Thursday, August 14, 2014

Interview with Melodie Campbell, author of 'Rowena and the Viking Warlord'

Billed as Canada’s “Queen of Comedy" by the Toronto Sun (Jan. 5, 2014), Melodie Campbell achieved a personal best when Library Digest compared her to Janet Evanovich.
Winner of nine awards, including the 2014 Derringer (US) and the 2014 Arthur Ellis (Canada) for The Goddaughter’s Revenge (Orca Books), Melodie has over 200 publications, including 100 comedy credits, 40 short stories, and seven novels.

Melodie got her start writing stand-up.  In 1999, she opened the Canadian Humour Conference. Her fiction has been described by industry reviewers as "hilarious" and "laugh-out-loud funny."

Melodie has a commerce degree from Queen’s University, but it didn’t take well.  She has been a bank manager, college instructor, marketing director, comedy writer and possibly the worst runway model ever.  These days, Melodie is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada.

Her latest book is the paranormal romance time travel, Rowena and the Viking Warlord.

For More Information
Q: Thank you for this interview. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing background?

Sure!  Here goes…the definitely unofficial biography: 

Billed as Canada’s “Queen of Comedy" by the Toronto Sun (Jan. 5, 2014,) some folks would say I’ve had a decidedly checkered past.  Don’t dig too deep.  You might find cement shoes.

My crime series, The Goddaughter, is about a wacky mob family in Hamilton aka The Hammer.  This has no resemblance whatsoever to the wacky Sicilian family I grew up in.  Okay, that’s a lie.  I had to wait for certain members of the family to die before writing The Goddaughter.

My other series is racy rollicking time travel, totally scandalous, hardly mentionable in mixed company.  But I’ll mention it anyway.  Rowena Through the Wall.  Hold on to your knickers.  Or don’t, and have more fun. 

The Goddaughter’s Revenge won the 2014 Derringer (US) and the 2014 Arthur Ellis Award (Canada) for Best Crime Novella.  I got my start writing comedy and seem to be firmly glued there, after 200 publications and nine awards.  But others know me as the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada.

Q: What fact about yourself would really surprise people?

I had a delinquent youth.  No, really.  My kids used to say they never worried about getting into real trouble, as anything they could do would never be as bad as what Mom did   

And then I went and got a business degree, because someone said “Maybe it’s too much for a girl.”  Yes, that is sufficient reason for me to spend four years doing something I hate.

Q: What scares you the most?

Superior sales clerks in bra stores.

Q: What makes you happiest?

Being with people I love.  Making friends of readers who email.  Getting together with other writers to whine about the industry.  (wait – did I say that?) My happiness comes from enjoying company with people.

Q: What are you most proud of in your personal life?

That I continue to support and protect my autistic brother.  Our home life was difficult when we were growing up.  It’s a constant challenge even now.

Q: What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?

Writing to me is part of my being.  So that part comes naturally.  Getting a publisher is tough.  Keeping them is even tougher.  My degree is in marketing, so I don’t have any excuse there.  This whole game is a constant challenge, as the book world changes so rapidly.

Q: Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you? 

When I first started in this business, it was all about sales.  Then I thought the winning of awards was the apex.

Then a fan wrote to say that ROWENA THROUGH THE WALL (book 1 of this trilogy) was the best book she had ever read.  I actually cried.  I’ve won 9 awards.  None of them can match that moment. I write for her now, and readers like her.

Q: Tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it?

I write pure escapist fantasy with a comedy core.  Reviewers have called my Land’s End books “The Princess Bride with Sex,” and “Jack Sparrow meets Janet Evanovich.”

Here’s a quick blurb from Rowena and the Viking Warlord (the ‘why’ comes below)
“He was her enemy and her lover…”

All is not well in Land’s End, when Rowena unwittingly rides into an enemy war camp!  Yet she is not helpless. After all, Rowena is a hereditary half-witch with a whole lot of magic in her.  Too bad she doesn’t know how to use it. Escaping from the camp, she continues to botch up spell after spell. Soon Kendra joins her on the trek back to Castle Huel, along with the latest magical mistake, a flame-burping dragon called Cinders.

When war comes to Land’s End, it brings the one man who threatens to conquer everything in Huel, including Rowena’s heart. Now she has to make the biggest decision of her life. Will she return through the wall to safety in Arizona? Or will she stay in Land’s End for good, and fight to save her people from the Viking Warlord?

Okay – why I wrote this series:

Four years ago, my mother had been admitted to hospital 38 times, dying.  As the news got worse and worse, I sat in her hospital room and thought, if I could walk through that hospital wall right now into another world, I would.  That night, I started writing ROWENA THROUGH THE WALL.  I needed escape from my sorrowful reality.

After the first book was published, readers wrote me to plead for a second.  The Rowena books were giving them needed escape too.  So together we went on this journey.

Q: When you are not writing, how do you relax?

I am lamentably addicted to fast cars.  Blew my last advance on a 2006 sapphire blue corvette.  One day I’ll probably regret it.  (But now today!)

Q: Please tell us why we should read your book?

Rowena and the Viking Warlord is sexy, funny, rollicking adventure!  I write to give readers a total escape from everyday life.  There is no greater joy for me than when readers write to tell me that they loved a book.  That’s why I write.

Q: What kind of advice would you give other authors just getting their feet wet?

To be successful as an author, you need to love the actual act of writing.  That being, hands on keyboard, butt in chair, isolating yourself for hours on end as you create stories on paper.  If you love that, you will continue to write, and will get better and better at it.  If you don’t love that, then it will be hard work, and that will show.

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