Thursday, April 22, 2010

Guest post and giveaway by Wendy Holden: author of Beautiful People

Today it is truly a pleasure to welcome Wendy Holden, author of Beautiful People. Wendy has written an insightful piece about humor. Sit back, relax and enjoy what she has to say and then we'll get to the giveaway.

Humour is so personal. As a comic writer I write about what makes me laugh. Otherwise, you’re second guessing what might amuse people in an awful, after-dinner-speech kind of way, which would be depressing. (Although I can see a comic scene even in that; an after-dinner speech going horribly – and hilariously – wrong). But it’s probably true to say that I can spot the potential humour in something faster than someone who doesn’t write romantic-comic novels for a living. You develop an eye and you recognise how the unlikeliest situations can yield some amazingly funny material. I was at a very dull meeting at my children’s school the other day for instance; someone said something about pushy mothers and suddenly an entire novel scenario leapt into my head, which I’ve just started working on.

Celebrity lives are positive volcanoes of brilliant comic material; I can never understand why people take them so seriously, let alone aspire to be like them. They’re a gift for people like me; you simply can’t make them up – from Brad Pitt’s horrible new beard to those women who think the world will take them more seriously if they wear ethical diamonds to the Oscars. So Beautiful People was a joy to write, enabling me to give full rein to a fabulous mixture of hilarious celebrity craziness, from stars with ‘thinstructors’ to get them in shape for awards ceremonies to vertically-challenged studio heads who make their taller executives sit on kids’ furniture.

I’ve heard novelists say that Hollywood is beyond parody but I don’t think that is true. Nothing is beyond parody in my view. Not even contemporary art, although I admit it stretches the boundaries more than most. I’ve just finished a book called Gallery Girl which is a comedy set in the mad world of modern art. Inventing the various ridiculous works for the ‘edgy’ galleries – hairy pebbles, wheelchairs sprayed gold, heads made of frozen pee and so on – was a joy. It made me snort while I was writing it so I hope it will have the same effect on readers.

I am lucky though; I had a great comic apprenticeship as a writer; I was working as a newspaper journalist and had the weekly task of making the incoherent ramblings of a well-known British socialite into a magazine column. At first I was pretty annoyed about it – having to do the work for this woman who spent her life flouncing from party to party. But then I realised what a terrific opportunity this was to flex my comic muscles. I would pick out all the silliest anecdotes (like the time her boyfriend landed his helicopter in her parents’ orchard and blew all the petals off her mother’s borders) and make as much of them as possible; the sackfuls of mail the column attracted soon showed I was making a lot of people laugh with it. And Tara, the socialite, soon got into the groove as well and was very co-operative. The experience formed the material for my first novel, Simply Divine, after which I’ve never looked back.

I think comedy is something British women do especially well for some reason – my favourite authors include Nancy Mitford, Richmal Crompton, Sue Townsend and Posy Simmonds (look them up if you don’t know them). They are all comic geniuses; they notice everything. But there are some great American female comic writers too, one of the funniest books I have ever read is The Serial by Cyra MacFadden; it’s a send-up of the Sixties California lifestyle and made me laugh so much when I read it I cried – which was embarrassing as I was in a train at the time.

****Who are some of your favorite comedy writers? Tell me in the comments! ****

A witty, utterly addictive novel from bestselling author Wendy Holden, Beautiful People is a tale wicked in its observations yet buoyant at its heart: an irresistible confection you’ll want to devour immediately.

Darcy—a struggling English rose actress when The Call comes from L.A. An Oscar-tastic director. A movie to make her famous. The hunkiest costar in Hollywood. So why doesn’t she want to go?

Belle—a size-zero film star but she’s in big, fat trouble. Hotter than the earth’s core a year ago, she’s now Tinseltown toast after her last film bombed. Can she get back to the big time?

Emma—a down-to-earth, down-on-her-luck nanny trying to weather London’s cutthroat childcare scene and celebrity mom whirlwinds. What will it take for her to get back in control of her own life?

Jet to London, Hollywood, and Italy; toss in a passionate star chef, a kindhearted paparazzo, and a reluctant male supermodel; and find Wendy Holden at her best—a smash international hit.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Wendy Holden (U.K.) was a journalist on The Sunday Times, Tatler and The Mail on Sunday before becoming a full time author. She has now published nine novels, all top 10 bestsellers in the UK, and is married with two young children. Her novels include Farm Fatale (in US Stores from Sourcebooks Landmark in July 2010), Bad Heir Day (also coming to US stores from Sourcebooks Landmark in September 2010), Simply Divine, Gossip Hound, the Wives of Bath, The School for Husbands, Azur Like it, and Filthy Rich. For more information, please visit

Sourcebooks is giving away two copies of Wendy's book, Beautiful People. This is one you don't want to miss! Not sure what it's all about?
See my review!

Contest details are as follows:

  • Answer Wendy's question for your official entry
  • Must have e mail contact in entry
  • US & Canada only
  • +3 Bonus entries can be earned by blogging about and linking back to contest. Sidebar posts are fine.
  • Deadline is May 1st at 5 PM EST. This is a quickie so be sure to enter asap! Good luck!


