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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Interview of Author Melodie Campbell

Today I'm pleased to present an interview of romance author Melodie Campbell.

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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. These days, she is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada.

Q: How did you celebrate publishing your first book?
A: Okay, here’s where I come clean. I blew the advance on a 1992 Corvette convertible (did I mention I am lamentably addicted to fast cars?) This year, I received advances for two books, and I upgraded to a 2006 sapphire blue Corvette. It’s called BadGirl, after my humour column.

Q: What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?
A: Like so many authors, I have a full time job, so I write at night and on weekends. A great vacation for me is hours to write!

Q: What is the most important thing you do for your career now, as compared to when you first started writing?
A: I make personal appearances. When I first started writing a humour column for newspapers, it was all on the page. Now that I write novels, I make sure to do readings and signings, attend conferences, and find ways to interact with my readers.

Q: How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
A: Rowena is who I would like to be. She’s a little more daring than I am, but our reactions to things are very similar. She does what I would do when confronted with dilemmas. Also, she has my (some would say wacky) sense of humour.

Q: Of all your characters, who’s your favorite, and why?
A: In the Rowena series, I love Val, the wizard who really wants to be a dress designer. In ROWENA AND THE VIKING WARLORD, Val travels from his medieval world to modern day Arizona, and the stranger in a strange place theme is (hopefully) hilarious.

Q: If you could change something about your first book, what would it be?
A: I got a little too close to rape in one case. I didn’t mean it to be seen that way, and it certainly wasn’t that way in my head. But reading it now, I can see that it may have been interpreted that way by some, and I’d make it clear now that it was consensual.

Q: How do you choose names for your characters?
A: The name Huel was the original name of the family I descended from. My late second cousin was Viscount Clegg-Hill of Shropshire and Shrewsbury, so I pulled a lot from our history. Oh, and I always research the meanings of names.

Q: Give one advice tip to an aspiring author.
A: Love writing. By that I mean, butt in chair, hands on keyboard, pounding out the story. You’ve got to love the actual act of writing, because it is just so much darn WORK. And if you love it, you will continue to write and get better at it, and then you WILL get published.

Q: If you could give a younger version of yourself advice, what would it be?
A: Write that first novel sooner. I was well-established as a comedy writer and short story writer before I considered writing a novel. Wish I had started in the 90s.

Q: Have you ever used an incident from your real life into one of your books?
A: Oh yeah. Grin. Some of the sex scenes are definitely from my past.

Fun Stuff:
Q: What is your favorite holiday and why?
A: Halloween. I love to dress up.

Q: What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
A: I trained for opera. Carmen was my signature work.

I have a Commerce degree and was in banking for several years, before I quit for ethical reasons.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: An adventurer! Never wanted to be a princess.

Q: Favorite food.
A: Pasta. I’m half Sicilian.

Q: Favorite happy memory.
A: So many – most recently, winning the Arthur this year, at the Arthur Ellis awards for Crime Writing in Canada. I was so honored to be on stage with my author friends cheering.

Q: Favorite drink.
A: Campari and Orange Juice (just so Italian).

Q: Hot summer days or chilly winter nights?
A: Winter! I’m a good Canadian gal.

Q: What is the top thing on your bucket list?
A: I made the Amazon Top 100 list (all books) this year, before Tom Clancy and after Nora Roberts. I’d love, love to make the NYT bestseller list now.

Q: If you could have a super power, what would it be?
A: To read people’s minds! OH, what a great power for an author.

Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!

He was her enemy and her lover…

All is not well in Land's End when Rowena is caught in an enemy war camp! 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.

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?

I awoke to a strange scratching noise.

Dawn light was streaming through the window. I was lying on my back on the bed. A fur throw covered me from mid-hip down.

Lars was sitting, still naked, on the wooden chair with his feet resting on the bed. He had something in his hand.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

He looked up. "I am drawing you." He returned to his task.

Lars, the great Viking warrior, was an artist? It was the last thing I could have imagined.

"I want to savor this moment. Who knows what war will bring and whether I will even survive it," he said.

"Don't speak like that. I can't bear it."

His eyes whipped up. "You have a big heart, Rowena. By rights you should hate me for what I have done this night."

"I don't hate you. I understand you have done this to protect me."

He snorted. "That shows you know nothing of men."

I was bewildered. What did he mean?

"You said that this…night in your bed would mean that I am claimed."

"Indeed it does." His hand worked furiously with the charcoal. "Which is what I want. What I want, Rowena, mark those words. I wanted you. I have for weeks. Do not make me out to be heroic."

Anything else you’d like to add?
In 1993, a producer from HBO saw my play ‘Burglar for Coffee’ in Toronto, and offered me a spot writing pilots, which I turned down. Yes, this has to be the worst mistake ever made by a person not legally insane. But who had ever heard of HBO in 1993? Still crying.


Lynda Bailey said...

Holy buckets! Congrats on all your awesome achievements, Melodie! And love your excerpt... ;)

Rose Anderson said...

I enjoyed your interview, Melodie. Best luck!

Cara Marsi said...

Wow, what an impressive bio! Nice to meet you. Your book sounds like such fun!

Fran Lee said...

WOW! You make me feel positively LAZY...snort! Congrats on all the great books...

Melissa Keir said...

Wonderful to get to meet you! What a great list of accomplishments!

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