Melodie Campbell on writing comedy


My guest today is Melodie Campbell, who has just launched her new fantasy novel, Rowena and the Dark Lord. It’s the second in the Land’s End time-travel series that features plucky Rowena, a thoroughly modern heroine in an archaic land. Filled with swashbuckling warriors, breathless pacing and wonderful humour, these books are fun reads. Maybe that’s because Melodie got her start writing comedy.

Campbell-author-400“I had the flu once.  It was terrible.  I couldn’t eat a thing for three hours.”

I hope you giggled at that line.  I think it’s one of my best.  And yes, I am a tad fond of eating.  In fact, you could list it as my major hobby.

My name is Melodie Campbell, and I write comedies.  (This is a self-help group, right?)  Sure I’d like to kick the habit and write a ‘real’ book with literary merit.

Okay, so that’s a lie.  Leave Rowena and the Dark Lord behind?  Not write a sequel?  I’m starting to hyperventilate.  Actually, I love writing comedies.  It’s in my blood.

<crowd gasps here>

A GREEK MASK

Some people are born beautiful.  But most of us aren’t and we look for ways to survive the slings and arrows of life.  Sometimes we choose to hide behind a mask.  That Greek Comedy mask was the one I picked way back.

As a means of self-preservation in the cruel world of teenagers, I looked for the “funny.”  More often than not, I made fun of myself.  This was easy to do.  I knew the target well and there was a wealth of material.  And it didn’t hurt anyone else, so people liked it.

When I left school and found a “real” job, I started writing stand-up on the side.  I rarely delivered it – usually I wrote for others. That led to a regular newspaper humour column, and more.

So when it came to writing fantasy novels, I fell back into “safe mode.”  Write it funny.

IT’S AN ADDICTION

Worse than chocolate and foreign Counts. Comedy writers take a situation, and ask themselves “what’s the worst thing that could happen now?” And then, what’s the funniest?

But why do it?  Why does an otherwise sane individual write zany and some might say silly comedy, and risk the inevitable hit from critics who say your book is without great literary merit?

One reason, and one reason only: many readers love it.  Their comments and reviews are heart-lifting.  I’ve lightened their day with adventure and laughter, and in some cases given them a story they can escape into, over and over again. It’s all about readers.

And here’s an excerpt from Rowena and the Dark Lord:

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00066]I was beginning to get a very bad feeling.

“Did you volunteer for this job?”

“Yes.” Howard was now relieving himself off to my right.

Why?” My voice was perhaps a little harsh.

“To get out of fighting, of course. Everyone says there’s going to be a big battle. It seemed like a good time to leave the castle.”

I rolled my eyes. So now I had a complete newbie horse dude who was also a coward to look after on this trip. Howard the Coward. Lucky me.

“Can we sit for a bit? I’m exhausted.” He plunked down on the grass. Then he sprang up again.

“Ow! Ow! Ow!” He ran around in circles.

“What is it?” I watched in amazement.

“A bee! I sat on a bee.”

“Are you sure it’s a bee?” I said, crossing my arms. “Maybe it was a wasp.”

“Does it matter?” He was jumping up and down.

“Well, if it’s a wasp, you’re okay. If it’s a bee, the stinger will still be stuck in you. So when you sit down again…”

“Ahhh!! Take it out! Get it out!” He lifted his tunic and bent over.

Ick.

I turned away. “I am so not doing that.”

 * * *

Melodie Campbell achieved a personal best this year when Library Journal compared her to Janet Evanovich.  She has over 200 publications, including 100 comedy credits, 40 short stories, and 4 novels. She has won 6 awards for fiction.  www.melodiecampbell.com

Enter for a $50 Amazon gift certificate and 15 book Giveaway!  Free!  Deadline is May 10 www.funnygirlmelodie.blogspot.ca

Rowena and the Dark Lord is now available at the special introductory price of .99! You can buy it here.

And the book that started it all, Rowena Through the Wall, the first adventure in the Land’s End series, is available here.

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About rosemarymccracken

Rosemary McCracken is a Toronto-based journalist and fiction writer.
This entry was posted in Authors to watch and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Melodie Campbell on writing comedy

  1. I really enjoyed a look behind the veil – so much so that I have become a Facebook fan.

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