art by Jake Johnson

Theoryland Resources

WoT Interview Search

Search the most comprehensive database of interviews and book signings from Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson and the rest of Team Jordan.

Wheel of Time News

An Hour With Harriet

2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.

The Bell Tolls

2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."

Theoryland Community

Members: 7653

Logged In (0):

Newest Members:johnroserking, petermorris, johnadanbvv, AndrewHB, jofwu, Salemcat1, Dhakatimesnews, amazingz, Sasooner, Hasib123,

Theoryland Tweets

WoT Interview Search

Home | Interview Database

Your search for the tag 'harriet' yielded 767 results

  • 1

    Interview: Oct 21st, 1994

    AOL Chat 1 (Verbatim)

    Sharon

    Is your wife on the book signing tour with you—if so will she be at the signings?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes and yes.

    Tags

  • 2

    Interview: Jul, 2002

    Question

    Is there any scene in The Wheel of Time that was particularly difficult to write? Why? Are you satisfied with how it came out?

    Robert Jordan

    Too many scenes were difficult to write for me to list them. There’s seldom any warning which they will be; I have begun scenes that I was sure would be difficult only to have them roll out like a carpet, while other scenes, I’ve thought would be a snap only to have to carve them out of stone with my teeth. As to why, now...if I knew why, then they probably wouldn’t be difficult, now would they? The strange thing is that the scenes which were difficult often turn out to be the best. So Harriet says, anyway. At least a dozen times I’ve told her that I needed to work more on a particular scene only to have her tell me that it was some of the most beautiful writing in the book and I mustn’t touch it.

    Tags

  • 3

    Interview: Jul, 2002

    Question

    Did you see the Lord of the Rings movie? What did you think of it? What is your favorite fantasy movie?

    Robert Jordan

    Oh, yes; Harriet and I only waited long enough for the crowds to thin out a little before we went. After all, we both read the books the first time back when they first became available in the United States, and I myself have re-read them perhaps a dozen times since. I thought the movie was most excellent! It is well-crafted and well-acted, it follows the books to a fair degree, and the changes, for the most part, were necessary to fit it into a reasonable length for a movie. Making Arwen more prominent was necessary, too, since she is barely there in the book, but at least they resisted the temptation to make her a sword-babe, though it appears that took quite an effort. At the moment, I would have to say that my favorite fantasy movies are Fellowship of the Ring and Excalibur, an old film about King Arthur. Rent it some time and take a look.

    Tags

  • 4

    Interview: Jul, 2002

    Question

    What in any of the books do you wish you could change?

    Robert Jordan

    I would change a great deal, and at the same time, nothing. I would change nothing because (1) I am satisfied with the story, since it is running exactly the way I want, if a bit longer, and the characters are developing exactly as planned, and (2) once I am finished with a book, I don’t spend any time worrying over what I could have done differently. I’m finished with it and put it out of my head, by and large. There’s a new book that has my attention, now. And I would change a great deal because I’m never satisfied with the writing itself, with the flow of words. I always believe I can do it better. Just have to run through it one more time, and maybe one more after that, and maybe...if it weren’t for deadlines, and Harriet doing her patented “editorial vulture perched on the back of the writer’s chair” imitation (with apologies to Charles Schulz), I suppose I could keep re-writing the same book for five years. Maybe ten.

    Tags

  • 5

    Interview: Jul, 2002

    Question

    After Crossroads of Twilight is published, how many more books will there be in The Wheel of Time series? Will there be another spin-off series or another completely unrelated fantasy series?

    Robert Jordan

    After Crossroads of Twilight, there will be two more books, knock wood, God willing and the creek don’t rise. I never intended The Wheel of Time to be this long. The story is progressing the way I planned, but from the beginning I believed I could tell it in many fewer words, many fewer volumes. When I finish WHEEL, I have no plans for spin-offs or sequels. I intend to go on to something new. My plans are for another fantasy series, though shorter than Wheel, it is to be hoped. It will be set in a different world with different cultures and different problems, though it will be in many ways another story of the clash of cultures, cultures undergoing change. And I suppose the difficulties that men and women have understanding one another will play a part, large or small, since they have done so in every book I’ve ever written, with one exception. My editor—Harriet, for those who don’t already know—also says that it will be a chance for people to see inside the Seanchan Empire. It won’t be the Seanchan Empire, of course, but it will be the same sort of stratified, hierarchical culture, even more so than Seanchan.

    Tags

  • 6

    Interview: Jul, 2002

    Question

    As your editor, how much influence does your wife Harriet have over the final draft of each book? Do you collaborate on the plot elements before each book is written?

    Robert Jordan

    As my editor, Harriet has a great deal of influence over the final draft of each book. She is my editor, after all. She is the one who says things like, “You can do better here” and “You didn’t convince me here.” But no, we don’t collaborate on plot elements. Occasionally I will hash over a scene with her, or check with her to see whether I have had a female character react in a way that she, as a woman, will believe that a woman would react, but she would no sooner put her nose into trying to lay out my story than I would stick mine into trying to set up her poems. We’ve never come to divorce—at least, I haven’t; I can’t say about her—and we both think it best to keep clear of motives for murder.

    Tags

  • 7

    Interview: Jan, 1991

    Starlog Interview (Verbatim)

    William B. Thompson

    As to his various pen names, their use chiefly reflects Jordan's desire for privacy for himself and his wife, publisher and editor Harriett P. McDougal, with whom Jordan shares a pre-Revolutionary War home.

    Robert Jordan

    "There's also a commercial consideration having to do with what publishers will accept. If I'd write a horror novel under the name Robert Jordan, publishers will accept. But if I went with a Robert Jordan mystery—that far out of genre—there would probably be a big fight over it, the kind of distraction I would just as soon avoid. Not that I haven't had my share of disagreements with editors and publishers.

    "Beyond all that, I also enjoy the multiple identities."

    Tags

  • 8

    Interview: Dec, 1993

    Robert Jordan

    With regard to the covers, both my editor and I have fought long and hard to get them to be the way they should be. And obviously with a high futility quotient. Countless descriptions of Trollocs, pointing out that Rand is approximately 6'5"–6'6" tall, descriptions of the swords, of Perrin's axe, etc.

    The "dwarf Moiraine on a pony" problem was only the first, along with Lan being in armor and the Robin Hood clothes. I do not assign blame. On those occasions when either my editor or I have been able to speak directly to Darryl Sweet, the problems in sketches have been solved handily for the most part. (You did not realize that there were discrepancies in the sketches which never made it onto the covers, did you?) Sometimes you just give up after awhile; with Rand's height, for instance. After five books showing him as maybe 6' tall, I've simply bagged trying for the extra 6". As for the changing hair colors, I fear you must look to the printing process for that blame. When we see the cover painting, all colors are as we wish them to be, but then we must hope that the colors are reproduced with some degree of faithfulness on the actual covers. The expense of printing covers and/or dust jackets is such that no publisher is going to throw away a set and reprint simply because the characters' hair has changed color.

    Now for your questions.

    Tags

  • 9

    Interview: Dec, 1993

    Question

    We don't want to pry; however it was rumored that you had suffered a heart attack recently and your devoted readers are concerned for your welfare.

    Robert Jordan

    No, I did not have a heart attack, nor any sort of medical problem whatsoever. My wife did have heart surgery, she has made a full recovery; this may be the source of the rumors. Many thanks for your concern.

    Tags

  • 10

    Interview: Dec 8th, 1993

    Robert Jordan

    I am not overly fond of the covers myself. My editor and I have fought long and hard to try to make them right, and on those occasions when we were able to speak directly to Darryl Sweet (the cover artist) most problems were taken care of in short order. On other occasions, though, when we had to go through other people at Tor, seemingly endless descriptions of people, clothes, weapons, Trollocs, etc. produced either nothing like what I envisioned or else something only close.

    Tags

  • 11

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Daniel Rouk

    No Jordan quotes are exact... I didn't write anything down or have a tape of it. (sorry)

    Robert Jordan

    Robert Jordan began writing after a pretty severe (the description grossed Erica out) knee injury kept him idle. He was in the government service at the time, and after using the time to write his first book, his boss thought he was faking the injury simply to write. Jordan was upset because his boss's boss believed that, and put in a resignation with two weeks notice. Upset that he was leaving, his boss asked him to stay, mentioning that he was needed on current projects. Jordan had cleaned up his desk and finished those however. The boss mentioned that he was needed on future projects. Jordan mentioned that he had submitted his resignation. The boss mentioned that if he quit Jordan would never be able to work in the government again. Jordan asked if he could have that in writing.

    He says his wife disbelieves this ever happened, but Jordan swears it's true!

    Tags

  • 12

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    All the female characters are based on his wife. I asked if she pulls her hair, and Jordan responded: "She pulls mine."

    Tags

  • 13

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    Easing the Badger: An in joke between RJ and wife. "A ceremony."

    Tags

  • 14

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    Red Ajah: not all lesbians—just manhaters. RJ knows non-manhating lesbians. Not based at all on Agnes Scott girls. Based on some girls he knew as a child.

    All women in Randland—based on his wife. "Does she tug her hair?" "No. Mine."

    Tags

  • 15

    Interview: Oct 19th, 1994

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Mykael

    Are any of your characters based on anyone you know?

    Robert Jordan

    All of the women are based on my wife.

    Tags

  • 16

    Interview: Oct 19th, 1994

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Andrew S

    Did you think you were going to write only the first book without sequels? If your wife is all the female characters are you all the male ones?

    Robert Jordan

    No, I knew from the start that I was writing something that would be multiple books. I just never knew how many, exactly. The last question: Probably, God help me. Never thought of it that way, though.

    Footnote

    In the Starlog interview, RJ seems to have indicated that it was originally intended to be one book.

    Tags

  • 17

    Interview: Oct 19th, 1994

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    WizOp Wilma Meier

    Night Mr. Jordan! And thank you Patrick for your assistance!

    Patrick Nielsen Hayden

    Natalie Farsi, Tor's publicist, says thank you all. I say thank you all. RJ and Harriet are two tired folks. But this was fun. And we're off. Have a good time!

    Footnote

    RJ didn't have internet access at the time, so he most likely joined the chat at the Tor office with Harriet.

    Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden

    Tags

  • 18

    Interview: Oct 20th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    Not only did he decline to set the number of future WoT books, but he denied ever setting a number and says he never planned it to be only a trilogy. But he seemed to indicate he was planning 9-10 books total. When faced with the prospect of about twelve books, his wife threatened to divorce him and his editor began to make jokes about the Irish Mafia. (Apparently they don't break your kneecaps, they take out your anklebones; "It must be a cultural thing" said Jordan.)

    Tags

  • 19

    Interview: Oct 20th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    He writes Elizabethan sonnets to his wife but will not publish them. Someone in the audience supported him in this quoting Heinlein that "a poet who reads his work in public may have other nasty habits." Jordan said he never reads any of his work.

    Tags

  • 20

    Interview: Oct 20th, 1994

    Dennis Higbee

    I was at the Robert Jordan signing today at Forbidden Planet on 12th and Broadway in lower Manhattan, NYC. I'm not going to set the scene, except to say that the line wasn't too long, and it moved well. I found him and his wife (who was also present) to be a charming and personable couple. They went out of their way to by nice and patiently answered all my questions. None of them were really of any significance, but he did identify me as a net-denizen from the question "Is Bela ta'veren?" (Yes, I know it's been done, but I could not help myself.)

    Tags

  • 21

    Interview: Oct 22nd, 1994

    Pam Korda

    David's wife took a picture of David, John, me, and RJ. I suppose he'll upload it sometime.

    John, Scot May, me, and my minions went for pizza afterwards.

    Mrs. Robert Jordan liked my T-shirt.

    Pam "not dead yet" Korda

    Tags

  • 22

    Interview: Oct 22nd, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    At one point, RJ raised his voice to scold his wife, "No! No hints! They can figure it out!" She was grinning, apparently not chagrined at all. But she did stop saying any more at that point. This leads me to believe that Mr. Jordan enjoys immensely weaving the puzzle, as much as writing the book.

    He repeatedly reassured us that we have all the clues we need to figure out who killed Asmodean.

    Tags

  • 23

    Interview: 2010

    Brandon Sanderson (14 July 2010)

    Re: The Outriggers novels. I've posted about this on my website. Short answer is: It's up to Harriet, but probably not.

    ANDREA MILLHOUSE

    Has there been any further discussion of the outriggers between you and Harriet?

    BRANDON SANDERSON (15 JULY)

    There has not. Just the original "What do you think?" discussion. Basically, we decided to shelve it until A Memory of Light was done.

    MATTHEW SODDY (14 JULY)

    I noticed that you mentioned the Outriggers that Mr. Jordan was planning... Are you planning on writing those as well?

    BRANDON SANDERSON (15 JULY)

    Short answer: Probably not. Longer answer: We'll decide after A Memory of Light is done, but are hesitant.

    Tags

  • 24

    Interview: 2010

    Corbin Henderson (29 July 2010)

    If you die, who would ask to finish the series for you?

    Brandon Sanderson (29 July 2010)

    WoT? Wouldn't be my choice, it would be Harriet's. But I think Tad Williams would do an awesome job.

    Tags

  • 25

    Interview: 2010

    Shivam Bhatt (13 August 2010)

    Do you ever feel that you're sharing too much info with all these updates?

    Brandon Sanderson (13 August 2010)

    Don't know. I worry about it mostly for Harriet's sake. I try to reign myself in, actually. I'd probably share more...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    ...but I don't want to make Harriet uncomfortable. This isn't my world, it's hers.

    Tags

  • 26

    Interview: 2010

    Andrea Millhouse (13 August 2010)

    Compared to the A Memory of Light note content and detail how much was left for the remaining two prequels? Were they as detailed?

    Brandon Sanderson (14 August 2010)

    There are lots of notes for everything. But RJ did not leave any scenes written, which is a big difference.

    MAGGIE MELCHIOR (13 August)

    Will you ever give us annotations for WoT like you did for your other books? Or would Harriet & Co. say no?

    BRANDON SANDERSON (14 August)

    This isn't likely to happen, as I don't think Harriet would want me to do it.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    However, a book length work of annotations plus some of Mr. Jordan's notes might be possible. It will be up to Harriet.

    Tags

  • 27

    Interview: Oct 23rd, 1994

    Brian Bax

    Since I lived in the sticks, I decided to differ from the norm and went to the signing thinking there wouldn't be a vast crowd, I was wrong sigh. I did manage to get all of my books signed which was great. I talked with RJ, but he appeared to be very distant which is understandable considering his position. What was really neat was that I was able to talk with Mrs. Jordan for 20 minutes. First off, she was an angel. She talked a lot about things that her husband couldn't since he was busy signing books.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    It turns out that she's an editor for Tor, not only for her husband's work but for others as well. She said that The Eye of the World took four years to write because he had to create all of the countries in Randland first. As has been mentioned by others on the net, his first idea for the series is going to be the last scene; his next was the breaking down of Rand's door in The Eye of the World. The rest has been ad lib. from there.

    Tags

  • 28

    Interview: Oct 23rd, 1994

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Next we talked about Lord of Chaos and its creation. It took a long time to compile, in fact TOO much time. It was "supposed" to be done by April 1994 at the latest. However, it wasn't even close to being done. Somewhere past the deadline, they lost a chapter [I believe it was Dumai's Wells, which might explain why it's so choppy]. They flew RJ up to New York and he wrote the final parts in a hotel for about two weeks. He finished on August 28, 1994. Tor had to do MAJOR overtime to check and edit it for its Oct. 12 release date. Mrs. Jordan also added that Lord of Chaos was their most difficult one composed ever. It was a real marker as to how fast they could produce a novel at this point in the series. After his book signing tour he's going straight to his word processor and type through Thanksgiving and probably Xmas, 'cause he hasn't even started yet. RJ made an arrangement with a manager (I think) from Tor for a March deadline. If book seven wasn't completed by that time, then the fall release would be cancelled, meaning that book seven will not be released to as late as Fall 1996 possibly. This manager seems to have forgotten this arrangement and wanted to have it released by fall 1995, under pressure from Tor publishing and the parent St. Martin's it appears.

    Tags

  • 29

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brandon Sanderson (3 January 2011)

    Reading the start of The Eye of the World reminds me that there's an extra person in the cover art. (More obvious in the secondary, inside piece, I think.)

    RINA

    In the cover of The Eye of the World there's only Moraine, Lan, and one boy to the side. Am I looking at the wrong one?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    There are two covers. One ended up on the inside flaps. The outer one wraps around, though, and I think he's in both.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Here's the secondary cover: http://bit.ly/hZu0Uw

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    HCFFs already know who that person is, but it's a fun Easter egg to know that there's a story behind that extra figure.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    By the way, HCFF stands for "Hard Core Fan Freak" for those asking. They're self named. It's what many uber-wot-geeks call themselves.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Mr. Jordan wrote a large chunk of The Eye of the World with a fourth Two Rivers lad going along with Perrin, Mat, and Rand. Was to be a major character.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Harriet talked him out of it, pointing out that the fourth lad never did anything useful. @theoryland, do you guys have a good thread on him?

    TEREZ

    Nah, nothing to talk about really. But here is RJ saying that: http://bit.ly/RJ-BN2000

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I've asked Harriet if she could dig up any of the old manuscript with the fourth ta'veren in it, but she's not certain they have any.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    She said she thinks he was Dannil, but couldn't remember for certain. Many think he was Ewin—a good guess and a possibility.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Cover art was commissioned when he was still a main character, and it was too late to change it when he was removed.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Looks like the fourth ta'veren was Dannil, in another form: http://bit.ly/h0iDIO (Look for Liandra's question.)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Jason from @dragonmount says: "RJ once told me that Daniell's heroics ended up being done by the other Two Rivers boys."

    AZRAL HANAN

    What role would the so-called 'Fourth' ta'veren have played if he had been written into the story? Could you elaborate?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I'd like to see the original drafts if I could. I do know RJ said his part was split among the other three.

    RINA

    Is the fourth boy (Dannil)'s name pronounced [dan-nil] or [daniel]?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I say the first.

    Footnote

    Some fans think this is a BS story made up as an inside joke between RJ and Harriet about the cover art, mostly because the concept of three heroes seems to work better with the mythology that RJ used to develop them.

    Tags

  • 30

    Interview: Oct 25th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    Speaking of the Net, Jordan did say (as noted before) that he'd read the FAQ, and was both impressed and amused by it. We got a lot of stuff right, and a lot of stuff wrong. We also have based a lot of discussion on "facts" we deduced that were actually wrong.

    He DID say that he had done some things in response to net.speculations. First, if we seemed to be getting too close to something he had intended to stay hidden for a while longer, he would tone it done in later books. And if we seemed to be going off on an incredible tangent (the "How could they think THAT?" sort of thing) he would correct it. In both cases, however, he only did this if it could be fitted unobtrusively into the book.

    Naturally, he refused to provide specifics. I asked if the linking discussion on the Net had led to the glossary entry in Lord of Chaos (which discussed linking in some depth). He said no, the info about linking has been in his notes all along, but he had to cut it out of previous glossaries in order to save space.

    Tony Zbaraschuk

    [I was discussing Moghedien's nature at this point, as an example of how wrong some of our deductions were [specifically mine about Moghedien's exact identity and the nature of her companions—see the FAQ, and compare with the Salidar sections in Lord of Chaos] and said that it was almost impossible to get a straight answer (or any info) out of Moghedien, and Harriet Jordan said that that was a lot like her husband; it was very hard to get info out of him.]

    Tags

  • 31

    Interview: Oct 25th, 1994

    Question

    Which of the three (Elayne, Min, Aviendha) do you like best? I'm not asking which one Rand is going to get; which one is your favorite?

    Robert Jordan

    All my female characters are based on my wife. Am I supposed to dislike something about her?

    Tags

  • 32

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brandon Sanderson (6 January 2011)

    Nynaeve is a divisive force among WoT fans. Yes, she likes to call men wool-headed. Next time you read, though, watch her actions.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    She often speaks in a way influenced by her culture. But if you watch her body language and intent, she's a very different person.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    An excellent example of this is her conversation with Rand in The Eye of the World 16. She very reasonable, empathetic, and treats Rand as an adult.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yes, she calls all men wool-headed. If you want to understand Nynaeve, see these comments as kin to a Seanchan "May she live forever".

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Sure, she means them. Kind of. But mostly, they're just things you say when you are part of her culture.

    LEAH DEHNEL

    Its not just Nynaeve though, there's not a main character who is a woman who doesn't voice these sentiments at least once...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    That's why I argue it's cultural. Makes sense in a culture where men who have magic are a danger, but women are a resource.

    MIGNON FOGARTY

    I find Nynaeve very annoying. She's such an irrational pill.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Lol. I can't help seeing her, even still, as a big sister.

    BRANDON SANDERSON (7 JANUARY)

    "Dresses were not made for stalking."—Nynaeve, trying to sneak while wearing one. Gender roles are fascinating in the WoT. For example...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Harriet edits so we're careful to use non-gender-specific terms. Fisher instead of fishermen, as that's the preferred WoT usage.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    The world has blatant sexism on both sides, and yet, at the same time there's far more gender equality than found in most cultures.

    Tags

  • 33

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brandon Sanderson (6 January 2011)

    Amusingly, as a young man, I was annoyed at Nynaeve and Moiraine. But I didn't bat an eye when the boys ran off alone in Shadar Logoth.

    KAT R

    How old were you when you first started reading WoT books?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    14 or 15. It was right around my birthday, so I don't know if it was before or after.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Speaking of Shadar Logoth, Harriet tells a story involving it. Tor wanted to print small teasers of The Eye of the World to distribute and hook folks.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Harriet, the editor, insisted that the booklets go all the way to Shadar Logoth. She thought that would be sure to draw people in.

    Tags

  • 34

    Interview: 2010

    Candice Haase (8 November 2010)

    One thing our family is looking forward to is the compendium when the story ends. Will you be helping?

    Brandon Sanderson (8 November 2010)

    It is mostly Harriet/Maria. But I have some requests I plan to put in. :)

    Tags

  • 35

    Interview: 2010

    Matt Hatch (8 November 2010)

    Was Asmodean killed with balefire?

    Brandon Sanderson (8 November 2010)

    I will see if I can give additional details. I'll ask Maria and Harriet for their read.

    Tags

  • 36

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brandon Sanderson (1 March 2011)

    Finally, the first Mat viewpoint comes almost 1/3 into The Dragon Reborn. It just doesn't feel like the Wheel of Time to me until Mat is himself.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Amanda on Facebook points out that it was good RJ waited to give a Mat VP; if it had been earlier, he'd have felt less awesome.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    This is a good insight; dagger-tied Mat was frail, paranoid; that might have tainted perception of him strongly if we'd had a VP.

    DARTH ANDREA

    I have always felt that in The Eye of the World Mat was just baggage, in The Great Hunt he was a McGuffin, but in The Dragon Reborn his story truly starts.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Agreed.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Siuan to Mat: You remind me of my uncle...died pulling children out of a burning house... Will you be there when the flames are high?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    This feels like a perfect place for him to step to center stage, as this is the book where we lose Rand for the first time.

    KURT MADSEN

    Wait, we lose Rand!?!

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    He's not in the third book very much. He comes back in the fourth.

    JUSTIN BRADY

    Do you have any insight into how at the start of The Dragon Reborn, Rand appears more 'mad' than he was at the end of The Great Hunt?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    He is doing a poor job of dealing with having killed a person for the first time.

    FOOTNOTE—TEREZ

    Brandon might be speaking from the notes, but I rather thought it had more to do with the fact that he was proclaimed against his will by the heroes of the horn, and by his battle being broadcast for all of Falme. He was trying to resist saidin and failing, trying to figure out what to do with it and failing, and Callandor was calling him in his dreams. Who knows what else was in his dreams. He was channeling tainted saidin, and suffering from the unhealing wound given to him by Ishamael (presumably with the True Power). Turak played a part in the downward spiral, but I don't think it was really the catalyst. (Though knowing Rand, it was probably a convenient thing to dwell upon so as to avoid having to dwell too much upon the rest.) And of course, Turak was not the first person he killed, though Rand apparently didn't realize he killed Aginor (this has actually been debated) and the men in Four Kings.

    J MICHAEL SCHMIDT

    I hear you loud and clear! I love when [Mat] first learns about his Luck. Was RJ method writing it feels real watching Mat?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    RJ was a 'method writer' in many ways. He very much got into a character. Harriet tells stories about it.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    @josephpeavey asked me to share a story about RJ "Method writing." Well, Harriet had a great one...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    She says she'd catch him slinking into the house, walking with a different mood. She knew he'd been writing Padan Fain that day.

    Tags

  • 37

    Interview: 2012

    Simon Dovey (16 March 2011)

    Is March 2012 an accurate publishing date for A Memory of Light?

    Brandon Sanderson (16 March 2011)

    I'm basically saying "Sometime in 2012." It will depend mostly on how long revisions take.

    Austin Moore (12 APRIL)

    If book doesn't make March deadline, will it be April or would it be bumped back further for a better release period?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I honestly don't know. That's going to be Tom and Harriet's decision.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I just need to make sure I turn it in late this year sometime; from there, it could be launched any time 2012 they want.

    Footnote

    The release date ended up being pushed back first to November 2012 (announced at JordanCon 2011) and then to January 2013.

    Tags

  • 38

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brandon Sanderson (18 January 2011)

    Another reason why I find Nynaeve one of the WoT's most rational characters: compare her and Lan in Tear to Perrin/Faile or Elayne/Rand.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    As I often post, the way Perrin/Mat/Rand/Egwene view her distort our perception, but the facts prove her side of things more often.

    FOOTNOTE—TEREZ

    Nynaeve can be very irrational at times, and I don't think it's a matter of distorted perception. A perfect example from her own point of view, in Lord of Chaos: 'Fire and Spirit' (one of Harriet's lovely double-meanings):

    Unable to look at Elayne, she started walking again. "You had every right to laugh. I... " She swallowed hard. "I made a complete fool of myself." She had. A few sips, Theodrin said; a cup. And she emptied the pitcher. If you were going to fail, better to have some other reason than that you just could not do it. "You should have sent for that bucket and dunked my head until I could recite The Great Hunt of the Horn without a mistake." She risked a glance from the corner of her eye. Small spots of color rested in Elayne’s cheeks. So there had been mention of a bucket.

    "It could happen to anyone," the other woman said simply.

    Nynaeve felt her own cheeks heating. When it had happened to Elayne, she had dunked the girl to wash away the wine. "You should have done whatever you needed to... to sober me."

    It was quite the oddest argument Nynaeve could remember, with her insisting she had been a total fool and deserved whatever came of it, while Elayne made excuse after excuse for her. Nynaeve did not understand why it felt so refreshing, taking all the blame on herself that way. She could not recall ever doing that before, not without hedging as far as she was able. She very nearly got angry with Elayne for not agreeing that she had been a childish buffoon. It lasted until they reached the small thatched house on the edge of the village where Logain was kept.

    "If you don’t stop this," Elayne said finally, "I vow I’ll send for a bucket of water right this instant."

    Nynaeve opened her mouth, then closed it again. Even in this newfound euphoria of admitting she had been wrong, that was going too far. Feeling this good, she could not face Logain. Feeling this good, it would be useless anyway, without Moghedien and the bracelet she definitely felt too fine to put on.

    And of course, all that was to justify the rough treatment she gave Elayne in Tanchico.

    LIRA LEIRNER

    Surely Egwene's more rational even than Nynaeve, even in the way she deals with Gawyn despite KNOWING she'll bond him.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Looking at Egwene/Nynaeve's interactions in these early books, Egwene still has a lot to learn. She gets there.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    They have very different perspectives, though, which often brings them to arguments. Nynaeve sees people; Egwene sees goals.

    DAN HIRDLER

    Nynaeve the rational one? In her relationship she has the power. Leaving Lan at Land's End was iffy. Her need for respect is childish.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Well, she DID save Lan's life in what she did. He'd have been dead before the Last Battle started if not.

    LISA

    I'm still sad Lan apparently dies. He was my favorite character.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Out of curiosity, which of the reasons people think he will die is the one that has persuaded you? I've not said either way.

    LISA

    Confession: I stopped reading at book seven. My friends said he hadn't come back, so I/we assume he's really dead, not fake-dead. [?]

    Tags

  • 39

    Interview: Oct 28th, 1994

    Eric Piquette

    I also asked his wife if she was having fun touring the U.S.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    She said yes, but also that it was tiring.

    Eric C. Piquette

    Indeed, RJ looked like he was ready for the whole thing to be over with, but he still maintained a friendly demeanor. I also really liked his hat.

    Cuen

    Tags

  • 40

    Interview: Oct 28th, 1994

    Michael Thompson

    My wife, my mother, and I arrived at Flights of Fantasy in Santa Monica about 5 minutes after six last night (October 28). We were given numbers 23 and 24. Robert Jordan hadn't arrived so everyone just milled around inside the store which became quite warm. I was wearing my Bela '96 button (ftp://netcom.com/pub/morgno/wot/bela.gif), but nobody commented on it. I heard no indication that any other rasfwrj readers were present, but then, I didn't ask. Someone had two children there, but they seemed ordinary children, not wide eyed and clinging, and I had no reason to suspect that Moghedien was among the crowd.

    About 6:20, they started lining us up, announced a three book limit and requested that we write our names down so he would know how to sign it. I would guess there were maybe fifteen people behind us before the line went out the door.

    A brief moment later, he entered the back of the store wearing, as foreshadowed in the previous signing reports, the hat and carrying the Trolloc-horn cane. The hat and cane were more impressive than I had expected. His wife (I presume—no announcement or introductions were made) has a streak of white in her hair, so I immediately wondered if she were one of the Black Ajah, but she has far too much presence and charisma for that.

    From reading reports from the other signings, I knew there wasn't much point in asking any substantive questions. Since the books usually do answer the questions eventually, there's no need to ask what's going to happen; in fact, such are really spoilers anyway. One young man was brandishing three printed pages of questions. The young man stationed himself off Jordan's left shoulder and sort of shouted out questions whenever there was a pause in the action. I don't expect he got much, but perhaps if the young man is one of us, he'll post his results here.

    Tags

  • 41

    Interview: Oct 30th, 1994

    Question

    Physics/Math background and how it affected his writing:

    Robert Jordan

    —only marginally useful

    —structure

    —Schrödinger's Cat and other Quantum Physics stuff helps with conceptualization of fantasy structure.

    —His editor (also his wife) said that the physics and math was more important than he gave it credit for. ;)

    Tags

  • 42

    Interview: Oct 28th, 1994

    Harriet McDougal

    When we got to the head of the line, Harriet was taking the books, and opening them to get them ready. I handed her a copy of Reagan O'Neal's The Fallon Blood, and asked if he would mind signing it. She exclaimed over how long it had been since she'd seen that book.

    Robert Jordan

    He exclaimed over it too, and signed it 'Reagan O'Neal'. I asked him if Lord Valentine's Castle in any way inspired the menagerie scenes and he said, "No."

    Tags

  • 43

    Interview: Nov 21st, 1994

    6. I'll give 10,000 Maniacs a try, if I can find a CD or tape in my copious free time, and also Ms. Merchant solo. As for Scott, I'll bet he doesn't!

    7. There are answers/replies or partial answers/replies to most of your questions in what is already published, through Lord of Chaos. For the rest.... You know the answer. All together, now...

    Yes, my wife was the one who had heart surgery. Not a heart attack, though. She is perfectly recovered.

    With best wishes,

    I remain,

    Sincerely,

    Robert Jordan

    Tags

  • 44

    Interview: Apr 3rd, 1995

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, there were a couple signings (well one, anyway) with 30 or 40 fans, and I am ashamed to say it was a blessing. I can remember when 30-40 fans made me grin with pleasure, but after signings with 200-300 people, each with 3 or 4 books, and a tight schedule to get to the next signing, 30 or 40 seemed like a rest.

    New York decides where I go on tour, as I think I've told you. Sometimes they make odd choices; they once planned to send me to Phoenix so I could visit my brother, only he lives in Tucson, he couldn't dump the classes he teaches to come to Phoenix, and we had just seen each other on a fishing trip a few weeks before anyway. It is possible for fans to get places added. (Within reason, anyway; I was told if I had gone to all the stores that wanted me on the last tour, I'd have been out for six months!) Anyway, both Washington, D.C. and Toronto were added to the last tour because of fan complaints about being excluded. They made enough noise, apparently, that Tor decided I should go.

    I think I got the December and February Chronicles. I think I did. My wife sometimes wonders how I can keep the plots straight when I can't remember which day to put out the garbage. I tell her it's an acquired skill, but I don't say which bit is the skill.

    Tags

  • 45

    Interview: 2012

    Brandon Sanderson (13 July 2011)

    A Memory of Light First Draft progress bar update. 22% -> 24% One quarter is around the corner.

    SPEARSISTER

    Are there any notes released to the public concerning A Memory of Light? Please, I hope you get time to write back.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    By notes, you mean Mr. Jordan's notes? We might release some of them after the book is out. Harriet's call.

    MARTIN GJESDAL (15 JULY)

    Is March 2012 still a realistic release date for A Memory of Light?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Very. It will happen almost certainly.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Oops. I didn't see the "March" before that. 2012 is certain. March not certain yet.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    March is probably the earliest it could be out. Latest would be November. It will be Tor and Harriet's call.

    Tags

  • 46

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Joseph Habich (18 July 2011)

    Do you know if MacMillan is planning to make WoT Kindle books lendable?

    Brandon Sanderson (18 July 2011)

    I think that's Harriet's call. Next time I'm talking to her, I'll suggest it to her.

    Tags

  • 47

    Interview: 2012

    Brandon Sanderson (25 July 2011)

    By the way, A Memory of Light % done has moved from 27% -> 30%. Expect sharp rises this week; I hit a patch where I've already done a lot of work.

    WERTHEAD

    Final WHEEL OF TIME novel approaching a third-done? Impressive. Probably too much to hope we'll get it earlier than Nov 12?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    It's really going to depend on Harriet, Adam. My goal is to turn it in before I go on tour November.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    From there, we'll go to revisions. Harriet has asked for more time to edit this one. (She worries the last had too many mistakes.)

    BRANDON SANDERSON (26 JULY)

    I love working on Perrin's scenes. I can't really explain why, but the two of us have always clicked.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    6k words of material for A Memory of Light (some worked on previously) added to the main storyline. 2% more done, bringing us to 32%.

    Tags

  • 48

    Interview: 2010

    Brandon Sanderson (15 March 2010)

    Twelve more chapters to go in current Towers of Midnight revision. It's going very well. I hope to have this section in Harriet's hands by Jordancon.

    Tags

  • 49

    Interview: 2010

    Brandon Sanderson (1 July 2010)

    Joke from Harriet and Maria in margins of Towers of Midnight manuscript. Re: sealing the Bore. DON'T call BP.

    Footnote

    The BP oil spill was fairly current news at the time.

    Tags

  • 50

    Interview: 2010

    Brandon Sanderson (30 July 2010)

    Document in the hands of beta readers. Time is counting down to our deadline. Hope they read quickly...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Okay, I stayed up way too late (about 6:00am) getting the Towers of Midnight document to beta readers. Feeling worn out today. Will read for writing group.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Many are asking about how to become beta readers. Well, it's different for my own books than it is for WoT...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    For WoT, Harriet's in charge; the betas are people she trusts and knows. For myself, it varies by book. Usually people I know, though.

    Tags

  • 51

    Interview: 2010

    Brandon Sanderson (2 August 2010)

    Onward. Need to get a tweaked draft of Towers of Midnight to Harriet tomorrow. Two weeks left on our deadline to get the final, final draft to Tor.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Going through Towers of Midnight and adding chapter names/icons (both chosen by Harriet) and combining chapters at her direction.

    NICK CASSANOVA

    With the newly combined chapters, which is the sad chapter that you had said was number 60?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Don't know yet. I have to check with Harriet on a few more combinations before I will have a final chapter total.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Today's task: Going through Towers of Midnight and giving italics/cap letters to in world terms. (And taking away caps from others that I got wrong.)

    PETER AHLSTROM

    Ditto. (Re-tweet)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Working on epigraphs for Towers of Midnight right now.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Q: Now that the chapters have been changed around, what is the new number of chapter 81? (The one you said was one of your favorite?)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    A: That is now chapter 50. It should remain there.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Good question: @graphicbin_sean asks "Who chooses the scenes for the cover art for WoT? How about Towers of Midnight?"

