Hi! I have put the blog on a temporary hiatus due to life stuff. However, I will be revamping the blog and hope to reopen it early 2014. Please watch our Facebook page for updates and for open scheduling.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Writing Screwball Comedy – and Loving It! by Melodie Campbell

“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 The Goddaughter behind? Not write a sequel? I’m starting to hyperventilate. Actually, I love writing comedies. It’s in my blood.

<crowd gasps here>


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 had 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 romance novels, I fell back into ‘safe mode’. Write it funny.


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?

What’s the worst thing that could happen to The Goddaughter when she is recruited to carry hot gemstones over the border? Predictable would be: she gets caught at customs. But I don’t want predictable. I want funny.

Instead, they get stolen. By a complete amateur! It’s embarrassing, that’s what it is. What the heck is she going to tell her uncle, the crime boss?

Nothing, of course.  She’s going to steal them back.  Or die trying.

And hopefully the audience will die laughing.

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 romance and laughter, and in some cases given them a story they can escape into, over and over again. These readers are the whole reason I keep writing screwball comedies. Yes, it’s true. It wouldn’t be fun to write if I didn’t have warm and generous readers.

Melodie Campbell has over 200 publications and was a finalist for the 2012 Derringer and Arthur Ellis awards. She is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada.

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.``


Gina Gallo would like nothing better than to run her little jewelry shop. Unfortunately, she’s also The Goddaughter, and, as she tells her new friend Pete, “you don’t get to choose your relatives.” And you can’t avoid them when you live in Steeltown, and they more or less run the place.

When Gina is reluctantly recruited to carry hot gemstones across the border, the worst happens: they get stolen. By a complete amateur! It’s embarrassing, that’s what it is. Pete and Gina have no choice but to steal them back, even though philandering politicians, shoe fetishists and a trio of inept goons stand in their way.

It’s all in a day’s work, when you’re The Goddaughter.

Short Excerpt from THE GODDAUGHTER

We got through the border with no problem at all.  Of course, it`s much easier to get through borders without a semi-frozen dead body pretending to be asleep in the back seat.

~~ About the Author ~~

Melodie Campbell has a Commerce degree from Queen’s University, but it didn’t take well. She has been a bank manager, marketing director, college instructor, comedy writer, and possibly the worst runway model ever.

Melodie got her start writing comedy. In 1999, she opened the Canadian Humour Conference. She has over 200 publications including 100 comedy credits and has won 6 awards for short fiction. Her third novel, a mob caper entitled The Goddaughter (Orca Books), will be out Sept. 1. Melodie is a finalist for the 2012 Derringer Award, and is the General Manager of Crime Writers of Canada.

THE GODDAUGHTER on Amazon http://ow.ly/dnObH
A PURSE TO DIE FOR (mystery) on Amazon http://amzn.to/PysT2C

And the one that started it all:
ROWENA THROUGH THE WALL (paranormal comedy) on Amazon http://tinyurl.com/6p2vhgr

Follow Melodie’s comic blog at http://funnygirlmelodie.blogspot.com/


  1. Your one liner reminds me of Phyllis Diller. I know your real mother was a fashionista and one of the inspirations for THE GODDAUGHTER, but I think Ms Diller could have been your fairy godmother. Sleeping Beauty got the looks and a sweet nature, but you got the laughs.

  2. Alison, you couldn't have picked a better role model for me. I ADORED Phyllis Diller. One spunky lady with enough good-natured sass to make the men forget she was besting them at their own game. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Melodie, you're doing the best thing a writer can do - follow your true voice. Humour isn't something that can be forced. You got it or you don't. And you got it!

  4. Thanks, Gloria! And thanks, Lia, for hosting me - it's been fun!