One of the key influences on my Jazz Age novella The Big Splash was the writer P. G. Wodehouse (pronounced "wood-house"). The name isn't as well know today as it was in his hey day, but I bet many of you will recognize the names Jeeves & Wooster. They serve as the inspiration for my Constance and Collier. Wodehouse wrote 96 books in his 94 years, plus a lot of journalism and a bunch of Broadway musicals. People as varied as Evelyn Waugh, Stephen Fry, Douglas Adams, Zadie Smith and Christopher Hitchens count him as the model of comic writing.
Undoubtledly most people's favourites among his characters are the hapless but eternally cheerful Bertie Wooster and his reserved though incomparably adept "gentleman's gentleman" Jeeves. Bertie's always getting into scrapes, as are most of his mates. Jeeves sorts them all out with much application of his astute observation, encyclopedic knowledge and savvy judgment of character. While occasionally the two have disagreements -- usually in the realm of divided opinions about straw boaters and white dinner jackets -- they both know they've got the best of all situations. Of course that doesn't stop Bertie from thinking he might know better than Jeeves this time, inevitably the latter will come to his rescue in some inventive way, leaving Bertie marveling yet again at his astounding good fortune.
|Kit's portrait by SL Johnson|
Amusingly enough, Wodehouse created a romance novelist named Rosie M. Banks. The men find her rather frightening -- after all, she'd dedicated to promoting romantic notions that they feel anxious about living up to in reality -- but she ends up married to Bertie's pal Bingo. I hope I'm a worthy successor to both Wodehouse and his fictional creations. I gave The Big Splash the same madcap air and filled with the glittering party-goers of wealth and fashion. I sure had a lot of fun writing it! If you want to find out more about Jeeves and Wooster and Wodehouse, I highly recommend the series Jeeves & Wooster which stars Stephen Fry and Hugh ("House") Laurie.
What writer makes you laugh?
-- Kit Marlowe