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Your search for the tag 'maria' yielded 171 results

  • 1

    Interview: Jul 19th, 2005

    Week 20 Question

    It seems that Elaida, leading the Sitters who arrest Siuan Sanche, must be a Sitter herself, yet she was just a few months returned from her position in Caemlyn. Was she actually a Sitter and if so when was she raised? Can you also clarify her change of heart on the Black Ajah from warning the three girls about them in The Dragon Reborn to violently denying their existence in later books?

    Robert Jordan

    Elaida wasn't a Sitter when she led the arrest of Siuan, but she had organized it, managed to arrange for a rump Hall of the Tower to vote on deposing Siuan and raising her in Siuan's place. By the time Siuan was arrested, Elaida was the "legal" Amrylin Seat, so of course she was leading the Sitters.

    As for her change of heart of the Black Ajah, she bounces on whether or not she believes in their existence. When she has convinced herself that they do exist, she is vehement on the subject, but uneasy over Darkfriend sisters, and so manages to convince herself that she was mistaken, whereupon she becomes vehement about their non-existence. But then she becomes uneasy over the possibility that they do exist after all and convinces herself that they really do after all, whereupon.... I have even had a character in the White Tower comment that sometimes Elaida doesn't seem to know from one day to the next whether or not she believes in the Black Ajah.

    ----Corrected version----

    CORRECTION: Answering these questions, I have always taken the assumption that I knew the books well enough that I did not need to refer to my notes. My answer for the Week 20 Question showed that I was mistaken. I said that Elaida was never a Sitter, but no sooner was that answer posted than my assistant Maria, who also is a fan, came to me with the relevant passage where Elaida is mentioned as a Sitter. I went to my notes, and after a lot of checking, I found the following in a file working out exactly how some points were to be structured and making sure that I had all the details covered. Somehow, I had never incorporated it into the base notes, perhaps because it seemed such a small matter, Elaida having been a Sitter for such a short time and then only as prelude to replacing Siuan and Amyrlin.

    “Returning to the White Tower, Elaida quickly became convinced that Siuan and Moiraine were engaged in a scheme that involved Rand al’Thor. Indeed, she had suspicions of this before departing Caemlyn for Tar Valon. Moiraine’s presence in Tar Valon had not escaped her, nor that Moiraine had been seen with Rand. If, as seemed the more likely, he was simply a man who could channel who Siuan and Moiraine intended to make use of as a false Dragon, then it was a scheme that was extremely dangerous to the Tower. Revelation of such involvement could easily shatter the Tower’s prestige, and with it the influence that was the primary cornerstone of the Tower’s influence in the world. And if he was indeed the Dragon Reborn, Elaida certainly had no confidence in Siuan’s ability to handle the him, as surely the Dragon Reborn would need to be handled, guided and directed, not to mention controlled. Helped by her long-standing personal animosity toward Siuan and Moiraine, Elaida came to the conclusion that Siuan must be removed for the good of the Tower. This was not something that could be accomplished by an ordinary sister, however the stepping down of a Red Sitter (Amira Moselle) gave her an opening, and she managed to get herself chosen as Amira’s replacement in the Hall of the Tower.

    In large part this was because of Galina Casban’s support as head of the Red Ajah, Galina having her own reasons to take any chance to pull Siuan down and, of course, favoring anything that would give the Amyrlin Seat to the Red Ajah again after so long. Galina made no attempt to attain the Amyrlin Seat herself because she knew she had little or no chance of being raised. Elaida, who had been so long away from Tar Valon and thus remained out of the political currents of the Tower, not to mention the favorable mention she had received for her guidance of Queen Morgase and Andor, was another matter.

    Once Elaida had a chair in the Hall, it was a relatively simple matter to identify the Sitters who seemed most likely to stand for deposing Siuan, since a number of Sitters were uneasy at best about what Siuan was up to. Her support in the Hall had eroded sufficiently by The Great Hunt that she had opposition to her journey to Shienar. As a Sitter, Elaida was able to call a sitting of the Hall while making sure that only the Sitters she wanted to attend actually received notification. Elaida is a forceful and effective speaker, and her arguments to this bare quorum in favor of deposing Siuan were also her campaign for being raised to the Amyrlin Seat herself, so the vote to depose Siuan was followed immediately by the vote to make Elaida the new Amyrlin. She did not expect the violent reaction that would come from this. She had not had access to the secret histories for very long at this point, so her view was that of most sisters. The Tower had always acceded to the will of the Hall however sisters might grumble. Like many others, she was blind-sided by what she thought she knew.”

    So there it is. I offer my apologies for giving an erroneous answer. From now on, I’ll be sure to check my notes.

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  • 2

    Interview: 2010

    yoniy0 (29 July 2010)

    Did you consult Maria before deciding Egwene shall attempt to fall fleeing raken? Would she be able to do so Bounded?

    Brandon Sanderson (30 July 2010)

    I'm a little confused at what you're asking. Do you mean "Fell?" And what do you mean by Bounded?

    yoniy0

    Sorry. There has been some discussion around the Third Oath and Egwene attacking retreating raken...

    yoniy0

    I was asking if you think she could have done the same now, after taking the Oaths (and whether you asked Maria to weigh in).

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    We did talk about this. I think it's iffy. Depends on Egwene's mindset. I don't think most Aes Sedai could have done it.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    In fact, it's good her circle was with those who hadn't taken the Oaths yet...

    LUCKERS

    I think Yoniy0 meant 'would Egwene be able to kill (fell) fleeing to'raken were she bound by the Oaths?'

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I don't know that she would have been able to. Depends. The Oaths depend on how you view what you're doing.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Elaida got around them (or to the side of them) by convincing herself Egwene was a Darkfriend.

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  • 3

    Interview: 2010

    Brandon Sanderson (29 July 2010)

    Lol. In making comments on Towers of Midnight, Maria referenced The Eye of the World...and found an as-of-yet uncaught mistake.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Oh, and I think the error Maria caught in The Eye of the World was a line saying Lan's homeland had the "hundred lakes" and not the "thousand lakes."

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  • 4

    Interview: 2010

    Rob Trotter (1 August 2010)

    Any chance you could clear up Sulin in The Gathering Storm? Was her appearance a typo or deliberate (Varied answers exist on the web)?

    Brandon Sanderson (1 August 2010)

    Sure, you guys deserve an answer on this one.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Sulin began life as a simple typo. When I saw it, I shrugged, and had a good reason. Maria thought that reason would not work.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    So we decided to retcon it out. Mistake was mine all along. Really nothing special to report there, I'm afraid.

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  • 5

    Interview: 2010

    Terez (10 August 2010)

    I thought of a Lan question. Did Elyas really teach Lan anything about the Blight? Or was that a TEOTWism?

    Terez

    I have a feeling you are going to MAFO that. Does @MariaLSimons play Magic? Surely we can bribe her with something.

    Brandon Sanderson (10 August 2010)

    I've never questioned that one, so I haven't thought to ask about it or look it up. Is there a reason I should wonder?

    Terez

    Only that Lan was practically raised in the Blight by the Malkieri. Wouldn't think Elyas could teach him much about it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That is a good point. I'll go ahead and do as you said and MAFO that one. You might be right; might be an EoTWism.

    Maria Simons

    I can’t find anything to clarify this, either. I will just offer up anecdote: I have been reading WoT for 22 years, and went to work for its creator over 17 years ago. I could be said to live and breathe The Wheel of Time. But Terez has taught me much about WoT. It could be a TEOTWism, or Lan could have been thinking of some very specific things that Elyas shared that he found helpful.

    Footnote—Terez

    I thought about asking how Elyas could teach Lan anything about the sword, too, but I figured the Blight bit was the most incredible. TEOTWism: this was stolen from the fandom for Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series. The first book of that series is called Gardens of the Moon, and in that fandom, details that are particular to the first book—details that cause continuity issues later in the series—are referred to as GOTMisms.

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  • 6

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brandon Sanderson (4 January 2011)

    Ha! Want a twenty-year-old typo? My e-copy (RJ's original) reads: "Everything depended on whether or not the Trollops were still there."

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    What to say about Narg? In my mind, he's always been a hyena. I can't shake that image, though there are no hyena Trollocs.

    BRANDON SANDERSON (5 JANUARY)

    Also, dashing my dreams of RJ typos, it turns out the original e-copies of the early WoT books were lost in a hard drive crash.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Maria says she thinks that what I'm using is a file scanned from print. Trollop/Trolloc makes more sense now.

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  • 7

    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. :)

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  • 8

    Interview: 2010

    Matthías Páli (8 November 2010)

    How many rounds are there in the Age of Legends game sha'rah?

    Brandon Sanderson (8 November 2010)

    MAFO.

    Maria Simons

    I can't answer that MAFO off the top of my head.

    Maria Simons

    (later) I don't know.

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  • 9

    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

  • 10

    Interview: 2012

    Brandon Sanderson (7 September 2011)

    Sometimes, it feels like cheating to have Alan and Maria (Robert Jordan's assistants) to look things up for me on these books.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    For example, Alan is a military history buff, and has been my personal "Great Captain" for A Memory of Light, giving valuable advice on tactics.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Finished a really awesome scene today, and started one that turned out meh. I'll have to rework that one come this evening.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Not counting that scene, but counting the awesome one, A Memory of Light is at 52% done now.

    JOHN UNDERWOOD

    52%? That's great! I'm wondering though how did you come up with that number?

    JOHN UNDERWOOD

    Do you have a specific number of pages in mind to finish the book?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I've used 300k words as a rough estimate for each of these books for getting the % bar.

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  • 11

    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

  • 12

    Interview: 2010

    Brandon Sanderson (2 July 2010)

    Thank goodness for Maria and Alan. Every time I start to think I know the WoT world pretty well, they prove that I've got a long way to go.

    Tags

  • 13

    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.

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  • 14

    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...

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  • 15

    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.

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  • 16

    Interview: Jan 6th, 2004

    Laurel, Mississippi

    How much of your writing time is actually writing, and how much is spent rereading and researching?

    Robert Jordan

    I actually have an assistant to do as much of the research as I can. Most of the writing time is writing and rewriting, because I'm never satisfied with what I've written.

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  • 17

    Interview: Jan 20th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    I've noticed here and there that some of you have caught errors—sometimes mine, sometimes printers' errors—and commented on them. When you do that, would you please give the chapter where you found the error and also the edition—American, British, hardcover, trade paperback etc—as well as the title, and the printing if you can. You can find the printing number on the same page with the copyright notice. In the American editions, there will be a line of numbers at the bottom of that page, something like this:

    15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7

    The last number in that line on the right is the number of that book's printing.

    In the British editions, the entire printing history is given on the copyright page, a list of which years reprints occurred and how many times during that year.

    That helps me to find where the error is located, if there is one. For example, somebody said that he or she found Verin channeling saidin in Lord of Chaos. Check as I can, I cannot find that anywhere in the book, and neither can my assistant Maria. Maybe it is there, but I can't find it.

    Tags

  • 18

    Interview: Dec 27th, 2007

    Question

    Is the book going to be as good as it would have been if Mr. Jordan had written it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I have to be honest. I'm not Mr. Jordan. He's the master, and I'm just a journeyman. He's one of the greatest fantasy authors the genre has ever known. I can't hope to write with his skill and power at this stage in my career—and I think there are very, very few writers who could.

    Fortunately, I don't have to do this on my own. I have seen the notes, as I mentioned above, and I find them very reassuring. Let me put forth a metaphor for you.

    Pretend you have purchased an expensive violin from a master craftsman. It probably wouldn't surprise you to discover that one of the craftsman's apprentices helped create that violin. The master may have had the apprentice sand, or apply varnish, or perhaps shape some of the less important pieces of wood. In fact, if you looked at the violin before master craftsman handed it off to his apprentice, it might just look like a pile of wood to you, and not an instrument at all.

    However, the master craftsman did the most important parts. He shaped the heart of the violin, crafting the pieces which would produce the beautiful sound. He came up with the design for the violin, as well as the procedures and processes used in creating his violins. It's not surprising that some other hands were involved in the busywork of following those procedures and designs, once the most important work was done. And so, even though the apprentice helped, the violin can proudly bear the master's signature and stamp.

    It's the same with this book. What I've been given may not look like a novel to you, but it excites me because I can see the book Mr. Jordan was creating. All of the important chunks are there in such detail that I feel like I've read the completed novel, and not just an outline. Yes, there is still quite a bit of work to be done. Many of the less important scenes are there only as a framework of a few sentences. However, Mr. Jordan left behind the design of this book. I am convinced that between myself, his wife (who was his editor), and his assistants, we can complete this book to be very, very close to the way he would have done.

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  • 19

    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.

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  • 20

    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.

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  • 21

    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

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  • 22

    Interview: Aug 9th, 2008

    Peter Ahlstrom

    I then ask Brandon another fan question. “When you were only a fan of the series, which plotlines or mysteries were the ones you really wanted to find out the conclusion to? Were there some big surprises in store for you when you found out what happens?”

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon says (speaking as he would have before reading any of book 12) that Moiraine’s story always interested him—that she was like a Gandalf character who wasn’t all-knowing. After reading book 11, he especially wanted to know what the next part of her story was. And of course there’s the Asmodean question. Brandon was also very much looking forward to a reunion between Rand and Tam. Surprises? Yes, there have been quite a few of them, but the foreshadowing has been there. Sometimes he reads a plot point in the outline—“And then this happens”—and thinks, “How am I going to write that?” Then he goes and asks Maria what the foreshadowing for it has been, and sure enough she finds it for him and everything clicks.

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  • 23

    Interview: Aug 9th, 2008

    Question

    There’s a question from the audience about the pronunciation of Nyneave; the audience member says that years ago he heard Robert Jordan in a panel pronounce her name as “nih NAH veh” but Brandon said “nigh NEEV.”

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon says he tends to use a lot of the pronunciations from the audio books, and Tom says that since Jim approved the audio books, their pronunciations are probably the way to go. Brandon says that he once asked how Morgase was pronounced and got three different answers—from Harriet, Maria, and Alan, and they’re supposed to know!

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  • 24

    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.

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  • 25

    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.

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  • 26

    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.

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  • 27

    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.

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  • 28

    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.

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    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.

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  • 30

    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.

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    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.

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  • 32

    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.

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  • 33

    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.

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  • 34

    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.

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  • 35

    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

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  • 36

    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

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  • 37

    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.

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  • 38

    Interview: Nov 7th, 2009

    Question

    Will we see anywhere in the world a visual representation of The Wheel of Time?

    Brandon Sanderson

    A video game is pretty likely. The executive option was bought for full rights as well, and screen plays are being written. Jason Denzel and Maria are consulting. If the films get made, they will be full feature films. There are also comic books put out by the Dabel brothers that are accurate, but they may not continue–the Dabel brothers have "visual genius and financial troubles." [We raffled off three of the comic books to excited fans!]

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  • 39

    Interview: Nov 9th, 2009

    Old (Peter) Salt

    I’m a lucky man. Not only did I get chosen to be a StormLeader, but I also got to be chosen to be one for the NYC signing. New York City, location of the Tor HQ. Not only would Harriet be at the signing, but I’d also get to meet Maria Simons, RJ’s assistant and fact checker, what she doesn’t know about WoT doesn’t exist…literally. Not only did I get to meet Harriet and Maria, but the StormLeaders were invited to a pre-signing party put on by Tor. I got to meet many of the people behind WoT. I even got to meet and talk to Tom Doherty, the head of Tor. Like I said, I’m a lucky guy.

    Maria Simons is quiet and self effacing. But she starts to get quite animated when the subject swings around to Wot. Her face lights up and she speaks more quickly and with great authority. I wish I had had a couple of hours to speak with her, but alas, time was tight and the events were strictly scripted.

    Maria, (pointing finger) Tom Doherty and Harriet (also pointing finger) having fun at a Tor staffers expense. Brandon in the black leather jacket with his back to the camera.

    Maria models her Brown Ajah Shawl.

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  • 40

    Interview: Nov 9th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Regarding the notorious clue that everyone has missed, Brandon pinned it down to somewhere between books 4-6 (reread time!). He reiterated how astonished we would be when we found it...but won't get any more specific for fear of ruining our surprise. Also, the "never mentioned" aspect of the clue might not be entirely true, but Brandon himself has never come across it. Maria had a knowing smile at the time, suggesting maybe it has been mentioned. Time will tell.

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  • 41

    Interview: Nov 10th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is perhaps old hat by now, but Brandon has coined new term MAFO referring to Maria, one of the fact handlers behind Wheel of Time. She sometimes wears a RAFO hat and tips it for Brandon when he can't give someone an answer.

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  • 42

    Interview: Nov 9th, 2009

    Ted Herman

    At the signing, I had a recorder going at his table, which I haven't had a chance to listen to yet. I was mostly taking pictures and videos, handing out bookmarks to the crowd of about 250 people, and talking to Maria, who said that she has the best job in the world, and I would certainly not disagree.

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  • 43

    Interview: Nov 9th, 2009

    Ted Herman

    Maria Simons

    She also answered a few questions as follows: about symbology, she said that RJ had some notes on that, and that the posts on 13th Depository are pretty accurate regarding this.

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  • 44

    Interview: Nov 9th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Defines MAFO—Maria and Find Out.

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  • 45

    Interview: Nov 9th, 2009

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    They are already working on the encyclopedia and may or may not have an electronic version (currently no plans for one, but I asked about it and it's not ruled out).

    Tags

  • 46

    Interview: Nov 9th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    The timeline is in a spreadsheet but it will likely not be published since it is very rough and Jim did not like his unfinished works published.

    Tags

  • 47

    Interview: Nov 13th, 2009

    Question

    How's Towers of Midnight coming?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Towers of Midnight is 70% done.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Harriet's answer: "If I can quote Robert Jordan, I can assure you without fear of contradiction, that Towers of Midnight will be on the shelves very shortly after Brandon finishes writing it."

    Brandon Sanderson

    "This is a very, very...there's a lot of work involved. People assume that when I was given the outline, I was given a point by point outline. RJ wasn't like that. He wouldn't show it to Harriet until he'd done twelve drafts. We got this in a state of incompleteness. The creative process isn't as neat and orderly. Things were in dozens of files."

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Brandon would say "what order do you want it in?" and I would say "Brandon, you're the writer. It's foolish for the editor to take over the part of the writer. And vice versa."

    Brandon Sanderson

    He dictated some and the assistants transferred it into notes, scoured their memory for anything he'd said and put that in the notes. And then all the files... "this was all handed to me and told 'ok, let's write a book.'"

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  • 48

    Interview: Nov 11th, 2009

    Question

    What's the status of the WoT movie?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Universal has bought the rights for it, and they're in the process of writing a script. Maria is the official contact point for making sure they get the details right. Brandon is plenty busy writing, so he hasn't been involved.

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  • 49

    Interview: Nov 15th, 2009

    Question

    What is your favorite scene that you got to add?

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I'm not saying which scenes I added and which parts are Jordan's until all three books are out." He has lots and lots of notes left by Robert Jordan, which aren't organized. No one really knew how Robert Jordan was organizing his work. Some files had only sentences, some whole paragraphs and whole scenes. His assistants, Maria and others, what Brandon calls "his own personal Brown Ajah" started asking Robert Jordan questions about all of the characters, where they would end up and how they got there. So Brandon has so much information all jumbled together without any order. And it's his job to take all that and make a book.

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  • 50

    Interview: Nov 19th, 2009

    SteelBlaidd

    Did RJ leave notes or records of how he used symbols in the WoT, for example, colors: white meaning life, black meaning death and the Dark One?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He left extensive notes that we would have to wait for the encyclopedia that Maria is going to put out after the books are finished.

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  • 51

    Interview: Nov 16th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was also mentioned that balefire does not mean that someone can't be reborn into the Pattern.

    I was very surprised by this and hadn't heard it before, but apparently Brandon has said it in previous Q&As.

    Brandon said he was also surprised but that Maria was very insistent about this—so if the Dragon Reborn was balefired, he could still be reborn.

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  • 52

    Interview: Nov 16th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Maria and Peter lurk on lots of message boards to keep in touch with the what the fans are talking and theorizing about (Hi guys). They occasionally talk to Brandon about stuff, especially when they feel it's something Brandon should know about. But Brandon generally keeps his distance so as not to influence his writing.

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  • 53

    Interview: Dec 19th, 2009

    Question

    Moiraine words the Third Oath, "I vow that I will never use the One Power as a weapon except against Shadowspawn, or in the last extreme of defending my life or that of my Warder or another sister." (New Spring 11) This ...wording of the Oath is supported by the reswearing of the Oaths by Pevara and Seaine (The Path of Daggers 26), and the BWB (24), among other sources.

