Monday, September 28, 2015

Melodie Campbell - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on award-winning Author Melodie Campbell. She is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada. Also, she is the author of the THE GODDAUGHTER mob caper series and bestselling Rowena fantasy series.

Author Genre: Humor, Fantasy, Mystery

Author's Blog: Melodie Campbell
Twitter: @MelodieCampbell
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Amazon Author Profile

Author Description:
CODE NAME:GYPSY MOTH just released! "a worthy tribute to Douglas Adams"

THE GODDAUGHTER'S REVENGE has won the 2014 DERRINGER AWARD for crime novella and the 2014 ARTHUR ELLIS AWARD in Canada!

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 Derringer (US) and Arthur Ellis (Canada) for THE GODDAUGHTER'S REVENGE, Melodie got her start writing comedy. In 1999, she opened the Canadian Humour Conference. So it's no surprise her fiction has been described by editors and reviewers as "wacky" and "laugh-out-loud funny."

Melodie has over 200 publications, 100 comedy credits, 40 short stories, and seven novels.

The Goddaughter, a comic crime caper, received the following review from Library Journal: "Campbell's comic caper is just right for Janet Evanovich fans. Wacky family connections and snappy dialogue make it impossible not to laugh." Library Journal, Sept. 2012

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Congratulations on your book: CODE NAME:GYPSY MOTH. What do you have on the drawing board next? Rumor has it that you have another book on the horizon called A Killer Necklace. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

I have two books coming out this year, James! A Killer Necklace will be coming out in October. It's the second book in the series that started with A Purse to Die For. These are fun, fast-moving classic mysteries, like the sort Agatha Christie wrote.

In January, the 4th book of award-winning Goddaughter series will be coming out. It's called The Goddaughter Caper, and is broad comedy. Library Journal compared this series to Janet Evanovich.

A tease? Here's the blurb to A Killer Necklace:

Who was the dead woman at the bottom of the stairs?
When Weather Network star Gina Monroe arrives in bucolic Black Currant Bay for her wedding shower, all is bliss. But happiness turns to horror, when Gina and close friend Becki find the hostess at the bottom of the basement stairs with her head bashed in. Who would do such a thing? And why?

It’s not good to be found at the scene of the crime, especially when you know the victim. But did anyone really know Louisa? Strange things come to light when Gina and Becki are asked to sort through the dead woman’s belongings. Why did frumpy Louisa have a closet full of vintage couturier clothes?

More investigation reveals that Louisa was not her real name. In fact, no one knows where the victim came from before her arrival in Black Currant Bay twenty years ago. As the search goes on to find out who she really was, the danger increases. Arson reveals the hiding place of a fabulous sapphire necklace, and that leads to more questions: is there a possible mob connection?

When one of the murder suspects is hit by a car, the danger ramps up for Gina and Becki. A killer is determined to keep the identity of the dead woman a secret. Even if it means killing again…

You have a good following on twitter. Since you started before the social media buzz, what impact has social media relationships had on your current success? How did you build your following in your niche? How much has it changed your book launch process?

I am very active on social media, James! Besides my own humor blog, which has over 60,000 hits, I guest blog a lot. I've done over 110 guest blogs in three years. Besides that, I keep active on Facebook and Twitter, too.

Because I was a humor columnist for many years, and I wrote standup, I already had a following. So I probably had an advantage. But you have to remember I've been writing professionally since 1992, James.

You do a lot of book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances. When and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

I'm doing a lot of readings and panel appearances in the fall. You can follow where I'm at by checking my website: On the left of the home page, is a column: Coming Events: Where to find me.

You have written several short stories. Can you tell us if they had an impact on the sales of your novels? Are shorty’s one of your styles of writing or are they created to give readers a sample of your work?

I actually got my start writing short stories, and had 24 published and six awards before writing my first novel. Many people have found me through short stories published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, and have gone on to read my novels. I will always write short stories, James! I love the clarity and crispness of a good short story.

I like the idea of Author bundles. You are a part of a novel collection called Deadly Dozen. What was the impact on your other sales? What was the main objective of bundling your works with other Mystery authors? How did you put something like that together?

My publisher had the idea, and I think it's great! People buy a bundle to read an author they already know, and discover new ones along the way. I've done it myself.

Besides the Sisters In Crime, what other writer support groups do you belong too? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?

This is an easy one. I'm the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada, the national professional association for crime writers in Canada. We do lots of book promotion on behalf of our members. I also belong to the International Association of Crime Writers. These organizations are for established authors. Usually we don't need help with the writing. We are writing machines (grin).

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

I think the free book thing worked really well, two years ago. There were two goals, as I saw it:

1. To get more reviews, so you could qualify for ads like Bookbub.
2. To reach new readers who liked your style so much that they would buy your other books.

I'm not so sure the free book thing works as well right now. It's simply a matter of over-abundance. From what I have heard, readers have hundreds of free, unread books on their kindles already.

Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?

I don't have a newsletter. Instead, I do a weekly humor blog, and reach people that way. We have laws in Canada now about sending newsletter to people who haven't given you written permission to do so. I find I reach over 2000 people a month on my blog. Works for me.

What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?

