Saturday, July 16, 2016

#ComedyBookWeek Author Interview with Barb Taub

My first #ComedyBookWeek interview is with fabulous author Barb Taub. Her funny travel memoir, Do Not Wash Hands in Plates, is a riotous journey through India, and definitely well worth reading. However, my true love is the paranormal, so tomorrow I will review her time-travel, fantasy, humor pastiche, One Way Fare, the first book in her Null City series. That book is so good, guys. It's as if Neil Gaiman, Georgette Heyer and Dr. Who had a train-loving baby, and that baby got caught in an angel war. It's fantastic. It's also FREE so go get it!!

Without further ado, here's Barb Taub.

In halcyon days BC (before children), Barb Taub wrote a humor column for several American newspapers. With the arrival of Child #4, she veered toward the dark side and an HR career. Following a daring daytime escape to England, she's lived in a medieval castle and a hobbit house with her prince-of-a-guy and the World’s Most Spoiled AussieDog. Now all her days are Saturdays, and she spends them traveling around the world, plus consulting with her daughter on Marvel heroes, Null City, and translating from British to American.
Barb takes a humorous look at writing, book reviews, and life at Writing & Coffee. Especially Coffee. Her books are available from major online sellers including Amazon US and Amazon UK. When she’s not travelling or blogging her latest travel disaster, you can find her at home in Glasgow, Scotland trying to hide from feral packs of rampaging haggis. Or you can reach her via Twitter (@barbtaub) or Facebook. She would love to hear from you!


1.              Why did you choose to write comedy? I’ve always thought of myself as a humor writer. Although I was a journalist when younger, with a syndicated humor column in several American newspapers, the financial realities of raising four kids who had unrealistic expectations — they thought they should eat EVERY day, sleep in actual beds, and wear clothes—meant that I spent many years on the Dark Side (HR professional). You can’t believe how much money employers are willing to throw your way to get you to fire people.

I love to travel, so I suppose that’s what I most enjoy next to writing. And of course, the best part is that I then get to write about my travels. My husband gets twitchy when the phrase, “I could SO blog about this!” comes up. But he does his part to provide comedy fodder by insisting on driving ancient vehicles, refusing to consider GPS directions, and generally falling in with my “Ooh, that road looks interesting, turn there…” approach to travel.

2.              Describe your main character. In my humorous travel memoir Do Not Wash Hands in Plates, I guess you would say it was India. Or at least the places there that I threw up in…

In my last fiction release, the main character is Carey Parker. Picture the best friend you’ve ever had—the one who is always there for you, who has a special, almost psychic bond with you so that you know what each other will say or feel in any situation. Carey Parker is not that friend. She’s pathologically loyal to her family, her dog, her sword, and a very few friend/drinking companions. Sometimes strangers flinch when she tries to smile. She’s good with that.

3.              Who would you choose to play that character in the movie or television version? For portraying me, it might be Emma Thompson. For Carey Parker, it would have to be Scarlett Johansson (as Black Widow in Avengers

4.              Who is your favorite funny author? Now that’s a good question. I review books, but very few in the humor genre. One that I reviewed recently is the darkly funny The Devil’s Mouth by Matt Kincade . But it’s (so far) the only thing he’s got out there, so I guess he’ll have to just be my wannabe-favorite. I’m also addicted to the writing on Samantha Bee’s show Full Frontal, especially because my screaming-funny daughter is one of the show’s writers.

5.              Do you have any advice for other authors? I’ve always thought Dorothy Parker said it best: “If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”—Dorothy Parker  [Note: in the interests of full disclosure, I should mention that I already have a copy of Elements of Style, and that I’m actually quite happy right now. Please don’t shoot me.]

6.              What’s next for you/your series? I’m currently working on three writing projects: the final book in the Null City series (in which my editor insists I’m not allowed to kill off every character from the earlier books even though I think that would be absolutely hilarious), a new cozy/humor mystery set in India, and of course, the next book in the India travel memoirs.

7.              If you could live anywhere, where would that be? I always said I wanted to live on an island. I pictured myself running a coffee shop with very bad coffee so I wouldn’t have too many customers interrupting as I hang out on the beach and write trashy novels. This is a great lesson in the difference between plotters (so not one!) and pantsers (which explains how I ended up in England, a much bigger island than I’d expected…). And why I now at least outline my projects.


8.              If you could choose a super power, what would that be? After four kids, the answer is obvious. My superpower? Laundry Woman. Zap! Pow! Holy Clean Tidy Whities!

Barb's Books:

Nonfiction: Do Not Wash Hands in Plates text by Barb Taub, photos by Janine Smith & Jayalakshmi Ayyer

The story of three women eating our way across India in search of adventure, elephants, temples, palaces, western toilets, monkeys, the perfect paratha...and the kindness of Indian strangers.




Fiction: Null City series
Warden Carey Parker's to-do list is already long enough: find her brother and sister, rescue her roommate, save Null City, and castrate her ex-boyfriend. Preferably with a dull-edged garden tool. A rusty one.

Carey knows superpowers suck, her own included. From childhood she's only had two options. She can take the Metro train to Null City and a normal life. After one day there, imps become baristas, and hellhounds become poodles. Demons settle down, join the PTA, and worry about their taxes. Or she can master the powers of her warrior gift and fight a war she can't win, in a world where she never learned how to lose.

It just would have been nice if someone told her the angels were all on the other side.