    Egwene words the Oath, "I vow that I will never use the One Power as a weapon except against Darkfriends and Shadowspawn, or in the last extreme of defending my life or that of my Warder or of another sister." (The Gathering Storm 43) The 'Darkfriend clause' is supported by Sheriam (The Great Hunt 23), Alanna (The Shadow Rising 31), Niall (The Dragon Reborn Prologue), Rand (The Fires of Heaven 2, 41), and also implications by Moiraine (New Srping 2) and the BWB (14).

    RAFO, or error? And, if error, which is the correct wording?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon said he had to make sure he got the wording right for the oaths, so he went back and copied it word for word from the previous books. Maria was the one that changed it, saying RJ decided that Darkfriends should have always been included in the oaths.

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  • 54

    Interview: Nov 15th, 2009

    Question

    Is Tuon's new name, Fortuona, an intentional play on the Latin Fortuna? Many see this as a semantic trick for calling her Lady Luck, which fits being Mat's wife.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Good question, and I'm going to allow you to say yes, as I don't think anything of that nature was done without a purpose, but it was Jim's (Robert Jordan) choice, which Maria dug out for me when I realized I needed to create a new name for her upon ascending as Empress.

    Freelancer

    (Hah! All you naysayers who bagged on Brandon for this, saying Jordan would never have chosen such a goofy name.)

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  • 55

    Interview: Mar 19th, 2010

    Luckers

    How did you get involved in working for the Wheel of Time? What did you do before that led to this job?

    Maria Simons

    Back in the late 80s, I worked as an editor for a small publisher in California. It went belly-up, and I became a stay-at-home mom for a number of years. In 1994, we moved home to Charleston, and I needed work. I had one part-time job, but needed more. My husband ran into Harriet on the street one day in January of 1996, and asked her if she knew anyone who needed an editor. She didn't, but did say that she and Jim needed help answering fan mail. We saw the two of them at a party soon thereafter, and Jim and I talked about my coming in for that, and sized each other up (we had met before, but just socially). Soon afterwards, I came home from my other job to find a note: Jim Rigney called; he has some work for you (I still have that note). I started out working twelve hours a week on fanmail and filing. Harriet told me later that the reason that she wanted to hire me was that she knew that with editorial experience, I would know my way around proofs and galleys. After a year, I went to work full time for Jim.

    Luckers

    So how long have you worked on the Wheel of Time?

    Maria Simons

    If we count the fanmail as working on the Wheel of Time, it's been just over fourteen years.

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  • 56

    Interview: Mar 19th, 2010

    Luckers

    Were you aware of the Wheel of Time prior to taking it on as a job? Had you read it?

    Maria Simons

    Back in 1991, I was visiting my husband's family. My young brother-in-law (14 at the time) showed me this huge book. "You have to read it. It's great! And it was written by our cousin!" (That's not quite accurate. Harriet's aunt married my husband's great-uncle, so there are shared cousins, but no actual blood relationship. But in Charleston, it's close enough to claim). He kept on and on, so finally I picked it up just to get him off my back. That book was The Eye of the World, and I loved it. I ran out and bought copies of Eye and The Great Hunt and sent them to my husband (he was in Panama on military duty). I also read The Great Hunt, of course. After that, we eagerly awaited each book, and grabbed them as soon as possible (by this time I had joined my husband in Panama). When we visited Charleston, my husband would head over to Harriet and Jim's and get them autographed. I don't know why I never went; it probably had something to do with having two small children. I finally met Jim at a family gathering in 1994; I managed to contain myself and not go all fangirl on him, but I did enjoy talking to him. By that time, I had read Eye at least six times, The Great Hunt five, The Dragon Reborn four, etc.

    Luckers

    Ok, so once you started reading the series what was it that really got you hooked?

    Maria Simons

    I'm a character-driven reader, so any book that hooks me does so primarily because of the characters. So, on the first go, it was the characters that grabbed me. The world-building and lovely convoluted plot with so many mysteries didn't hurt, either. I just loved the books.

    Luckers

    Do you still do frequent re-reads? How many times would you say you've read the series to date?

    Maria Simons

    I don't actually read the books straight through anymore. I did read The Eye of the World after Jim died, but usually I read them in bits and pieces. A lot of times when I'm trying to answer a question from Brandon or fans, I'll get distracted from my search and find a scene that I love, and read it. At one point, I worked out that I had read The Eye of the World at least 20 times. It's kind of scary, sometimes; when I'm looking for a particular scene, I pick up the book, open it, and I'm at the scene that I'm looking for. Sometimes Alan and I race; he searches the digital copy for something, and I pick up the book. I frequently win.

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  • 57

    Interview: Mar 19th, 2010

    Luckers

    What did you do for Robert Jordan as a part of that job, and how much as that changed since his passing?

    Maria Simons

    My job has constantly evolved. First there was fanmail and filing. Then the audiobook project got underway, and someone had to go through and mark all of the changes in point of view so that Michael Kramer could read the male POVs and Kate Reading could read the female ones. Jim decided that I could do that, so, much to my delight, I was getting paid to read The Wheel of Time. I was in hog heaven, of course. At that time, Jim was finishing up A Crown of Swords, and when the proofs came in, Harriet suggested that I assist in going through them, but Jim said no, he didn't want to spoil me. I was crushed. Over the next year or so, though, my job broadened. He gave me the in-house glossary to tidy up, and some of his notes to consolidate. He also would give me lists of questions like "Has character A ever met Character B?" and "Give me three examples of character C's speech" and "Find me all of the information you can on what a baby feels as he's being born." By the time he had The Path of Daggers ready to give to Harriet for editing, I had convinced him that I could help with maintaining our house glossary going forward, and he decided that I would get the pages at the same time Harriet did. Harriet encouraged me to edit as well, and I would do that and pass the pages on to her. I don't know if any of my edits made it into the final book, but Harriet did begin recommending me for freelance editing.

    I did other things as well. Jim had a massive personal library, and mentioned that he would love for it to be cataloged; I cobbled together a classification system, using WordPerfect mail merge. I also cataloged his music collection, and kept the existing catalog of movies updated. I did shopping for him, arranged appointments, worked on the Wizards of the Coast RPG and the New Spring comics. When the new cat went missing, I made and put up posters in the neighborhood (we found her hiding under the house, eventually); when cranes and herons started stealing goldfish, I was given fox urine to spread around the pond to discourage them (Jim did encourage me to delegate; I managed to pass that one on to someone else. It smelled so bad that that idea was soon abandoned and we covered the fish pond with a net. I still sometimes find huge birds staring hungrily at the fish when I walk out there). Eventually I took over the bookkeeping as well. He took to calling me his right arm. Over time, I picked up assistants, two of whom are still with me: Marcia Warnock, who took over the book catalog, spread the fox urine, keeps me in office supplies, handles all the annoying phone calls, and keeps me on schedule; and Alan Romanczuk, who took over the questions and research, became our IT specialist, and assists with the bookkeeping, among many other things.

    Then, after the Knife of Dreams tour, Jim was diagnosed with amyloidosis. Our focus changed somewhat; we all worked to help him and Harriet as much as we could. After the night that Jim told the ending to Wilson and Harriet, I would sit and talk with him about the end of the series, with a tape recorder running. The last thing that we did together was select the winners of the calendar art contest. Note: I didn't select, I just gave him the art and took notes, and then emailed the winning names to Tor. That was two days before his death.

    The significant thing that has changed about my job since then is that Jim isn't here. It's quieter—there is no big, booming voice calling "Maria!" or singing as he comes in the office. There's no one explaining military stuff to me and making it really clear and interesting. There's no one sitting at his desk wearing a silly hat. What I do at my job hasn't changed that much. Now I work directly for Harriet, who is as wonderful a boss as Jim was. When Brandon has questions about the books, I work on finding answers, as does Alan. When Brandon sends us a book, I go through it looking for continuity errors, just as I did with Jim, and suggesting other changes, just as before. I still do the bookkeeping with Alan's help, and other banal stuff. I know a lot more fans now, of course; I went to JordanCon, DragonCon, and the Charleston and New York booksignings for The Gathering Storm. I can hardly wait until JordanCon 2, which as I type is 11 weeks and 1 day away.

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  • 58

    Interview: Mar 19th, 2010

    Luckers

    I always knew Team Jordan was a close-knit group, but I get the sense from this that Jordan Estate was more like its own little community, with Jim as a sort of patriarch and all of you working to support each other. Was this how it was for you? And did this help you all in the wake of Jim's passing?

    Maria Simons

    Heh. That's more or less it, but . . . let me tell you a story. One day, many years ago, I went into Jim's office. While there, I mentioned some problem that I was having (I have no idea what it was; it was that long ago). Jim immediately proceeded to give me chapter and verse on what to do. I answered that I was going to think about it more, and then went upstairs to my office. A few minutes passed, and then there was the booming "Maria!" from the bottom of the stairs. I went out, and he said that he was sorry for going all patriarchal on me, that I was a grown, capable woman and that I should do what I thought best. I hadn't even thought twice about it, but he was worried that he had overstepped his bounds. Therefore, I hesitate to call him a patriarch. He was our leader.

    So we all worked together. It's a strange little group, sort of random, but not really. Harriet was at my wedding; she appears in some of the pictures taken. Jim may have been there (really, most of that day is a blur in my memory), but he was probably off writing. Marcia was once my husband's boss. She and I share the same birthday, and almost no one can tell us apart when we answer the phone. Alan's son went to the same school as my sons; I became friends with his wife before I ever met him, and he later coached my son's tennis team (It was at a tennis match that his wife suggested he might be interested in working with us). We're coworkers, yes, but we are friends too. We watch out for each other, and we've always joked that we're more like a family than a business. Dealing with Jim's illness brought us all even closer. We pulled together, and supported each other. And yes, it very much did help us when he died, and since.

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  • 59

    Interview: Mar 19th, 2010

    Luckers

    You said Jim didn't like to spoil you. Did this include you having access to the notes on pre-existing issues—as in resolutions to current mysteries and plotlines? I guess the question is, how much insider information did you have along the way? And, as a fan, did it ever make you gasp (squeal, laugh, pull your braid...)?

    Maria Simons

    In the early days, Jim didn't want to spoil me. After not getting to work on A Crown of Swords, I went on a campaign to convince Jim that I didn't mind spoilers, doing things like pointing out that I frequently reread murder mysteries. I finally had some success. At some point, early on (I think 1997ish) he realized that he had multiple files with the same name in his gazillions of notes. He asked me if I would be willing to consolidate notes, given that it was quite possible that I would find spoilers. I gave him an emphatic yes, and he passed the notes to me. The first thing I did was look up Verin; it was amazingly cool to get the scoop on her. I may have squealed. And I knew who killed Asmodean pretty early on, too. Some things he did keep hidden, though. He really enjoyed pulling off surprises..

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  • 60

    Interview: Mar 19th, 2010

    Luckers

    Brandon said that as much as he was terribly excited to be involved in finishing the Wheel, there was an element of sadness as a fan to not be coming to the final product fresh. Is that true for you also?

    Maria Simons

    Yes, it is. I would have loved to see how Jim put it all together. The sadness is ameliorated somewhat by the fact that I got so much from Jim himself in his last days, and that Brandon did such an amazing job with The Gathering Storm, and is a joy to work with.

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  • 61

    Interview: Mar 19th, 2010

    Luckers

    You told me that you sometimes lurk on the boards. Have you ever encountered something that for whatever reason made you laugh out loud? If so can you tell us what?

    Maria Simons

    I frequently encounter things that make me laugh out loud. WoT fans are an extremely clever bunch. Once, at Wotmania, someone joined using Harriet's name. That person made a lovely post that included the (false) info that Talmanes was a Darkfriend (I have a crush on Talmanes. Not as big as the Mat crush, but . . .). There have also been many posts regarding Bela that tickled my funnybone (Is she the Creator? A Darkfriend? The Neigh'blis?). And somewhere recently I saw someone aver that it stated flat-out in the text who murdered Asmodean; it had just been transcribed inaccurately. According to this poster, Asmodean didn't say "You? No!"; he said "Uno!" And Leigh Butler's reread posts generally make me laugh out loud as well. It's rare for me to go a-lurking and not lol at some point.

    LUCKERS

    'YouNo' lol. That's brilliant. And I guess it means I don't have to ask the tedious 'who killed Asmodean' question and we can just move on into the fan stuff.

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  • 62

    Interview: Mar 19th, 2010

    Luckers

    So is Talmanes your favorite character then? If not, who is, and have they always been so or has it changed as time has passed?

    Maria Simons

    Mat is my absolute favorite. I love me some Mat. I don't know exactly when the real Mat-love started; I started liking him a lot when he took out Galad and Gawyn with his quarterstaff. I don't remember who my favorite was before that, but I did like Rand, Perrin, Lan, Verin and Moiraine (Mat was okay then, but the whole nasty dagger attitude kept him from being top tier). I didn't love Nynaeve at first, but she has really grown on me over the years. Talmanes is my favorite secondary character. Other second tier characters that I love are Siuan Sanche, Gareth Bryne, Bayle Doman, Rhuarc, Halwin Norry, Bain, Chiad, and Gaul. Okay, I better stop now. That list could get very large.

    Luckers

    Which is the character you most identify with? (Personally I'm thinking you and Verin are peas from a pod).

    Maria Simons

    I do adore sneaky sneaky Verin. I identify myself as a member of the Brown Ajah, that's for sure; I'm constantly studying books and notes. But when I'm handling all the financial stuff, I identify with Halwin Norry.

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  • 63

    Interview: Mar 19th, 2010

    Luckers

    If you had to name a single moment and a single plotline that was your favourite, what would they be? You're only allowed one. *grins evilly*

    Maria Simons

    Your evil grin is wasted. This one is easy. I have a favorite chapter—chapter five of Lord of Chaos, "A Different Dance." There is just so much classic Mat in that chapter: when he can't keep up with Betse's mouth and Talmanes hums "A Frog on the Ice", his dance with Betse with the memories from just before the Trolloc Wars, taking out the Hunter of the Horn with a low blow, and so much more. I absolutely love that chapter. It may have been that chapter that cemented the love for Mat.

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  • 64

    Interview: Mar 19th, 2010

    Luckers

    Are there any characters you really dislike?

    Maria Simons

    Gawyn. Joline. Sevanna. Therava. Elaida . . . oops, I mean Suffa. Liandrin. Padan Fain. Asunawa. The Forsaken. Again, I will stop here. The list could be large, too, but not as large as the "like" list.

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  • 65

    Interview: Mar 19th, 2010

    Luckers

    Are you and Harriet working on the encylopedia now, or is that more of a 'after everything is done' kind of thing?

    Maria Simons

    Harriet, Alan, Marcia and I have all put in some work on the encyclopedia. If there's nothing else pressing, we work on it. Of course, there's no way that we can finish it before the series is finished; once A Memory of Light is done, we'll kick it into high gear.

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  • 66

    Interview: Mar 19th, 2010

    Luckers

    What are your plans post-WoT? Will you be involved with the potential Outrigger/Prequel Release? And what is beyond that for you?

    Maria Simons

    Even after the last book is finished, there will still be things to do. It probably won't be quite as exciting as working on a new book, but I do a lot that doesn't directly involve the book in progress. Since no decision has been made on the outriggers/prequels, I can't really say anything about them.

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  • 67

    Interview: May 3rd, 2010

    Richard Fife

    When did you first meet James Rigney?

    Maria Simons

    He was invited to my wedding, but I don't think he was there; Harriet was. I first met him in 1994, when my father-in-law died and Harriet and Jim hosted a reception for the family after the funeral. I was really proud because I didn't go all fangirl on him, but I did talk to him and tell him how much I enjoyed the books.

    Richard Fife

    And when did you get involved with The Wheel of Time?

    Maria Simons

    In 1996, my husband ran into Harriet on the street and said "Do you know anybody who needs an editor?" because I had worked as an editor before. She said "No, but we could use help with fan-mail and filing." So we ran into them at a cocktail party later that week, Jim and I sized each other up, and I started working twelve hours a week in January 1996.

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  • 68

    Interview: May 3rd, 2010

    Richard Fife

    Any particular favorite scene in the books?

    Maria Simons

    My favorite chapter is chapter five of Lord of Chaos called "A Different Dance." It's a chapter that showcases Mat; Mat is magnificent. He is in there trying to pick up Betse Silvin, and she's running circles around him. Talmanes is humming "A Frog on the Ice," Mat and Betse dance, and he remembers dancing with a Sea Folk woman. Then he goes out and takes down a Hunter for the Horn with a low blow and meets Olver. It is just a beautiful Mat showcase, and I think that is when I just totally fell in love with the character.

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  • 69

    Interview: May 3rd, 2010

    Richard Fife

    What was it like working with Jim and doing the filing for him?

    Maria Simons

    It was great to work for Jim. We started off just doing fan-mail and filing. He was finishing up A Crown of Swords, and he wouldn't let me help copyedit because he didn't want to spoil me. But, as time went on, I convinced him to let me organize his notes: that is when I found out the truth about Verin. And when The Path of Daggers came along, he let me work on it.

    And he was great. He'd come in singing in the morning, he would say thank you, and he bought me cookies. If I made a mistake on anything, he didn't fuss and yell, he just said "Fix it." He was just fabulous to work for, and Harriet is too.

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  • 70

    Interview: May 3rd, 2010

    Richard Fife

    What is it like working with Brandon?

    Maria Simons

    Working with Brandon is wonderful. Brandon is amazing. He works so hard. He doesn't have this big ego trip; he never says, "Hey, I'm the writer. You can't tell me that this character would never say that." He listens and keeps insisting that this isn't his book, it's Jim's, and he means it. I mean, that's how he really feels. He's working to put out the books that Jim would approve of. And he is succeeding.

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  • 71

    Interview: May 3rd, 2010

    Richard Fife

    We just passed the twentieth anniversary of The Eye of the World, and I know you came in around mid-way—

    Maria Simons

    I started reading them in '91.

    Richard Fife

    Ah, sorry. A fan from the get-go. But, looking back, do you have any thoughts on where the story has come?

    Maria Simons

    It is hard to believe it has been twenty years. It was funny to see how Jim thought he was writing six books at the beginning, and it kept growing and growing. He really wanted to wrap it up, and it is so sad that he couldn't. But he worked really hard to ensure that we could get it finished for him.

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  • 72

    Interview: May 3rd, 2010

    Richard Fife

    OK, so you have known the secrets and have been poker-facing us all for a very long time. Is there anything that you felt was a surprise for the fans to key in on, such as the Asmodean mystery, or perhaps something you thought they should have but didn't?

    Maria Simons

    The fans are really amazing. They seem to pounce on pretty much everything, even when there's nothing to pounce on. I have pretty much never been disappointed by the fans' reaction to anything, although I never really understood why so many people were obsessed with who killed Asmodean. But the Verin discussion—Very Old Verin, the Purple Ajah, and all that—was just so much fun, and I'm so glad I can talk about my favorite sneaky Brown now. Verin rocks!

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  • 73

    Interview: May 3rd, 2010

    Richard Fife

    I have a feeling I'm about to hear four letters. Do you have any hint you can even give us to the "big thing" Brandon says we all missed in books four through six?

    Maria Simons

    (With her eyelid fluttering and twitching a little): No.

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  • 74

    Interview: May 3rd, 2010

    Richard Fife

    Well, at least it was only two letters and not four. OK, the last question: without using four letters, who killed Asmodean?

    Maria Simons

    If you look at the back of my car, you can see "I killed Asmodean!"

    Richard Fife

    There we have it. It wasn't Graendal, but Maria Simons the entire time.

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  • 75

    Interview: Apr 14th, 2010

    Nick Smith

    By contrast, Charlestonians tended to treat Rigney like a regular fellow. When his first Wheel of Time best-seller The Eye of the World came out in 1990, they would greet him with, "Hi Jim, are you still writing?"

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    While McDougal admits that they could have lived a quiet life anywhere if they'd chosen, Charleston was their home and a place where Rigney could work at his own, often breakneck, pace. Every day he would get up, have breakfast, then pad down the yard to his desk in his carriage house. The pages he forged there were packed with intense battle scenes, dense interwoven plots, and a vast cast of characters. This material was tempered by McDougal, Rigney's assistant Maria Simons, and series continuity manager Alan Romanczuk.

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  • 76

    Interview: Apr 28th, 2010

    Richard Fife

    There was also some question on how she [Moiraine] learned Balefire and after the panel I talked to Maria about it a little more hush-hush, in particular asking her if it was possible to learn weaves from text.

    Maria Simons

    The vague non-answer I got was not a RAFO, but Maria "feels" that one can get hints from text that could lead to one figuring it out. When I plied a little deeper, asking if there was a graphical means, perhaps, for weaves to be recorded, she declined from answering either way (but still not a full RAFO). I then left the panel and interviewed Red Eagle Entertainment. Twice. It was double-fun.

