Believe it or not, a producer from HBO. In 1993, he saw my play “Burglar for Coffee” in Toronto and offered me a job writing pilots (which I turned down. This has to be the worst mistake every made by a person not legally insane. But who had ever heard of HBO in 1993?) This man called me “completely nuts” and assured me that my standup/humour column comedy translated well to plays and fiction. I needed a professional to tell me that, and I always remember him gratefully, when I need a boost.
2. What are you working on now?
Book 4 in The Goddaughter series, A BODY FOR THE GODDAUGHTER. More mob comedy, only this time Gina Gallo is the sleuth, not the perpetrator. Okay, well not totally. After all, this is her inept mob family we are talking about
3. In what ways is your main protagonist like you? If at all?
Oh YEAH. Similar (but not exact) family backgrounds. Gina Gallo is the reluctant goddaughter of the mob king in Hamilton. I come from a Sicilian background. Gina reacts as I would to a lot of these situations. She has a rep as a smart-ass. She shares my background angst. And she is…how do I put this…more interested in justice, than the law.
4. Are you character driven or plot driven?
Chicken and egg. Yes, I start with character. A character with a problem or goal, and obstacles to that goal, which are resolved by the end. My books have a lot of plot in them. But the plot is driven by the protagonist and what she wants.
5. Are you a pantser or a plotter?
Plotter. I teach ‘Crafting a Novel’ at Sheridan College, so I am immersed in ‘craft.’ I don’t start writing until I know the ending and at least two crisis points. And usually I follow a 3-act structure, to avoid ‘saggy middle syndrome.’
6. What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
A few hours of smiles and laughter! I write to entertain and to lighten a readers’ day.
7. Where do you see yourself as a writer in 10 years?
Oh wow. Hopefully, with another humorous crime book series, and perhaps double the fans. Okay, make that quadruple the fans! And money. More money would be nice ;)
8. What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
I trained for Opera. I used to sing ‘torch’ when I was younger. My dad was in a big band, so you can guess why I was called ‘Melodie.’ Oh. And I am lamentably addicted to fast cars. I blew my advances and royalties this year on a 2006 sapphire blue Corvette. One day I may regret this, but not today.
9. What do you like to read for pleasure?
Books like mine. Wish I could find more. I like Andrea Camilleri from Sicily, Lisa Lutz, and yes, Janet Evanovich, who Library Digest compared me to. Other favourite books include The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (you may be noticing a humour trend at this point…)
10. Give us a summary of your latest book in a Tweet
The Artful Goddaughter (Orca Books, just released)
Mob Goddaughter Gina Gallo stands to inherit two million bucks! All she has to do is plan a heist...but when the wrong painting is taken, hilarity ensues.
Billed as Canada’s “Queen of Comedy" by the Toronto Sun (Jan. 5, 2014,) Melodie Campbell has had a decidedly checkered past. Don’t dig too deep. You might find cement shoes.
Her 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 she grew up in. Okay, that’s a lie. She had to wait for certain members of the family to die before writing The Goddaughter.
Her other series is racy rollicking time travel, totally scandalous, hardly mentionable in mixed company. But we’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 in Canada. She has won seven more awards for noir stories which have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Over My Dead Body, Flash Fiction Online, and more. Publications total over 200 and include 7 novels. By day, she is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada.