Author Spotlight: Writing with Humor by John Inman (contest)

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Spirit cover

 

 

 

Author Spotlight:  John Inman On Writing with Humor

 

The stories of John Inman are a true favorite of mine.  I think of John Inman and his stories and immediately I start to smile. He has the ability to convey the emotions and thoughts of real people with startling issues in his stories through humor, frankness, and acceptance.  Interspersed, of course, by the occasional moments of angst.

“Laughing through our tears”  is probably a phrase most readers would associate with this author, whether it is through his books, Shy, Hobbled, or the recently released Spirit.   I invited John to talk a little about how he combines the authenticity of every day problems and real life difficulties with humor.  John has brought a copy of his latest release, Spirit, to give away.  To enter to win leave a comment and an email address where you can be contacted.  The contest ends June 4 at midnight. 

 

Writing with Humor by John Inman

I was recently asked how and why I temper the impact of real issues with humor.

Well now, there’s a question and a half, huh?

Questions about why I write the way I do always go flapping over my head like distraught pigeons, because I honestly never know how to answer them. My motives are a mystery even to me. They always have been.

I do know there are times when I’m trying to delve into serious issues in a story and it’s an uphill battle for me to not start cracking jokes or going for a laugh. I’m talking about my writing here. In real life I’m much too shy to shoot for a belly laugh from anybody. I’m the guy sitting in the corner behind the potted palm slurping down cocktails to calm his frazzled nerves and trying to be inconspicuous. On paper, however, I’m fearless.

I honestly had not thought about it before, but behind every one of my comedies — SHY, HOBBLED, SPIRIT, LOVING HECTOR, SERENADING STANLEY — (I’m leaving out PAULIE because the only serious aspect to that story was the fact that everybody wanted to get laid, and I mean seriously.) Taking those other stories in order, the serious issues are Social Anxiety, Murder and Kidnapping, just plain Murder, Physical Abuse, and with STANLEY, an apartment building full of crazy people and the MC’s Inferiority Complex.


Even my serious novels have a good deal of comedy interwoven into the story. Take A HARD WINTER RAIN, for instance. With all the people being violently mowed down left and right, that one simply cried out for mood lighteners. So I gave them to the reader through the gallows humor of two homicide detectives chasing down a serial killer. JASPER’S MOUNTAIN, too, had its lighter moments. How could there not be an underlying comedic tone when the main character had three dogs, two cats, a couple of baby pigs, and a shitload of alligator lizards infesting his mountain retreat?


I think even in the most serious story lines, there is a need to lighten the mood now and then. I realize I go a little overboard with my humor sometimes, but still it serves a purpose. I know when I’m reading a long, sad, morose tale of abuse or angst or heartbreak, I require an occasional chuckle just so I won’t set the book aside periodically and toddle off to the bedroom to blow my brains out.

When I was a high school kid back in Indiana about a thousand years ago, I remember my English Lit teacher giving us an assignment to write a story about ancient Rome. Growing up in Switz City, Indiana, with a population of 212 people, and with only one stoplight, one feed store, one tiny market where the clerk doled out change from a cigar box, and about a gazillion churches, I had, of course, never been to Rome in my life, ancient or otherwise, and unless I was sorely mistaken, I was pretty sure none of the other kids had been there either.

So instead of writing a story about something I knew absolutely nothing about, I wrote a commercial. A commercial like you might have seen had ancient Rome been bombarded with endless hours of mindless television shows like we are. (Yes, even as a kid I hated TV.) Remember Cal Worthington and his dog Spot (who was actually a tiger) hawking used cars all over TV? That’s the type of guy I based my commercial on. Only Cal wasn’t Cal anymore. He was Calicus. And he didn’t sell cars, he sold chariots. Calicus stood there in his lot full of used chariots, his toga flapping around his pale skinny legs, touting the wonderfulness of his inventory in a loud booming voice, while his bigass pet elephant, Spot, followed him around like a Corgi.

I fully expected to get an F on the assignment, but strangely enough Mrs. Donahue (who I always thought hated my guts) –see? I was paranoid even then — well, Mrs. Donahue gave me an A+ and asked that I read my creation in front of the class, which I refused to do because I was just too damn shy. My best friend at the time, Linda Strietelmeier, of brave German stock, took pity on me and offered to read my story to the class in my stead.


I still remember the kids laughing at my silly commercial as Linda stood at the podium reading it out loud. Even sourpuss Mrs. Donahue cracked a smile or two. I sat there looking down at my lap, blushing up a storm, and loving every fucking minute of it. Looking back now, I do believe that day was the beginning of my need to write comedy.

It isn’t a pretty story, I know. But it is my own. And as true as the day is long.

So in answer to the question, how and why do I temper the impact of real issues with humor, the answer is — I have no choice. It’s just what I do, what I am, how I write. There is no big mystery to it. I’m just doing what I enjoy doing. And in truth, I think the answer to the question is pretty simple.


Not only am I simply wired that way, but maybe even more to the point is the fact that I’m doing it because that’s the kind of writing I like to read.

And what better reason is there than that?