    Tags

  • 77

    Interview: Apr 28th, 2010

    Maria Simons

    The Towers of Midnight panel should have been subtitled "Maria says nothing." She actually went in with a thick stack of RAFO cards and handed them out liberally. Jakob Ro was again moderating, though, and discussion amongst the audience was fine indeed.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Also, Brandon poked his head and smiled as we talked. Finally we all turned to him, and he said that all he could say is that any characters you didn't see much of in The Gathering Storm get more face time in Towers of Midnight. He then disappeared.

    Richard Fife

    What was somewhat sad, though, was that in the panel, almost no one really cared to talk about Perrin, and the few that did only got to in moments aside from the main discussion. People were far more interested in Mat and the Tower of Ghenjei, Lan and Malkier, The Black Tower (which someone claimed Brandon had mentioned at a signing that he didn’t know if it would make it into the book), and pretty well anyone but Perrin. As I said: poor Perrin.

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  • 78

    Interview: Apr 22nd, 2009

    Leigh Butler

    It was either before or after this that I got to meet Maria Simons, who along with Alan Romanczuk were (and are) Jim and Harriet's assistants both editorial and personal, and have been working like gangbusters on Book 12 with Brandon. Maria is about the nicest human alive, just so you know, and she and I would continually run into each other at intervals throughout the weekend so I could continue to enjoy talking to her about everything and nothing. I'm sneaky that way. She is forthwith commanded to get herself up to New York sometime so I can get my Maria Chat Time fix. No arguments, missy!

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  • 79

    Interview: Apr 22nd, 2009

    Leigh Butler

    But first, I went to dinner, after a little bit of recovery time. I was with The Usual Suspects (Trisha and the Jasons), as well as Bob Kluttz and his lovely wife Joan (when I knocked over a glass of water: "Hey, we're supposed to be the Kluttzes here"), Maria Simons, and Brandon Sanderson, at this little Thai/Chinese/sushi place near the hotel. At our urging, Maria and Brandon explained the process of getting a book from manuscript to print, which I've heard in several iterations before but for various reasons is endlessly fascinating to me, especially from an "in the trenches" sort of perspective (which said perspective both Maria and Brandon possess in spades, as you well might imagine).

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  • 80

    Interview: May 12th, 2010

    Richard Fife

    When did you first meet Jim, and when did you get involved with The Wheel of Time?

    Alan Romanczuk

    In 2001, I was hired on recommendation of Maria Simons, who had worked for Jim for years at that point. I had known Maria through our children going to the same school. Maria's work had gotten to the point where she couldn't keep doing the research for Jim—the continuity work, looking up obscure facts—because of all her other responsibilities. So, I was brought on to pretty much take on that aspect of what Maria had been doing.

    I met Jim the day I came in. He was sitting at his desk and stood up, and we had a nice little chat about pipe smoking and fantasy, a little bit of this and that, and I then went upstairs to my little burrow in the back of the carriage house, where I've remained for many years.

    Tags

  • 81

    Interview: Jun 7th, 2010

    Richard Fife

    And I know you are working on it very closely with Harriet, Alan, and Maria. What is it like getting the curb-side editing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Normally, I have a lot of alpha readers on my books. These are people that, once I finish a novel, I let them look at it and give me a reader response. In the case of the Wheel of Time books, most of those were not available to me. We have to keep it quite tightly under wraps and not show it to a lot of people. So, it is nice having multiple editors, both in the form of people who directly edit the book such as Harriet, Alan, and Maria, and also people like Tom Doherty, who has given me some good advice. My normal editor, Moshe Feder, did a read through on this book, and my agent did as well. All of them are giving advice.

    I am immediately juggling Alan, Maria, and Harriet's comments. I'd send a chapter in and then be working on the next one, and that chapter would come back three times with three different sets of revisions on it. That got really challenging to juggle. There was one time when I was flying on a plane to an event for Tor, and I had three separate paper sets of a chapter printed out along with electronic commentary by them on the chapters. So, I was juggling four files and three sets of paper on the same pages, trying to get this all inputted and changed. It got . . . well, it was a juggling act.

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  • 82

    Interview: May 25th, 2010

    Patrick

    Rodel Ituralde and especially Gareth Bryne being blademasters seemed a surprise. Do we know why this information didn't come up before? In addition, Bryne mentions only being an under-captain during the Aiel War when The Eye of the World states he was Captain-General back to Queen Modrellen's day. But then the Big White Book also says that Andor had a different Captain-General during the Aiel War. A case of Robert Jordan changing his mind?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Number one, let's talk about the blademaster issue. I'm not at liberty right now to say what's in the notes and what isn't, but I can tell you I'm drawing from the notes when I'm writing. I don't know why certain things weren't mentioned before in the series.

    Maintaining the Wheel of Time continuity is an enormous task. There are so many questions like "What was Bryne's rank during the Aiel war?" where I ask Maria and Alan and just trust their instincts. There are other ones where they're not even sure.

    Much of the time, when we run into issues like this, it's just me making a mistake. I do apologize for that. I promise you, I have read these books a number of times, but I don't have the type of mind that memorizes facts and repeats them back offhandedly. I have to do a lot of reading each time I write a chapter, and I often make mistakes. A lot of the time, these mistakes come because I HAVE been reading the series for so long. I've got these long-seated impressions of characters and events in my head that go back all the way to my teenage days. And they're not always right. (I didn't learn to pronounce some character names until I was well into my 20s.) Sometimes, I just assume I know something when I've been wrong about it all along. Those are the dangerous ones, since I don't think to look up items like that.

    Anyway, with every printing of the books, Maria goes back in and fixes continuity. It happened when Robert Jordan was writing the books (though not nearly as often as it will when I'm writing them, I suspect). So what can I say about that? Well, Harriet is putting together a comprehensive encyclopedia that will become the definitive answer to these sorts of questions. Until then, I'm letting Team Jordan handle it.

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  • 83

    Interview: Jun 30th, 2010

    Luckers

    Could you explain for the fans the sort of things you did for the books in your role as editor? How much has that changed or expanded since Jim's passing?

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    By the last of the Wheel of Time books, my role was primarily that of wife: keeping him fed and cared for—because after 20 plus years I had taught him everything I knew about storytelling and prose, and he had really become the wonderful writer that he was.

    Working with Brandon is wonderful, because he is a grand human being as well as a very good writer. My role has expanded a lot—Brandon was amused that I made a cut in The Eye of the World that was exactly the kind of cut I made in The Gathering Storm—and I know these characters very well. They are, after all, a lot like my grandchildren.

    Maria Simons, who has worked with Jim and me for fifteen years, is absolutely indispensable in the creation of these last books. Her memory is much better than mine—and she can often say what chapter of what book includes a particular scene. I cannot. She also has a tremendous memory for the minutiae of how the Power works, and lots of other stuff. And with Maria, Alan Romanczuk is also indispensable. He is a military veteran, which helps a lot with military stuff Brandon is not as familiar with as Jim was, and in general with all the other stuff.

    I am now a member of Team Jordan, as far as the editing goes.

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  • 84

    Interview: Sep 4th, 2010

    Richard Fife

    This question has to do with a conversation I had with Wilson.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh okay, is this going to be? Okay, I think I know what this is going to be.

    Richard Fife

    At last JordanCon I was talking with Wilson, and he was telling me about the night that Robert Jordan told him the end of the book.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Uh huh.

    Richard Fife

    And he says that it started off with the word... they were talking about whatever, and it started off with Robert Jordan getting really quiet and then leaning in and saying, "There is a ______ in the Blight." To which that completely blindsides Wilson. He says, "There's a what?!?" And Robert Jordan then says, "There's a ______ in the Blight and not even Harriet knows about it." And then went on for two hours describing about how this was important and pivotal and yet takes place...be really important for the end of the book. Any further hints?

    Brandon Sanderson

    And see, Wilson can get away with stuff that I can't. And that is a story I've been told by three different people now. In fact, the first day I was there in Charleston, Harriet told it to me. Then Maria told it to me. And then I met Wilson later and he told it to me. Because that was the day when they suddenly said, "We need a tape recorder. Someone get a tape recorder." And I think Maria, like, went to the store to get one and came back with... But then, that was the session where he started for the first time dictating what was to happen and things like this. I do know that story. It's great for you to share it with everyone. I would not have shared that story because I have to be extra careful not to cross any lines. And so...you will get hints about whatever that was in the next book.

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  • 85

    Interview: Oct 26th, 2010

    Luckers

    How difficult has weaving Towers of Midnight around The Gathering Storm been? Is there a large amount of inter-connectivity? Do we cross back on any events in The Gathering Storm?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, we do cross back on events in The Gathering Storm. The trickiest part was timeline. Robert Jordan had this innate ability to juggle timelines. This is not something he relied on Maria, Alan, or Harriet for; it was something he did on his own, just part of the genius of his brain. All of us are pretty new at this. I mean, I wrote Mistborn chronologically. There wasn’t any time juggling. There was time juggling to do in Elantris, but it was across the course of a single novel. It didn’t get as extensive. For the Wheel of Time, timeline things that Robert Jordan kept in his head are quite incredible, and I have to admit that I’m not as good at it as he was. Perhaps someday I will be able to get to that level, but for now I’m simply not. So working with the timeline has taken a lot of effort. I think we’ve got it so it all worked out. It took a lot of help. Maria, Alan, and others all worked together with me to get things arranged—some of our beta readers were extremely helpful in this—but there is a lot of juggling back and forth. You will see some events from different perspectives. It is not a complete jump back like book ten was. I would say that the book is mostly new material with a few glances at other things that are happening, but we’re moving forward; I’d say 60% of the book is taking place past what happened in The Gathering Storm. And then there’s one timeline in particular where we jump back and catch up—that’s Perrin’s timeline. But it was really challenging.

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  • 86

    Interview: Oct 26th, 2010

    Thanks Brandon for doing this, and Peter and Maria for helping it to happen. Much appreciated!

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  • 87

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2010

    Joe Heron

    What happens to the souls of Darkfriends who did good for the Light sides?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO.

    JOE HERON

    Not satisfied, I press harder, saying this will be revealed in further reading [skeptical].

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    He said there were a lot of things Jim (RJ) wanted fans to keep guessing and wouldn't answer, and this was one of those things about the cosmology that he wanted.

    JOE HERON

    Then I asked Maria (yes I was sneaky), and her answer made her sound kind of unsure how to answer it, but then she finally said:

    MARIA SIMONS

    Well he is called the Lord of the Grave, so...

    JOE HERON

    So seems like Ingtar and Verin really paid a huge price to help the Light-siders. Again, not sure if this was asked but I thought it interesting....and who knows, they may change it since its not finished yet.

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  • 88

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2010

    Ted Herman

    Regarding timeline in Towers of Midnight, what can you say about how each person's plot arc lined up?

    Maria Simons and Alan Romanczuk

    There was a gap for some of the main story lines for about 1.5-2 weeks of only off-screen activity before the big meetup at Merrilor. Lan's trip from World's End to Tarwin's Gap took 100 days, and it lined him up with the other plotlines at that point. The whole gang can jump right into Tarmon Gai'don!

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  • 89

    Interview: Dec, 2010

    Jon

    I was a bit shocked when I started reading Towers of Midnight. The Prologue included a Graendal scene. I went to the glossary to refresh my memory concerning that Forsaken and discovered a huge spoiler...

    Brandon Sanderson

    The glossary, remember, was begun as a tradition before there were internet wiki sites, and it's limited by size in what it can contain. I don't do the glossary; that's all on Team Jordan. Maria handles it.

    As for why the big secret was included in the glossary, I've said before that Harriet made the decision where it would go. I actually did suggest it, though I later changed my mind and thought I would put it in somewhere else, but she said, "No, I love this idea of the glossary." The reason I think that we like the glossary location so much is because the instruction I received from Robert Jordan was just a Post-It note that had written on it, "This is right," attached to a sheet of paper that was an explanation, one of the many, printed off from the internet, talking about who killed Asmodean. That Post-It note saying "This is right" was all there was—I didn't know the how, the why, the circumstances, any more than you know. So we felt that rather than extrapolate all of that ourselves, the best thing to do, as frustrating as it might be, was to give you the information much in the same way that we got it, as simply a "This is the person." That still allows a bit of theorizing on how this person was involved in the event, whether it was by her hand directly, or whether a servant was involved, or that sort of thing. That allows for theorizing.

    Dawn

    After that, I kept expecting to see that information revealed somewhere in the actual book, but as far as I can tell it wasn't there! Will it be revisited in the last book, or was the glossary the way of answering that question?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The glossary was the way of answering that question. Though in the epilogue, I had originally included a more specific line that Harriet edited out and said, "No, I like the glossary entry. We'll let it stand." There's still a hint, but it was actually spelled out in that same sentence.

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  • 90

    Interview: Apr 16th, 2011

    Richard Fife

    We've actually heard Brandon's impressions of what he thought of the ending when he first saw it and read it and heard it. But I can't say I've ever really heard anything beyond 'wow' from either of you. So when Robert Jordan was giving you the ending in those last months, what were you thinking about just how he had brought it together, and how the twists were, and general feelings?

    Maria Simons

    Wow.

    Alan Romanczuk

    I was speechless. But I don't have many feelings.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    And I've known the ending for many years, and at the time I first heard it, I said, "Okay, so how're you going to get from here to there?" But that's because I'm an editor, and that's kind of a Darkfriend.

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  • 91

    Interview: Apr 16th, 2011

    Richard Fife

    (More about preparation for A Memory of Light.)

    Alan Romanczuk

    Let's see. Well, probably the most significant thing that's happened is we are all working on the same version of Word right now. We had some difficulties in the past.

    Maria Simons

    Last year we had three.

    Alan Romanczuk

    Three different versions.

    Maria Simons

    And it caused some really interesting things.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. What we would do, you can see how much of a pseudo-nightmare this is. So, in order to speed things up last year, and it actually did speed things up despite the chaos, was we went all digital for edits.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Yeah.

    Brandon Sanderson

    One of the tricks of working with this is, I basically have five editors, with Harriet at the top, and then there's Maria and Alan right below. And then Moshe my editor is giving us reads...because we can't use my normal alpha readers for this, which are my writing group, because they'd all have to be part of the NDA and that's just too many people. And so instead we brought on Moshe to just give me an alpha read, a dry alpha read. And then my agent also gives me dry alpha reads, because they all are interested professionals and part of the NDA and things like that.

    But basically, even looking only at Harriet, Maria, and Alan, what would happen is on The Gathering Storm, I would send in some scenes, and then I would start working on the next ones. And I would get deep into the next ones, and then some papers would come. I'm like, oh revisions. So I'd go back and start doing revision. And then another group of papers would come from another one of them that had revisions that were different. And then another group of papers would come that were a third group of revisions. And in some cases, they've all caught the same typo, but then I have to end up searching for it three times because I can't remember if I've changed that typo or not. And then I can't find it. I'm like, oh I guess that's one I caught, but really sometimes I didn't catch it, I'm just on the wrong page or something. Anyway, I have three sets of paper all from different people making different revisions, and sometimes they disagree with one another on what should be changed, and they're not seeing each other's revisions.

    Meanwhile, I'm on tour trying to fly around and carry all of these. You should have seen me on the airplane one of these days where revisions were needed the next day, and I'm flying on a six-hour flight in coach. And I'm cuddled like this between two people in the middle seat, with six hundred pages around me, trying to find all three pages that are editing the same section, and realizing that one's in my suitcase. This was absolutely a nightmare to do.

    And so this time, I'm like, let's go all digital, I'll have them all on my computer, it will be so much easier. But Harriet had never done digital revisions before. None of you had, I don't think. And so the idea was we would have one person do a revision, and then they would hand the file off, and that person could go through and a revision and add their comments, and then the next person would be able to do it. And that would have been wonderful in a perfect world. Unfortunately, we didn't have time for that because we were so crunched for time. And so what would happen is they all would be working on their own machine because they all needed to be reading at the same time, they couldn't wait for the other person. And so then they would all three send me documents digitally, which is easier to work with than trying to dig out all fifty pages of each. But at the same time, then I have four documents: my document, and three documents with revisions in it, from different versions of Word or Wordperfect or Open Office or whatever it is. I basically would just send them all to Peter (Peter Ahlstrom, Brandon's assistant) and say, "Peter, meld these somehow."

    Maria Simons

    Peter was a real hero.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. Peter was the unsung hero in that one because he really went through, he would work for hours and then send me a document back. But this would introduce lots of typos and errors, because the different revisions were different programs and would not stack up. And so we ended up with many more—you may have noticed—many more typos in Towers of Midnight, and it's due directly to this process, where one person would change something, another person would change it slightly differently, and the computer program would get confused. And what you would end up was like a word with an extra letter on it or something like this. And we caught most of them, but it added a lot of extra editing errors for this. We didn't cut corners on the really important stuff in Towers of Midnight, but when push came to shove, getting the extra proofreads, there wasn't time for, which is why there are more errors in Towers of Midnight. It's because we took the time we needed for revision, but we didn't then have any time for proofreads. Peter, you proofread—did you even get the whole book done? You were up till 6 AM several nights proofreading.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    After I told you I was done, I realized that I had skipped three chapters.

    Richard Fife

    Peter, why don't you stand up and just wave, so everyone can see you?

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Peter deserves kudos.

    I would like to say, at the beginning of the editing process on the last book, Brandon was 7 feet, 3 inches tall.

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  • 92

    Interview: Apr 16th, 2011

    Richard Fife

    Getting a little bit more back to the preparation thing, how are you handling the stress of you are now finishing the Wheel, it's not even another installment, this is Tarmon Gai'don. Is this any additional stress you're feeling, trying to deal with?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Robert Jordan wrote the ending, so that removes the greater bulk, I think, of that. There's stress to working on all of these, but I wouldn't say that this one has more stress than the others because my job has always been to get you to his ending without screwing it up. That's my job.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    And you're doing it. Beautifully.

    Brandon Sanderson

    But, you know, in my mind these basically still are really one book, still. And when I write a book, I divide it up into sections in my head, anyway. Right now, I'm not even writing that. Right now I'm writing the prologue. And that section will get done, and I'll write the next section, and the next section. And then I'll get to the section that Robert Jordan did himself, and I can put that in, and that's the ending. If I didn't have that, this would be twenty times more stressful. I don't know if it would be possible as a project if we didn't have that.

    Richard Fife

    That's good to hear. Alan, Maria, do you have anything, stress levels or anything that you're noticing, unique to dealing with the end right now?

    Maria Simons

    Well, after all the typos and stuff in Towers, I'm really feeling compelled to do my darndest to have the next one be lots cleaner.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Though we will say, we can mention that there were a large number of beta readers from the Wheel of Time community, that we can now make share our blame, because they missed them all, too.

    Maria Simons

    Oh, and I found one that—we had it absolutely perfect going in to Tor, but somehow a word just vanished into the ether.

    Audience

    Retire the RAFO cap.

    Maria Simons

    It will be retired, but not yet.

    Terez

    You'll still have to think, those things that aren't supposed to be revealed that you know.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, there'll be the things that aren't supposed to be revealed. And those will have to be kept close to your heart.

    Maria Simons

    That's not a problem. No, I can't RAFO, but it'll be okay—just, 'no comment'. I've been practicing that one.

    Tags

  • 93

    Interview: Apr 16th, 2011

    Leigh Butler

    What do think you're going to feel like once it is actually done and out and over? Is it just going to relief? Do you think you're going to be kind of sad? Collapse in a puddle on the floor?

    Brandon Sanderson

    All of the above. It's going to be a major relief; there will be a sadness to it. There will be definitely a sadness, though having read the ending already, that sadness began for me in 2007, because the series is already finished for me. The work isn't done, but the series is finished. And so that melancholy, it won't come to a crux until that book is finally out. But I think the others might, you know they've been working on this much longer than I have, so they may have something different to say.

    Alan Romanczuk

    Yeah, it's been a long ride. It's going to be wonderful to have it finished; it's going to be sad that it will be finished. It won't be totally finished for Harriet, Maria, and myself because we'll be producing the encyclopedia, which will come out approximately a year after this book hits the bookshelves. This is the longest I've ever held a job. And you know, it hasn't felt like a job. I always say that my life is primarily fantasy, if you include very vivid dreams, the food I eat, what I do after dinner, there's very little reality left in my world. So I'm curious to see how that's going to change when this is all over. But yeah, it's been a great ride.

    Maria Simons

    It's been a very good ride. And it'll be good to have it finished in some ways, and it will be sad. I've been doing this fifteen years now, and it's going to be different. But, I am looking forward to being able to actually really talk about the Wheel of Time without having to think really hard about every word I say.

    Tags

  • 94

    Interview: Apr 16th, 2011

    Richard Fife

    We know what Brandon's obviously going to do once the Wheel's done. How about the rest of you? Do you have any plans or ideas for what's going to happen once the encyclopedia is finished?

