This week it’s my pleasure to host a writer known for her generous sense of humor. My guest has been called “Canada’s undisputed Queen of Comedy.” Folks, meet Melodie Campbell!
Melodie Campbell has been a banker, marketing director, comedy writer, college instructor, and (she claims) possibly the worst runway model ever. Melodie got her start writing comedy, so it’s no surprise her fiction has been described by editors as “wacky” and “laugh-out-loud funny.” Melodie has over 200 publications and six awards for fiction. She was a finalist for the 2012 Derringer (U.S.) and Arthur Ellis (Canada) awards for crime writing. Melodie is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada.
I asked Melodie to contribute to this blog a piece of writing about what “The Joy of Story” means to her. She responded in no uncertain terms what she expects a novel to do for her.
Don’t Lecture—Entertain Me!
Who doesn’t love a good story? Something that takes you out of yourself and lets you live another life for a little while. You can do me no greater honor than to call me a great storyteller.
So you can imagine my angst when a magazine interviewer challenged me about the purpose of fiction. Should it always contain a moral message? Specifically, should crime fiction?
My instant answer: No! The purpose of crime fiction should be to Entertain, and nothing should come before that.
Why? We have countless other venues that preach morality. Religions seek to teach us how to behave. Every day we are bombarded by newspapers, radio and other nonfiction outlets that expose us to the “evil” of greedy politicians, nasty world despots, and out-of-control celebrities.
If fiction— and crime fiction in particular—were required to follow a moral code, we would miss so much. If the good guy always won—if the bad guy always got caught—wouldn’t that make crime fiction lamentably predictable?
Does that mean crime fiction can’t teach us something? Of course it can! Put me in the mind of a serial killer for a few hours. Let me know what it feels like to experience the overwhelming greed of a con artist. Dress me up as a torch singer, with a black heart and a gun in her stocking.
Let me discover something about how other people think, if only for a little while. But above all else, entertain me. Don’t preach at me, even from a distance. I don’t want it from my fiction.
Just tell me a damn good story, thank you. Take me out of the real world for a few hours.
That’s the joy of story.
Speaking of damn good, entertaining stories, Melodie Campbell’s fourth book, 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.
Praise like that is to die for. (Die laughing? Way to go!) And although The Goddaughter was not Melodie’s first book, (her first book, Rowena Through the Wall, was an Amazon Top 100 bestseller), it appears that the Goddaughter will be the heroine of a series. Melodie’s fifth novel, The Godddaughter’s Revenge has just been released by Orca Books.
An irresistible cover, no? Like author Melodie Campbell, it’s entertaining, funny, and tempting. It makes you want to read what’s inside, so here’s the opening of the book, to get you started:
Okay, I admit it. I would rather be the proud possessor of a rare gemstone than a lakefront condo with parking. Yes, I know this makes me weird. Young women today are supposed to crave the security of owning their own home.
But I say this. Real estate, shmeel estate. You can’t hold an address in your hand. It doesn’t flash and sparkle with the intensity of a thousand night stars, or lure you away from the straight and narrow like a siren from some Greek odyssey.
Let’s face it. Nobody has ever gone to jail for smuggling a one bedroom plus den out of the country.
However, make that a 10-carat cyan blue topaz with a past as long as your arm, and I’d do almost anything to possess it.
But don’t tell the police.
The Goddaughter’s Revenge is available on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/kmgjgsf
The Goddaughter is available on Amazon: http://ow.ly/dnObH
Follow Melodie’s comic blog at www.melodiecampbell.com