. . . is launching her newest book.
Michele Campbell is an Upper Valley author who is about to launch a new psychological thriller—It’s Always the Husband. What is life like for a local writer who has jumped back into the book business after more than a decade away? It’s busy. Campbell, a former federal prosecutor and law school professor, saw this book through its initial draft, publisher's edits, and several revisions. She consulted on the book cover, sat through a photo session for an author portrait, and launched her and the book's presence on social media. She’ll be on the road to promote Husband, including a reading scheduled for later this month at the Norwich Bookstore (Details below). I posed some questions to Michele, and her answers were so well-written (no surprise) that I decided to use an edited Q and A format for much of this post.
Campbell says she took an instant liking to the designer's draft of the "gorgeous cover."
Always the Husband is a story about “female friendship
gone wrong.” Three women meet as roommates at an Ivy League college. Campbell says that while the story, like all fiction, takes place in an imaginary reality, it was inspired by her experiences at her alma mater, Harvard; the physical setting is loosely based on the town of Hanover. You can be the judge of whether or not one of the local hangouts in the story smells like Lou’s. A tragedy occurs during their college years, which they must keep
secret. Twenty years later, the three women are now living in their former college
town. One of them is found dead.
Q. It's a great title. Care to explain?
A. The title speaks to the fact that most female murder victims die at the hands of husbands or boyfriends, and that the police tend to consider the husband as a suspect. Often that’s justified, sometimes it’s not. Is it in this case? Read the book and find out!
Q. A thumbnail sketch of your history as an author?
A. It’s Always the Husband is my first book published as Michele Campbell, and it’s an entirely new adventure in a new genre that goes by different names—psychological thriller, domestic suspense, domestic noir. About a decade ago, I published four books in a procedural series featuring a federal prosecutor in New York City. Those books had more of a Law-and-Order tone to them, and were published under the name Michele Martinez.
Q. What is your writing process?
A. A schedule like a normal job, meaning writing five days a week during business hours. As deadlines approach, I have to work more. I just handed in my next book—the one after Husband—and for the final month I worked seven days a week. I write on a laptop.
Q. As you write, what else is sitting on your desk that is important?
A. Other than my laptop, my indispensable tools are my pocket thesaurus and the index cards I use to work out my plots.
Q. Your previous books were published before social media took hold. How do social media change the publication experience?
A. Authors are largely responsible for their own
social media presence. I hired a web designer to do my website. I do most of my
own Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram content, with occasional help from
publicists. Getting Facebook likes or having people retweet you has become very
important in capturing readers’ attention. Traditional media, like newspapers
and magazines, devote drastically fewer pages to reviewing books than they used
to. Much of the coverage of this book has taken place on online sites, even when the coverage is by an established print source like Redbook, Elle, and InStyle.
Q. How do you know when a book is finished?
A. To an author, a book is never really done. For a thriller—like Husband--where the question is “whodunit?”, a good ending should feel both inevitable and completely surprising. When it felt that way to me, I was satisfied.
Author photo from photo shoot, above
Michele Campbell will be reading from It’s Always the Husband at the Norwich Bookstore on Wednesday, May 31 at 7:00 p.m. Reservations are strongly recommended. Call the Bookstore at 802-649-1114, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Schedule permitting, Michele will engage in book club chats by phone or Skype. For more information, go to the Book Clubs page of her website at http://www.michelecampbellbooks.com. You can also find Michele on Facebook at Michele Campbell Books, where she runs periodic giveaways and posts the latest reviews of her book.
(Campbell is a friend and former colleague. She kindly provided me with an advance copy of It's Always the Husband. If you read the book, the ending will make you gasp, but try to keep it to yourself until your friends have finished. )
Susan B. Apel, writer, ArtfulEdge