.)

Doc was in his office tying fishing lures. I hesitated at the doorway, but he waved me in.

"How's the dead body business treating you?"

I guess you've got to have a slightly morbid sense of humor to last long in this field.

I sat down across from him and twirled one of the intricate lures between my fingers. "Between the relatives of the deceased acting like the living dead, and way too many spirits flitting around with endless orders and questions, for a dead zone, there hasn't been much peace."

Doc laughed. "I guess you're literally getting them coming and going. I knew you'd be an asset in this business. Work hard and you could own the place when I decide to retire."

Two days on the job and Doc had big plans for my future. "Kill me now."

In our newest mystery, ZONED FOR MURDER, the story is a little darker, the issues a little deeper. Maggie Brooks is a Newsweek reporter with two kids, a dead husband, and a mortgage to pay. Landing a job with a local paper, she's bored to tears covering bake sales and Little League games. She faces a lot of competition when she tries to get back into the shrinking newspaper business. But when a developer tries to build an outlet mall in a neighboring town, what starts out as potentially a great clip for her resume, suddenly turns dangerous and ugly. Someone will do anything to block the mall's construction. Dirty money, nasty politics, and shady land deals abound as Maggie pursues the scoop that might jumpstart her career. When murder is added to the mix, she realizes that meeting her deadline might be the last thing she ever does.

The book opens with Maggie struggling to cut up an old rug for bulk pickup by the sanitation department. It's a chore Pete, her late husband, would have normally done. She suddenly realizes that all that help people offer the bereaved is limited:

Sure, everybody wants to help when it comes to baking cookies, but where the Hell is everyone when I've got to cut up this damn rug?

"Well, let the games begin," I muttered. But my steely resolve faded over 45-minutes in the broiling sun, as first one blade and then another broke as I sawed my way through the rug.

"Shit, Pete, where the hell are you? You're never around when I need you." I laughed.

"Uh-oh, moving from the "let's get on with life" stage of grieving back to the "anger" stage. Been there, done that."

At last the rug was cut up in the required four-foot lengths, tied with string. I was dripping with sweat, my hair was frizzy and damp, but poor widow Brooks was triumphant.


It's that ability to laugh at the absurdities of life and even call herself "Poor Widow Brooks" that we think makes the character more human and makes the reader more easily relate to her. As Victor Borge once noted, "Laughter is the closest distance between two people."

We're not suggesting that life is one big giggle fest. Sure we all have our tough days (months, years?), but humor makes the tough times easier to bear, and the good times more fun. So here's what we promise. In all our books, you'll find killer stories, red herrings galore, mysteries to challenge you…and yes, a healthy dose of laughter. As the immortal Woody Allen said, "I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose."

Enjoy!

About Evelyn David 


The author of Murder Off the Books, Murder Takes the Cake, Riley Come Home, Moonlighting at the Mall, Zoned for Murder and The Brianna Sullivan Mysteries e-book series, Evelyn David is the pseudonym for Marian Edelman Borden and Rhonda Dossett.

Marian lives in New York and is the author of eleven nonfiction books on a wide variety of topics ranging from veterans benefits to playgroups for toddlers! For more information on these books, please visit her web site at http://www.marianedelmanborden.com/

Rhonda lives in Muskogee, Oklahoma, is the director of the coal program for the state, and in her spare time enjoys imagining and writing funny, scary mysteries. Marian and Rhonda write their mystery series via the internet. While many fans who attend mystery conventions have now chatted with both halves of Evelyn David, Marian and Rhonda have yet to meet in person.

Please check out Evelyn's website at http://www.evelyndavid.com/ and their blog – The Stiletto Gang - http://www.thestilettogang.blogspot.com/  for information about Evelyn David's appearance schedule and writing projects.
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Amazon Buy Links:
Zoned for Murder - http://tinyurl.com/ZonedK


First Book in the Brianna Sullivan Mysteries series
I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries - http://tinyurl.com/psychicBS1



First Book in the Sullivan Investigation Mystery series
Murder Off the Books - http://tinyurl.com/motb3




Please leave a comment to welcome our Fab Duo here today.


10 comments:

Evelyn David said...

Thanks Morgan for hosting us today! It's wonderful to be here.

Steven J. Wangsness said...

I'm glad to hear someone agree with me that mysteries can be funny, too. I tried to insert a few jokes into my novel even though the subject is deadly serious. A little comic relief is fun when you're writing, too.

Evelyn David said...

Hi Steven,

I enjoy all kinds of mysteries but I have to confess that those with some humor seem more "real" to me. Good luck with your writing!

Rhonda
aka The Southern Half of Evelyn David

jenny milchman said...

I really admire those who can incorporate humor into their writing!

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

This is a great series--will keep you turning pages and giggling at times.

Marilyn

Morgan Mandel said...

I think the hardest part of collaborating with another author is staying friends during the process! It has to be difficult if you come to an impasse.

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

Evelyn David said...

Thanks Morgan for hosting us. And welcome back from vacation!

Collaboration is not for the faint-hearted. It helps to have a sense of humor about your writing and life in general. Like all partnerships some give and take is necessary. Usually we have a good time!

Rhonda
aka
The Southern Half of Evelyn David

Maryann Miller said...

A touch of humor is good for even the darkest of stories. The reader needs that relief from the tension.

I do enjoy the quips in your books, Evelyn. The characters are very endearing when they are cracking wise.

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