Over the past few months, I’ve been struggling with An Army of Angels. The story was off track. There was too much humor. I’ve always added healthy doses of humor to even my most serious work, but this was bordering on slapstick! I was so frustrated, I almost scrapped the book. I’m still having second thoughts about the series.
Years ago, while participating in a twenty-one-author booksigning at an area mall, my friend and fellow author Donna Julian and I were asked this question by historical romance author Mary Martin: “You two are so funny–why do you write such serious books?”
At the time, Donna and I agreed that we were able to be funny because we “got out all of our grim shit” through our writing. But now, I find myself wanting to write more humorous novels. I’m a huge, huge fan of bestselling author Janet Evanovich, who does humor brilliantly in her Stephanie Plum novels. I get her books through Audible–but I’ve learned not to listen to them while eating (too many near-choking incidents). And I love Devon Cooper’s wonderful Bad Day, Karla Telega’s Box of Rocks and others.
And there were instigators within my own camp.
The culprits behind my own creative ambivalence are the rambunctious Cantwell boys, five brothers who threatened to take over An Army of Angels. I’ve found myself wanting to write more and more about them, but it just wasn’t working for that novel. What to do?
I love my characters and I love the story I’ve been writing…but they just weren’t working together. Should I scrap the book and write a comedy? Should I move these characters into a funnier plot and put new characters in the work in progress? I had to make a decision. Finally, it came to me. I had already decided to start writing humor under my newly-minted “Robin Collins” pseudonym. I would reduce the brothers to brief appearances in An Army of Angels and give them their own book, a place in which they could be their naturally hilarious selves.
The perfect backdrop for these guys is the world of pro wrestling. I’ve been a fan since childhood, thanks to my dad. These five troublemakers could flourish there….