Monday, May 10, 2010

“Tales of the Otherworld”

By Kelley Armstrong
ISBN No. 978-0-307-35756-4

1970s television had a name for it: the spin-off. It worked this way: “All in the Family” spun off Edith’s cousin Maude into her own show and “Maude” spun off her maid, Florida, into her own show (“Good Times”). In essence, the new shows were everything you ever wanted to know about AITF’s supporting characters. It’s the same thing with “Tales of the Otherworld.” If you were curious about how Clayton Danvers fell in love, or how Eve caught Kristof, then wonder no more. This book is all about the details that have kept readers of Armstrong’s Otherworld series tossing and turning at night and filling up blogs during the day. For the sake of surprise all I can say is that even hardened readers will be surprised – and impressed. Yet the most wow-worthy piece in this book isn’t a chapter, but the book’s introduction. There, Armstrong relates how she writes FOR the reader. I mean REALLY writes for the reader. “Years ago, when I first launched my website, I wanted to do something that would thank readers for their support,” she writes, explaining the e-serials she would publish. ”I’d poll readers, then write them a story,” she says. Wow… And suddenly, all is right in the publishing world. Suddenly, the writer rules and the readers win. Because for once, this isn’t take-it-or-leave-it marketing. This is essentially Armstrong telling her stories to friends around a campfire and the effect is a heartening re-affirmation about the good the internet can do. Even better, she writes that the proceeds from TFTO are going to World Literacy of Canada. Armstrong writes: “The stories were originally intended as a gift to readers and now they’ll be ‘re-gifted’ to a worthy cause.”