Cover to Cover #272: Emma Bull and Will Shetterly

Gospel of the Knife

Michael and Michael delve into a discussion about publishing issues with traditional venues, POD venues, and the pitfalls in between that authors may fall into... all explained by Michael M's personal experiences with his publishing adventures. They also cover other alternate outlets for storytelling that are cropping up thanks to new technologies that exist and that may not yet exist.

July 2007 is "Cover to Cover" Double Feature Month! That's right, you're getting two interviews in each show. This is what happens when there are too many authors to talk to and not enough weeks in the year for a weekly show.

Interview: Michael and Summer talk with Emma Bull and Will Shetterly, husband and wife Tucson transplants as they drop by the studio at the beginning of their joint book tour for their respective new novels Territory and Gospel of the Knife.

Gospel of the Knife is a followup to Will's acclaimed story Dogland, and Territory is a paranormal spin on the events leading up to and about the events around the gunfight at the OK Corral. Will tells us about the problems and distractions he ran into doing research for this "freaky Biblical history", and Emma tells us about the attraction of writing about the Old West, and how easy it is to throw in supernatural and paranormal "secret histories" for many of the tall tales and legends from that time.

Find the next stop on their tour, and if you can, drop by and say Hi!

Listener Feedback: What were the books on your must read lists the past year? 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: QWERTY Ranch: Emma Bull and Will Shetterly
Link: Bull and Shetterly Book Tour Info
Promo: ScapeCast: Feedback: A Hero's Calling
Promo: ScapeCast: Variant Frequencies


  1. Holy Cow, what a pair of guests! I've been a Fan - of both - from way back. Thank you!

    The Lord of the Rings does not compare to the Fionavar Tapestry. Not.
    LOTR was spreading and diffuse and ugliness was usually veiled. JRRT told a good story, from a distance.
    GGK's books were brutal (in some places) and immediate and sharp. These books grabbed me and made me read them.

  2. emma is great! i cant wait for this book...although i havent read her husband(throw fruit at me)...

    I always wondered about the dynamic when writers are seems to me that most writer's spouses usually are their full-time support staff(and little acknowledged by the outside world). But it must be really hard if both partners are in their own 'worlds' and could use that support as well. That would make for some interesting behind the scenes type stuff...

    oh and I dont think the revolution in printing a book at the store will happen for at least twenty more years...and then it will be a novelty for people that still read printed form in first world countries. I am beginning to think that this expected step in book retail will be skipped completely as e-reading tools continue to develope and become cheaper tech on its own. The true future market for printed authors is maintaining a viable living when type becomes easier to read and thus traded freely between users. In this future, i think you will see alot of famous authors working with corporations to pay the bills in a hyper-ad copy position.

  3. Hi Mike, Mike & Summer,
    Off topic I know, but with the release of the new installment of Harry Potter just released I thought i'd give reviewing ago... I do mention LOTR in there somewhere but sorry, i've never heard of the The Fionavar Tapestry.

    J.K Rowling – Hallow Be Thy Name.

    With the release of the seventh instalment of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling has finally granted closure to millions of fans. I was one of at least over 100 000 Australian fans to rushed out and purchase a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows the day it was released. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, an estimated 3 million copies were sold in Britain at the weekend; 8.3 million copies sold in the first 24 hours of the book's release in the United States.

    Many households, including ours, purchased multiple copies, and judging by those in the line with us, we weren’t the only ones to do so. This seems absolutely unprecedented for a book but the reasons for doing so are understandable. We live in an age where we want access to immediate information, the result of which for Potter fans means we aren’t the greatest at delaying gratification and the thought of being the last in the family to read the book for many out there was an intolerable suggestion. My wife and I were one such example; we lay for hours completely engrossed in Rowling’s alternate universe. It was a very quite weekend.

    There is also the important factor that as tight a lid J.K. Rowling and her publishers had on the story line prior to the books release, many of my adult friends who I’d talked to, wanted to read the book as fast as possible in order to avoid hearing about any spoilers from outside commentators. I suffered such a fate after the Half Blood Prince was released when a young check out operator at my local supermarket announced to the girls he was working with that ‘Dumbledore died at the end of the book’. Needless to say they weren’t impressed with him for spoiling the ending and considering the book had just been given to me as a gift neither was I… and I let him know. “He was a nice boy” they said of him in his eulogy. Well, that’s what happened in my head anyway. It wasn’t until a colleague I was working with some six months later told me that Dumbledore’s death was a red haring and that I should read the book anyway that I was persuaded to pick it up. Needless to say, it wasn’t a red haring but I’m glad I heeded his advice because it wasn’t the spoiler itself that mattered so much, it was the how and the why Dumbledore died that has left myself and millions guessing ever since.

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is no different. It is surely the journey that enriches the reader’s experience. Many of you who have not read the book may by now, may have heard many spoilers that could impact on your decision about whether you read the book or not. I ensure you, regardless what you hear it is the journey that will leave you enraptured. The structure of the book also takes a major departure from its predecessors as Harry, Hermione and Ron have left school in order to continue Dumbledore’s quest to destroy Voldemort’s Horcruxes. At the same time, Harry finds out about the Deathly Hallows, could this provide Harry with the ultimate weapon to defeat his arch enemy once and for all?

    It should be noted that the Harry Potter series has long stopped being a series ‘for children’ but by now has well established itself as a series ‘about children’. So for many young children, the series will not hold the same meaning as it does for teenagers and adults. One of the things I have admired about J.K Rowling’s work since the Goblet of Fire onwards is her ability to engage in age appropriate dialogue, conflicts and relationships. The last of the series is in my opinion, not only the darkest but the best. There are losses in this book, many of which come as surprise. So if you’re at all emotional, keep a box of Kleenex handy. The darkness in Rowling’s writing has to a degree, been there from the beginning and she has never been afraid to utilise the subject of death as a driving force of her story. After all, the whole “Harry vs. Voldemort” struggle is based on the fact that Harry’s parents died at the Dark Lord’s hand… or wand, so to speak. In a way, this is far more in line with the classic story tales of old where death or the threat of death, loss and sadness were commonly used themes. In comparison I believe that this is why Tolkien’s lord of the Ring’s clearly outshines that of his contemporary C.S. Lewis in his Narnia Series. As Michael Swanwick once put, whilst Lord of the Rings is one greatest stories ever told, it’s also one of the saddest. Jim Henson also realised the power of loss and the dark side of nature in The Dark Crystal.

    With the release of Hallows, I believe that J.K. has knocked J.R.R. off the number one fantasy story of all time. Although, part of me likes to think Tolkien’s work remains the pinnacle of classic fantasy whilst Rowling’s work has claimed the title for the best contemporary fantasy story of all time. I know I certainly enjoyed reading the Harry Potter series more than I did Tolkien’s but both are great stories to read out aloud to children. There is also a humour in Rowling’s work, even in the last instalment that made me laugh out loud.

    If you’ve read Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, you know what Harry is about to set out and do, so I wont add any more plot lines and spoilers suffice to say that it will satisfy many readers. Many of the plot lines and stories established in previous books are neatly tied off in this last instalment. So, take your book, sit in your favourite comfy chair, put your feet up and go and get lost in a book.
    24 July 07

  4. Mike and Mike,

    You asked for comments about the first part of the show... as someone who has been less than thrilled with some of the direction of the show lately, I just want to say that was an wonderful, excellent, and fascinating discussion of publishing and the state of the publishing buisness. Well done, excellent, and please, bring on more stuff like this!