Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Let Your Humor Show by Carol Heilman

I don't know about you, but I like a little humor in books. Today, author Carol Heilman shares where she finds sources for humor. -- Sandy 

Carol: What makes you smile, chuckle, or laugh out loud? If you can share your humor with your readers, you will enrich their lives. 
How to begin?

Look at some of your own life experiences or those of family members. And if you enjoy writing fiction, you can change any names or locations if you need to protect the innocent.

I was blessed to have a mother and dad who often saw the humorous side of stressful situations.

The following is a story that was often repeated in my family, and it became a treasured one. If you don’t have such stories to draw from, listen to those around you or visit an assisted-living home. Listen to the residents there. They have a wealth of wisdom, information, and often humor to share.

During WW II, in a Mobile, Alabama shipyard, my dad was known as a “burner.” Skilled with a blowtorch, he helped our country build new warships or repair those damaged at Pearl Harbor.      

Mother, with a newborn and a toddler, coped with his long work hours and she also learned to deal with shortages--everything from beef to milk to nylons. I’ve often heard her say, “Whenever I saw a line, I got in it.”

She did the best she could, but she pined for her Kentucky folks.   When she couldn’t stand being homesick any longer, she packed up the three of us and caught a northbound train.    

On one such trip, she rushed down station steps. She wore a fashionable, short-skirted dress, sling-back pumps and stockings. Somehow she managed a diaper bag, purse, suitcase, an infant, and a two-year old clinging to her skirt.  

When she felt a garter break and something cascading down her leg, she knew she was in trouble. She stopped beside a luggage cart and handed me to a surprised railroad worker before removing the hose gathered around her ankle. Then she pulled her skirt up and unhooked the other one. After carefully placing them in her purse, she slipped on her shoes, gathered her children and belongings and continued racing to the train relieved that her rationed nylons could be worn another day.    

Laughter is good medicine for the soul.
Mother’s spunky spirit stayed with her throughout her life. She did not give in or give up, much like Agnes in my book, Agnes Hopper Shakes Up Sweetbriar. 

Do you use humor in your stories? Where do you find your inspiration?


Carol Heilman, a coal miner's daughter, married her high school sweetheart, a farmer's son. She began writing family stories, especially about her dad's Appalachian humor, for newspapers and magazines. One day her mother said, "We don't have any secrets any more!"

Carol's book, Agnes Hopper Shakes Up Sweetbriar, was inspired by her mother's spunky spirit and her dad's gentle one, as well as both parent’s humor.

She lives in the mountains of NC with her husband of fifty-plus years. They love to play cards, go antiquing, hike, and visit grandsons on the east and west coasts.