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Your search for the tag 'conan' yielded 42 results

  • 1

    Interview: Jan, 1991

    Starlog Interview (Verbatim)

    William B. Thompson

    There was some question of that during the period Jordan wrote Conan novels. When Tor Books got underway in 1981, Jordan was selected to resume the series originated by Robert E. Howard and continued by L. Sprague de Camp, Lin Carter, Poul Anderson and others.

    Robert Jordan

    "I turned down the offer to do a Conan book initially. I was dubious about the prospect of writing in someone else's universe. But later, I agreed to do it and was surprised to find it a kick to return the character to his youth—ideal for a series aimed at adolescent readers. Writing the Conan novels necessitated following a strict framework, and, as I've said, I don't especially like that sort of externally imposed discipline. So, I had to puzzle out how I could be fresh and original within a box already constructed by others' hands."

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  • 2

    Interview: Nov, 1993

    Trinity College Q&A (Paraphrased)

    Robert Jordan

    His first Conan novel he wrote because there was money offered. Having discovered that it was fun to write Conan, he wrote five more including the novelization of the second movie, and then spent a year convincing people that he was not going to write any more Conan...he was quite adamant on this point.

    His first novel was accepted and then rejected, sold and then rights reverted to him...he says he will never publish it as it is not very good, but keeps it as it seems to be lucky for him.

    He regards being taught to read at an early age and reading anything and everything he could get his hands on as being very important to his decision to write, and to what he writes and how he writes it...he writes Fantasy because it allows more straightforward discussion of good and evil than fiction set in the modern world.

    (I got the impression that learning to read at age three is considered precocious in the USA...just another example of how far you colonials have fallen. :-) )

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  • 3

    Interview: Dec, 1993

    Question

    I have found and read your Conan books, however are there any other books that you have had published and are there any other books unrelated to The Wheel of Time that you are working on?

    Robert Jordan

    I have been a writer for seventeen years now, and have had a number of other books published (Westerns, international intrigue, historical fiction), as well as essays, dance review and theater criticism, but no other fantasy save the Conan novels. I've written only one piece of short fiction in my life, aside from school assignments, and it was never published. I will probably write in those other genres again from time to time; I enjoy them. I am working on something unconnected with The Wheel of Time, though I have not yet begun writing it. (Books percolate about in my head for a long time before anything goes onto paper.) It will be the next thing after The Wheel is complete. It will be fantasy, in a different universe than The Wheel.

    My editor says it will be people's chance to see a society like the Seanchan Empire, but that is simply because most of the action will take place in a culture much like Seanchan. The main male character, who is shipwrecked there, comes from a place that might he considered a cross between Elizabethan England and the Italian city-states of the Renaissance with touches of the seventeenth century. I intend him to be a man in his thirties, a man of some experience and worldliness in his own culture (though this does him only occasional good where he finds himself), in contrast to Rand's innocence and naivete. The major female character is a noblewoman of the land where he is shipwrecked; by the law, whatever is cast up on the shores of her estates belongs to her: the ship, its cargo—its crew. Of course, a good many details will surely change between now and the commencement of writing (they always do), but that is the general form. No working title yet beyond Shipwreck. I expect to do the story in two or possibly three books.

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  • 4

    Interview: Jun 28th, 1997

    Tas

    Will you do any more Conan books?

    Robert Jordan

    No. I did that a loooooong time ago.

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  • 5

    Interview: Oct 29th, 1998

    Robert Jordan

    Somehow, the topic wandered over to his Conan novels, and one of the as to whether the scantily-clad warrior-woman should be flung over Conan's shoulder on the cover, or held tightly to his chest. Jordan (dirty old man that he is) quipped that "over the shoulder" was the obvious choice, for perfectly mercenary reasons. He then went on to say that if the cover art included some only partially covered buttock, that the book sold markedly better. He also claimed that it made little difference whether it was the amazon's skin or Conan's, which got a rise out of the observers. So I asked the obvious question: "Are you going to have a talk with Darrell Sweet about this?" He gave a wry grin and said, "This is a different kind of series..." But he did say that he has gotten several letters asking for Rand's butt to appear on the cover...

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  • 6

    Interview: Nov 1st, 1998

    SciFi.com Chat (Verbatim)

    Drollick

    I liked the Conan book you did. On your listed mention of authors who most influenced you, you did not list Robert E. Howard. Is there a reason?

    Robert Jordan

    He didn't influence me, that's why. I enjoyed reading the stories when I was a boy and I enjoyed writing the Conan novels, but Howard was never an influence on my style.

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  • 7

    Interview: Aug 30th, 1999

    Question

    Did you enjoy writing Conan?

    Robert Jordan

    Yeah. It was fun, in the beginning at least. By the end... Conan is an unusual hero in that he changes. Robert Howard wrote stories in which Conan was a pre-teen boy. He wrote stories in which Conan was a white haired old man. It's not usual for that sort of hero. That's when a hero's supposed to stay the same age and stay unchanged forever. I was able to pick a period that there wasn't much said about him and do a little development, and it was fun. And then after a while it was just working in somebody else's universe and I really wanted to get out of it and go on with my own stuff.

    Question

    It seems that you have a really good time while you're writing—

    Robert Jordan

    Oh yeah.

    Question

    And we can tell you're having fun.

