All jokes are in-jokes. The humour that appeals the most to me is the humour that makes sure that everyone is in on the joke.
As I draw closer to the release of my second novel, With Honor Intact, I’ve decided to do a series of weekly posts about some of my thoughts about writing this novel and its larger series, “Tales from the Virtue Inn” (spoilers will be minimal to non-existent). This week, I want to touch on one of the fundamental aspects of this series – humour and how it is written.
Humour can be wielded as a sledgehammer or a stiletto, but the direction it aims can do more to bring people in or push them away than the jokes themselves. While there is a lot of strange humour in With Honor Intact, the core motivation behind most of its jokes is that life itself can be ridiculous. The fantasy world that the Virtue Inn inhabits often seems wildly over the top, although it has its own internal logic. The humour in the story is meant to be grounding, a reminder that even the most awe-inspiring or madly strange things can have roots in the familiar, in a shared experience of a ridiculous world.
It would be easy, I think, to make my heroine, Honor Desry, the butt of the jokes. She doesn’t understand the world she has entered and is frequently at the center of situations that should make it easy to mock her. Instead, I have tried to allow those experiencing her adventures to laugh with her – at the perils of doing laundry, at having awkward conversations with family members, at discovering that, grand cosmic power or not, cats will still be cats.
Above all else, I tried to root the humour of With Honour Intact in empathy. We may not be able to meet the supernatural Guests of the Virtue Inn in our day to day lives, but I hope that shared moments of laughter will bring understanding and commonalities to even the strangest and most fantastical of characters.
I value humour as a celebration of our shared humanity, our shared experiences of the often ridiculous business of living.
I hope that the humour of With Honor Intact will not only amuse but also bring shared moments of understanding, of brief glimpses of other worlds through foreign eyes.
Honor Desry hadn’t applied to be the Innkeeper of a magical Inn with magical guests, but her sisters and her right-hand fox-man are making the job a lot sweeter.
Unfortunately, the supreme Cat God has disappeared on Honor’s watch and Honor’s old life is about to interfere with her new life in a major way.
The Naked Glassblower’s Association has booked a holiday vacation at the Virtue Inn, and Honor’s old boss and his partner are coming along to chaperone. Honor needs to find the Cat, keep the strange guests away from the supernatural guests, and somehow hold family and mind together.
But the Virtue Inn hasn’t revealed all of its secrets and Honor will need to summon every last piece of her courage and cunning to save the day With Honor Intact.
Warning: Contains some violence, profanity, innuendo, and homicidal cardigans.
With Honor Intact will be available digitally from all Amazon sites on April 23, 2015. To read the first book in the series, you can find The Guests of Honor here.