    Maria Simons

    Well, I'm working on comics and we're just very early still in Eye of the World, so if that goes on and on I guess I will actually still be doing Wheel of Time, just a different medium.

    Alan Romanczuk

    I've been looking into greeting at Walmart.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Well, I've been thinking, what would it really be like to be retired? Maybe I'll join you at Walmart.

    Tags

  • 95

    Interview: Apr 17th, 2011

    Terez

    When did Lan first become a blademaster?

    Brandon Sanderson

    (reading) When did Lan (LAHN) first become...oh, Lan (rhymes with pan), sorry. I hear all these names at JordanCon, and half of them pronounce them one way, and half of them the other way, and I end up getting bad habits.

    Terez

    Yeah. I don’t care.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, but Robert Jordan cared, so I try to care.

    Terez

    So is it Lahn or Lan?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It’s Lan.

    Terez

    Okay, good, because that’s how I pronounce it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    As far as I know—someone could correct me—it’s Lan, but Lan was one of those ones that—I believe—some major source had wrong. I could be completely wrong on this. I know Tar Valon (Tar va-LAHN), one major source had wrong, meaning an audiobook reader, or an original typo in one of the glossaries, or something, which really itched at Jim as I understand because he really wanted it to be Tar va-LAHN and not Tar VA-lun. So...when did Lan first become a blademaster? Well...between New Spring and The Eye of the World.

    Terez

    (laughs) Okay.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Wait, didn't he...he wasn't a blademaster in New Spring, was he? No...

    Terez

    Not that I'm aware of. And Ryne was better than him then at that time, so...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. So, somewhere in between those two. I suspect that was one of the things that Jim wanted to do in the prequel.

    Terez

    Right. Because there was definitely not a big deal made of it when he killed Toram Riatin.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah.

    Maria Simons

    Okay, the notes say that Lan became a blademaster before he turned 20, which would have been before New Spring. My thoughts on this are that Lan got his sword at an early age, and worked really hard with it, and was judged a blademaster by five blademasters sometime pretty early on. It's not mentioned specifically that I can find in New Spring, but it makes sense to me.

    Tags

  • 96

    Interview: Aug 31st, 2011

    Reddit AMA 2011 (Verbatim)

    simenasak ()

    Will Gaidal Cain be spun out as a hero of the horn of Valere should the horn be sounded again? Can a hero show up there if alive? Will a hero become a "copy" that rests within the horn until called to arms?

    Brandon Sanderson

    As I understand, if you are 'spun out' you do not respond to the call of the Horn. So no Cain showing up if it is sounded again, as he's been spun out.

    Astrogat

    As you understand it? Isn't your understanding more or less canon at this point?

    ilikedirigibles

    No, it's not his world or book series. He can misunderstand something just as well as the next guy.

    Not saying he did here, but just 'cuz he's finishing the series doesn't mean, for example, he can retcon or change anything or do "whatever he wants or thinks".

    Astrogat

    No of course not. But if there are two ways to understand something (that RJ has written) wouldn't it be up to Sanderson to decide which of those he believes to be right?

    So if he thinks that when he's spun out he wont respond to the Horn, no one can ever prove him wrong (there are nothing in the books to contradict this), so wouldn't his understanding be the "right" one?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Here's the thing. There are three million+ words of notes, and RJ changed his mind about a lot of things as he wrote, explored, and made decisions. (He talked about this being his process. He saw the Wheel of Time as an organic thing.) So any time I speak on an issue like this, there's the chance that Maria (his assistant) will come to me and say "Actually, Brandon, he changed his mind on that. Look here for the revision." Half the time, it's something he mentioned in passing to her, Harriet, or Alan and isn't even written down.

    So...on things I think I know, but haven't confirmed with Team Jordan yet, I usually add some wiggle room. My knowledge is far from absolute. Fortunately, everything in the books I write gets fact-checked a half dozen times. (Even then, some of my mistakes slip through.)

    Tags

  • 97

    Interview: Aug 4th, 2011

    Question

    This might seem kind of silly, but is there ever going to be a pronunciation guide for your work, perhaps? I argue with my brother on how the cities of Mistborn novels are pronounced.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah... maybe. I'm not so strict on pronunciation as some other authors are, because when I read books, I just pronounce things however I want in my head, and then I ignore what they said, how they should be pronounced. I can't do that anymore with Wheel of Time. Fans are like, wait a minute, Robert Jordan said it, and I say, "oh, I mean...". Though I once got Harriet and Maria—who is Robert Jordan's assistant—into an argument about how Robert Jordan said one of the names. So even they can't get them all right. Maybe eventually... there is one for Elantris, I believe. Or at least, there's a linguistics guide. Elantris names are easy, though. That's mostly predictable. Yeah, the Aons.

    Tags

  • 98

    Interview: Jul 11th, 2010

    Semirhage666

    Do you have any idea when the "encyclopedia" thing Harriet's working on will be out?

    Brandon Sanderson

    She says that it will come out one year after A Memory of Light. She wants it to be complete, and include all of the information through the last book. She and Maria are working hard on it.

    Tags

  • 99

    Interview: Jul 11th, 2010

    Rword

    Is Maria your fountain of knowledge?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, yes, yes. Her and Alan are VERY useful. Encyclopaedia WOT is my starting point, and they are my deep-researchers.

    Tags

  • 100

    Interview: Jul, 2009

    Chaos2651

    Are you going to write another WoT encyclopedia?

    Harriet, Maria, and Alan are working on one. Harriet promised it to Tor a few years back, and I think it's been officially announced that she's working on it. There is no firm release date. After A Memory of Light is complete, I'd imagine.

    Tags

  • 101

    Interview: Jul, 2009

    Nikleas

    WOT question: Did you go through ALL the notes from RJ on the Wheel of Time (if that is even humanly possible) or just those related to A Memory of Light?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mr. Jordan left behind notes for the series which, word-length wise, is in EXCESS of the length of the written novels. That was just too much for me to handle. I've used Mr. Jordan's assistants for fetching information from these reserves, and have focused most of my efforts on the notes specifically left for A Memory of Light. The Guide has been very helpful. But mostly, if I need to know something from the notes, I send Maria and Alan searching while I work on the actual prose.

    Tags

  • 102

    Interview: Nov 21st, 2011

    LordJuss

    The evening began with the amusing sight of Brandon Sanderson piling various items of furniture on top of one another to create a home-made lectern for his laptop. Following a brief aside on the difference between a lectern and a podium (and how this plays into the editorial process), Brandon read from a novella he’s recently written. [Legion] Apparently, he started it on the flight back to the US the last time he came to the UK. He couldn’t work on the Wheel of Time since he was awaiting the outcome of some research on the notes. He went on to explain that Robert Jordan left a pile of notes roughly half Brandon’s height that his two researchers dip into when Brandon needs an answer to one of his questions. This is normally quick, but it can take several months to come up with a fully researched answer. The reading lasted about eight minutes and seemed to be from the beginning of the novella. I won’t spoil the concept, but it’s clever and deeply silly.

    The evening then moved to a Q&A. Questions and answers are paraphrased from my notes and memory, so they won’t be absolutely word-for-word, but they shouldn’t be much different from the original conversation. I’ve included all the questions, not just the Wheel-related ones.

    Tags

  • 103

    Interview: Apr 10th, 2001

    Kurafire

    How much do you have to do with the Glossary of each book? Do you write it yourself, supervise it or just don’t have anything to do with it?

    Robert Jordan

    I write it myself, yes. Of course, there are some difficulties when I do. I ask my editor and my assistant, both of who get the manuscript to read, simultaneously. I tell them: "Give me a list, what do you think should be in the glossary? What really needs to be in the glossary?" And I take a look at old glossaries, to see if there are things in the old glossaries that should be in the new glossary, and I’ll try to put together something, add in and take out terms, these sort of things. And add in terms that they think should be in the new glossary. They usually come up with a lot of the same things, apart of a few different ones. And there is also the difficulty of how much time is available, with the last four books, last five books I guess. And that is that for each of the last five books—I don’t do the glossary until I finish the book—each of the last five books, there’s been two months from me finishing the book, to the book being in the stores. It’s been, in some of these cases, a week from me finishing the book to the second pass [..] and that means there is hardly no time at all, to write the glossary.

    Tags

  • 104

    Interview: Dec 2nd, 2010

    Andrew Gelos

    One of the questions—and this is a really weird one, at least for me—I was wondering—and obviously we know that if it's pertaining too much to things that are going to be coming out in the books that haven't been released yet, we know that they can't be discussed, and that's completely and totally understandable—but I was really wondering: I've recently started yet another re-read of the series with my wife, and I got to thinking about the Horn of Valere (rhymes with full-AIR)...or Valere (full-EAR)—and once again, I sometimes flip back and forth between the way I originally heard it and the way it probably should be pronounced—but how does the Horn function? Is it actually an old ter'angreal, or is it completely unrelated to the One Power?

    Alan Romanczuk

    Hmm.

    MARIA SIMONS

    Okay...we don't really know. No one really knows. It's an ancient artifact, probably not a ter'angreal.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Excuse me, Maria, I have to interrupt for just a moment. I actually found some notes on this, in the bottom of Jim's desk.

    MARIA SIMONS

    Oh, really?

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    I don't know if anyone's interested.

    VIRGINIA

    Oh yes.

    SPENCER POWELL

    Just a little?

    MARK

    Please, please?

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    The Horn of Valere, as Maria said, it was created by mortals—we know that; Jim has said as much publicly—and the Horn was created in the Age before the Age of Legends, or at least one Age before; it was not known how far back. But I've discovered that the Horn actually was the original Horn played by Dizzy Gillespie. [laughter] It was manufactured by King—it was the silver flare model. And something happened after this Age...there was so much Bebop imbued in this instrument that it took on its own magical qualities, and when it was found during the Age of Legends, the bent bell was refashioned into a curve, and they put in the Old Tongue inscription inside the bell. [laughter]

    ANDREW GELOS

    That is awesome.

    VIRGINIA

    Wow. I never would have guessed that.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Well, it's really obscure. The power of Bebop is unlimited, and it just transformed through the last couple of Ages, to get into Rand's world, with its current...now, originally, when he blew it, musicians would appear.

    VIRGINIA

    AH. Backup band.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    But because of the needs of the time, you know, it suddenly became, Heroes would emerge when it was played. So, that's all we can really say about it. Do you have anything else to add, Maria?

    MARIA SIMONS

    No.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    I can't wait until the Theorylanders get ahold of that.

    VIRGINIA

    Oh yeah. So now we know that the Wheel even weaves inanimate objects into the Pattern, and makes use of them as it wishes.

    MARK

    Now, that story I expect to see in the next Great White Book, version two. [laughter]

    Tags

  • 105

    Interview: Dec 2nd, 2010

    Mark

    Which brings me actually to...well, that was one of the questions I was going to ask later on; I thought I'd pick a different tangent rather than ter'angreal and the Horn of uh…call it vuh-LEAR.

    VIRGINIA

    Please correct our pronunciations, too, you guys, whenever you run across them; that's one of the big things we want to pin down is, how we should pronounce some of these things so if you hear us say something and you don't think it's what RJ would have wanted, then please just break in and say 'no'.

    Maria Simons

    [in her sweet little girl voice] Okay.

    MARIA SIMONS

    Valere (rhyming with vuh-LEAR) was the way he pronounced it.

    MARK

    Yay, I got it right!

    VIRGINIA

    Who's keeping score?

    MARK

    Well, I'm almost never right, so it's good to be able to say I was right for once.

    MARIA SIMONS

    I used to be wrong about a lot of pronunciations when I first started working for him, because that was about the time of A Crown of Swords, and I would say something, and say it wrong, and he would give me this look, like 'What are you saying?' and correct me, so I got most of them down over time.

    VIRGINIA

    I can see that look perfectly, because I actually have a very short video clip from one of the book signings where somebody tried to pronounce 'the Shaido', and he just gave them 'the look', and said, 'It's not Shy-doh. It's not Shadow. It's Shah-EE-doh. Everybody kind of went, [in a small, apologetic voice] 'O-kie.' [laughter] He could quell an entire room with one look. It was amazing.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    The first time I met Jordan at a signing, the first thing he said to me was correcting my pronunciation of something. I was like, 'Awww, I ruined it! He'll never talk to me again now!'

    MARIA SIMONS

    He wouldn't hold it against you. I—

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Oh, yeah. Well clearly he didn't because he did eventually come to DragonCon, so...

    Tags

  • 106

    Interview: Dec 2nd, 2010

    Mark

    Okay. So, I got a question that actually goes all the way back to the very beginning of the series.

    Maria Simons

    Mkay.

    MARK

    Will we ever find out whose voice it was at the end of The Eye of the World?

    MARIA SIMONS

    [pause] [in a sing-song voice] RAFO! (ray-foe)

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Yeah, that's a RAFO. (raffo)

    MARIA SIMONS

    Score!

    MARK

    I figured, but I had to ask.

    MARIA SIMONS

    I wondered how long it would take.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Maria and I have spent some time trying to figure out different ways to say 'read and find out', so we're going to be trying out some of them today, and we'll see how it goes.

    VIRGINIA

    Oh, great.

    SPENCER POWELL

    Oh, this will be fun. Let me see if I can get you another trial run here. Um...Asmodean? [laughter]

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Who's he?

    MARIA SIMONS

    Yeah. Who's that guy?

    VIRGINIA

    He's toast, that's who he is.

    SPENCER POWELL

    No, Sammael's toast.

    ANDREW GELOS

    Yeah, I was going to say.

    VIRGINIA

    Well, I think he is too.

    MARIA SIMONS

    Um, if anybody sees the back of my car, they will see that I killed Asmodean. That's all I'm gonna say. [laughter]

    MARK

    I thought it was Bela!

    JENNIFER LIANG

    I do like the 'Bela killed him' theory. That one is just insane enough to be true.

    MARIA SIMONS

    I like that Bela is the Neigh'blis. [laughter]

    VIRGINIA

    Yeah.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Terrible puns are always a good thing.

    VIRGINIA

    I love it.

    MARIA SIMONS

    And the master of the terrible pun is on this call.

    VIRGINIA

    Ahh.

    MARIA SIMONS

    In Jim's office.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Ahhhh.

    VIRGINIA

    Well feel free. [laugher]

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    I am, I am.

    VIRGINIA

    Pun away. Well, we've got two...you pronounce it 'raffo', right? Not 'rayfo'?

    MARIA SIMONS

    I say 'rayfo'. I don't know that there's a real pronunciation for that one.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    She says 'raffo', I say 'rayfo', so let's call the whole thing off.

    VIRGINIA

    Yeah, well we got two right off the bat. I don't know what else we're going to....well, probably everything.

    Tags

  • 107

    Interview: Dec 2nd, 2010

    Virginia

    Okay, so...my pet peeve is the famous library ter'angreal that was uncovered in Ebou Dar. Why is it that….is all that non-fictional knowledge ever going to come into play, and what's wrong with Elayne that she's not using it to find out some things that they probably desperately need to know? Or I guess she's using it as a doorstop.

    Maria Simons

    Well, 1) we haven't seen Elayne in a whole book; we don't really know what she's doing, and 2) she has problems channeling because of this pregnancy deal, and 3) everything's going to be in the Old Tongue and she's a little busy to sit down and translate documents.

    VIRGINIA

    That's true.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    But you don't understand the significance of that ter'angreal: Jim foreshadowed the creation of the Kindle. [laughter]

    VIRGINIA

    Oh, no!

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Mmhmm, he did. And actually, Elayne—right now as we speak—is in her bed reading fiction on that.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    I bet they're dirty romance novels.

    SPENCER POWELL

    I was going to peg her for an urban fantasy fan.

    MARK

    No, no, no, no, no. She loves the Harlequins. Case closed.

    VIRGINIA

    Oh, the Harlequins. Yeah.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Yes, totally.

    MARK

    Either her or Aviendha, but one of those two is definitely into the Harlequin super-romance.

    VIRGINIA

    How can she get all excited about the cover art of Fabio when she's got Rand? [laughter]

    ANDREW GELOS

    Have you seen the cover of Lord of Chaos?

    VIRGINIA

    Yeah, I'm telling you! No comparison.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Yeah, that one was nicknamed at our house 'Passion of the Aes Sedai'. I actually had to take the dust jacket off of that one when I would take it to school, when I was in high school, because I was like, "I do not want people to think I'm reading some kind of filthy romance novel in class."

    VIRGINIA

    Well, I'm thinking more of, what was it? A Crown of Swords? Where he's got the, uh…all he needs is some baby oil and a little less clothes and he looks like he's posing…

    JENNIFER LIANG

    We love fist-pumping, body-building Rand.

    MARK

    Don't make me get out the water bottle to squirt you ladies. Jeez… [laughter]

    JENNIFER LIANG

    I have a big cardboard cut-out of fist-pumping, baby-oil Rand in my garage right now. I use it as a [decoration] at conventions. [Amusingly, it was stolen at JordanCon 2011, a few months after this interview.]

    VIRGINIA

    Oh, cool.

    SPENCER POWELL

    Is that cool, or is that creepy?

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Well, it's a little insane I think.

    Tags

  • 108

    Interview: Dec 2nd, 2010

    Mark

    While we're talking about non-existent or 'gone' people here, why don't I ask a question that's been irking me for about five or six books now. Where did Gaidal Cain go?

    Maria Simons

    Birgitte thinks he's been reborn into the world.

    SPENCER POWELL

    That's a nice answer.

    MARK

    No kidding.

    SPENCER POWELL

    Birgitte thinks he's been reborn?

    VIRGINIA

    She's mooning over all the ugly boy-children she can get her hands on, thinking "Ohh, maybe this is him!"

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    But keep in mind the only way she thinks that is because she hadn't seen him for a while in Tel'aran'rhiod before she was yanked out by Moghedien. So we don't even know if that's true, do we? (I just threw that out for what it's worth.)

    VIRGINIA

    But she did always say that he was usually born before her, but we don't know how long in real world time, so he could be more than a child, hopefully. Or he could still be lurking in Tel'aran'rhiod.

    SPENCER POWELL

    But there's no way he could be more than a child. Correct me if I'm wrong, Alan, but the entirety of the books we have isn't more than a couple of years, is it?

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Yeah, it's been about twenty-four months for the main characters. Alan would know for sure.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Yes, I'm not saying this is true. Well, of course I know, but I can give you various possibilities: he could be born as a child right now; he could still be lurking in Tel'aran'rhiod; he could have been ripped out the same way Birgitte had been, in which case he would be an adult, right?

    SPENCER POWELL

    Unless he was dead. Because wouldn't it require someone to bond him after he gets ripped out? Wasn't that kind of the deal with Birgitte?

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Mmhmm.

    VIRGINIA

    Well, maybe he's stronger than she was…maybe he's…

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    There are a lot of possibilities.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Unless somebody has a really ugly Warder they're not talking about… [laughter]

    MARK

    Not all Warders are beautiful. I mean…

    VIRGINIA

    Go check Myrelle's quarters. I know Myrelle has a real penchant for hiding extra Warders around… [laughter]

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Yeah, but she likes hers pretty.

    SPENCER POWELL

    She got Lan.

    VIRGINIA

    Lan's impressive, but I don't know if anybody would call him pretty any more. [laughter]

    Tags

  • 109

    Interview: Dec 2nd, 2010

    Andrew Gelos

    I have a kind of a question which…so much doesn't connect directly to the Wheel of Time world except that it also connects Wheel of Time to the broader scope of our world, and I've just been itching to ask this: I've recently been in a course in Restoration Literature, and in the historical studies there, I noted that there seem to be connections between Cairhien and London around the time of the mid-to-early 1600s: the fact that the city is part built against a river, the city burns when the Aiel attack, and there are various cultural features that seem to reflect London around that time period, and I was wondering, am I just completely imagining this? I know occasionally Mr. Jordan would take things from various different places and kind of merge them together to create a unique, individual space, and I just was sort of wondering if there is actually any of historical London in Cairhien, and if there is, is there any more anywhere else in the major cities?

    Alan Romanczuk

    Yes, yes. One thing you have to remember about Jim is he never did a single reference in any of his descriptions, whether it's a military uniform, a city, a character—everything seemed to draw from multiple sources. So yes, Cairhien was most likely in part based on London, but you look at the map of it, and you can see it's very different as well. It's laid out in a very rigid grid fashion. You could say in that case, well, maybe it's based on New York City in part as well, and it has a palace up on the highest hill within the bounds of the city. That's not true of London, but it's true of other places. And London wasn't the only city burned by attack; there were many others. But yeah, I mean Jim had a huge number of books in his reference library, and he traveled a lot as well, so he saw many of these places, and in typical Jim fashion...you know, I wouldn't be surprised if he had eight or ten or twelve influences in the creation of Cairhien.

