This week Lila Shaw visits the blog. I met almost met in person in Las Vegas when she'd come into town for a work conference. Unfortunately, she wasn't staying long enough for me to come and see her. But we've visited a lot online and we share a love of hairy me (Teddy Bear Thursdays are our favorites). Lila has a couple of pen names, but she writes contemporary and paranormal romances laced with humor. Today I asked her one question about where she gets her inspiration.
BBTF: Many of your books have a deep thread of humor through them. Where do you find the inspiration for those scenes?
Lila: Where do I find inspiration for humor? I feel like I should answer this question with a joke. So, let's start there.
First of all, I don't go looking for Humor, because if I look for it, I never find it. I don't know where it lives or what its favorite color is. I don't know if it loves, has a family or any friends.
Truth is, it finds me, and not always at the best times or places. It waits for me after school on the playground in torn jeans and a tshirt bearing an inappropriate saying. It wears too much eyeliner and garish red lipstick and doesn't care if its bra strap hangs out the sleeve. It has no discipline, no goals or ambitions. It's the sexy siren from the wrong side of the tracks a man will happily get horizontal with but will never marry.
Because marrying Humor means welcoming her family into the mix, inviting the pain, humiliation, impotence and suppressed aggression that birthed her. Humor is a cowardly prostitute. Rather than saying, "Hey! Look at me! I'm [angry] [sad] [depressed] [frustrated] [embarrassed] and I need your attention, your love," she offers you a joke for a laugh, a chuckle, a smile.
Now, I'll answer more seriously or less seriously, depending on your perspective. Where do I find inspiration for humor?
I grew up silly. I have a silly mother, sister, cousins and husband. I like to hang around silly people. I love the ridiculous and thrive on innuendo. When I was young my cousins and I would covertly pull down the underpants on male underwear mannequins and then run and hide. We drew faces on watermelons in supermarkets. We threw chicken skins on passing cars at night. I hid SOS messages in the mouths of the dissection-destined frogs in biology. I sweet-talked my male college friends into being my makeup models. (Why they let me remains a mystery.) My mother and I defaced more Sears catalogs than we used for placing orders. I do voiceovers for my dog, trying my darndest to make my husband laugh at "her" wit. I text my son funny selfies when he's been out too long with his friends. He shares them, which gives me hope that one day he'll be just as silly as his mom.
Truth is, I may be growing older--putting my kids through college while biting my nails that I don't lose my job before I can retire--but I refuse to grow up. The world can be a pretty shitty place, but as long as there is something to laugh about, it's not only bearable, but enjoyable.
I don't know about you, but I prefer laughter over tears, though if I have to cry, let the tears be ones of uncontrollable mirth. I'd rather write stories that make readers laugh than cry. I doubt I'll ever write anything like The Fault in Our Stars. Why the hell would I? I'd surely screw it up by having the nurse fart during a chemo session, anything to break up the tension, but in doing so, I'd surely ruin the book.
But real life is a book begging to be "ruined" with laughter, don't you think?
I do, too, Lila. :) You can find out more about Lila Shaw's books on her website. Be sure to buy a book and tell a friend. Happy reading!