Friday, June 15, 2018

Why a Monkey? by Alison Henderson

Why a monkey?

I love to add humor to my stories, even the most action-packed suspense or mystery. An unexpected laugh can give the reader the perfect release from relentless tension.

Each book in my Phoenix, Ltd. female bodyguard series features a specific humorous element. In UNWRITTEN RULES, a pair of meddling grandmothers stir things up for the hero and heroine. BOILING POINT includes a cooking robot named GRAMPA who attacks the villain with a kitchen torch at the opportune moment. A white-faced Capuchin monkey named Balthazar, who likes to play dress-up and steal every shiny object he can lay his hands on, thwarts a would-be kidnapper in UNDERCOVER NANNY.

The inspiration for Balthazar came from a most unexpected source. OG is a big fan of early rock ‘n roll, and one of his favorite songs is a number by the Coasters called “Run Red Run.” Here are the lyrics to the first couple of verses:

“Oh, Red went and bought himself a monkey
Got him from a pawn shop broker
Taught that monkey how to guzzle beer
And he taught him out to play stud poker
Last night when they were gambling in the kitchen
The monkey he was taking a beating
The monkey said Red, "I'm going to shoot you dead
Because I know that well, you been a cheating."

Well, run Red run, because he's got your gun
And he's aiming it at your head
Run Red run, because he's got your gun
And he's aiming it at your head
You better get up and wail
You better move your tail before he fills it full of lead.”

After listening to OG sing this for years, I knew I had to add a monkey to one of my books. Balthazar is that monkey. Given the source material, he has a lot to live up to, but I think he rises to the occasion admirably.



Leah St. James said...

Great inspiration, Alison! I love finding bits of humor in stories where there's a lot of tension. UNDERCOVER NANNY is next in my reading list!

Diane Burton said...

I love humor amid tension. I try to add it to my stories, too. The background of how the monkey got into your story is cute. Undercover Nanny is next on my TBR list.

Margo Hoornstra said...

I so love the many stories behind the stories. OG sure does provide you with awesome possibilities. My OG (I don’t have a nickname for him yet) is a fountaine of plot point solutions and scenarios. Now if only he were a master typist! His only flaw. LOL

Jannine Gallant said...

I think the question to ask is "Why NOT a monkey?" Balthazar adds a lot to the charm of your book. I'm looking forward to seeing what you use in your next story for a bit of levity.

Rolynn Anderson said...

I hold a M.A.S.H. version of life. Even in the worst of times and the darkest of hours, sarcasm, quipping, punning, pranking...yes, even laughing out the way to survive, to get through the tragedy. Shakespeare used 'common' wise-cracking folk to provide relief in his tragedies...we still do it today in our books. Old Will would have applauded the use of a money for comic relief!

Alison Henderson said...

I hope you enjoy Balthazar, Leah.

Alison Henderson said...

Diane, when an idea strikes me, I hold onto it--sometimes for years. You never know when it's going to be perfect!

Alison Henderson said...

Margo, OG is endlessly entertaining, but he can't type, either.

Alison Henderson said...

Jannine, you are so right. That IS the question! I think I'm going to use bits from the Pine Cone police log for humor in my new series. LOL

Alison Henderson said...

Rolynn, I think you're right. Balthazar is a very Shakespearean character. LOL

Alicia Dean said...

LOL, I love how the monkey came to be! I'm sure it's a fun story.

Alison Henderson said...

Alicia, listening to OG sing that song is one of life's amazing moments, trust me. LOL

Brenda Whiteside said...

LOL Love the inspiration. I'm sure I'm going to love this story too.