    Robert Jordan

    Look, when I was caught with one of those books in school it was confiscated as trash and I was sent to the principal's office. It was not the sort of thing I was supposed to bring in school. I could've brought softcore pornography and it wouldn't have been any worse. I could've brought hardcore pornography and it would've been much worse. So yeah, I have a lot of fun with those books.

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  • 8

    Interview: Jan, 2001

    SFBC

    Is it true that you also write under other pen names? Dance reviews by Chang Lung, for instance.

    Robert Jordan

    I haven't used any of those for a long time, but I used to... and that was partly a hobby...And I've written westerns. Under the name Jackson O'Reilly. And Reagan O'Neill for historical fiction.

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  • 9

    Interview: Apr 4th, 2001

    Question

    You're using many different nicknames and pseudonyms. You write under Reagan O'Neill—fiction, Jackson O'Reilly—Westerns, Chang Lung ... why all those different names?

    Robert Jordan

    So people will know what they're getting. If you see something by Jackson O'Reilly you know not to expect a fantasy, you know that that's a Western book. Although now my publisher is mixing that up. He's reissued some of my old books: 'Robert Jordan writing as'. And I made them agree that they could only do this if they put the original pen name on the cover in letters as large as they use for Robert Jordan.

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  • 10

    Interview: Apr 5th, 2001

    Robert Jordan

    When he writes he prefers not to read any fantasy as it distracts him; he starts editing other people's work. When he reads fantasy he likes books by: J.V. Jones, Robert Holdstock, Terry Pratchett, etc.

    Before he started writing The Wheel of Time series he has written Conan nooks, a Romance novel, a Western novel and even ballet reviews (and much, much more...). One of the questions asked by the public was why he often repeats a lot of stuff in a very detailed way. Jordan said, "I hate minimalism. It is cheap. I write very cinematically. I want to paint a picture and when characters are involved I want to be sure the reader knows who it is."

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  • 11

    Interview: Jan 15th, 2003

    Robert Jordan

    His speech went the same as [usual.] Mr. Jordan corrected the pronunciations of certain names. After that he pointed out to the room to answer questions for the fans. My favorite answer was when someone asked if he'd write Conan again. Mr. Jordan replied, "If God, himself told me to write Conan, again I'd say, Satan already told me to and I turned him down. So maybe we can make a deal." After finishing up the fans' questions he told us that he was going to step down from the stage and enjoy lots of gin and sign our books.

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  • 12

    Interview: Jan 16th, 2003

    Robert Jordan

    About the Conan books: RJ said there was an odd phenomenon: if someone's ass was showing on the book cover, the book sold better (better than non-ass-showing Conan books, presumably).

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  • 13

    Interview: Jan 22nd, 2003

    USA Today Article (Verbatim)

    Robert Jordan

    Fantasy—"fiction based on the unreal"—is his true calling, however. "It touches on dreams and hope. No matter how dire the situation...there is a presumption of things coming out all right."

    USA Today

    There are an estimated 65,000 fan Web sites devoted to Jordan's work. But The Wheel of Time series has not been made into a film or miniseries. (In the 1980s, Jordan wrote a series about Conan the Destroyer of film fame. The character was first created in the 1930s by Robert E. Howard.) Jordan promises that he will write "at least" two more novels in The Wheel of Time series.

    "What makes Jordan so popular, I think, is that everything he writes makes perfect sense," notes Swedish high school teacher Lars Jacobsson, 27, from Malmö. He has been a fan since 1995. "In most other fantasy books, there's always a point where you go, 'I don't buy that, that doesn't seem right.' In The Wheel of Time, that point has yet to come."

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  • 14

    Interview: Jan 21st, 2003

    SFRevu Interview (Verbatim)

    Ernest Lilley

    You didn't start out writing fantasy, you started out writing historical fiction under yet another name...

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, Regan O'Neal is my name for Historical Fiction. The first thing I ever wrote was Fantasy, at least I thought it was. It will never be published now because I'm a better writer now. I wrote this thing and I sent it to DAW books because I heard that DAW published first novels. So I sent it to DAW and got back a letter from Donald Wolheim that was exceedingly laudatory, and obviously he had written it at home and typed it himself because he had scratched out words and made changes in pen and his signature was cramped...and he made me an offer.

    And I asked for some changes in the contract. Nothing very big. I asked for some changes in subsidiary rights that I never expected to be exercised because I wanted to establish that I wasn't going to accept just anything that was offered. But I didn't know enough about the industry to know if I was being offered a minuscule advance or a fairly good advance.

    Ernest Lilley

    You wanted to establish a dialogue.

    Robert Jordan

    Yes. And I found out that he didn't like beginning writers to ask for changes. He thought that beginning writers should accept what was offered. So the result of my asking for the changes was that I got a letter back saying, "Dear Sir, in view of your contract demands we are withdrawing our offer. Sincerely, Donald A. Wolheim."

    I looked at the two letters and I didn't know why I'd gotten the second, as I hadn't demanded anything. It was actually a very diffident letter, and I had ended by saying, "If any of these requests seem out of line, please let me know." Thus throwing away everything, but I knew that I had no real knowledge of publishing.

    So, I decided to ignore the second letter because the first letter said; you can write.

