24 October 2015

Murder is More Fun with an Accomplice (The Case for Co-writing)

By Melodie Campbell

To the elderly man in the khaki sweater who lifted his reading glasses to stare open-mouthed…

To the unknown person who gasped and knocked over a chair behind me…

To the woman with the stroller who stared with horror, and then wheeled her toddler frantically away toward the exit…

False Alarm Alert: The two middle-aged women whispering about murder in the Orangeville library were not fiendishly plotting how to do away with a tedious husband.

They were writing a murder mystery!

I’m perhaps best known for writing the mob comedy caper series, The Goddaughter.  But I also write classic whodunits with my close friend Cynthia St-Pierre.  Our first book, A Purse to Die For, was great fun to write.  And happily, it was a Top 100 Mystery on Amazon.com.  Our second, A Killer Necklace, is just out.

Thing is, I live in Oakville and Cindy lives two hours away in Newmarket.

Much of what we do is by email and Skype.  But every few months we like to get together to hash out plot problems in person.  This means meeting somewhere in between, like Orangeville.  And where better, than at the place we feel most comfortable, that hallowed home for books, a library?

But my apologies to the patrons we may have alarmed.  I can imagine the dinner conversation at several houses in Orangeville that night.

Which brings me to the question asked here:  Why write with a partner?

Simply put, it’s FUN!  There is someone sharing your lonely writing job every step of the way.  Cheering when you surprise her with a twist in a new chapter…moaning, when you both start the heavy work of editing.

Writing a novel is a lonely pursuit.  You spend months by yourself before anyone sees the work you have been slaving over.  Having a co-writer takes the loneliness out of being a writer. 

Yes, you give up a little autonomy over your plot and characters.  But you also share the delight of incorporating new ideas and plot twists that you would never have come up with on your own.

Take it from me: planning murder with a partner is much more fun than doing it yourself.  Even our (very much still alive) husbands agree.

Have you ever tried to work with a co-author?  I'll write more about how we actually go about it, in a future post.

Who is the dead woman at the bottom of the stairs? 
 A killer is determined to keep her identity secret, even if it means killing again...

"If Christie wore Armani and Louboutins..." (review of A Purse to Die For)

A KILLER NECKLACE (Imajin Books) is sold in all the usual places.
on Amazon
on Kobo


  1. Best of luck with your latest novel.

  2. Thank you, Janice! I've been wondering if readers/buyers are less likely to buy a book with two names on the cover. It would be an interesting study.

  3. Melodie,
    I'll be interested in what you say about co-writing. I've had a couple of offers and am actually considering one. So far as books with two authors, it's working for Janet Evanovich, and it's been good for those whose names wound up with James Pattersons. Thanks for the shout-out on Dixon's day. I'm waving right back at'cha.

  4. Fran, I think the trick for us veteran authors is: make this one of your projects, not your only project. I have three series. Two I do alone. That makes this co-written project a fun escape for me.

  5. Sounds like you know how to have a good time! Congratulations and keep it up.


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