Welcome to this week’s Woman Writer Wednesday, my new feature where I profile, review or interview women whose words I’d like to bring to your attention. For today’s post, I interviewed romance/humor/space-opera writer Lucy Woodhull, whose Ragnar and Juliet II: Concubine Boogaloo and original recipe Ragnar and Juliet are available for sale at Amazon, AllRomance.com and Liquid Silver Books.
1. What/who inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, and was good at it in school and stuff. (“And stuff” — that’s the kind of subtle brilliance I’m unfamous for.) A few years ago, I began commenting on a Certain Ladyblog and got a bit of a following for being funny. It made me think well, hrm, self, maybe you could be writing of the funny for to make monies! Monies = good, my brain concluded. I love romance as a genre, so I decided to write a funny romance novel. Thus Ragnar and Juliet was born. The first pub I sent it to told me it was too funny — I wasn’t allowed to just have a funny romance novel for no good reason! It must have terribly SERIOUS parts to balance out the funny parts. I said, “LOL nope,” and kept the book as-is. I enjoy being edited and getting critiques (how else do you grow?), but I have learned, over time, to respect my voice. I get further when I trust in myself, and I have more fun. If I’m not having fun, what’s the point? I’m not in it to write someone else’s version of a book. I then submitted Ragnar and Juliet to the magnificent Tina Burns (at that time with Liquid Silver Books) and sold it in twenty-four hours. Hooray! I’ve subsequently written a sequel to R&J and a straight-up humor book, and gotten myself an agent for it, so things are proceeding apace. By “things,” I mean “my plan for universe domination, and also unlimited Cheez-Its.”
2. What do you like most about the genre[s] you write in?
In romance, I love the happily ever after. This is a part of the genre that people shit on a lot, claiming that there’s no suspense when you know the hero ain’t gonna die when he runs through a hailstorm of bullets to rescue his dog. But lots of genres are predictable that way. In a long-running series about a male detective, the dude probably isn’t gonna bite it with three books in and three more sold. Happy endings are the best! (Pun intended.) Life’s a piece of shit when you look at it, so what’s so wrong with reading a book about love and sexy times that you know will end with hearts and flowers? During the tough times of life, especially, I dig some escapism with my free time, and that doesn’t make me a moron. Plus: SEX!In humor, I love the silliness of it, the incongruity, the anything-goes nature of what is possible. (But I say “anything goes” with an eye to avoiding jokes that are racist, sexist, ableist, homophobic, and all the other “ists.” When humorists say they can’t make a joke without being an asshole, I say they must not be very good at it.) I also adore and respect the power of parody and humor to right the world’s ills. One needs only to look at something like Blazing Saddles to know how powerful humor’s statement can be.
3. What’s the best piece of writing-related advice you’ve received?
My best friend and sometimes-writing partner told me, in the midst of that first rejection and my struggles with the “rules” of writing, to stay true to myself and honor my voice. And she was so, so right. When I stopped trying to simultaneously play by the rules and be myself, everything was so much better. Write what and how YOU love. It’s the only thing that can possibly keep you going in this soul-sucking journey we call art.I’ll use this gif here, for these are my people.
4. Is there any type of writing you would like to try that you haven’t already?
I would love to write a half-hour comedy or film. I figure I’ll write books for now until Mel Brooks comes a-knocking to adapt one of them into a film. What’s the point of dreaming unless it’s big? Mel: call me!
5. You’re a fan of satire… tell us why you enjoy it and what you feel its significance is.
Satire is a way to poke fun at the world’s ills, and thereby help to improve them. It combines humor and activism, two of my favorite things, and when it’s done well, is so damn clever it hurts. Just look at the way The Onion sometimes blurs the line between reality and satire in such a scary way, you almost can’t tell what’s real. Especially during an election cycle. Some folks respond well if you stand up and say, “Hey, racism is bad!” but others will watch Blazing Saddles and get a perspective on race they never had before… all undercover-like while they laugh. And maybe, ever so slightly, their mind will be changed for the better.