The ExPat Returneth

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Humor Writing on Mysterious Musings

Book launch day found me on mystery writer, Julia Buckley's, Mysterious Musings...
Mystery Writer Larissa Reinhart on Coffin Portraits, Japanese Adoptions, and Funny Brits

Larissa Reinhart's new mystery, Portrait of a Dead Guy, is out today!  Here's our interview about her book.

Hi, Larissa!  Thanks for agreeing to be on the blog, and for discussing your book, PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY, with me.
You write funny!  They say that writing humor is the hardest kind of writing.  How did you choose to write a humorous narrative, and how do you maintain your funny narration and dialogue?

To be honest, that’s just how Cherry speaks in my mind. She kind of talks out the side of her mouth and uses these descriptive phrases. I love humorous books, so I probably absorbed a lot of humor through reading-osmosis. If I’m having a bad day, I like a good dose of PG Wodehouse or Jasper Fforde. If only I could reach UK-humor level... Brits are hilarious people. I love their dry wit. I’m not so subtle.

Two of my favorites! The premise of your book is unusual .  A struggling artist snags the job of painting a recently-murdered man, in his coffin, as a memorial for the rather odd family.  Therefore, your heroine Cherry Tucker has to spend a significant amount of time with a stiff.  Did this situation strike you as funny or horrifying?

It strikes me as funny, but when I explain the plot I get a lot of “are you a lunatic?” looks. I think I’d rather paint a stiff than take on a killer. That would be horrifying!

One of my favorite characters is a billy goat named Tater, who seems to make it his life’s ambition to annoy visitors (or maybe just Cherry?).   Do you have some experience with goats and their whims?

My personal goat stories are fairly innocuous. However, goats have a love/hate relationship with my sister. As children, any time we were near goats they would flock to her, knocking her down, and attempt to eat her clothes. To this day if we take our children to a petting zoo, she refuses to have anything to do with the goats. She was horrified to hear I had a goat in my story. But I believe in making lemonade from other people’s lemons.

Haha!  Speaking of sisters,  I like the relationship between Cherry and her sister.  Cherry is fiercely ambitious, but Casey “couldn’t find ambition if it drew her a map and hired a Sherpa.”   Do you have sisters, and if so, did you draw from the relationships to write about these women?

I have one sister who is nothing like Casey. She’s a hard worker and a great mom. But I can relate to the sniping and one-upmanship between the siblings. My sister and I don’t do that anymore, but we had some memorable arguments in high school. Because their mother abandoned them as children and they then lost their grandmother when they were in high school, I see the siblings as emotionally stunted. However, they’re all very creative. Cherry’s a talented artist, Casey is an amazing cook, and Cody is a skilled mechanic. Unfortunately, Cherry’s the only one who wants to make her mark in the world. Or start paying her own bills.

There are a number of men in Cherry’s life—specifically her  ex-husband, Todd, to whom she was married “by accident,” and of course the handsome Luke.  It reminds me of the interesting triangle Janet Evanovich creates between Stephanie Plum, Ranger, and Morelli.  Have other people compared you to Evanovich?

Read more at Mysterious Musings!

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