Today’s guest is Melodie Campbell, author of the paranormal romance time travel, Rowena and the Viking Warlord. Billed as Canada’s “Queen of Comedy" by the Toronto Sun (Jan. 5, 2014), Melodie 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.
Thank you for this interview, Melodie. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
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.
Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?
“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?
Why did you choose your particular genre?
For the ability to leave reality behind! (Really, I think reality is highly over-rated. Everyone does it.) Fantasy allows me to take my readers on a rollicking adventure, away from the concerns of our everyday world.
Truly, that is the best thing about writing, for me. The ability to whisk readers into a world that is exciting, sexy and fun.
What was your greatest challenge writing this book?
This is book three in the series, and with each successive book, you need to ramp up the tension. But I write humorous books. So it is a constant challenge for me to balance heart-stopping danger with foot-stomping humor, and give the reader a very satisfying experience.
Are you published by a traditional house, small press or are you self-published?
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.
Was it the right choice for you?
Yes, definitely. Smaller publishers are wonderful because they welcome books that are different.
I was actually under consideration by Berkeley, but they wanted major changes to the first book of the series to make it a predictable romance. I couldn’t do that.
For me, part of the joy of writing is surprising and delighting readers. You won’t know until the very last scene who Rowena ends up with.
How are you promoting your book thus far?
My publisher arranges several things: a blog tour, a Facebook party, and some advertising. I have a website and blog – plus
I have a regular gig on two other blogsites: Sleuthsayers and The Sage. And of course, I’m active on Twitter and Goodreads as well.
How is that going for you?
This is my 7th book, and third book in the Land’s End time travel fantasy series, so I have a following from the other books. But it’s such a delight when new readers find you.
Can you tell us one thing you have done that actually resulted in one or more sales?
Yes – The Toronto Sun newspaper called me Canada’s “Queen of Comedy” in a recent article. That spurred sales. I find so much of promotion is linked. The Sun article prompted Sirius XM Radio to call me, and I was featured on radio for an hour this winter. That in turn led to me being asked to be a featured author at two literary festivals…it is all a big web, and you never know when something you do might will lead to something else.
Do you have another job besides writing?
Yes, I am the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada. Also, I teach Crafting a Novel at Sheridan College in Toronto.
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
First, write a good product. DON’T publish your first work – publish your BEST work. Next, get out there. Facebook, Twitter…become a part of the literary world and get to know other authors. Go to conferences. Get on panels. Join a genre association. Mix! And always remember: Books are sold one at a time.
What’s next for you?
The Artful Goddaughter – no. 3 in the award-winning Goddaughter series – will be out Sept. 1. It’s more broad comedy about a reluctant mob goddaughter who – try as she might – can’t seem to escape the family business. The second book in the series, The Goddaughter’s Revenge, won both the Derringer (US) and the Arthur Ellis (Canada) awards this year.
Thank you for this interview, Melodie. Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?
Rowena and the Viking Warlord is available at Amazon.