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Andrea Campbell

March, 2003
Andrea Campbell is the author of eight nonfiction books on a variety of topics including these reference books:  

Making Crime Pay: The Writer's Guide to Criminal Law, Evidence, and Procedure, and Forensic Science: Evidence, Clues and Investigation, Rights of the Accused and Legal Ease (for professionals); 

two titles on entertaining using interactive games: Great Games for Great Parties and Perfect Party Games; 

also a memoir: Bringing Up Ziggy: What Raising a Helping Hands Monkey Taught Me About Love, Commitment and Sacrifice

and a book for journal writers: Your Corner of the Universe

She is currently at work on Gotcha! How Science and the Law Catch Criminals, a children's book that will have puzzles, activities, and thought challenges. She is also working on a biography and has a crime novel on the back-burner.








Andrea has taught online classes for both Kiss of Death and Painted Rock, generally on topics within forensic science or criminal law. She holds a degree in criminal justice and is a forensic artist working under the umbrella of the Arkansas State Crime Lab.

A mother of two sons, Andrea has also had two foreign-exchange daughters, Jopie from Holland and Ana from Spain. Then, too, she raised Ziggy, a capuchin monkey for thirteen years for Helping Hands. Ziggy is currently being trained to act as a helper-companion for a quadriplegic, someone who lives in a wheelchair and cannot use their arms or legs.
A member of many professional organizations including Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Inc., and others, Andrea often gives workshops and moderates panel presenters. She has been featured on the television game show To Tell The Truth, plus been the subject of dozens of radio programs and newspaper articles across the country. 
Andrea, can you tell us about your favorite writing

Julie, I am especially fond of writing nonfiction because I love doing research--digging through the stacks, ordering lesser-known books and interacting with others more knowledgeable than myself. It's exciting to learn about obscure facts, things that happened in history or to get an answer as to why things are the way they are. True, too, I discovered forensic science before it became mainstream entertainment, and I am always eager to find out more about the various disciplines in science and criminal justice--nothing touches lives more than crime or court.

What are your favorite (and most successful!) ways to
market your books?

I'll answer your question in reverse. I think my web site is the most successful way to market my books because there I can describe a title's content, illustrate the cover, and add some editorials or endorsements (I also sell autographed books from there). Plus, the site has a lot of other information and more personal items so it taps into different interests. You can see I follow my passion and go where curiosity takes me and I can do that on the Internet. In addition, I use it as a kind of "virtual resume"--referring agents or editors to the site for background, samples and expertise.
My favorite way to market books is radio. I like the "heart-pounding" feeling of knowing the broadcast is "live" and that you must answer the questions cogently, succinctly and on target, and I have always had good rapport with the hosts, who generally invite me back again.

You also teach writing classes.  What organizing tips would you recommend for writers?

A book is a long-term project, something you need to face and keep up with every day. I almost always designate a notebook to the project and break the book down into either chapters or elemental parts. I also keep my eyes open for newspaper clips relevant to the subject and toss them into a clear pocket, which also goes into the folder. I generally order a lot of other books for reference, so I frequently scan bookseller catalogs. Any stray ideas or thoughts that come to me about the project, I take down on index cards.
Using email questions or interviews can only add to the verisimilitude of your topic and is an easy way to keep in touch with experts (we can't be all-knowing about everything, we have to consult experts!) so I find and correspond with them by email. A small tip I can pass on is, I use as my search engine. It is a spider that collects the best information from a variety of search engine, and it hardly ever disappoints.

Do you have any favorite writing websites?

I get a NY Times book review notice, a USA TODAY book newsletter, and I like the Writer's Digest Market online, as well as notices from Publisher's Weekly. Author's Den has nice tools, Cluelass has good general information for mystery buffs, and has good articles; plus, I visit other smaller, published sites like and learn something from them all.

What do you think is most important trait for a successful writer?
You will hear this a thousand times--be persistent. There are so many factors that account for a writer's success, not all of which are talent-based. You must be willing to get rejections and learn from them, work on projects that might go nowhere, and stick to your gut about things that are important to you in some visceral way and get them published. This is not an easy business, but one that rewards writers who persist and IMPROVE. Okay, I'm yelling here but I am serious about improving. I have about a hundred different types of "how to" books, for example, How to Write Attention-Getting Cover and Query Letters, How to Write Creative Nonfiction, How to Research....well, you get the idea. The tools for writers are out there. Research how to do everything: from using correct format, to writing a book, to getting an agent, it's all there for the self-motivated student.

Any other advice?

Think about writing articles for your favorite cause, newspaper, or writing organization. I wrote a newspaper column for over eleven years and am now a Contributing Editor for two organizations I belong to that have newsletters: The Simian (for individuals who own monkeys) and First Draft, a group of writers within Sisters in Crime. This teaches you to organize your thoughts in a small space (600-1200 words), and it also puts you in the chair on a regular basis, churning out work. Discipline is a major player in the psyche of the writer.

Oh, yeah, be giving and loving with your expertise when it counts. In my capacity as expert on Pitsco's  "Ask An Expert,"  I help kids with their reports, answers questions for the accused, and just generally provide answers and advice to people who need it. Think of it as your "ripple in the pond" of life.

To buy Andrea's books or take one of her classes, ....
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