    That novel that I thought of as a Fantasy was later bought by Jim Baen while he was at Ace as a Science Fiction novel. You may know that Jim doesn't think very highly of fantasy, so he bought it as SF while DAW had bought it as Fantasy. Then Susan Allison came in to replace him when he went to TOR and she didn't like it, so I got the rights back and it's sat on the shelf all this time.

    Ernest Lilley

    And what was this novel that we will never see?

    Robert Jordan

    Its title was Warriors of the Altaii, and you will never see it, or know anything about it. I have not destroyed the manuscript, because it has powerful juju...but in my will I have provisions to have that manuscript burned. But until then I'm afraid to get rid of the juju that resides in it.

    In a way that novel led to me meeting my wife, and it led to me getting my first novel published. Because she knew about that manuscript, when Tom Doherty got the rights to do the Conan novels, he needed the first one very fast so that it would come out the same time the movie came out. And he knew that I had once written a 98,000 word novel in 13 days.

    So he thought I could write something fast, and he was right, and I liked it. It was fun writing something completely over the top, full of purple prose, and in a weak moment I agreed to do five more and the novelization of the second Conan movie.

    I've decided that those things were very good discipline for me. I had to work with a character and a world that had already been created and yet find a way to say something new about the character and the world. That was a very good exercise.

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  • 15

    Interview: Mar 29th, 2004

    Sci Fi Weekly

    You've written a number of Conan books. What aspects of the Conan adventures appealed to you, to get you involved in that project?

    Robert Jordan

    What got me involved in the project was a lot of bullying by my wife and my publisher, my wife being my editor. And at that time, she was also the senior vice president and editorial director of TOR Books.

    I agreed to do one Conan novel—very reluctantly. I had a lot of fun doing it. I searched around to find some time in his life that hadn't been written about and settled on writing about him between the ages of 18 and 22. It is an age range where most young people think they have everything figured out. You know how the world works now and you are ready to take it on, and you are absolutely wrong—you don't know how anything works.

    I had such fun doing that book, in a weak moment I agreed to do five more and a novelization of the second Conan movie [Conan the Destroyer]. By the end, I was glad to get out, to go back to writing my own stuff.

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  • 16

    Interview: Jul 14th, 2005

    ComicCon Reports (Paraphrased)

    Robert Jordan

    He wrote his Conan books about the man as a late teen, early twenties, because that was one of the few parts of his life where there was a gap in previous books and because he wanted to explore Conan's relationships with women. If you've read any of RJ's Conan books, Conan is as clueless and frustrated about understanding women as Rand, Perrin and Mat!

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  • 17

    Interview: Sep, 2005

    Glas Durboraw

    What other books have you written besides the Wheel of Time series? That's the one I'm most familiar with.

    Robert Jordan

    Well, many years ago, for my sins, I wrote seven Conan novels, ah, novels of Conan the Barbarian. I had been asked to do those because 1) my publisher got the chance to do the Conan novels, 2) the first Conan movie was coming out soon, and he wanted the novel fast, 3) he knew that I had once written a 98,000-word novel in thirteen days—well, it was remarkable, but I already had it all laid out in my head and all the research when I started that one—and I said yes to the one, and had so much fun doing that one that in a weak moment I said yes to six more. You know, they kept the wolf from the door for a few years, and that was good, and I also learned some lessons about writing within constraints. When you're trying to find something original to do or say in a world that has been created by somebody else, using a character who has been created by somebody else, it's difficult, and you have to stretch some muscles to be able to do that. I think I actually grew as a writer doing that, by that exercise. I have written...Conan was originally created by Robert Howard in the 1930s. Howard was, as a short story writer, one of the richest men in his West Texas town. When his father died, he promised his father he would take care of his mother. When his mother died, he committed suicide. Now, the reason he committed suicide, frankly, I think was the fact that it was West Texas in the Depression, and I can hardly imagine a bleaker place, and Howard himself firmly believed in reincarnation, and I think he just decided he was going to see what came next.

    As for other books I've written, let's see...I ghost-wrote a novel, an international thriller that shall remain nameless. Well, not a bad book, but it is generally believed that somebody else wrote it, so we'll let it go at that. I wrote what I consider I guess a Western, although it was set in the 1830s and 40s; there was only one major character who was not a Cheyenne Indian. It has been reissued—five or six years ago, I think it was—in hardcover as a novel of the Western experience, and it was received quite nicely. And I wrote three historical novels, the first set during the American Revolution, following the same family. I had intended to do a Southern arc of history. The general arc of history that is studied in the United States and recognized is the move out of New England—Pennsylvania and New York—into the Ohio valley, and from there west to California, but there was a southern arc, which was the move out of Virginia and the Carolinas into Louisiana and Mississippi, and from there into Texas, and from there through New Mexico and Arizona into California. And I wanted to follow that in a series of novels that I originally intended to go from the American Revolution through the Vietnam War, but I'll tell you the truth...I got tired of them. They were doing nicely, but I just got tired of them and said, "I want to do something else."

    Glas Durboraw

    I can sympathize. Some day I hope somebody does something very similar that also tracks the settlers as they came through Knox Landing, along with the Scottish/Irish settlers up there in northern Alabama, because you had of course Mobile, three hundred years old in the south, in southern Alabama [?].

    Robert Jordan

    I had gotten as far as the late 1820s or early 1830s and the family I was tracing, I'd reached as far as Texas, and you could see revolution on the horizon, but it had not arrived yet.

