Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Melodie Campbell's Rowena

Melodie Campbell got her start as a comedy writer, so it’s no surprise that editors have called her work ‘wacky’ and ‘laugh out loud funny’. She has over 200 publications, including 100 humour columns, 30 short stories and one novel. She has received five awards for fiction, and is the General Manager of Crime Writers of Canada. Melodie dropped by to discuss her new book.Welcome, Melodie.

Thank you for having me, Susan.
Tell us something about yourself that readers might be surprised to learn.

I got my start writing comedy.  Didn’t mean to, but somehow every time I tried to write straight, the gremlins took over and twisted the words.  Okay, I’ll go back; I was the class clown in high school, always getting in trouble for quipping in class.

I wrote short for many years.  Had a humor column, wrote standup.  In 1993, a producer from fledgling HBO saw my play, ‘Burglar for Coffee” in Toronto, labeled it “completely nuts” and offered me a spot writing pilots, which I stupidly turned down.  This goes on record as one of the worst decisions ever made by a human not officially insane.
In 1999, I was asked to open the Canadian Humour Conference.  Was invited to join the Toronto Press Club.  Drank a lot of scotch there.  Then some newspaper guy said, “Why don’t you write a novel?  You’ve never written a novel.”

Never one to turn down a dare (did I mention I was not officially insane?) I wrote Rowena.

How many books have you written?

2.75.  All my books are comedies.  Rowena Through the Wall is out now.  The Goddaughter (a comic mob caper) comes out in 2012, and Rowena continues in a sequel Rowena and the Dark Lord, also out in 2012.

What books or authors have influenced you?

The great comic writers!  Douglas Adams, for Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, one of my all time favorites.  Janet Evanovich and Lisa Lutz are my primary influences; I would love to be counted in their number. 

Tell us about your latest release, Rowena Through the Wall.

Rowena was written as a comic fantasy; basically I was trying to do something in the genre of ‘The Princess Bride’, only with a feisty female as protagonist.  Then my publisher got hold of it and said: you know, with a little tweaking, we could slide this into the paranormal romance market too.  Rowena is the sort of book I wish someone else would write so I could read it.  A rollicking adventure, and a fast read.

I wish there were more fun adventures written today.  Pure escape stories with lots of rollicking action, and the spice of romance.  Nothing would please me more than to see more of this type of book written.  I have asked and asked (on Amazon, Goodreads) for people to tell me about other books like mine so I could read them, and there don’t seem to be many, alas.
Is it available in print, ebook, and Kindle formats?

Yes – all formats!  I’ll leave links below.

How do you choose your setting?

Ah!  Now that is a story.  I have family links to England. 

My late cousin Tony was Viscount Clegg-Hill of Shropshire and Shrewsbury. He had that dry British wit I adored, and would regale me of stories about the rakish ancestors.  The castle I use in Rowena Through the Wall is the original Norman castle that went to ruin in the 1500s.  (Hawkstone Hall, which still stands, was built to replace it in 1556).  The Norman castle, with its rounded turrets, crenellations and merlons, has been in my imaginations for decades.  Rowena walks through the wall to her ancestor’s home, and falls in love with it too.
Can you tell us about current or future projects?

The Goddaughter is at the publishers now, going through editing.  It is a comic mob caper, featuring the reluctant goddaughter of a mob king, who is always having to bail out her inept mobster family.  I am writing Rowena and the Dark Lord now, and should be finished by Christmas.  It will wrap up Rowena’s tale, but also leave entry for more tales in the world of Land’s End.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

I write a comic blog, which features some of my published humor columns and stand-up routines.

I also have a website.  Here are links to both:

View trailer and read opening scene at

Follow Melodie on Twitter: @MelodieCampbell


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