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    A: Harriet usually picks. I picked the scenes for Towers of Midnight and A Memory of Light, though, as we had to get them painted before Harriet read the books.

    SHIVAM BHATT

    Who writes the [glossary] entries at the back of every WoT book?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Maria does those.

    Tags

  • 52

    Interview: Jun 21st, 1996

    Robert Jordan

    RJ wrote the Mat/Tylin scenario as a humorous role-reversal thing. His editor, and wife, thought it was a good discussion of sexual harassment and rape with comic undertones. She liked it because it dealt with very serious issues in a humorous way. She seemed to think it would be a good way to explain to men/boys what this can be like for women/girls, showing the fear, etc.

    Tags

  • 53

    Interview: Jun 21st, 1996

    Robert Jordan

    All the women are based in part on his wife. Many women have been amazed that he was not a woman using a male pen name because he writes women so well. He just wrote them as he thought women would be if men had destroyed the world 3000 years ago. Obviously, their roles would be much different than they are in our society. The women are not based on Southern women in general, just his wife.

    Tags

  • 54

    Interview: Jun 21st, 1996

    Robert Jordan

    He can be reached either by either email or snail mail through Tor in about the same amount of time. Tor prints out his emails and sends him the hard copies about every fortnight. They also send his snail mail biweekly. He does respond to them, but he gets backlogged at the end of writing a book.

    Here is the rough time schedule for book eight. The manuscript should be turned in sometime in fall of 1997. Expect it to go on sale in spring of 1998. He worked 10-12 hours a day, 7 days a week for 20 months, except for a couple days for each Thanksgiving and Christmas and a few single vacation days, to write A Crown of Swords. PNH, his wife, and everyone he knows told him he needs to slow down so he doesn't kill himself. Thus, PNH gave him 18 months to do the manuscript.

    His wife said he is the only author she allows to submit partial manuscripts for editing. She also does Morgan Llewelyn, the Bears and David Drake among others. She said she was starting to reduce the number of authors she edits since she is overloaded. She edited one of RJ's books before they ever dated, so their professional relationship was already established before they married. She feels that mutual respect for the other's work is what keeps the two relationships from interfering with each other.

    Tags

  • 55

    Interview: Jun 21st, 1996

    Brian Ritchie

    I think that's all that was said of any significance. The rest was personal info that I don't think is important here, and I'm not sure a lot of this was either. BTW, both Mr. and Mrs. RJ are very friendly, outgoing people and were fun to talk with.

    Am I the only one that thinks he looks like an older Bayle Domon?

    This could lead to some interesting speculations. From his web site picture, I'd say Novak might be related.

    Robert Jordan

    RJ seems to actually like the DKS covers. However, he disliked the cover of one of his books that someone brought. (I believe it was the UK version of The Great Hunt.) It was mostly light blue and lavender/purple. He disliked the artwork, not just the color scheme.

    Tags

  • 56

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Hopper

    I find your characterization of the relationships between the male and female characters to be interesting, and amusing. Did you model Nynaeve after an older sister or other female that tortured you in your youth? :)

    Robert Jordan

    All of the women are modeled in one way or another after the conglomerate of women I've met in my life...but every single one of them, EVERY one of them, has some element of my wife in her. I won't say what elements are in what characters, we'd get too far afield...I will say it has nothing to do with torture in that particular case.

    Tags

  • 57

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Ammon

    Have you ever put your own personality in one of your characters, or do you liken yourself to one of your characters?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, I expect there's a bit of me in all of the male characters. My secretary thinks that I am Mat. My wife thinks I'm Loial. Other people have said they detected me in other characters, but I think it's just a bit of me in all of the male characters. I'm not sure how I could have written them otherwise.

    Footnote

    It's not clear whether RJ's 'secretary' is Maria or Marcia Warnock. (Marcia seems more likely as RJ generally referred to Maria as his 'assistant'. She started working for him about this time.)

    Tags

  • 58

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Ha T. Nguyen

    I really like the romance in your stories and I was wondering if you could tell us how and where you met your wife (if it's not too personal) and, also, if she ever pulled a Moiraine/Lan on you, i.e., pouring ice water over you while you slept?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, I met my wife—the actual story is very long and complicated—but I met her because she had come back to Charleston to set up her own publishing company and I was in the process of quitting my engineering job to write. As far as the ice water, no, she has never poured ice water over my head, but she has made motions toward my belly button with a paring knife. She says this is wholly unconscious. I have my doubts.

    Tags

  • 59

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Edward Henry

    How much editing do your books get? Does the story or your writing get modified?

    Robert Jordan

    The story does not get modified. Occasionally the writing is modified to this extent—a good editor tells you what is wrong, as another set of eyes. A good editor says, "I don't understand what you're saying here you haven't told me enough, you haven't made me believe that this person will do this or say this." And then I go back and work at making sure the editor is convinced. Remember the editor is the first reader. If the editor isn't convinced, I doubt the fans will be either.

    Tags

  • 60

    Interview: Jun 27th, 1996

    AOL Chat 1 (Verbatim)

    Scotty1489

    Are any of the characters based on real people?

    Robert Jordan

    No, not really, except that all of the women have something of my wife in them.

    Tags

  • 61

    Interview: Jun 27th, 1996

    AOL Chat 1 (Verbatim)

    Argive000

    Mr. Jordan, I want to inform you that a recent graduate of the University of Notre Dame has just completed a thesis on the rebirth of philosophy in literature centered around your Wheel of Time series.

    Robert Jordan

    That's very nice to know. I've had several people send my copies of their master's theses and other undergraduate theses, comparing me to Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. It's enough to swell my head. Luckily, my wife takes care of that little problem. ;)

    Tags

  • 62

    Interview: Jun 27th, 1996

    AOL Chat 2 (Verbatim)

    Ealgail

    ADMIT IT!!!!!! DASHIVA IS OSAN'GAR111111

    Robert Jordan

    On the advice of my lawyer, I never admit anything. :) Not even to my wife!

    Tags

  • 63

    Interview: Aug 4th, 1996

    Question

    Are you going to conclude each plot? Little and big? (He really doesn't like when authors do this!)

    Robert Jordan

    No. I plan to leave some things left unanswered (Asmodean??? Arrgh!) I do not like it when other authors clean every little thread up. It is too clean. It isn't very realistic of problems, especially problems of this magnitude. They just don't always get solved. Also, I plan to leave the very last scene with a big hook leaving you with a great big question. (After he said this his wife looked at him and said, "Really?")

    Tags

  • 64

    Interview: Oct 18th, 1996

    AOL Chat (Verbatim)

    Question

    When is Book 8 going to come out?

    Robert Jordan

    Probably in January or February of 1998. I am scheduled to hand it to the publisher in November of 1997. I have slowed down a little bit in order to stay alive to the end of the series. My wife, my publisher and some other people convinced me that I was killing myself maintaining my old work schedule.

    Tags

  • 65

    Interview: Oct 18th, 1996

    AOL Chat (Verbatim)

    Question

    Did you base any of the WOT characters on real life friends, or acquaintances?

    Robert Jordan

    No, with one exception. All of the major female characters have some part of my wife in them.

    Tags

  • 66

    Interview: Jun 28th, 1997

    Bondoso

    I think some of the books are a lot better than others in the series. Is this because of pressure from your editor? Did you ever have to publish a book when you knew it wasn't quite finished or that it could have been better given more time?

    Robert Jordan

    No, I've never had to publish a book that I believed was not finished. On the other hand, I always have to set myself a cut-off point. Otherwise, I will keep rewriting and rewriting and the period between the books will stretch out to, oh, five or six years.

    Tags

  • 67

    Interview: Jun 28th, 1997

    Mel

    Do you put any of your friends or your personal character traits into your characters?

    Robert Jordan

    No, none of my friends, none of me. There is a touch of my wife in all of the major female characters, however, and a good many of the secondary female characters. She's a very complex woman.

    Tags

  • 68

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1997

    Matt from Ohio

    I know this is a tough question, but which character in the Wheel of Time is your favorite, and which character is most like you? I'm also eagerly awaiting The Path of Daggers; is there anything specific you can tell us about the plot?

    Robert Jordan

    About The Path of Daggers—Nothing. Read and Find Out (RAFO). As far as who I like best, it's whoever I happen to be writing at the moment. I try to get inside the skin of the point of view character, whether it's Rand or Nynaeve or Semirhage. As to who I am most like, I think I am probably a combination of Rand, Mat, and Perrin. On the other hand, I'm afraid my wife says that I am Loial.

    Tags

  • 69

    Interview: Sep, 1998

    Rajiv Mote

    And once the crowd had cleared out, he was willing to chat (we talked about where he got "Easing the Badger" and the related iconography). But I agree, his wife was by far the more enthusiastic and charming.

    Robert Jordan

    Well, he didn't give a "within-WoT" story explanation. But "Easing the Badger" and the picture of the dancing badger and the man with a golden (not silver, like in his book) shovel came out of a history book RJ had read. (His wife remembered the name, but I forgot it, along with the historical period.) There was a group in England who used that name and had that iconography on a banner. He didn't know anything about the group other than that, but his wife speculated that "Easing the Badger" could be something like the "Upping of the Swans", which was the annual count of the swans living in the royal gardens.

    Rajiv Mote

    For what it's worth, when he signed my book, he wrote "You're too young to know what 'Easing the Badger' means!"

    Footnote

    This report could only be partially recovered from rasfwrj.

    Tags

  • 70

    Interview: Oct, 1998

    Waldenbooks

    It has been said that the elaborate and rich descriptions you use to create your worlds and characters bring your stories to life. Where do your descriptions come from? Are any of your characters based on real people?

    Robert Jordan

    The descriptions come from years of reading history, sociology, cultural anthropology, almost anything I can put my hands on in any and every subject that caught my eye. Including religion and mythology, of course, necessities for a fantasy writer, though I went at them first simply because I wanted to. It all tumbles together in my head, and out comes what I write. I don't try to copy cultures or times, only to make cultures that are believable. I can't explain it any better than that.

    I don't base characters on real people. With one exception, at least. Every major female character and some of the minor have at least a touch of my wife, Harriet. I won't tell her which bits in which women, though. After all, what if she didn't like it? She knows where I sleep.

    Tags

  • 71

    Interview: Oct 22nd, 1998

    Pam Basham

    A little of this, a little of that. Some general stuff about the signing, self-indulgent personal impressions and Q/A. For those of you just interested in facts, RJ's answers are at the bottom.

    NOTE: I've only read about half the book, so please use Spoiler Protection in any replies. Only one of my questions pertained particularly to new information in The Path of Daggers, and it may be a non-issue by the end of the book, so sorry if it's already been talked about.

    As a member of the "great lurker hordes," per Aaron Bergman's NY Signing Report, I'm here to assert our existence. I kept trying to ferret out members of the 'froup by asking pointed questions like, "So... how did you find out about this signing?" and throwing out random bits of 'froupness such as information about the NY Signing. But no one one around us bit. I kept looking for Tony Z., Julie Kangas or Hohn Cho (sorry if I mangled the spelling), but either my memory's going and I didn't recognize them after 2-1/2 years (post-A Crown of Swords Darkfriends Social) or I didn't see them. The line went up the block to the corner, but I'd guess that it was a considerably smaller crowd than in NYC.

    At any rate, after getting stuck at Sta. Monica Blvd. and the 405 Fwy and wishing desperately for a gateway we could drive through, we (my husband, Kevin, and I) arrived at Flights of Fantasy at 4:30 and there were a couple dozen people in line ahead of us. As it was my first Jordan signing and I was too manic to stand still, I ended up in the store spending money. As I signed my life away to the credit company for a copy of Legends, RJ arrived at the back of the store. I found it extremely gratifying to find out that even store owners get nervous about such things as RJ arriving at their back door while they're finishing up a sale.

    Back outside, in line, the store personnel announced that RJ would be signing only WOT books, and no personalizations, please. Legends, for the purposes of the signing, was considered WOT. We were not, however, obliged to buy The Path of Daggers there, or to include it as one of the two books signed.

    There seemed to be a number of people there who weren't actual fans, serving as ambulatory book holders for friends or family. So perhaps that made RJ a little more tolerant about answering questions from the people who are reading the books. But he seemed genuinely interested in talking about them, and was very warm and responsive.

    Harriet was with him, and I was really pleased to meet her, as well. She's a lovely, elegant lady. But she sat up suddenly with a startled look several times during our chat, and the whole effect was somehow birdlike. I couldn't help but think of Verin in her "pay no attention to the little brown sister in the corner" mode.

    Tags

  • 72

    Interview: Oct 22nd, 1998

    Pam Basham

    Regarding Cadsuane's pointed reminiscences about the good ol' days in Far Madding, I asked, "So can we assume..." and didn't even get to finish the question before he answered...

    Robert Jordan

    "Cadsuane is from Far Madding." And followed immediately, with no prompting, with "and Verin is from Far Madding." *Arched eyebrow*

    Pam Basham

    For some reason, this last elicited a Startled Moment from Harriet. I was determined not to get a RAFO, so I didn't pursue this any further. Also I was nervous and had more questions.

    Tags

  • 73

    Interview: Oct 25th, 1998

    Rick Moen

    I'm hoping that Hawk will report on the wonderful time The Usual Gang of Lunatics had last Saturday in Palo Alto, CA and thereabouts, starting with RJ's signing at Future Fantasy bookstore. So, I'll leave that to her.

    There's rather less to report about Sunday's signing at the Barnes and Noble barn (er, store) in San Jose: I foolishly hadn't checked for scheduling updates, and found out at 2pm that it'd been shifted to 3:30—but there were already about 100 people in line, zig-zagging around the store's rope barriers from the signing area in Children's Books. By 3:30, there were maybe 600, lined up out the front door and down the block.

    As usual, there was a two-book limit, one of which needed to be Path of Daggers. No personal inscriptions this time, just signature, and paperbacks were allowed (both in contrast to the Saturday signing). Harriet (Jordan's wife & editor, and a very winning person) wandered off to other parts of the store.

    I'd missed most of Jordan's comments during the signing at Future Fantasy: arrived late for early remarks, too long in line for others. This time, I parked myself strategically within earshot, so I could catch everything in my Palm Pilot.

    Guess what? 600 people over a two-hour period, and hardly anyone asked Jordan questions! Arrgh.

    Tags

  • 74

    Interview: Oct 25th, 1998

    Question

    Another reader asked how long he's been married to Harriet.

    Robert Jordan

    He said 18 years—and that he has to have Harriet remind him, since it seems like last month.

    Tags

  • 75

    Interview: Oct 29th, 1998

    Kevin Bartlett

    First of all, Harriet was not present at the signing. I made a complete fool of myself by asking a female assistant (who was in general being very helpful, snapping pictures for starry-eyed fans, and basically making sure things went smoothly) if she was Harriet. She gave me a startled look, and said "No, I'm his publicist," at which point I'm certain I was beet red... After all, she looked to be in her late twenties or early thirties... I bulled ahead and asked Jordan if his wife was on the tour, and he said that unfortunately she had to go home. I didn't press the point or ask him why she had to leave, but I wouldn't count on her presence on the rest of this tour.

    Tags

  • 76

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1998

    jude74

    Are you married? Children? Grandchildren? lol

    Robert Jordan

    I am married, to Harriet. Who is also my editor! And who, as everyone out there knows, is the source of at least one major characteristic of each of the major female characters in the books. And one son, William, who is a graphic designer, artist, writer, who just quit his job at Sony because he was tired at being stifled, and I told him to go for it, for Gods' sakes.

    Tags

  • 77

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1998

    Tijamilism

    Robert... When do you ever get a break? time for yourself? And how do you spend that time?

    Robert Jordan

    Generally, I work 10-12 hrs a day, 7 days a week...sometimes my wife will say to me, you're working too hard, go fishing, and sometimes I will. And sometimes she will say to me, I want you to see something on the porch, and when I go downstairs, there's a fishing guide waiting, and she tells me to go away and fish. That's about it except for the occasional stops to fish when I'm traveling, there's too much to write and not enough years. She's a wonderful person, the empress of the known universe!

    Tags

  • 78

    Interview: Nov 15th, 1998

    Michael Martin

    He also said the that the idea for the chapter icons was his wife's. They sat down and decided (roughly) what they ought to look like, and hired an artist to do them.

    Tags

  • 79

    Interview: Nov 14th, 1998

    Matthew Hunter

    The signing was held at Hawley-Cooke Booksellers (a locally-owned store, very nice), and lasted about two hours. The official plan was to head on to Cincinnati immediately afterward in preparation for the next day's signing. As noted before, Jordan's wife was not present (she had to leave earlier on the tour for unspecified reasons). There was at least one person from Tor (a publicist IIRC) and perhaps two, both women. Jordan travels in a stretch limo, with what looked like a chase car, but that could be coincidence.

    Matthew Hunter

    Tags

  • 80

    Interview: Aug 30th, 1999

    Question

    Are you a very disciplined writer? You must work, for example, between nine and five. How does that fit in with the pressure to complete the series, for example, from publishers?

    Robert Jordan

    Well I've never looked at the page of something more common. That's simple fact. I get up in the morning, I have breakfast, I go back down the long garden to the carriage house where my study is. And Maria, my chief assistant is in and she will... Phone messages from yesterday mainly that I should maybe call back about. I'll look at my email and see what I want to answer and what I'm going to ignore. And then I start working, I start writing. And that's probably... that could be, depending on how late I slept. I could be at work from nine to eleven which is about the time I start writing. About four o'clock in the afternoon I realize that I haven't stopped for lunch and I'm a bit hungry but it's too late to stop for lunch now. Cause I'm figuring I'll knock off at six and go in to eat with Harriet. And sometimes I do and sometimes I forget the time again and I get a phone call saying, "Are you ever coming in?" I look up and realize it's dark outside and I quickly go into the house. I don't know whether you call it disciplined or obsessed but there are very few things I'd rather do than write. When I get into the story, I'm really into the story. The creation of it is at that moment the most important thing in the universe. I've had windstorms breaking branches and rain hurling things all over the place. The big window beside my desk to this side. Glass sided door, long garden over here, glass front door... And I didn't know there was a storm. I didn't know it was raining, I didn't know there was wind, I didn't know there was anything...

    Tags

  • 81

    Interview: Aug 30th, 1999

    Question

    Who is your favourite character?

    Robert Jordan

    Whoever I am writing at the moment. That's no lie. Whoever's head I'm inside, whoever the point of view character is and it doesn't matter who that is. If I am writing from Semirhage's point of view I have to like Semirhage to a certain extent. I have to like Semirhage because most people do like themselves to a certain extent. And if I don't, then Semirhage comes across as phony. My wife claims that she can tell when I've been writing certain people. There are days that I've gone into the house and I haven't taken three steps before she says, "Ahaa, you've been writing Padan Fain today, haven't you?"

    Tags

  • 82

    Interview: Aug 30th, 1999

    Question

    How did you go about getting your first work published and what setbacks did you encounter along the way?

    Robert Jordan

    The first work I wrote has never been published although it was bought and then rejected over a contract dispute by Dell within the space of two months. That was what convinced me I could write it. It was later sold to... Don Wollheim bought it as a fantasy novel. Later Jim Baen at Ace bought it as a science fiction novel unchanged from what it was before. And then Susan Allison came in and she didn't like it so I got it... got the rights reverted to me. It also resulted in me getting the Conan contracts and in me meeting my wife. So I decided this thing has major mojo going with it. Well it's also the fact that it glows in the dark. It'll never be published because I'm a better writer now than I was twenty odd years ago.

    My first published novel, I had walked into a book store and I had been talking to the owner of the book store, the manager, the woman that managed it, about the fact that I wanted to write, that I was beginning to write. I talked to her about books and all sorts of things, just in the book shop, that was all. There was a kind of romance novel called a bodice-ripper by a woman named Mary Robbins, big displays up front. Bodice-ripper is a sort of softcore pornography for women set in historical settings. And the shop owner said, "Do you know she has made three million dollars on her first two books?" In those days three million dollars with two books was Stephen King territory. That was like the forty-five-million-dollar contracts you hear about today. This is the sort of thing made people go, "Oh God!" and made the front of Time magazine. And I said for that kind of money I'd write one of those things. Okay, throwaway line, rimshot, forget it. Except the next time I came into the store the woman said, "You know a woman came in here and she's come to Charleston to set up a major publishing house, set up a publishing house, and she only wants to publish lead titles." That's the big book that the publishing house puts out every month, the one they really push. And that's all she's going to publish. She'd run out of business cards, she didn't have any business cards but here, she wrote her name in pencil on this lined three by five index card. I thought, right, she's come to Charleston to set up a major publishing house? No, no, no, no. That's like going to Death Valley to set up a ski camp. And she's only going to publish leads, that's like saying you're only going to publish best sellers, as it seemed to me, as it seemed to me then. But she managed to do it and no business card. Three by five index card, lined, penciled in. Right. Okay. I stuck it in my pocket to be polite and I went away. A week or so later I found it in my office in the drawer where I kept my pipe and tobacco as I was loading my pipe. Shows how long ago it was. I thought all right, I've got ten minutes I'll give her a call. So I gave her a call and found out that she had been editor or director of Ace Books and had just celebrated being promoted to vice president by resigning. And suddenly with that bit of experience behind her I'd realized she didn't sound so much like a nut anymore. She said, "I understand you're writing a bodice-ripper," and not waiting to lose a thread I said, "Yeah, well it's already been shown." She said, "Well, okay. I understand that, I understand that. Well why don't you come over and read me it and talk to me about it. Show me something, talk to me."

    So I made up an outline driving to her house. I talked to the woman in the bookstore about these books enough that I knew the basic format. Heroine loses her virginity in the first chapter. It is a circumstance that is not rape on technicality. That is, he, the guy has arranged for a tavern maid downstairs to come upstairs and snuggle into his bed. And Heroine for some phony boloney reason has decided to sneak into his room to try to steal something at the same time. And she tries to get him drunk so he... you know, it gets very complicated. Anyway on technicality he's not guilty but anyway, she then goes on to have a lot of sexual adventures in North Africa with Sheiks and Sultans, in China with the Mandarins, Bedouin raiders... the court of Napoleon and the court of Medici... And then at the end of it she's in great danger, she's rescued by this guy that turns out to be the guy who done her virginity in the first place and they get married. And everything is thus okay because she married the guy that took her virginity. All right, hooo, yeah. I tried writing this thing for a brief moment, I really did. And I couldn't hack it man. I got the plot right, I got the sex right but I read some of the books and they quivered. They were hysterical in the constant sense, that is every line quivered with emotion. And I couldn't quiver. I tried.

    About a year after that she called me up. I quit my job as an engineer and she said, "I'd like to see anything you've written." And being a professional I tried to talk her out of it. Because I knew the things I had written were not what she wanted to publish. She said, "Anything you have written, I want to see it." I took it to her, the book... the first novel I had ever written and when I went to pick it up from her later I got into a discussion about history. The forty-five in England, the American Revolution, the roles of the Scots and the Irish in the American Revolution particularly in the south. The publisher heard this and after the other woman had gone away, she gave me back a manuscript, she said, "You write a book and we'll publish this, but you can write. And what I want you to do is give the outline of a historical saga, a generational saga." And I did. That became The Fallon Blood. And the woman's name was Harriet McDougal and we started dating while we were touring for this book after she published it. I mean we toured for the book and she would give me another contract because we weren't quite sure how it was going to sell. And, ahh, I started missing her. I started coming back, hanging around and asking her out and whatnot. And eventually I asked her to marry me. Then I got really nervous because I thought, 'Hang on...I just asked a woman to marry me, and she is my source of income!' So I very hurriedly sold the book somewhere else so she would not be my sole source of income. That's how my first novel got published and that's how I met my wife and that's only about ten minutes as much as you wanted to know.

    Tags

  • 83

    Interview: Aug 30th, 1999

    Robert Jordan

    His wife was in fact a publisher, and it was through RJ's attempts to get published that he met her. He started dating her, and eventually married her. She did in fact offer to publish his book, but RJ realised it was not a good idea to have his wife as his sole source of income, so took it elsewhere. Another detail that I can remember (whoever was in the front row taping the event; could you write up his exact words throughout the session?) is that he used to write for a women's erotic "soft-porn" author, who gave him a headstart in the writing profession. His pronunciation was interesting, and he was humourous (Lady: "How can you deal with all the stress?" RJ: "I am a Warrior-God").

    Footnote

    The verbatim transcript of this question makes it clear RJ actually wrote bodice-rippers for Harriet, otherwise known as the Fallon books, and later Conan. Harriet herself has commented on the 'warrior god' thing. Also, RJ did in fact publish his first book with Harriet, but then they started dating.

    Tags

  • 84

    Interview: Aug 30th, 1999

    Sastan

    After the questions, the rep presented some gifts to RJ. One was an Australian Military history (because of RJ's own passion for such matters) and the other was a Two Rivers wine, from the Two Rivers, in Hunter Valley, NSW.

    I left the theatre before it ended, so I could be first in line for the signing. Being there early, only another rep and Harriet, RJ's wife, were present. I spent a few minutes chatting with her, before the rest of the crowd and RJ appeared. I did learn something interesting from her; she remembered my insistence on the Rand-Elayne issue, and told me that to her and RJ second cousins were considered close family. Also, she and the rep got into a small argument over personalising the signings, with the rep saying there were too many people to personalise it, while Harriet argued on our behalf, that we had paid $20 to come, and we should. Eventually, she won out, at least for the first 20 people. I don't know what happened after that. I got three books signed, and left soon after.

    One thing I asked Harriet while RJ was signing was about their stay in Sydney. I'm strongly tempted to go to the places they plan on visiting, but I suppose that is on the verge of stalking. Basically, they're staying here until the 4th, when they go to New Zealand. After that, they're going to Brisbane, but she was not sure about the exact date. So you Brisbanites will have to ring up Penguin Books and find out for yourself. And for those who did not want to pay the $20, you should know that they stopped checking at the door during the signing, so anybody could have gone in and gotten their books signed.

    That's it, seeya.

    Tags

  • 85

    Interview: Sep 20th, 1999

    Robert Jordan

    He listed his favourite seven authors (Joel Gilmore has all of them on his tape) but all I can remember at the moment are Twain and Dickens. RJ is a writeaholic when he gets going, and often skips lunch and writes all day. He enjoys writing in his garden, and this keeps him away from Harriet when he is in writing mode.

    Tags

  • 86

    Interview: Sep 20th, 1999

    Willum

    I had my 1990 Tor hardback version of The Eye of the World signed, but I was chagrined to realise that other people were getting two or three books signed. Oh well.

    Finally, I would like to say that RJ seemed like a very polite and patient man, who was generous with his time. We probably annoyed the hell out of him asking him questions after the talk, and even though half the answers were RAFO, he made an attempt to answer each sensible one.

    Harriet sat next to him during the signing, and seemed to me to be a very polite and forthcoming person. I can believe she is the model for the better qualities in RJ's female characters, but I had no inkling of the darker ones, but it was clear that in many matters RJ defers to her and respects her judgement.

    RJ and Harriet had just returned from New Zealand (RJ had been fishing) and their schedule seemed pretty hectic. Next stop for them was Lizard Island, and I assured Harriet that they would have the time of their lives there.

    Apart from the drunk idiot sitting a couple of seats down from Joel and I during RJ's talk, everything went very well and I think everyone had a very good evening.

    --

    Willum

    Tags

  • 87

    Interview: Mar, 2000

    Locus Online

    ROBERT JORDAN: The Name Behind the Wheel (excerpted from Locus Magazine, March 2000)

    James Oliver Rigney, Jr. was born October 17, 1948 in Charleston, South Carolina. He served in the military, seeing action in Vietnam, from 1968 to 1970, and attended the military school The Citadel in South Carolina, graduating with a degree in physics in the mid-'70s.

    His early novels, written as by Reagan O'Neal, were historical family sagas beginning with The Fallon Blood (1980). A western Cheyenne Raiders, under pseudonym Jackson O'Reilly, came out in 1982. Under the name Robert Jordan, he did the 1982 novelization of the Conan movie, followed by six more "Conan" books. His first independent fantasy novel, The Eye of the World (1990), also written as by Robert Jordan, is the beginning of the ongoing "Wheel of Time" series. It was followed by The Great Hunt (1990), The Dragon Reborn (1991), The Shadow Rising (1992), The Fires of Heaven (1993), Lord of Chaos (1994), A Crown of Swords (1996), and The Path of Daggers (1998). The ninth volume, Winter's Heart, is scheduled for later this year.

    He is married to Tor executive editor Harriet McDougal. They live in Charleston, South Carolina.

    Tags

  • 88

    Interview: Mar, 2000

    Robert Jordan

    The new book, the ninth in 'The Wheel of Time', is Winter's Heart. I am aiming to finish it by May of 2000. If the publisher does what it normally does, Tor should have it out two months after I finish it. If they really want to be leisurely, they'll wait three months. The last three books they've had in the bookstore within 60 days after I handed them in. They give the book to their copy editor and she goes to her apartment, unplugs her telephone, stuffs sweat sox in her doorbell, and goes to the back of her apartment so she can't even hear anybody knocking on the door, and just works straight through to get this done. And Harriet and I go to New York and sit in a hotel room so we can get the copy-edited version back. We've got two laptops, and we're passing disks back and forth.

    Tags

  • 89

    Interview: Oct, 2000

    Orbit Interview (Verbatim)

    Orbit Books

    Which character in the Wheel of Time do you most identify with?

    Robert Jordan

    I always identify most with the character from whose point of view I am trying to write at that moment. I try to get inside their heads, inside their skins. Sometimes this has disadvantages. I have gone into the house at the end of the day and, before I can say a word, my wife has said to me, "You were writing Padan Fain today, weren't you?" Inevitably, when she says this, I have indeed been writing some character you would not like to be alone with. But if you mean which character do I think is most like me, well, Lan Mandragoran expresses the ideals I was raised to aspire to, while Perrin is perhaps most like me as a boy and young man. On the other hand, my wife claims I am a perfect Loial!

    Tags

  • 90

    Interview: Nov 10th, 2000

    Hawk

    Nominees for quotes of the evening:

    Robert Jordan

    "One time when Harriet asked me what I wanted for dinner, I told her to read and find out."

    A fan

    "If you die before the series ends I will desecrate your grave."

    Tags

  • 91

    Interview: Nov 11th, 2000

    Erik Hovda from Monterey, CA

    I have heard of some authors writing themselves as a character in their books. Have you intentionally done that or perhaps see yourself in one of your characters? For example, Loial is taking notes so that he may write a book about Rand and the events surrounding him. Is he perhaps the "closest fit" to someone who embodies you for the series?

    Robert Jordan

    According to my wife, he is—but I don't think so.

    Tags

  • 92

    Interview: Nov 11th, 2000

    E.S. from Denver

    How did Kierkegard and Sartre influence your portrayal of Bela and can you discuss how the equus/superequus dichotomy played out in the whole Asmodean murder scene?

    Robert Jordan

    (laughs) No, no, neither Sartre or Kierkegard influenced me in the slightest, nor did they influence the development of Bela. My wife thinks that they did influence the development of Bela, but I don't and I'm the one who did it, so there.

    Tags

  • 93

    Interview: Nov 28th, 2000

    Robert Jordan

    He went on about other things but all in all, he was a nice guy who was down to earth. Actually made a joke about Anne Rice too. The owner of the book store thanked him and then thanked those that had come to the signing. Jordan said: "Well I usually don't get the type that want the books signed in their own blood. Or even come to the signing in a coffin... wait, that was Anne Rice herself."

    His wife was seen wandering around the store but never came to the table.

    —done rambling—

    ~B

    Tags

  • 94

    Interview: Jan, 2001

    SFBC

    Someone mentioned to me that your wife is your editor?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, she is.

    SFBC

    What's that like?

    Robert Jordan

    Interesting. She's very good. I think she's one of the best editors in the business, and luckily, she's been willing to keep editing me, although she's given everybody else up.

    SFBC

    She plays a really big part in keeping track of all your plot lines and characters?

    Robert Jordan

    No, no. I do that myself, but she's the first set of eyes. An editor—the first thing an editor does is tell you when you've failed. When you've failed to convince her that this person would say or do this thing. An editor is the person who goes in there and says, "You've told me more about this than you need to." Or, "here you didn't convince me." She has a wonderful instinct for it and for the whole rest of the editorial job, of course.

    SFBC

    I was looking through the manuscript and noticed the words "Revision 5" and so forth.

    Robert Jordan

    That's before it ever gets to her. When I make what I consider a major change in a chapter, I notch up the revision once. Not for small changes, but if you have a manuscript there, you'll notice that the revisions numbers get to be less as they go further into the book. That's because I am constantly re-writing, constantly thinking of a way I can do something better earlier on. I often go back and re-write things that I've done earlier.

    Tags

  • 95

    Interview: Jan, 2001

    SFBC

    If you had to pick three characters in your books, who would be your favorites?

    Robert Jordan

    I can't pick three characters who are my favorites because my favorite is always whoever I am writing at the moment; that is, whoever is the point of view character for any given scene, I like that person and I like that person more than anyone else. I think that's a very basic human emotion. We like ourselves. And the reason that sacrificing yourself for someone else is such a big thing is because we do like ourselves very strongly. Now, if I don't like that character that I'm writing more than I like any of the others, then the character doesn't come out as being real.

    There's something tainted in the writing. Something false.

    SFBC

    That's an excellent point.

    Robert Jordan

    Because I'm trying to get inside that character's skin, inside their head while I'm doing it. My wife will surprise the devil out of me. I'll come into the house with the day's writing, and before I've even said a word, she'll say to me, "Oh, you've been writing Padan Fain today, haven't you?"

    And what's really frightening about it is one, I haven't said a word, and two, that even if it wasn't Padan Fain, it was somebody else that you really don't want to be alone with.

    SFBC

    That's really giving some life to the characters.

    Robert Jordan

    That's what I try to do. I think the characters are the most important part. The story flows from character. That's something I've always believed. If your characters are not as real as you can make them, then everything else begins to fall apart.

    SFBC

    By doing it that way, it gives your work a three-dimensional quality that makes it seems like if anything happens to a certain character, the reader feels, "oh, no, this isn't fair!"

    Robert Jordan

    Thank you.

    SFBC

    I have to say that one of my personal favorites is Nynaeve.

    ROBERT JORDAN

    Well, a lot of people like Nynaeve. I've noticed something interesting over the years about Nynaeve. I have had a number of women tell me how much they dislike Nynaeve. But what's interesting is that when I talk with other people who know a woman who's told me how much she dislikes Nynaeve, it turns out that she, herself, is a lot like Nynaeve. What this means, I have no idea.

    Tags

  • 96

    Interview: Apr 4th, 2001

    Aan'allein

    (And then the first half of my tape was gone, and I decided to save most of the rest for the audience questions.)

    Jordan mentioned all the different cultures and myths he used in WoT. That he'd mined everything from Europe and Asia and Africa etc...

    Robert Jordan

    [first sentence paraphrased...only started taping again halfway through this] I don't know how it is in other places, but the best known legend for the American audience, that I had in mind ... when I wrote this for ... that legend is King Arthur. I would imagine that more people know the complete story of King Arthur and Guenever and the round table and the whole nine yards than know any other myth or legend, or perhaps more than know all the other myths put together. Now there are Arthurian elements in these books, but I had to try to bury them, for that reason, make them not so readily apparent. And while I had a particular part of the Arthurian legend mentioned from the first book, it was not until the third book that people began to realize what it was. In fact my editor, who is my wife, and who is a very very sharp woman, uhm, had edited the book and was writing the first version of the flap copy for the book, when she suddenly shouted down the stairs to me (if you're young, forgive me):

    [loud] You son of a bitch, you've done it it to me again! [laughter]

    Because she had suddenly spotted, not until reaching this... not until reaching the cover flap, she suddenly spotted by a... chance connection of words, this one particular Arthurian thing. [Jordan never mentioned what this was, but the logical option is of course Callandor.] And that you see, to me it's very obvious that the Arthur legend and all of the others are in there. If you spend time on the net, you find sites where they discuss these legends. [People sitting around me knowingly chuckle] I have to tell you that if you visit any of these FAQs... I haven't seen one in a couple of years, but the last time I was sent copies, I've read the printout of the FAQ, and when I was through it. And about a third of the answers in there were correct.

    Aan'allein

    [Turned the memo off here, this is well known. I did like the way he phrased the other two points here though. Something about "the second part was going in the right direction, but somewhere along the way they spotted something pretty which they followed and never arrived at drawing the conclusions they should have. As to the third part, I think it was written by people who didn't read my books at all."]