    Glas Durboraw

    [?] That sounds wonderful, and if you ever get inspired to write that again, that would be great.

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  • 18

    Interview: Oct 19th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    Anyway, when he signed my books I just asked him what he thought of the Darrell K. Sweet covers, and he said they were okay, but that he has minimal input on them. Sometimes he suggests scenes, and when he gets to look at the paintings prior to publication he suggest changes, but in the end basically Tor does whatever they want with it.

    A friend of mine ahead of me in line asked RJ if he would ever do any more Conan books and he said no, he only did them because he needed the money at the time. Obviously, he doesn’t need money anymore. ;^)

    So that’s it. Nothing too exciting. At least I got to finally meet him after so long.

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  • 19

    Interview: Nov 22nd, 2005

    Question

    Would you consider writing more Conan stories?

    Robert Jordan

    Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. In other words, never in life, old son.

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  • 20

    Interview: 2005

    Robert Jordan

    To: Ernst Dabel
    Sent: Tuesday, November 29, 2005 12:47 PM
    Subject: Re: Swordsmen

    First off, Ernst, let's go over the five (out of six) who were actually described.

    1) "A lean heron of a fellow."
    2) a "fat man."
    3) a "ginger-haired young splinter."
    4) a "bald man."
    5) a "fork-bearded fellow with shoulders like a blacksmith's." He wore a "too-fine coat," i.e. one clearly above his station.

    None of the six men is bare-chested. The are described as "six ordinary men with swords at their belts, like any man on any street in the city."

    These guys look like extras from a Conan the Barbarian movie. Remember, Ernst, for these guys AND for the Kandori men, their clothing should reflect about 1690-1700 but with Japanese influences. They would not be carrying multiple swords, but rather one each.

    Let's see what he can come up with on another try.

    All my best, Jim

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  • 21

    Interview: Mar, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    Before I start a book I always sit down and try to think how much of the story I can put into it. The outline is in my head until I sit down and start doing what I call a ramble, which is figuring how to put in the bits and pieces. In the beginning, I thought The Wheel of Time was six books and I'd be finished in six years. I actually write quite fast. The first Conan novel I did took 24 days. (I wrote seven Conan books—for my sins—but they paid the bills for a number of years.) For my Western, I was under severe time constraints in the contract so it was 98,000 words in 21 days—a killer of a schedule, especially since I was not working on a computer then, just using an IBM Correcting Selectric!

    I started The Wheel of Time knowing how it began and how it all ended. I could have written the last scene of the last book 20 years ago—the wording would be different, but what happened would be the same. When I was asked to describe the series in six words, I said, 'Cultures clash, worlds change—cope. I know it's only five, but I hate to be wordy.' What I intended to do was a reverse-engineered mythology to change the characters in the first set of scenes into the characters in the last set of scenes, a bunch of innocent country folk changed into people who are not innocent at all. I wanted these boys to be Candides as much as possible, to be full of 'Golly, gee whiz!' at everything they saw once they got out of their home village. Later they could never go back as the same person to the same place they'd known.

    But I'd sit down and figure I could get so much into a story, then begin writing and realize halfway in that I wasn't even halfway through the ramble. I'd have to see how I could rework things and put off some of the story until later. It took me four years to write The Eye of the World, and I still couldn't get as much of the story into it as I wanted; same with The Great Hunt. I finally reached a point where I won't have to do that. For Knife of Dreams I thought, "I've got to get all of that into one book: it's the penultimate volume!" And I did. Well, with one exception, but that's OK. That one exception would probably have added 300 pages to the book but I see how to put it in the last volume in fewer.

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  • 22

    Interview: Oct 21st, 1994

    AOL Chat 2 (Verbatim)

    Question

    Have you written any books previous to the Wheel of Time set?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes.

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  • 23

    Interview: Oct 21st, 1994

    AOL Chat 2 (Verbatim)

    Question

    You have written in many genres, but fantasy seems to be your most proliferate. The Conan and Wheel of Time are the most popular, it would seem. What do you attribute this to?

    Robert Jordan

    Good genes.

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  • 24

    Interview: Oct 21st, 1994

    AOL Chat 2 (Verbatim)

    Question

    What other books have you written under your other pen names?

    Robert Jordan

    A number, in other genres, and they're all out of print at the moment.

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  • 25

    Interview: Apr 30th, 2010

    Richard Fife

    Stepping back, we have just passed the twentieth anniversary of the series and The Eye of the World. Some people have gone so far as to compare The Wheel of Time to Tolkien and his influence on fantasy. How do you feel it has affected fantasy in general?

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Yes, certainly The Times compared them. But, it's just damn good. That is really how it has affected it. A writer friend said he thought the thing that Jim did special was to take Tolkien at one end of the fantasy spectrum and Conan on the other end and combine them, which is interesting for its time.

    Richard Fife

    So, a middle-ground of low, pulp fantasy and high fantasy?

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Well, not low pulp, but barbarian fantasy. The muscular Cimmerian, and those books are really quite good. I am rereading them, and in Conan Chronicles number one, it is very obvious to me, looking back, that Jim was brooding about the events in Afghanistan at that time. He's got them right in there. That is not something you usually find in pulp fiction very often. Where the author is incorporating thoughts about current events into a fantasy world, and of course he has done that: Children of the Light, hello?

