Ken Campbell, Suspense Novelist

Ken Campbell, Suspense Novelist

–Tell us about your latest book.

The fourth and latest book in the Cameron Scott series is “Second Hand,” set in the capitol city of Raleigh, NC.  Attorney Cameron barely has time to start his argument before the state court of appeals when he hears a distinctive roar outside.  He quickly advises the court to “take cover” and dives under the heavy counsel table seconds before a tornado rips past the courthouse. When the furor subsides, one judge of the three judge panel is dead in his seat, but the tornado didn’t kill him. Cameron, his wife Mary, and opposing counsel Ken Bennett team up to find the killer, and uncover a plot that has almost as many twists and turns as the storm that just hit.

–Can you share a little bit about what you’re working on now or what’s coming next?

In the next book, “First Class,” Cameron learns that several of his thirty-something law school classmates have been dying over a relatively short period. Although the deaths appear to be accidental or from natural causes, Cameron detects a subtle connection between them, and suspects that his name may soon be added to the list of casualties.

–Promotion is a big—and usually the most hated—part of being a writer. Can you share a little bit about how you promote?

Second Hand by K. Robert Campbell

Second Hand by K. Robert Campbell

To a certain extent, I actually enjoy promoting my books, but it’s always a challenge to find the most cost-effective ways to let people know I’m out there. Here are some methods I use:

-Some years back, I invested in the Print Master program by Broderbund that has allowed me to produce my own brochures, business cards, and other promotional materials.

-I’m in a writers’ group whose primary purpose is making appearances at fairs and festivals to sell our books. 

-Facebook and Twitter are good promotional tools, but only if you take time to join in on discussions and not ‘spam’ them with constant promos of your books.

-Book clubs, civic organizations, and even libraries are often on the lookout for speakers. I’ve talked to several and have been making more of an effort to contact others across the state.

-If it seems appropriate when I’m talking with people I’ve just met, or in social gatherings, I mention that I’ve written a suspense series and give out my cards (which have the titles printed on the back).

-All of my titles are now available on Kindle, and I have an Author Central Page on Amazon.

-I’ve done some limited local advertising, usually when I can offer an article in lieu of payment.

-I’ve been interviewed or had book reviews printed in local papers and appeared on a Wilmington, NC early morning talk show.


–What do you consider the single most satisfying aspect of being a writer?

That one’s easy. I love hearing from folks who’ve read the first four and want to know when the next book will be available.

–Tell us a little bit about where you live.

I’m about as far southeast as you can get in North Carolina, in Southport, Brunswick County.  We’re just north of Myrtle Beach, SC. My first book, “The Fifth Category,” is set in our region (although I’ve changed Southport’s name to ‘Riverport’).


–What are your thoughts on the standard writing advice, “write what you know”?

I follow that maxim to a certain extent; my protagonist’s career follows my own (park ranger who became an attorney) and he often has to rely on his knowledge of nature and the outdoors to get him out of scrapes.  However, I also enjoy researching when I roam into unfamiliar territory.

–How do you classify yourself as a writer? Fiction or non-fiction? Specific genre such as mystery, short story, paranormal or more general such as women’s fiction, Appalachian, etc.

Primarily suspense novels, but I’ve also written some short stories (one of which, a humor story, took third place in the North Carolina State Bar Journal’s annual fiction writing contest) two plays that have been staged locally, and some non-fiction legal-advice articles for local publications. Currently, I’m seeking an agent for a completed literary fiction novel.

–Beside “writer,” what else are you; what is your “day job”?

 Since graduation from Campbell University law school in 1984, I’ve been a working attorney.

 –Describe your writing process once you sit down to write—or the preliminaries.

 I go back and review the last few chapters I wrote, both to regain the rhythm of the story and to see what I can improve, and then plow into new chapters. I also play background music that I enjoy but have heard over and over, to drown out household noises and other distractions.

 –Where do you get your ideas?

 The idea for “The Fifth Category” floated around in the back of my mind from the time my wife and I moved to Southport. Within two weeks of our arrival, Hurricane Diana ran straight over us, and a hurricane is an integral part of the story. Once my characters came to life, they ‘suggested’ other ways that I could get them into trouble.

Fifth Category by K. Robert Campbell

Fifth Category by K. Robert Campbell

–How do your characters “come” to you? Are they based loosely or closely on people you know?

 My two primary characters, Cameron and Mary Scott, are loosely based on me and my wife, Mary, although they are quite a bit younger than us. Cameron has a lot more energy than I have, but he’s got my sense of humor. Mary is every bit as smart as my Mary, and has about the same amount of drive. As a couple, they interact much the same as my wife and I do. Many of the other characters are loosely based on combinations of people I know or have known. I like to joke about the cathartic effect of giving a character the first or last name of someone I can’t stand and then knocking them off in a story.

 –Why do you write?

I’ve been a story teller since my days as a camp counselor, telling scary tales to campers around the camp fire, or writing out skits for end-of-session shows. I love to think of someone curling up with one of my books, trying to figure out what’s going to happen to Cameron and Mary next, or laughing along with the antics in a humor story I’ve written.

Visit Ken’s Amazon page