Monday, December 11, 2017

A Dose of Humor: Guest Post by DP Lyle

DP Lyle:
A Dose of Humor

Laughter is good medicine. Always has been. Laughter relieves stress, lowers blood pressure, and might even boost your immune system and make you healthier. Definitely happier. I recommend it every day in my practice. With virtually every patient I see, after going through all the medical stuff, the last thing I say to them as they leave the office is: “Laugh a lot.” It’s that important.

I grew up with humor. My mom could turn anything into a party and always seemed to find the funny in everything. Dad had a drier sense of humor, but a sense of humor nonetheless. My sisters, cousins, and friends each had great wit.

As a young reader, I was interested in the usual suspects—Hemingway, Steinbeck, Verne—but also in the great humorists Mark Twain and Will Rogers. Later, I dug into more modern humor writers like Carl Hiaasen, Tim Maleeny, and Paul Levine. I admired how each employed humor and downright knee-slapping funny in their work.

Even though most of my early novels dealt with darker stuff and very bad antagonists, I always incorporated splashes of humor. I couldn’t help myself. Adding humor to even the darkest thriller is a great way to diffuse tension and humanize characters.

But I had long wanted to write a more comedic thriller. And finally, I did.

DEEP SIX was the first in my Jake Longly comedic thriller series. It was successful and even garnered a Shamus nomination. A pleasant surprise. It’s success was mainly due to Jake himself.

He’s an ex professional baseball player, Gulf Coast bar/restaurant owner, and someone who’d rather run his dive and chase bikinis than do “honest work.” At least that was his father Ray’s take. Ray has a gray past, being involved in government secret ops of some kind—Jake never knew and Ray never shared—but is now a P.I. He wants Jake to work for him. Not a chance.

But, Ray repeatedly manages to draw Jake into his world. In DEEP SIX, he talks Jake into doing a bit of surveillance work—watching the house of a suspected adulteress. Of course, the woman gets murdered practically under Jake’s nose. And the story is off and running.

Now, A-LIST is out. In this story, it’s Jake’s girlfriend Nicole who drags him into an investigation. Her uncle, Charles Balfour, is a heavy-weight Hollywood producer/director. Oscars, Emmys, you name it. His crown jewel is Space Quest, a multi-billion dollar franchise. The main character is Kirk Ford, who just happens to wake up in the famous Monteleone Hotel in New Orleans with a dead girl in his bed. Uh oh. Worse, she’s the niece of local Mafioso Tony Guidry who is hell bent on avenging her death.

Jake, Nicole, Ray, and Pancake head to the Big Easy to solve the case. Of course, it doesn’t go smoothly. But, it is funny.


D. P. Lyle is the Macavity and Benjamin Franklin Silver Award winning and Edgar (2), Agatha, Anthony, Shamus, Scribe, Silver Falchion, and USA Today Best Book (2) Award nominated author of 17 books, both non-fiction and fiction, including the Samantha Cody, Dub Walker, and Jake Longly thriller series and the Royal Pains media tie-in novels. His essay on Jules Verne’s THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND appears in THRILLERS: 100 MUST READS and his short story “Even Steven” in ITW’s anthology THRILLER 3: LOVE IS MURDER. He served as editor for and contributed the short story “Splash” to SCWA’s anthology IT’S ALL IN THE STORY. 

He is International Thriller Writer’s VP for Education, and runs CraftFest, Master CraftFest, and ITW’s online Thriller School. Along with Jan Burke, he was co-host of Crime and Science Radio. He has worked with many novelists and with the writers of popular television shows such as Law & Order, CSI: Miami, Diagnosis Murder, Monk, Judging Amy, Peacemakers, Cold Case, House, Medium, Women’s Murder Club, 1-800-Missing, The Glades, and Pretty Little Liars. 



Unknown said...

I am a fan of DP Lyle, and look forward to reading A-List.

Coco Ihle said...

D.P. Lyle is a favorite author of mine. I have Deep Six in my to-be-read pile for this Christmas. I'm really eager to follow it with A-List.

Unknown said...

I, too, can't resist a funny line. I would much rather laugh than complain. Fortunately, I have a good novel critique group that sometimes has to say, "You know, that comment is really funny, but the situation is not. Best to delete." I have read about Deep Six in many different places. Will have to buy it and see how you manage humor.

Terry Odell said...

My dad had a wicked sense of humor, and although he suffered from Alzheimers and autonomic dysfunction, managed to retain his sense of humor until the night he died (2 days short of his 92nd birthday). However, even having been brought up surrounded by jokes, plays on words, and just plain "funny stuff", I can't write a humorous novel for the life of me. The best I can hope for is to have characters with senses of humor.