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  • 26

    Interview: May 5th, 2010

    Richard Fife

    You are often referred to as Robert Jordan's biggest fan. What were conversations with him like, and did he ever bounce ideas for his writing off of you?

    Wilson Grooms

    Obviously, our conversations started a long, long, long time before The Wheel of Time. The ideas of The Wheel of Time, yeah, he bounced those off me while he was writing other stuff, because this is what he was thinking about.

    Something I haven't told you before, early on, when he was writing the Conan stuff—which I read because it is Jim's work and I like Jim—it wasn't my bailiwick. The Conan stuff was written for a particular demographic and he kept asking me, "What do you think? What do you think?" I would never give in. So, finally, in response to the nitpicking "What do you think", I started a narrative that sounded like a prologue leading into one of the Conan books, any one of them. Generic, but it was one of the Conan books. He just paused, and I looked at him and said, "What?" He said, "Predictable, right?" And I said, "I didn't say a thing, Jim."

    So yes, he'd bounce ideas off me and would say, "You need to get away from this, soon as you can." And the seven of them he wrote were great, but they were what they were. He talked about what he was going to do, and he noodled it around in his head for about ten years before he wrote it. After The Wheel of Time started being written, it was his work, so I didn't talk to him much about it, or he didn't talk to me much about it. If he was thinking about something or an idea, he might bounce it off of me, but because we lived four hours apart and were together less frequently, when we were together it was, "Let's go do something else." Let's go to dinner, or let's go fishing, which he just absolutely loved to do. I liked fishing, he loved fishing, so I'd go fishing because it was time with him and time away from work and the books.

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  • 27

    Interview: Jun 30th, 2010

    Luckers

    Could you give us an insight into Jim's writing process? He was clearly quite methodical in his development, but how did he go about it? Were you involved much outside of your role as editor?

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    I remember that when he was beginning The Great Hunt, we spent a lunchtime discussing how the child of a Maiden of the Spear would be raised. Consider how far ahead that meant he was thinking! Beyond that, he had a magpie approach to the daily news—I was reading one of his Conans the other day, and was struck by how much it reflects the events in Afghanistan of that time.

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  • 28

    Interview: Jun 30th, 2010

    Luckers

    Do you ever read the series for fun?

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Not at the moment. I did read three of his Conans this summer.

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  • 29

    Interview: 2001

    Rochelle O'Gorman

    How did you end up doing writing the Conan books? You picked up what Robert Howard had done, right?

    Robert Jordan

    When Howard committed suicide he left everything to a woman who had been very good to his mother. Today there is a corporation called Conan Properties, which owns the rights to all the original Conan material, the copyrights and so forth. Now, when the first Conan movie was coming out my publisher bought the rights to do some Conan novels written by other people. At first I said no, and he asked me again and I said no because I was working on something else. Then he asked my wife to ask me.

    Now, at that time she was senior vice-president and editorial director for Tor Books. And she was also my editor on everything Tor published by me. So, the upshot of that was I said I'd do one. And I had fun doing it. So I agreed to do five more, plus the novelization of the second movie. But when I had done that I said, "Well, this has been fun, but good-bye."

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  • 30

    Interview: Feb 18th, 1994

    Michael Macchione

    (p 169)

    Piers Anthony

    September 22,1989

    {talking about Hurricane Hugo}...crashing into land...at Charlotte, South Carolina. That was a secondary target; I know an editor at TOR BOOKS who lives there, Harriet McDougal, former senior editor. Her husband is Robert Jordan, author of several Tarzan novels, but don't judge him by that; he's about to get into major fantasy, and will be one of the leading figures in the genre. I know. {...} I read his first huge fantasy epic in manuscript; it hasn't been published yet. {continues on how Harriet helped him publish a book}

    MICHAEL MACCHIONE

    Tarzan—Conan: What's the difference? They are both big muscular men who run around in loincloths.

    JUDY GHIRARDELLI

    ARRGG. I hope this is a mistype by you MPS, and that this was not really printed in a book. Hurricane Hugo hit Charleston, SC, then tracked inland and hit Charlotte, NC. I know—I was living in Charlotte, NC, and the chimney on the apartment above us blew over, collapsing the apartment above us at 5:30 in the morning. That was Friday; they told us to get out on Monday after inspecting. We moved Tuesday. The true eye of the world went over us too...

    Anyhow, when living in Charlotte, much was made about the "ch" effect—people not being able to distinguish Charlotte from Charleston, and Charleston, SC from the same name in West Virginia, so I am a little sensitive. That is why I hope that the Charlotte, SC reference was your mistake Mike, and not Piers Anthony's. I can excuse you, since you live in Delaware, but I would hope that something like a book would get it right.

    Sorry to be venting...

    MICHAEL MACCHIONE

    I just ran to get the book and I'm sorry, but it was Piers Anthony's error. (This is in the same chapter as the Tarzan reference.) Remember, these letters were written freehand and were not proofread, as most books would be. They copied these letters into the book, and edited for style not content.

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  • 31

    Interview: Feb 18th, 1994

    Michael Macchione

    (p 213)

    Piers Anthony

    Convention—November 10,1989

    {Piers Anthony had flown to meet a still paralyzed Jenny at a Sci-Fi convention.} ...As it was, I read myself to sleep on Conan the Defiant by Steve Perry; {...} They say that Robert Jordan is the best Conan writer, but I liked this Perry Conan better than the Jordan Conan I read. Which is not to disparage Jordan; I am highly impressed by his major fantasy.

