I love humor! And most of you know my books have humor laced through out the story line. Well, Kris is joining us here today to talk about humor in her historical stories. I know you'll find the topic interesting and enlightening.
Who says an intense historical can't be funny, too?
Certainly not I.
Humor is timeless; people laughed in every era. You know as well as I do that some Neanderthal somewhere tripped on a rock, wind-milled his arms frantically, and fell on his arse in the mud. And someone was laughing. Hard.
Humor makes manuscripts more believable. Humor makes characters more real. It can keep a scene from becoming overly maudlin or sappy. Or harsh. It can start - or halt - an argument. Besides that, life is funny. People are funny.
And humor can get an author out of some boring situations. For example, I just finished the draft of a book that has a medieval knight staying on a Scottish border estate. He is assigned a valet as a matter of course. But I got really tired of pointing out every time the man came into the room. Those lines were boring and they slowed the pace of the scenes.
So I stared having him just appear - and sort of freak out the hero when he did:
The first "odd" reference:
Jamie led Drew to the room that was once Eryn’s. To the bed where he slept a full, blissful night beside her.
“The Lady moved into the master’s chamber,” Jamie answered Drew’s unspoken confusion. “I’ll have ye in here now.”
Ian began to help him undress, though that was not Drew’s intent.
Where did he come from? Drew mused. That man always seems to materialize out of air.
The second reference:
Drew pulled a deep breath and blew it out. “I believe I ken where she’s gone—”
“Elstow Abbey?” Jamie interrupted.
“Aye. So now I must find out what made McDougal so angry.” Drew stood and wiped his mouth. Ian appeared at his elbow with a clean tunic over his arm. “How do ye do that, man?” Drew sputtered.
Ian looked at the garment in his hands. “Water and a brush. Why?”
The third reference:
“I’m afraid we met with some unfortunate circumstance on our travels, and this sorry apparel is all that I now own,” Drew said to the smiling steward. He pulled at the fabric. “I fear that even Ian might not be able to salvage these.”
“My lord, you do me a disservice,” Ian said.
Drew startled. He looked over his right shoulder. “How long have you been standing there?”
The valet looked puzzled. “I only just arrived, sire.”
It's not slap-your-knees funny. It's just quirky-make-you-smile funny. Of course, intentionally funny single scenes can happen as well. This exchange takes place in A Matter of Principle between Nicolas the hero, Rosie the prostitute, and Leif, Nicolas's adolescent cousin - as observed by Sydney (Nicolas's wife):
Rosie addressed the teen, “How old are you now?”
“I’ll be fourteen next month.” Leif stood taller. Sydney noted he was now the same height as she. Rosie nodded. “Almost time.”
“Rosie!” Nicolas barked. “He’s a child, yet.”
“I’m not a child!” Leif objected, his voice cracking.
Rosie poked Nick’s belly through his cloak. “Just ‘cause you had to wait for that woman in Norway’s no reason to keep this young man in a state of distress!”
Nicolas spoke slowly and clearly. “He is not in distress, Rosie.”
“Yes I am! I’m distressed!” Leif squeaked.
“Rosie, I believe we should let Leif’s life follow its natural course,” Sydney opined.
Rosie considered her friend. “Are you sure?”
“No!” Leif jumped up and down. “No one’s sure!”
“I am,” Nicolas answered for them all.
“It wouldn’t cost anything,” Rosie added. “I’d see to him out of friendship.”
“Did you hear that, Sir?” Leif’s voice took on a pleading quality. “Out of friendship!”
“No, thank you.”
“But I’m distressed!”
Nicolas stopped the group under a gas lamp. “What, exactly, distresses you, son?”
Leif’s mouth flapped as he glanced from Nicolas to Sydney, Rosie and back.
“You know.” Leif’s voice lowered. “Don’t make me say it in front of her.” He tilted his head toward Sydney.
“Leif, if you cannot express it, you are certainly not ready to experience it!” Nicolas chided.
Nicolas leaned down to his young cousin’s eye level. “No.”
Leif’s countenance implored Rosie. “Ma’am?”
“You heard the boss. See me when you can manage it on your own.” Rosie laughed and started walking. “The offer stands until then.”
Sydney looked over her shoulder at Nicolas. She wasn’t sure if he was fighting anger or laughter; but when the corner of her mouth lifted, his lips twitched and pressed, barely holding back his mirth.
I can't help it. My characters have enough of me in them, that they are always finding the ridiculous connection - and they say something barely appropriate or quirky at the oddest times.
So. Isn't it time you found a humorous brand of hero or heroine? Norway IS the new Scotland, after all.
For every 10 people who comment here, I will give away one free e-copy of A Woman of Choice - the beginning of the trilogy. And, yes. Commenter #11 warrants 2 copies! Comment #21? I'll give away three.
BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!
In February at the end of my blog tour, I'll give away one SIGNED PAPERBACK SET of the trilogy. Here's how you can get in on that deal:
1. Go to http://www.kristualla.com/ and find the "Secret Word" on my home page.
2. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Signed Trilogy Giveaway" in the subject line. Put the secret word in the body.
3. Comment on any blog at any time in the tour to activate your entry. Each day's blog location is listed at http://kristualla.wordpress.com/blog-tour-dates-locations/
A Woman of Choice, A Prince of Norway, and A Matter of Principle are all available at http://www.goodnightpublishing.com/
A Woman of Choice - Missouri Territory, 1819
A woman is viciously betrayed and abandoned by her unfaithful husband. She is rescued by a widower uninterested in love. In desperation, she becomes engaged to his best friend. One woman, three very different men. Life is about choices.
A Prince of Norway - Christiania, Norway, 1820
American-born Nicolas Hansen has been asked to candidate for his great-grandfather's throne. His new wife Sydney isn't about to let him go to Norway and face that possibility alone. The moment they arrive at Akershus Castle, the political intrigue and maneuvering begin. Can Sydney trust anyone? Will Nicolas resist the seduction of power? Or will he claim the throne for himself? Most importantly: will their young marriage survive the malicious mischief of the ambitious royal family?
A Matter of Principle - St. Louis, State of Missouri, 1821
Nicolas Hansen has returned from Norway determined to change the world. But when he runs for State Legislator in the brand-new state of Missouri, the enemies he made over the past two years aren't about to step quietly aside. Sydney has made enemies of her own, both by marrying Nicolas and by practicing midwifery. When a newspaper reporter makes it his goal to destroy them, Nicolas must rethink his path once again. But this time, it's a matter of principle.