    1. I dont have a favourite comedy writer off the top of my head.
      Thank you for hosting this giveaway.


    2. Charles Schultz from Charlie Brown,
      I don't know of any except, Bill Cosby.

      cenya2 at hotmai dot com

    3. I love Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series!

    4. I don't read a lot of comedy books. But I did enjoy the Stephanie Plum series.

      lizzi0915 at aol dot com

    5. My favorite comedy writer is James B. Allardice. He wrote for The Munsters.


    6. Sorry, I am not good with names, even of authors but I love comedy anywhere that I can find it.

    7. I would have to say David Sedaris is my favorite comedy writer. milou2ster(at)

    8. I love to read comedy cozies. My favorite authors are: Laura Levine, Maddy Hunter, Anne George, Peggy Webb, Sharon Kahn, and Deb Baker. Also love to read Dave Barry, Patrick Mcmanus, and John Erickson. There are just sometimes when you need a good laugh to get you through your day.

    9. I don't read a lot of comedy..wonder why? I love to laugh...I really enjoyed this post! Now I'm going to have to look up some of those authors you spoke of!

    10. Oh humor is one of my favorite genres. From across the pond I love love loved Jerome K. Jerome's "Three Men In A Boat, To Say Nothing Of The Dog." I believe he must have had a strong influence on Bill Bryson.

      As for the ladies, Chelsea Handler is a nut, but I thought Susan Jane Gilman's "Hypocrite In A Pouffy White Dress" was one of the funniest books I've read in a long time. I guess I like the non-fiction/memoir humor.

      For fictional, I'll go way out on a limb and say Tolstoy. No, seriously! That Leo had himself an incredible sense of humor. War & Peace made me laugh out loud in many spots - bet no one ever told you that before eh?

    11. Just the author photos alone tells me she has a great sense of humor! And I do know who Sue Townsend is ... so funny!

      I personally always have a chuckle whenever I read Christopher Moore.

    12. Well, I've been watching Chelsea Lately on tv and I think she is about the funniest thing around!!

      mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

    13. I've always liked Erma Bombeck!

    14. Whops I left my website.

      carolrosemiller at gmail dot com

    15. I loved this post. It made my lips turn up as I was reading it. I can't wait to find her books. She also gave us a nice list of other authors to find. It dawned on me that I don't read enough humor. I need to change that.

      My favorite humorous author is Nora Ephron. Her collection of essays on the humor of growing older really made me laugh. (I'm not sure of the title. Something about her neck.)

      margot dot peck at gmail dot com

    16. What a great post and intro to a new author for me! I do like to laugh sometimes when I read, whether it's a mystery like Janet Evanovich or one of those wild Florida rides by Carl Hiassen. Thanks!

    17. I really like Christopher Moore.


      bacchus76 at myself dot com

    18. No need to enter me (although my answer has GOT to be Stephanie Plum. I rate them dependent on the page number on which I first laugh out loud!); my TBR is enough of a comedy.

      I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you!

    19. I'm a new romance reader, 9 months and I haven't given a romantic comedy a try yet. But I'd like too.

    20. I have to agree with the posts about Stephanie Plum, Lulu & Grandma Mazur are the best in Janet Evanovich's series.
      Love & Hugs,

    21. Bill Cosby, Dave Barry, Erma Bombeck & Barbara Johnson have been long-time favorites of mine.

      I also really enjoy Janet Evanovich. She had me laughing long before the Stephanie Plum books - back when she wrote for Loveswept.

      Thanks! :0)
      librarygrinch at gmail dot com

    22. I love David Sedaris!


    23. My favorite comedy writer would have to be Christie Craig, love her books! Please enter me!


    24. Can I enter the giveaway my favourite comedy author was Erma Bombeck. She made me laugh a lot.

    25. I love Christopher Moore these days but there are many great comedy writers and I keep a shelf of books people have told me are funny in case I need a laugh after all the doom and gloom that is getting published these days.

      whitreidsmama at yahoo dot com

    26. I love humor, and I have a whole slew of favorite writers of it. Some of which: Dave Barry, Robert Benchley, Will Cuppy, Peter DeVries, Joseph Heller, Garrison Keillor, Jean Kerr, Barbara Pym, Jean Shepherd, Neil Simon, Muriel Spark, Hunter Thompson, James Thurber, Mark Twain, and yes, Sue Townsend. To name a few.

      Thanks for the chance to win this one!

      jlshall at comcast dot net

    27. One of my favourite comedy writers would have to be Sophie Kinsella.

      melacan at hotmail dot com

    28. My favorite comedy writer would have to be Sophie Kinsella - her Shopaholic books were hysterical!

      Please enter me in your contest - always looking for new authors to try!

    29. One of my favorite comedy writers would have to be Sherrilyn Kenyon, her Dark Hunter books are always hilarious. :D Other favorite comedy writers (off the top of my head) would be Gail Carriger, Kresley Cole, and MaryJanice Davidson.


      Anna ♥

    30. I don't know if I have every read a comedy book before. But I am diffently looking forward to this one. Thanks for the chance to win it!

      debraldufek AT hotmail DOT com


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