KRR- What was the last thing that literally made you laugh out loud?
SI- I'm currently reading Leviathan Falls by James S. A. Corey and this quote from Amos made my morning.
“When people don’t know anything,” Amos said, “they love having meetings to talk about it.”
KRR- Have you seen the show? If so, how does it compare to the books
SI- I love the show! My introduction to the Expanse was through the tv series. I watched the first season before reading the books and it became one of my favourite series from the very first episode. And I still prefer it to the book. Don't get me wrong, Leviathan Wakes is great, but I prefer how the story and characters were introduced in the show. (It's hard to go into details without spoilers, so I'll leave it at that). Both the show and the books had ups and downs. I prefer some things in the books, others in the show. It's not fair to compare the two, since some things cannot be shown in books and others get lost on screen. I'm just happy to have both options to enjoy a great story. :)
KRR- What kinds of things do you usually find to be funny?
SI- Clever insights. Irony, sarcasm. I like the inner dialogues of characters who don't take themselves too seriously, who see further than most. I like it when unforeseen circumstances bring about the opposite of what was intended. Well, I like it in stories. It's very annoying when it happens in real life.
Having worked in a circus school, I can also appreciate physical comedy when it's done right.
KRR- Name a few books that have made you laugh?
SI- Anything by Joe Abercrombie. The psychology of his dark humour is spot on.
The books of Babel. Josiah Bancroft writes some of the most hilarious metaphors. It's a type of humour very different from mine, or from what I write, less sarcastic and more cheerful. I find it refreshing.
Orconomics. I've only read the first one and was laughing out loud for most of it. I'm saving the second one for the holidays. I'll need it...
KRR- You're the second person to mention the books of Babel. I'll have to check that out, and Orconomics.
SI- Do it! Two very different stories, written in very different styles, but both are excellent, clever and funny (To me anyway... ) Another one I only thought of after replying to the first questions is Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames.
KRR- How do you incorporate humor into your writing?
SI- Sarcasm just comes naturally to me. Now, seriously, I love wordplay and banter and puns. I can't write without them. I use humour mostly as comic relief or sometimes as a private joke to myself and the odd reader on the same wavelength who might get it. Satire is great to express things you can't express otherwise and hopefully reach out to others who think the same way.
This is easier said than done, of course. If you need to explain a joke, you're doing it wrong. And what someone finds funny, the other may find offensive. While others will not react at all...
You need the right audience to be funny.
KRR- Is there anything off limits in comedy?
SI- No. At least I can't think of anything right now. But there is a lot of 'comedy' that is not funny, or not funny to most people over the age of 6.. and then there're the bullies, the meanspirited inspired by jealousy who like to mock everything. Very popular with those who lack proper wit and confuse humour with derision and satire with parody.
KRR- On a scale from 1 to 10 (1 being dead serious, and 10 being non-stop jokes) what is the level of humor you usually prefer to read?
SI- Up to 5... I rather read a very dark or sad story with one super funny and memorable moment than an entire book of jokes and no plot. Too many jokes are not funny. They become irrelevant, white noise. Humour just for the sake of humor is not funny. Not to me, anyway. I need context, a reason for the humour. I like to think, to connect a few things to understand the joke. I guess what I'm trying to say is that comedy/humour needs to have a purpose beyond just the author saying: look how funny I am!
KRR- What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you?
SI- Funny for me or for others? Humour is a very personal and voyeuristic thing. What may be funny from my perspective it's often not for the person/character living it.
For example: a few years back, I was working on an aerial silks routine and I had planned a dramatic drop at the start of the performance. I was asked to do a promo video for it, so I thought it would be cool to record the drop. I set the camera in such a way so it wouldn't show the climb or wrap and would look like I just dropped out of nowhere, dangling dramatically by the knee. I've done that drop hundreds of times by that point, but on that day, I've made a mistake. I was tired and got too cocky, trying to make the drop as spectacular as possible, and that's a sure way to get in trouble. When I let go, the loop that was supposed to catch me, didn't. I won't bore you with the technical details. In a nutshell, I've made the loop too big in order to achieve a longer drop and I didn't adjust my position to account for the larger loop. The fabric just slid off my leg as I let go. I saw it happen and there was nothing I could do but brace myself for the fall. I was about 6m off the ground. Even with a crash mat (which I had, thankfully), it's a pretty dangerous fall.
Instead of a dramatic landing midair, the camera recorded a flailing woman, screaming 'fuuuuck' while falling to the ground, head first.
Everyone who watched that footage afterwards cried with laughter (myself included). But at that moment, I wasn't laughing. I honestly thought I was going to die, or worse, break my neck... funny depends a lot on perspective and hindsight.
KRR- 'm going to need you to post that video here (totally kidding!) I'm glad you're okay!
SI- Thanks! Unfortunately, I have to kill anyone who sees that video, and that's counterproductive when you're trying to build an audience. I'm sure you understand. 😇
KRR- Of course! What is the funniest thing you’ve ever seen/heard/read/written?
SI- Most funny things are too personal to share, or they need so much context they become boring. And I don't do well with absolutes or ranks, but I'll mention a few recent things that come to mind. :)
I recently read Cloud Atlas. There was one sentence, something like, 'the devil is in the pronouns'. It made me laugh so hard. It was written in a completely different context, unrelated to the pronoun obsession of recent years, but still, I thought it was hilarious.
That I've seen on tv... maybe Angel and Spike riding a scooter. It cracks me up every time. Actually, Joss Whedon's humour rarely disappoints.
I've recently learned the Australian saying: 'not here to fuck spiders'. One of the funniest things I've heard. It speaks to my soul.
I'm currently revising Anamnesis (book 4 in the Timelessness series). There's a scene between Loki, the Trickster and Psyche, the goddess of the soul. I didn't plan it, and as I was writing the first draft, I thought I would delete it, but I haven't yet and I probably won't, so... Here's an unedited preview:
“You never told me why you hate Eros so much. Did he make you fall in love with a horse or something?” Psyche asked, lying back on the bed next to him. “No, the horse was my idea,” Loki replied absently. “Huh?” “Nevermind."
It's a bit more basic than the humour I usually write, but I just had to include a reference to that bizarre incident in Norse mythology. Many won't get it. But hopefully I'll get a giggle from those who do.
KRR- "Not here to fuck spiders" is great! Also, I laughed at your scene even though I have no idea what it's referring to in Norse mythology.
SI- Well, long story short: Loki once turned himself into a mare to seduce a horse in order to save Asgard. The result of their union was Sleipnir, Odin's eight-legged horse. You won't see that in a Marvel movie.
KRR- Definitely not! It would be hilarious, though...
While teetering on the razor’s edge of the all-consuming void, is humor the best tool we have to fight the existential dread of a finite and bewildering existence?
SI- Absolutely. But only if it's clever. Otherwise... kill me now.
KRR- What projects do you have out in the world, and where can we find them?
SI- I have three novels and one novella in the Timelessness series, a sort of American Gods meets Stargate in the Underworld. You can find them anywhere in ebook, paperback, hardback and audiobook.
Wyrd Gods - mybook.to/WyrdGods
The Dharkan - mybook.to/TheDharkan
Nephilim's Hex - mybook.to/NephilimsHex
The last book in the series, Anamnesis will be out June 2022. 🙃