By the Mattress, Melodie Campbell (June 7, 2014, at the Toronto Hyatt Regency)
But what I really want to talk about tonight is the HIGHS and lowwwwws of being an author.
I’ve had a few highs this year. I won some serious money in a short story contest. I won a Derringer and an Arthur Ellis for The Goddaughter’s Revenge.
So I’ve had a few highs. But I’ve also had some lows. In fact, I am an expert at the lows. Most of mine have to do with the dreaded….
Many people talk about the worst that can happen. Meaning, you have a book signing and no one shows up.
But I’ve had worse.
Worse is when five people show up. And they’re all pushing walkers. And half way through your reading – when you’re right in the middle of a really exciting scene – someone blurts out, “When does the movie start?”
Sometimes even big numbers don’t help the ego. I was doing an event in my hometown in front of 200 people this fall. It was great – I was doing my comedy shtick - lots of applause. The MC showed everyone my books, talked them up, asked for questions.
Hands shot up. I was pumped. I picked the first eager hand from the crowd, delighted to see such interest in my books. And she said, “Do you actually know Linwood Barclay?”
It’s a miracle writers have any ego left at all.
I was featured at another event this year, with probably 50 people in the audience. Again, great applause after my reading. Lots of hands in the air. I picked one young lady who was waving frantically.
She said (voice heavy with disappointment): “You don’t look anything like your heroine.”
I said: “Sweetheart, not only that, I don’t look anything like my author photo.”
One final low - the lowest of my lows.
One of the things authors love more than anything else is getting together with other authors to whine about the industry.
I was at the Drake hotel with a bunch of author friends this year. Let’s see…there were Robbie Rotenberg, Howard Shrier, Dorothy MacIntosh, Rob Brunet, Pam Blance, Tanis, Dee...a few others. Anyways, we were bending the elbow liberally, spending God knows how much per drink, moaning about how our publishers don’t do enough to promote our books. It was great fun. A stellar whine-fest. I think Robbie ordered another round. And then I ordered another round. This did something to my insides. It quickly became apparent that I was going to have to get rid of some of what I had been imbibing.
I don’t know if you’ve been to the Drake, but the washrooms are upstairs. We were on the main floor at the back.
Well, I made it to the stairs.
Nice thing about the Drake is the stairs have bannisters. And you know, I have discovered that bannisters are a really good thing. You can use them to pppull yourself up step by step, for one thing. For another, they keep you going in the right direction.
So I made it to the landing at the top. Then I turned to look for the right room.
Things were a little fuzzy in my brain, you have to understand. In front of me was a door that had a big W on it. W…that seemed familiar. W for washroom? But I wasn’t quite sure that was right, so I looked around.
To the left was a door with a big M on it. OH! M for Melodie! And I walked right in.
Rob Brunet, I think you had already left by then, but the man at the urinal asked for my phone number.
Melodie Campbell rights funny books, including the Derringer and Arthur Award winning THE GODDAUGHTER’S REVENGE, available at Chapters and online at all the usual retailers.