    Tags

  • 97

    Interview: Apr 4th, 2001

    Robert Jordan

    He also mentioned some things about the variation in his readers. This group of Hell's Angels a couple of years ago who came to him when there was some question about his health, telling him that they'd desecrate his grave if he died before finishing the story.

    Around the same time something was asked about him knowing the final scene (or maybe that was even earlier), because Rowling [the Harry Potter author; at least, I think it was her that was mentioned here] had already written the final sentence of her work. Jordan came with the usual story about him knowing the scene since before starting the series. He doesn't have it written down anywhere. Harriet already knows the final scene, she's very good at getting things out of him (at least, that's what I think I recall), but no one else... And then later he said absolutely nobody knew it besides him.

    Tags

  • 98

    Interview: Apr 4th, 2001

    Question

    One standard question or another leading to the usual anecdote of him assuming the identity of his characters, getting inside their heads:

    Robert Jordan

    Before they saw me, they had assumed that Robert Jordan was the penname of a woman, because, they said, no man could write women that well.

    Although I seem to remember an interesting bit here about you not wanting to meet him after he'd just written somebody like Hannibal Lector. Sometimes he'd come down for dinner and Harriet, without him having said a word, would say, "You've been writing Padan Fain again, haven't you?" And although it would not always be Padan Fain, it would be one of the non-pleasant characters.

    Tags

  • 99

    Interview: Apr 5th, 2001

    Karin

    His wife, who is his editor, came along and is a very nice lady. You just had to be there! I hope I managed to jot down the most important questions and answers to keep you Wheel of Time readers happy, at least ... for a while.

    Some people (customers) came to thank us... Well, thank you for showing up and making this such a nice event!

    Karin

    Tags

  • 100

    Interview: Dec 9th, 2002

    Question

    By far the most common question asked: What are your feelings on a movie version of your books? You've said that, to you, only the books really matter. Do you feel that a movie would do them justice though? Or do you think it might be too complex for the screen and even hurt their reputation? What about making a movie that focuses on a different time from the story you've told?

    Robert Jordan

    My feelings about the possibility of a movie are ambivalent. It would be very nice if a movie or movies, or a series on HBO or whatever were made, but that really would be something extra. I write books. If a movie is made, good. If not, I won't cry.

    I don't think that a bad movie would do the books any damage, but with any movie, the writer of the book has to give up control to someone else and trust that other person to interpret the writer's vision. (God, that sounds pompous!) I used to think that it might be impossible for a movie to really encompass any of the books, but since seeing The Lord of the Rings, I've changed my mind. In any case, Harriet says (and Plato agrees with her) that the only thing to do when you sell a book to Hollywood is to take the money, walk away very fast before they can take it back, and never, ever go to see the movie. Of course, any movie depends on someone making an offer for an option and then following through to exercise the option, and so far, that hasn't happened. The option bit did, true, but not the rest. We are now waiting, as they say. But not very anxiously.

    Tags

  • 101

    Interview: Dec 9th, 2002

    Question

    If a gateway opened in front of you leading to your world in the books, would you and Harriet step through knowing that you could return to our "real" world? What if you couldn't come back? (If you do go, please finish the series first!)

    Robert Jordan

    Harriet might. She's the adventurous one, and sometimes (nobody will tell her I said this, right?) sometimes she has more courage than sense. The ONLY reason that I'd go through would be to get her back. She can get into some hairy situations without me there. She LIKES getting into hairy situations. The world I write about is fun to write about, and I suppose fun to read about, but there are many places I find interesting to read about that I'd never want to go near. A man could get killed in a place like that! In fact, I think I'll go smoke a pipe and look at the goldfish until I can stop thinking about it.

    Tags

  • 102

    Interview: Nov 6th, 1998

    Therese Littleton

    It seems that some of your readers don't think of your novels as fantasy so much as a really fine-grained history of a world that might have existed or might yet exist. Do you perceive your world as real?

    Robert Jordan

    I think that I have to. Any writer has to try and think of his world as real, because if he thinks of it as a construct, that's going to come across to the readers. It's very much like the question I'm often asked: who is my favorite character. It's whoever I'm writing at the moment. Even someone like Padan Fain or Semirhage. Most people like themselves, and if I don't like the character I'm writing, then it's going to come across to the reader that this character doesn't like himself or herself. My wife says she can tell when I've been writing Padan Fain or somebody like that when I come into the kitchen in the evening. I make myself see this as a real place when I'm working on it. That way it comes through, I hope, that I see more than I write.

    Tags

  • 103

    Interview: Nov 6th, 1998

    Therese Littleton

    Are there any characters in the books that are based on historical figures?

    Robert Jordan

    No. The groups are sometimes in ways based on historical organizations. The Whitecloaks have a lot of, say, Teutonic Knights. The Aes Sedai organization comes from the way convents were organized between A.D. 1000 and 1800, a time when there was real political power behind convents.

    There is one real-life individual who has contributed a lot. My wife has given me, involuntarily, at least one major character trait for all of the major female characters in the books. I'm very mean to her, I won't tell her which character traits I have taken.

    Therese Littleton

    That's probably wise.

    Robert Jordan

    As she has pointed out to me, she knows where I sleep! So I consider it wise not to upset her, if I can avoid it.

    Tags

  • 104

    Interview: Apr 7th, 2001

    W.F. Maryson

    Maryson (once again mentioning his own writing and how he does that; but I guess that was to be expected) asked about if Jordan also liked to surprise his readers.

    Robert Jordan

    I do. I like to make the reader think that he or she knows exactly where I am going, exactly where I am taking them, and they're certain that I'm taking them to that corner of the room over there, and suddenly they blink and realize that I've taken them to that corner of the room instead, and yet when they look back, they see it was all there, yes, all of it, very clear that I was taking them to that part of the room, instead of that part of the room. So, it's like... it's like making your wife think that you're taking her to Paris, but in actual fact you are taking her to Rotterdam. [laughter]

    Aan'allein

    Oh yes, Harriet was indeed there, and was there in Rotterdam (Jordan: "Somebody is rubbing my back, and I really hope that it's my wife") and Amsterdam as well.

    Tags

  • 105

    Interview: Apr 7th, 2001

    Aan'allein

    I don't remember too clearly what caused this, but suddenly he was talking about faking his own death and starting a new life. Either as a rock star, or in the circus. Harriet was rooting for the rock star idea. Yes, just faking his own death, putting a coffin full with rocks into the ground, and going to go off and start another career somewhere. Hmm, and I managed to tape one line of Jordan suddenly starting singing: "Take me in pretty woman, ride the snake."

    Tags

  • 106

    Interview: Apr 8th, 2001

    Robert Jordan

    He was talking about the ending again, and that nobody knows it except for him. But this time he once again said that not even Harriet knows it.

    Aan'allein

    If it wasn't for the fact that others also had heard him say last Wednesday that Harriet did know the ending I'd really be doubting myself now.

    Tags

  • 107

    Interview: Apr 8th, 2001

    Question

    Do you have someone to advise you on writing sex scenes from a women's point of view?

    Robert Jordan

    No. And if I had she would lie to me. A woman is as likely to tell the truth about that as men are to tell them, and if you think about how many of that you would tell anyone on god's green earth about that. And if you come upon that teaspoon of liquified truth you would tell, know that that is five times the truth that she would tell you.

    No, what I do is, I eavesdrop. [laughter] One time when he was younger and eavesdropping on women, he received Veritas. He knew everything there was to know about women. And it turned his hair completely white, and beyond, so that most of it is dark again, except for that piece in his beard there, plus it also erased all knowledge he had gained straight from his head.

    Aan'allein

    [In other words, more and more he was really getting in a funny-story-telling mood. Maybe Jordan should have become a stand-up comedian. I don't know how much of the humor I manage to bring across, I can imagine it's very little, but if you were there you would have laughed at every other remark, just like the rest of us.]

    Robert Jordan

    Once in all his books, he went to Harriet saying, "Okay, in this particular situation, this is how I think this woman would react, this is how I think she would feel. Do you believe it?" And she said, "yes, I do."

    Aan'allein

    And then my tape ended.

    Tags

  • 108

    Interview: Dec 9th, 2002

    Dragonmount

    Do you often correct inconsistencies in the books? Or does Robert do it himself?

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    No, I don't correct inconsistencies. Robert has a wonderful assistant, Maria Simons, who helps enormously in this regard, together with her sidekick Alan Romanczuk. Robert writes long lists of questions for them, and they come up with the answers in time, so that inconsistencies mostly just don't happen. Maria also checks all proper nouns in the manuscript against our own super-glossary, and picks up the occasional glitch that way.

    Tags

  • 109

    Interview: Dec 9th, 2002

    Dragonmount

    Do you know what will happen in later books or do you have to "Read and Find out?"

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    I know a bit, but for the most part I have to RAFO, too.

    Tags

  • 110

    Interview: Dec 9th, 2002

    Dragonmount

    Do you ever find yourself reading to find out what happens next and forgetting about editing?

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Yes! And so then I have to go back through it.

    Tags

  • 111

    Interview: Dec 9th, 2002

    Dragonmount

    Who is your favorite character?

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Bela, the stout, shaggy little mare.

    DRAGONMOUNT

    Favorite book?

    HARRIET MCDOUGAL RIGNEY

    I love them all.

    DRAGONMOUNT

    Scene?

    HARRIET MCDOUGAL RIGNEY

    Ditto.

    Tags

  • 112

    Interview: Dec 9th, 2002

    Dragonmount

    Your husband once commented that he could walk into the room and you would know who he was writing about. If this is true, do you ever make him wait outside until he can stop being someone, for example, Padan Fain?

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Well, I don't know EXACTLY who he's been writing, but if he's been writing somebody awful, like Padan, yes, I do know it. I never make him wait outside. I just hug him and give him a kiss, and he generally shakes himself like a retriever and begins to come out of it.

    Tags

  • 113

    Interview: Dec 9th, 2002

    Dragonmount

    How do you think his writing affects your relationship?

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    It gives our relationship a tremendous amount of fun.

    Tags

  • 114

    Interview: Dec 9th, 2002

    Dragonmount

    What is your reaction to Robert telling people that all of the major female characters are partially based off of you? Doesn't that worry you a bit?

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    No, it doesn't worry me. I am immensely flattered by it. And a bit amused. The cross wife who says, "you forgot to take the garbage out again": Is this REALLY Moghedien? Goodness!

    Tags

  • 115

    Interview: Dec 9th, 2002

    Dragonmount

    We've heard that you enjoy reading and writing poetry. Is that just a hobby for yourself, or has your stuff been published? If so, where can we find it?

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    I have just begun (in January of this year) submitting stuff, and so far poems of mine have been accepted by Eureka Literary Magazine (ELM), Another Chicago Magazine, and Confrontation. I think Another Chicago Magazine will be out first, some time this winter, with a poem called "North Georgia Woods". Other poems are on submission all over the place. I'm having a wonderful time with this!

    Tags

  • 116

    Interview: Dec 9th, 2002

    Dragonmount

    Who are some of your favorite poets?

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Galway Kinnell!!!! And Sharon Olds, and Mary Oliver, and John M. Ford and John O'Donohue. I've just bought James Tate to read, because of a yummy poem called "Teaching the Ape to Write Poems". A friend has just given me Marina Tsvetaeva, but I haven't read her yet. I also want to read some more Billy Collins. Among the dead white males, I really like Tennyson and Hopkins. And of course Shakespeare.

    Tags

  • 117

    Interview: Dec 9th, 2002

    Dragonmount

    From a professional point of view as RJ's editor, how many books do you think the series will end up running?

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    I think twelve.

    Tags

  • 118

    Interview: Dec 9th, 2002

    Dragonmount

    How much influence over that number do you have as an editor do you think?

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Something approaching Zip. It will depend on how many it takes for him to tell the story as he wants/needs to tell it.

    Tags

  • 119

    Interview: Dec 9th, 2002

    Dragonmount

    Do you ever call your husband Robert instead of his real name?

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Only on book tour.

    DRAGONMOUNT

    Even if you're mad at him?

    HARRIET MCDOUGAL RIGNEY

    When I'm mad at him I call him a word that begins with A, with a lot of asterisks in it, or Warrior God, Perfect in Every Way. It is my contention that these mean the same thing....

    Tags

  • 120

    Interview: Dec 9th, 2002

    Question

    Do you know who killed Asmodean?

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    No.

    Tags

  • 121

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2003

    Jeffrey Cummis

    Even though they said he wouldn't do it because there were about 300+ people there and the fact that he talked for 15 minutes (Q&A), when I got up there, made a comment about the book, he smiled, asked what I was doing talking to his wife, told him getting the book signed, he flipped the page, laughed and said "Not that I am supposed to, but do you want your name in it like the way my wife wrote it?" I said, "No, you could put tsorovan'm'hael down?" He smiled, nodded, and did it, all in lower case to boot! I think he knows me from message boards, how scary is that!

    That was me, front row. Anyway, that question about Moiraine was stupid, you had to know that was a RAFO. He did personalize mine, laughed at me about flirting with his wife, who was sitting next to me. He did remember me from The Path of Daggers book signing, so he quickly personalized this copy of Crossroads of Twilight for me. :D :lol Lucky me.

    Tags

  • 122

    Interview: Jan 11th, 2003

    Robert Jordan

    As to his daily writing habits, a long while ago he used to write for 25 or 30 hours straight, until absolutely exhausted (regardless of the time of day). Then he would sleep for 7 or 8 hours and return to the 25 or 30 hour cycle. However, he remarked that this schedule is not suitable for making his wife happy, so he switched to his current schedule, which goes something like: wake up, read the newspaper over breakfast, and begin writing at his computer (which he later told a person in line that it was a custom built, with a 17" flat screen monitor). He then writes for 8 to 10 hours, sometimes but not usually stopping for lunch. Then in the evening he would quit, help his wife prepare dinner, and start the whole process over again—7 days a week. His change to this 8 to 10 hour day was in part motivated by his decision "that keeping his wife was far more important" than keeping the "optimum" writing schedule.

    Tags

  • 123

    Interview: Jan 11th, 2003

    Robert Jordan

    An older gentlemen asked him how he met Tom Doherty at Tor. With a relatively lengthy reply, Jordan stated that he published his first book, "a historical novel called The Fallon Blood," with Popham Press. The "Popham" comes from his chief publisher at the time, Harriet Popham McDougal. Soon, he was dating Harriet, and was eventually married. Harriet through some fashion sold her publishing business to Tom Doherty, bringing along her new author husband who had sold some half-million copies in the mass market with The Fallon Blood. Jordan further commented that just about everything he wanted to write had appealed to Tom, and thus Tor has since bought most of Jordan's novels for publication.

    Tags

  • 124

    Interview: Jan 11th, 2003

    Robert Jordan

    He then retired to his signing table and began autographing away. I took up a position about 15 feet away so I could listen to some of his discourse with the audience. When signing the first book his ink ran out. At this point he seemed to panic somewhat. His host scrambled to find a solution, but Jordan stated repeatedly that he needed "his case", a black attaché-style pouch that apparently had ink replacements. Several fans quickly offered their own pens, but Jordan replied that he greatly preferred the "Census" pen as it had a cushioned section that made it much easier to hold the pen for hours at a time. Apparently growing somewhat uncomfortable, Mr. Jordan summoned his wife loudly by bellowing "Harriet!" into the crowd—disquieting some of the fans. Soon she appeared to soothe him and search for the case. Apparently they had brought the wrong style of replacements. The issue was soon resolved and signing resumed.

    Signing was limited to two hard-covers per person, though they were permitted to return to the end of the line for more signatures as time permitted. Personalizations were discouraged. Mr. Jordan allowed photos, though he called out that he had one rule: "Men must keep their clothes on."

    One fan brought a British edition of Crossroads of Twilight to the signing table. Jordan happily signed, but became agitated as he described to the immediate audience that the British publishers had lied to him. "They told me that under no circumstance would they release the book before the American release date." Despite this pledge, however, his novel was released in late December rather than in January. He further commented "you only get one chance to lie to me." I suppose we will have to wait and see the ramifications of this British publishing error at the time of the next book's release. Jordan commented that "perhaps I will not even send them my manuscript until after the American audience already has their novels in print."

    Tags

  • 125

    Interview: Jan 11th, 2003

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Later, I was sitting elsewhere in the bookstore further perusing, and noticed that Harriet, his wife, was seated reading through a book from the shelves. Several fans stopped by to obtain her signature next to Mr. Jordan's, to which she pleasantly assented. One individual asked her what she thought of the importance of book signings—did it really sell that many more books? She responded that book signing tours were really only profitable when you hit the really big leagues. Unless you are very popular author, you would often find only five or so people at the signing, which was very humbling to a writer.

    In the case of this tour, the publisher was gunning for the number one spot on the New York Times list. To generate such a rating, it helped to have a big book signing tour. In nearly every location so far, a reporter had been present, which bolsters the appearance of popularity of the novel in the media's eyes. Additionally, the book signings give the author some human connection to his readers. Mrs. Rigney stated that writing is "one of the loneliest occupations, in which you stare at a white screen and make black things appear" all day long. Harriet further commented that BN.com had sold over 70,000 copies of Crossroads of Twilight on the first day of release.

    Tags

  • 126

    Interview: Jan 11th, 2003

    Dan Olin

    My impressions of the experience were that Mr. and Mrs. Rigney were quite normal people (imagine that!), perhaps bordering slightly on the eccentric. Harriet seemed to have a slight British or New England accent, and you certainly could not tell that the couple must be remarkably wealthy. In addition to his wife, Jordan had a tall blond-haired woman traveling with him, who took photos for the fans, prepared the novels for signing, and was quick to assist Mr. Jordan with any need. [Editor's Note: Her name was Dolores and she was very helpful and kind with everyone in line. She is not from Tor Books but I believe is one of RJ's assistants] All in all, I had a great time speaking with other fans and listening to our revered author speak. Upon departure, I realized that not once that evening was the ubiquitous "RAFO" mentioned by Robert Jordan.

    On a separate note—great thanks to Jason Denzel and the staff at Dragonmount.com for the long hours and excellent website. Keep up the good work!

    Footnote

    Harriet's accent is actually more of a high-society southern accent, perhaps specific to Charleston, but similar to other regional variations.

    Tags

  • 127

    Interview: Jan 13th, 2003

    Robert Jordan

    Questions: He again as in the other signing took around 25 minutes for questions after giving a brief expose on the correct pronunciation of various names and places. A note to female fans: He specifically stopped taking questions for a minute to encourage them to participate in the forum. When asked the age-old question about how long until the next book he quipped that it would be released very shortly after he had finished writing it, and that he could not help it if we were greedy. Another question he was about which character he was most like, and he answered that while his wife thinks he is Loial "in toto" he said that Lan is the character who has the traits he aspires for, and Perrin is the most like him, although he at times acted a lot like Mat as a young man. Other questions were much the same as the other signings and did not shed a great deal of light on anything new.

    Tags

  • 128

    Interview: Jan 18th, 2003

    Question

    Who do you base your female characters on?

    Robert Jordan

    I take some of the characteristics from my wife, and I distribute them through all of the female characters. I am, however, being very mean and I won't tell her which characteristics those are.

    Tags

  • 129

    Interview: Jan 18th, 2003

    Daniel G

    (when he signed my book): Who is you favorite character, if you have one?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, my favorite character is whoever I am writing about for the moment, but I will tell you which characters I relate to. When I was growing up, I tried to be like Lan. Physically, and partly behavior, I was like Perrin, and behavior wise, I was like Mat. If he had a Harley, I'm sure he would ride one too (chuckles). My wife thinks that I'm "Loial to the life", but I don't see were she gets that.

    (I also heard him talk about speeding in Maine.)

    Tags

  • 130

    Interview: Jan 18th, 2003

    Tallis

    Ah, a couple more points I'd forgotten:

    Robert Jordan

    He bases his female characters after his wife.

    Tallis

    (The audience laughed a bit, and a couple of us wondered just how dense and imperious that woman must be...)

    Tags

  • 131

    Interview: Jan 22nd, 2003

    USA Today Article (Verbatim)

    Deirdre Donahue, USA Today

    For Jordan, Fantasy Remains Fertile Field

    [Released on Jan. 7, Robert Jordan's Crossroads of Twilight immediately hit No. 1 on USA TODAY's best-selling books list.]

    The "brag shelf" at Robert Jordan's Charleston, S.C., home has expanded to a huge bookcase, groaning with foreign-language editions. That's an occupational hazard when your fantasy best sellers have been translated into 24 languages. Jordan has 15 million books in print in North America alone. Book 10 of The Wheel of Time series hit stores Jan. 7: Crossroads of Twilight (Tor, $29.95) immediately hit No. 1 on the USA Today Best-Selling Books list last week. Set in a mythic land, the series explores the battle of good vs. evil and the looming threat of "the Dark One."

    Jordan, 54, confesses he has thought about putting some foreign editions away. His wife, Harriet, will not hear of it. Jordan listens; she has been editing his work for longer than their 22-year marriage.

    Tags

  • 132

    Interview: Jan 22nd, 2003

    USA Today Article (Verbatim)

    Robert Jordan

    The South Carolina native dropped out of Clemson University after one year. ("I didn't know how to study.") He served two tours in Vietnam. Afterward, he attended The Citadel, becoming a nuclear engineer. A fall from a sub at the Charleston Naval Shipyard left him hospitalized for a month. His knee was rebuilt, and he suffered a near-fatal blood clot.

    The avid reader decided it was time to try writing. "Life was too short," he says. He decided to quit his job after a bookstore manager pal told him that a famous bodice-ripper romance writer made $3 million on two books. Jordan decided to pump purple prose. But there was a problem. "I couldn't quiver," he says.

    He met Harriet, a Manhattan editor who had moved home to Charleston. She told him he could write but to bag the bodice-rippers, suggesting instead he write historical novels. He published several under the name Reagan O'Neal.

    Tags

  • 133

    Interview: Jan 21st, 2003

    SFRevu Interview (Verbatim)

    Ernest Lilley

    You have another couple weeks left on your tour, does this make up for the isolation of writing?

    Robert Jordan

    Not quite a couple, only nine days, and it more than makes up for it. It's fun. I've had a couple of crowds of over 600, and several from 500 to 300, so believe me, I get a lot of company on the road.

    Ernest Lilley

    Do you get starved for company when you write? I know you work for eight hours a day.

    Robert Jordan

    At least eight, sometimes nine or ten. No, I don't get starved for it. My wife says I'm a badger. She has to winkle me out of my den to get me to go to social functions.

    Tags

  • 134

    Interview: Jan 21st, 2003

    SFRevu Interview (Verbatim)

    Ernest Lilley

    Do you remember what the first book that you read was?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, It was White Fang, but only the second half of it. You see, my older brother, who is twelve years older than I am, was sometimes stuck babysitting me, and what he did to keep me from sticking my hands in his goldfish bowl, and to keep from flying his balsa wood planes off the porch, was to read to me. He would read whatever he had to read for school though, and I somehow picked up reading out of this, and the first time it really manifested itself to me, he had been reading White Fang until our parents came home and he put it back on the shelf...and I wanted to know what happened. So I took the book back down and I worked my way through it. I did not get every word, but I got enough to understand the story. I remember that very clearly. I was very proud of myself for doing that. By the next year I had no trouble at all with Twain or Verne. I had a little difficulty with H.G. Wells.

    Ernest Lilley

    It sounds like you were a pretty eclectic reader.

    Robert Jordan

    At that point I was reading anything I could get my hands on. You see I was reading what I found on my parents bookshelves. Later, when I got a library card, I was disgusted to find I was supposed to go to something called the "children's section".

    The only books I found there that I enjoyed were the "Freddy the Pig" books, and some juvenile Heinlein. Those books fascinated me and I loved them. For the rest, there was nothing in the children's section that I wanted to pay attention to, and I wanted to get books like I'd been reading at home. So, I'd go into the adult's section of the library and snag books off the adult shelves. I'd take them to a reading room and I'd put the books that I wanted to keep on a shelf where they didn't seem to be bothered, and I'd leave the ones that I didn't find interesting on the table where they would get put back.

    Thus I went through life never reading any children's books, until I was married. The first time my wife got sick she wanted me to read her children's books...so I did.

    Tags

  • 135

    Interview: Jan 21st, 2003

    SFRevu Interview (Verbatim)

    Ernest Lilley

    You're married to an editor...was she an editor when you met her?

    Robert Jordan

    Oh yes. She was the founding editorial director of Tom Doherty associates, which publishes TOR books. Before that she had been promoted to Vice President, and celebrated that by resigning to set up her own imprint which was distributed by Grosset and Dunlap. My first novel to be published was published by her imprint.

    When that book was done I began to miss her...so we began dating.

    Then I asked her to marry me...but I very got Neanderthal and got cold feet. She was my publisher and my editor and how could I marry her? So I hurriedly sold some things elsewhere and then it was all right. She's still my editor. She's cut back now, and I'm the only author she edits. We used to spend a week a month in New York so she could do editorial work, and she decided she didn't want to do that anymore but she still edited people. Then a couple of years ago she cut that because of the tours for my books, and I want her to come with me, 'cause I'd go stone crazy spending a month on the road alone in hotels every night.

    Ernest Lilley

    Very nice hotels.

    Robert Jordan

    Yes. they have to be able to do express laundry and have 24-hour room service because I often don't get to eat until I get back to the hotel at one in the morning and I wanted to be able to get my favorite comfort food, Spaghetti Bolognese, which is really just spaghetti with a very simple tomato meat sauce.

    Anyway, she gave up her last writers, she was editing Father Andrew Greeley and Mike and Cathy Greer, and I'd started to sell books in translation and my European publishers started asking me to come to do tours in Sweden and Norway and Holland and Russia and Great Britain. So she decided it wouldn't be fair to the authors to go incommunicado on them for a month at a time.

    Tags

  • 136

    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.

    Tags

  • 137

    Interview: Jan 27th, 2003

    Réal Heppelle

    I then spoke to Harriet (who was more than willing to speak with me). I just wanted to thank them for adding Toronto to the list (as we Canadians often get left out).

    Great job on the site!

    Réal Heppelle

    Tags

  • 138

    Interview: Jan 23rd, 2003

    Zeynep Dilli

    His favorite character?

    Robert Jordan

    First he gave the standard answer of "whoever I'm writing at the moment"; then the conversation moved to his esteem for the characters, however, and that gave interesting things away. "Lan embodies the ideal I aspired to be. Perrin...was me while I was growing up, but I also behaved a lot like Mat. Harriet says I'm like Loial."

    Zeynep Dilli

    (Slightly after that, Harriet, who'd been browsing the bookstore, came to stand beside me and we struck up a conversation. She is a wonderful lady. While on the subject of how unpleasant it is to be dragged from city to city and hotel to hotel rather than being snug in your own home, she did repeat the Loial comment about her husband, independently.)

    Tags

  • 139

    Interview: Feb, 2003

    Bill Thompson

    These characters must seem like family to you by now.

    Robert Jordan

    Mmm, I suppose so.

    Bill Thompson

    Or at least visiting family that some day you'll have to say goodbye to and clean up the guest room after them, that kind of thing.

    Robert Jordan

    Well, I don't think it will be too traumatic. I've been thinking about what I would write once the Wheel of Time was finished for some time now. About seven or eight years I've been mulling it around in the back of my head. So when I do reach that final scene and send off the manuscript of the last book, I will take two or three months of vacation. That is, I'll take two or three months of vacation if I can actually make myself stay away from my desk for that long. And maybe go somewhere with my wife. And then I will sit down and start writing the next set of books, and I hope that I will be so interested in them that I won't miss the Wheel of Time at all.

    Tags

  • 140

    Interview: Oct 17th, 2003

    Jason Denzel

    Today is Robert Jordan's birthday. What do you think he'll do today? We asked and he said:

    Robert Jordan

    Thanks for the Happy Birthday greeting. There won't be any fishing today—we're a little betwixt and between here on things biting; October is too late in the year for some, too early for others—but it's been a great birthday so far. Lots of neat presents from various people. And I'll only work half a day, since Harriet is taking me to see Mystic River and then out to supper at my favorite Thai restaurant. All in all, a lazy but enjoyable day.

    Robert Jordan

    JASON DENZEL

    Have fun, RJ!

    Tags

  • 141

    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.

    Tags

  • 142

    Interview: Jan 6th, 2004

    Chicago, IL

    What is your writing schedule like on an average day? Meaning, when you sit down to write, do you have a set goal of how many pages you want to write that day? How much is your average?

    Robert Jordan

    I have no idea how many words I write in a day. My usual schedule, seven days a week, is after breakfast I come back to my desk, I deal with the e-mail that has to be dealt with, and then I start writing. I try to remember to try to stop for lunch. Usually I don't remember until about four in the afternoon, which is a little too late for lunch, I think. Then at 6 p.m., I help my wife fix dinner. I used to work a more rigorous schedule, but wives don't like a husband who might be waking at 2 in the morning or might be going to bed at 2 in the afternoon and have an absolute disconnect with the sun. I don't know why she didn't like that, but I stopped it.

    Tags

  • 143

    Interview: Jan 6th, 2004

    NYC, NY

    Why are the women in your series very obnoxious? Does Harriet play a role in the characters of your women?

    Robert Jordan

    No, the women in my books are not obnoxious. The women in my books are strong. I grew up in a family where all of the men were strong, and the reason is the women in my family killed and ate the weak ones.

    When I was a boy, just old enough to be starting to date in a fumbling way, I complained something about girls. And my father said to me, "Would you rather hunt leopards or would you rather hunt rabbits? Which is going to be more fun?" And I decided I'd rather hunt leopards.

    Tags

  • 144

    Interview: Mar 8th, 2005

    CBR

    Jordan's been a long time fan of comics and graphic novels, dating back to his early childhood when his family first exposed him to comics.

    Robert Jordan

    "I learned to read early—I was reading Jules Verne and Mark Twain at five—and my Uncles went into their attics and gave me not only their old "boys' books," things like Jack Armstrong: All-American Boy and The Flying Midshipmen, but also old comics they had from the '30s and '40s. For a while, I had a fairly valuable collection, though I didn't know it then. None of the really rare items, but some that would have fetched nice prices. Though I have to admit that after all these years, I can't recall the issue numbers. I bought, too, choosing carefully because my allowance only stretched so far. My own purchases were pretty far ranging. For example, I liked Batman and Scrooge McDuck about equally. In any case, that ended when I went away to college.

    "I came home for the first time to find out that my mother had given all of the comics and boys' books to various children because 'surely I didn't want those old things any more.' There's no way you can go to a ten-year old and tell him you want him to give back the comics he was just given. I mean, they weren't that valuable. But I still followed comics, and later graphic novels, which didn't exist when I was in college. It was really intermittent—'Howard the Duck,' Chaykin's 'American Flagg,' a few others that I still have—until Frank Miller got his hands on Batman. That brought me back on board, and I've been there ever since. I'm pretty choosy, partly as a matter of time—most of my reading is print—but when I see something that's new and interesting, I leap on it. And I buy compilations of older works that I recall fondly, too, for myself and as gifts. My wife doesn't know it, but she was a fan of Plastic Man as a girl, and she's getting six hardcover volumes of 'Plastic Man' compilations as soon they're delivered."

    Tags

  • 145

    Interview: Jul 14th, 2005

    Diomedes

    After a few pronunciations, RJ described some of the original details about his contract with Tor.

    (At this point, let me say that I'm reconstructing RJ's comments to the best of my ability. I did take a few pages of written notes during the session, and the content should be accurate, but I'm forced to paraphrase the information since I don't know shorthand and didn't actually record his exact words.)

    Robert Jordan

    RJ had his first contract with Tor in 1984. He expected to write about one book per year, and would need five or six books to complete the story. In fact, it took him four years to write The Eye of the World, and 16 months to write The Great Hunt, and about 15-16 months to write each subsequent book until A Crown of Swords. Up to Lord of Chaos, Tor was trying to publish the books every 12 months. RJ turned in Lord of Chaos in August of 1994 and the book was published in November of that year.

    During this period of trying to maintain Tor's once a year publishing schedule, RJ said that Harriet was doing what he called "drive-by editing." That is, RJ would give Harriet chunks of chapters as he finished with them, and she would basically edit them on the fly. Once a book was finished, they would slap it together and send it to Tor for a barebones editing process and publication.

    After Lord of Chaos was published, RJ informed Tor that there was no way he would be able to provide them with the next book in time for a November 1995 publication, and Tor told him that he could take two years for the publication if he needed it. About a year after that, his Tor contact (Sorry, I didn't write down that name) came back to RJ and said something to the effect of, "We agreed you'd be done in 16 months, right?" RJ remained adamant about the two years for A Crown of Swords, however.

    RJ then talked a little bit about Knife of Dreams, saying that he was done writing at the beginning of April, which apparently means the end of April in author-speak. Which also apparently means in the middle of May in author-speak. That bit was fairly confusing, but I got the impression that he was basically finished in April, but Tor didn't really get the book to begin their editing process until May. Once Tor had the book in hand, they tried to push up the publication date to August, but RJ refused and insisted on the full editorial review and publication in October. RJ then said the result of that fully editorial was to add a single sentence to the book (This was actually quite funny and drew some considerable laughter from us in the audience.)

    Wrapping up his initial comments, RJ reiterated that the twelfth book would be the final book. I did write down the following quote: "If I have to make it a 1500 page publication it will be the final book." He then warned us that we might need to wheel this final tome around in a cart.

    Tags

  • 146

    Interview: Oct 4th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For elementfwwe, what keeps me going is that I enjoy what am doing. Think about it. I can make a living doing what I enjoy more than anything except sex.

    I don't pattern characters after real people, but I do sometimes lift part of a real person for a character. I will say that a character in Knife of Dreams, Charlz Guybon, is named after a man whose wife won an auction for naming rights after I agreed to be part of a fund raiser for an English charity that works with victims of torture. She sent me his description, which I used. As I've often said, each of my major female characters has at least one element drawn from Harriet. And I won't tell her which parts of which characters came from her. That despite the fact that, as she likes to point out, she knows where I sleep. She did figure out that she is Semirhage when the garbage doesn't get to the curb on time, though.

    As for my idol, that is my father, now deceased. He was a wonderful man, with a rich life. I'll try to paint a small picture. He got his first car, a Model A, at the age of thirteen because he had the habit of hitching rides with bootleggers in the Tennessee mountains, and after he was in a wreck where the driver ran off and my father told the police who had been chasing them that he had been driving, his father decided to put an end to the hitching. He was a noted middleweight boxer in the 1930s, rising in the rankings, but stopped after he badly injured another man in the ring. He was a veteran of WWII who spent a lot of time behind the Japanese lines, a quiet, gentle man who taught me to rebuild automobile engines, to hunt and fish. He told stories over the campfire when we were out hunting or fishing, thus starting me on the road to storytelling myself. He never said a word about me stealing shotgun shells from his stock so a known bootlegger and poacher would take me into the woods with him. Well, I didn't know about the poaching until later. But Junior knew more about the woods than anybody else I've ever met. My father was a poker shark with a photographic memory who allowed me to sit in for three hands whenever the weekly game was at our house, even when I was young enough to need to sit on three encyclopedias to be able to get my arms on the table. He staked me, he ate the losses, and we split any winnings I had. I did win one of those hands while sitting on stacked up Encyclopedia Americanas. He told my brothers and me that he had few requirements of us. Be honest. Keep your word always. Try to do better with your life than he had done with his. And whatever you decided to be, whether it was a college professor or an auto mechanic, be the best at it that you could manage to be. Yes, he was, and is, my idol.

    Tags

  • 147

    Interview: Sep 4th, 2005

    Matt Hatch

    Skipped [transcription of] question about what is it like to edit these books, to Harriet.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Harriet enjoys editing the books, and even she asks him why he can't include her favorite character, etc.

    Robert Jordan

    Jordan contributed to the answer, he discussed how he considers the books as one story.

    Tags

  • 148

    Interview: Sep 4th, 2005

    Matt Hatch

    Skipped [transcription of] question by Tamyrlin (the guy writing this transcript) to Harriet, sort of a joke about something previously mentioned by Jordan in another Q&A about male and female relationships.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Harriet went on to say that RJ was the perfect man.

