New York Times best-selling author Kristan Higgins shares her favorite moments, and difficulties, writing humorous romance. Her latest novel, "In Your Dreams," is on sale now.
Do you think of yourself as a humor writer?
Sure! Why not? I think there’s a wry tone to my books, an emotional honesty and acceptance that the characters have about themselves…self-deprecation combined with a genuine goodness. But just as important as the humor are the bittersweet or genuinely sad moments, because I think the best books have a wide range of emotions.
Why do you think readers love humorous romance novels?
There’s a quote from Audrey Hepburn: “I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills.” I think, too, when a book makes us laugh, it suddenly feels as if we’re best friends with the character (and sometimes the author), sitting in a cozy kitchen, giggling over the same thing. It’s an added bang for the buck, humorous romance—not only will you fall in love with the characters, watch them strive for and ultimately get that happy ending, they’ll also make you laugh out loud.
Is it hard to write funny scenes?
It can be! Sometimes, I’ll know in my head that a scene is going to be funny, but it needs a lot of work before it gets there. I call that the furniture-moving stage…you have to get all the physical things out of the way before the scene can really shine. Other times, the scene just flows. Whether it’s hard or easy, the trick is to make every funny scene relatable. Otherwise, it’s just slapstick—Three Stooges, if you will. But if readers can really understand the character’s motivation and conflict in that moment, and see just how things have escalated (or deteriorated), then they’re right there with the character.
What are some of your favorite funny scenes from your own books?
Oh, that’s a tough one. The Best Man has a scene when the heroine gets stuck trying to climb out a bathroom window; that one was pretty funny. I love the scene in Waiting On You where the heroine tries to make dinner for the hero and ends up with smoke inhalation. And In Your Dreams has a scene involving bathing suits and chicken cutlets. I laughed till I choked when I wrote that one.