Bringing Humor Into Suspense by Joan Swan

It's genre Monday. This week author Joan Swan is talking to us about bringing humor into your suspense. Take it away, Joan...


The Benefits of Humor in Suspense
by Joan Swan


Humor isn't an element one might immediately associate with suspense or thriller fiction, but it’s one I've found very delightful lately in a number of suspenseful reads.
I find humor a double benefit to the suspense novel:
1) Humor lightens the darkness, eases the intensity, providing a "break" for the reader
2) Humor quickens pacing
Yes, we want our suspense tight.  We want white nail beds gripping the edges of our Kindles and Nooks.  But, honestly, if there isn't any break in that muscle-knotting tension, many readers will put a book down just to get a breather.  A touch of humor, on the other hand, gives a reader just the break they need...without ever leaving the pages.
I've noticed with several recent reads how authors particularly talented at writing humor--whether witty or sarcastic, within character or dialogue--can make the pacing of a story fly.  Time flies when you're having fun, right?  Reading on to the next line, the next paragraph, the next page for the those quippy zingers or quick bites of sarcasm make time pass without notice.

An author who is utterly amazing at using humor as a compliment to suspense is Darynda Jones.  Her debut novel, FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT, the winner of the RWA's Golden Heart contest in 2009, was picked up by St. Martin's Press and printed out of the shoot in hardback.  Both her premise and her writing are stellar and unique.  I just finished Darynda's second novel, SECOND GRAVE ON THE LEFT, and I loved it even more than the first -- which enthralled me.

Darynda makes me laugh out loud.  She makes me feel good and keeps me intrigued all at the same time.  She makes me lose myself in her characters and intricate multiple plot lines.  Her novels are true quality entertainment.
If you like a touch of humor with your suspense, I'm recommending either (preferably both) of Darynda's GRAVE novels.
Which of your favorite authors do a great job of adding humor into their suspense?  What is one of your favorite novels incorporating suspense and humor?



Joan Swan is a triple RWA® Golden Heart finalist. She writes sexy romantic suspense with a paranormal twist, and her debut novel, FEVER, with Kensington Brava releases February 28, 2012.  A second in the series, BLAZE, releases October, 2012.  You can find Joan at her blog, One Word At A Time, her website or Twitter.








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