    Robert Jordan

    To which RJ responded that he is in fact the greatest embodiment of what women want in men. Jordan calls himself gullible, he says he believes anything women tell him, although he does mention he knows he is gullible in this way, so he is suspect of what women tell him. He then goes on to give a short piece of advice on how to make women happy. Rule #1 Make her laugh, Rule #2 Put the toilet seat down.

    Tags

  • 149

    Interview: 2005

    Evo Terra

    Now, the folks at Tor, your publisher—you know, Tom Doherty and crew—have obviously stuck behind you as you've increased this from five to six books all the way to twelve.

    Robert Jordan

    Yes.

    Evo Terra

    Have they been a good support all the way through?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, good support.

    Evo Terra

    Have you had the same editor all the way along?

    Robert Jordan

    I have had the same editor for every book that I have ever written with one exception. My wife Harriet is my editor. As a matter of fact, our professional relationship predates our marriage, predates our going together even. She was the editor and publisher of my first novel—The Fallon Blood, a historical novel—and it was after that was published that we began dating.

    Michael R. Mennenga

    Now, that is a brilliant move.

    Evo Terra

    I'm telling you, that's how to get an editor to do what you want. Marry them.

    Michael R. Mennenga

    That's right.

    Robert Jordan

    Oh, is that what you think? [laughter] She keeps reminding me that she knows where I sleep.

    Evo Terra

    Yeah, or it's the other way around, where that's the perfect way for the editor to get the writer what she wants him to do.

    Michael R. Mennenga

    Mmm, I wonder how that works.

    Evo Terra

    We'll leave that for speculation. We're not going to try and answer that question right here, Robert. If you don't mind, Robert, we'll take a very short break. We'll come right back and continue our conversation. We're chatting with Robert Jordan. The new book in the Wheel of Time is out, kids. It's called Knife of Dreams, and we'll be back to talk about it in just a moment, here on the Dragon Page with Michael and Evo.

    Tags

  • 150

    Interview: Sep 4th, 2005

    Matt Hatch

    Skipped [transcription of] question to Harriet about how Jordan may have tricked her in the past, as he has done to his readers about where he was going with something or another.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    She focused on two incidents when he tricked her with the books. She made a point about the 'Sword in the Stone' coming to her after having read the entire book. She didn't make the connection to Arthurian legend until she was writing the flap cover [of The Dragon Reborn].

    Tags

  • 151

    Interview: Sep 4th, 2005

    Question

    I was wondering, can you talk about how your lead character would have not one but three true loves, and how does your wife feel about that?

    Robert Jordan

    Um, when I was much younger, before I met Harriet, I had two girlfriends simultaneously, who arranged my dating schedule between them, who was going to date me on which night. They chipped in together to buy me birthday presents and Christmas presents. You know, they just sort of shared me between them, you know. And they had been friends before, and I am not quite sure whether or not they made the decision they were both going to date me or not, on their own, before they first met me, it just came about. But I figured if I could manage two, surely Rand could manage three. Besides there are mythological reasons to have these three women involved with him.

    As far as my view on this, with Harriet, I have many more than three women, there are so many facets to her personality she quite often makes me dizzy, I am quite satisfied there. About how she feels about this, I suspect you want her answer, I seem to remember her saying to me, you do remember this is fantasy right? And I think it was an accident she was holding a carving knife to my throat, just coincidence, but I am not sure.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    In four short words, I am not for it. Four and a half words.

    Tags

  • 152

    Interview: Sep 4th, 2005

    Matt Hatch

    Skipped [transcription of] question: Asked Harriet how often she was RAFO'd.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Never she says, but she says she doesn't want to get it from him, she wants to read it, and so he says he doesn't tell her, because it would affect what she does as an editor. Harriet says she knows the general gist of the final scene of the last book in the series.

    Robert Jordan

    Jordan jokes about RAFOing Harriet regarding the meal he wanted for dinner, RAFO.

    Tags

  • 153

    Interview: Sep 1st, 2005

    Jennifer Liang

    The next big event was a Q&A session with Darrell Sweet.

    Darrell Sweet

    Darrell explained the process by which the WoT covers are made and why they look the way they do. He explained that he thinks of the covers as being advertising posters for the books and are designed to catch attention. He tries to make sure that he can tell it's a "Wheel of Time" novel you're looking at; opposed to the covers he does for other series.

    He also explained that Tor frequently asks him to make changes to the art to suit the needs of the cover layout. For example, he was asked to make the figure of Perrin on the cover of Knife of Dreams shorter. As you can see by looking at the cover, if Perrin was the proper height, the text would cover part of his head.

    He also related an amusing story about the cover from The Dragon Reborn. The Jordans own the original, final painting that became the cover for this book. They have it hanging at the end of the hallway by the stairs. A few months after the painting was delivered, Darrell got a call from Harriet asking if he could "fix something" for her. Of course he could! What was it? Well, she could see the floating head of Ba'alzamon from the spine from her bed at night and it bothered her. Could he please remove it? So Darrell obliged and now the painting we all know as the cover for that book no longer exists.

    Tags

  • 154

    Interview: Sep 1st, 2005

    Jennifer Liang

    Sunday 9/4/05:

    Sunday began quietly with a book discussion group and the fan art panel. The art panel had low turn out due to being scheduled against Robert Jordan's final signing.

    However, things picked up again when we hosted a Q&A session with Robert Jordan and his wife. If you don’t know already, Harriet is the editor of the series. She is probably the only person who knows as much about the series, including background details, as he does. They are also very much in love with each other, even after all the years of living and working together. They pick on each other constantly.

    Harriet

    The big reveal of this session is that Harriet's next project, after she is done editing the next book in the series will be to take all of Jordan's background notes and edit them together into a complete "Wheel of Time Encyclopedia", with the complete Old Tongue dictionary, glossary of every term that appears in the books and character and setting information. Applause broke out when she said that. You can read another partial transcript here: http://p079.ezboard.com/ftheorylandfrm30.showMessage?topicID=6.topic

    Footnote

    A copy of the Theoryland transcript of the Q&A session is available here.

    Tags

  • 155

    Interview: Sep 24th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For the poster at Dragonmount who thinks I'm "whipped," boy do you have the wrong end of the stick. The smelly end, in fact. I might in truth be described as a top in occasional remission, following on Marigan's theme. I do tend to let the women in my life have their own way most of the time. After all, how often does it really matter? In any enduring relationship, you have to choose the hills on which you are ready to die. At least if you expect it to endure. Besides, it has advantages. (I don't mind making this public, since Harriet has heard it before and doesn't believe it. Read on and see why she doesn't believe.) The women I have let have their own way have always done their best to make my life pleasant, which is very nice indeed. And just at the point where contempt might start creeping in because I seemingly am such a pushover, something inevitably comes up to which I say, not yes, but no. The result of this sudden shock is that all of her dendrites uncurl simultaneously, resulting in short-term physical paralysis and amnesia. (Yes, it also works with Harriet, AKA Wonder Woman.) By the time she remembers how to walk again, by the time she remembers her own name, everything has been adjusted as I wish, and all she is left with is the vague realization that something happened and matters are not quite as she would wish, but she can't see how to recover the situation. Additionally, she is left with the impression that I was somehow involved in this, which puts shadows of darkness and danger around me all over again, thus dispelling any chances of contempt forming, and we are back happily to me saying yes and her making my life pleasant. Plus being darkly dangerous adds to your level of being interesting, you see. Just because you don't ride a Harley any more doesn't mean your soul can't fire up the Fat Boy now and again. Even women who deny it find a certain fascination there. If you don't believe, just watch her eyes dilate the next time a Harley rumbles past.

    Take care, guys.

    RJ

    Tags

  • 156

    Interview: Sep 30th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Cloverleaf, my next set of books after The Wheel of Time will also be fantasy, entitled Infinity of Heaven. The writing style will remain the same, though I will keep trying, as I always have, to get better. There are no plans to publish a collection of my raw notes, but Harriet, with my incidental help, will be doing an Encyclopedia of WoT which will have a lot of stuff out of the notes.

    Tags

  • 157

    Interview: Oct 2nd, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For SemiArmadillo, Harriet doesn't post to any websites.

    Tags

  • 158

    Interview: Oct 2nd, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Crowl Rife, the last movie I saw in a theater was Junebug. It has some truly sad parts, but Harriet and I laughed through most of it. Then she took a couple of her friends to see it, and they thought it was the most depressing thing they had ever seen. Go figure.

    Tags

  • 159

    Interview: Oct 5th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For kcf, again, we have never met anyone who has the Talent of emulating the effects of a ta'veren over a small area.

    I give my input on the design of the chapter icons whenever a new one seems needed, but Harriet actually decides where to place them, and I am happy to leave the job to her.

    Yes, Ingtar was seen at the Darkfriend Social.

    The Wheel creates ta'veren at need, making someone who is already alive one. You aren't born ta'veren. Can you imagine being around a ta'veren who is teething?

    It would be possible for a Darkfriend or Forsaken to be made ta'veren, but it seems unlikely. Ta'veren are part of the Wheel's self-correcting mechanism. When the Pattern seems to be drifting too quickly, and especially if it is in the wrong direction, one or more ta'veren are created. I can't really see how making a Darkfriend or Forsaken ta'veren would help with correcting the drift of the Pattern.

    Ta'veren can oppose one another, when their conflict is what the Wheel "sees" as the necessary corrective. And, no, ta'veren is not Old Tongue for Deus ex machina. It came out of musings on luck, charismatic leaders, and the theory of the indispensable man.

    Katerine escaped with the help of Darkfriends. Galina, who is much more closely watched by Wise Ones than Katerine was, would have little opportunity to use their help for an escape even if she wanted to, and she doesn't, not until she can get her hands on that rod. She'll put up with anything to get that.

    Anyone who can channel, however weakly, can see the glow of saidar and feel someone channel. For sul'dam who have been sul'dam for a time, some begin to be able to see what might be called a ghostly image of the flows. Others convince themselves that this is, of course, only imagination and manage to give themselves a block.

    Wow, you have a lot of questions. One more, and then I'm off to the next person.

    Someone who sees ta'veren sees them as glowing. The more strongly ta'veren, the brighter the glow. This is a Talent, and is something that only someone who can channel can do. While she was stilled, Siuan could not see ta'veren, nor could she have if she had been burned out.

    Tags

  • 160

    Interview: Jan 20th, 2003

    Rick Kleffel

    How did you first find publication?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, I've...it's a long story. I'll try to make it short. The first novel I wrote was accepted by Donald Wollheim at DAW books. Then I asked for some changes in the contract, and he withdrew the offer. Later, that manuscript was sold to Jim Baen at Ace Books (at that time), and he was replaced by Susan Allison, who didn't like it, so she reverted the rights to me. Then that book led to me meeting a woman named Harriet McDougal who was starting her own publishing company, and that led to me writing a novel called The Fallon Blood, which her publishing company published. And I should add very quickly that, after that book was published, she and I started dating, and we've been married for twenty-odd years.

    Rick Kleffel

    Wow, that's a great story!

    Robert Jordan

    Well, that's the short form—the simple version.

    Tags

  • 161

    Interview: Oct 5th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Mark A, there are plenty of reasons for men and women to have a certain degree of distrust, though the fact that many Aes Sedai have Warders and good relationships with them shows that it isn't all mistrust. How much trust do most men and women have for the opposite gender here and now? I trust Harriet with my life, but look at how most people are. Look at most women's views of men, and most men's views of women. There is a lot of distrust right there. As for the Forsaken, they don't trust anybody. Gender doesn't enter into it.

    Tags

  • 162

    Interview: Oct 6th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Anonymous—Carter, you won't take over too much of my time. As I have said before, once I return from the tour, it is back to full days writing, which means maybe an hour a week of lurking, and I will be doing no more than one post to the blog a week. Almost certainly not as long as this one, I'm afraid, but I think you'd rather have the book in a reasonable length of time. I hope that will be enough to keep you all satisfied after I've gone on this recent splurge. As to how I find time for everything including daily life, there is Harriet, and a housekeeper who does the shopping and dry cleaner runs and the like, Harriet's assistant Stuart who helps keep her head above water, and my assistant Maria who does the same for me. And then there is Kelly, the handyman, for heavy lifting. All together, they leave most of my time free for writing. I'm ashamed to admit that I go to the grocery store so seldom now that about every second visit I have to ask where to find items.

    Tags

  • 163

    Interview: Oct 6th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For MJJ Sedai, Harriet is not a Valkyrie. Oh, no. When she isn't being Copper Calhoun, the Dragon Lady or Wonder Woman, she is the mysterious, dark-clad woman who steps out of the shadows to put a hand on Wonder Woman's shoulder and say, "I don't think so. Now run home to that silly island, girl." And Wonder Woman runs. It would still be a suicide mission, though.

    Tags

  • 164

    Interview: Oct 2nd, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    And last but not least, for Deadsy, there is only one way for you find out whether I wear boxers or briefs, and you wouldn't like Harriet's reaction. Neither would I. Yes, I've begun picking up questions before they reach the blog.

    Tags

  • 165

    Interview: Oct 11th, 2005

    Question

    The next question was about women and men characters. The questioner said that the women characters seemed to be written by a different person, and wanted to know if that person was Harriet. It got a big laugh.

    Robert Jordan

    He answered NO and then proceeded to say that he tries very hard to get into the character he's writing about. He mentioned that sometimes when he's helping Harriet prepare dinner she'll go, "Have you been writing about Padan Fain today?" He said she's usually spot on, though it might not be Padan Fain but Semirhage, or Graendal or someone of that ilk.

    He then told a story about how when he was a little boy (I didn't catch the age but I would guess 5 or younger) a neighbor woman went to pick him up. He mentioned that he had noticed the way the dress shifted with her movements and how unlike it was with his mother and how the perfume this woman was wearing was different than his mothers, and when this woman went to pick him up she slipped a bit and his "face got buried in her busom" and he felt a bit light headed. (big laugh) The woman laughed and called him precocious. He then said that ever since that day he's paid special attention to women. He said that he's paid so much attention to women that he now has an insight into how they react. This is why he has tried to create a gender equal environment in WoT.

    NaClH2O

    I'm going to break it here because this is getting very long.

    Tags

  • 166

    Interview: Oct 11th, 2005

    Question

    The next question was "Are your characters based on real people?"

    Robert Jordan

    RJ's answer, "No" but he then said that there is at least one character trait of Harriet's in each of the main female characters. He gave the joke of Harriet is Semirhage when the garbage doesn't get taken out to the curb.

    He then went on to talk about the male characters and himself. When he was growing up he most wanted to be someone like Lan. Rand exhibits many of the feelings he felt growing up. He was big for his age like Perrin, and learned to be careful around others as he might accidentally hurt someone. Most of his fights were with three or more kids.

    He said that Harriet insists he's Loial "down to his toenails". He said he had no idea why, he doesn't even have tufted ears. (big laugh) Someone then shouted out "Mat?" "Mat is me as a teenager and into my early twenties". (bigger laugh)

    Tags

  • 167

    Interview: Sep, 2005

    Glas Durboraw

    What can you tell me, as a husband-and-wife team, what can you tell me about the collaboration between an author and an editor?

    Robert Jordan

    It's not really a collaboration, at least not in our case. I write the stuff. She looks it over, and she says to me, "You can do..." She'll do brackets and say, "You didn't convince me here. I don't believe what you say has happened, or what you say this person said, I don't believe it. Make me believe it." Or she'll bracket a section and say, just "You can do better than this." And there's not so much of her actually doing cutting or suggesting different wording—that doesn't happen very often now—but a good bit of, you know, "Do better." That sort of thing.

    Harriet McDougal

    And, it isn't a collaboration, but we do...I think the key is that each of us respects the other's work.

    Robert Jordan

    And trusts the other.

    Harriet McDougal

    Yes. And it's an older relationship than the romantic relationship. We had been editor and writer working together for two years before we ever went out on a date. So we kind of bonded in that way before we bonded in a romantic way.

    Glas Durboraw

    That's great to hear; I think that's really wonderful.

    Tags

  • 168

    Interview: Sep, 2005

    Glas Durboraw

    Where are you both from?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, we both grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. We live in a house that was bought by her grandmother in the 1920s because she had been widowed, and she thought this house was small and manageable, and that house that she'd lived in was too big for a widow. And people laugh when we tell them that, and we laugh bitterly, because it's not a small house, and it's a handful to keep up with.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    We paint it one side at a time.

    Robert Jordan

    Well, because painting all four sides of the house at once is a major expense. Major, maaaaajor.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    And it's [?], so it has to be painted every now and again, particularly since they took the lead out of house paint. It doesn't stick any more the way it used to.

    Glas Durboraw

    I remember the houses of Charleston, when I lived in Columbia, SC, and that is a beautiful area.

    Tags

  • 169

    Interview: Sep, 2005

    Glas Durboraw

    What do you see yourself doing next? Do you have any ideas?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes. I will be helping out my wife a little bit on a project that she will be doing—she's already signed the contract for it—she will be the major writer on an encyclopedia of the Wheel of Time. And then, when we've gotten that out of the way—actually, before we've gotten that out of the way—I will begin work on a trilogy called Infinity of Heaven set in a different world, in a completely different universe. There will be a different magic analog—not the One Power; not magic either, but a different magic analog—and the closest linking to the Wheel of Time will be that in one of the books—not the first one; it was at first intended to be the first book—but in one of the books we will encounter a society that will be as close to the Seanchan Empire as it is possible to get without being the Seanchan Empire, except that it is even more rigidly stratified, both horizontally and vertically, than the Seanchan Empire, which if people actually look, they'll realize has a very porous stratification; it's a place where it's possible to move from the lowest level to the highest, short of becoming the Empress.

    Glas Durboraw

    Excellent, I look forward to seeing it then.

    Tags

  • 170

    Interview: Sep, 2005

    Glas Durboraw

    Well thank you all very much for your time; I greatly appreciate it. Again this is Glas with Nash Bozard's Radio Dead Air, and we've just been interviewing Robert Jordan and Harriet McDougal, his wife, who make up a writer and author team well-known to many of Nash's readers...uh, listeners. Readers/listeners...why do I keep making that mistake?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, you called us also a writer-author team.

    Glas Durboraw

    Oh, god.

    Robert Jordan

    We're a writer-editor team.

    Glas Durboraw

    Oh, NO! Sorry!

    Robert Jordan

    It's okay; you can edit it.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    We knew what you meant.

    Tags

  • 171

    Interview: Oct 17th, 2005

    Mad Cao

    I have only been to one other WOT book signing, about five years ago, and I thought that RJ seemed much more at ease and more talkative about himself and Harriet at this event. Maybe it was because the audience wasn't hammering away with RAFO questions. We heard several funny anecdotes about Harriet and got several tidbits of advice about life and marriage.

    RJ was willing to sign anything he had written or to which he had contributed—even the illustrated guide. He signed old books brought from home as well as the new one from the store (for which they charged $31.50—what a ripoff!). By the end of the hour or so, all books had been signed (including two complete sets for two different fans) and RJ left for his birthday dinner in Philadelphia.

    Yes, we did sing Happy Birthday.

    Tags

  • 172

    Interview: Oct 20th, 2005

    Erik

    I showed up about 8 or 8:15, and the place had cleared out, there was no line so I walked right up to him at the table where he was signing.

    I arrived the same time as his wife/editor Harriet (I assume it was her, black hair with a shock of white hair in the front; RJ asked her if she'd found an Indian place for dinner, so I leaped to the Harriet conclusion).

    Tags

  • 173

    Interview: Oct 20th, 2005

    Erik

    Anyway, I gave him the book, told him I was liking it so far, and asked him how he keeps track of all the random Aes Sedai? I was just kinda making polite chit-chat, and hadn't planned a question.

    Robert Jordan

    So he launched into what sounded like a stock response about keeping a computer file of all the "initiates of the White Tower" with detailed descriptions, etc, and he finished with saying that it's a really big file, 2.5 megs. Without really thinking about it, I said "Wow, so how am I supposed to keep track of all that without that file?"

    The store manager standing behind RJ gave a little nervous laugh, and Harriet, jumps in and said "you're just supposed to be dazzled."

    "OK," I respond, and gave a kinda questioning look to RJ.

    "Read, read" he answers.

    "Sure. Thanks for signing your book."

    Tags

  • 174

    Interview: Oct 21st, 2005

    Shannan Lieb

    Around 6:40, I spotted Harriet coming out from the back of the bookstore to look around. Because I had the extreme fortune to host her and her husband for segments of this past year's Dragon*Con, I was really looking forward to saying hello, and took this opportunity to greet her.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    She was so friendly and said she was happy to see me. I told her I'd really been looking forward to the signing, and had brought my parents to meet them both and have their books signed. Then she said, "Jim is in the back, would you like to come say hello?" I started to say that I didn't want to bother him, but then realized I was crazy and said, "Well, I'm not going to turn that down."

    Robert Jordan

    So she escorted me into the back room behind the cashiers to where RJ was signing books. We came in behind him, and she said "Jim, look who's here," to which he turned and said hello and asked how I was doing, and gave me a very warm welcome. I just stayed for a few minutes to let him know I was happy he'd come to Dayton for a signing, and was looking forward to introducing him to my parents because they were fans as well. He was busy signing books for some special requests of the book store, and so Harriet and I left and went back out into the store.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    I walked with her for a little while, talking about how the tour had been going, and their plans while they were in town, and eventually we approached the stage where my mother was reserving our spot. I motioned for her to come join me, and introduced her to Harriet. We all chatted for a few more minutes, and then Harriet went to discuss the set up with the stage manager. I heard Harriet say "Will we have time for some Q&A before the signing?" and the manager reply "whatever he wants to do is fine." Harriet said, "Well I think he would like to do that first then."

    Shannan Lieb

    So Mom and I retreated back to our staked out location next to the stage, and waited for Mr. Jordan to come out. I was very happy that they'd both remembered me, and seemed happy to see me, and told Mom about getting to go "backstage." It was a great experience.

    Tags

  • 175

    Interview: Oct 21st, 2005

    Shannan Lieb

    Following the Q&A, they started with the signing. My goal was to get a picture with myself, my parents and both RJ and Harriet. I knew from Dragon*Con that Harriet isn't a big fan of having her picture taken, even though I think she is extremely photogenic. As they started to call the numbers around 80, I went to try to find Harriet as she was wandering through the store.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Eventually I found her looking at some of the cards, and asked her if she would mind taking a photo with myself and my family. She was very nice and said that she would. We wandered around a bit more, with my mother joining us, before they called our numbers, and Harriet showed us some of the books she'd been looking at. She said she really liked Books & Co. and said that she thought it was one of the nicer stops on the tour.

    They called our number and we met up with my father at the stage, and I introduced him and Harriet. We talked for a few minutes while we were waiting, about her getting to see her godson on their New York/New Jersey stop, and that I'd heard they were going to get to go to Alaska for a tour stop in 2006. She said that they had tried to combine the Alaska stop into the tour this year, but there was no way to do it without significantly modifying the tour that was already set up. So, RJ asked the tour manager "when are the salmon running?" and that decided when they would make it up to Anchorage.

    Tags

  • 176

    Interview: Oct 21st, 2005

    Steve

    From what I have read he followed what seems to be the standard evening of the greeting, followed by a pronounceable guide from him—names and the like. Then he opened the floor to questions. He responded to all questions with candor and seriousness but also enjoyed the tangential, question-spawned stories.

    Robert Jordan

    One of my favorite parts of the evening was when a question pointed him at who he felt he most resembled and someone in the audience suggested Loial because "he was a big teddy-bear" (yes, you may surmise this was posed by a woman...). He laughed at that and said that an old girlfriend used to call him a "teddy-bear but knew that he wasn't because she had seen the shadow of the man walking next to her and it more resembled a grizzly-bear..." He enjoyed the memory...

    Never said who he felt closest to but did say, again, that it depended on who he was writing that day... He said he hated it when he came into her room and his wife would say, "You've been writing Padan Fain today!" Needless to say, he implied he wasn't popular on those days!

    I was also pleased to hear him say that Lan had been modeled after his father. If only we could all be that type of father!

    Tags

  • 177

    Interview: Oct 24th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    The next question was about how much influence Harriet has on the story. He said other than being a sounding board, she has no influence on the story. Though, she does have significant influence on his writing style. She often reads a chapter and says, "You haven't convinced me" or "Do better". But none of the plot changes.

    Tags

  • 178

    Interview: Oct 29th, 2005

    Sean AlThor

    We got all four of our books signed then left. All in all it was a very satisfying and enjoyable experience, BUT, it's not over yet!

    We decided since we were in the lovely city of Santa Cruz to walk around their downtown area and take in the sights. Katie and I were giddy, chatting about the signing when out of nowhere Katie says, "You're Harriet!" and stops dead. I look and sure enough Robert Jordan's wife Harriet is standing there looking surprised.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    She affirmed that she was in fact Harriet. We quickly mentioned how we were just at the signing and she seemed to relax. Katie chatted Mrs. Jordan up and she seemed more than happy to stand there and talk with us. It was very gratifying and we found the woman delightful. Just before parting ways Katie said "We are just the hugest fans of your husband and from listening to him speak and reading articles it is obvious that he loves you very very much." Harriet seemed a little embarrassed and her cheeks got a little red, but then she answered in just the sweetest shy voice, "The feeling is mutual." Big old romantic softies that we both are, we were very moved by the sentiment and seriously, meeting Harriet was just the coolest and left the biggest impression on us of the day.

    Tags

  • 179

    Interview: Nov 22nd, 2005

    Question

    Can you give me an idea of your daily/nightly routine when you're writing? Do you have a pages-per-day target? Do you let the writing flow and then go back and tinker or do you spend lots of time in meticulous plotting and planning?

    Robert Jordan

    After breakfast, I go to my desk, deal with the phone calls and e-mails that really have to be dealt with, then start writing. Usually, this begins with going over the last scene completed to see whether I can tighten it up, make it better in some way. By the end of that scene I am into the flow again. I'm supposed to stop at midday for lunch, but unless someone reminds me, I usually forget until 4 or 4:30 in the afternoon, by which time it's a little late. At 6pm I knock off, do my backup, and go into the house to help Harriet get dinner on the table. I don't have a pages-per-day target; I simply write and see how it falls out. Sometimes this involves lots of time put into plotting and planning while other times it is just a matter of letting things rip. Either way, however, whatever I write will be rewritten a number of times, perhaps a great number. I always think I could make it better given a little more time.

    Tags

  • 180

    Interview: Nov 22nd, 2005

    Question

    How do you keep track of all the story lines and characters? Do you have a fantastically-detailed and organised character/plot filing system, post-it notes all over your office or a 400GB brain? Has your mental capacity been used up by the Wheel of Time to the extent that everyday life becomes somewhat of a muddle? It would for me!

    Robert Jordan

    My wife would say that everyday life is somewhat of a muddle for any writer, and since she has been an editor for most of her life, she might have some insight. For the rest, I have copious files on characters, nations, history, just about anything that I might need to know. Some of these are quite large. The file listing every Aes Sedai living or dead along with every novice and Accepted along with physical descriptions of each woman, the dates of her birth and her coming to the White Tower, how long she spent as novice and Accepted, character traits and a lot more runs to about 2.5 megabytes. The general file on White Tower, containing such things as the layout of the Tower and the Tower grounds, Tower law, Tower history, Aes Sedai customs, Ajah customs etc., also runs about the same size. I'm not saying that the files are exhaustive—I frequently need to invent something new—but they list not only all of the information given in the books but also information that hasn't been used as yet. The story line itself has always been exclusively in my head until it was time to begin a new book. Then I sit down and figure out how much of the story from my head I can get into the book. Until recently, I had been proven wrong on that every time. I could never get into a book as much of the story as I thought I could. So what began as an imagined six-book series has expanded. Now I've reached the last book, and the rest of the story is sketched out on paper for the first time. Well, paper digitally speaking.

    Tags

  • 181

    Interview: Dec 1st, 2005

    Tom Schaad

    And last time we talked, we went into a little bit of a discussion about how you didn't have time to look at the internet, and so going back and forth on the fan sites wasn't something that you did, but...you have a blog! You have a blog...Robert Jordan has a blog!

    Robert Jordan

    Yes I do, and as a matter of fact, I posted six or seven times in the ten days prior to going on tour.

    Tom Schaad

    How has that experience been?

    Robert Jordan

    It's interesting. A lot of comments from the fans, and it all came about because I had time, having finished this book earlier than I normally do in the cycle, I had time to actually browse some of the sites, and I commented to Jason Denzel who runs Dragonmount about something I had seen, and he said, "Would you like a blog?" And I said, "Well, sure." And people have rushed in to give comments, and I make a post, and go back the next day, and there are already forty, fifty, sixty, seventy comments already up, and I don't know whether that's high for blogs, or low, or what, but it's astounding to me.

    Tom Schaad

    What kind of...is it a dialogue? Are they observations?

    Robert Jordan

    It's a dialogue, really. It was going to be a very infrequent posting when I thought I had something to say to them, and right away I had to quash a rumor that I had cancer.

    Tom Schaad

    What??

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, yes, yes; apparently there was this rumor that I had cancer, and sometimes it was in remission, and sometimes it wasn't, and that's why the books were taking so long.

    Tom Schaad

    [laughs]

    Robert Jordan

    Come on guys, it takes a long time to write a 700-page book!

    Tom Schaad

    There are 761 pages of text in here!

    Robert Jordan

    Yes. So, I had to go back almost immediately and put up another post saying, "No, I do not have cancer, and I never have had cancer," and there were a couple of questions that had been posted at the same time, and so I answered those questions, and it began a sort of dialogue which has ranged from philosophical questions about the things in the books down through "Do you wear boxers or briefs?" I told the lady that asked that that there was only one way for her to find out, and she would not like Harriet's reaction, and neither would I.

    Tom Schaad

    I'm certain that's true.

    Tags

  • 182

    Interview: Nov 4th, 2005

    Bluecole

    So that's all the big stuff . . . but here's a bit more.

    Robert Jordan

    He & Harriet will produce an encyclopedia after the main series is done.

    Tags

  • 183

    Interview: Dec 19th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    (for kcf) On the large scale, the gender relationships in the Wheel grew from the very beginnings of the books, really. I recall seeing a paperback book back in the 70s, a fantasy novel about a young woman who wasn't allowed to become a magician of whatever sort it was because she was a woman. The notion struck me as interesting, since it was the first fantasy novel with that theme that I had ever seen, but what really stuck with me was this. That novel was a simple reflection of the then-current mundane world, but what about if it were men who were not allowed to become whatever it was? Now that would be an interesting twist, and unexpected. Why would that be, and how could it be enforced? As Harriet has often pointed out, many of the world's gender inequalities stem from superior male upper body strength. (To which I usually say, "Oh, dear! Isn't that awful and unfair!" While pulling off my shirt and flexing my biceps, to be sure.) From that genesis grew the division of the One Power into a male and a female half with the male half tainted, giving a reason why men not only would not be allowed to become Aes Sedai, as they were not then called, but must not be allowed even to channel, again as it was not then called. From that, and from the history that I was even then beginning to put together for this world, though I didn't realize it then, came the result of 3000+ plus years when men who can wield the ultimate power, the One Power, are to be feared and hated above all things, when the only safety from such men comes from the one stable center of political, and other, power for those 3000+ years, a female center of power. The view I then had was a world with a sort of gender equality. Not the matriarchy that some envision—Far Madding is the only true matriarchy in the lot—but gender equality as it might work out given various things that seem to be hard-wired into male and female brains. The result is what you see.

    Tags

  • 184

    Interview: Mar 24th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    Well, guys, the letter in Locus is indeed from me. I had hoped to be a little more focused with this and get a post up here before anything came out in Locus, or anywhere else public, so you would get it first, but I flat forgot that Charles has his on-line version of Locus now, too. Sorry about that.

    Don't get too upset, guys. Worse comes to worst, I will finish A Memory of Light, so the main story arc, at least, will be completed. And frankly, as I said, I intend to beat this thing. Anything can be beaten with the right attitude, and my attitude is, I have too many books to write yet for me to just lie down. Don't have time for it. Besides, I promised Harriet I'd be around for our 50th, and that means another 25 years from this month right there. Can't break a promise to Harriet, now can I?

    I had intended to go on with a few answers to questions when I made this post (I see some interesting ones), but that will have to wait, I'm afraid. I have a few other things to get done first. Maybe I'll be able to get that up this afternoon or tomorrow. No promises, though. Before I go to Mayo, though, I promise. And updates from the Mayo as I can manage.

    Oh, yes. When the hair goes, with the chemo—as it is very likely to do—I'll post some before and after shots, just so people showing up in Seattle and Anchorage won't think we've run in a ringer. Yes, I plan to keeping those signings in late June. The chemo and recuperation should be finished by mid-to-late May, so I can make it. Hey, there will be big salmon running in Alaska at that time, and I never passed up a chance at big fish in my life.

    Again, sorry that you got the news in such a raggedy fashion. I really did mean to handle things more smoothly.

    Take care, guys. Until the next time.

    All my best,
    RJ

    Tags

  • 185

    Interview: Apr 18th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    I just got some mail from Brad Condray and "all the Maniacs at wotmania," pages and pages of get well messages. And never a troll in the lot of them. Thanks, guys. I can't tell you what it means. Thanks a lot.

    RJ

    PS Had my first chemo this morning, and though they say the side effects won't kick in for a few days, I have to say, so far, so good.

    PPS I decided not to wait on my hair falling out in patches. First visit after leaving chemo was a barber shop where I told the man to take it all off except for the beard. Harriet came in shortly after he was done. And she didn't recognize me! Okay, it was from the back, but you don't think I'm going to let her forget it, do you? I'll get some pics out as soon as I can.

    PPPS I was thinking, if I get a total shave and a wax job, plus a tattoo up the back of my neck (not a dragon. I'm thinking a salamander), this could be a whole new look for me.

    Tags

  • 186

    Interview: May 1st, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For Sarah, I point out that I never expected Harriet to ride in a sidecar. She claims she wants to ride postillion so she can hang onto me. If we go with the bikes, I'll get her a bike of own and we'll see. Now what is this Scottish word? Then again, no. No. I have been ambushed too many times by white-haired grannies with pink-scrubbed cheeks and dewy-eyed schoolgirls whose skin was still moist with innocence. I'll not invite it.

    Tags

  • 187

    Interview: May 1st, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For Egwene, yes, I read Ray and Janny's Empire Trilogy and enjoyed it. Harriet has been the editor from the beginning with these books, but she has never been a co-writer is any sense or I would have credited it. My women come from observation of women in the world around me ranging back to my family. You see, I started early. When I was no more than three or four my mother gave a garden party, and a friend of hers picked me up. It didn't feel like being picked up by mother or by a baby sitter. I remember feeling her soft summer dress slide against her skin. I recall the soft, floral scent of her perfume. My mother might have worn that perfume, but this woman did not smell as all like mother.

    She bent to set me down, and her grip on me slipped. Now her dress was one of those summer dresses that buttoned up the front, and as her grip slipped, I slid down, burying my face in her cleavage. My head seemed about to burst with the scent of her. Then she had me upright again, and she laughed, and ruffled my hair, and called me precocious. Which I recall because I ran off to learn what it meant.

    After that, I looked around at the boys and girls my age. When we were dressed differently, we were very different, but if we were all dressed alike, in khakis or cut-offs for crabbing or to help with the shrimping, there wasn't much difference at all in how we looked or acted. The thing was, I could see me growing into my father, but I could not see any of the girls growing into that woman who had picked me up. So I began studying these strange creatures. I'll say nothing of methodologies. I have spent more than one night being harried across the rooftops by a mob of women carrying torches and pitchforks. We say nothing of sickles, of whatever size. We will not speak of those.

    In any event, along the way I came to some small understanding of a small part of what makes women tick, and this has allowed me to write women that women find to be real.

    Tags

  • 188

    Interview: May 1st, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For those offering support and sympathy to Harriet, thank you ten thousand times over. She tells me that my job is to keep breathing, while she takes care of everything else. That is what they told us at the Clinic. But I have to keep an eye on her to see she doesn't overdo. As I've told her a couple of times, "If you fall over dead, babe, then I'm going to stop breathing anyway. So you won't be doing me any good." I wish that some of you might put together something for her along the lines of the Get-well Card that Wotmania did for me or the one that I understand Dragonmount is putting together. Remember. No Harriet, no me. No reason for me. So anything you can do for her in the way of support and sympathy would be greatly appreciated.