    ANDREW GELOS

    That's great, because what actually caught my notice—because, even the Great Fire of 1666 probably would have passed me by in connection to the Wheel of Time world, except for the fact that, then I looked at the semi-Puritanical dress that the nobles in the city were taken to wearing, and then we were…I actually on the day I thought of this question was sitting there looking at a screen with the picture of Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector, and I was just like, "You know, that's like, almost what I kind of envisioned the Cairhienin nobility to kind of look like."

    VIRGINIA

    Well, one thing we've never seen in any of the Wheel of Time history that I can recall—and London, just talking about it brought it to mind—is, we've never seen a large-scale plague in history, like with the Great Plague of the year…I've forgotten now.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Mmhmm.

    MARIA SIMONS

    Yeah.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Well, of course, so many of the rats have been eliminated, but they're back now.

    VIRGINIA

    They're back! Maybe your plague is coming, like they need more trouble. [laughter]

    MARIA SIMONS

    The Last… (cross-talk)

    VIRGINIA

    No, go ahead…

    MARIA SIMONS

    The Last Battle is…

    JENNIFER LIANG

    It's funny that you brought up London as an influence, because most people when they're talking about influences on Cairhien, they really pick up on the court of the Sun King and Marie Antoinette because the style is very, you know, 1700s, late-1700s and Marie Antoinette, and there's also a lot of Japanese influence, and that tends to be what people pick up on. So this is the first time I've had somebody say, "You know, I think there's a London in Cairhien," so that's kind of interesting.

    VIRGINIA

    I guess everybody brings something different to the books, and interprets them in their own way.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Oh yeah, definitely.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Yeah, another interesting point: anyone remember what the name Cairhien means in the Old Tongue?

    ANDREW GELOS

    Hill of the Golden Dawn.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Hill of the Golden Dawn. The Order of the Golden Dawn was an occult society in London back before the beginning of the 20th Century.

    FOOTNOTE

    This particular society was Kabbalistic, and their hierarchy is based on the Tree of Life. Many other parallels can be drawn.

    VIRGINIA

    Yeah, that's right. I'd forgotten that.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Which I just bring out as, you know, yet another thing that Jim latched on to and threw into the mix.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Most people think 'the hill of the golden dawn' is like, 'Oh, the land of the rising sun!' which would be Japan, because there's a heavy Japanese influence in just the style of the buildings and things like that seem very Japanese.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Sure. And the Sun King of France.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Yeah. It's kind of like he just pulled everything that was related to the sun and just kind of melded it together to make Cairhien.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Yeah.

    MARIA SIMONS

    He liked mixing things up.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    And it works really well. That's the surprising thing to me is that he was able to pull from so many different sources and make things seem very coherent and logical for the cultures.

    VIRGINIA

    Yeah, I like the fact that everything that you read as you're going along, all these things sort of tug at the back of your mind and you're thinking, 'Oh, this reminds me of this, and this reminds me of that', and it makes you really think that it adds a depth to the thing that you can come back later and explore it again.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Okay, I've got a game for you. Go to Wikipedia. Put in something like 'golden dawn', let's say…or just anything. Pull anything from the Wheel of Time books that's distinctive. Put it into Wikipedia until you find a hit. I almost guarantee, within that article, you're going to find yet another reference from the Wheel of Time. Track that. See how many hits you can go before you run out.

    VIRGINIA

    I'll have to try that.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    I did that the other day, and I wound up spending an hour and a half of just going from one thing to another. It was really amazing.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Yeah, I can see myself losing an afternoon doing that.

    VIRGINIA

    Oh yeah, easily.

    SPENCER POWELL

    Very easily.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    I've lost too many hours to Wiki-walking already.

    VIRGINIA

    I guess that's why it bothers me so much about that library ter'angreal…if I had that, I'd never be able to put it down, and I guess I just don't understand how somebody could…if they can't deal with it, then delegate, but this is me. It's the equivalent of having a computer hooked up to the internet; I could not walk away from it. It would be a Mindtrap for me. [laughter]

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  • 110

    Interview: Dec 2nd, 2010

    Virginia

    Another question that I've always wondered about—well, for a very long time anyways—is the idea of a channeler being able to be turned to the Dark One by the combination of thirteen Dreadlords—or presumably Black Ajah—channeling through thirteen Myrddraal, and I've speculated like everybody has who it might be, but can you tell us without a RAFO, have we yet met someone who has been turned against their will, and is there a way to detect it?

    MARIA SIMONS

    Not that we know of.

    VIRGINIA

    We don't know that we've met anyone yet?

    MARIA SIMONS

    Right.

    VIRGINIA

    Okay. Think they'll discover a way to be able to detect someone who has been turned?

    MARIA SIMONS

    Anything is possible. [laughter]

    VIRGINIA

    More Aes Sedai answers. But I guess I expected that!

    MARK

    Well, what do you expect? You are of the Brown Ajah there...

    VIRGINIA

    Green. I'm Green. If I were Aes Sedai I'd be Green.

    Tags

  • 111

    Interview: Dec 2nd, 2010

    Andrew Gelos

    I guess part of the thing that is interesting to me, and I guess being a student of Literature, I am horribly fascinated with fictional languages. How extensive is the vocabulary of the Old Tongue as it exists right now? I'm assuming that there is more of it than we have seen in the novels. And do you know if there were rules set down to explain the creation of the vocabulary? And kind of alongside that, is there—obviously I kind of take the answer about London to be a similar question, or a similar answer towards whether or not there's an actual philological basis for the Old Tongue—part of what I'm wondering is…I've been using the Shienaran phrase "Suravye ninto manshima taishite" as sort of our closing for the podcast. I'm tentatively wondering how badly I'm butchering that.

    Alan Romanczuk

    Oh, you're spot on. Spot on.

    VIRGINIA

    Yay Andrew!

    ANDREW GELOS

    Sweet!

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Jim actually spoke pretty extensively in public about the Old Tongue, and I even pulled up a letter that he had written about it in which he says, "The Old Tongue is based on, for example, the languages: Gaelic, Russian, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, and some additions of my own—bridging material if you will. Grammar and syntax are a blending of English, German, and Chinese with some influence from a set of African languages read about long ago, and all but the oddities of structure long since forgotten." He has converted constructions…the thing about the Old Tongue, the way that it's constructed…it is a very loose language, like Latin I guess; it can be presented in almost any order and be intelligible to someone who knows it, and there are several conventions involved in it which could be explained for a longer podcast, but those are the basics. He really did pull them from a lot of different areas, and he started by constructing the language—as I recall there is a list of 850 or 880 common words that you need to know to be able to speak in English, and I don't know who created these, but he had that. We have file, and he modified that, kicking out some words like 'electricity' and so forth that wouldn't be useful in this, and adding some others, and putting definitions to them in Old Tongue. I never added it up, but he said we had a file of about a thousand words, and this dictionary will be published at a later time.

    VIRGINIA

    Great.

    ANDREW GELOS

    That is awesome.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    And that will be part of the encyclopedia, actually.

    ANDREW GELOS

    That'll be great.

    VIRGINIA

    I can't wait. That sort of leads me into my next question which is something that, two years ago when Brandon was out on the Mistborn tour—the last Mistborn book tour—during an interview, I asked him if he could please come up with some way for us to say phrases having to do with the Light, such as 'Walk in the Light,' or 'May the Light illumine you' in the Old Tongue, and he said he would do his best, and I think he just forgot. But we do have the audio; he kind of sort of promised us. We're hoping that maybe you can bail him out on this one. [laughter]

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Well, I think all will be revealed in the encyclopedia.

    VIRGINIA

    Aww, I can't wait that long!

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Except what isn't revealed.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    How far is the encyclopedia coming? People ask me about it occasionally, and I'm like, 'I dunno; they're working on it.'

    MARIA SIMONS

    Well, it's been back-burner recently because we're doing Towers of Midnight, but that's my next project to get back into, doing basically the skeleton for it, and after A Memory of Light we will go full bore on it.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Oh, excellent. I remember Harriet saying that it was due one year after the final book, whenever the final book is out.

    MARIA SIMONS

    Right.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    And we're working on it in between when we get time, when we're not doing podcasts and so forth. [laughter]

    VIRGINIA

    Oh, now you're making us feel guilty. [laughter] But not very.

    Tags

  • 112

    Interview: Dec 2nd, 2010

    Andrew Gelos

    One of the earliest questions I came up with for this interview…just idle curiosity: What are some of the most commonly mispronounced words from the series other than Lan, Aiel, Seanchan, and Shaido?

    Maria Simons

    Egwene (egg-WAYNE), Taim (tah-EEM), Faile (fah-EEL), Egeanin (egg-ee-AH-nin), [???—Ethenielle? (eth-IN-ee-əl]…that's all I can think of off the top of my head. Well, Nynaeve (nigh-NEEVE) seems to be mispronounced a lot too.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    I could not even read her name when I first saw it. I was just like, "I'm going to skip her; she seems like a minor character." And then I was like, "Aw, crap; she's actually in this story; I'm gonna have to figure out how to actually read her name."

    VIRGINIA

    I can't believe it; I've actually been saying them all pretty well. It's always a worry, especially when you're doing a podcast, because you know, when people are going to be listening, you don't want to start a trend if it's not going to be the right thing.

    ANDREW GELOS

    The worst is when we get the feedback that says, "You're not saying that right! Get your pronunciations correct; you're supposed to be experts. Then it's like, "No, we're not." We actually say a lot that we're nowhere near experts in the series.

    VIRGINIA

    We're just fans like the rest of you guys.

    MARIA SIMONS

    I still say some things wrong, but I've been saying them that way for a long time, so…people can get over it.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    At the reading that we did at DragonCon, Brandon had to read the word "Aesdaishar" for the first time out loud, and he had to stop and be like, "I've never said this word before; make sure I get it right." That was funny.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Oh, and Elayne's brother is Galad (gə-LAHD), and Gawyn (GAH-win).

    SPENCER POWELL

    Yes! We've been getting those right too!

    MARIA SIMONS

    And see, I usually say GAL-id (like the word 'gal'). I know it's wrong, but that's what comes out of my mouth. But I have on my little piece of paper here it's gə-LAHD.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    We'll just chalk it up to you being southern. Gallid is the southern way of saying it.

    FOOTNOTE—TEREZ

    I am from Mississippi, and I say gə-LAHD. Just saying.

    Tags

  • 113

    Interview: Dec 2nd, 2010

    Mark

    I actually have a question that leads more onto the line of channeling and weaves—and I think this might have been yours, Virginia, but it's also been tickling the back of my mind for a while. Why is that no other channelers have rediscovered any lost weaves—like they did with Traveling, Skimming, cuendillar, real Healing, and all that fun stuff—before the Wondergirls?

    Maria Simons

    Well, we don't really know no one did. If they did, they didn't share it, sure. You know, not all channelers are Aes Sedai, and even Aes Sedai don't always share things.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Yeah, they keep a lot back.

    MARIA SIMONS

    The Blue Ajah, you know, has all its little secret weaves, and I'm sure all the other Ajahs do as well. And two, there's always the whole thing that, 'the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills', and sometimes the Wheel weaves out what it needs, and with the Last Battle coming, it needs all the help it can get…so the really talented people, the really ta'veren people, they come out again. That's for most of them. For Healing, maybe there's a different answer. Aes Sedai…they know how to Heal people, and that's the way they do it, and they don't need to know anything better! I mean, it's just Aes Sedai being Aes Sedai. They think they know what they're doing, so they don't look for a better way to do it.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    And if they have discovered a better way to do it, they're probably not sharing it with other people, because every Aes Sedai is looking for an advantage over the others.

    MARIA SIMONS

    Right.

    MARK

    Oh, okay. So then that sort of partially answers the next half of my question, which is: How did some of these weaves get lost in the first place?

    VIRGINIA

    Oh, my favorite rant. All the Aes Sedai woke up one morning with amnesia. How did I Travel? I can't remember.

    MARIA SIMONS

    Well, part of it…I mean, I was reading, of all things, the Big White Book, and you know, the Breaking lasted a really long time, and things were really breaking. I mean, you might know how to Travel, but you didn't know if where you were trying to go was still there. You know, it might be in the middle of the ocean now, or on top of a mountain, so people probably weren't Traveling as much...and Aes Sedai were being killed right and left. There were all these crazy men, channelers wiping out entire cities, and the Aes Sedai women were trying to stop them, and sometimes they succeeded, and sometimes not…so, things really went to hell in a handbasket. Fast. And, you know, if a woman knew how to channel and she couldn't find anyone else who had the strength to channel, she couldn't really teach anybody to channel.

    VIRGINIA

    That's true.

    MARIA SIMONS

    To Travel, is what I meant to say.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Yeah, there was a time of course when the White Tower wasn't there. You know, the White Tower was a recent innovation in the grand scheme of things, and so the Aes Sedai after the Breaking were everywhere, so there wasn't that institutional memory in all things at that point, and things were lost.

    VIRGINIA

    So the Hall of the Servants, then, basically was a much looser organization than the somewhat hierarchical White Tower…

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Mmhmm.

    VIRGINIA

    …than we have now.

    MARIA SIMONS

    Mmhmm.

    VIRGINIA

    So we have a sort of central storing place for knowledge, or anything like that.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Right.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Yeah, think of what would happen to us if there was a horrible disaster that wiped out the internet. We would lose all of our knowledge except for, you know, the stuff that we still have in books. But you know, a good portion of our knowledge and communication that is electronic now would be gone.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    But this podcast would remain in people's hearts. [laughter]

    VIRGINIA

    Well, you got me on that one, Maria, because if my computer was suddenly taken away and there were no others to replace it, I think I would probably have the equivalent of amnesia. It's my plastic brain, and I really need it. [laughter]

    JENNIFER LIANG

    I've always thought that the lost talents were related to strength, because the modern Aes Sedai are weaker than the Age of Legends Aes Sedai, and a lot of these rediscovered weaves require a certain level of strength that just doesn't exist in those Aes Sedai.

    MARIA SIMONS

    Right, and also talent, because to do this Healing, you have to have a certain Talent for Healing. To make cuendillar...Janya couldn't make cuendillar worth a darn, and…she didn't have that Talent, so if somebody knew it, but there was nobody they could teach it to, it's gone!

    VIRGINIA

    Yeah.

    MARK

    Well, the thing is though…leading up to that comment: remember in—I believe it was Crossroads, but it might have been Knife of Dreams—when Sorilea (soar-ih-LAY-uh)—I have no idea if this is how it's pronounced...

    MARIA SIMONS

    (soar-ih-LEE-uh)

    MARK

    She taught Cadsuane how to Travel, even though she couldn't make the weave work herself. So just because you don't have the strength to make the weave finish doesn't mean you can't form the weave anyway.

    MARIA SIMONS

    That's true, but...okay. We've got our nameless Aes Sedai after the Breaking, and she's found a little crew of people, and none of them are strong enough to Travel. Well, she's going to show them how to do it anyway and hopefully one day they'll find somebody strong enough but, you know, they never do. So we've got the same thing, and you know, sooner or later it's going to…if you can't actually use it for anything, you're going to put it aside and not pay any attention to it, and it will get lost.

    VIRGINIA

    Or, by the time that bunch of people finds someone who is [strong enough], it might have gone through several iterations and they might have the weave just a little bit wrong, so that it doesn't work either.

    MARIA SIMONS

    Yeah.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    And—correct me if I'm wrong on this—but I don't think it's possible to write down how to do a weave. I think it's something that you have to learn through demonstration. You can't just write it down, and be like, 'Well, I'll put this on the shelf, and some day a hundred years from now someone will come along and pick it up and figure out how to weave...whatever from this. I feel like you have to be shown how to do a weave.

    MARIA SIMONS

    That is...I mean, that's how they do it. You know, the novices don't run around with heavy books; they run around being taught by actual people. It's my belief that writing might could give clues or something, but you have to be able to show it or work it out on your own.

    VIRGINIA

    Of course, I was going to say they could just check on YouTube and find out how, but then, would the One Power weaves even show up on video? [laughter] If they even had that...

    MARIA SIMONS

    Oh, that's a good question!

    VIRGINIA

    I actually was just wondering about that; I wonder if any these things—I'm sure that the effects would—but I presume that if most non-channelers can't see weaves that probably there's nothing there for a video to pick up, either...but it's an interesting question.

    MARIA SIMONS

    That is.

    VIRGINIA

    How to detect channeling: Whip out your camcorder! [laughter]

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    With a wi-fi finder.

    VIRGINIA

    Yeah, okay. I'm going to be good now. That would be too funny. It's a shame Jessi couldn't be with us. She really wanted to be, but she had to work, and couldn't get off. One of her favorite premises is, you know, how drastically the Wheel of Time story would all be changed if they had access to cell phones and texting and the internet and everything.

    MARIA SIMONS

    Oh yeah. There would be no story.

    SPENCER POWELL

    They do though! Elayne has the communication ter'angreal. They have cell phones...ish. They just don't use them! [laughter]

    MARIA SIMONS

    Give 'em time.

    VIRGINIA

    I sort of [?] a couple of the guys before one time when we were podcasting and I had to get up in the office; I was working and I had to turn a phone off, and I came back and I said "I just had to disable that callbox ter'angreal." And they said, "Oh, you are such a geek." [laughter]

    SPENCER POWELL

    It's true.

    VIRGINIA

    A 'dork' is what actually they said.

    MARK

    No, you are a geek, because dorks have no social status whereas geeks are more knowledgeable in one or two given fields, and since we are all major WoT nerds—we qualify as nerds, not dorks.

    VIRGINIA

    Yeah, we got some cred there anyway.

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  • 114

    Interview: Dec 2nd, 2010

    Mark

    So, here's one that—I think this actually might have been yours, Spencer, cause it sounds like almost your mental acumen that would have asked this one—with the exception of Rand, who is Lews Therin Telamon reborn, are there any of the other characters that are reincarnations of prominent historical figures?

    Maria Simons

    There's Birgitte.

    VIRGINIA

    Yeah, but apart from Birgitte, yeah. I've always had this sort of fantasy in my mind that Nynaeve might be the reincarnation of Eldrene, the last queen of Manetheren, or something like that. And Mat, you know…gosh, he seems like...before he even left the Two Rivers, the Old Blood was coming out really strongly in him; it makes me wonder if he's not the actual rebirth of some extraordinary battle hero from Mathetheren. [silence]

    MARIA SIMONS

    Um...

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Interesting speculation. [laughter]

    VIRGINIA

    Which is going to go nowhere!

    MARK

    We're not putting answers into their mouths! We're supposed to be getting answers from them, not giving them answers to give back to us! [laughter]

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Oh, was that a question?

    VIRGINIA

    Well, sort of!

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    No, you're doing well; keep going. [laughter]

    MARK

    He's going to do what he always does; he's going to sit back and listen to all the answers until he finds one that he likes, and he says, "You know what? That was it!" [laughter]

    VIRGINIA

    Well, I guess this is something that we're just gonna have to hopefully read and find out...

    MARIA SIMONS

    Yeah...

    VIRGINIA

    …or I hope some of these questions are not going to be Brandon has said that Robert Jordan just said that 'this does not get resolved', you know...

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    That would be a shame. [laughter]

    VIRGINIA

    I'm not sure where that will leave us. Endlessly speculating till the Wheel stops turning…

    MARIA SIMONS

    There's no beginning or ending to the Wheel of Time.

    MARK

    Virginia will be reborn again once she passes and she will still be even more into WoT than she was now. [laughter] I can see it.

    VIRGINIA

    Impossible.

    MARK

    I can see it.

    VIRGINIA

    Physically impossible.

    MARK

    You'll learn your letters so you can read Robert Jordan in the cradle. [laughter]

    SPENCER POWELL

    I think you'll have a huge advantage, cause all the books will be out by then and you'll just be able to read 'em one after the other.

    VIRGINIA

    That's right, although I was going to say that I think I have the advantage, I was probably reading Robert Jordan when a couple of you guys were in the cradle.

    SPENCER POWELL

    Yeah, probably.

    ANDREW GELOS

    Yeah, probably.

    MARK

    Well, not in the cradle, but I was itty bitty when the first book came out.

    SPENCER POWELL

    I think I was still in the cradle.

    MARIA SIMONS

    Wow. I feel old.

    MARK

    Yeah, that's cause he…that's cause you're just…

    SPENCER POWELL

    I am twenty. I'm not even twenty yet, so...

    MARIA SIMONS

    Oh my gosh!

    MARK

    You weren't even born when the first book came out, buddy.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Oh, wow.

    VIRGINIA

    There you go.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Whoa.

    MARIA SIMONS

    Oh, wow.

    VIRGINIA

    Yeah, but they still put up with me, and I think I'm older than Cad-swayne. Is that right? Cad-swayne? Cad-swanee?