All three. A few professional newspaper reviewers are aware of my work and do review me. I also love it when my reading audience leaves reviews. We really appreciate them.

You teamed with Cynthia St-Pierre to write ‘A Purse to Die For’ with more planned. How did the process with Cynthia work? Do you plan on writing future books in collaboration? You may need to watch your answer. Cynthia has answered this question in her interview.

We had a great time! Basically, we sketched out a basic plot together, without too much detail. Then we each took turns writing a chapter. I took delight in reading what Cindy would come up with. It was like a surprise every time! Luckily, our writing styles are very similar. In fact, on rereads, I can't even remember which chapters Cindy wrote, and which I did. And yes. After A Killer Necklace comes out, we'll be starting another.

Author's Book List
Code Name: Gypsy Moth
Nell Romana loves two things: running The Blue Angel Bar, and Dalamar, a notorious modern-day knight for hire. Too bad he doesn't know she is actually a spy working undercover for the Federation.

The bar is a magnet for all sorts of thirsty frontier types, and some of them don’t have civilized manners. That’s no problem for Dalamar, who is built like a warlord and keeps everyone in line. But when he is called away on a routine job, Nell uncovers a rebel plot to overthrow the Federation. Her cover blown, she has to act fast and alone—and more than their love is put to the test.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

The Artful Goddaughter - Rapid Reads
Mob goddaughter Gina Gallo stands to inherit two million bucks from her great-uncle Seb, a master forger. But there’s a catch: Uncle Seb wants Gina to make things right and return an extremely valuable painting to the City Art Gallery. If she can’t do it, her rat-face cousin Carmine gets the boodle.

Reluctantly, Gina comes up with a plan for a reverse heist, as she has learned things never go as planned when her family gets involved. The wrong painting gets replaced, and Gina finds herself with two priceless masterpieces in hand! It won’t be long before someone realizes what’s going on.

The Artful Goddaughter is the third novel in a series featuring Gina Gallo, who wants nothing more than to run her little jewelry store. But try as she might, Gina can’t escape the family business, with hilarious consequences.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Rowena and the Viking Warlord - Land's End Book 3
He was her enemy and her lover…

With her loved ones in peril, Rowena casts a spell to move back time to save them, unaware of the consequences. As Cedric fights battles down south, she 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 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 present day Arizona? Or will she stay in Land’s End for good and fight to save her people from the Viking Warlord?

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

The Goddaughter's Revenge - Rapid Reads
When Gina Gallo discovers that someone has been switching real gems for fakes in the jewelry of some of her best customers, she takes matters into her own hands.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Rowena and the Dark Lord - Land's End Book 2
Dark magic…dark passions…

When Rowena is abducted from Arizona and taken back to medieval Land’s End, one thing is clear: she must learn to control her powers of magic. It isn't easy being a modern girl in an archaic land, and when Rowena accidentally conjures up a Roman Legion in mid-battle, Land's End is on the brink of a war that could jeopardize everything and everyone she loves.

The stakes are raised when the Dark Lord reappears and traps Rowena in a cyclone of lust and passion. Once again she is torn between the man she loves and the mage who fires her desire.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

The Goddaughter - Rapid Reads
A young gemologist who happens to be related to the local mob is reluctantly recruited to smuggle diamonds across the border…with hilarious consequences.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

A Purse to Die For
What’s more treacherous than navigating a pack of society matrons at a designer sale?

Stalking a killer…

When fashionista and television celeb Gina Monroe goes home to attend the funeral of her late grandmother, the last thing she expects to encounter is murder. And the reading of the will is anything but fashionable as unanswered questions arise. Who is the dead woman in the woods behind the family house? And why is she dressed in Milano designer clothes?

With help from her cousin Tony and Detective Rob Dumont, Gina investigates the not-so-model citizens around her. When another murder occurs, a pattern slowly emerges and Gina wonders if her grandmother's death wasn't so natural after all.

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Rowena Through the Wall - Land's End Book 1
When Rowena falls through her classroom wall and lands in an alternate world, she doesn’t count on being kidnapped?not once, but twice?and the stakes get higher as the men get hotter.

College instructor Rowena Revel has a magical gift with animals and a huge problem. Gorgeous tunic-clad men keep walking through the wall of her classroom. If that isn't enough, she's being haunted by sexy dreams in a rugged land. Curious, she checks out the wall and falls through a portal into the world of her dreams.

After years of war, women are scarce. Rowena finds herself in a heap of man-trouble when she 'accidentally' marries distant cousin Ivan. Enter Cedric, who dabbles in black magic and has an even blacker heart. Throw in a Viking, the local wolf-king, a band of brigands and a goth-clad student who follows her through the portal, and Rowena is off on a rollicking adventure.

Unwanted husbands keep piling up, but that doesn't stop her from falling for the wrong brother. Not only that, she has eighteen year old Kendra to look out for and a war to prevent. Good thing she has the ability to go back through the wall. Or does she?

Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble

Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
eBook Author’s Corner and
HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle


  1. I'm looking forward to A Killer Necklace. I've read all your other books, so I guess I just have to be patient. Great blog today.

    1. Thanks, Kristina! We're dying to get a copy too :) There's nothing like holding a real book in your hand, is there?

  2. Great interview! It's Monday morning so that's all I got. ;)