    Tags

  • 189

    Interview: May 23rd, 2006

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Dear everybody,

    First of all, Major thanks from both of us to Dustin Micheletti, Greg Pearson, Michael Kemp, William Walker, Carols Franco, Jenna Medaris, and John Knam, for your very kind gifts to the Hematologic Malignancies Program—amyloidosis research. Thank you for joining this fight!

    Now I must add my own personal and heartfelt thanks to Brad Condray, Proxy Candy Striper for all of wotmania, and all of you dear Wotmaniacs, for your lavish, heartfelt, and delightful Care package. Your card of good wishes moved me to tears. And the box contained so many smiles, good tastes, and fun pastimes that I was overwhelmed.

    Thank you very much, all of you.

    Best Wishes,
    Harriet

    Tags

  • 190

    Interview: May 24th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    I don't think I've ever broken a promise to you guys before, but I must this time. I won't be in Seattle or Anchorage as promised. Harriet finally allowed as how she was just too tired to make the trip, and I guess that freed me up to take a long look at myself. I can see where I am right now, and for all the brave talk, the chances of me actually making it to Anchorage were somewhere between small and nill. Especially if I expected to walk away at the end instead of being carried. So we aren't going to be there.

    My apologies. Mia culpa, mia culpa, mia maxima culpa. Sometimes you just can't deliver. Still, I can't help thinking that getting more back on my feet by the end of June is a better plan.

    I am likely to curb my blog posts a bit, too, so don't go worrying over that. They'll be shorter, likely further between for a time, but I'm just trying to get a little rest, that's all. Don't sweat it.

    All my best,
    RJ

    Tags

  • 191

    Interview: Jun 25th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    I thought I'd send a few words just to keep any rumors at bay, and any worries over the length of time since my last post.

    First off my thanks to Mrs. Sandy Allen and to Dr. Mark H. McKinney of The Citadel Electrical & Engineering Department for their contributions in my name to the Mayo Clinic Hematologic Malignancies Program—Amyloidosis Research. Your gifts are very much appreciated.

    Thanks also, once again, to all of you who have posted your well wishes for me. It means a lot. More than I can say.

    As for me, I am still doing a little better each day. The work on the elevator is done, so I can sleep in my own bed again, which is terrific. I still do poorly with stairs and with walking very far. My current goal is to make it around the block without stopping to catch my breath even once. And to do so at a decent pace. I truly hate the creeping sort of walk I've been reduced to lately. I know that, too, is getting better, but it is still irritating.

    I've begun working out again, but on doctor's orders, with very light weights. 10-lb and 20-lb dumb-bells, with 40 lbs for pull-downs. It still surprises me how much I feel a session with such light weights, but then, I am almost forty pounds lighter than I was on tour, for those who saw me then. Harriet says I am skin and bone, and in some ways she has the truth of it. I haven't been this light since I was a sophomore in high school. I am finding sessions on the stationary bicycle exhausting.

    I am persevering, however. And trying to get back into the work, I'm sure you'll be happy to hear, though at nowhere near a full schedule yet. Besides, I have asked my brothers and cousins to come to Charleston in August to fish, plus I promised Harriet to take her to a spa hotel for her birthday that month, so I need to build up my strength as quickly as I can.

    I can't recall whether I mentioned this earlier, but we got to the bottom of me sleeping 20 hours a day. One of my medications, for nausea, also had drowsiness as a side-effect. And, boy, did it make me drowsy. Getting rid of that—no problem since I never did have any problems with nausea—got rid of the desire for so much sleep.

    Now it is just a matter of waiting until July so the Mayo can tell me whether those tests were right. And more importantly, what they really mean. Whatever the report, though, you should know that I'm still here kicking. And writing when I can.

    Talk to you later, guys.

    RJ

    Tags

  • 192

    Interview: Jul 6th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    As usual, let me start by thanking those who recently have donated to the Mayo Clinic Hematologic Malignancies Program—Amyloidosis Research in my name. The latest are Ms Brandie Minchew and Mr. Liam Hemmings. Thanks a million, guys.

    This will be short, just to keep the worriers a little less worried about any untoward events.

    A note to those sending me fan mail. A return address really helps if you'd like any sort of answer, though I've been reduced to postcards of late because of sheer volume. This holds especially true for people writing from Japan.

    My cousin Wilson and his wife Janet came down to spend last weekend with us, and that was great. Wilson and I took a little walk, and I made it almost halfway around the block before I had to stop. A small thing, but a new best, post-chemo. I've also pushed, with my trainer's guidance, the weight lifting to 35-lb dumbbells for the bench press and 75-lbs for lat pull-downs. Not great weights, to be sure, but a lot more than I was able to handle only two weeks ago. I get a little better every day, it seems, and those little bits add up over time. I'm still about 30 pounds lighter than I was on tour last year, but I've started putting weight back on. In muscle, I hope, not fat. But several people have commented that the shoulders, biceps and forearms are noticeably larger than they were three weeks ago, so maybe I'm doing it right. And I'm getting a little work done on AMOL, which is good. Not that any of you care about that.

    Tomorrow Harriet and I take off for the Mayo Clinic, where we hope to get confirmation of that "good news, maybe." (See the earlier posting for a fuller explanation.) If they come through for me, I'll be popping the bubbly as soon as we get home. And letting you know, of course. Our return home won't be until next Thursday, possibly later if I get a Corporate Angels flight back, so don't get antsy if I don't post until a week Friday. Until then, wish me luck and keep those prayers coming.

    And just to toss in a few answers.

    Tags

  • 193

    Interview: Jul 6th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For Isabel, I'm not sure what sort of spa hotel you mean, but at this one, the list of possible massages alone runs to half a dozen pages. They also offer a lot of "scrubs," "wraps" and other things that seem more attractive to Harriet than to me. Plus, it's on the beach. Does that sound like what you're thinking about?

    Tags

  • 194

    Interview: Jul 14th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    Well, guys, it turns out that the possible good news was only a chimera after all. The chemo did not work. I am still producing amyloids. Oh, well. I knew going in that I had only a 60% chance of a good result. I guess sometimes even my luck doesn't stretch far enough. The silver lining in that is that the disease is stable. There has been no further damage to my heart from three months ago. There is that.

    On the good news front, I snagged the last of 38 slots in a study to see whether a drug recently (last month!) approved for treatment of multiple myeloma will work on amyloidosis. Treatments that work with multiple myeloma usually work well with primary amyloidosis, and Dr. Hayman has high hopes for this. It is in the same family as thalidomide, but much less toxic and with far less severe side effects. I'll take a pill a day for 21 days, lay off for 7 days, then go up to Rochester for a day, where they will do tests and give me my next month's supply. We don't expect to see any result in the first three months, but after 3 months of this regime, I will transfer to visiting the Mayo for a day every 3 months, adding a steroid at some point. I've been on this particular steroid before, short term. I had someone remove all the firearms from my house and study before I got home the first time I was put on this stuff, but the only side effect was a touch of euphoria. Harriet says I was very, very happy while taking it. So I guess I'll be grinning a lot. God, I hate people who smile all the time! Now it looks as if I might become one. Jeez Marie!

    It's funny. If I hadn't been stubborn, I might not have made it into this study. You see, the time for 100-day checkup was supposed to be the beginning of August, but I said I couldn't do it then. (They aren't used to hearing that at the Mayo.) That is when I'm taking Harriet to that spa hotel for her birthday, and I wouldn't miss it. So by the time we had gotten around working back and around Dr. Hayman's vacation, it turned into an 80-day checkup and I was there for that last spot. Had I waited to go until August, that spot almost certainly would have been taken by someone else. You see? It pays to be good to your wife.

    Getting into the study was good in another way, too. Since the drug hasn't been approved for amyloidosis, even if I could have gotten Dr. Hayman to write a prescription for me, my insurance wouldn't have paid a penny on it. And it costs $18,000. A month. In the study, I get it for free. If it gets approved, then I'll have to pay, but my insurance should pick up part of it. Though I have heard of $4,000 and $5,000 co-pays with this same drug. Oh, well. What you gains on the swings, you loses on the roundabouts.

    Okay; enough of that.

    Tags

  • 195

    Interview: Jul 14th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For a fan of rolan_dcs, no characters in my books are based on any real people, living or dead. With the possible exception of myself, anyway. And the bits I took from Harriet for various female characters.

    By the by, I've seen a lot of comment, apparently from men, that my female characters are unrealistic. That's because women are, for the most part, consummate actresses who allow men to see exactly what they intend men to see. Get behind the veil sometimes, boys, and your hair will turn white. I've been there, and mine went white and didn't stop there; a great deal of it actually turned dark again, the shock to my system was so great. Believe me, I mild it down so as not to scare any males into mental breakdowns.

    Tags

  • 196

    Interview: Aug 15th, 2006

    Wilson Grooms

    All:

    The dynamic duo has returned from the Mayo with mostly good, but certainly mixed results. Amyloidal deposits are measured as monoclonal free light chain fragments. There are "good and bad" light chains. The good news is that the ratio of good to bad has definitely improved. The mixed news is that both numbers were up. We are ecstatic that the news is positive, but would have liked the offending Lambda light chains to have stayed level or decreased in number. Overall though guys, this is very good news.

    The computer has been relocated from the office to the house and RJ was working, some. Not right now though guys. In preparation for the trip, the docs pulled him off of Lasix, a diuretic, which resulted in a gain of almost 12 pounds in three days. At the Mayo, he went back on the Lasix and dropped 5 pounds in 2 days. Then the Lasix was stopped for the trip back home and a gain of 7 pounds was achieved. Through it all, RJ figures he has about 20 to 25 pounds of excess water on him at the moment. The extra weight was causing the difficulty in sleeping he described to you before. Result: the docs have him back on the Lasix to get rid of the water weight and have enforced strict rest. Sorry, no writing, not even on the blog at the moment. He is reading your posts however.

    He hit me with something on the phone today that I never knew about. Like many soldiers, he had a nickname while serving in Vietnam. RJ overheard a group discussing something and one said they should ask Ganesh what to do. He walked into the discussion and asked who this Ganesh was. "You.", they told him. You see, RJ was considered a good luck charm by those he served with. He and the crews he served with always made it back. It got to where pilots would ask for him by name for their crew. Ganesh is the Hindu Lord of Good Fortune. RJ referred to Ganesh as the Remover of Obstacles. To this day, he has no idea who gave him the name. I still consider him my good luck charm. Heck, he brought Harriet into my life. A man can't get any luckier than that. Truth be known, both of us married above our station. Bitter truth guys, we all do.

    To Sue fighting the same menace, prayers go both ways. Stay the course.

    To Johannes in Sweden, when RJ recovers and revisits your beautiful country, hopefully you'll get the chance to chat with him about both his worlds.

    To Jennifer Sedai, Harriet is all you said and more. Elegant, intelligent, a worker not a watcher, interesting and interested, a friend to all, a hell of a cook, a gardener extraordinaire, unpretentious, the defender and provider of those in need, tough, tender and above all, REAL. My life is better for having her in it. Know I'm not speaking out of turn, RJ's is too.

    To all of you who've asked me to pass on your love to them both, done and will continue. Please don't stop. Long live the Dragon and his Queen!

    Wilson
    Brother-Cousin, 4th of 3

    Tags

  • 197

    Interview: Aug 25th, 2006

    Wilson Grooms

    RJ has dropped a ton of water weight, over 30 pounds. He's feeling much better as a result. Earlier this week he and Harriet made one of their many trips to his doctors and were pleased that he was able to negotiate all of the walking without rest or assistance. You'll recall his description of his first attempt to mosey around the block with me a while back. We made it more than half way, and may have gone further save the sun getting to us both. Harriet reports that his appetite is also improving.

    Their sense of humor never dims. We were chatting on Wednesday about both our hair growth. Harriet announced that RJ had hair "all over his head". He corrected that it was only growing down to his eyebrows. We laughed about having to learn the wolf man dance. RJ said that he was spending time lurking in the bushes in front of the house lunging at unsuspecting tourists. So should you be sight seeing in Charleston, you've been warned.

    To SJP, Elseby, Ray and Damien: Thanks for your service guys. Be safe.

    To Kristen: Lost it, but you kept on fishing, atta girl! Ask RJ about the day we spent fishing with my cousin, his then 9 year old nephew and were both skunked. As I recall the score was Jim III three pretty good sized sharks, RJ and Wilson zero.

    I know there is trifling little news in this update. But find comfort in the fact that things are still very positive. Your continued support is very important. RJ and Harriet are weary from the fight and have much more ahead. Your words of encouragement, advice, humor and well wishing help lighten their load. Thank you all.

    Wilson
    Brother-Cousin, 4th of 3

    Tags

  • 198

    Interview: Aug 26th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    Hi, guys. I apologize for it being so long since my last post, but I had a few little rough patches to deal with, and they kept getting in the way. You know how it is. Somehow, and you never quite do know how, you find yourself juggling three eggs when the doorbell rings. You want to put the eggs back in the basket so you can answer the door, but sure as anything, that's just when somebody with shoot another egg in on you, or even two, and you're juggling faster than ever. Well, we have all that under control now. Wilson has very kindly been keeping you abreast of events, so I won't bore you by going into details. Suffice it to say that I am recovering lost ground every day now. Tonight, Harriet and I are being taken out to a nice French restaurant by a young cousin, Mary Pinckney, who is more like a daughter to us. Next weekend, Wilson and Janet will come down, and we'll have some BBQ chicken. Though I can see the argument shaping up now. Harriet will want me to try making the BBQ sauce as nearly salt free as never no mind, while I think that cutting loose once in a while is my safety valve that allows me to eat restricted salt the rest of the time. I'll just have to triple the Tabasco in the sauce. That has a good bite and a good flavor. Sure, there are hotter sauces, but either they have a poor flavor or else the heat is so great they have no flavor at all. I'll stick with my Tabasco.

    I see where Wilson posted the wolfman stuff. But he makes it sound like a joke. I actually find it quite restful lying in the flowerbed at the front of the house and leaping up when tourists walk by. The way they jump and squeal and set off running, well, I just lie there and laugh. Hwoooooooooooooo!

    It is a couple of weeks yet before I go back to the Mayo for my second set of tests with respect to this study I'm in. I still don't expect any good news yet, not for another few months. Then we'll see. You can stand back and watch me dance.

    Tags

  • 199

    Interview: Aug 26th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For Alessandra, amyloidosis of my sort means a heart transplant is really out of the question. The amyloids would just start depositing in the new heart and eventually wreck it, too. I don't think I could even get approved for a transplant for that very reason. Anyway, I intend to beat this thing, not just dodge it.

    For a number of people who have pointed out the advances made lately, especially in Australia with fighting the amyloids related to Alzheimer's, those amyloids are quite different in type and location from mine. Some of the work crosses over, and some does not. As to whether these discoveries will have any effect for me long-term, we'll just have to wait and see.

    Mario Plateau asks how can we deal with death, and Anne asks whether I am afraid of death. You deal with death the way you deal with breathing, or with air. Death is a natural and inevitable end. We all come to it eventually. I'm not eager for death, certainly, and I intend to fight it, but neither am I afraid of death. I made my accommodations with death a long ago, when I was a young man. Face to face with it, however, I have discovered a fear that never occurred to me all those years ago. When I die, Harriet will be left to deal with the aftermath. God, I'd give anything to spare her that. If I needed a reason to fight, that would be reason enough by itself.

    Take care, guys. More soon.

    RJ

    Tags

  • 200

    Interview: Sep 5th, 2006

    Wilson Grooms

    I spent the weekend with a man walking a tight rope holding a small parasol in one hand for balance while tipping his hat to the crowd far below with the other. I'm stealing the metaphor from Harriet for that was her description of the circus act RJ is performing trying to keep the medications in balance, do some work and keep you (fans) and we (family) informed.

    Over the past two weeks the balance has been difficult to attain. Reining it in slowly, but surely however.

    RJ, Harriet, Janet and I spent time on Saturday afternoon thumbing through your posts. All touched us, some to tears. Thank you for sharing your stories. You provide more inspiration than you'll ever know. Were I to possess but an ounce of the strength of Ben N, Don Webb, Julia or Lynn I could move mountains. RJ singled out several individual posts for a personal answer.

    The four of us made it out on the town for dinner on Saturday night. Charleston is replete with fantastic places to dine. RJ knows that being land bound I prefer food from the sea on our visits. Picked a grand one he did, Coast. Highly recommended.

    The BBQ chicken we had planned for Sunday evening had to be postponed. Too bleeping hot outside to stand by an open grill, and other things to do anyway. We'll try your many home recipes for sauce and rubs at a later date.

    RJ and Harriet will be making their monthly trip to the Mayo next week.

    He's working. Good therapy it is. Also gives him and his editor-in-chief, love of his life, first and only wife, Harriet something to talk about rather than the 800 pound medical gorilla sitting in the middle of the room. You'll hear from him soon.

    Wilson
    Brother-Cousin, 4th of 3

    Tags

  • 201

    Interview: Sep 15th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    Well, I'm back from my monthly (at present) visit to the Mayo, and I have some new results that I thought I'd share with you. That is the reason for this short entry. Just to get the news out. I'll do the usual a's to your q's in a post in a few days.

    First off, a little explanation. The markers for amyloids are things called Lambda Light Chains. The normal range for Lambda Light Chains (you have them, too) is between 0.50 and 2.63. If the number gets above that, it is bad, and the higher, the worse. Two months ago, my number was 75. Not good. One month ago, it was 95. Definitely not good. There were some mitigating factors that made it maybe not quite as bad as it might have been, but the disease was definitely progressing. On Thursday, I was given the most recent test result. My number is now 13.

    This is not a cure. I repeat: This is NOT a cure. There is no cure for amyloidosis any more than there is for cancer. The best you hope for is remission, and this isn't even remission. I will need to keep taking this medicine for a long time in order to keep the good result going. But it is the first time in such a long time that I have had any good news. I haven't lied to you in this blog, not ever, but I haven't always told you everything. I told you in the beginning that I wasn't going to. There was no need as I saw it to burden you with descriptions of every bout of nausea or the like. Wilson has spoken of rough patches. A fair number of those were hospital stays, for dehydration, for congestive heart failure (again), for whatever, once three of them in three weeks. Up to now, going back to the boxing metaphor, the best I've been able to manage for any round was a bare, skin-of-my-teeth draw, then drop on the stool in my corner, get the blood out of my eyes, and stay on the stool right up until the bell rang because the legs badly needed those few added seconds of rest if they were going to carry me through the next round. Some rounds weren't a draw, not even close, but I've got a good corner crew in Harriet and others, and they always helped me get ready to answer the bell one more time. This time, however....

    For the first time, I've scored a round over Liston clearly and cleanly. There's still blood to clean out of the eyes, but not so much, and this time, I'll be already on my feet and waiting when the bell rings. As Harriet said to me, for the first time, we can be sure the light we see at the end of the tunnel is not a train. And that is such a relief, for me as well as for her, because for so long, as it seems to us, we have been sure that the light really was a train, but there was nothing to do except keep running toward it as hard as we could.

    To all of those of who have posted that you are praying for me, thank you. For all of those who say you don't believe, but you send good wishes, thank you, too. You think good wishes; God hears prayers. To all of you who post at all, thank you.

    We're still here, and we're still fighting. And I finally took a round from Liston! HOT DAMN!!!!

    Back to you real soon, guys.

    RJ

    Tags

  • 202

    Interview: Sep 25th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    Hi, guys. I was going to put up a regular post here today, but that is going to have to wait a few days. You see, Mike Ford died last night. To you, he was John M. Ford, two-time winner of the World Fantasy Award, including for "Winter Solstice Camelot Station", the only poem ever to win the short fiction award. Or maybe you're a Star Trek Fan and remember his Star Trek novels, such as How Much for the Just Planet? (the only flat-out comedy among all the Trek novels, I think) or The Final Reflection, the only (to that time, anyway) Trek novel done from a Klingon point of view. What he was, frankly, was one of the best poets working in the English language and THE best writer working in the United States bar none. That ain't hyperbole, Jack, That was pure fact. And I only limit it to the States because I figure I'd better give the rest of the world the benefit of the doubt. They might have slipped in somebody as good. I don't follow their stuff closely enough to be sure. Somebody as good, maybe. But nobody better.

    More importantly to me, though, he was my brother. He shared not even so much blood with me as Wilson, but Mike was still my brother. I don't say things like that lightly. Maybe not blood of my blood, but bone of my bone, and a son and brother of this house. For thirty years he came to Charleston to spend Christmas with Harriet and me, and sometimes Thanksgiving and maybe Easter. He was coming home for Christmas again. We'd made plans.

    Christ, I miss him.

    Sorry, Mike. I know you'd have preferred some clever repartee and a quip or three, but my quipper seems to be busted.

    Tags

  • 203

    Interview: Oct 11th, 2006

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Dear all: Most sincere thanks from Robert Jordan (via Harriet) go out to

    Michael J. Fredericks, Jean Verney-Carron, Evan Harmon, Lisa Kirwood, Ryan Salsamendi, Emma de Laat (hello, Emma!), David Freeman, Helena Taylor and Janet Taylor

    for gifts to the Mao Hematologic Malignancies Program—amyloidosis research. Thank you one and all.

    Jim is taking it easy today, since we go up to the Mayo tomorrow for a routine workup -- but as a consolation prize, here is a poem of mine:

    Bard: n., a full set of equine armor.

    Your head seethes with essential magic,
    its glittering chanfron deep and wise,
    high-buffed, strong in dream and reason.
    and your escutcheon shining pure.
    The crinet of your glistening neck,
    articulated, burnished,
    glides swiftly to the brazen peytral
    of your great roomy chest.
    On it emblazoned script in gothic flame:
    Live in today, live for tomorrow.
    Your flanchards bearing you in strength,
    shine bright below your gleaming crupper.
    And for your groin: festooned galloons,
    fine textiles in a nest, and heavy gold.
    All worlds flare in your burning eyes,
    as soul and words bring fat new flames
    to the pale page, and to my greedy heart.

    Hope you enjoy it. You have all been a wonderful support for both of us.... I guess this is a little thank-you token. Best, Harriet

    Tags

  • 204

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    Well, I've been offline for a while, but I thought you had the news pretty well from Wilson, plus I needed to rest up, frankly, having had a stretch of in the hospital, then out of the hospital, in and then out, in again, and this time out on a Saturday so I could get on a plane on Sunday, have my tests done at the Mayo on Monday, talk with the doctors on Tuesday, then drive to Minneapolis to speak at Mike Ford's Memorial service. Frankly, I got home in some ways stronger than when I left, but in others, well, I was ready to lie down and sleep as long as I could get by without having an ice cube slid down my back. I really needed some rest, in my own bed not a hospital or hotel bed. And every time I've thought about posting here the last week or so, I just couldn't find the energy to do more the most cursory sort of entry, likely dull-witted with weariness at that, and I thought you deserved more than that.

    You might find a small interest that I codified a list of things to be done once I have regained (1) over-all strength, (2) hand-eye coordination, and (3) some degree of balance. I am convinced that I will recover these things—the strength seems the easiest—and have even agreed, after some urging from Harriet, to submit my hands and feet to acupuncture! Go figure. Me, the Great Skeptic! Well, she's a cousin of sorts, through marriage—it can get complicated in Charleston—and she is fully qualified and all of that.

    Anyway, the list.

    1) Purchase Harley. I already have this picked out, as I think I've told you, and though Harriet SAYS she won't mind riding postillion, I'm figuring a sidecar is my future, too. That's okay. But not quite as soon as I hoped. It won't be under the Christmas tree this year. Maybe next.

    2) Sky diving qualification. I'm not talking buddy-jumping strapped to some guy's belly like a kangaroo trying to escape from it's mother's pouch. I mean to take the whole nine yards so that I can walk into any place where such a thing is possible, rent a chute, rent a plane to take me up, and go jump, no questions asked. Wilson says we are too old, and my knees are too bad, for this sort of thing, but the thing is that having achieved that qualification, I doubt that I will ever use it. I will have done it, however, and that will be enough. When I was young, before my first tour in the Nam, I volunteered to airborne. I got turned down on account of bad eyes, and that is something I have regretted ever since. That I've held on that regret so long indicated something to me, because I have always operated on Lan's rule, bury your dead and ride on. I don't hold onto regrets. This one remains, however. So I will try to lay it to rest once and for all. Besides, I WANT to jump out of the bloody plane!

    3) Take up ball-room dancing lessons with Harriet. Funny, after saying that I don't hold onto regrets, that I should come to this one straight away. You see, before I began having nerve problems with my feet and loss of balance, I was a pretty good dancer. Good enough to have 20-something guys complimenting me on my moves and women of various ages cutting in on Harriet to dance with me. It was also neat to be addressed on the street, sometimes by women I could swear I never met in my life, with cries of "Hello, dancer!" Well, I want that back. And, since I am completely untrained—I grew up poor; there was no childhood dance class in my background—I want to take the lessons because I want some dances, the tango, the rumba, the cha-cha, that you just can't fake. And not that Dancing with the Stars baloney, either. That is strangely entertaining, one might say weirdly entertaining, much like a train wreck involving Borat and Rush Limbaugh in clown makeup, but in most cases, the dances they do have no resemblance whatsoever to the dances they claim to be. Let them take their so-called tango to Argentina. And see if they can get out of the country alive. Anyhow, #3, dance lessons.

    And 4) Take up golf. This something I had just begun to get into when things when blooey in general. You need balance to make a good swing, and I found out I have a pretty good natural talent for the game. My drives are straight—in two rounds with Wilson and his son, Jonathon, both golf fiends—I lost fewer balls than either of them, and if the length of my drives has been somewhat erratic, I was beginning to get that straightened out. I figure if I can get the occasional but not uncommon 200 yard plus drive without golf shoes, which means no proper swing, I can match and top and that with the shoes and with practice. It only needs the balance back a little. And you know, it's fun reading the greens for puts. I got a few tips from a pro who was earning some extra money by caddying at a club where I'd won a round in charity auction, and he had some wonderful tips for that.

    So there you have it. Oh, finishing A Memory of Light, of course, and getting started on Mat and Tuon, and some others, five to ten years after the Last Battle. Those go without saying. Not a bad plan for the coming year, eh? And fishing. I'd like to call Billy Glenn and run up to Cape Romain, where the beaches are so pristine you can walk for miles without seeing a footprint not your own, where the truly big redfish, 40-pound, 50-pound, 60-pound, are cruising down the coast in the surf, too big to keep, of course, but great fun to catch and release, using circle hooks for survival of fish, and if a little time goes by without a redfish, then a 6 or 7-foot blacktip shark is sure to grab hold, leaping like a bloody tarpon. It's a great day's fun, with the wind cutting in directly off the Atlantic and nothing but water between you and Portugal. But Thanksgiving is almost here, and Christmas is acoming in, Lud sing God damn, with lots of house guests for each and also in between. No time for fishing. Unless I sink to trying an ultralight fly rod in the goldfish pond. I don't think that would play well with Harriet. Besides, there's no real way to get a decent backcast. I know. I've checked, and believe me, I can find a backcast in a china closet if one is to be found.

    Tags

  • 205

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    The news from Mayo, for those of you who doubted Wilson: another drop in the Lambda Light Chains! There simply wasn't room for the truly spectacular drop that I had last time, but I still got roughly a 25% decrease. This leaves me in double digits, barely, but closing on the normal range of roughly between 1 and 3. This despite having been pulled off the Revlimid during the second hospital stay because my kidney numbers had gone wonkey. Life is one little adventure after another around here. I asked how the study was going in general, were others getting the same good response that I was; my answer was a shrug and a reply that the other numbers were all over the place. The Luck holds. The Iceman remains asleep -- thank God! -- but Ganesh has wakened, and he's stomping down that path through the paddies again. So, I got the kidney numbers back under control, I am back on the Revlimid, and I don't have to return to the Mayo until January, and at further three-month intervals thereafter. They will send me kits for monthly blood collections here which will then be sent to the May for their own testing, and I will also get my meds by mail. Hot damn! Another round to the Kid over Liston. One more lance passed unbroken in the list.

    (These images may seem over-the-top to a lot of you, and I suppose they are, but I find they help me. Having a physical enemy to confront is easier to imagine that the ephemeral image of a disease. I think that is what Armstrong, from whom I first stole the idea, had in mind. And in many of them, I see myself exactly. If I am not exactly Bertran du Guesclin pledging a feat of arms this day as shall ring through the courts of chivalry in order to do honor to my Lady—though, God knows, I would that I were—I do see myself as that guy getting up off the stool and stalking out to meet Liston one more time. Keep the hands up. Swallow the blood; they're tight on stopping bouts for bleeding, these days. Ignore the legs; the legs don't matter. Just keep punching. No matter what, take what he gives and keep punching, because sooner or later, you'll crack his head or he'll crack yours. So keep punching, because you know who's going to be left standing when this is over. Just keep punching. And they make attitudes easier to explain, too. It becomes easier to say you'll fight to the last ditch when you can look around and realize that you are already in the last ditch with no line of retreat open, that there is nothing for it but to do a quick leopard crawl down to verify ranges, then back to the ditch to lock and load. And fix bayonets, because surrender isn't an option. Hold until relieved. The hardest order in the book to receive. But that is all there is. That makes it clear, if in a flamboyant way, and makes for a short explanation, if only because the listener is afraid of more floweriness if he enquires further. Which leaves me to ask some lovely who has just brought me yet another plate of goodies whether she really thinks I should leave my hair this length; isn't it a bit short? Much more fun. And it gets LOTS of grins from Harriet.)

    Well. That's probably flamboyance enough for a novel or two from some guys. Mike could make three novels and half a volume of poetry, in various styles, on it. Not brief, though. I began my comments at Mike's memorial service by saying that I had worked hard to leave out incidents in the interest of brevity. "I can be brief, you know," I said, getting an unexpected laugh. And another for, "I once told Mike I was going to be brief about something or other, and he laughed so hard he snorted Bass Ale through his nose." Oh, well.

    Tags

  • 206

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For Jan Lupton, yes, it is very scary, but you can make it through. The Mayo is the best place in the world for you to be getting treatment. If they offer you a place in the Revlimid study—that is what I am taking—grab it. Though of one thing I have been certain since very early on with the Mayo. If one treatment doesn't work, they will always be ready with something else. The keys are two-fold. First, never give up. No matter how bad things seem today, you just don't give up. You don't do it. As long as you believe that things will get better, they will. I don't know why or how that works; it defies logic; but work it does. It is when it begin to believe that there is no hope that things start going bad. So DON'T GIVE UP! And second—this one puts a burden on you, but based on how my own wife has taken that burden, it seemed to help her—his job is to keep breathing. Your job is everything else. If someone at the Mayo hasn't told you that yet, I'm sure they soon will. I'm just jumping in ahead.

    Tags

  • 207

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For Gary Bucey, hang in there, man. You can make it. I won't try to make it sound easy, because you sure as Hell know it is anything but. Just concentrate on breathing. You keep breathing and leave everything else, including worrying about everything else, to somebody else. You'll be surprised how much taking up some of that burden will help your wife, because she is undergoing her own kind of Hell right now. I know. No matter how she tried to hide it, I could see it in Harriet's eyes, in the days when we didn't know, in the days when it looked like I had no hope, just will power, and as much as she loves me, she wasn't sure my will power by itself was going to be enough. Will power really is a key. When you are sure there's nothing left, then you tell yourself, "I'm not giving up! I won't quit!" And if you have to crawl into the ring, then you by God crawl, man. You make the bell any way you can, and if you have to pull yourself to your feet by holding onto Liston's trunks, you damned well do it. I know the pain. You can beat that. You can. It is surprising how you can make friends with the pain when you have to. Somehow, it doesn't hurt so much then. It just is. But don't you give up. I expect to hear from you again. and again, for ten or twenty years to come at least. Don't disappoint me, man. Hang in, snake.

    For Jerry J, you and your wife are in my payers. Once again, a post has manage to humble me. I can hardly image, with your wife undergoing multiple surgeries for malignancies, that you could spare time for a thought for me, much to make a post.

    Tags

  • 208

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For Kaius, we haven't broken out the champers just yet. I thought when I hit single digits would be a good time, so with luck, it will be in January. Knock wood. I'm glad you liked Harriet's poem. It took me a long time to convince her to begin submitting her work, and she had just gotten publication in half a dozen magazines and poetry journals when I blew up in her face, and she lost energy for writing. I see signs that it is returning, though. For those who might be interested, by the way, the word bard refers not only to the fellow with a harp but also to horse armor. A horse wearing full armor was said to be fully barded. It seems to me that it also references some part of removable castle protection as well, but the memory is vague, and I am too lazy to go browse the proper books and make sure.

    Tags

  • 209

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    Okay. I've been going on long enough, I think. I haven't looked at my e-mail in about five or six days, so God only knows what it has piled up to. A thousand or so, I imagine, just at the main address, and I run six to keep things separate. I know you'd rather I spent the time answering more questions, or talking about what is going on here, but I really do need to answer the e-mail. And what is going on here is that Harriet is making soupe au pistou for dinner, and though it is about 3 hours till time to sit down, I am beginning to smell it. So I shall have to answer e-mail while drooling. That is what is going on here.

    Good-bye until later, guys. I'll try to make it shorter interval this time. My apologies again to everyone for the delay. And my very great thanks to everyone who posts. Whether or not you offer prayers or well-wishes, whether or not you have some personal tragedy of your own to share, every post is a lift to me—yes; the tragedies, too, because I have a chance to reach out and offer what I can, which doesn't happen often under my present circumstances—and I thank you for them.

    Later, guys.

    RJ

    Tags

  • 210

    Interview: Nov 15th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For Patrick Crunkleton, Harriet and I both look forward to returning to Rome. We enjoy Italy a great deal, though there are occasional "animated discussions" over the merits of Rome versus Florence versus getting off into the Tuscan and Umbrian hills, while avoiding most tourists, of course. We have run into some festivals up there that we had no idea were happening, and they were great fun despite the (other) tourists. And some of the best meals I have ever had were in little Italian villages where there was no English on the menu (always a good sign anywhere) and maybe six words of English available among the entire staff.

    Tags

  • 211

    Interview: Dec, 2006

    Question

    Who is the one person living or dead that you would like to have dinner with?

    Robert Jordan

    My wife before anybody else on Earth living or dead. That's a no-brainer.

    Tags

  • 212

    Interview: Dec 1st, 2006

    Hannah Clark

    Jordan plans to live another 30 years—long enough, he says to finish all the books that are in his head right now. That will require a large dose of luck, and so far, his luck has been mixed. The new drug he's taking seems to be working well. Still, he can write for two hours a day at most, compared with eight or nine hours in healthier times. At this rate, he'll submit the final book in 2008 for publication in 2009, says Tom Doherty, president of Tor Books, Jordan's publisher.

    If he gets better, he'll write faster. No one wants to talk about the alternative. If he dies, could someone else finish the series? Authors like V.C. Andrews and Mario Puzo have posthumously passed along their series to other writers. Still, some fans worry that another author, even Harriet, wouldn't be true to Jordan's voice. Jordan, however, is open to the idea.

    Robert Jordan

    "I'm getting out notes, so if the worst actually happens, someone could finish A Memory of Light and have it end the way I want it to end," he says. "But I hope to be around to actually finish it myself."

    Hannah Clark

    The decision, Jordan says, will be left to Harriet and Doherty, who has been a close friend and colleague for years. But Doherty isn't ready to address that possibility.

    Tom Doherty

    "I'm not prepared to concede that that's going to happen," Doherty says. "I'm working on the belief that he's going to beat this thing. Who else can tell this story?"

    Tags

  • 213

    Interview: Dec 23rd, 2006

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Dear Jason, something to post, to celebrate the season—and Jim's WONDERFUL news. Love to you all, Harriet

    A Genuine Wham-O

    Lists for cards, lists for cookies,
    lists for books and scarves and games
    and candles. Maybe
    a bell would fit in there.
    Maybe I'll give it up and be a witch.

    My ersatz Frisbee—
    cards and scarves—
    are packed with love,
    but never seem to hit the mark,
    the tender lips, the gleaming fangs
    of those I throw them to.
    I'll borrow a young terrier bitch
    and lob a real one for her.

    Frisbees of love? We live in one:
    the Milky Way. Or are you going
    to fob me off with dusty physics,
    lumps of coal and willow switches?
    Please! The world sends me huge bright disks
    of love and light.
    Although it's hard to see them, hidden as they are
    in books and scarves and games
    and candles. And a bell.