    MARIA SIMONS

    Cad-swayne!

    VIRGINIA

    Oh, yay! Whew. So far I'm...

    SPENCER POWELL

    Except that we know that Cadsuane is a couple hundred years old, which, you know, is older than the country.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Yeah.

    MARIA SIMONS

    Yeah.

    VIRGINIA

    Okay, so I'm not quite older than Cadsuane...

    MARK

    You come close.

    VIRGINIA

    Yeah, I feel like it. Anyway, enough of that...

    MARK

    You're as old as Re-anne. Or is it Re-annie?

    MARIA SIMONS

    Re-AH-nah.

    VIRGINIA

    Re-AH-nah, okay.

    MARK

    Ah.

    SPENCER POWELL

    That's on that list.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Yeah, I've been saying that one wrong the whole time.

    VIRGINIA

    In general, are ending Es pronounced in the Wheel of Time names, like Reanne?

    MARIA SIMONS

    It varies. He wasn't really…I mean, sometimes yes, and sometimes…I mean, I was thinking about this, because if Cadsuane's final e was pronounced, she would be Cad-soo-ae-nah, like Macarena, and you could do a whole dance. But… [laughter] There doesn't really seem to be a rule. It's just how he felt that day I think, or how it sounded to him.

    VIRGINIA

    Some are, and some aren't, you know. It is kind of confusing, but we don't know for sure, if we're even right when we guess that, so you be the arbiter on this one. Unless, as Brandon said in our interview to him, unless Robert Jordan comes down to us in a beam of white light and sets us straight, some of these things may not ever be known for sure, so you have to tell us as best you can. Speaking of names that end in E , two that almost kind of strike me are, um…I started out saying muh-RELL, and then I kind of went to muh-RELL-uh, because of the presumption that the final Es were pronounced, so I don't know for sure which one is right on that; I go back and forth between that.

    MARIA SIMONS

    That's interesting. I say my-RELL. I'm not absolutely sure that's the way Jim said it.

    VIRGINIA

    Okay, what about lee-AHN, or is it lee-AHN-uh?

    MARIA SIMONS

    lee-AHN-uh is correct. That one is Leanne. And Reanne.

    VIRGINIA

    Yay!

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    I believe that Myrelle…it's my-RELL.

    VIRGINIA

    my-RELL?

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    my-RELL.

    VIRGINIA

    You pronounce the Y?

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Mm-hmm. Like 'my'.

    VIRGINIA

    Okay, good.

    Tags

  • 115

    Interview: Dec 2nd, 2010

    Spencer Powell

    How close was Verin's approximation on her accuracy in detecting the members of the Black that she had written in the amazing book that she gave to Egwene?

    Maria Simons

    It was pretty close. She did a good job.

    VIRGINIA

    That is interesting, because I'm still speculating that there may be other Black Ajah working around that haven't been discovered, and actually I have a whole load of questions I'd love to ask, but I just know they're all gonna be…you know, "Read and Find Out" answers. It always amazes me that Egwene spent so much time under Halima's thumb, in a way, that I can't believe that the only weaves that she laid on her were producing migraines. It makes you wonder if there isn't some hidden Compulsion weave going on there, that we'll find out later that maybe some of the Black Ajah in the White Tower could take advantage of. You know, there are so many things like that that I just know…

    MARIA SIMONS

    Yeah, I don't wanna go there.

    SPENCER POWELL

    I don't think that there's any Black Ajah left in the White Tower currently.

    VIRGINIA

    I wouldn't wanna bet my life on that. I don't think there are many.

    MARK

    Other than Mesaana who's hiding somewhere because she can defeat the Oath Rod, or so thinks Egwene herself in the end of The Gathering Storm.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Well, you still have the Black Ajah that escaped, too.

    VIRGINIA

    Mm-hmm.

    MARK

    Yeah, there was a lot of those that got out.

    SPENCER POWELL

    And we have Maria and Alan just sitting there going, "Yep, yep; you do." [laughter]

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    No, I was just thinking that she was minimizing headaches. What a horrible thing for migraine-sufferers.

    VIRGINIA

    Oh, listen…I get migraines. I have complete and total sympathy for anybody that gets migraines, but it seems to me like that probably wasn't the most…probably wasn't the only thing that she was doing to poor Egwene.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Well, the consensus that we…that was in the WoTFAQ when I was editing that article this summer was that Halima doing something to suppress Egwene's Dreaming talent so that she was not getting messages about the future any more, from whatever causes this to happen, and so the headache is the side-effect of that. I don't know if this is true or not; this is just the fan speculation from the WoTFAQ, but it is very telling that as soon as she gets away from Halima and is in the White Tower, her Dreaming ability comes back, because she had been having nightmares that she couldn't remember before about being chased by something, or something like that, and then when she gets into the White Tower, she stops having those nightmares, and she starts having the prophetic dreams again.

    SPENCER POWELL

    And she stops having headaches as well.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Yeah, and the headaches go away. And she does not make the connection in Knife of Dreams when she first sees this happen. I don't remember if she makes the connection in The Gathering Storm when she finds out about Halima's infiltration of the Salidar Aes Sedai. I have to go back and reread The Gathering Storm in the next couple of weeks, because I'm a little fuzzy on the details there.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Mm-hmm. Well, it certainly seems plausible. [laughter]

    VIRGINIA

    I'm not surprised that you guys have got this down to an art.

    MARK

    You guys give the perfect Aes Sedai answers.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    I love it when I ask Maria and Alan things that relate to FAQ, and they'll just kind of smile and nod at me and go, 'That's a good guess!'

    VIRGINIA

    I was going to say another Aes Sedai answer, but then...I wonder if we’re going to get the Asha’man known for convoluted answers, but then they don’t have the oath rod to get around. They can say whatever they want to at all times.

    SPENCER POWELL

    They'll just blow you up and have done with it.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Yeah. They are refreshingly direct about their methods.

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  • 116

    Interview: Dec 2nd, 2010

    Virginia

    But we have about twenty-some minutes left to go. I think before we get into our list of pronunciations even deeper, is there anything that you—Maria and Alan—would like to tell us, or things that you think we might have overlooked in the conversation. I mean, what could you let us know that isn't going to be [inaudible]…anything?

    Maria Simons

    Hmm. There's a book coming out on November 2nd? [laughter]

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    We're surprised you haven't asked about that, and we were fully prepared to, but I'm sorry, we've run out of time. [laughter]

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  • 117

    Interview: Nov, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    I plot backward. I start with a goal, and then I build an outline that gets me to that goal. And then I write forward. With the Wheel of Time books, I'm in a unique position because often I have that goal already stated in the notes, or it's a scene that Robert Jordan has written that I need to get to. The outline for the first two was very detailed, because Robert Jordan had all of these materials which I needed to weave into an outline. We say there was an outline. Really there was a list of scenes in no particular order, and I had to turn them into an outline. And I wanted to go over that with Maria and Harriet and make sure I wasn't screwing anything up.

    Tags

  • 118

    Interview: Dec 2nd, 2010

    Virginia

    Okay. Well…I guess we'll just go into the pronunciations.

    SPENCER POWELL

    Well, our next little bit needs a little bit of a lead-in for our listeners who don't have access to our huge list of questions like we do. As part of our interview questions, we have a list of words, and we asked, "How do you pronounce each of these words?" And there are about 43 of them. There are probably some on here that don't need to be on here, and I know that there aren't some on here that should be, but these are the 43 that we came up with.

    VIRGINIA

    Yeah, Spencer got mad at me because I went and annotated the list, like…I gotta be exact, and he's like "No…"

    SPENCER POWELL

    I didn't get mad at you! I just took 'em off; I'm like, "Oh yeah, you're right; take that one off." Anyway. And so Maria, Alan…would you please go through the list and tell us how to pronounce these names and places?

    Maria Simons

    Okay, here we go. And I may, you know, be wrong on some. But others, I'm pretty sure of.

    VIRGINIA

    And feel free to add some in if something occurs to you as you're going.

    MARIA SIMONS

    O-kay. We have add-uh-LAY-us. (Adeleas) el-FINN. (Aelfinn) eyes-DEYE-shar. (Aesdaishar) (RJ used EYE to rhyme with the word 'eye') ahm-uh-DEE-see-uh. (Amadicia) [glossary: ah-mah-DEE-see-ah] (ah=ahhh sound, uh=schwa) ERR-id doe-MAHN. (Arad Doman) [glossary: AH-rad do-MAHN] arr-uh-FELL. (Arafel) [glossary: AH-rah-fehl] brr-GEE-tuh. (Birgitte) (hard G) [glossary: ber-GEET-teh] Brenn. (Bryne) [glossary: BRIHN, GAH-rehth] KEYE-ree-enn. (Cairhien) [glossary: KEYE-ree-EHN] CHA fah-EEL. (Cha Faile) (mid ch) drag-car. (Draghkar) [glossary: DRAGH-kahr] EEL-finn. (Eelfinn) guh-LAHD. (Galad) [glossary: gah-LAHD] GAH-win. (Gawyn) [glossary: GAH-wihn] GALE-donn. (Ghealdan) [glossary: GHEL-dahn] I'm not sure if it's huh-REEN or huh-REEN-uh. (Harine) din toe-GAHR-uh Two Winds. ILL-ee-in. (Illian) [glossary: IHL-lee-ahn] ill-ee-AY-nuh. (? - AY is long A) CAN-door. (Kandor) (door like the word) lee-AH-nuh. (Leane) [glossary: lee-AHN-eh shah-REEF] mall-KEER. (Malkier) [glossary: mahl-KEER] my-EEN. (Mayene) [glossary: may-EHN] myur-an-DEE. (Murandy) [glossary: MEW-ran-dee] MEER-drahl. (Myrddraal) [glossary: MUHRD-draal] NEIGH-bliss. Sorry. NAY-bliss. [laughter] (Nae'blis) NEFF. (Naeff?) nee-AHM Passes (Niamh Passes) nigh-NEEV. (Nynaeve) [glossary: NIGH-neev al-MEER-ah] Plains of mah-REE-doh. (Plains of Maredo) ree-AH-nuh. (Reanne) seye-DAR. (saidar). [glossary: sah-ih-DAHR] seye-DEEN. (saidin) [glossary: sah-ih-DEEN] sall-DAY-uh. (Saldaea) [glossary: sahl-DAY-ee-ya] see-AEN. (Seaine?) Alan…

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    SHE-nar.

    MARIA SIMONS

    SHE-nar. (Shienar) [glossary: shy-NAHR] Swan. (Siuan) [glossary: SWAHN SAHN-chay] sor-uh-LEE-uh. (Sorilea) [glossary: soh-rih-LEE-ah] terra-BONN. (Tarabon) [glossary: TAH-rah-BON] TAR-win's Gap. (Tarwin's Gap) tell-uh-RON-ree-odd. (Tel'aran'rhiod) [glossary: tel-AYE-rahn-rhee-ODD] Tower of genn-JEYE. (Ghenjei) (hard G) truh-MALL-king. (Tremalking) [glossary: treh-MAL-king] too-AH-thuh-AHN. (Tuatha'an) [glossary: too-AH-thah-AHN]

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Do you want to go over the saidar/saidin thing we talked about?

    MARIA SIMONS

    In the glossaries of the books, Jim has it sah-ih-DEEN and sah-ih-DAHR, but I swear, I don't think he pronounced it that way; I mean you kind of give a little hint of the i but not much: sah-ee-DEEN, sah-ee-DAHR.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Yeah, he always seemed to be saying seye-DEEN and seye-DAHR.

    SPENCER POWELL

    I'm surprised at how many of those I thought I knew, but I didn't.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Yeah. That's like, "Waait a second, that's not…but oh, I guess it is."

    MARK

    How do you pronounce the Traveling people again?

    MARIA SIMONS

    too-AH-thah-AHN.

    VIRGINIA

    There's something else with the double A there…

    MARIA SIMONS

    ah-tha-AHN mee-AIR. (Atha'an Miere)

    VIRGINIA

    Okay, great. Any others you can think of that are commonly mangled, that would have driven Jim crazy?

    MARIA SIMONS

    I think I've mentioned tah-EEM before, and egg-ee-AH-nin…

    VIRGINIA

    dee-MAN-dred? dee-MAHN-dred? DEE-man-dred?

    MARIA SIMONS

    Ehh...dee-MAHN-dred, I think…but I wouldn't swear dee-MAHN-dred. [glossary: DEE-man-drehd]

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Pretty straightforward.

    VIRGINIA

    How about all of the Forsaken? A lot of them often get mangled, or a few. GRIN-doll?

    MARIA SIMONS

    Grindle, is how I say it. [glossary: GREHN-dahl] And it's interesting, just looking at a thing, and I pronounce CADD-in-soar (cadin'sor) wrong. [glossary: KAH-dihn-sohr]

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Oh really?

    MARIA SIMONS

    Yeah, because it's supposed to be cah-DIN-soar. [It's not, according to the glossary.]

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Okay, because I say it the way you say it.

    VIRGINIA

    Yeah, I think… [inaudible] so that makes sense.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Oh! ish-AH-may-el, and SAM-may-el. [glossary: ih-SHAH-may-EHL, SAHM-may-EHL] [When RJ said it, the 'may' part was more like the German 'Mai'.]

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Yes. Those are really common mistakes; I hear that a lot.

    VIRGINIA

    Ben [?] was right; we had that famous tagline from the original podcast, and we had this thing…I think, "Sammael was pretty buff!" [laughter] We used that a lot, and it sort of went away when he did, I guess.

    SPENCER POWELL

    Another one that I have lots of problems with—and I can't believe I didn't get it on the list—but is the GOLL-um (gholam), or the…I can't even pronounce it right now.

    MARK

    GO-lem?

    SPENCER POWELL

    Yeah, the GO-lem, that's chasing Mat.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Yeah.

    MARIA SIMONS

    Gollum.

    SPENCER POWELL

    Gollum?

    VIRGINIA

    Oh, it's Gollum! [crosstalk]

    MARIA SIMONS

    I am not absolutely sure, but that's how I say it, so…

    VIRGINIA

    What about some of the other Seanchan beasts that made me think of, the grolm, then there were two of the others that…

    MARIA SIMONS

    ROCK-in (raken), and TOE-rock-in. (to'raken)

    VIRGINIA

    Yeah, and then there was another one, the um…

    MARIA SIMONS

    Torm…the book is right in front of me…

    VIRGINIA

    Oh, maybe it was the name of that…oh, Suroth's pet!

    MARK

    S'redit?

    MARIA SIMONS

    Oh yes, that thing. I can't remember… [crosstalk]

    VIRGINIA

    Mandra…Mandragal?…Almandragal.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    The LOW-par (lopar)?

    VIRGINIA

    Yeah, the lopar. Almandaragal was his name, or something like that?

    MARIA SIMONS

    Something like that. I would have to look it up.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    It was a LOW-par (lopar), wasn't it?

    VIRGINIA

    Yeah, lopar. I think there was another one that I couldn't…maybe I'm just hallucinating. [laughs]

    MARIA SIMONS

    Let's see…

    VIRGINIA

    I'm sure there's a zillion others I'll think of after you're off the air here with us…

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Oh, s'RED-dit (s'redit) is another one. Remember the elephant-like creature?

    MARIA SIMONS

    Corlm, C-O-R-L-M (I like that word). Torm…that's all I can find.

    VIRGINIA

    What about Tuon's new name as Empress?

    MARIA SIMONS

    for-too-OH-nah?

    VIRGINIA

    Fortuona, okay. I'm not sure how else you could pronounce that, but I've been wrong before, so...

    MARIA SIMONS

    That, I'm assuming is right; I'm pretty sure I heard Jim pronounce it that way, because that was his choice of name.

    VIRGINIA

    There must be something else; there seems like a million things, and that I didn't add enough to the list.

    MARIA SIMONS

    OH-geer…

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    moe-TIE? (???)

    VIRGINIA

    Oh! What about—speaking of historical figures—LAH-tra…poe-SAI? Or poe-SAY? deh-KYU-meh? (Latra Posae Decume)

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Oh yeah, LA-tra (LA rhymes with laugh)…

    VIRGINIA

    I got the Latra, but I'm not sure about the second and third names.

    MARIA SIMONS

    Boy.

    VIRGINIA

    It's P-O-S-A-E, and then D-E-C-U-M-E.

    MARIA SIMONS

    po-SAY-uh deh-COO-may.

    VIRGINIA

    deh-COO-may, okay. [crosstalk]

    MARIA SIMONS

    That's totally off the top of my head. I see it (?) and think it, anyway. po-SAY-uh deh-COO-may, yeah.

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  • 119

    Interview: Dec 2nd, 2010

    Virginia

    I want to just throw something in at the last minute, because it just popped into my mind because of that, and I'm sure this is going to be another Read And Find Out. Can you tell us anything about the lack of Lews Therin's voice now that Rand has had his so-called 'epiphany' on Dragonmount…is that an actual 'merging' of the characters? Are we done with the voice of Lews Therin?

    Maria Simons

    I need to learn Old Tongue for 'Read And Find Out'. [laughter]

    VIRGINIA

    I'm still waiting for 'May the Light illumine you'! [laughs] I was hoping somebody'd pop up with that for the podcast, and that's how I try to close each episode, so that's why I asked Brandon for it. I'm just gonna have to hound him.

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  • 120

    Interview: Dec 2nd, 2010

    Spencer Powell

    Alright, just a couple more questions. First off, who killed Asmodean? [laughter]

    Maria Simons

    I did! [laughter]

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Maria did.

    VIRGINIA

    Robert Jordan killed him, actually.

    SPENCER POWELL

    Yup.

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  • 121

    Interview: Dec 2nd, 2010

    Spencer Powell

    And secondly, I had forgotten about this until I checked my Twitter earlier this morning, but today actually is the anniversary of the passing of Robert Jordan…

    Maria Simons

    The third, yes.

    VIRGINIA

    Oh! I had forgotten that myself. That's scary.

    SPENCER POWELL

    Yeah. So, first off I think we should probably take a real quick moment of silence, and then after that, Maria and Alan, if you two would like to say something, anything to commemorate it for the podcast, we will get this out shortly so it won't be outdated. So, just a couple of seconds, and then if you two would like to say something.

    MARIA SIMONS

    "He came like the wind, like the wind touched everything, and like the wind was gone." And I miss him still.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Very much.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    I think we all do.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Very much missed.

    MARK

    As do we all.

    VIRGINIA

    Well, there will never be another like him. That's all I can say.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    And I should say, that's the first time I've ever heard anyone purposely have silence on the radio.

    VIRGINIA

    Well, it'll be a first, I suppose. I think I've heard it done before, but...

    MARK

    We've done it before.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Really?

    VIRGINIA

    Ah, yeah.

    MARK

    Like when we first found out about his passing, we had a quick—like very, very fast…

    SPENCER POWELL

    We had a quick recorded moment of silence.

    MARK

    …and we had a quick moment of silence, exactly.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Hmm. Sweet.

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  • 122

    Interview: Dec 2nd, 2010

    Mark

    What has been the most enjoyable part of working on the Wheel of Time?

    Maria Simons

    Damn near all of it? Um…[laughter]…seriously.

    VIRGINIA

    You can tell us 'read and find out' on that one. [laughs]

    MARIA SIMONS

    You know, I came in and I started this job—it's been almost fifteen years now—and I came in and I was not helping with the books at all; I was doing fan mail and filing, and about that time they decided to do the audiobooks, and they were doing them, you know, male and female, and Jim looked at me one day and said, "They're doing male and female; I need somebody to read the books and mark when it changes from male to female point of view. Can you do that?" And I'm like, "Uh-huh, uh-huh! Get paid to read the Wheel of Time?" I mean, I was a big fan before I started the job, you gotta understand…so it's like, this is, you know, a dream come true. I'm getting paid to read the Wheel of Time. It's just so great. And Jim…he was just so much fun. He would come in in the morning, singing, and forget I was here and set the alarm so I would step out of my office and set it off, and the police would come. [laughter] He knew everything. I mean, he just knew so much, talking with him was, was…wonderful. And Harriet is just an amazing lady, and Brandon is way cool. I mean, this job is a dream. I love it. And I get to talk to great people like you guys, and go to cons.

    ANDREW GELOS

    Can I tell you how extremely jealous I am of you right now?

    VIRGINIA

    Oh yeah.

    MARIA SIMONS

    I'm sorry!

    VIRGINIA

    Jealous enough to turn to the Dark One! [laughter]

    SPENCER POWELL

    Perfect servant! Perfect servant.

    MARK

    What about you, Alan?