    MICHAEL MACCHIONE

    Having read the whole book, I consider this high praise. When he wrote these two passages to Jenny, he did not plan on compiling them into a novel. Hence he would only be praising RJ to Jenny, not as a plug but as a good author. He recommends no one else to Jenny in this fashion.

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  • 32

    Interview: 1993

    Hailing Frequency

    How would you compare this multi-volume spinning-out of a single story with the "Conan" books, where you did a number of individual works that were part of a larger, but rather looser, series?

    Robert Jordan

    No comparison. I've made an effort to make each book stand by itself, but at the same time, I've tried to make each one a real part of the whole "Wheel of Time." In something like the "Conan" series, the books are really independent; there is no real relationship between them. In this series, while you could read The Shadow Rising first, and enjoy it, I think, you are going to get more out of it if you have read the first three books. You will pick up things that will seem different because of things you know from the first three books, things that are different from what they seem on the surface. There's a slightly different cast to things that people say and do.

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  • 33

    Interview: Dec 7th, 2000

    CNN Interview (Verbatim)

    Michele Dula Baum

    Before starting the saga of Randland, as it is known to fans, he wrote a historical series called "The Fallon Chronicles" and serialized several "Conan the Barbarian" novels. There are things Jordan wants to write afterwards, too.

    But "Wheel" comes first.

    Robert Jordan

    "I've been warned that if I died before I finished the books, they were going to desecrate my grave," he said with a laugh.

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  • 34

    Interview: Sep, 2000

    Tahir Velimeev

    I am very glad to meet you, dear Mr. Jordan! Welcome to St. Petersburg.

    Robert Jordan

    Thank you! I'm also glad for the chance to visit your beautiful city. I’ve been to not a few places, but this is my first time in Russia. Many thanks to the organizers of the Wanderer Fantasy Convention who invited me to St. Petersburg. And my special thanks to them for the opportunity to visit Peterhof and admire its magnificent fountains. Fountains have fascinated me since childhood ...

    Tahir Velimeev

    What is the proper way to address you?—Mr. Robert Jordan? Or Mr. James Rigney ... Or in some other way?

    Robert Jordan

    Call me, as we do it in America, just James.

    Tahir Velimeev

    Or Robert? ...

    Robert Jordan

    Robert is fine too. I'm used to it. I’m often addressed exactly so in meetings with readers.

    Tahir Velimeev

    By the way, how many names does the multifaceted James Oliver Rigney, Jr. have?

    Robert Jordan

    Not very many, but also not a few. Under the pseudonym Reagan O'Neal the historical novels The Fallon Blood, The Fallon Legacy and The Fallon Pride were published. The events in them takes place during the American Revolution, around my hometown of Charleston. The name Jackson O'Reilly is on the cover of the western Cheyenne Raiders. My critical pieces on theater and dance I signed Chang Lung. And under the pseudonym Robert Jordan the novels of the Conan series and the The Wheel of Time series were published.

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  • 35

    Interview: Apr 21st, 2012

    yks

    Moiraine's blue stone is a dig at Marion Zimmer Bradley.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    When RJ was working on the first Conan book, he got the movie script and was told to stick as close to it as possible (though he did alter some things and later got approached with "man, I HATE what they did to your book"). After the book was published and the movie out, he one day got a letter from Marion Zimmer Bradley threatening to sue RJ for copyright infringement because one of his characters had a (blue) stone hanging on her forehead. RJ then sent a letter back referring her to the studios and the original script in which the stone appeared. The lawsuit never happened and Moiraine has a blue stone on her forehead.

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  • 36

    Interview: Apr, 1997

    SFX

    But despite Jordan's attempts to discourage casual readers, "The Wheel Of Time" has acquired a dedicated and enthusiastic following.

    Robert Jordan

    It's a fantasy War And Peace, a story not only of individuals but also of cultures clashing across a continent. It will take at least three more books to finish. I worry that someone will walk up to me and say, 'I want an end to it now or I'm going to bash your head in.' On the other hand, I've had people threaten to desecrate my grave if I die before I finish it!

    SFX

    But if the main thrust of the story's already mapped out, couldn't another author complete it from Jordan's notes?

    Robert Jordan

    If I die, my computer's hard drive will be reformatted four times. I defy anybody to pull anything off it after that, and I've made arrangements that anyone who tries to finish the series after my death will have their kneecaps removed.

    SFX

    That's an ironic attitude for an author who gained kudos for his additions to Robert E. Howard's Conan saga, surely?

    Robert Jordan

    If he could reach us, I'm sure Howard would strangle me, Andy Offutt and all the rest of us. But I don't want somebody messing around with my characters, putting their boots all over my world.

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  • 37

    Interview: Dec 7th, 2012

    Harriet McDougal

    I've edited every single one of his books except for his Cheyenne Raiders. An agent said to me once, "What if he gave you a real piece of [crap]?" And I said, "But he never would!" Tom Doherty called me; he had gotten the rights to do a Conan the Barbarian novel. And I said, "Well, Jim could do it." And he liked doing it so much, he ended up writing seven of them.

