Finding humour in life's shadows - Mo Fanning Author
Husbands by Mo Fanning

Finding humour in life’s shadows

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Mo Fanning, an author celebrated for his dark romantic comedies, has once again captivated readers with his latest novel, Husbands. Growing up near Birmingham, Fanning’s journey into writing has been anything but conventional, and his unique voice continues to resonate in contemporary fiction.

Fanning’s love for humour as a narrative tool is evident in his work. “Comedy lets me get across  serious messages while keeping things accessible,” he explains. He believes that making readers smile makes them more likely to connect with the story’s deeper themes. Reflecting on his reading experiences, he admits, “I’ve slogged through many so-called great books, feeling relieved when they ended. My goal is to create stories that are relatable and enjoyable.”

Diverse narratives

Husbands by Mo FanningIn Husbands, Fanning presents a story where the characters’ sexuality is an integral part of their identity but not the focal point. He emphasises the importance of normalising diverse narratives, stating, “Writing a coming-out story isn’t my forte; instead, I focus on universal experiences.” In his latest novel, two gay men—one hapless and the other super-famous—find their way to each other amidst the chaotic backdrop of Hollywood.

Fanning’s journey into writing began with the encouragement of his English teachers, who recognised his knack for creative writing. However, it wasn’t until he read Marian Keyes’ Watermelon that he considered writing seriously. “My first book, The Armchair Bride, was very much a tribute to her,” he recalls. The advent of Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) provided a timely opportunity for him to self-publish, bypassing the traditional publishing hurdles. “I’d just parted company with a literary agent. The timing was perfect. A well-edited, professionally covered book stood out amidst a sea of poorly executed self-published works.”

The landscape of self-publishing has evolved significantly since then. “Self-published books today can be as polished as those from big publishing houses,” Fanning notes. Authors now invest in professional editing, cover design, and marketing, shedding the stigma of vanity publishing. “The best self-published books often take more risks, telling unique stories without bending to market trends.”

Recognition came early for Fanning, with The Armchair Bride being nominated for Arts Council Book of the Year. Having his work adapted into short plays for the BBC in America further validated his decision to go it alone. Despite the lack of a big marketing team, seeing his books perform well has been incredibly rewarding.

Stand-up comedy

Beyond writing, Fanning has also dabbled in stand-up comedy, an experience that has sharpened his dialogue and comedic timing. “The grit of performing in less-than-glamorous venues and the rawness of live feedback has definitely influenced my writing,” he shares. This ability to find humour in the mundane and sometimes harsh realities of life is a hallmark of his work.

Revenge is a recurring theme in Fanning’s stories, a testament to his penchant for addressing past grievances through fiction. “Anyone who’s wronged me will likely find a version of themselves in my books,” he says with a chuckle. ‘Husbands‘ is no exception, filled with digs at people and systems that have frustrated him over the years.

Fanning’s connection to Birmingham is evident in his settings, which often feature familiar places. The Pink Flamingo in Husbands is a nostalgic nod to various gay bars from his youth. “Authentic settings ground my stories in reality, making them more relatable,” he explains.

The plot of Husbands takes an unexpected turn when the protagonist, Kyle, discovers he is still married to a Hollywood director from a drunken Vegas escapade. This revelation catapults Kyle into the dark underbelly of Hollywood, where ambition, deceit, and romance intertwine.

Darker themes

Balancing humour with darker themes is a delicate art that Fanning has mastered. “Humour is my way of processing and presenting serious issues,” he explains. By making readers laugh, he can subtly introduce heavier themes without overwhelming them. The result is a narrative that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.

As for what lies ahead, Fanning is currently working on a new book inspired by his stand-up experiences. “It’s another dark romantic comedy with a touch of revenge,” he reveals. He is also exploring more ways to connect with his readers through social media and live events.

Mo Fanning’s Husbands is available now, inviting readers into a world of dark humour, intricate relationships, and unexpected twists. Follow Mo on social media for the latest updates and behind-the-scenes insights into his writing journey.

Free copy of The Armchair Bride by Mo Fanning

By Mo Fanning

Mo Fanning is a British author of dark romantic comedies including the Book of the Year nominated bestseller 'The Armchair Bride', 'Rebuilding Alexandra Small' and 2022's hit holiday romcom 'Ghosted'.

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