Monday, May 5, 2014

Guest author Melodie Campbell: In the Writing Trenches: Rules for Moms

Melodie got her start writing comedy. In 1999, she opened the Canadian Humour Conference. She has over 200 publications including 100 comedy credits, 40 short stories, and has won 9 awards for short fiction. Her fifth novel, a mob caper, is entitled The Goddaughter's Revenge (Orca Books). Melodie was a finalist for the 2012 Derringer, and both the 2012 and 2013 Arthur Ellis Awards. She is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada. Catch Melodie's humour column for The Sage, Canada's magazine of satire and opinion.

Okay, these are not the definitive rules for Author-Moms. I would never claim to be an expert.  But I did raise two kids while writing stand-up on the side and penning a syndicated humour column every two weeks. So I learned a few things about survival along the way

Bad Girl’s Tricks for Writing with Kids:

  1. Probably you shouldn’t lock yourself in the bathroom, so the kids can’t get at you. Equally, you shouldn’t sit in the playpen with your kid on the outside, screaming and shaking the thing.  Okay, at least not more than once a day.
  2. Never put a package of Twinkies in front of a toddler so that you can continue to write. (Remove them all from the plastic wrappers first so the kid doesn’t choke.)
  3. A kid won’t die if they drink half a mug of cold coffee.  But watch the wine. In fact, you might want to finish the bottle right now so there is no risk.
  4. Other kid’s birthday parties are a great thing for a writer. But you really should pick up your own kid when they’re over. (Eventually. Before winter.)
  5. It’s okay to get someone to babysit your kids while you move into a new house. But it’s not okay to forget to tell anyone where that house is.
  6. When your kid leaves home for university, it is not recommended to immediately change their room into a study or writing room. Wait until after Christmas. The sales are better.

Re “Leaving the nest”: Every mother gets emotional about this. But probably you shouldn’t do it until your kids are grown up.

Melodie Campbell achieved a personal best this year when Library Journal compared her to Janet Evanovich.  Her first book, Rowena Through the Wall, was an Amazon Top 100 bestseller. Her fifth novel, The Goddaughter's Revenge, has just been released by Orca Books.

     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.

Library Journal says this about Melodie`s third novel, The Goddaughter (Orca Books): 
"Campbell`s crime caper is just right for Janet Evanovich fans.  Wacky family connections and snappy dialogue make it impossible not to laugh."

The Goddaughter's Revenge on Amazon 
The Goddaughter on Amazon 
Follow Melodie’s comic blog at 


Charles Gramlich said...

Writing humor to a deadline must be tough. I find it the hardest kind of writing generally.

Melodie Campbell said...

Hi Charles - yes, that was the great challenge with having a regular column. Being consistently funny, with all the restrictions (no religious or political humour) with the clock ticking. I find writing comedies (fiction) more fun, although there is still the dreaded publisher-deadline to deal with :)

Liane Spicer said...

Your humour is cathartic. What would we do if we couldn't laugh at ourselves and this crazy writing thing that has chosen us?

Welcome back to Novel Spaces, Melodie!

Melodie Campbell said...

Thank you, Liane! I feel comfortable here :) Must be the witty company.