|Jean Henry Mead|
You can reach Jean at http://www.jeanhenrymead.com/
Writing with Humor
by Jean Henry Mead
I’m not a comedian but I’ve found that adding humor to my books increases sales. In fact, I’ve received several reviews stating that the reviewer hoped I would add more humor in my next novel. A Village Shattered takes place in a central California retirement village where Sew and So club members are dying alphabetically. Nothing humorous about that, but I added a couple of quirky characters to the mix: a love starved widow and a rednecked cassanova, which not only makes it a fun read but enjoyable to write.
The second book in my Logan & Cafferty mystery/suspense series is Dairy of Murder, which takes on a more series tone when Dana Logan and Sarah Cafferty, two widows traveling in their motorhome, learn that Dana’s sister has died and her husband claims it was suicide. Dana knows her sister Georgi, a mystery writer, would never take her own life, so she and her friend Sarah set out to prove it was murder. Along the way they stumble over more bodies and a vicious drug gang. The only humor comes from Sarah’s dialogue and reviewers complained that it wasn’t as funny as A Village Shattered.
My first novel, Escape on the Wind, republished twice and retitled Escape, a Wyoming Historical Novel, was probably my most humorous as well as my best selling novel to date. It features a kidnapped young heiress, Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch, and a little known member of the gang, Tom “Peep O’Day, an alcoholic horse thief who nearly takes over the plot because he was so much fun to write about. Good-natured and bungling, he causes the gang to botch the Belle Fourche bank robbery.
I added humor to my first, recently released children’s novel, Mystery of Spider Mountain, as well as the second, The Ghost of Crimson Dawn, which I’m currently writing. I’ve also added humor to my nonfiction books. Casper Country: Wyoming’s Heartland, was researched by spending two years behind a microfilm machine reading 97-years’ worth of newspapers, dating from 1889. I’ll never do that again, but I found some funny incidents to add to the centennial history book, which was eventually used as a textbook at Casper College.
One of the things I remember was an article about three young boys stealing watermelons from a railroad boxcar. They were housed briefly in the county jail during the early 1900s. When police were asked about the case by a reporter, an officer remarked about how good the watermelons tasted. I doubt the young boys had watermelon for dessert.