Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Interview with Melodie Campbell, author 'Rowena and the Viking Warlord'

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.

For More Information
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?

For More Information

  • 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.

Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

I love to eat.

Okay, for a second point, I’m tempted to say Eat again. But my dog Frankenpoodle would probably prefer a walk.  That’s what happens when you have a giant of a dawg lying on the beat up couch beside you as you write.  When you lift your hands from the keyboard, it’s dawg time.

When did you start writing?

At the age of 4.  My parents called it lying.  That was so short-sighted of them.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

When a fan wrote to say that ROWENA THROUGH THE WALL (book 1 of this trilogy) was the best book she had ever read.  I actually cried.  I’ve won 9 awards, Shelf-ish.  None of them can match that moment. I write for her now, and readers like her.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

To the medieval stone castle in Land’s End, where Rowena and the Viking Warlord takes place.  This was once a real castle that my family owned in Shropshire, that burned down in 1550.  But dammit, Air Canada hasn’t perfected time travel yet!

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

WRITE!  I work full time as the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada, so I am always fighting for time to write.

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

Sicily.  Half my family is from Sicily.  I’d like to write something historic there, maybe another rip-roaring fantasy adventure.

Back to your present book, ROWENA AND THE VIKING WARLORD, how did you publish it?

I’m with a small traditional publisher in Canada, Imajin Books.  They are wonderful!  They pay a small advance, and above-average royalties, and provide TLC for your book.  I had some input to cover design and marketing blurbs.  All good.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

I believe in knowing your location really well.  So yes, I have traveled to Arizona many times for this series.  I also know the south of England (relatives live there).  And although I can’t go back in time, I learn a lot by seeing the landscapes of ‘Land’s End’ as they are today.

Why was writing ROWENA AND THE VIKING WARLORD so important to you?

This was the third book in the Land’s End trilogy.  But I think the thing about this book is:  it is my ultimate fantasy.  I wanted to write a fast-moving, rollicking fantasy novel, with castles and swordfights, humor and sex…but I wanted it to be written through the eyes of a woman.  Reviewers called ROWENA THROUGH THE WALL “The Princess Bride with Sex!”  That’s what I wanted:  a rollicking medieval adventure novel, with broad humor.  And yup – that Viking Warlord is my secret fantasy!

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

Ah, that question.  I teach Crafting a Novel at college, and everyone asks this.  The thing is, if you are a writer those ideas are with you all the time. They haunt you at night.
They distract you during the day.  I have been writing fiction for 25 years, and I will need another 25 to go through all the ideas I currently have.

As I tell my students, I can teach you the craft of writing, and how to become a much better writer.  But plot ideas are magic that you have to create yourself.

Any final words?

ROWENA THROUGH THE WALL, the first book in the trilogy, was an Amazon Top 100 Bestseller (all books) in Sept. 2013!  T’was jolly cool to find myself sandwiched between Tom Clancy and Nora Roberts on the bestseller lists.  I hope readers find ROWENA AND THE VIKING WARLORD equally wonderful reading.

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