Guest Blogger: Kathy Carmichael

Thanks so much, Jen and Jessica, for inviting me to be here with you this week! I love chatting with readers. I think it’s because first and foremost I still consider myself a reader. I love all things book and could talk about stories and writing for, oh, a week 🙂

Recently someone asked me why I write comedy and at first I was stumped for an answer. For me, it’s more difficult to write without humor than with it. It’s a natural part of my writing voice — and part of my personality.

I’m no stand-up comic, mind you. But in my household there’s always laughter and that’s very important to me. My husband and two sons are truly funny and endearing. My husband is Scottish and I wouldn’t trade his dry wit for a truckload of gold coins.

In all seriousness, there have been times when a hilarious book saved my heart. They have helped me make it through the rough patches of life. Everyone faces obstacles in their life. It’s how they deal with those obstacles that counts. Part of my coping mechanism is laughter and a hilarious book helps heal me. I write comedy because I want to have that same impact on readers. Is there much better than a delicious story that makes you laugh and brings you out of your doldrums? I think this is especially true now with the financial struggles everyone is currently facing. The global economy, our national economy, layoffs, the stock market plummeting — they all make you crave a laugh-inducing pick-me-up, doesn’t it?

Writing comedy can be difficult because a sense of humor is quite personal. Not everyone laughs over the same things. What one reader finds hilarious, I may find sad. What I think is funny may leave another reader cold. To me, there’s a fine line between pain and laughter — like a curb you’re balanced on, go too far to the left and you fall in the gutter. Go too far to the right and you’re on the grass.

While I generally write a mix of character-driven and situational comedy, I tend to lean toward the character-driven. When I look over the stories I’ve written, they often are about universal themes that women face. Hot Flash explores themes about empty nest, coming to terms with aging, female friendships, and learning that what you want may not actually be what you most need.

It’s my sincere hope that a majority of women will “get” the themes in Hot Flash and find something about themselves in the story. All writers’ greatest wish is for readers to “get” their stories.

The heroine of Hot Flash, Jill Morgan Storm, sends out surveys to happily married women in an effort to discover what makes for a successful marriage. I’ve recreated the survey on my website and would love for readers to come take it. Perhaps we’ll all learn what makes for the most successful marriages. My bets are on a shared sense of the absurd!

Jill is a chef. When at my website (http://www.KathyCarmichael.com), you might also be interested in the recipes she makes in the book. Not only will you be able to discover her recipes, but I have posted some of my own and I’ve invited readers to post theirs as well!

Thanks again for having me as a guest! I’m wishing for a little more laughter in each of your lives.

Kathy Carmichael

Readers, Kathy is giving away two copies of Hot Flash to random commenters this week. So, comment here, on the excerpt or on my review of Hot Flash. The contest will run until Thursday, March 19 sometime around 5 pm PST. Please be sure to stop back by the blog or see if you’re a winner or leave your email address so we can contact you.