It was about a year ago that I published my second canine cozy mystery, King Harald’s Heist. I’m happy to report that the first draft of Harald and Andy’s third adventure is better than half completed. Its working title is King Harald’s Snow Job and it finds our two heroes snowbound in a luxury resort with the indomitable Aunt Bev, and several hundred other women. Needless to say, mayhem and mirth ensue.
In a cozy mystery, the clockwork of the plot is always challenging to work out. But in humorous cozies, such as the King Harald series, equally challenging is how to earn laughs without waxing corny. Sometimes to know if you’re doing it successfully, you have to put some distance between yourself and the story. So I’ve decided to let King Harald’s Snow Job marinate for a week or two, while I think it over and come back to it fresh.
During my break from Andy and Harald, I’ll be starting the third and final book of the Johnny Graphic trilogy—tentatively titled Johnny Graphic and the Last Ghost. I’m excited as heck to return to Johnny’s world, c. 1936. All hell is about to break loose, and only Johnny and his friends can stop it.
While Johnny Graphic isn’t primarily a humorous story, there are plenty of laughs and smiles. But unlike King Harald, the jokes in Johnny Graphic arise naturally from the people and ghosts and situations. I’m not looking for them—they just happen. It’s an easier type of humor to write. Just consider some of the classic kids’ stories, in books and in film. From Inside Out and Matilda to the early Harry Potters and Wind in the Willows. Serious stories unfold, but funny things happen along the way. They’re tales with humor, but not humorous tales.
I think that most authors would agree that humorous tales are hard to write. Simply consider the humorous yarns of P.G. Wodehouse. Those gut-busting waves of gags with Jeeves and Wooster were the result of meticulous, obsessive hard work—charted on walls like a military campaign or a complex piece of architecture. Humor, as they say, is a very serious business.