 

Author Bio:

John has been writing fiction for as long as he can remember. Born on a small farm in Indiana, he now resides in San Diego, California where he spends his time gardening, pampering his pets, hiking and biking the trails and canyons of San Diego, and of course, writing. He and his partner share a passion for theater, books, film, and the continuing fight for marriage equality. If you would like to know more about John, check out his website at—-

 

Follow John Inman at:

If you are unfamiliar with John Inman and his stories, I have listed a few,ok a lot of my personal favorites below.  Check them out and prepare to start laughing.  It’s the only way to go.  Those marvelous covers are by artist Paul Richmond except for Spirit whose wonderful cover was done by Reese Dante.

Loving HectorShy coverHobbledSpirit cover

 

Review: Mighty Casey by Willa Okati

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

Mighty Casey coverCasey Sprague has a job he adores as a wedding planner and a wonderful committed relationship with a man he loves deeply, Nate Rule. Casey knows the man he loves is a man of many passions, and while Casey may take the top spot in Nate’s life, baseball comes in a very close second.  Casey has never shared Nate’s love of baseball, primarily due to his name and a certain much quoted poem about the Mudville Nine.  Casey has long come to terms with the irony that while Casey may plan others weddings, he will not be planning his own.  Nate has a thing about getting married and Casey has come to accept that won’t be in their future, after all relationships are all about compromise and Nate has accepted Casey’s feelings towards baseball.  Or so Casey thought.

When Casey loses a strip poker bet to Nate, his forfeit is to spend the day watching Nate’s team play a day of tournament games, all in the name of charity.  But Nate has an ulterior motive for getting Casey to the game and as the day wears on and the games continue, surprises await both Nate and Casey, ones that will have lasting impact on them and their relationship.

This is the reason why I love Willa Okati.  She has the ability to write long, angst filled stories of complicated men and their journey to love, slightly dark and full of heartbreak.  And then Okati can write a story like Mighty Casey. I loved Mighty Casey.  I finished it (it’s not long) and turned around and read it again. Why?  Because it’s joyous, it’s fun, and it’s so full of life and the best things about being in a loving committed relationship, that’s why. When I picked it up, I thought cute premise and couldn’t wait to see what Willa Okati did with it.  But oh, what a mighty swing and home run the author accomplished here (yes, expect baseball metaphors to follow).

First off the bat is Okati’s characters.  I loved each and every one, not just the main characters of Casey and Nate, but the rest of the team like Mimi (a star in her own right) and Kenneth, and the various players from the other teams. Casey and Nate’s each are such realistic characters.  They talk and feel like a couple who has been together for years and find themselves even more deeply in love after having made the necessary adjustments and compromises a long term relationship requires.  You can feel the mutual respect and love that flows between them.  Not once was there a missed ball by the author in terms of their personalities and the depth of their commitment.  Obviously, Okati knows a thing or two about relationships and that knowledge underlies every scene and dialog between them.  Just a perfect pitch every time.  And the rest of the team? As I already mentioned, you couldn’t ask for a better line up, especially Mimi.  Oh, she made a place in my heart right from the start.  Sparkly, outsized personality, she is everywhere in the story, running in the outfield, making all the necessary plays that Nate asks from her (and not all of them include the game).  Trust me, this is an all star line up.

Second at bat is the plot.  At first glance, just a normal romcom situation (think minor league) but Okati takes it and elevates it into the owner’s box seats and beyond.  She gives us one day in the life of Casey and Nate, but a very important one.  She starts it off as the alarm goes off and carries us through to the end of the day and the last of the charity tournaments games.  I won’t give away any spoilers but as Casey sits and watches Nate’s team progress through day, winning game after game, we see, through his interaction with Nate, Nate’s team, and the other players from competing teams, just how well these two are matched. We see the joy and contentment they find with each other, the sizzle and desire that bubbles just under the surface, and the manner in which they can still surprise each other after all the years together.  You will find yourself laughing out loud, pleased as can be, as the day and the tournament unfolds before you.  And to fully bring you to the edge of your seat in anticipation, Okati makes sure you (and Casey) know that Nate has something special planned for the end of the day.  I thought I had it figured out, but the author gave me another little surprise here too that I loved.  Great job, great game plan, perfect follow through, and another runner is on the base.

Third at bat? The heat between Casey and Nate.  They love each other and are so familiar with each other’s bodies and sexual desires.  In one funny and hot scene after another, Casey and Nate have little sexy interludes between games that speak of their love, their desire and their knowledge of each other.  It is a great way to demonstrate the authenticity of their relationship and heat up the story at the same time.  Now all these  bases are loaded.

And here comes the home run to bring everyone over home plate and win the game.  That would be the Epilogue.  It’s the final resolution and it finishes off the story with all the glee, all the triumph, and gratification that comes from seeing a perfect game and acknowledging just how special they are.  That is Mighty Casey all together.  A perfect game of a novella.  I cannot recommend this story enough.  Grab it up, along with some Caramel Poppernutter Crunch, and settle in for a pleasure filled day of baseball and love.

Cover Artist: Mina Carter.  It’s a fun cover but the models are far too young for the men in the story. Surely there are older models out there that could fit the bill and make the cover more in tune with the story.  Plus where is the Poppernutter Crunch? Sigh.

Book Details:

Novella, ebook

Published May 28th 2013 by Loose-ID
ISBN139781623003180
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.willaokati.com/