Cover to Cover #267: Kelley Armstrong

Voicemail: Mike M. jumps us immediately into voicemails, and Curt from the Wandering Geek Podcast gets cut off before he can finish asking his question; a vote for "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" as an all-time favorite; Cynthia in KC wants to know what happens if a character you've created turns into one you don't like when you're nearing the end of your book; a few questions about author typecasting, and the use of obtuse character behavior in stories; Andrew calls in with "The Giver" as one of his additions to the list of life-changing books; Blind Geek is happy that the interview with Robert J. Sawyer led him to read "Rollback" and the inside joke he read therein; Rich in Detroit comments on Mike and Mike's dislike of prologues, which leads into a discussion about where the action in a story should start vs prologues and infodumps; Elena in Vegas on fiction making you think; Will the Computer Guy recommends a zombie story called "Discovered Country".

Interview: Michael, Summer, Michael and Brian chat with Kelley Armstrong about her latest Otherworld novel, "No Humans Involved", and her interpretation of necromancer as Jaime Vegas takes the forefront in her own story this time around.

Kelley also tells us about her other book coming out later this summer, "Exit Strategy", a crime thriller featuring a female law enforcement officer turned hitwoman, with not one speck of paranormal to be found anywhere in the story.

The Library: No new Library entries... Mike says we're out of time.

Listener Feedback: What books changed your life, and what books are your A+ books? Keep letting us know what your personal essential books are, and keep submitting your opinions on Lord of the Rings compared to The Fionavar Tapestry.

Submitting Listener comments: If you have any suggestions or comments, please let us know!

Link: Kelley Armstrong
Promo: Fortress Draconis by Michael A. Stackpole


  1. Actually, that was me sending the message about prologue hate. I guess that my connection was a little too scratchy. 🙂

    Thanks for the thoughtful discussion on the subject. I can definitely sympathize with Summer's situation in her own novel, with the long gaps between the characters' life-changing events. If you need to show those early scenes and can't plausibly color in the details later without an infodump, maybe you can just make those early events the first few chapters of the book and then put in a byline to show that you're jumping ahead in time. It may not be perfectly elegant, but I think readers will accept it if the character's story is moving forward and the writing is done well. It's definitely better than doing it in flashbacks.

    Oh, and as to Mike M's comment about how the events of the prologue in "A Song of Ice and Fire" never come up again -- that's not really true. The one surviving character from the prologue is executed in Chapter One because he abandoned his post and ran away, and the dramatic irony of the incident hangs over the rest of the book like the Sword of Damocles, until other members of the Watch come across the same threat and realize its significance. Maybe it's not for everyone, but I appreciated that. I'm a big fan of dramatic irony. 🙂

  2. just say 'no' to prologues.

    because i promise everyone, i rarely read them anyway. it takes a special kind of author to make me bother...i just usually skip it and start reading the first chapter.

    I cannot comment on this week's interview...i dont want to even see another cover with female paranormal anything anymore. She might be the best ever...but it seems lke harry potterism in the sci-fi field with the raw tonnage of this kind of worldview. Its not magickal realism or elegant faerie tales, its just the same-o stories with different names on the characters:

    "____ de _____ is a paranomal private detective with a super natural male love interest. She has unexplained powers expanding from book to book and the sex drive to use as some powerful shadow magic society(insert witches or vampires or undead plumbers union) messes with her and her fanged man-candy because of a DEEP DARK SECRET!


    please no more...i surrender.

  3. Prologues aren't automatically bad in my opinion, it just depends on how it's handled. One of my favorite examples is James Patterson's Honeymoon where the Prologue is done in the 1st person view of one of the main villian's victims.

  4. Ah Raul, on this author, I beg to differ!

    Kelley's first novel in the Otherworld series came out in 2001, but she actually sold it to the publisher in 1999. So she's got somewhat of a headstart on the flood that we are now experiencing.

    If anything, she could be credited as one of the handful of writers whose work actually caused this here flood...

  5. i have a bone to pick with all the griping about prologues.
    mainly because i agree with the caller; there is a big difference between the prologue that brings things into play from an obscure point of view and the recap prologue. i say this, not as a writer (because i'm not one) but as a life-long science fiction/fantasy reader(and therefore a representative of the consumer market controlling what sells). i hate robert jordan's prologues....and the fact that they get merged with the bulk of the story so that you don't know when to start reading again. but i really enjoy getting a teaser at the beginning of books. i think it's fine that you guys have defined opinions, but i feel that it is important to give a nod to those of us who disagree with your hard and fast rules.

  6. As a non-writer with no desire to be one or to know what happens behind the writing scenes, I've lost interest in this show in it's new format. I do appreciate the all the work that has gone into making it over the years (I've listened since podcast episode 1), but all this 'behind the scenes' stuff is not for me.

    I'm really hoping that you will split the show into two shows, one with author interviews, and one with the writing-geek stuff. I love hearing about new books (and old ones too) and getting the author's perspective on his/her story, and hearing a bit about their lives, but all this writing-craft stuff sounds like nails on a chalkboard to me.

    Please consider returning cover to cover to it's original format and starting a new writers' podcast as a sererate entity.

    I'll be listening.......

    Chris in sofla

  7. I'm the author of "Discovered Country," and I wanted to thank Willie the Computer Guy for enjoying my podcast-- and you guys for the mention. You can listen at