    Tom Doherty

    He was using a new name. As you know, Jim used pen names.

    Narrator

    Over the next decade, Rigney wrote under many pen names: Jackson O'Reilly, Reagan O'Neal, and of course, Robert Jordan.

    Harriet McDougal

    J.O.R.—That was his initials, and I guess the rest just grew because, the way his mind worked, he'd be working on current stuff, but on the back burner, things were cooking away.

    Tom Doherty

    Jim said that he had just dreamed to write a big fantasy.

    Harriet McDougal

    He said his first thought was just, how would it be to be told that you are going to be the savior of the world, but you're going to go mad and kill everyone you love in the process?

    Tom Doherty

    We bought the book in the mid-80s.

    Harriet McDougal

    It was four years of actual work, with words on paper, before he finished The Eye of the World.

    Tom Doherty

    God, I fell in love with it. I read it, you know, and I said, you know, boy, this is big. This is the first thing I thought could sell like Tolkien.

    Harriet McDougal

    The New York Times called Robert Jordan the American heir to Tolkien.

    Tom Doherty

    Pretty strong statement for the times.

    Jason Denzel

    In a matter of three books, Robert Jordan had developed an international following.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Robert Jordan was a genius. He kept so much in his head. He had so much depth and wealth of worldbuilding for this series, it's mind-boggling. We've got somewhere around three million plus words of text. The notes are just as big.

    Tom Doherty

    There are very few things to which people had been willing to give this enormous commitment.

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  • 38

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2013

    Sarah Wilby

    My name is Sarah Wilby, and I'm from here. Actually, I started going to this high school about the time the books came out. So I think this is probably the coolest event that has ever happened in this entire building, what's happening tonight. [laughter]

    My question is—for Harriet—you said Robert Jordan had an engineering job with the government before he started writing books. How heavily did you try to dissuade him from giving that up to write this...this crazy fantasy stuff, because I remember what fantasy books were like at the time these started coming out, and I mean, this changed everything—there was nothing at this level—so he was doing something very, very different.

    Harriet McDougal

    I didn't know him when he quit to start writing. I met him, I guess a year or possibly two after he had stopped, and gave him the second contract he had been offered. The first was a contract given to him by DAW books, the little skinny ones with the yellow spine? And then the contract came with this nice, long letter from Donald Wollheim, the publisher. And he wrote back—he'd been taking a course in Business Law at the College of Charleston—and said, "Oh, I'm so glad to have your offer, but could I have a little more than five percent of the movie rights?" [laughter] Or something like that. And Wollheim wrote back a one-line letter: "In view of your contract attitude, I withdraw my offer." [laughter] But he was an optimist, and at that, rather madly, and chose to remember that on his first submission he'd gotten an offer, rather than "the son-of-a-gun withdrew the offer, and I will therefore be discouraged."

    So I gave him what was a contract for his first published book, which was a historical novel called The Fallon Blood. And then, Doherty wanted somebody to write a Conan novel, after three Fallons, and distribution was drying up on the third book. And I said, well, because of this Wollheim rejection, I knew that Jim could write a Conan, and he said, "I don't want to do that." And three weeks later, I hadn't thought of anybody else, and I said [with pout] "Please!" With the lip...and he said, "Don't wiggle that thing at me, Harriet!" [laughter] So he did, and he liked it so much he did seven.

    And so...I mean it was long after his quitting his job that this began, and I had nothing to do with that. [laughter] Except that, in the middle of all this, it looked as if my imprint—which had published his first thing and all—was going to go belly-up, and I was in the yard pulling wild onions, which is what I do in moments of insane stress, cause you never get rid of wild onions—it's impossible—and I was out there pulling these things up, saying "I can't go back to New York; I can't get a job; I'm in my f—" I guess I was forty. Anyway, "I'm forty; I'm too old!" You can't climb the corporate ladder after that. And he said, "Harriet, I can't go back to being an engineer for the Navy now that I've been writing Conan the Barbarian. Do you think they'll let me anywhere near their nuclear subs?" [laughter] And I looked up at him, and I laughed, and I said, "I guess not; we're both doomed!" [laughter]

    Sarah Wilby

    Thank you very much, all of you.

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  • 39

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2013

    Question

    What is your best or maybe most important memory to you through the entire process of working the books?

    Harriet McDougal

    Well, I'll never forget when my husband handed to me the first section of The Eye of the World—it was about a third of the book—and it knocked me off my perch. And I'll tell you, I called Tom Doherty, and said, "Tom, you'll have to read this one," and he said, "Why?" [laughter] When he founded Tor, he said he wanted a company where he could always read everything that he published, and Jim said, "It's not going to be long before he said, 'I want to read all the "read" books that I publish.' " And he had been—at that point, Robert Jordan had been writing Conan the Barbarian, which were not significant record-breaking novels. They were very good, but they were what we call midlist. [?] I said because either after—I've forgotten what it was; seven years of marriage?—"Either after seven years of marriage, I have fallen into the 'wife trap' and can't tell whether it's good or not, just cause I've married Jordan—and either that, or this thing is wonderful. That's why."

