Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Funny Bones - Mixing Murder and Humor

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Thrillwriting welcomes back Chris Patchell.

For those who don't know her writing, Chris Patchell is the bestselling author of In the Dark and the Indie Reader Discovery Award winning novel Deadly Lies. A former tech worker turned full-time author, Chris pens gritty suspense novels set in the Pacific Northwest. She did an article with us about security alarm research for us, "Well, that's alarming!" Read it HERE. You can also read her article HERE about how you character's past can catch up to them.

Chris is working on a project with me to save shelter dogs by providing them with the medical help and training they need then pairing them with a veteran who could use some support. The program is called PETS FOR VETS. 

We gathered Twenty-one Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and other bestselling authors to bring you a heart-pounding collection of 21 brand-new, never-published stories all in one amazing romantic suspense limited time boxed set with profits helping to support PETS FOR VETS.

It's our way of giving back to our community.

Chris can you tell me why you wanted to get involved by writing a book to support Pets for Vets ?

Chris - 
Our dog, Sasha was rescued from a high-kill shelter in the Los Angeles area. She's a sweet little Yorkie who is absolutely filled with anxiety.

The first few days we had her, she hid behind a chair in our house. She was raised as a mama in a puppy mill, and she had never been properly socialized.

We always had dogs growing up, and the idea that so many dogs end up in shelters is heartbreaking.

And, the idea that we could do something to save dogs, and help Veterans was a win-win in my book. Pets are such a comfort.

Fiona - 
Buy this book in Love Under Fire Collection for 99 cents!
The book you wrote for this collection is called Deception Bay.

I've read your works before - they are serious mystery/suspense, but in this one you were doing a triathlon - murder mystery/romantic-suspense and you added humor to the mix. Was that the plan from the beginning?

Chris - 
No, this one was supposed to be more of a pure mystery, but when I was approached about joining this project, I adapted the story. It had all the elements. A murder covered up to look like an accident. A love interest for a guy that's got commitment issues. And some intense scenes that I think readers are going to love.

I dialed up the romance and dialed back on some of the darker story elements to land the right mix for this one.

Fiona - 
Did the humor come as part of the romantic back and forth? Is one of your characters a natural ham?

Chris - 
This story is told first person, present tense, which is a bit of a departure for me. Consequently, I spend a lot of time in Austin's head, which is a pretty fun place to be. His internal dialogue is funny, and the way he interacts with the other characters is also fun to read. Like many of us, when Austin hits on something that makes him feel vulnerable, he jokes his way through it. And Ellie, the gal he falls for, doesn't let him get away with it all the time.

She's a different type of girl than he usually goes for, and the dynamics between the two make for some fun reading.

I have a series that's humorous. On a normal day I write 3k of suspense. I can only do 2k in humor. It's a tough gig. Did this come naturally to you? How do you get yourself in the right frame of mind to write humor?

Chris - 
Wow, you totally have to be in the mood to write humor! Some days, I'm just NOT funny. The days when I'm not, I focus on other things, and then those magical days when the humor flows, I graze back through the story and layer more humor throughout the draft.

Sometimes I'll be driving in my car, or walking the dogs, when the right line strikes me, and bam, that's gold!

Fiona - 
Chocolate helps to, just sayin'. Do you have any go to mood brighteners? Somebody you read? Something you watch?

Chris - 
Oh, Chocolate. You've got me there. Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt. The sea salt fits in with the setting--an island off the coast of Washington.

Fiona -
YES! That's my go-to! It's magic

Chris - 
You know, it's interesting. I usually read or watch darker topics, but I LOVE cerebral humor.

It's the Canadian in me.

Fiona - 
Me, too, I like drier humor where my husband prefers slapstick. There are so many ways to express "funny."

Chris - 

Think Sherlock with Benedict Cumberpatch.

Fiona - 
For me, I have a writing partner that I banter with to try to get pacing. Do you have someone like that? Do your try it out on your family?

Chris - 
Definitely. My husband is always my "first Beta reader". He's smart, and funny, and sometimes suggest one-liners that just work. I also write a few times a week with a friend of mine at a local coffee shop. She'll catch me giggling, and I'll read her a few paragraphs and have her laughing too.

She's a big fan of this book.

Humor is the kind of thing that's fluid. It's something that comes more naturally when you're bantering with someone. Doing it all in your own head... UGH... There's not enough chocolate to make the magic happen some days.

Fiona - 
There's your formula folks: 
Spark+Banter+ Chocolate = comedic gold!

Now that you want to read Chris's book, go HERE to preorder, and help us help shelter pets and vets!