    —Harriet Popham Rigney

    Tags

  • 214

    Interview: Feb 12th, 2007

    Wilson Grooms

    He reads your posts. I read them. All of them. You are all great for your caring and support. Thanks from the recesses of my soul. All of you WOT'ers are like extended family. But as family, I've got to ask that you allow RJ the time to heal. He's been extremely forthcoming with his status, and will continue to be regardless the news. But unless you've seen someone in a similar fight, you really have no idea how much of a struggle he's in. Thank God he's a stubborn ole cuss. Without that he could have easily said this is too difficult long ago and the game would have been lost.

    Not that we shouldn't still be concerned about his health, because we should. But he's as fine as is possible. At the moment, he is very, very tired. Rehab is hard work. The medicines he is on can have dreadful side effects and have to monitored constantly. A slight imbalance causes all manner of issues. In his writing to you, he has glibbed over them as simply "rough patches". Rough? As fans of his writing, you'll not believe it, but he does have a talent for the understatement. Rough? I'd hate to see something Really Rough. Those who have been through something similar know what it does to you. It zaps all of your strength. That's where he is right now. His words, "I'm as weak as a kitten". The great news is that the LLC production is in check, not officially in remission, simply in check. But, his system still has to shed those that were deposited in his heart, which will take time, lots of it. Waiting is hard work too. Patience is not something that either he or I possess in great quantities. His doctors told him 6 months, maybe a year till he feels himself somewhat back to normal. We chat frequently and laugh through it as best we can. That's a big part of my job in this journey, making him smile. I found myself doing the same with our beloved Harriet this past week. She's one of the two strongest ladies I know, still the load gets heavy. Thank you for always including Harriet in your well wishes. (FYI: The other woman of strength is my other mother, aka mother in law, who is a real lady and a tiger. Wouldn't want her in the other guy's corner.) Janet and I will be with Harriet and my Brother/Cousin next weekend, and all involved can hardly wait. We haven't seen them since Labor Day, too long.

    Physically he's a long way from being the man that many of you have met at events. But were you to speak to him via telephone, you'd not know that anything was going on. The voice on the phone is strong and resolute. Lord I love him for that, among many other things. But, he has to follow the advise of his doctors, do as Harriet says (we all answer to someone) and be patient, and careful to allow for his recovery to continue. Thus, we'll need you to be patient too. Hang in there gang. The Dragon is tired and may be dragging, but he is winning.

    Wilson Brother/Cousin 4th of 3

    Tags

  • 215

    Interview: Mar 4th, 2007

    Wilson Grooms

    The good news is that there has been no change since we last communicated guys. Harriet and RJ had to fight like hell to keep it there, but that goes with the territory these days.

    He told you that he'd be visiting the Mayo on every 90 days and that last month's visit was the first of those. Things don't always go according to plan when you're in a fight, you have to shift and adapt to the situation. Their visit last month lasted longer than expected. The medication regimen had to be changed due to some pretty nasty side affects. Testing required that RJ come off his blood thinner, the steroid and the miracle drug, revlimid. After months on this experimental drug got him into a near "normal" range, he was being pulled off for at least 30 days. We held our breath. The grand news is that the Lambda Light Chain number that was 2.7 a month ago was tested at on 2.74. FREAKING AMAZING! The polyps and the "mass" he described before are also gone. We joked that when they denied him food for over a day in preparation for further testing that his body looked for nourishment and there sat the aforementioned mass looking, well, pretty damned appetizing. Gone. So, back on the Revlimid. Pray that the numbers continue downward, that his body continues the slow march of shedding the beta amyloid deposits and that he regains his strength.

    RJ had me laughing to the point of pain yesterday. You'll recall his wish list included sky diving and that I promised you I wouldn't let him throw himself from a perfectly good airplane. Seems he had a DREAM the other night that I'd gotten my way and we were at Lake Tahoe skiing. As he was negotiating the ski slope he was hit by a hot dogging snow mobile driver and had his leg broken in the collision. As they were hauling him off to be fixed up, he was shouting at me "you wouldn't let me sky dive because it was too dangerous, brought me skiing instead and now look what happened." Maybe I'll rethink the parachuting, not.

    Long road ahead of us gang. I've looked but can find no one of the yellow available. Recovery will take a lot of time. I've asked before, now I beg, patience please. NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS.

    Peace be upon you all.

    Wilson
    Brother/Cousin
    4th of 3

    Tags

  • 216

    Interview: Jul 23rd, 2007

    Wilson Grooms

    To All,

    2:58 pm (1458 hours, hooah!), 23 July 2007

    I'm stealing a line from a friend and big WOT fan, "leave the imagination to RJ."

    He's fine! Having one of those "rough patch" days today, but fine. In fact, he had a hearty breakfast of Sauerkraut and a Hamburger. You read that right. Yuck! Not to my liking, but gives you an idea of the cast iron nature of his stomach. I guess eating cold C rations in the rain and mud of Vietnam will cause you to think anything is good. In fairness to his taste buds, he would season the Cs with a few dashes of hot sauce, a secret his father shared with him.

    RJ and Harriet are off to the Mayo tomorrow for the 90-day check up. Her biggest concern is that their flight departs during the time frame that the President of the US is due to arrive in Charleston for the debates to be held at the Citadel tomorrow evening. They also have a family affair to attend during this trip. So, they are not due back in Charleston until the middle of next week.

    He'll let you guys know the results of the trip after their return. Not exactly sure when, but after.

    FYI: A woman that I adore whom shall remain nameless, but whose initials are... HARRIET, will be celebrating a birthday on 4 August. You might want to extend her a Happy Birthday message.

    For Sadie: Jason at Dragonmount has my personal contact info. If you will email him a "ship to" address, I will personally get RJ to sign some bookplates "to Sadie"(about business card size, peel off stickers) to place in your books. Consider them my birthday gift to you, a survivor. Kudos girl. Figuratively of course, but keep the dresser in front of the door. Throw yourself headlong into your schoolwork. Thanks for your prayers for my brother/cousin. I will offer prayers for your continued success and that your Mother and Sister find their way back into the light.

    I ask you to keep the prayers coming, they are still needed. Please toss in a few for our men and women in uniform.

    Blessings on you all,

    Wilson
    Brother/Cousin
    4th of 3

    Tags

  • 217

    Interview: Sep 22nd, 2007

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Dear Everyone,

    He has gone where pain and suffering are no more.

    Whenever he was able to be at the computer, he checked the blog first thing. Your e-mails REALLY MATTERED to him. He loved them ... and I think in some sense he loved you all.

    I never thanked you for all my birthday messages, but I do now. We had a nice party...about a dozen people, ranging in age from 4 months to 82 years, sitting around the dining room table which had been covered with lots of newspaper, picking our own lovely boiled local shrimp, eating corn on the cob and homemade biscuits , and later eating watermelon; a good deal of white wine went down our gullets, too. I should add, no cooking was done by me. My dearest first cousin, also named Harriet (we're both named for her mother), did it all, just about.

    It was a happy time. Jim made it so.

    Tags

  • 218

    Interview: Sep 22nd, 2007

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    He came like the wind, like the wind touched everything, and like the wind was gone.

    These are words Jim said to me several books ago, in the weary but always thrilling hours of putting the manuscript to bed, ready to carry to New York in the morning—I remember grabbing a piece of discarded script and scrawling those words up the margin, because they were so beautiful. He was talking about Rand. I of course am not.

    I know he touched all of you. Thanks for being there.

    Tags

  • 219

    Interview: Sep 22nd, 2007

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Here is his final interview, given to the local newspaper. Notice the date:

    Robert Jordan aims to get back on feet

    BILL THOMPSON

    Thursday, September 13, 2007

    Jim Rigney intends to "keep marching to the horizon." Stage One is getting back on his feet.

    Known to millions of readers as Robert Jordan, the best-selling author of "The Wheel of Time" fantasy series continues to cross swords with the rare blood disease amyloidosis, a progressive disorder he was first diagnosed with in December 2005 at the Medical University of South Carolina.

    Subsequently, the author has been undergoing treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

    Rigney reports that with the help of the Mayo Clinic, he is keeping things under control.

    ROBERT JORDAN

    "My numbers are still good, in the normal range. We will be going back up to the Mayo in about a month and we'll see what the status is. Now I just have to get my foot healed up so I have a chance of getting out of this wheelchair. Strange to think that my foot, of all things, would be giving me the most trouble. It's getting better, but unfortunately the amyloidosis makes healing go very slowly.

    "When I get the foot better then I can start on the process of walking again. I hope to do this in another two or three months."

    BILL THOMPSON

    While there has been no improvement in heart function and no change in his overall prognosis as of June, Rigney says improvement remains possible. And he's determined.

    ROBERT JORDAN

    "I've got promises to keep."

    HARRIET MCDOUGAL RIGNEY

    And he did march, guys. He marched toward that horizon until he crossed it, where we cannot follow yet.

    The word now, the only possible word, is Onward.

    Go for it. With love.

    Consider yourselves hugged.
    Harriet

    Tags

  • 220

    Interview: Sep 30th, 2007

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Dear all,

    Over a hundred people e-mailed condolences to the undertaker in Charleston. There is no way to respond on that site, and I just can't do individual responses. I hope that those who wrote there also read the blog—thank you all for your very kind messages. I've read them all, and so has Will, and I've sent them on to Reynolds and Wilson.

    The word now is ONWARD.

    With love, Harriet

    Tags

  • 221

    Interview: Oct 4th, 2007

    Jason Denzel

    Since posting the report on Robert Jordan's funeral, I've come across some more items I'd like to share with you. (With permission from RJ's family of course).

    First off, Tom Doherty and Wilson were kind enough to share the words they spoke at RJ's funeral with us. Tom is the president of Tor Books (who published the Wheel of Time), and has been a friend of RJ's for 30 years or more. Here's what he said at the eulogy:

    Tom Doherty

    "He came like the wind. Like the wind touched everything and like the wind was gone."

    Jim Rigney, Robert Jordan, friend, doer, dreamer, maker of dreams, one of the great storytellers of the 20th and I believe time will prove 21st century as well. His Wheel of Time is a towering epic of power and scope. After praising it extensively, The New York Times said of it:

    "—the evil laced into forces of good, the dangers latent in any promised salvation, the scenes of unavoidable onslaught of unpredictable event—bear the marks of American national experience during the last three decades"

    Truly Jim wrote for us all.

    And Harriet, the love of his life, what a team, Harriet is the finest editor I've ever worked with. Working together they produced wonderful things. His first two books, Fallon Blood and Fallon Pride were published by her company, Popham Press as a joint venture with Ace where I was publisher and she had been Editorial Director. And then at Tor, another Fallon, Conan and the Wheel of Time. The Wheel, which has touched the lives of so many millions and down the generations will touch so many millions more.

    Jim was a man of courage and heart and vision. He was my friend of 30 years. He's gone ahead of us now. Beyond that last horizon to a place we cannot yet see. But I think he can see us and he's glad we're together and he's already thinking of stories he's going to tell Harriet and then the rest of us when we get there.

    We miss you Jim. Thanks for all you've left behind.

    JASON DENZEL

    Thank you, Tom, for sharing that with all of us.

    Tags

  • 222

    Interview: Dec 10th, 2007

    Wilson Grooms

    I have photos of family around me in my office. They are a gentle reminder that we work to have a life, not the other way around. In one of those photos, Jim and I are shoulder-to-shoulder, our heads leaning in and touching at the temples. A private moment captured by my Janet. At the end of a busy day in mid-October, I was heading towards the door, glanced at the photo and thought, "I haven't called him in days. I need to do it on the way home..." Then it hit me. I can't call him. He won't answer. The stages of grieving are something with which I am all too familiar. I knew what to expect: loss, denial, guilt, anger and finally acceptance. Even so, it is a trip we each must take every time we suffer a loss. And there I stood, staring at the photo, weeping for my loss and feeling guilty for forgetting, if just for a moment.

    Thank you for your prayers, your well-wishing, your concerns about our family and especially for the mountains of praise you have heaped upon my Brother/Cousin. Thank you for every note. I have read all of them, all. They have offered more comfort than you could ever imagine. We are healing.

    Here in this forum, I want to publicly thank Jason. He has been and continues to be a loyal fan and friend. Through his words and pictures you have been allowed a peek into the world that was my Brother/Cousin's. Jason told you he came to Charleston feeling a bit of anxiety. It didn't show. He blended into our family fabric as if he had always been there. Still he was there as your representative. The questions he asked were those you would have asked. The things he wanted to see were what you would have wanted to see. He touched, smelled and tasted life in the Two Rivers. With Jason's words and photos, I pray that you were able to gain a sense of closure.

    Plans are well underway to erect a permanent memorial detailing the life and accomplishments of James Oliver Rigney, Jr., aka Robert Jordan. The site could not be more perfect, the library at the Citadel in Charleston. Items that you would easily recognize will be included in the exhibit: his ram's horn cane, his Citadel ring and one of his broad-brimmed black hats to name a few. The exhibit will be dedicated in the spring of 2008.

    By now you are all aware of the grand news that Brandon Sanderson will be working closely with Harriet and Jim's staff to write A Memory of Light. Brandon has proven himself in the genre. Harriet, hand picked him for the task. I hope you are as pleased and excited as we that he accepted the challenge. As you will learn in Jason's interview, Brandon has long been a WOT fan. Now he has the privilege of donning the gleeman's cloak and telling us the ending of the tale. I am sure that he will do Jim's epic proud.

    Remember my Brother/Cousin in the old familiar way. I miss you Bubba. Now, as Harriet has told us, Onward.

    Wilson
    Brother/Cousin
    4th of 3

    Tags

  • 223

    Interview: Dec 14th, 2007

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Dear everyone,

    Brandon Sanderson came to see me for a couple of days this week, and he is as terrific as he sounds in the interview. I am really glad that things have worked out so that he can, and will, complete A Memory of Light. He will do a job that Jim would approve, I believe. And I'll be working with him throughout the writing. And so will Alan Romanczuk and Maria Simons, who have worked Jim through a number of books, and who are both now completely available for Brandon's support.

    It is a great relief to have Brandon on board. This (choosing the writer to finish the series and getting the work launched) was the single thing I most wanted to do for my dear Jim. All the rest of the avalanche of stuff had to take a back seat—and there has been a lot that needs to be dealt with. So now I can deal with it—figuring out one colossal bad investment, dealing with the apparent collapse of the British literary agency (now apparently reconstituting itself), figuring out how to meet the payroll, all this mundane stuff. All will be OKAY, I hasten to tell you. It's just that it all needs to be dealt with, and that means TIME.

    There is an e.e. cummings poem, I carry your heart, that you can google. [The poem is included below.] I did, and burst into tears. It tore my heart open and soothed it, too—because I do carry Jim's heart in my heart and I always will, until we meet again, which I hope and pray we will. When I said ONWARD I did not mean away from Jim. Not at all. I meant that we must always keep going, making, giving, loving, living, as best we can, through blizzard and desert. It is what we are called on to do. A friend wrote me at Jim's death, "the transition from love in the flesh to love remembered is endless and inconsolable" and oddly this was very comforting, because I believe it is true. It isn't the most important thing. The most important thing is to keep going, ONWARD, with his love, in his love. He loved you guys, too, you know, even if you never met him. How else could he have written these wonderful books?

    So, hold him in your hearts and LIVE—it's what he wanted us all to do.

    Greetings of the season to you all. And love. Harriet

    i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
    my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
    i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
    by only me is your doing,my darling)
    i fear
    no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
    no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
    and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
    and whatever a sun will always sing is you

    here is the deepest secret nobody knows
    (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
    and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
    higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
    and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

    i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

    e e cummings

    Tags

  • 224

    Interview: Feb 1st, 2008

    Jeff VanderMeer

    Was it a hard decision to finish Jordan's series? Can you tell us where you were when the offer came, and what your first thoughts were?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The initial decision was easy. I made it in a flash, the first time Mr. Jordan's wife asked if I would be interested in this project. (That offer came over the phone via two conversations--first, a preliminary call to see if I was interested. Second, an official call about a month later to offer me the project.) Since I'm a fan of the series, my initial instincts were "OF COURSE I want to be involved in this!" It wasn't until after I hung up the phone that the doubts began to rise. Who am I to finish this, the greatest fantasy epic of my generation? I can't fill Robert Jordan's shoes. Fortunately, I've now seen the quality of the material he left behind. That has quieted most of my doubts. The story is all here. It is his book. My job is to fill in a few holes and smooth out the prose.

    Tags

  • 225

    Interview: Feb 1st, 2008

    Jeff VanderMeer

    Jordan's fans, obviously, are pretty hardcore about his work. Are you aware of any reaction from them about you taking up the reins?

    Brandon Sanderson

    They've been very encouraging. Some few are negative, but the overwhelming majority of them are thankful that they'll be able to read the book. They seem to support Mr. Jordan's wife in her decision, even if the fans don't know me or my work. We all understand that I'm not Mr. Jordan. Nobody is claiming that I am. He's the one who should have finished this book. Unfortunately, we lost him, and there is nothing to be done besides see that his last work is completed. The goal of everyone working on this project is to do him proud.

    Tags

  • 226

    Interview: Feb 1st, 2008

    Jeff VanderMeer

    I know George R.R. Martin says that all of his plotting is in his head. With Jordan, do you have copious notes, prose fragments, outlines, or anything of that nature to act as a guide for the future books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes indeed, thankfully. As I mentioned, Mr. Jordan dictated quite a bit of material. Beyond that, he had notes, thoughts, outlines, and a large chunk of written material comprising many of the most important scenes. Beyond that, his wife was also his editor at Tor. She is one of the best in the business and has been with him from the beginning of this project. She is very close to it, and understands the characters and world nearly as well as Mr. Jordan did. With these resources at hand, I'm increasingly confident that we can complete this book in a way that will be very, very close to the way that Mr. Jordan would have done it himself.

    Tags

  • 227

    Interview: Mar 21st, 2008

    Wilson Grooms

    On 8 March 2008, James Oliver Rigney, Jr. was inducted as the 47th member of the South Carolina Academy of Authors (SCAA) Hall of Fame. The setting was perfect, The Citadel, The Military College of S.C. The man most of you only knew by his nom de plume, Robert Jordan was a graduate of the Citadel and adored his alma mater. Jim would have loved the attention and been embarrassed by it. You see, he wrote not for acclaim. He wrote because that's what he loved to do. But every one of us likes a pat on the back and a "well done" from time to time. This ceremony was exactly that, a public affirmation of what we fans of Robert Jordan already know. Jim, aka Robert Jordan, has taken the world of fantasy to a level that was only a dream before. The long narrative is possible because of Jim. A writer in his genre was quoted recently for having said that we owe the likes of Harry Potter to Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time. Jim did not live to hear that line, he did however know that the SC Authors had named him to the Hall. He was informed of it at the beginning of September 2007. Jim's response, "I'll be there", for the ceremony. He lost his fight only two weeks later, but he left knowing that he'd had that pat on the back from his peers. For that, I am eternally grateful. Well done, bubba.

    The evening was a celebration of Jim the man and RJ the writer. Mike Livingston, a Professor of English at the Citadel was asked to speak about Robert Jordan. He began with the first three lines from Beowulf. He detailed how fantasy has always been an important art, inspiring us all to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, to aspire for greatness and not settle for mediocrity. He wove a brilliant tapestry of fantasy through the ages landing upon our own Jim. R.J.'s impact on the genre will be felt for as long as man pens fantasy.

    Marjory Wentworth, the Poet Laureate of South Carolina, was asked to speak of the man, Jim Rigney. She told of his mentoring of promising students. She recalled how he had seemed even more excited than she when she was named Poet Laureate. She talked at length of his generosity of education and his community. She remembered fondly his story telling, his singing and his most thunderous laughter. Marjory counted herself blessed for having had Jim as a friend.

    The official words inducting Jim into the Hall were pronounced by D. Oliver Bowman, Chair of the 2008 SCAA Induction Committee. Our Harriet was radiant, a smile ever present. She worked her way through the crowd of over 150 making sure that she spoke with everyone. A special treat for her and all of us gathered were the "1st Graders", a group of 14 ladies with whom Harriet had begun school, that's right, in the 1st grade. There were 8 of them in attendance. They gather at least monthly to chat over lunch or tea. By way of acknowledging them, Harriet gave a Robert Jordanish, "Hoot Hoot", which brought laughter and an encore call. So, she did it again.

    Linda Ferguson and Ellen Hyatt, SCAA board members, presented Harriet with a Memorial Gift, a clock. All felt it most appropriate for the Creator of the Wheel of Time.

    The mood of the evening was light. Still as people talked of my Brother/Cousin, I was transported back to that horrible time in September. Perhaps the wound is like that in Rand's side, it may never heal. I do hope that it does, for I am sure that Jim would rather I remember the laughter, not the pain. That goes for all of us really. This night in Charleston, the Two Rivers made terra firma, the people gathered under the large oaks of Stedding Citadel, to sing the songs of praise to one of our own, James Oliver Rigney, Jr., who though passed will live in our hearts forever.

    Wilson...

    Brother/Cousin of the warrior god...

    4th of 3

    Tags

  • 228

    Interview: Apr 9th, 2008

    Brandon Sanderson

    As you might have noticed, things have been a tad dead here this week. That's because I've been out here in Charleston visiting Robert Jordan's house. Harriet, Alan, Maria, and I have been working on things for Book Twelve, and there was also a panel at The Citadel (where Mr. Jordan went to college) about Mr. Jordan and his effect on the fantasy genre. Harriet wanted me to be part of it, and I was very happy to do so. (David Drake also flew in to sit on the panel. I know it was video taped; I don't know if it will get posted anywhere. If it does, I'll try to get a link up here for you all.)

    Regardless, it's been a busy few days. I flew out on Monday and have to be back on Thursday to teach my class. However, we've put our time to very good use, working out the outline for Book Twelve. (There were some holes in the plot and questions about characters we needed to work through.) Maria put it best with some of these holes: It's like we're putting together a jigsaw. We need to sift through Mr. Jordan's notes and figure out what he wanted to have happen, then figure out the best way to make it happen.

    This, of course, is only for the sections that are more ambiguous. We're doing our best to make certain this book has as much of Mr. Jordan in it as possible.

    Tags

  • 229

    Interview: Apr 23rd, 2008

    Wilson Grooms

    Family, friends and fans of fantasy gathered at The Citadel on Tuesday 8 April 2008 to dedicate a permanent memorial to my brother/cousin, James Oliver Rigney, Jr. This was a celebration of Jim's life and his work. I would be lying were I to tell you I was looking forward to the event. We had assembled only a few weeks earlier at the Citadel to induct Jim into the South Carolina Author's Hall of Fame. That evening had propelled me back to the awful moments in September when we lost Jim. Both Harriet and I were in dread of the same happening yet again. It didn't. Rather the opposite.

    Harriet had told us all, Onward, still she and I (and I'm sure the rest of the family) were mired in that part of grieving that causes us to hang on, denial. Only a day before, Harriet had rolled up her sleeves and dove headlong into the first chapter of A Memory of Light. She, Jim's loyal staff and Brandon were hard at work on the book. She called me to share that and her excitement was obvious. She sounded like a new woman. Harriet told me that she finally knew that Jim wasn't coming back. That doesn't mean that she doesn't still hurt. The hurt will never totally subside, but now it doesn't interfere with going "onward". Indeed it helps to maintain purpose and focus.

    Tags

  • 230

    Interview: Apr 23rd, 2008

    Wilson Grooms

    I teased you before with A Memory of Light. You all know the timing, and that hasn't changed. But as I listened in on the exchange between Harriet, Maria (a walking dictionary of the books), Alan and Brandon, I couldn't help but get even more excited. You all know that Jim told me in great detail, the bones of the book and very vividly described the last scene. Still, listening to the team working collectively on the minute details, hearing the excitement in their voices, feeling the electricity in the room made me want to stay till we were done. I lingered for a moment before leaving watching them sitting around the dining room table where we had shared so many meals, stories and good times. As with most families, our family members have assumed places at the table where we normally sit. I smiled when it struck me that sitting in Jim's place was the man tapped to finish Jim's work, Brandon. I'm sure Jim was smiling too. Onward!

    Wilson

    Brother/Cousin

    4th of 3

    Tags

  • 231

    Interview: Apr 23rd, 2008

    Jason Denzel

    We also received some additional words and photos from Alan Romanczuk, one of Jim's assistants. Here's what he writes:

    Alan Romanczuk

    Jim's memorial case was put on permanent display in The Citadel library on the 8th of this month. It's a beautiful piece of work, and is probably worth more than some of the houses in the neighborhood. On display are a variety of artifacts representing different periods of Jim's life, and include photographs, articles of clothing and accessories, weapons, everything one would expect to give insight into the personality and experiences of this complex and fascinating individual.

    Jim's Harriet convened a panel to discuss his life and literary works before an audience that filled one large section of the library. The panel was comprised of [I'm doing this in order of position, from the left, in the photo shown above] David Drake, famous author of fantasy and military science fiction, and friend/admirer of Jim and Harriet's for many years; Brandon Sanderson, talented young fantasy writer who was selected to finish the last volume in the Wheel of Time series; Michael Livingston, Assistant Professor of English at The Citadel, specialist in medieval studies and author in his own right, who is dedicated to ensuring that Robert Jordan's work be recognized by scholars to be among the masterpieces of world mythology; and, standing, Harriet. The discussion lasted about a hour, and included questions and comments from the audience. All in all, it was a stimulating evening, a fitting tribute to Jim, and I think everyone enjoyed themselves. It also gave Brandon the opportunity to say for the first time, "Read and Find Out."

    Footnote

    The photos are no longer available online.

    Tags

  • 232

    Interview: Jul 8th, 2008

    Stephen

    I'm sure you've answered this question before and/or have discussed it on your website (which is awesome by the way), but I couldn't find the answer so I thought Id ask. I was wondering who you would have liked to see complete the Wheel of Time in lieu of Robert Jordan had you not been given the opportunity?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a great question, one I'd actually never been asked. So, here's my response:

    Who would I have had write it? Well, I'm torn. There are a lot of great authors out there.

    I think George R. R. Martin could have done it—he's probably the most skilled epic fantasy writer on the market right now. But I don't know that his style matches Mr. Jordan's very well. I'm sure he could adapt, but I think his fans would have been angry if he'd taken the project. After all, there's a long gap of time between his recent novels.

    David Farland is an excellent writer of fantasy. I think he could have done it. The same goes for L.E. Modesitt Jr. Other possibilities would be Robin Hobb or Patrick Rothfuss. (Of course, those are just a list of some of my favorite fantasy authors, so maybe I'm answering the question in the wrong way.)

    In the end, I'd probably have chosen Tad Williams. I think that he'd have been a great match for the series, and I'm a fan of his work.

    I think I'll add this part for the blog post. It's not the same question, but some have asked similar ones, so I figured I'd get to it here.

    Some think that Harriet should have just finished it herself, or perhaps published the notes as-is. I don't think either of these options would have been good ones. Harriet is one of the most well-respected editors in the business, but editing is a very different skill from writing. I think she'll have MORE of an influence on this book (making it feel like it should) by editing it, just as she edited the previous volumes.

    And publishing the notes . . . well, as an author, I don't know if I can explain exactly how uncomfortable this would make me. It would be like displaying compromising pictures of a person against their will. I show my unfinished books to people, but only in controlled circumstances. To display Robert Jordan's unfinished work like that instead of the final book would, I think, have been very unfulfilling to fans and against the master's own will.

    Perhaps once the finished product is out there, Harriet will decide to release the notes in some form. (Actually, I'm hoping that she will.) That will be different. People will already have been able to experience the end of the series, and Mr. Jordan's vision, in a complete way. Releasing them before—or instead of the book itself—would have been a very wrong move, I think.

    Tags

  • 233

    Interview: Jul 11th, 2008

    Brandon Sanderson

    Warbreaker 6.0 is done! I worked on it a good ten hours today, and managed to push through to the ending. I'm too tired right now to post it, but I'll get it up early next week. The revision took a little longer than I would have wanted—almost three weeks—but it feels very good to have it done and off the plate.

    That leaves only a couple of impending time-stealers from A Memory of Light. I'll need to do draft work on Alcatraz Three sometime in September, though that should be VERY quick. (It's one fifth the size of Warbreaker, and there is a lot less to do on it.) I'll also need to do the copyedit for Warbreaker; that should come sometime in November, and should take me about a week. Other than that, there are two convention visits (Worldcon and Dragon*con) and the book tour in October that will be bumps in the road. However, I'm confident that I can get a good chunk more written before Worldcon even arrives.

    Next on the plate is to do a couple solid drafts on the 25% of A Memory of Light which I've finished. I need to get it into a state that Harriet can look at and send it too her as soon as possible, as this chunk threatens to be the one that could need the most revisions. How well she thinks I did on these pages will be a very good barometer of how much draft work I'll have to do on the entire book once it's complete.

    However, I do intend to divide my time between that revision and—occasionally—dipping into writing some new words. So the percentage bar should start moving again next week, if slowly at first while I spend a lot of time drafting.

    Tags

  • 234

    Interview: Aug 9th, 2008

    Tom Doherty

    Moshe starts off the panel asking Tom to talk about how The Wheel of Time got started. Tom says that the story begins with Harriet. Tom was publisher of the Tempo imprint for Grosset & Dunlap back in the ’70s, and Harriet was his top editor. They did so well with Tempo that Grosset & Dunlap went out and bought SF publisher Ace for them to run. Their success continued at Ace, and Tom brought in an editor named Jim Baen to work under Harriet. Sales volume doubled.

    Soon after this, though, Harriet’s parents died and she inherited the family house in downtown Charleston—with a 500-square-foot walled garden, a gardener, a maid, and a cook who had been with the family for years. “Harriet is a Southern Princess,” Tom says. Harriet was divorced and wanted to go home to Charleston to raise her son. Tom didn’t want to lose her as an editor, so Popham Press was created. Harriet acquired and edited books down in Charleston, and production and marketing were done by Ace under a profit-sharing agreement. “It was telecommuting before the word was invented,” Tom says.

    Harriet met Jim Rigney in a local bookstore there in Charleston. Jim was an engineer in atomic submarines who had been injured, and while he was recuperating, he was writing. The bookstore owner knew Harriet was an editor, and he thought the two of them should meet, so he introduced them.

    Jim wrote a book called The Fallon Blood to romanticize a part of U.S. history he felt had been overlooked in popular culture—the Southern role in the Revolutionary War (Swamp Fox, etc.). He decided that he would publish his books under pseudonyms, and use a different one for each series. He used the name Reagan O’Neal for the Fallon books.

    Then Grosset & Dunlap started having problems and they brought in a “financial guy” to run the company. He decided that they should only publish bestsellers. This is part of the reason Tom left to found Tor Books. The opportunity came up for Tor to publish some Conan novels, one of which would be a novelization of the Conan the Destroyer movie. Jim Rigney was interested in doing the book and some other Conan novels, and the pseudonym he picked for them was Robert Jordan. He also took over editing some sword & sorcery books for Tor.

    Tags

  • 235

    Interview: Aug 9th, 2008

    Peter Ahlstrom

    The death of Robert Jordan wasn’t an opportunity. It was a tragedy.

    Elise Mattheson

    Elise talks about how she saw Brandon’s blog post eulogizing Jim, and it immediately struck her that she needed to print it out. She gave it to Harriet, saying, “You have to read this.” Later that day she saw Harriet reading the post out loud to others of Jim’s friends. [I spoke with Elise right after the panel, and she added lots of fascinating details. I looked around to see if she’s shared her telling of this story anywhere online, but didn’t find anything. I hope that she will share it sometime, because it’s a great story from a fascinating woman.]

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Brandon got a voicemail from Harriet that said, “Please call me back. I want to talk to you about something.” Brandon called back and couldn’t catch Harriet at home for several hours. He called Tor, and Moshe wasn’t in, but he got in touch with Patrick. Patrick said, “It’s what you probably think it is. I’ll make sure Harriet calls you back.”

    Harriet did call back, and she told Brandon that she was considering several writers to finish the last book of the Wheel of Time and wanted to know if he was interested in being considered. Brandon’s first reaction was to think, “Only Robert Jordan can write this book.” His second thought was, “If somebody else is going to write it, I want it to be me.” Up until this point, Brandon had been worried about who was going to finish the series—as a lot of fans were worrying. Brandon knew that as a fan of the series, he would write it with the needs of the series in mind and not try to take it his own direction.

    TOM DOHERTY

    Tom [at the panel] says that the pick of who to finish the series was Harriet’s pick and no one but her should make it. But in this case he agrees with her choice of Brandon. Harriet told him that Brandon was her first choice for the job.

    Tags

  • 236

    Interview: Aug 9th, 2008

    Question

    There’s a question from the audience about the remaining two prequels besides New Spring.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon answers that the decision on whether or not those ever get written is completely up to Harriet. Brandon is not even thinking about those at this point; he does, after all, have his own books to write after he finishes up A Memory of Light. But then if Harriet does ask him to write the prequels—he’ll say yes, because after all, he still doesn’t want anyone else doing it.

    Tags

  • 237

    Interview: Aug 9th, 2008

    Peter Ahlstrom

    By this time a lot of the questions I gathered from the fans have already been answered just in the course of the discussion; I ask Tom one that’s left. “Will the dedication page at the beginning of A Memory of Light be for Robert Jordan himself, or will there be some sort of tribute to the original author in the book?”

    Brandon Sanderson

    Tom and Brandon both answer that all the previous books were dedicated by Robert Jordan to Harriet, and they’re sure RJ and Harriet wouldn’t have it any other way for this book. However, Tom says there could be something like an explanatory introduction written by Harriet. We’ll see.

    Tags

  • 238

    Interview: Aug 9th, 2008

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Another fan question for Brandon: The partial first draft (approximately 25%) that he’s going to send to Harriet, will the prologue be included in that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon says yes. He isn’t quite ready to send the partial draft to Harriet, but when he does send it, it will include the prologue. He did already send a single chapter of his writing of A Memory of Light to Harriet, so she’s seen some of what he’s doing with it—Moshe, who is Brandon’s usual editor for all his other Tor books, says that he has read that chapter and was impressed how much the writing to him did not sound like Brandon’s other books; he says that Brandon has really been able to adapt his style. Tom then complains that he hasn’t seen the chapter yet; “I have to wait like the rest of you!” he says to the crowd. Brandon mentions that when Jim Rigney wrote a Wheel of Time book, each book would be in a very complete and polished state before he gave it to Harriet. Brandon, however, knows that he needs Harriet’s input much earlier in the process than Jim would have—if there’s anything Brandon is doing wrong, he needs Harriet to point it out so he can fix it. For example, the feel of the characters, or if he’s not being descriptive enough—but Brandon has in the past tended to write rather rough first drafts for his own books, so he really needs to go back and polish even the first draft up before he shows it to Harriet.

    Tags

  • 239

    Interview: Aug 9th, 2008

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon does read the FAQs collected in various places throughout the internet, and they’re very helpful, though Maria, Alan, and Harriet are the best resource. “So far there have been no chapter-long baths,” Brandon says. [Though at this point I can only guess what that comment was in response to.] There are many mysteries explained in the notes, and some are specifically labeled as not to be revealed in the books. Some character relationships will also go unresolved. Just because the books get all written doesn’t mean the characters’ lives and problems don’t continue on. The Wheel of Time turns. However, Tom mentions at this point that the planned Mat–Tuon trilogy to follow the series was already under contract.

    Tags

  • 240

    Interview: Aug 9th, 2008

    Brandon Sanderson

    In Brandon’s final comments on the panel, he tells two stories about visiting the Rigney home. One of them involves two chairs and two computers during his first visit, and the other involves a gift from Jim's cousin Wilson while Brandon was down in Charleston again to work out some plot holes in the outline. [Brandon mentioned wanting to tell at least one of these stories himself on his blog, so I’ll leave those to him.]

    Tags

  • 241

    Interview: Sep 23rd, 2008

    Brandon Sanderson

    Fifthly, I've finished the revision of A Memory of Light Part One, which tops out at around 250,000 words. I then sent that chunk off to Harriet for review. A lot of you have emailed to ask me what she thought of what I'd written so far. Well, this is the first sizable chunk of writing she's seen on the book, so the honest truth is that I don't know yet! I'm nervous, as can be expected. It could be months before she gets back on those pages, though. 250k is a LOT of writing. In a lot of genres, that alone would be nearly three books worth of material. Here, it's just one portion of the novel.

