We have a number of iconic pairings in romance. Grumpy-sunshine, innocent-experienced, and morally good-morally evil, to name a few. A decade ago, the legal scholar Dahlia Lithwick added another one to the mix: Chaos Muppet-Order Muppet. Essentially the idea is that all Muppets are either forces for entropy or forces for organization and structure. Animal and the Swedish Chef? They’re Chaos Muppets. Sam the Eagle and Bert? Order Muppets. And these opposites tend to attract. Think about Miss Piggy and Kermit.
Up until now, my characters have mostly been Order Muppets. When I have written the occasional Chaos Muppets (Vivy in Free Fall comes to mind), they’ve been minimally chaotic. But Sam in Funny Guy is not minimal chaos. Sam is the full tornado.
I have a friend who always asks, “What’s the goal for this book?” And she doesn’t mean to sell a bazillion copies and buy/restore a castle in Sicily with the money. She’s asking about my artistic aim in the project. I told you earlier that Funny Guy scared me, that I wasn’t sure I could write it. What I really meant was that I wasn’t sure I could write Sam.
He’s brilliant and caustic, wounded and self-destructive. He’s going to light up every room he’s in, but he might burn them down too. I’ve known Sams in my life, mostly back when I was a drama kid, but also when I was working on Capitol Hill. Sams are beautiful, messy, dramatic, charismatic people.
And what I’ve observed is that Sams need their Brees.
The funny part about this book was that I went into it thinking that Sam was the key, and nailing his voice was important, but the real secret to making the book work was Bree.
Bree and Sam had absolutely awful childhoods, and now, all grown up, they’re alone. They have no safety net, they have no family, they only have each other. But while Sam reacted to this by becoming reckless, Bree responded with caution, for herself but also for other people because she believes that order and design can make the world a better place. Bree is the magic element. She grounds Sam, and he makes her sparkle.
The only problem is that Bree thinks her romantic feelings are one-sided, and so she’s finally resolved to get over Sam and move on. But at that precise moment, a media firestorm forces him to camp out on her couch.
Funny Guy can now be yours in ebook, Kindle Unlimited, paperback, and audio at Amazon and Audible. I can’t say enough about how wonderful the audiobook (narrated by Teddy Hamilton and Lucy Rivers) is. I highly, highly recommend it.
If you enjoy tropes such as friends-to-lovers, forced proximity, and Chaos Muppet-Order Muppet, this might be the book for you. If you’ve been looking for a romance where they couple mostly sits around eating take out and talking crap about action movies, this is your book. If you’re into the Howl-Sophie dynamic in Howl’s Moving Castle, you will probably dig Funny Guy.
I should say that despite the title and Sam’s job (as a comedian on a Saturday Night Live-esque sketch comedy show), this is a fairly angsty book. As is typical for me, the humor comes more from the language and the observations, not from big comedic set pieces. There is a complete set of content notes for Funny Guy, and all my books, here.
In short, I’ve never written a book like Funny Guy before, and I probably never will again. It’s a risk for me, but I personally adore the results.
If you do read Funny Guy, I’d appreciate it if you could drop a quick review or rating, particularly on Amazon, Goodreads, Bookbub, and Audible. I feel like a dork for even asking, but these make a huge difference, especially to my publisher.
A few other quick items:
- I’ll be doing an Instagram Live with Kelly from Boobies and Newbies on Wednesday, 5/17, at 5 p.m. PST. I would love to see you there!
- Chick Magnet is still on sale as a Kindle Monthly Deal. It’s $1.99 on Amazon in the US and in Canada through 5/31, £1 in the UK through 6/20, and $2 in Australia through 6/20. You can also add the audio for cheap, and the audiobook (this one is narrated by Aaron Shedlock and CJ Bloom) is also chef’s kiss.
- And Chick Magnet is on the New York Times’s list of their favorite romances for 2023. This is such a “pinch me, did that really happen” moment. I’ve been making tons of glib jokes about it, but honestly, it’s a total career highlight.
And that’s all I’ve got for now, friends. Happy reading!