Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Take Home Tuesday with Janet Mullany

UPDATE: The winner of A MOST LAMENTABLE COMEDY by Janet Mullany is elnice. Please send your physical addy to contests @ knightagency.net. Thanks to all participants!
Reheating the Comic Omelette

This month my second Regency chick-lit,
A MOST LAMENTABLE COMEDY, was released and this is how I came to write it.

When I was seriously whipping into shape my 2007 book THE RULES OF GENTILITY I realized that it might be a good idea to prove to an editor that it wasn’t a one-off book. Instant panic ensued. My first reaction was Oh no, I’ve used up all my jokes!

The editor at
Little Black Dress (UK) who bought Comedy wanted a similar style (hero/heroine first person, present tense, funny), so I’d established the formula but for my own entertainment and peace of mind I had to do something different.

I made a list of all the devices I’d used in RULES:
--A character who spoke without punctuation
--A fart joke (a first for the Regency historical, I’m proud to say)
--Funny acronyms (e.g. The Association for the Rescue and Succor of those in Extremis = ARSE)
--Most of the usual Regency tropes, such as the fake engagement, the fall from horseback in the Park, the Big Misunderstanding, high adventures in low places, the bluestocking identical twins, and the gay friend (probably not one of the usual Regency tropes but certainly a staple of chicklit).
--Letters between characters

I could reuse the devices of lists and letters (although there aren’t so many as in RULES) but I didn’t want to repeat myself or write about another fashion-obsessed, naïve babbler. As much as I liked Philomena Wellesley-Clegg, the heroine of RULES, she was a bit overwhelming (which is incidentally why I came up with the idea of also writing the hero in first person; it cleared my literary palate). Although I thought initially I might write about the twins (I even had a title, THE WEIRD SISTERS OF BERKELEY SQUARE) I looked around for a character who was not at all like Philomena and found Lady Caroline, caught in intimate circumstances with the hero early on in Rules and quite definitely a Bad Girl.

Caroline Elmhurst, in Mrs. Giggles'
words, is a gloriously flirtatious hussy with a PhD in gold digging. The hero, Nicolas Congrevance, has had a disgraceful career as a gigolo; a good-hearted and sympathetic one, but still a gigolo. I was so appalled at his behavior that I invented a few other professions for him such as ratcatcher, music teacher, and cabinetmaker (he’s good with his hands in more ways than one). Interestingly, no one yet has complained about his anti-heroic qualities.

Furthermore, taking a suggestion made by
Bob Mayer in one of his workshops, I started off with both characters in trouble (she’s escaping creditors and he nearly drowns while evading a jealous husband)—people with real problems, and I think it made for a stronger, dare I say it, more serious book. Ahem. Don’t for a moment think this is a book about repentance, forgiveness and transformation—no knitting clubs or cottages full of rosy-cheeked children here (only those belonging to minor characters)—but Caroline and Nick discover what they really need: friendship and community as well as love (and money).

So that’s how it happened. I have two more books coming out from Little Black Dress, and the next, tentatively titled IMPROPER RELATIONS (2010), takes another new direction. Visit my website,
www.janetmullany.com for more information about me and my books, and thanks for having me visit today!

CONTEST: To win a signed copy of A MOST LAMENTABLE COMEDY by Janet Mullany, leave your name in the comments section. The winner will be announced tomorrow morning!

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Anonymous Steph said...

Sounds like great fun!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 8:39:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Aimee said...

Great (and funny post) sounds like a wonderful book!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 8:48:00 AM EDT  
Blogger MJFredrick said...

I can't wait to read it!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 8:49:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Janet Mullany said...

Steph, Aimee and Mary, thanks for getting up early to say hi! I--or rather, Nick Congrevance, the hero, is blogging at the Vauxhall Vixens blog today, where there's another chance to win a copy of the book (and he's behaving very badly!)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 9:23:00 AM EDT  
Blogger ColleenFL said...

Sounds intriguing!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 9:41:00 AM EDT  
Blogger CrystalGB said...

Sounds great. I would love to read this book.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 9:50:00 AM EDT  
Blogger JAMES CUBBY WRITER said...

Cubby wants to win and read this book!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 10:02:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Ellz said...

This sounds like great fun and off-the-wall. It would be a refreshing change to what I have been reading.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 10:07:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Wonderful that you like taking new directions and finding novel ways to write.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 10:23:00 AM EDT  
Blogger azteclady said...

Oh me, me please, me!!!

I've been eyeing this book with real lust since Pam Rosenthal talked about it.

Pretty please?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 12:09:00 PM EDT  
Blogger tetewa said...

Sounds good, count me in!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 12:13:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Beth C. said...

Sounds like a fun read!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 1:04:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Janet Mullany said...

So I go away for a couple of hours and look what happens... hi (deep breath) Colleen, Crystal, South Beach Star, elnice, the1stephzen, azteclady, tetewa, and Beth.

Caroline, the heroine of Comedy, is blogging and behaving badly today at:
historicalromanceuk.blogspot.com. I know she'd like you to go over and say hi! And Nicholas, the hero of Comedy, who's over at vauxhallvixens.blogspot.com is always interested in female company (be careful!)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 1:38:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous KCoombs said...

I'm trying to expand my circle of reading genres, and with your emphasis on humor and history, this sounds like a perfect choice. Perhaps it will inspire me to expand my circle of writing genres as well.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 2:39:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Pissenlit said...

Ooooh, sounds great! Count me in, please and thank you!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 2:45:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Janet Mullany said...

KCoombs and Pissenlit (I'm not saying a word about your name but if I'd thought of it I would use it in a book...) thanks for dropping by!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 3:54:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Cecelia said...

The best books are those that make me laugh aloud. I'm sure this would fit the bill. Please enter me!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 4:50:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Ginny said...

Oh, sounds like fun! And a lot of misadventure, too.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 4:51:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Serraphena said...

Thanks for a peek into your writing world, Janet. Count me in, too!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 9:30:00 PM EDT  
Blogger CarolynPrescott said...

Terrific post, all jazzed to read the book now! ;)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 11:12:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Janet Mullany said...

Celia, Ginny, Serraphena, and Nattersaz, thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 11:40:00 PM EDT  
Blogger berlinvale said...

I have found your post very funny thanks!! and Congratulations for your Blog! I think I will come back soon to read you again!

Vale from www.berlin49.de

Wednesday, August 5, 2009 at 4:55:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Just perusing fave writing blogs & saw Janet's name. Congrats on all your success! I think TC needs an interview ;)

Thursday, August 6, 2009 at 10:47:00 AM EDT  

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