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Well, I've been here, I guess, a little over nine years at this point, and just to back up what Maria said, you know, just being able to hang out with Jim and work with him on a daily basis was such a great kick. We're here surrounded by a physical representation of Jim's mind, in a way; there are 15,000 volumes in our offices, many of which are reference books, and it's just so wonderful to be able to, you know, tap that side of your mind. And Jim would ask the most obscure questions to be dug out in various places, and that's just such a great amount of fun for me, just digging out useless information of any possible sort. He would…you know, there are things that go into the books that are important to know about, and as you know, Jim was very, very fastidious and rigorous in his background of what he was writing about. If he wrote about blacksmithing it was going to be absolutely correct in all ways, as best as he could make it, and so Maria and I both became part of that process, just digging up a lot of things for him. So it's, you know…what we've got here is essentially a job where she and I come in 8, 9 hours a day, live in a total fantasy world. 8 hours, 7 or 8 hours are spent asleep. Much of that is very vivid dreams, so it's another fantasy world. That only leaves about 8 hours of reality that we have to deal with. And you know, we've found ways of making that kind of disappear also. So, it's great. I mean, I figure I'm living about 85% total fantasy at this point [laughter] so that's…it's a wonderful place to be. I'd recommend it to everyone out there.

    MARIA SIMONS

    Yeah.

    VIRGINIA

    Unfortunately, there's something of a limit to the number of Robert Jordans that there are in the world, although that leads me right into my next question...

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  • 123

    Interview: Dec 2nd, 2010

    Virginia

    Now that…obviously no one can fill the hole that Jim Rigney did. I mean, no one can take his place. But we have Brandon now, and you're working with Brandon, but now it's a long-distance relationship. How is that working out? And he's such a maniac for work; I cannot imagine how any human being gets the amount of writing that he does done, and all the other things that he does.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    I'm convinced he's a robot. [crosstalk]

    VIRGINIA

    He's an android, yeah; he's an android; I'm sure of it. He's a big cuddly android, but I think, you know…really suspect!

    Maria Simons

    He's pretty amazing, I mean…but the work ethic he has is just incredible. I mean…The Way of Kings and Towers of Midnight, the same year. It's amazing.

    VIRGINIA

    I know! And Alcatraz too, I think…and a tour! Two tours!

    MARIA SIMONS

    Oh yeah! Two tours, and a couple of cons—or more, actually, than a couple. But the long-distance thing…you know, living in the future makes it easy, and we actually, here, all of us, um…older farts in Charleston made the jump to digital editing for Towers of Midnight which made it a lot easier than The Gathering Storm when we were still doing everything on paper.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Oh, wow! I didn't realize you guys did that all on paper!

    MARIA SIMONS

    Oh yeah…oh yeah.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    I can't even imagine how complicated it would be to do it on paper.

    MARIA SIMONS

    It was pretty, uh…it worked. We got it done, but we made [?], and it was still kinda complicated because I had no idea how to do some things, and I have to email, and Peter—Brandon's assistant—would tell me how to do it. Peter's great; Peter is fabulous, and…

    JENNIFER LIANG

    I know; I heart Peter.

    MARIA SIMONS

    I wish I could have been at DragonCon, just so I could have met him.

    VIRGINIA

    Oh, me too.

    MARIA SIMONS

    But, um…you know, it's…it works. You know, we've got email, we email back and forth; occasionally we do the phone call; occasionally we actually get together, and it's...

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Yeah, probably the most difficult thing is the time difference, and…not only is he, what, three hours behind us, but Brandon does so much of his work, ah, in the evening, and in the early hours, and consequently doesn't get up at five in the morning…

    MARIA SIMONS

    That's usually when he goes to bed.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    …and so, if he has to ask us something quickly in the middle of work, or if we have to ask him something quickly, you know, we might have to wait for one or the other to wake up and get to the office.

    MARIA SIMONS

    Yeah. [laughter]

    VIRGINIA

    He might as well be in New Zealand, as far as the time overlap.

    ALAN ROMANCZUK

    Exactly.

    MARIA SIMONS

    Yeah. But, you know, we made it work.

    VIRGINIA

    Cool. Well, I think Peter's probably got Dream Job #2.

    MARIA SIMONS

    Yeah.

    VIRGINIA

    Oh, I dunno, how do you keep up with somebody who's like that? He's just…I mean, just talking to him in person—and I'm sure that probably Robert Jordan was the same way—I think it's a little overwhelming. There's so much creativity going on, and you can see that the mind is working so fast, it's almost like two or three different things going on at one time. And you know it's not, but it just almost seems that way, and you can almost get a little overwhelmed just trying to keep up with the flow of ideas, you know.

    MARIA SIMONS

    And that's very true, with Jim, and especially Jim and Harriet talking together sometimes. [Alan laughs] You know, it would be like, "Wow. What…what? Wow." Because they're just so incredibly bright, and it was just…very cool.

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  • 124

    Interview: Dec 2nd, 2010

    Announcer

    The 4th Age podcast is brought to you by Dragonmount.com. To contact us, visit our website: bit.ly/4thAge.

    AND NOW, FOR YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN...

    Maria Simons

    Want me to tell you about my dreams? I keep dreaming it's the Last Battle, and it's not just, you know, in the book; I'm at the Last Battle, and this is a recurring dream kind of thing, and like, one night was the Last Battle, and Napoleon showed up with his dirigibles to fight the side of the line (?), and we were trying to find out if they were hydrogen or helium, because it, you know, made a big difference.

    VIRGINIA

    Makes a difference, yeah.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    (?) talking to you…

    MARIA SIMONS

    Another night, Darth Vader—the original one, not Whiny Boy [laughter]—showed up to fight for the Dark One…you know, it just keeps going on and on, and it's fun. Sort of. Sometimes it's scary. There was one where we were fighting the Last Battle in a gated community, and Tam al'Thor showed up, and then we realized it wasn't really Tam al'Thor; it was the Dark One, and so we had to escape. And so we did, and then after that, here comes Wilson Grooms! And, you know, I love Wilson! Wilson is one of my favorite people on earth! And then we realized it wasn't really Wilson, and we had to fight him! And I had a sword, and I had to hit Wilson with—what looked like Wilson—with a sword, and it was just really scary! And unpleasant. And I was glad to wake up for that one...but usually they're fun. [laughter]

    VIRGINIA

    You must be a Dreamer!

    MARIA SIMONS

    Uhh…yeah, yeah; I dream. I had a dream once that...

    MARK

    I want whatever you're on. [laughter]

    VIRGINIA

    Yeah, I was just thinking that. Send it here immediately!

    SPENCER POWELL

    I think it's called Wheel of Time.

    MARIA SIMONS

    Yeah.

    VIRGINIA

    Yeah.

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Yeah.

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  • 125

    Interview: Mar 5th, 1997

    Robert Jordan

    Dear Leslie,

    Thank you for your letter. I am glad you like The Wheel of Time, and hope that you will enjoy the future volumes, too. I am currently at work on book eight, which does not yet have a title, and I am scheduled to deliver it to my publisher in the fall of 1997. Both my editor and my publisher feel that I have been working much too hard over the past ten years—especially the last six—and that I need to slow down if I am not to fall over.

    Thanks again for writing.

    With best wishes,

    I am,

    Sincerely,

    Robert Jordan

    RJ: mls [<—this means Maria put it together... hehe!]

    cc: files

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  • 126

    Interview: Apr 21st, 2012

    Question

    There was a question about the process of writing A Memory of Light.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Peter first spoke in general terms about Brandon's writing routine. He said that Brandon typically gets up around noon, writes from about 1-4pm, spends time with family and stuff, then goes back to writing from about 8pm-4am, and finally sleeps from about 4am to noon. Rinse, cycle, repeat. Peter also said that Brandon has a treadmill desk, and he frequently works at that when he's home or by one of the fireplaces he has in his house. Harriet then noted that she loves fireplaces and wanted to know whether Brandon's were wood-burning or gas. Peter said they're gas fireplaces.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Then Harriet described the editing process for A Memory of Light. She said that Brandon has completed the first draft (as was previously reported). Team Jordan is currently working on reviewing the first draft and making suggestions for corrections and edits. They have divided the manuscript into 9 sections plus the epilogue for editing purposes; Team Jordan has sent the edits for parts 1-6 to Brandon and are currently working on edits for the later sections. [Brandon recently tweeted that he is about halfway done with the second draft, and it is going well so far.]

    With regard to the editing duties, Harriet primarily oversees the characterizations and prose, Maria deals with continuity issues, and Alan deals with military stuff, geography, and the timeline. Harriet also said that she and Brandon have had some "animated" conversations about whether or not to cut some specific scenes.

    After all the suggested edits for the first draft are sent to Brandon and he has made the revisions, then presumably Team Jordan will review the second draft and provide another round of suggestions for revisions. The beta reader phase has to be fit in there somewhere, too. Ultimately, Harriet said that the goal for getting a final draft to Tor is June 15, 2012. That should give Tor plenty of time to get the book out by January 2013.

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  • 127

    Interview: Apr 21st, 2012

    Melissa Craib

    Melissa Craib, this year's JordanCon master of ceremonies, asked the Team Jordan members which parts of the story they had been surprised about.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Harriet told about an incident she has described before from when she was writing the blurb for the dust jacket of The Dragon Reborn and finally realized that RJ intended Callandor to be an analog of the sword in the stone. She yelled down to RJ, "You son of a ****, you've done it to me again!"

    Maria Simons

    Maria said that she was surprised... well, actually I've forgotten what Maria was surprised about. Maybe somebody else remembers...was it from Knife of Dreams when Semirhage blows Rand's hand off? That's what comes to mind, but I don't remember any details about why that surprised her, really, so maybe that's not it. :s

    Alan Romanczuk

    Alan at first said that he wasn't surprised by anything; he had figured it all out, of course. Then he owned up to being a little surprised about the scene in Crossroads of Twilight in which Perrin chops off the hand of one of the captured Shaido, because it showed the depths to which a person could go when pushed to the brink.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Peter said he was surprised when it was revealed that Demandred was... (yeah, he was messing with us).

    Footnote

    Nalesean at Theoryland pointed out that Maria said that she was surprised by the death of Rolan during the battle of Malden.

    Tags

  • 128

    Interview: 2012

    Brandon Sanderson (16 May 2012)

    I'm sorry I don't have more specific WoT posts for you—I know that Harriet prefers me to be more closed-mouthed. However...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Maria from Team Jordan has finished her revision notes for the entire book, as has Harriet herself. So we're only waiting on Alan's notes.

    Brandon Sanderson

    As he's playing "Great Captain" for me on A Memory of Light, his notes are vital—and he needs to be detailed. When I get them, I can finish revising.

    Roberto Sánze

    Sooooo...there might be a sooner release date than the current for January?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is possible, but I don't know how likely.

    Roberto Sánze

    Darn, I need to haste to be ready for A Memory of Light once it releases. Is there gonna be a ebook version along with the physical book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    (Winces.) Harriet has a distrust of ebooks; she prefers to delay the release. It is her call. (Ebook is a few months later.)

    Terez

    Do we have chapter names yet? Or do you know how many chapters there will be? Or is that a secret?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No chapter names yet, as it won't be until this draft is finished that I settle on the number of chapters. Some are being combined.

    Mark Prybyla

    I'm truly hoping this book is 1/3 battles/fights.

    Brandon Sanderson

    More than 1/3, I'd say...

    Daniel Shepard

    Forgive me for not understanding, but what does this mean? Release date's not going to change, is it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Probably not. It's just a progress update, so people know things are still moving behind-the-scenes.

    Richard Collett

    How's The Stormlight Archive coming? I need more.

    Brandon Sanderson

    A Memory of Light comes first. I will get to the next Stormlight book soon, but not until A Memory of Light is done to my satisfaction.

    (Facebook)


    Yosun Erdemli

    So this means we will be reading the final volume sooner than first announced?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is possible, but I don't know how likely. I still need to do two drafts, I feel. Then there are beta reads, then proofreads, then we need at least two months to get the books printed and shipped.

    Adam Sloan

    What does it take to be one of the beta readers?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Be one of the major members of fandom for years, and personally know Harriet. (Sorry.)

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  • 129

    Interview: Aug 8th, 2009

    WorldCon 2009 - Dom (Paraphrased)

    Dom

    Brandon Sanderson

    Another question was if there were shocking/very surprising twists coming (Brandon was asked to answer this one as a fan when he read the outline). Sanderson said himself was surprised by a few things (most of which will happen in book 13) and he initially had a few WTF! moments when Harriet or Maria explained to him what Jordan intended to happen during some of the outline's gaps, but after looking around the WOT sites more he realised these things seemed pretty much common place expectations among the real maniacs of the series. He also said if someone picked all the right bits from all the theories and threads and put them together and in the right order, that's pretty much the books. So, no, in his opinion, there aren't many big plot twists or shocking moments in store, not for the hardcore fans—he said Jordan rather found out interesting ways to tie up all the foreshadowing and it made for a very satisfying finale, especially the third part, the Last Battle, which he enjoyed the most. He then indirectly confirmed the Seanchan attack is the climax of Egwene's story line, using her as his example to explain there is no huge surprise or plot twist there, that she's long Dreamed about what is going to happen at the Tower at the end of her pre-Tarmon Gai'don story line.

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  • 130

    Interview: Aug 8th, 2009

    WorldCon 2009 - Dom (Paraphrased)

    Dom

    Brandon Sanderson

    He also got into his own approach to magic systems, which lead to questions about how much of a challenge he found the One Power and how he prepared himself to handle it (and yeah, he admits being a One Power fan). Brandon explained researching and analyzing the One Power was one of his main focuses during his pre-writing re-read of the series (the other was analyzing the characters' "voices". He also said RJ left a massive amount of notes about the One Power, some of it he's read (he couldn't read everything, he rather relied on Maria to find him the exact information he needed when he needed it). I think he's said that before—or RJ did—but RJ's notes for WOT are longer than the series itself and he always kept adding to them, from back story and history elements to world building tidbits to creating hundreds of characters he could use to sketches for possible scenes. It was Maria's job to index all of this so if he was writing a scene he wanted to use backstory elements or a new weave in, he could have her look first if this already existed in the notes and what of it had appeared in the series already—or if he didn't already have it and needed to create something from scratch.

    Sanderson said he resisted creating new weaves (beside introducing those Jordan planned to introduce) for the most part. His contribution will rather be to have the characters figure out they can use weaves they know in new ways—turn them into weapon etc., and for this he looked for details in the previous books. He mentioned one specific example: after Knife of Dreams, he thought characters figured out gateways and deathgates can also be used to slice non-Shadowspawn up in battle.

    We also discussed a bit the 21 levels list, which Brandon used a lot. Jordan did start it just the way he described it long ago, that is as a way to keep track of who defers to whom among minor players etc. However, as of now, this document's scope goes beyond this (and it's quite big). The document assigns a rank number to each Aes Sedai referring to the twenty-one levels system, and it lists their personal weaves if they have any, and who knows and have the skills to use which weave and to what extent, their strength in flows if details in the series have blocked this up etc. Brandon confirmed Jordan developed a similar ranking system for the Asha'man as well, but couldn't recall out of hand how many levels there were for them.

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  • 131

    Interview: 2012

    Maria Simons (21 May 2012)

    Team Jordan update: We’ve been getting a lot of questions about Brandon’s note that Harriet and I are finished with A Memory of Light, and Alan is almost finished. “Finished” here refers only to the first draft. The same day that I finished A Memory of Light, I started A Memory of Light (the second draft, or at least the portion of the second draft that Brandon has sent us). Harriet has already completed that section, and is ready to move on when we receive more. Alan should finish the first draft this week, and he will immediately begin again too. We’re not by any means truly finished with the book—we’re all working very hard, and we trust that Brandon is too. We want to get every detail right, and that takes time. Don't worry; it's worth waiting for.

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  • 132

    Interview: Nov 9th, 2009

    Question

    How much leeway were you given when writing the book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He was given complete freedom to write, but that he was in constant contact with Maria and Alan about details. He compared it to a broken vase, much of it could be glued together but there were places where there were holes that needed to be filled in.

    Maria Simons

    Maria interjected with the fact that there are well over 1200 files that are at least several sentences long and many many more that are shorter than that.

    Harriet McDougal

    There was some back and forth with Harriet and Brandon about the writing/editing process. Harriet said a good editor never tells an author how to write. Brandon said that he actually writes the book for Harriet and it’s Harriet’s job to perfect it.

    Tags

  • 133

    Interview: Nov 9th, 2009

    Old (Peter) Salt

    It came up at this time that Maria is writing a WoT encyclopedia, to be published shortly after A Memory of Light.

    Harriet McDougal

    Harriet interjected that it will be a “real encyclopedia” not like the “World of the Wheel of Time”; her exact words were “Think Encyclopedia Britannica 11th edition”.

    Tags

  • 134

    Interview: Apr 3rd, 2010

    Jennifer Liang

    I asked Brandon about Sulin this evening.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He said that he had originally placed Sulin [with Rand] very intentionally, intending to do "something" with her. However, after a conversation with Maria, he became convinced that his original plans regarding this character were not workable, so Sulin will be edited out of future editions of The Gathering Storm.

    Tags

  • 135

    Interview: Jul 21st, 2012

    Phillip

    For Brandon, you have a career on your own as an author....

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes.

    Phillip

    Since you've had this other career—which has helped, I'm sure, in a lot of ways—what impact has this been on your original writing career, I mean I know you had to have slowed down your progress and your series, but you've still been writing those. What are the biggest impacts you've seen on your writing career because of taking on the Wheel of Time?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's definitely done some...it's made me have to put down projects. In fact, next year, I have coming out the projects I was working on in 2007 when this came my way; The Rithmatist and Steelheart are both books that I did way back then that I didn't feel that I was able to release in the middle of the Wheel of Time books, even though I had them done, because I wouldn't have been able to do the revisions on them, and because I wouldn't be able to support them; I wouldn't be able to do sequels and things like that. They're both YA books. And that's, you know...when I accepted this, I said "Okay, I'm shelving these things." I did get to do a couple of books, I got to do The Way of Kings, which, granted, I already had a draft of that done. So really, the only book in these last years, the last five years that I've been doing this, that I've written from scratch and released was Alloy of Law. And so it's going to...it did kind of slow me down. The only reason it didn't slow me down as much as it could have was because I had all of this stuff done already. I had a great big backlog of books, because I enjoy writing, and I've been writing for years, and back then I wasn't as popular as I am now, so Tor would put things in slots later on, like...while I've been working on these, Warbreaker and Mistborn 3 came out, both of which were done years before I was offered the Wheel of Time. And so...yeah, all of this stuff that I had been working on long ago got delayed, and that was just fine—I went into this eyes open—but it is going to be nice to be able to go back to these things and give them some of the support that I've wanted all along.

    You know, this project took more time than all of us expected it to. I had to say yes sight unseen to knowing how big it was. I knew what Jim had said, but I didn't know how much of it was done. I didn't know that we had two hundred pages out of two thousand. There was no way for me to know how much would need to be done. So yeah, it's been a big long deviation, but not a distraction, because I think my writing has grown by leaps and bounds. It's kind of like I had to go pump iron, because writing in the Wheel of Time has been much harder than writing on anything else I've done, and I have been forced to grow, and you can see my being forced to grow between the books in the Wheel of Time books. I think my writing is way better in Towers of Midnight than it was in The Gathering Storm, particularly in some of the ways that that Jim was strong. And so, I think that's helped me. It's certainly not an experience that I would trade for anything. I got to read the ending in 2007, so there's that. (laughter) But yeah, it's been a wonderful experience, but boy, it's been a big, big, big deviation. It's not where I thought my career would go at all.

    Joe O'Hara

    Was it daunting seeing just that small amount of work that was taken care of before you stepped on?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, it's daunting in two ways: First, I got that. It was really nice to have the ending. Like, having the prologue and the ending basically done—those were the two things that he did the most work on—meant that I had the bookends, which is how I build an outline anyway. I know where I start, I know my ending, and I build an outline out of that. But at the same time, there's three million words of notes about the series, which is daunting in another way. Yes, there's two hundred pages of work done on the book, and then there's this stack over here of all these other notes that include all of these things that are just mind-boggling, the stuff that's in there. We released a few of them last year for you guys. Was it last year that we released the notes?

    Jennifer Liang

    Yeah, we got the page on Cadsuane and...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, the page on Cadsuane and stuff like that. You just see all of weird things that he had in his notes. I have all the same sort of weird stuff in my notes about like Stormlight and stuff, but it's just fun to see. You go pore through these notes...he has the most random stuff. Lists of trees, lists of people, lists of this, and just millions and millions and words of this stuff, more than I can keep track of at all. It requires Maria and Alan to keep track of all this stuff. So it was also daunting in that, yes there are two hundred pages written, which actually nice, because as I've said before, if the book had been 80% of the way done, they wouldn't have needed to hire me, they wouldn't have needed to bring me in. When a book is 80% of the way done, that's when you get a ghostwriter, or Harriet just does it herself. She really could have done it in-house herself and finished that and said "Look, here we're going to do a few patches and stuff, but the book is mostly done."

