Interview with Melodie Campbell: 'Comedy is a good way to present serious ideas...'

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.

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About the Book:

He was her enemy and her lover…

As Cedric fights battles down south, Rowena unwittingly rides into an enemy war camp and is taken prisoner by her old friend Lars, who is not what he seems. 

Yet Rowena is not helpless. After all, she 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 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?

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  • Rowena and the Viking Warlord is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

I needed escape.  Oh Lordy, did I need escape.  My mother had been admitted 38 times to hospital, dying.  I sat at her side for seven weeks, as the news got worse and worse.  At one point I looked up at the wall in her room and thought, if I could walk through that wall into another world right now, I would.  That night I started writing the Land’s End trilogy.

I wrote the wildest fantasy I could imagine!  A world where emotions where heightened, and the adventure was rollicking.  “The Princess Bride with sex” as some reviewers have called it.  Complete escape from our world where I had to be stoic.

And that's what I hope to offer readers with Rowena and the Viking Warlord.  A complete escape for a few hours, into a book and world that is dangerous, fun and sexy. 
Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

I got my start writing comedy, and have over 100 comedy credits and 40 short story publications, so novel writing was not my first endeavor.  I think the best advice I can give is this:  Love Writing.  Not the anticipation of being an author, but the actual act of butt in chair, hands on keyboard, writing away the story that is pounding to get out of your head!  If you love to write, you will continue to write, get better and better, and eventually you will be published.  

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

Imajin Books is my publisher for the Land’s End humorous time travel series, and they are wonderful.  Smaller publishers are great at hand-holding!  They can give you individual attention, and that can make a big different for your first books.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

Yes – how my idea of what success would mean has changed.  I used to think that success meant huge sales, or winning awards (I have 9.)

Then one reader emailed to tell me that my first book, Rowena Through the Wall, was her favorite book of all time.  I cried that night.  It changed the reason I write, forever.  I write for her, and readers like her.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

My 7th book, The Artful Goddaughter (a mob caper) will be out Sept. 1, from Orca books.
I’ve started a new humorous fantasy/space opera series, The Blue Angel Bar and Bolthole.  It has a female publican running a bar at the frontier end of the galaxy, who doubles as a PI.  It’s another rollicking adventure series.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

I love Facebook and participate in a number of groups.  I love to respond to readers, and also connect with other writers.  You can find me on Goodreads as well.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

I write to entertain, first and foremost.  Yet even then, there is a dark side to the Land’s End series.  What would happen in a world where women are scarce?  Would they be more valued and therefore have more power and freedom?  I explored that theme throughout and came to some disturbing conclusions.  

Most people see these books as comedies, and I’m glad of that.  But there is this underlying theme that some readers have picked up on.  Comedy is a good way to present serious ideas, don’t you think?

Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

What I tell my writing students at college:  Writing is work, hard work. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like work, and those are the days we live for.

For me, Rowena and the Viking Warlord, was that book. I loved every minute of writing it.  Hopefully, readers will love it too.
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