    Sixthly, that means it's time for me to zip on over and finish the two other edits I need to do this year. I warned you about these back in June. One is the Warbreaker Copyedit, the other is the Alcatraz Three final draft. I dove into Alcatraz last night, and the revision is going very quick and easy. I suspect that I'll be done with it by the end of the week, or early next week at the latest. The Warbreaker edit will take a tad longer, but I plan to be done with it by the time I leave on tour. That leaves me with two and a half months to finish the other 150k of A Memory of Light and meet my goal of 400k by December. It's doable, but will be close, with the book tour distracting me. Keep an eye on the website to watch and see if I make it!

    Tags

  • 242

    Interview: Sep 30th, 2008

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've begun to get pages back on the sections of A Memory of Light I sent to Harriet, and the responses are very encouraging. There are things I need to change, of course, but that's the case in any book. Mostly, she's asked me to be more descriptive in places. We've also got Alan and Maria working full time catching inconsistencies and the like. But I'm really enjoying the process. Harriet is a world class editor—she really is great at what she does.

    Tags

  • 243

    Interview: Aug 13th, 2008

    Brandon Sanderson

    People have already started emailing me about this.

    My response is . . . huzzah! Congratulations Harriet! I know that things have been stalled for a long time on this front, and while she mentioned to me that something like this might be coming, I didn't think it would be so soon.

    I'm afraid I'm not the one to ask about specifics, however. Even if I knew them, I wouldn't be comfortable sharing them. But I'm sure more will be coming in the future. All I will say is to remember that things like this tend to move very slowly. I hope that won't be the case here, but chances are good that it will be many years before we actually get to see the movie.

    Now, back to work on Book Twelve. . . .

    Tags

  • 244

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2008

    Alex C. Telander

    It's a great honor to be chosen to complete Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, it is.

    ALEX C. TELANDER

    How were you chosen?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    How was I chosen? I got up one morning, and there was a voicemail on my phone from someone that said, "Hello, Brandon Sanderson. This is Harriet Rigney, Robert Jordan's widow. I'd like you to call me. I have something I want to discuss with you."

    ALEX C. TELANDER

    Had you ever met her before or anything?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I'd never met her before. I had seen Robert Jordan once at a convention, been too embarrassed to go up and talk to him. I had not applied, or asked my agent to apply, or anything like this. I was known at Tor as a big fan of the series. I had also written on my web site some thoughts about what Robert Jordan's books had meant in my life. But none of it was really an attempt. . . I assumed somebody had already been chosen.

    ALEX C. TELANDER

    Right. Do you know if you were the only one on the list?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I know there were others on the list. I am not at liberty to say who they were. But, that first call was just a 'would you be willing?' And so I said, yes, of course. Well, what I actually said was, "aabbl, aabbbl, aabbbl. . ." I actually sent her an email the next day saying, "Dear Harriet, I'm not an idiot. I promise." I was just so surprised. And so, she then read Mistborn. She later told me, she said, "I got just 50 pages into it and I knew." But then she kept reading to make sure. She thought about it for about a month, she called me back. As I understand, she didn't ever look at any of the other people who were being considered, she just went with me. She really, really liked Mistborn.

    ALEX C. TELANDER

    That's pretty great!

    Tags

  • 245

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2008

    Alex C. Telander

    And then, A Memory of Light is due out next fall. You said, was it November, I think?

    Brandon Sanderson

    November's the goal. November is the goal. Understand that there are a whole lot of different factors going into this. It will depend on how much editing it takes, how quickly I'm able to get the characters right. I'm going to work on it, I'm working on it more than full time. I'm pulling big long hours, I'm trying to get this done as soon as possible. But, it also has to be the best book.

    ALEX C. TELANDER

    Right. So that's going to be back and forth with you and Harriet, right?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yeah, back and forth with me and Harriet. I will have the rough draft done probably by December. Right now it's October. But how long it takes to get the rough draft polished and perfected, that's the uncertain quality here. And so, the goal will be November.

    ALEX C. TELANDER

    Okay.

    Tags

  • 246

    Interview: Dec 17th, 2008

    Question

    The Big Question most fans probably have is: "Why Brandon Sanderson?" What are your thoughts on this?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've thought a lot about this over the last year. I've spoken to Harriet and considered. I've come to discover a little more about the process behind how I was chosen.

    Why me? I think foremost, because Harriet liked my work. But she'd also read the thoughts I'd written on Mr. Jordan's passing. She knew I had been heavily influenced by the series that is The Wheel of Time. These aren't just books. There's something about them, something endearing and enduring. Something that draws people into fan communities and makes friends talk with friends about them. There are a lot of bestselling series out there, but there isn't a single one in my knowledge that has prompted the level of passion from the readers that these have.

    The fans have been waiting for a long, long time to get this book. I've been waiting a long, long time. I was a fan from the get-go; I read The Eye of the World when it was first released. I think that in order to get this book done in a reasonable amount of time, they needed to pick someone who was already familiar with the series. Someone who knew their Aelfinn from their Eelfinn and who could explain Rand's family tree. (At least on a good day. It still makes my brain get in a knot when I think about who Slayer is and how he relates to the various characters. . . .)

    Tags

  • 247

    Interview: Dec 17th, 2008

    Question

    How did you first get involved in this project? Were you approached by Tor and/or Harriet, or did you dust off your resume and send it to them for consideration?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't have much to add that I didn't answer last year. No resumes. I was caught completely off guard. I will say that when I first spoke to Harriet the day she called to ask me, I was so befuddled that I couldn't speak straight. I actually sent her an email the next day which said, essentially, "Dear Harriet. I'm not an idiot. I promise. Sorry I sounded like one. . . ."

    Tags

  • 248

    Interview: Dec 17th, 2008

    Question

    What was your initial reaction when you read the outline Harriet put together for A Memory of Light?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is a good one to answer now, since I HAVE read the outline (obviously.) Actually, there's a good story here. When I first went to visit Harriet, I recall walking in the door and—even before eating—asking if I could have two things. The ending Jim wrote (he finished the last part of the book himself) and the answer to who killed Asmodean.

    I wish it were possible for me to express just how much I enjoyed reading those final written words that Mr. Jordan left behind. I was satisfied. I think that's the perfect word for it. Satisfied. It ends the way it should. Not, perhaps, the way I would have guessed—or even the way you have guessed. But it's the RIGHT ending. I was very pleased.

    And it made me sleep a lot more easily once I got to see that the ending was there, and that I wouldn't have to do that part myself. I'm a 'goal driven' writer. I develop an outline for myself that generally focuses on my ending, and then my writing pushes me toward that goal. Already having the ending makes this book possible.

    I guess the only other thing I'd like to note that I was feeling was this: Reverence. This is the last work of the master. It's like holding a play penned by Shakespeare himself—one that nobody else has read, and that you get to perform for the first time.

    Tags

  • 249

    Interview: Nov 12th, 2008

    Brandon Sanderson

    Also, many of you have asked if I'd gotten a response from Harriet on the pages I turned in. I have, but it's not that exciting to hear about. You see, I wanted to remained focused on finishing the book, and I know that if I start getting revision notes, it will draw my focus back to the parts I've already written. I can't afford that distraction unless the parts I've written are so terrible that we need to rethink how I'm approaching this book. So, I have asked to not get any revision notes until I've at least hit the 400k mark. All I wanted to know was "Should I keep going, or are there big troubles?" The response was an enthusiastic keep going.

    This book is going to take a LOT of revision. I know ahead of time that there are going to be big swaths that will need to be rewritten. But as long as what I'm turning in is pleasing enough to be workable, it's important to keep moving forward. I'm like that in writing; I like to have a rough draft to work on, rather than turning my attention back to previous sections before finishing. I need to keep momentum up. So, honestly, you know as much as I do at this point. She's pleased, but undoubtedly has large revision requests.

    Tags

  • 250

    Interview: Dec 17th, 2008

    Question

    We know that Robert Jordan left extensive notes, as well as some audio tapes and actual written parts for this novel. We know your intent is to tell his story. Having seen the outline, how much of the actual plot (the plot points, character arcs, intrigue, etc.) do you think you'll have to come up with on your own?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Another one I can answer now that I couldn't before, as I hadn't seen the notes.

    However, it's still a tough one to answer. How much do I have to make up? A lot in some places, very little in others. The interview mentioned an 'outline' above. That's a little bit of an understatement regarding what was left. The things mentioned in this question itself are more accurate.

    My goal is to retain as much of his own writing as possible, and then fill in the blanks myself. As I've promised Harriet not to talk about these things until the book is out, I feel I can't give specifics right now. Know that there are large swaths of writing to do on my own, and yet even then I feel his hand on my shoulder. Every hole has an entry point and an exit point. I know where the characters are, and I know where they have to go. Sometimes it's my choice on how to get them there. Sometimes there are notes, sometimes there are actual chunks of writing. Sometimes there isn't anything but a quick notation in that character's file explaining their final state at the end of the book.

    But this is Robert Jordan's book, not my own. I keep saying that, and I don't want the readers to think I'm approaching it any other way. It's his story, his writing, and his vision.

    Tags

  • 251

    Interview: Nov 26th, 2008

    Question

    Is writing on this book easier or harder than you expected?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I honestly didn't know what to expect, so I have trouble answering this question, though many people ask it of me at signings. Let me tell you this: Writing this book is difficult. It's the good kind of difficult, the kind that makes you stretch and improve in leaps and bounds, but it is TOUGH. Keeping track of all of the side character and sub-plots is a real challenge, and trying to stay true to the soul of the Wheel of Time while adapting my own style to something appropriate for this book has been even more of one.

    I'm loving working on it. There are many who think it might be easier to write this book than one of my own (since there is an outline and the worldbuilding is done.) However, I think that it's much, much more difficult. When it comes time to use a side character, I can't simply make up their personality and fit them into the plot—I have to research how they've thought, talked, and acted in the past, then incorporate that. I have to be careful what I add as I can't contradict the plotting from books past. And beyond that, there is a huge level of expectation and hope resting upon this novel. My own, that of Harriet, and that of all of you readers who have been waiting for almost twenty years to read.

    This all makes the book tough to write. But, as I said, it's the good kind of tough. I started writing fantasy in the first place because I think it's one of the most challenging genres to write in, and the prospect of working on this book still excites me.

    Tags

  • 252

    Interview: Nov 26th, 2008

    Question

    So . . . release date?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sorry, but I really have no firm idea on this. I'm still hoping to get to 400k by December 31st. (Watch the website and see if I make it—it's going to be very close. I could make it still, but it will take some hard core writing through December.) At that point, I think it will be time to fly out and see Harriet again to go over the outline for the remaining portion of the book. (What we talked about during my last visit in April will bring us right up to about the point where I'll be ending in December.) At that point, we'll decide whether to press forward with the rough draft until the book is done or do some heavy revising on the first 400k to stabilize it before moving on. We'll have to talk this through, as I can't really decide which would be better. I'm of two minds on it.

    If I press forward, I could have the book finished by March or April. If we revise, it will probably be until June or July. But even that is probably an optimistic guess, since I have no idea how much time the book will need to spend in revision.

    I keep saying that I'd like to have the book out by November next year, and that's not outside reason. But we'll have to see. The last thing we want to do is release a book that feels rushed and thrown together. One thing I do know is that Tor is poised to get it through production at record speeds once we turn it in.

    Tags

  • 253

    Interview: Dec 3rd, 2008

    Brad Wilcox

    When bestselling author Robert Jordan died last year from a rare blood disease, fans of his popular series, "The Wheel of Time," braced themselves for the possibility that his 12-book fantasy world would end one volume shy of completion.

    Before his death, Jordan, whose real name was James Rigney, Jr., signed over the book rights to his wife, Harriet, and requested that she find a capable author to finish the series for his fans. After his death, a eulogy posted on the website of Brandon Sanderson caught the attention of Harriet Rigney, and a successor was named. Rigney announced that Sanderson, a 32-year-old fantasy writer from Provo, Utah, would complete the final book, slated to be released in 2009.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    "I am sad to see the series end. But I would be far more distressed to leave it unfinished, incomplete and dangling forever," Rigney wrote via e-mail from Charleston, S.C., where she lives. "Jordan didn't want that. I must see it through for him."

    Tags

  • 254

    Interview: Dec 3rd, 2008

    Brad Wilcox

    Fortunately for fans, the author wanted to give them the ending they deserved, one written by him. During his last days, the writer began dictating onto a recorder how the prologue for the final book would play out, and feverishly scribbling down the ending he had kept stored away in his mind for the past 17 years.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    "Jordan worked hard, 9 to 5, generally seven days a week," Rigney recalls through an e-mail. "He loved what he was doing, of course, but that W-word prevails."

    Tags

  • 255

    Interview: Jan 6th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    First off, here is a new Annotation from Mistborn: The Well of Ascension. Chapter Fifty-Three. There are only six or seven more of these, then I'll start posting them from Book Three. People have asked if I'll do them for A Memory of Light. The answer is that I probably will not, for the simple reason that I wouldn't feel comfortable posting them without Harriet's approval on each one, and that would be too much work to ask of her for this. However, this is why I'm hoping to be able to get her permission to write a companion book to the final WoT volume(s), talking about the process of writing the last book. The choice will be hers, but if we do that book, it will read much like the annotations but with the addition of Mr. Jordan's own notes.

    Tags

  • 256

    Interview: Jan 13th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    It has become a tradition for me to auction off naming rights to one of the characters in each of my novels. In the past, I've done this locally, with a church group. People would 'bid' cans of food that they would donate to the local food bank, and the winner got to name a character in one of my books. The first appearance was Lord Penrod, named for a woman who's last name was—not surprisingly—Penrod. Lord Yomen in The Hero of Ages changed the tradition slightly in that I started describing the character to look like the person who won the auction. Warbreaker's Llarimar is another of these winners.

    When I started working on the Wheel of Time novel, it was my assumption that I would forego the tradition for this particular book. I wasn't planning on doing anything. But then the awesome Pat Rothfuss (by the way, Pat, I'm going to answer your email soon. Sorry—I got distracted. Bad Brandon!) started up a charity drive this Christmas. This was a particularly bad year for charities, as a lot of people were tightening their belts and cutting their spending. I read several articles talking about how difficult a year it was going to be for a lot of people in underdeveloped areas of the world, where the economy doesn't just mean fewer trips to the movies—it means children starve because there isn't enough food to be had.

    At that moment, I realized that we had something very special in the Wheel of Time book—an opportunity that shouldn't be passed up. I wrote an email to Harriet, telling her about the charity that Pat had been using for his drive. It's called Heifer International. Instead of just giving food to the poor, they go into developing countries, give them animals to care for, and teach them how to use the livestock to create a sustainable source of income and food. It's a fantastic idea, and a worthy charity. I asked Harriet if she'd mind me auctioning off a character in A Memory of Light. She was behind that 100%. As some of you may know, Robert Jordan did something like this once, giving a walk-on part to a fan in one of the books. There are a LOT of people who need to be named in this story, and so why not let a few of those names and descriptions go to real people?

    Setting up the infrastructure for this took long enough that we couldn't just make it part of Pat's charity drive, but he was the inspiration, so he gets a bow and a tip of the hat. I talked with Melissa over at TarValon.net—which deals with the charitable work among Wheel of Time fandom—and we kicked around some ideas. Here's what we came up with.

    You can appear in the Wheel of Time. There are two ways.

    First, you can bid in the silent auction. This is just what it sounds like—you bid an amount, if you bid the most, you get a walk-on part in the Wheel of Time. I promise you a few lines of dialogue at least, and I'll let you pick your nationality and affiliation. We get veto rights over the spelling of your name—it has to fit the world and culture—but other than that, you've got a lot of control over what your character will look like and act like. The bidding ends early April; details are on TarValon's website.

    However, Melissa and I realized that this auction would probably go high, probably into the thousands of dollars. We'd get one huge donation, but a lot of people would feel left out. And so we decided to create a SECOND way that you could appear in the Wheel of Time. During the Last Battle, there will be a lot of groups fighting the Shadow. Well, we're going to develop and include a special group to represent the Wheel of Time fans who donate in our charity drive. If you can't participate in the auction, you can still donate a few bucks to Heifer through Tar Valon's link, and you can consider yourself part of this group. We're letting the fans vote on what the group's nationality is, and from there we'll probably let the fans pick the banner for the group as well. This group will be written into the novel (there are several places where I'll need to be doing this and inserting various groups of people) as participating. Several of the officers of the group will be mentioned by name. Those officers names will be drawn randomly from everyone who donated at least $20 to the fund raiser through TarValon.net.

    I hope that's not too confusing—there's another explanation on the official rules page, which I suggest you look over. In short, you can do one of two things (or both:)

    1) Bid on the naming rights through the auction.

    2) Make a donation and join those fighting in the Last Battle. (With a $20 minimum donation getting you a shot at appearing in the book.)

    This is the sort of opportunity that doesn't come around very often. Happy bidding, and thank you.

    Footnote

    These names were not included until Towers of Midnight. Anthony Aziz won the silent auction (Azi al'Thone), and the other fan names are listed here.

    Tags

  • 257

    Interview: Jan 22nd, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    The work proceeds nicely. The Wheel of Time book is interesting in that I've got a LOT of different types of feedback on it. There's Harriet, of course, but also Mr. Jordan's two assistants, Maria and Alan. They are continuity experts, and have been going through the pages I've done and have been fact checking and giving feedback on general issues as well. I had worried that having three editors on this project would make it more difficult to work on, but so far it's simply been a big help. There is SO much going on in this book and this world that having the extra sets of eyes is very helpful.

    Tags

  • 258

    Interview: Jan 23rd, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    And a little reader mail item. WoT reader Colby wrote me and asked:

    Just curious. When will you start releasing the names of some of the chapters of A Memory of Light?

    Well, Colby, I'm honestly not sure. These could get tweaked and edited right up until the book release, and so letting them out too early would be a mistake. I'm forbidden by contract on this project from posting anything specific like that on my blog. Beyond that, Harriet will be doing most of the actual chapter naming. She mentioned she'd done this on a lot of the previous novels, and so I'm happy to let her do it on this book. It will help give the book the right feel.

    If anyone were going to release chapter titles ahead of time, it would be through Tor's website, not my own. The same goes for the prologue. In the past, it has been released early, and that might happen with this one too. But if it does, look toward Tor.com for the appearance. Sorry to be so clandestine on these issues, but it really is for the best. Everyone's excited about this book, but there are a LOT of readers who don't want anything spoiled. We have to respect their wishes, and the wishes of the Jordan Estate, which would prefer most of this be kept under wraps until later this year.

    Tags

  • 259

    Interview: Feb 24th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    My new computer is shaping up quite well. I'm sorry, Mac lovers, but I'm firmly gripped by Microsoft. I don't philosophically oppose your OS, but Windows is what I know, and I've never had cause to change. (My wife loves her Mac, though.) Beyond that, I've got a shiny new version of Office 2007 courtesy of a certain individual that I've been playing with lately.

    Though if it sates any of you Mac folks, I DID work on a little of A Memory of Light on my wife's computer during some outages where my computer wasn't reliable. So you can content yourselves that a portion of the book was indeed written on your beloved OS.

    Annotation coming soon. I've got a big deadline on these A Memory of Light revisions coming in April, and so I've been pulling some long hours working on revisions. I can't really talk about a release date or anything else right now. Harriet has asked me just to focus on the revisions. I think she'll be making a specific announcement about these things come April, perhaps at JordanCon.

    Tags

  • 260

    Interview: Oct 21st, 1994

    AOL Chat 2 (Verbatim)

    Question

    How did you develop the female characters in your series? They are a strength to the series, and are interesting because they seem to contain genuinely "feminine" thought patterns?

    Robert Jordan

    I spent forty-odd years listening to women, and besides that, they're all based on my wife.

    Tags

  • 261

    Interview: Mar 3rd, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've been getting a lot of reader mail like the following lately:

    Mr. Sanderson, I'm sorry if I am a little behind on the news, but I haven't heard anything about A Memory of Light and was wondering if it has already been finished and we're waiting for a release date or if it has already been released. Please let me know, I'm very eager to finish the series, thank you.

    There's been a lot of buzz going around about the book lately, particularly since Tor released this widget which makes some implication about the release date of the book.

    I asked Harriet if I should say anything about all of this, and her response to me was essentially "Keep on working. We'll worry about announcements."

    So . . . well, I'm going to leave it to her and to Tor. Nothing official has been said yet, though I think that's probably because the best way to make WoT-related announcements is being discussed. JordanCon is coming up next month, and I think it's likely that Harriet and Tor would rather wait until then to make any big revelations.

    Here's what I can say: I have not finished the complete manuscript. I've got about 450k words done of what I still plan to be an eventual 750k (or more) manuscript. I've spent most of January and all of February doing revisions. Harriet is pleased with what she has seen so far, but any manuscript needs a lot of work revising. Right now, we are focusing on making what we have done as good as it can be.

    I will post here when official announcements are made. They'll probably appear first on Tor.com or Dragonmount. I wouldn't expect anything to appear until the first week in April at the earliest. (Third week, during JordanCon, being even more likely.)

    Tags

  • 262

    Interview: Mar 13th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm making progress on these A Memory of Light edits, slowly but surely. It's a lot more time-consuming than other books I've edited for several reasons. First off, I've got a lot of input coming in from Charleston. I receive feedback on every chapter not just from Harriet, but from Alan and Maria as well. It's all very good advice, but it's like juggling three editors on the same project, each with different specialties. The sheer organization of it all can be daunting sometimes.

    Recently—today and yesterday—I spent producing some new material for the first time in a while. One of the issues with revisions like this is that sometimes, Harriet and the others point out holes in the story which require new scenes to patch properly. As such, I've been 'spot writing' so to speak, crafting new scenes. Some are holes I knew were there and intended to patch, others were holes I left thinking that they would be all right—that readers would make the leap from one scene to another without the bridge scene. In one case, it's a scene I hadn't realized everyone would want to see, but they really do, so I've started work on it. I expect this to continue for the next few days, so you might see the main "A Memory of Light" progress bar inch up a few points. It's at 110% right now. (Which means 440k of completed manuscript, not counting some scenes that Mr. Jordan worked on that haven't yet happened in the chronology.)

    The basic estimate for the final length remains the same as it has since about last summer. 750k words. I'll let you know if I think that needs to be revised, but I really won't be able to guess until I've completed more of the manuscript. As I've warned, also, keep an eye on Dragonmount and Tor.com for official announcements related to the Wheel of Time. I'd guess that something will pop up in the next several weeks.

    Tags

  • 263

    Interview: Mar 25th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    A few hours back, people started sharing links regarding a few places outside the US who have begun posting news related to A Memory of Light. I'm getting some emails about this, so I thought I'd go ahead and post something. Likely, this will all get overwritten soon, as soon as Tor and the Jordan estate release official reactions and/or announcements.

    I can't say much. Why? Well, it's not my right. I'm loving being part of the Wheel of Time, but it is Harriet's world, not mine. And so I feel it right to let her make any announcements at her pace. I don't even feel right linking some of the websites making news about this, though you can find a thread about it on Dragonmount if you look.

    A very small cover image has been floating around, and people want me to say if it's a hoax or not. Well, to be honest, I haven't yet seen the cover art for the book. Things have been so busy for me these last few months editing that I've let Harriet handle all of that. So I don't know if the cover is the real one or not. It certainly looks like Mr. Sweet's work, and it could be a scene from the book. But it looks rough, perhaps not the finished art. It's too small to tell. And the lettering on it is suspect to me—it mentions this book being the sequel to Crossroads of Twilight, for instance, which is a flat-out error. I certainly didn't approve that on cover copy, and I doubt Harriet did either. Most likely, this is a mock-up done internally that is being used as a placeholder. That's just one of the several things that bothers me about this cover image.

    A lot of people are wondering on the number of volumes this book will be. I'll be honest, this is a big, big project. I stand by one promise to you, no matter what else happens. I will NOT artificially inflate the size of this book. It doesn't matter to me how many volumes Tor decides to make it; the story is the same to me. One volume, as Robert Jordan planned it. Enormous.

    If it is split into chunks, I will push Tor to release them as soon as is reasonably possible and I will push hard for an omnibus edition at the end.

    More soon.

    Footnote

    This is the mock-up cover in question:

    Tags

  • 264

    Interview: Mar 26th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've had some emails from Harriet and company and can give you some more solid facts here.

    First, an email Harriet said I could post:

    Dear Brandon,

    Whatever the "art" is that was posted on Dragonmount, I have not seen it, and from what I hear I would certainly not approve it.

    Rest assured, no art will go on the cover until I have seen it and approved it. Best, Harriet

    This was before Harriet saw the link on Dragonmount itself, showing the thumbnail of the artwork. The fact that she hadn't yet seen the real cover art makes this all seem even more fishy to me. Looking closely, that posted art really lacks detail. After getting some internal emails from Tor, I'm really thinking that my conclusion last night was true. This is not the cover, but a rough mock-up done quickly by production to have something to show at meetings. It was never supposed to go outside of Tor, and is NOT the final cover, not even close to it. I'll bet this is just a sketch Mr. Sweet did showing potential cover ideas. It might not even be him doing the art—it's too small to tell.

    Tor is planning a press release about A Memory of Light talking about the title, the number of volumes, and that sort of thing. We won't see it until early next week, however, because of issues of timing with the major news sources. They moved it up from late in the week to early in the week, but that's the best they could do. Until then, don't panic. There is truth to some of the rumors, but there is also a lot of bad information going around.

    Footnote

    This is the mock-up cover in question:

    Tags

  • 265

    Interview: Mar 30th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    All right, now that the press release is out, let's talk about some things. I like to be transparent with my readers, whenever possible, and I feel it's time to let you in more fully on what has been happening this last year.

    Pull up a chair. Get some hot cocoa. This is going to take a while. I'm a fantasy author. We have trouble with the concept of brevity.

    In order to explain to you how this book came to be split as it did, I want to step you through some events of the last sixteen months. That way, you can see what led us up to making the decisions we did. You might still disagree with those decisions (many of you will.) But at least you'll understand the rationale behind them.

    Before we start, however, let me explain that I only saw one piece of what was going on. As I've stated before, Harriet and Tom are the ones making decisions when it comes to publication issues. I've deferred to them. My input has by no means been ignored, but often I was so focused on the book that I didn't have the time or energy to do more than say "Harriet, I trust your decision. Go with what you feel is best." Therefore, some of what I say may be distorted through my own lens. I don't have the whole story, but I think I've got most of it.

    Let's hop back to November of 2007. That's the month where I'd discovered for certain that I'd be the one finishing THE WHEEL OF TIME. I was excited, nervous, and daunted all at the same time—but today's blog post isn't about that aspect of the experience. Perhaps I'll have a chance to write more about it later.

    The first discussion of length came in late November, early December during the contract negotiations for A Memory of Light. I say negotiations, though those 'negotiations' were really nothing more than Harriet's agents saying "Here's what we offer." And me saying to my agent "Sounds good. Say yes." I wasn't about to let the chance to work on this book slip away.

    The contract stipulated that I was to provide a completed work which (including Mr. Jordan's written sections) was to be at least 200,000 words long. This sort of length provision isn't uncommon in contracts; it's there to make certain neither author nor publisher are surprised by the other's expectations. It's generally a ballpark figure, very flexible. I hadn't seen any of the materials for A Memory of Light at that point, so I essentially signed blind, saying yes to produce something "At least 200,000 words" in length.

    I'm not sure what Harriet was expecting at that point for length. She was still coping with Mr. Jordan's death, and was focused on finding someone to complete A Memory of Light so that she could rest easier, knowing that it was being worked on. Remember, this was just months after Mr. Jordan passed away. I honestly don't think she was thinking about length or—really—anything other than making certain the book was in the right hands. She left it to my decision how to proceed once I was given the materials.

    Around January or February, I posted on my blog that I was shooting for a 200k minimum. This surprised a lot of people, as 200k would not only have made A Memory of Light the shortest Wheel of Time book other than the prequel, it seemed a very small space in which to tie up the huge number of loose ends in the book. I wasn't focused on that at the moment; I was just passing along my thoughts on a minimum length. I think that I, at the time, hoped that we could do the book in around 250k. That was naive of me, but I honestly didn't want to drag this on for years and years. I wanted to get the readers the book they'd been waiting for as soon as possible.

    At that point, I started reading through the series again. I did this with the notes and materials for the final book at hand, taking notes myself of what plotlines needed to be closed, which viewpoints needed resolution. The read-through took me until March of 2008. As I progressed through the series, I began to grasp the daunting nature of this book. How much there was to do, how many plotlines needed to be brought back together, the WEIGHT of it all was enormous.

    April 2008. I had to make a decision. I realized that the book would be impossible to do in 200k. I'd begun to say on my blog that it would be at least 400k, but even that seemed a stretch. I looked over the outlines, both mine and Mr. Jordan's. I stared at them for a long time, thinking about the book. And this is where the first decision came in. Did I try to cram it into 400k? Or did I let it burgeon larger?

    To get this into one book, I'd need to railroad the story from climax to climax. I'd have to ignore a lot of the smaller characters—and even some aspects of the larger characters. I just couldn't justify that. It wouldn't do the story justice. I cringed to consider what I would have to cut or ignore.

    Perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps readers would have preferred a single, condensed volume so that they at least knew what happened. But I just couldn't do it. The Wheel of Time deserved better.

    This was not an easy choice. I knew it would anger some readers. I knew it would take a lot of time, and I would end up dedicating a great deal more of my life (and my family's life) to the Wheel of Time than I'd initially anticipated. At the very least, I was contemplating writing a book three to four times the length of the initial contract—essentially, doing four times the work for the exact same pay.

    But this had never been about the pay for me. I'd been put in charge of this project. I wanted to do what I felt Mr. Jordan would have done. I felt, and feel, a debt to him for what he did with this series. He had promised readers a big, big book—not big for big's sake, but big because there was so much to do, so much to tie up. I decided that I would do whatever the story demanded, no matter how many words it would require, no matter how mad it made people. I would not artificially inflate the book—but I would treat each character, even the minor characters, with care and consideration.

    I flew to Charleston that month and outlined my feelings on the various outlines for the different characters. The Charleston camp was cautiously enthusiastic; I don't know if they realized just how much work this would all take. I'm not sure if I even told them how many words I was starting to feel it would be. At this point, Harriet was pretty much letting me call the shots when it came to the actual drafting of the novel. Harriet is an editor; she works best when I provide material to her, then she works her magic to turn it from good to excellent. That meant I was in charge of getting material to her as I saw fit, then she would tell me if I was on target or needed to try again.

    I had already set the progress bar at 400k words on my website. I started writing in earnest, and also started warning people that the book was likely going to run longer than my initial estimate. Perhaps much longer. Soon, I was saying 750k.

    By this point, I'd already warned Tom and Harriet that I saw the length being very large, but I hadn't told Tom the 700-800k number. When I'd mentioned 400k to him once, he'd been wary. He explained to me that he felt 400k was unprintably large in today's publishing market. Things have changed since the 90's, and booksellers are increasingly frustrated with the fantasy genre, which tends to take up a lot of shelf space with very few books. There is constant pressure from the big chain bookstores to keep things smaller and thinner. When I'd turned in Mistborn 2 (revised and already trimmed) at 250k, production and marketing had nearly had a fit, complaining that the book would cost more to print than it would make. Tom approved the publication of the book anyway. (And fortunately we managed to fit it into enough pages—and sell enough copies—that it was still profitable.)

    Anyway, Tom implied that 400k was what he saw as a cut off for length. Anything 300-350 could be one book, anything over 350 should be cut. (That's me guessing on things he said; he never gave those hardfast numbers, and I know there was probably some flexibility.) Anyway, Tom—like Harriet—wanted to wait and see what I was able to produce first. At this point, it was too early to begin talk of cutting the book. I'd barely written any of it.

    I wrote all summer, and the next point of interest comes at Worldcon. Tom and I were on a panel together, talking about A Memory of Light. I noted that (by that point) I had around 250k written. He said something like "Ah, so you're almost done!" I looked chagrined and said "Actually, I feel that I'm only about 1/3 of the way there, Tom." He blinked, shocked, and then laughed a full bellied laugh. "It's happening again!" he exclaimed. "Jim sold me one book that somehow became three, and now it's happening again!"

    Well, that was the first hint I had that this might be three books instead of two. I started to lobby Harriet subtly, pointing out that previous Wheel of Time books had been 380k, and perhaps that would be a good length for each Volume of A Memory of Light, if it was cut. I also indicated that I felt it would be really nice to keep volumes of the book published close together if, indeed, the book had to be split.

    What I didn't realize was just how taxing this process was going to be. There's only so much one person can write in a year. Before working on A Memory of Light, my average wordcount for a year was around 300k. One 200k epic fantasy, then 50-100k on other projects. During 2008 I wrote over 400k—fully a third more than usual, and that was done with three months of my working time spent re-reading and taking notes on the Wheel of Time series. (Yes, it was easier because of materials left by Mr. Jordan. However, that was offset by the need to become an expert on thousands of characters, places, themes, and worldbuilding elements. All in all, even with outlines, notes, and written materials Mr. Jordan left, I'd say this was the most difficult 400k I've ever written.)

    By December, after my book tour, I was pushing hard to even get 400k done. I still had this phantom hope that somehow, I'd be able to spend January, February, and March writing harder than I'd ever written before and somehow get to 750k by the March deadline that Tom had said was about the latest he could put a book into production and still have it out for the holidays.

    In January, Tom called Harriet and they talked. At this point, I'd hit my 400k goal, and I knew that I was only about halfway done. (If even that far along.) Very little of that 400k had been revised or drafted. Tom and Harriet chatted, and several things came up. One of the most dominating points was this: it had been four years since the fans had been given Knife of Dreams. Tom felt that we NEEDED to provide them a book in 2009. They couldn't wait until I finished the entire volume to publish something.

    Harriet called me and I finally agreed that I needed to stop work on writing new material. It was time to begin revising. That was, essentially, the decision to split the book. And I wasn't certain that we could simply print the 400k that I had written. There were scenes all over the place, and if we printed that portion as-is, it would cut off right in the middle of several plot arcs. The book just wouldn't be any fun to read. Beyond that, editing 400k would take too much time to have it done by April.

    This is the second big decision. Perhaps you would have chosen differently. But let me outline the options as I see them. Pretend you're Tom Doherty or Harriet in January 2009, making the call on how to publish the book.

    1) You can decide not to print anything until the entire novel is finished. That means letting Brandon write until the end, then revising the entire thing at once, followed by printing the book (either as one enormous volume or several chunks, released in quick succession.) Last summer and fall, this was what I was hoping we'd be able to do.

    If you make this choice, the readers don't get a book in 2009. You're not sure when they'll get a book. Brandon took a year to write 400k words, and feels that he's around halfway done.

    So, if you choose this option, let's say Brandon writes all 2009, delivers you a rough draft of a full, 800k book in 2010. 800k words would take roughly eight months to edit and revise. Production would take another eight months or so. (Minimum.) You'd be looking at releasing the book somewhere in summer 2011. Perhaps one volume in June and another in August.

    2) You could publish the 400k as they are done right now. If you do this, the readers do not get a book in 2009. 400k would take roughly four months to revise (and that's rushing it), and you'd have to put the novel into production with a January or February 2010 release date. That's not too far off the November 2009 date you'd promised people, so maybe they would be satisfied. But you'd leave them with a story that literally cut off right in the middle of several plotlines, and which did not have tied up resolutions.

    In this scenario, Brandon writes all through 2009, turns in the second half sometime around April or May 2010. It takes roughly four months to edit and revise that portion, and you're looking at a summer 2011 release for the second half. Maybe spring 2011. (This way, you get the whole thing to the readers a little bit faster than the other option because you have the luxury of putting one half through production while Brandon is writing the second half.)

    However, in this scenario, you end up releasing two fractured books, and the bookstores are mad at you for their size. (Which may translate to the bookstores ordering fewer copies, and fans being mad because they can't find copies as easily as they want—this is what happened with Mistborn Two, by the way.). Beyond that, you missed releasing a book in the holiday season, instead putting one in the dead months of early 2010.

    3) You could do what Tom did. You go to Brandon (or, in this case, to Harriet who goes to Brandon) and you say "You have 400k words. Is there a division point in there somewhere that you can cut the book and give us a novel with a strong climax and a natural story arc?"

    I spent a few days in January looking over the material, and came to Tom and Harriet with a proposal. I had what I felt would make the best book possible, divided in a certain way, which came out to be around 275,000 words. It had several strong character arcs, it told a very good story, and it closed several important plot threads. I felt it would be an excellent book.