    And so, he did read it, and I started—he was my working [?] publish it, but he did support the book. And as it went on, he was giving it to me in [?], and at one point I said to him, "Now, when we get to Tar Valon...." He said, "We don't get there in this book." [laughter] I said, "Okay." And then, when they go to Rhuidean—that surpassed the beginning....[?]....just absolutely gorgeous, gorgeous writing. So that was high. And in one of the books—and I've honestly forgotten which one it was—I said, "Honey, this is a boring section. You've got talking heads, talking heads, talking heads. Can't something happen?" So somebody gets killed. [laughter]

    Footnote

    Harriet has told this story before here.

    Brandon Sanderson

    And you know, Tom once told me—this is the guy who founded Tor, Tom Doherty, and it was his company all through the 80s—he once told me he sold the company in order to get the capital after reading The Eye of the World, that he thought, "I need money to promote this book, to make it a best seller." And that was one of the main things, he said, that convinced him to sell the company.

    Harriet McDougal

    I never knew that. That's a hell of a story. Anyway, he did do a splendid job in publishing it. There used to be something called the American Booksellers' Association, and there was a huge convention in the spring. He had gone to Dallas to hand out previews to booksellers, which was common in those days, but what was not common in those days is that he had done a double, full-color cover on the book. Nobody did that—they had those gray covers, with plain type—and that startled all of them. It just really did; he just did what he does better than anybody else, and he did it with The Eye of the World. He was just a wonderful publisher all through the series.

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  • 40

    Interview: Feb 7th, 2013

    Robert Moreau

    I asked Harriet what made Jim want to write fantasy.

    Harriet McDougal

    She said that originally he was against it, but she got him to write a Conan book, and he loved it and kept writing fantasy. So we have her to thank even more then just being an awesome editor.

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  • 41

    Interview: Mar 18th, 2013

    Tom Doherty

    By the time he was working on The Fallon Pride, he had already said to me and you both that he wanted to write a great epic fantasy.

    Harriet McDougal

    Yep. He wanted to write everything. I remember you called and you'd gotten the rights from Conan Properties to do a Conan novel, but you wanted it in time for the first Conan movie. Not that it would be connected to the movie, but obviously to get a ride on it.

    Tom Doherty

    Yeah.

    Harriet McDougal

    Jim Baen was working with us at the time. I said: "Why don't you ask Baen?" Jim said: "Baen doesn't like muscular fantasy, that's why." I remembered the first thing of Jim/Robert Jordan's that I ever saw, a manuscript called Warriors of the Altaii, which has still not been published. I think four or five contracts came out of that manuscript, including my own contract. A first novel is so dangerous because so many people start novels and never finish them, but I saw that he could indeed finish something. It was pretty muscular fantasy. I don't remember anything about it except the hero is shackled to a stone wall in a prison cell. The stone floor rumbles open and great tentacles emerge from it at the end of the chapter.

    So I asked him about the Conan novel, and he said no. Three weeks later Doherty hadn't given up, and he called me and said: "I can't think who else would do." I went back to Jim and said please, and he finally said he'd do it. And then he liked it so much that he did six more.

    Tom Doherty

    He cut his teeth on those.

    Harriet McDougal

    And then, after he stopped writing them, he edited a bunch of Conans. Once he had to take a plane somewhere and said: "Harriet, I forgot to write the sales copy for Conan the Whatever‑It‑Was", so I ended up having to write it, about Conan up against the thieving little wazir. I read as few pages as possible, you know, to get the hang of that thing. The sell line ended up being "Sell that Conan down, boys. Turn that Conan round. Rack that Conan round."

    Tom Doherty

    Those Conan books were fun, though. I never read his first novel [Warriors of the Altaii], but if it was like the Conan books, why didn't we ever publish it?

    Harriet McDougal

    Well, because I sent it to [Jim] Baen at Ace. Baen bought it for Ace, so it was sold. But then he left Ace, and Susan Allison came in, and she didn't like it. Finally, after about a year he wrote her or called her and said: "Would you like me to do some stuff on it?" I don't know what she said, but Jim said, it's the women, and she said I'm so glad you understand. "Tell me what you want me to change and I'll be glad to do it."—another year goes by and nothing happens. I said: "Honey, I think you need to ask for the rights back." He did, and she gave him the rights back.

    So, that manuscript got him a contract with me. It got him a contract with Ace. Before we ever met, he'd originally sent it to Donald Wollheim at DAW, who sent him a long single‑spaced letter with no margins, obviously written at home. Jim had been taking a course in business law of some kind, because he knew he wanted to write, so he wrote back and said: "Thank you so much, Mr. Wollheim, but I wondered if I could have a little more? Five percent of the movie rights?" Or maybe it was the foreign rights. Wollheim wrote him a one‑line letter back: "In view of your contract attitude, I withdraw my offer." So that's three contracts this book has given him.

    Tom Doherty

    But we didn't publish The Eye of the World until 1990, so why didn't we ever do Warriors of the Altaii? It would have seemed a natural fit while he was doing the Conans.

    Harriet McDougal

    I don't know. We never thought of it. We were busy. I guess I'm embarrassed to say I think it maybe was sort of like a John Norman novel . . . not something you’d really want to build a career on.

    Warriors of the Altaii needed a lot of work. At one point he decided it needed a rewrite, and I said: "Just don't." But old Warriors glows with a strange green light. All those contracts came slurping out of that book. It's the book that made me give him the historical contract. It had a beginning, a middle, and an end. He could follow through. And he was a wild bird.

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