Friday, September 9, 2011

Guest Post author Melodie Campbell

How/why did you start to write?

Only child for nine years -- never anyone to talk to! So I invented characters even before I could write. Hey -- this would be an interesting thesis topic:  to see how many fiction authors were only/lonely children. I wrote a book, "Horatio Hedgehog" when I was 16; it won an award and was displayed in the city library. So I guess you could say I was writing since I could read.

How did you become an author?

I wrote comedy first, and a smattering of short stories. Then moved to nonfiction (newspaper op-ed and magazine articles). I won my first short story award in 1989, and have won a total of five to date. In 1992, I started teaching fiction writing at Sheridan College in Oakville. After that, I had a few fiction 'regulars' -- Star Magazine (New York) and ComputerEdge (San Diego). I've appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine twice. I have over 200 publications; most of my fiction has been published in the States, oddly enough. They paid more in the 90s, alas.

What was your first published piece?

A humour column, of course! I was a columnist for a local paper in the early 90s, then got picked up by a bigger outfit that paid better. Then a stand-up comedian saw my work and asked me to write for him/her (can't reveal). In 1993, a producer from fledgling HBO saw my play "Burglar for Coffee", labelled 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.

Oh, and I opened the Canadian Humour Conference.

What did you do before embarking on your writing career? Was it an asset to your writing? How?

When Celia Franca personally rejected me for the National Ballet School ("Wrong body type" -- and boy, she wasn't kidding!) I had to look for another career.

I have been a bank manager, marketing director, college instructor, comedy writer, and possibly the worst runway model ever. All of this has been an asset. My Commerce degree gave me discipline -- something every writer needs in buckets. I've experienced failure (see model above) which helps when facing rejection -- and I've had my share of that, as an author.

What inspires you?

Anxiety! No, truly. I live with a lot of stress (autistic brother, palliative mother, both of whom I am responsible for). At times the choice is jump off a bridge, or sit down and escape into a fantasy world for just a little while. Hopefully, I give my readers that same escape!

Why do you write Humour? Do you ever write Straight?

Many of my short stories are serious crime stories with a sharp, twist ending. There is something I love about the challenge of setting up a short taut scene, and spinning the reader around at the end. However, I've tried to write a serious novel, and (I hate to admit this) I lose interest. Somewhere, a voice says to me 'but it isn's funny!" And I get distracted by another plot lurking nearby that could indeed be made comic. Sigh. I'm a literary slut -- seduced by the lure of another storyline.

Over the years, I've come to accept that in order to make something interesting enough to me, I have to challenge myself to make it funny. And hopefully, others will enjoy it too.

But -- to be honest -- I was the class clown in high school, always getting in trouble for smart-ass remarks. I am fairly good at drawing, and did a lot of 'comic book' parodies of famous books. (Dante's Inferno comes to mind. Yes, this is a weird thing to parody, I recognize now.)

Please share one your successful marketing techniques

Guest blogging. I have been on blogs in Estonia, England and Sweden, plus many in the US. All of these expose your writing style to a new audience. My blogs are usually humorous, so they reflect the tone of my fiction. And I've met some wonderful people through blogging, who have become friends!

Parting words

You want me to stop talking? <smile> (Um, no! No, I don't. You're very entertaining. But I just thought prehaps I'm keeping you from something. Like, I don't know -- writing another book. Hint. Hint. Hint.) The other day Rowena Through the Wall climbed to No. 2 on the top 100 bestseller list (fantasy, futuristic, ghosts). (Congratulations!) Someone asked me if that was how I knew I had 'made it'. I said:  for me, it will be the day a reader comes to me and says, "Thank you for writing this book! It is one of the funniest things I've ever read." Then I will know I've been successful.


Do you like comic time travel?
Meet Rowena Revel!

"Is that a broadsword on your belt, or are you just glad to see me?"

When Rowena falls through her classroom wall into a medieval world, she doesn't count on being kidnapped -- not once, but twice, dammit. Unwanted husbands keep piling up; not only that, she has eighteen-year-old Kendra to look out for, and a war to prevent. Good thing she can go back through the wall when she needs to...or can she?

"Hot and Hilarious!" Midwest Book Review
"Jack Sparrow meets Stephanie Plum" Former editor, Distant Suns Fantasy Magazine

Rowena Through the Wall (Imajin Books) is available at,,,, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble.

Follow Melodie's comic

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.