    Now, this was longer than they'd wanted. They'd hoped I'd find them a cutting point at the 225k mark. But I didn't feel good about any cuts earlier than 275. In fact, I later took that 275,000 word book and I added an extra 25k in scenes (one's I'd been planning to write anyway, but decided would work better here in this chunk) in order to fill it out and make of it the most solid novel possible. Right now, the book sits at about 301,000 words—though that will fluctuate as I trim out some excess language here and there. I suspect the final product will be right around 300,000k words.

    Now, let's assume you made this decision, just as Tom did. This is the ONLY case in which you get to keep your promise to the Wheel of Time readers and deliver a book in 2009. (Though, it took a LOT of work to get it ready. I've been pulling 14-16 hour days six days a week for the last three months.) In this scenario, you get to deliver them a solid book, rather than a fractured one.

    But you are also splitting a book that Robert Jordan intended to be one book. (Tom and Harriet both have said they don't think he could have done it, or would have done it, given the chance.) A bigger problem is that you're releasing a book without knowing when you'll be able to release the next section. You aren't certain what to tell people when they ask how large a gap there will be between the books; it will depend on how long the next chunk is and when Brandon can finish it. (Plus, Brandon keeps increasing the final estimate, which—now that I've added some material to this book—indicates that the final product will easily be over 800k.)

    So . . . how big will the gap be? Well, the honest truth is that I don't know. Tom has been telling other publishers and retailers that November 2009, 2010, 2011 seems like a safe bet. But that's just an estimate, erring on the side of caution. I'm pretty certain that we have to divide the book in three parts because of where I chose to make the split. There will be another good split at around the 600k mark.

    If I had the next 300k or so done already, it would take me 4 months to revise it at the shortest. I feel that the next chunk is going to need a lot more revision than this one did. Partially because I cut into the 450k completed portion with the hacksaw and pulled out 275k. What's left over is ragged and in need of a lot of work. I'd say five months of revisions is more likely. So, if it were all done, we'd have the second book coming out five months after the first.

    But it's not all done. It's around halfway done. I've got a lot of writing left to do—four to six months worth, I'd guess. By these estimates, we'll have another book ready to go to press, then, in February next year. That means a fall 2010 release. And if things continue as they have, the third book (none of which is written right now) would come out summer 2011 at the earliest.

    And I guess that's what I'm trying to show you with all of this: No matter how the book is split, cut, or divided, the last portion wouldn't come out until 2011. Why? It goes back to that first decision I made, the one to write the book the length I felt it needed to be. And so, it's not the greedy publisher, stringing you along that is keeping you from reading the ending. It's not the fault of production taking a long time. The blame rests on me.

    I am writing this book long. I'm writing it VERY long. Most books in most genres are around 100k long. I'm shooting for eight times that length. And one person can only produce so much material, particularly on a project like this. Writing this book, keeping all of these plot threads and characters straight, is like juggling boulders. It's hard, hard work.

    You're getting a book this year. You'll get one next year. You'll get one the year after that. I don't know which months in 2010 or 2011 the books will come out. You can keep hope they'll be sooner, but you might want to listen to Tom's November, November estimate, as I feel it's the absolute latest you'd see the books.

    I know some of you will be mad that it is getting split; I feel for you, and I hope to be able to persuade Tor and Harriet to publish a special edition omnibus some day. But . . . well, they're both convinced that it will be too long for that. I'm not going to fight for it right now; I'll wait until the books come out.

    I will continue to fight to get the books released as quickly as is reasonable. But I have to write them first. You've been able to watch my progress bar; you know that I'm working and the book is getting written. I'm not going on vacations and living it up. I'm working. Hard. Sixty, seventy, sometimes eighty hour weeks.

    I won't make you wait an undue amount of time. But please understand that some of the things you want are mutually exclusive. You want a high quality book that is of an enormous length published quickly. Get me a time machine and I'll see what I can do.

    George Martin and Patrick Rothfuss have both spoken on this topic already, and both did it quite eloquently. Books, as opposed to a lot of other forms of mass media, are unique in that they rest solely on the production capabilities of one single person. A good day of writing for a lot of authors is about 1,000 words. And you're lucky to get 200 days of writing in a year, with all of the other demands (edits, copyedits, book tours, publicity events, school visits, etc.) that come your way. I tend to scale higher than the average, partially (I think) because of all those years I spent unpublished getting into the habit of constantly writing new books.

    But even I can only do so much. We'll get these books to you. At the slowest, they will be November, November, November—meaning that they all come out in the space of two years. Perhaps it will be faster. If we can do them more quickly, and keep the quality up, I will continue to advocate for that. But I honestly don't know if I can do another two years like these last sixteen months. I'm exhausted. I've pushed very, very hard to get you a book in 2009 because you've been waiting so long. But I can't promise that I'll be able to keep the same schedule. Plus, I do have other commitments, contracts signed to other publishers, fans of other writings of mine who cannot be ignored. I'll need to write another Alcatraz book this year sometime. And I will have to do revisions on The Way of Kings, which I've stayed pretty quiet about. I'm planning to do these things during down time on A Memory of Light, when waiting for revision notes or the like. But I also can't afford to get burned out on The Wheel of Time. You deserve better than that.

    Now, some words about titles. Where did The Gathering Storm come from? Well, in January where it was decided to split the book, I continued to advocate for something that would indicate that this was ONE book, split into three parts. (I still see it that way.) And so, I suggested that they all be named A Memory of Light with subtitles. I love the title A Memory of Light; I think it's poetic and appropriate. Plus, it was Mr. Jordan's title for the book. That alone is good enough reason to keep it.

    And so, I suggested smaller, shorter, more generic sub-titles for each of the parts. With a long, evocative title like A Memory of Light as the supertitle, the subtitles needed to be shorter and more basic, as to not draw attention. The first of these was named Gathering Clouds by Maria's suggestion. Book two would be Shifting Winds, book three Tarmon Gai'don, all with the supertitle of A Memory of Light.

    We proceeded with that as our plan for several months. And then, suddenly, Tom got word from marketing that the titles needed to change. The bookstores didn't like them. (You'll find that the bookstores control a lot in publishing. You'd be surprised at how often the decisions are made because of what they want.) In this case, the bookstores worried that having three books titled A Memory of Light would be too confusing for the computer system and the people doing the reordering. They asked for the supertitle to be cut, leaving us with the title Gathering Clouds.

    I shot off an email to Harriet, explaining that I never intended that title to be the one that carried the book. It was too generic, too basic. She went to Tom with some suggestions for alternates, and The Gathering Storm was what they decided. This all happened in a matter of hours, most of it occurring before I got up in the morning. (I sent her an email at night, then by the time I rose, they'd made the decision out on the east coast.) Some materials had already gone out as Gathering Clouds, and I wonder if The Gathering Storm was chosen because it was similar. I know it was the one out of those suggested by Harriet that Tom liked the most. It's somewhat standard, but also safe.

    That title swap came at me rather fast. I plan to be ready for the next one, so hopefully we'll have the time to produce something a little more evocative. I don't mind The Gathering Storm, but I do realize that it is one of the more bland Wheel of Time titles. (My favorite title, by the way, is Crossroads of Twilight.)

    I think that brings you all up to speed. The question many of you are probably wondering now is "What did you decide to put in this book, and what did you decide to hold off until the next one?" I can't answer that yet—perhaps when the time gets closer, I'll be able to hint at what was included and what was saved. But know that I believe strongly in the place where the cut was made, and I love how the final product has turned out.

    I also want to mention that one of my main goals in division was to make certain that most (if not all) of the major characters had screen time. Some have more than others, but almost everyone has at least a couple of chapters. (In other words, it wasn't cut like A Feast for Crows/A Dance with Dragons with half the viewpoints in one and half in the other.) However, some of the important things you are waiting for had—by necessity—to be reserved for the second book.

    I'm almost done with the revisions on the first part. I expect to start writing new material for part two sometime in April. The progress bar will inch forward again when that happens.

    Anyway, that's the story of how this all came to be. I don't expect you all to be happy with the choices we've made, but I do want you to understand where we are coming from. I have to trust my instincts as a writer. They are what got me here, they are what made Harriet choose me to work on this book, and it would be a mistake for me to ignore them now.

    Those instincts say that we've made the best choices, and I think The Gathering Storm will vindicate those choices. So, if possible, I ask you to hold back on some of your worry and/or anger until you at least read the book this November. As always, the work itself is the best argument for why I do what I do.

    Brandon Sanderson

    March, 2009.

    Tags

  • 266

    Interview: Apr 13th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    This weekend I'll be in Atlanta for JordanCon. I'm expecting to be so busy with the convention that I didn't set up any kind of external signing. I'm still thinking of heading to Atlanta for DragonCon this year, though, and if I do, I'll try to do an off-site signing for those who are interested. However, if you really want something signed—or want to hear about A Memory of Light (including, I believe, an advance reading from The Gathering Storm) come by JordanCon. I think it's going to be very fun.

    The Gathering Storm goes very well; I'm still working through last-stage revisions from Harriet, Alan, and Maria. I finished Alan's today and sent them off to him for commentary. Harriet's are almost all inputted, and I'm about 3/4 the way through Maria's. I should have this all wrapped up by the time JordanCon rolls around.

    Tags

  • 267

    Interview: Apr 22nd, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Now, on to The Gathering Storm news. The last few weeks have consisted of entering final tweaks, as requested by Team Charleston as they read the final (but not really final) draft of the book. I got these all in (doing the last of them on the flight to Atlanta—note to self, next time get Business class, as writing on a full sized laptop in coach is killer. When I got to Atlanta, I found that Harriet had brought me line edits. This is where the editor goes line by line in the book and tweaks the language, fixing typos but also revising for clarity, detail, and general readability. Harriet is very good at this, but it meant another few solid days of revision for me, as I needed to enter the changes into the manuscript. It's better for me to do this myself, rather than just having a typist do it, as line edits are often meant to be suggestions or nudges, rather than always just straight revisions. In almost all cases, I just enter the line edits as marked—but there are places where a revision from Harriet sparks me to do a tweak in a different way that I think will help more, and I also can make arguments for certain changes not being made if I feel they change the meaning too much or do something I think Harriet might not have expected. (In some places of a manuscript, a certain phrase will be used intentionally in order to connect to a different phrase somewhere else, and you have to watch how you tweak these.)

    Anyway, I finished these yesterday, then made a few spot changes and sent the book off to Charleston. So, in short, the final, final edit is in—though now it goes to copyedit. Copyedit is where a different editor reads through focusing specifically on continuity and looking for typos. Very little is actually changed editorially. I can still make changes when the copyedit comes back, but I'll have to do them on-paper rather than electronically. (Actually, Robert Jordan's editorial assistant Maria will probably handle the copyedit herself, so I'll send any last-minute changes I want to her for insertion.)

    That's probably more detail than you needed to know. I guess the thing that it would be good for you to know is that the book is now officially 'In production.' That means we've hit our deadline, and the boulder—so long perched on the peak—has started rolling down the cliff. You no longer have to worry if some phantom problem is going to delay it. It is in, and it is coming.

    Tags

  • 268

    Interview: May 7th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    All right. I've had a few weeks to rest after the marathon working of Feb, March, and early April. So, it's time to start thinking about the future. The Gathering Storm is turned in. (Quick answers on two questions: First, I don't know if there will be an electronic copy released. Tor doesn't own electronic rights, these belong to Harriet, and I don't know what she and her agent have decided yet. Second, there should be an audiobook released, very close to the initial release of the hardcover.) With The Gathering Storm done, it's time to look at the projects on my plate.

    PROJECT ONE: A MEMORY OF LIGHT PART TWO (The working title is Shifting Winds, which WILL change.)

    I've gone ahead and added a progress bar for this one. As I've said before, I've got a large chunk of it written—but that writing needs quite a bit of work. I pulled a lot of the cleanest, finished sections to use in The Gathering Storm. The progress bar says 49% completed, but I'd actually put that closer to 25%, if we look at work to be done and not just raw pagecount.

    Obviously, Shifting Winds is the most important project for me to finish. It will be getting the largest share of my attention during the next year, and I'm going to do everything in my power to turn it in a little earlier than the previous book, perhaps even allowing for a release earlier next year than November. (I don't know if getting it in early will help that or not, but I'll try.) My self-imposed goal for finishing Winds is November 3rd, so I'll have the rough draft done and turned in before I leave on tour.

    Tags

  • 269

    Interview: May 15th, 2009

    Dave Brendon

    How has it been working so closely with Harriet? Granted, you are in different States, but you know what I mean. :-)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Harriet is a world class editor–she really is great at what she does. I’ve had several opportunities to meet with her in person–she, and Mr. Jordan’s staff, are awesome. His two assistants, Maria and Alan, are continuity experts and went through my completed manuscript pages fact checking and giving feedback on general issues as well. I had worried that having three editors on this project would make it more difficult to work on, but so far it’s simply been a big help. There is so much going on in this book and this world that having the extra sets of eyes is very helpful.

    I’ve really enjoyed the process. At the beginning, after I read all the notes and explained to the team my feelings on the various outlines for the different characters, Harriet pretty much let me call the shots when it came to the actual drafting of the novel. As an editor, she works best when I provide material to her, then she works her magic to turn it from good to excellent. When I turned manuscript pages in, and she came back to me with line edits—where she goes through and tweaks the language of the book—it quickly became obvious what a pro she is and how much she loves this series. It’s truly an honor to work with her.

    Tags

  • 270

    Interview: May 15th, 2009

    Dave Brendon

    With Red Eagle Entertainment doing the live-action movie and the various games of the Wheel of Time, why do you think many fans have had such a strong reaction against this? I know I’d like to shout, “If Harriet’s okay with it, leave it alone!”

    Brandon Sanderson

    Maybe they’ll get made. Maybe they won’t turn out so well, like some other recent fantasy book adaptations. Or maybe we’ll get lucky, and they’ll get a director who understands the books and can bring out the same feel of the novels while still adapting them in a way that suits the film medium. The thing is, you never know which of those you’re going to get until you try. Now that I’ve met with representatives of Red Eagle, I’m much more comfortable with them working on the project. They really impressed me with their sincere desire to do the series justice.

    Tags

  • 271

    Interview: May 15th, 2009

    Dave Brendon

    Finally, Michael A. Stackpole once commented on whether or not the world of the Wheel of Time should be expanded by having other writers writing the stories of, let’s say, Artur Hawkwing’s rise to power or how the Seanchan tamed Seanchan, and so letting Robert Jordan’s world expand and grow—good idea or bad idea?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think the concept of anyone else working on the Wheel of Time was very painful for Robert Jordan. But in the last months before his death, he became determined—even insistent—that the series be completed after he passed away—and that means the part of the story that he had outlined to appear in the final book, now split into three due to length. He also previously had ideas for two more prequels and the outrigger novels set after the series’ end, but those were not a priority in his last few months. At this point we’re not sure Robert Jordan would have wanted those books to be written in his absence, and no one involved in finishing the series now feels the same urgency about them. I know that a lot of fans want to see those books eventually, but I ask that you please respect Harriet’s ability to decide their fate. If Harriet feels that he would not have wanted them done or that there aren’t enough notes or materials to complete the books in a way that would have made him proud, then the books should not be written. As for other books in the Wheel of Time universe that Robert Jordan did not have any plans to write or to arrange to be written, that’s not something I contemplate. When an author creates a world so rich that readers want an unending supply of books set in that world, that’s just a testament to the author’s skill as a storyteller—it doesn’t mean that having people write an unending supply of books in that world is a good idea. Stories have beginnings, middles, and endings for a reason, and ignoring that is detrimental to the integrity of the story. Robert Jordan had a vision for the Wheel of Time, and it’s important to be faithful to that vision. We’d rather leave his legacy as it stands than have bad books attached to his name.

    Tags

  • 272

    Interview: Jun 1st, 2009

    Damon Cap

    So from the standpoint of notes, because I know there were a lot of notes involved in this book, and it was funny because Ringo was talking today, you know, we were talking about e-books and things like that. If you had a say, would you have written more? I know there is some sort of, you know...We talk about the three books. And there is some sort of...From a publishing standpoint, could you have written a book that was seven books? Did he leave enough notes, and do you feel like that maybe sometimes in the standard of e-books, some would like to have seen your rough drafts of the Jordan work, would that be of interest because of that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think it's unlikely to see the rough drafts. Because I know that the team working on the Wheel of Time—Harriet and those—are somewhat more...skeptical is the wrong word. Robert Jordan didn't like to show his work to people until it was on the twelfth draft. Harriet didn't see it until it'd gone through twelve drafts. He was very...Didn't like to show unfinished work to people. That was just how he was. Different authors approach things different ways. With Warbreaker, my own book, I put the first draft on my web site. I do stuff like that. I work from a different kind of angle. I don't know what it is.

    But I'm going to probably push to get her to let me publish the notes, or to publish a book talking that includes part of the notes along with a discussion of how I translated the notes to book. Something like that. I would like to do something like that. The call will be Harriet's. And I probably won't even talk about it with her until the book is done. 'Till, you know, we've got the Wheel of Time done. Then I might approach her and say, "Hey, would you mind if I did something like this? Would you be interested?" Because I think the fans would really like to see it.

    DAMON CAP

    I think it would be definitely an interesting idea.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    You mentioned the three books. And, I mean...The Wheel of Time is huge. There's lots of different places we could go. They are not places that I think we're going to go. Because we don't want to see this turn into something...Not to say anything against the media properties, that's fine, but we don't want to see the Wheel of Time become that. Robert Jordan left notes on this book, which has become three, but it's become three that are collectively of the same length as the book he was going to write. That's the thing you have to remember with the split. He was writing an 800,000 word book, I'm writing an 800,000 word book—8 to 900,000 word book—Tor has decided to slice it up and release it in three segments. It's not like I've decided to write two extra books. I'm writing the one book and I'm allowing them to split it into three. I don't really have the call on it. But that's something different.

    He did leave notes on a few other things. One was called the Outriggers, which he had talked about with his fans writing. He actually had a contract with Tor. I don't know what happened with those, but that was a trilogy that he had planned to write that he had notes for. And then he also had notes for two additional prequels. He had done... He had told Tor he wanted to do three of those; he wrote one of them called New Spring. There was going to be one that was focusing on Tam's story—that's Rand's father—and he was going to do one that was essentially the sequel to New Spring, with Moiraine, how she arrived at the—how she and Lan arrived in the Two Rivers. That sort of thing. And those were planned. There's a chance you'll see those. A chance. My suggestion to Harriet has been to, you know, to be very careful. We don't want to exploit the Wheel of Time to make it go on and on and on. And so, while you may see those books—I know Tom Doherty is pushing for them a lot—we're not going to go back and do the prequel about Lews Therin. We're not going to do a prequel about Artur Hawkwing. We're not going to... You're not going to see this—

    DAMON CAP

    Shared world.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    —shared world sort of thing. And so, if Harriet asks me to do those, I probably will. Meaning the Outriggers or the prequels. Because I don't want anyone else to do them, if that makes any sense.

    DAMON CAP

    Since you've taken over, it's a little bit now your baby.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yeah. But if we do those, there'll be years between. If that makes any sense.

    DAMON CAP

    I think there has to be, yeah.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I mean, I got into this because I want to write books. My own stories. And that's what I'm excited about, that's what I do, and I'm really having a blast doing that. And so...the Wheel of Time is an exception. It's a special thing, that I am really honored to be part of. But I don't want to make my career doing other people's books.

    Tags

  • 273

    Interview: Jun 1st, 2009

    Damon Cap

    As you were doing the book, the Wheel of Time stuff, and you have all your notes and everything, was there any, like...funny stories? Was there anything when you go back and forth...like, obviously you have all these notes, you're dealing with a bunch of different people, and whenever you're doing any sort of artistic endeavor... Were there any sort of, like...

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've got a good story for you. One time, I was trying to keep track of everyone who was with the character Perrin. You guys know Perrin. So Perrin's off doing this thing, and one of the biggest challenges of writing the Wheel of Time books was the sheer number of characters. Not the main characters—I know the main characters, they're my friends, I grew up with these people, I know them just like hanging out with my high school buddies—but keeping track of all the Aes Sedai, and the Wise Ones, and you know, the Asha'man, and all these various people that are all over the place and saying, "OK. Who is with Perrin and who is with Rand, and who is..."

    Anyway. I sent an email off to Team Jordan. You know, Harriet and Maria and Alan who are the... They were two editorial assistants that worked directly with Robert Jordan. Maria and Alan. I think it was Alan I sent an email to, and I said, "Do you have just like a list of everybody? I can go compile one of my own, I'm planning to do it, but if you have one already that says, 'These are the people who are with Perrin.' If you've got something like that." And he said, "I found this thing in the notes buried several files in." And things like this. "Here. I found this. Maybe this is what you want." And he sent me this, and it was called "with Perrin." I thought, "OK. Perfect." I open up this file and it's actually not what I wanted. Instead it is dozens of names of people who haven't appeared in the books yet. These are all the names of all the Two Rivers folk who are with Perrin. Like there are two hundred or so. Just names. Listed off. That have never appeared in the books. Sometimes with their profession, and a little about them, and things like that. And it just blew my mind that there was all of this detail that Robert Jordan had put into this world that nobody sees—and he wasn't planning for them to see. He's not going to have a big list of names in the final book; he wasn't planning that. He just needed to know their names so that he knew that he had them. And this is the level of detail and world-building that Robert Jordan did. I got a big chuckle out of that. Just, list of names. Then I started stealing them like a thief so I had good names that he had come up with, that I could use in the books.

    DAMON CAP

    Are you using them for other characters or using them for people...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I'm mostly using them where he intended them to be. Because he had other lists of names for... As the book has progressed and I've discovered these little notes files... Because the notes, there are huge, massive amounts of notes. We say there are about two hundred manuscript pages of stuff done for Gathering...for A Memory of Light. The three books. But beyond that, there are hundreds of thousands of words worth of just background notes, of world-building notes, of things like that. When we say the notes for the book, we're talking about actual specifics to A Memory of Light. But there are hundreds of thousands of other notes; there's just too much for one person to even deal with. So I let the two assistants dig through that. And so once I found out that there were lists of names, I started getting those files so I could use his names in places where we had them. So that I would have to name fewer and fewer people. Because his naming conventions are very distinctive. And, you know, I don't think... I think if you were to read, you could probably tell which names are mine and which are his, because we name things differently. And I'm trying to use his wherever I can, just to give that right feel to the book.

    Tags

  • 274

    Interview: Jun 1st, 2009

    Damon Cap

    I know that we've talked about what the Dabel Brothers are doing, the comic book adaptation...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I just picked up a couple of them myself. They look gorgeous.

    DAMON CAP

    Yeah, they did look really good. Is it more of a Harriet thing? I know we're also talking about the movie itself. Are you involved in that, have they been coming to you and asking you your opinion on things, or is that more of a Harriet...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    That's been mostly Maria. Maria's been handling that. Maria is the continuity expert on staff. And so she's been handling that. I suspect they will come to me when they reach these books more. But I've been so busy, that really it's been her and Jason from Dragonmount that have been consulting on those. And I've just not wanted to stick my nose into it because I've got so much on my plate already with these books. So that's mostly Maria. So if you want to ask about those, interview Maria.

    Tags

  • 275

    Interview: Jun 12th, 2009

    Dave

    Just a quick question . . . I purchased Mistborn 3 signed from Sam Weller's (and just ordered my Warbreaker signed copy as well). Are you going to offer signed and numbered copies of The Gathering Storm? I read your blog pretty regularly, but may have missed you already addressing this question. If so, sorry!

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think I've mentioned the possibility, Dave, but never given anything firm. Well, I've been doing some asking, and it seems that Harriet and Tor are all right with this. So, I'm about 95% sure that this is going to happen with the The Gathering Storm. We'll probably do signed/personalized/numbered editions from Sam Weller's by mail AND will do a release party at BYU Bookstore again. The release party will probably be a midnight release, followed by me flying to Charleston to do another event in the evening of the release day.

    I can't say how many books we'll release to Sam Weller's to sell this way. The numbered editions I do at these release parties aren't to replace the leatherbound collector's editions that Tor does. (I think they're doing one for The Gathering Storm, though I don't know.) My numbered editions have no cap—I number as many, generally, as there are people. (Note that Sam Weller's still has some Warbreaker copies that I'm going to go in and personalize for people tomorrow, so if you want one, give them a call.) Mostly, the numbers are just to say "Hey, I got the book from one of the release events. Isn't that cool?" But I could see so many being requested from Sam Weller's that we have to cap it to save my hand (and my sanity.)

    Anyway, that's a long way to say yes, Dave. Keep an eye on the blog. We'll try to get the announcements for these events up earlier than we did for Warbreaker.

    Tags

  • 276

    Interview: Oct 1st, 2009

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    I had not heard of Brandon until. . . it was the week of my husband's death. A friend was visiting. She put in front of me a print-out, and it was the eulogy for Robert Jordan that Brandon had posted on his web site. Brandon's eulogy was really beautiful, and very loving. And I thought, gosh, this guy. . . he knows what the series is all about.

    And I got on the phone, called Tom Doherty and said, "Send me one of Sanderson's books." And he's a bit darker than Robert Jordan, but the series, as everyone knows, is heading towards Tarmon Gai'don, which is the battle with the Dark One that will decide the fate of the world. Tom said, "Okay, I'll go for that. We'll go for Brandon."

    You made it clear that you would love to do this. And that was wonderful. That's what I needed to hear.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    The next thing was for me to fly to Charleston. Harriet drives me to her house. You know, I'm fanboying all of this. And you said, "Do you want some dinner?" And my response was, "No, I want the ending. I want the ending and I want to know who killed Asmodean."

    And you're like, "Oh, all right. Well, here it is." And you handed me that, and kind of waved me into the den, I guess it is, or the sitting room. "Head over there, go ahead, go for it."

    And so I was over there poring over the materials. And I flipped right to the ending and read because Robert Jordan had always said, "I have the ending in mind". And all the readers, all the fans had known this. And we’d listen to interviews and he'd been saying for years, "I know the ending. The last scene is in my head." And so I got to read that last scene before dinner.

    Then I retreated to my cave, and crawled in.

    HARRIET MCDOUGAL RIGNEY

    Yes, he did. And put up a 'do not disturb' sign.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    And wrote furiously for a number of months.

    HARRIET MCDOUGAL RIGNEY

    This book had taken shape, particularly for Brandon. And he said in the conference call, "Look. Here's what we're gonna do." And it made perfect sense.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    The amount of material he left behind is what makes this book possible.

    Tags

  • 277

    Interview: Oct 16th, 2009

    Maria Simons

    In January of 1996 I went to work for Jim to answer fan mail. And the job just kept evolving and evolving, and I became what he called his right arm.

    Alan Romanczuk

    My name is Alan Romanczuk. I started working for Jim about eight years ago. I was brought on for continuity. By the time I came on, there were well over 1500 characters in the Wheel of Time world.

    Maria Simons

    I know what happened to whom and when. I can amaze people by remembering people's eye color and hair color. And if there's something we need to check happened, I can find it pretty quickly; pick up a book, flip to the page, and get it.

    Alan Romanczuk

    Developing timelines, coordinating action and characters. Measuring distances from one location in the world to another. All of that nitty gritty detail that has to be done, someone has to do it. This translated in his filing system to something I had never encountered before. He had what I could only describe as a maze-like hierarchical system of files.

    Maria Simons

    Brandon has been great. And he's got three of us that are emailing him, and we're doing this constantly, now for over a year.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Poor Brandon, who is an enormous gentleman as well as a very, very good writer. The material that Robert Jordan left begins with the outline for what will now be the final three books. Notes, some scenes, and more words in unpublished notes than have been published so far in the entire Wheel of Time.

    Brandon Sanderson

    And he left behind tapes, recordings, which were then dictated and transcribed and given to me, of him just talking about the last book and what he wanted to be in it. And the important events, and the important scenes, and all these things. All these materials were. . . you know, you've got a file here that's only got a few paragraphs in it, and a file here that's thirty pages long, and a file here, and a file here. Dozens of different files, just scattered all over the place, some about all these characters, and some about 'oh this scene needs to happen'. And then lots and lots and lots and lots of notes of how everybody ends up. The thing we have I think the most information on is, the two things: the world itself, everything in the world, all the characters. And then, how everything has to be. We know very specifically lots about how the world is going to end up.

    Maria Simons

    It picks up where Knife of Dreams left off. As for the rest, read and find out. I've always wanted to say it.

    Alan Romanczuk

    I think there's one thing we can safely say, though. The Last Battle is coming.

    Tags

  • 278

    Interview: Oct 21st, 2009

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    On October 27, Book 12 of The Wheel of Time, The Gathering Storm, goes on sale nationally. Completed by Brandon Sanderson from notes and partials left by Robert Jordan, it is very good. I was its editor, as I was editor on ALL the Wheel books, and Maria Simons, Jordan's right hand for over 12 years, and Alan Romanczuk, Jordan's left hand (just because you can't have two right hands unless you are ... Shiva, is it?) have worked very closely with Brandon as well. We three—Harriet, Maria, and Alan—have really worked as Team Jordan on this book, and will do so on the following two, which will complete the Wheel. Book 13 will be titled Towers of Midnight, and Book 14 will be A Memory of Light.

    Even Jordan couldn't have written everything he left in one volume, although he thought he could. But you recall that he thought he could write the entire Wheel in six volumes.

    Try The Gathering Storm. I think you'll like it a lot. I do.

    Best,
    Harriet McDougal

    Tags

  • 279

    Interview: Oct 21st, 2009

    Wilson Grooms

    Update: Some additional comments from Wilson:

    I was a Jordan fan before he was Jordan. The Warrior God was my childhood idol, the big brother I didn't have. Love is too weak a word to describe my feelings for Jim. I would do anything for him and would defend him with my life. That includes defending his work. Saying that, I could not be more pleased with the work done by Team Jordan: Harriet, Brandon, Maria and Alan. The Gathering Storm masterfully continues Jim's story in a manner that would be pleasing to the creator himself. There are countless "oh my!" moments. The pace is staggering. I fear that there will be many WOT fans who will lose sleep on the 27th because they just won't be able to find a stopping point.

    I said before on this blog, that I loved Jim for bringing Harriet into my life. A grander lady there is not. Still what she has done in orchestrating and beautifully completing Jim's work has raised her stock even more. Love you sis. The Warrior Angel is surely smiling.

    Congratulations to Team Jordan. Can't wait till next year.

    Wilson
    Brother/Cousin
    4th of 3

    Tags

  • 280

    Interview: Jul, 2009

    Nadine

    Brandon, you are noted for your fairly concise epic novels. But I am curious about how the final volume of The Wheel of Time, which was envisioned by Robert Jordan as a final and single book, got to be so long? Not just a little longer but incredibly longer (possibly over 900,000 words).

    1. Did Robert Jordan totally miscalculate the size his final book? Or didn't he get too far writing it and had no idea of how long it would be?
    2. Is it including every note Jordan had on the subject because no one is sure what he really wanted to use?
    3. Is it being turned into a self-contained trilogy because a lot of people (like me) haven't read the entire 11 book series (or by now have forgotten the story), and it has to include some back-story?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've wondered this myself, actually, in some form. As a long time reader of the series, when he began saying it would be one book, I was very curious how he'd pull it off. And then I saw the notes, and I was left scratching my head a little bit.

    It's not option three—I was doing a little bit more of this, but Harriet requested that I scale it back. Her opinion (and it was Robert Jordan's opinion) is that the series is much too long to spend time recapping in every book. She was right, and I trimmed a lot of it.

    #2 might have some influence here. Robert Jordan could have chosen to cut out characters and leave out scenes he had in the notes; it doesn't feel right for me to do that.

    But I think, overall, it's something that you didn't mention at all. Robert Jordan knew this was going to be a BIG book. He began promising it would be the last, but also that it would be so big that readers would need a cart to get it out of the store. I think he was planning a single, massive book at 800k words or so.

    But he DID want it to be one book—partially, I suspect, because he knew his time was short. He wanted to get it done. If he hadn't been sick, however, I don't think he would have started calling this the last book.

    Harriet has told me on several occasions that she didn't think he would have done it in one book, if he'd been given the freedom to approach the writing how he wanted. In the end, there is SO much to do that it was going to end up like this no matter what. Unless I crammed it all in and forgot about a lot of the characters.

    Would Robert Jordan have been able to do it in one book? Really? I don't know. I think that, if he'd lived, he might have worked some magic and gotten it done in one 400 or 500k volume. But I feel the need to be very careful and not ruin this series by strangulation. It's not going to go on forever, but it does need a little room to breathe.

    Tags

  • 281

    Interview: Oct 27th, 2009

    Question

    How do you and Robert Jordan’s widow feel while working on Robert Jordan’s legacy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would say there is a healthy amount of reverence going on. It’s a solemn experience working with these notes. In her case it’s her husband’s legacy. In my case it is my hero’s legacy. And so, we’ve been very careful and very solemn. It has been an amazing experience for me, indescribable really. It’s like walking being the first one to walk into Davinci’s workshop after he had walked out of it and left everything there. That’s what I am. I am walking into the master’s workshop and I get to see everything before even the dust is settled. As a writer and someone who has loved these books that’s surreal and awe inspiring and daunting at the same time. And there are so many weird emotions going on connected to this that it is actually hard to explain, but yeah reverence. It’s a reverent sort of thing to work on this book.

    Tags

  • 282

    Interview: Oct 27th, 2009

    Question

    Are you studying up on military tactics?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, Harriet has sent me multiple large volumes of military tactics which she said Robert Jordan had been using and that I should reference, even specific battles, historical battles that he had talked about as references for battles. The answer is yes, I have a lot of reading to do, specifically for the last battle.

    Tags

  • 283

    Interview: Oct 27th, 2009

    Question

    How do you think working on these books will influence your future books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That’s a good question...It has had a couple of effects. One thing, partially Harriet’s pushing me on concrete details has helped me a lot. Harriet is very good at that as an editor. She is one of the best editors in the field. I don’t know if you guys are familiar and aware of Harriet’s history. Editors don’t get a lot of fame, it all kind of goes to the authors but she was the first person Tom Doherty hired when he founded Tor, she was his Editorial Director which means she was in charge of all of the editorial side. She edited some of the greatest books in the field over the last thirty years. She edited Ender’s Game for instance. If you have ever read that book, that was brought to us through the efforts of Harriet McDougal, Robert Jordan’s wife, before she even met him (rest of the answer cut off).

    Tags

  • 284

    Interview: Oct 27th, 2009

    Matt Hatch

    I don’t think Jordan ever, maybe somebody asked, in his notes does he ever say what the treaties were between the 'Finns and the people with whom they made them? Are those treaties actually written down somewhere?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Um—I think that you may see some of this in the encyclopedia. How is that for a Robert Jordan answer for you? The encyclopedia is coming. [Stuff about the Big White Book]. It is actually going to be an encyclopedia...Harriet, Maria and Alan are working on that. A Memory of Light comes first so they have to keep dividing their time. My guess would be 2012, but if we’re really on the ball, I would think releasing it the same year of the last volume would be a smart thing to do...Peter will you take a note to let Maria know that I told them that that might happen so she is not blind sided by it. She and Harriet will have to decide if that goes in if anything regarding that goes in. The original treaty between the Aelfinn and Eelfinn and mankind. Just remind me to talk to Harriet to talk to Maria about it.

    MATT HATCH

    Are the treaties different?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Different from what?

    MATT HATCH

    There are two treaties...(hard to hear what I ask next, but I’m clarifying Snakes and Foxes).

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    They are similar, how about that. They are similar enough that they could be considered functionally identical but there are little differences.

    Tags

  • 285

    Interview: Oct 27th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    He also repeated things that he's said elsewhere, like that Robert Jordan left extensive notes, though he does have the power from Harriet to override them for the interests of the story. Robert Jordan especially left a lot of specific notes as to who lived and who died in Tarmon Gai'don, and he wasn't going to change any of that. So is there going to be a lot of deaths? The answer, of course, is RAFO.

    Tags

  • 286

    Interview: Oct 27th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't remember if he said this during dinner or during the signings or both, but he was considering doing the outrigger and prequel novels, but that the decision was ultimately Harriet's. Jordan left notes for that as well, especially the other prequels. If Brandon writes the other books, it will be after a pause at the end of the series. He definitely doesn't want it to become 'the McWheel of Time.'

    Tags

  • 287