    And so, getting there and saying "Hey, I actually get to do something with this, I have an opportunity to add the scenes that I've been wanting as a fan for years and years, so I get a chance to actually write these characters, rather than coming in and just patching some holes," was very thrilling for me at the same time. You know, I worried that I would get there and it would just be patching holes—"Write these five scenes," or something like that—and that would have meant I wouldn't have really had a part in it. Granted, that would have been better, because it would have meant there was more Jim in it, and it would have made a better book, but at the same time, when I got to see those two hundred pages, I was saddened but excited at the same time.

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  • 136

    Interview: Jul 21st, 2012

    Question

    When you're...you know, speaking with regards to all three books that you wrote, if there's an issue where you think a character or a plot should go one way, and Harriet or any of the others thinks it should go another way, how does that work?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Harriet wins. Harriet always wins. Usually what happens is that there'll be...if Harriet says something, we just do it. The only time when there's questioning is when I disagree with Maria or Alan, and we both kind of make our arguments. We do these in-line edits with track changes in Microsoft Word; we'll have whole conversations there, where I'll say "This is why I think this character would do what they're doing," and Maria would come in and say, "This is why I think you're wrong and they wouldn't do this," and we'll have big discussions, and Harriet'll make the call, and then I'll do it as Harriet says, 'cause Harriet knows the characters better than anyone.

    And so there are times when I've been overruled—it happens on every book—and there are times where Harriet said, "No, I think Brandon's right," and Maria and Alan—her superfans—disagree, but the way that fandom works, we all disagree on things. You'll find this, and I disagree with some people on how character interpretations will happen, and things like that. Some people, for instance, don't think my Talmanes is true to Jim's Talmanes. Things like that. That's the sort of thing we're arguing over. It's very rarely over main characters, but it's like, "Is Talmanes acting like Talmanes would?" And I read the character one way, and some people read the character another way, and I just have to go with my interpretation, and if Harriet says, "No, this isn't right," I revise it. If Harriet says, "No, this feels right to me," then we just go with it.

    Question

    Was there ever a case where you and Maria and Alan had a difference of opinion and Harriet had a completely different take?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That all four of us had a different take? Yeah, that's happened; that's very rare but it has happened. We're trying to piece together something that's...there's always this consideration of "What would Jim do?" But there's also a consideration of Brandon as author, not knowing what Jim would do, what does Brandon think needs to happen narratively? And there are some things where I, reading the books as an author, say "This is where he was going." "No, he didn't say it in the notes." "No, it's nowhere in there; he doesn't make mention of it." "This is where he was going; my understanding of story structure, plotting and things, and I can say, you know, as sure as I can say anything, that this is what he was going to do." And, you know, sometimes Maria and Alan, they look at the notes and say, "No, that's not at all what he was going to do; look what the notes say." And I say, "No, that's not what they're saying," and we have arguments about that too.

    There's lots of discussing going on. We're all very passionate about the Wheel of Time. It'd be like getting Jenn and Jason from Dragonmount and Matt from Theoryland together and hashing out what they think about where Demandred is, or something like that. There are gonna be lots of passionate discussions. I think, at the end of the day, that makes the book better, and the fact that we have kind of...Harriet tends to just...if she has a feeling, she lets us argue about it, and then she says, like...you know, 'cause she's the one that would sit at dinner and discuss the characters with Jim. None of us did that, and she did that for twenty years, so...yeah.

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  • 137

    Interview: Apr 21st, 2012

    Richard Fife

    I really enjoyed the comic books that are being done, the Eye of the World comic book that's being done right now. I know Maria's working on that quite a bit, and Alan. You wanna talk about that a little bit, about how that's going for you?

    Maria Simons

    Actually, we are getting close to the end of The Eye of the World, and it's going well. We haven't talked at all about The Great Hunt, but I'm hoping that we'll start. We've got one more script to go for The Eye of the World, and then hopefully we will be moving on, and the next graphic novel will be out in the fall, part two of The Eye of the World, and it's a lot of fun doing that, and I hope you'll all check it out.

    Alan Romanczuk

    It's put us in awe, also, of the amount of work that goes into creating a graphic novel. A great deal on our part, looking stuff over for approval, but what's happening in the graphic shop, and it's not unusual at all to get emails at 10pm Friday night, or midnight Saturday night, you know, "Here's the latest stuff from us." You know, when do you guys sleep? Any of you who are graphic artists out there, I guess you know what it's like. It's total geekdom. You don't think about eating, sleeping...you just do it. And the amount of change that has to go on in every single panel is pretty awesome.

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  • 138

    Interview: Apr 21st, 2012

    Melissa Craib

    I have a question for all four of you; it's one that I always like asking you. I think that Robert Jordan really liked to surprise his readers, and went to extraordinary lengths to do so. And I truly will have many, many surprises in this upcoming book, but speaking of books past, can you tell us an example of when you were surprised when you read what we've read now. I know you have a good one, Harriet.

    Harriet McDougal

    I've generally written most of the flap copies on all the books. The flap copy is what's on the inner side of the cover of the hardcover, on the dust jacket, the stuff that says "So-and-so..." I remember one of my favorite ones was when I went and..."Siuan Sanche is suspected of barn-burning, in her tattered straw hat." But I was writing the flap copy for The Dragon Reborn, and at the end of the flap copy, I said he is pulling the sword from the Stone... "You son of a gun, you've done it again!" (laughter) But I honestly hadn't figured out it was the sword in the stone. And it really did surprise me, even though I'd been all the way through it, and had edited it, and was writing that flap copy.

    Melissa Craib

    Do you have one Maria?

    Maria Simons

    Yeah. It's not a huge one, but we were working on Knife of Dreams—I almost said Knife of Daggers, and I was like, "I know that's wrong." (laughter)—and I got to the part at the end, where Perrin whacks Rolan, and I went running downstairs..."Oh my god! You killed Rolan! I can't believe you killed Rolan!" And Robert Jordan says, "What? He was toast from the start!" (laughter)

    Melissa Craib

    Do you have one Alan?

    Alan Romanczuk

    No, I've pretty much nailed it all along. (laughter)

    Harriet McDougal

    We all tell the truth, all the time.

    Alan Romanczuk

    One of the scenes I keep coming back to that very much impressed me was when Perrin cut off the limb of the captured Shaido, which was a scene...it was surprising, because this was a fellow who had been resisting his lower urges, if you will, all along, but his love for his wife was so great that we saw the degree to which he would push himself to save her, and it's the first inkling we had of what kind of stuff Perrin was made of, up to that point, I think.

    Melissa Craib

    Peter, do you have one?

    Peter Ahlstrom

    When Demandred was revealed to be... (laughter) (applause)

    Audience

    That's not nice!

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Um...sorry, I got nothing.

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  • 139

    Interview: Sep 2nd, 2012

    Question

    We have the Asha'man who can only do Traveling and only open very small holes. Are we gonna see him open those holes in front of cannons, and then open it in front of Trolloc armies, A, and B, are we going to see the [kites?] that were developed in Rand's college used by the Seanchan?

    Brandon Sanderson

    RAFO. But I do have a slightly longer answer. One of the things I was excited to do when I was given the project was, I didn't want to invent a whole lot of new weaves—I felt it wasn't [my] place to do so, and Robert Jordan already had a very long list; there are a few that I invented by necessity—but mostly I wanted to take weaves that he had already invented and extrapolate. This is kind of what I do with magic systems, if you can't tell, and gateways were ones of the ones where I was like, "I can do stuff with these." And then Portal came out, and I'm like, "Ah, you're stealing my ideas!" (laughter) But yes, gateways...I do gateways a little more extensively than I think Jim had planned, and sometimes Maria is like nudging me and like, "Let's back off on the gateway stuff, Brandon." I just get really excited about them because I think they can do so many cool things. So, I won't say yes or no, but you will see me playing with gateways for sure.

    Footnote

    Presumably the questioner is referring to Androl, but Androl can open big gateways despite being perhaps the weakest Asha'man; that's his Talent.

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  • 140

    Interview: Sep 2nd, 2012

    Chris Lough

    A good amount of the questions weren’t concerned with the plot of the final book but with Brandon’s writing style, his struggles in adapting the material, and how it was melded to the work that Robert Jordan left behind. The audience wondered whether we might see future annotated versions of the final three books, with Robert Jordan’s work and Brandon Sanderson’s work marked out.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon responded that it’s highly unlikely, due to it being against Harriet McDougal’s wishes and to the fact that annotations would have to be down to the sentence level, as it was often the case that one sentence would have been written by Robert Jordan, then altered by Brandon, then edited for content and style by Harriet, then copy edited by Harriet’s assistant Maria L. Simons.

    Brandon did reveal several doozies in regards to what Jordan left behind, however. Each prologue to the final three books contains a scene written by Robert Jordan. One already known is the scene with the farmer in The Gathering Storm, for Towers of Midnight, Jordan wrote the prologue scene involving the soldiers in the Borderlander tower. And for A Memory of Light? We’ll see.

    Perhaps the biggest admission, and one that brought a hush over the crowd, was the reveal that Jordan wrote the chapter in The Gathering Storm where Verin reveals she is Black Ajah to Egwene and the sequence in Towers of Midnight where Moiraine is rescued by Mat. Two of the most important elements in these final books came directly from Jordan’s hand.

    Additionally, Sanderson pointed out that the Rand and Perrin viewpoints in The Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight are more of his work, while Egwene and Mat’s viewpoints in those books are more Robert Jordan’s work.

    Brandon also revealed that he makes a cameo in the books, in much the same way that Robert Jordan makes a cameo as an item in Knife of Dreams. (He appears as a ter'angreal of a fat man holding a book in the chapter “A Different Skill.”) A few years ago Sanderson was gifted one of Robert Jordan’s swords, choosing a katana with red and gold dragons twining around the hilt and handle. This gift from Robert Jordan’s family is now present in the series, and represents Brandon’s own cameo, for those who wish to look.

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  • 141

    Interview: Apr 14th, 2012

    Question

    I was just wondering how overwhelming it was when you first took on the job of taking up the reins of the Wheel of Time. How much was it overwhelming—the amount of detail and layering that Jordan had set up in order to continue on with finishing off the series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are a couple of things that Robert Jordan did, like...there are many things he did better than I do, but there are two things that he did amazingly better than I do that have been really hard to try and approach. The first one is his mastery of description. I...prose is not....you know, I do serviceable prose. I don't do beautiful prose in most cases. I occasionally can turn a phrase, but he could do beautiful prose in every paragraph, and that's just not one of my strengths. Pat Rothfuss is another one who can do that, if you're read Name of the Wind; it's just beautiful, every line. Robert Jordan I felt was like that, just absolute beauty.

    The other thing that he was really good at was subtle foreshadowing across lots and lots of books. And it's not something I'd ever had to do before, unless you count my hidden epic, and I had never had to try and approach that level of subtlety, and it was a real challenge to try and catch all of those balls that he'd tossed in the air and he'd been keeping juggling. In fact, I would say, one of the most challenging parts, if not the most challenging part of this, was to keep track of all those subplots and make sure that I was not dropping too many of those balls. And you'll be able to see when you read the books which of those subplots were really important to me as a fan and which ones I was not as interested in, because some of those, I catch less deftly than others, and some of them I just snatch from the air and slam into this awesome sequence, and some of them I say, "Yeah, that's there."

    And that's the danger of having a fan that does this. There were so many of those things. Fortunately, he left some good notes on a lot of them, and in some of them I was able to just slide in his scenes, and in others I had to decide how to catch that, and what to best do with it. But there's just so much. So much undercurrent going on through the whole books, through all of them, and so many little details in the notes that it's easy to get overwhelmed by it. Fortunately I have Team Jordan, Maria and Alan, to catch a lot of those things that I miss, but even with them there are things he was doing, that we don't even know what he was planning to do, that we just have to leave as is, and let it lie rather than trying to wrap it up poorly, because we don't know how he was doing to do it.

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  • 142

    Interview: 2012

    philosophyguru (December 2012)

    Brandon Sanderson (December 2012)

    It was very interesting to read this while trying to figure out what scenes she was referring to...

    philosophyguru

    I know you're incredibly busy on Stormlight 2, but if you have a few minutes, I would love to hear how you approached the notes that RJ left behind. I've heard the story about the ending and who killed Asmodean when you first visited Harriet's house, but where did you go from there? I assume you didn't just read all of the notes straight through...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, okay, this is going to be kind of long.

    To understand my next step, you have to understand what we mean by "Notes." There are really three groups of these.

    1) Robert Jordan's Worldbuilding Notes. These were in a series of dozens, maybe hundreds of files embedded chaotically inside of files inside of files, using his own system of notation. The notes reach all the way back to early books he was working on, as he was working on them. They aren't intended to be read by anyone other than him, and are sometimes very difficult to figure out. This is the group that Harriet has said, in her estimation, include a total wordcount equal to or greater to that of the published series.

    2) The notes for the last book, gathered by his assistants Maria and Alan, with Harriet's help. These are far more focused on the last book, notes that RJ wrote specifically focusing on the last book. This is a much more manageable amount, maybe fifty or a hundred pages. It includes interviews that Alan and Maria did with RJ before he died, asking him what was to happen to certain characters.

    3) Scenes for the last book, either in written form or dictated during his last months. This includes some completed scenes. (The last sequence in the book, for example. Also a lot of prologue material, including the scene with the farmer in The Gathering Storm, the Borderlander Tower scene in Towers of Midnight, and the Isam prologue scene from A Memory of Light.) A lot of these are fragments of scenes, a paragraph here and there, or a page of material that he expected to be expanded to a full chapter. This is different from #2 to me in that these are direct scene constructions, rather than "notes" explaining what was to happen.

    Together, #2 and #3 are about 200 pages. That is what I read the night I visited Harriet, and that is what I used to construct my outline.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I took all of the items, but particularly the things in 2&3, and then I re-read the series start to finish, taking notes on character motivations, plots that had not been resolved, and foreshadowing. I used this to create a skeleton, using character touchstones from the notes (like Egwene's climactic moments in The Gathering Storm) to construct plot cycles.

    Where there were big holes, I used my instincts as a writer and my re-read to develop what the story needed. From there, I started writing in viewpoint clusters. I would take character who were in the same area, and write their story for a chunk of time straight through. Then I would go back and do the same for another group of characters.

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  • 143

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2013

    kcf

    How much have ideas that you or other members of Team Jordan first saw in fans discussion influenced the book? Spoiler follow-up: Such as the tactical use of gateways?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Tactical use of gateways is honestly all me. I hadn't even played Portal before I wrote these books. I have since went back and played it, and they're doing some of the same fun stuff. That was me from years and years ago as a guy who likes magic systems reading the Wheel of Time books and saying, "If I had gateways, this is what I would do." In fact, I had built up some magic systems using things like gateways that I will never be able to use now, because I got handed the master magic system with gateways.

    Team Jordan was somewhat uncomfortable with my use of gateways, in a lot of ways. They felt I was pushing them. But my response back was that I didn't want to push the magic system in other ways; I didn't want to be inventing a lot of new weaves. I didn't want to be doing a lot of things like that, because I felt it would be taking the system too much in the directions I take the Brandon Sanderson systems. I really do like Robert Jordan's magic system, but I wanted to take some of the specifics that had already been done, such as gateways, and say, "Here's where you can extrapolate with them."

    As for other things that have been discussed in the fandom—I certainly wasn't as big a part of the fandom as I am now, not anywhere near it. For instance, I didn't care about Asmodean until I started talking to other Wheel of Time fans, and it was a big deal to them, and so it became a big deal to me. There are certain things that through fandom and talking to other fans you tend to rally around, that I kind of wanted. One was a reunion between Tam and Rand. There are other things like that, that for a long time we'd been waiting for and we'd talked to each other about, and we'd imagined what they'd be like. Those sorts of things did influence me; I had to be really careful not to be too influenced though. Being too influenced would lead me to put in lots of inside jokes, things like Narg—that would have been letting the fan in me run too wild. So I did have to rein that in.

    It’s hard for me to separate the years of talking about the Wheel of Time with friends and reading about the Wheel of Time from what I eventually ended up doing in the books. Once I did start working on the books, I didn't go plumbing through fan forums looking for things that should be included. I specifically stayed away from things like that, though I did suggest to Maria at times that she should watch and see what people were expecting, so that we would know what things we were not going to end up fulfilling, and could be prepared for them.

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  • 144

    Interview: Jan 9th, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    A lot of people are asking what it feels like to be done. That's an odd question to consider for a couple of reasons. In some ways, the Wheel of Time was "done" for me when I read Robert Jordan's last scene back in 2007. The work wasn't done, of course, and I had a very long road ahead of me. And yet, I'd read the ending. We managed to get it into the final book virtually unchanged, with only a few minor tweaks here and there. The sequence (it is more than one scene) that I am referring to most of the time when I talk about this encompasses the entire epilogue of A Memory of Light. Once you get there, you can know you're reading Robert Jordan's words, though of course there are other scenes scattered through the book that he worked on too.

    So that was one ending, for me. Another came in January of last year, when I finished the rough draft of this book. Still, there was a great deal of work to do, but I was "done" after a fashion. From there, I transitioned from writing a new Wheel of Time book to doing revisions—and for the last time ever.

    Another ending came for me when I handed the book over to Maria from Team Jordan to handle all of the final tweaks from the proofreads and copyedits. That happened late last summer, and with some regret, I stepped away from the Wheel of Time. Like a parent (though a step-parent in this case) waving farewell to a child as they leave the home, I no longer had responsibility for this book in the same way. I was done.

    And yet, I wasn't. This month and next I'll be touring for the Wheel of Time. That will probably be the final ending, seeing all of you and sharing in your mixed joy and regret at the finale of this series. Over twenty-three years ago now, I picked up The Eye of the World for the first time, and my life changed. A lot of you have similar stories.

    I know how you feel. I've been feeling it for five years now, ever since I read that last scene. There is no glossary in this last Wheel of Time book. We wanted to leave you with the memory of that scene, as Robert Jordan wrote it, for your final impression of the Wheel of Time.

    I'm happy I can finally share that scene with you. After five years of waiting, I can talk about it with others and reminisce without having to worry about what I'm spoiling. I hope to chat with as many of you as possible in the upcoming months. For those who can't make it, I'll post some responses to frequently asked questions below.

    May you always find water and shade.

    Brandon Sanderson
    January 8th, 2013

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  • 145

    Interview: Jan 9th, 2013

    Question

    How do you keep track of all those characters?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Lots of use of online resources. Also, Maria and Alan are invaluable assets for that. Brandon told a funny story about trying to figure out who was with Perrin, and Maria pulled out some notes from Robert Jordan that had a list of every single person from the Two Rivers that came with Perrin! Brandon also said he thinks there are more than 2800 named characters throughout the entire series.

    Footnote

    Brandon has told the story of the "with Perrin" file a numer of times before; in this example from 2009, the person he said that he queried was Alan. Other times, he has just cited "RJ's assistants".

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  • 146

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2013

    Nygmus

    Couple of the questions asked that I can remember:

    Harriet McDougal

    I asked about the graphic novels, because I wasn't sure how far that project was going to go/how well-received it was for Harriet, but she seemed pleased enough with them. She said that there was a good team of people working on them and that they were working closely with Maria and Team Jordan.

    Brandon Sanderson

    (Brandon took a moment to point out that the bookstore also carried the graphic novels, and someone at the back found one on a shelf and held it up for demonstration.)

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  • 147

    Interview: Jan 12th, 2013

    Question

    How does it feel now that you are done with the series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Bittersweet. Has been reading the series longer than he has had some friends!

    Harriet McDougal

    It was truly done well.

    Maria Simons

    Bittersweet. And wow!

    Alan Romanczuk

    Brain Dead.

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  • 148

    Interview: Jan 8th, 2013

    Question ()

    What was it like editing as Team Jordan?

    Harriet McDougal

    It was a team process—military history, characters, and continuity.

    Tags

  • 149

    Interview: Jan 9th, 2013

    Terez

    Thanks to Marie Curie for providing the audio and for looking over my transcript.

    Brandon Sanderson

    [introduction of Maria]...about continuity, and now she's grimacing, because she's like, "Don't ask me those." But she has been wonderful, and you guys are very lucky to have her. And of course Harriet, who had worked with and discovered Robert Jordan, and then married him [laughter]. Which I always feel is a very good way to make sure your editorial direction gets taken. [laughter] And of course myself, so...we're just going to take hands, and I will probably start taking questions by region, so that that way I'll be forced to pay attention to people in the balconies, so we'll start with people in the seats. If you've got a question, raise your hand, and we'll do a few questions there, and then we'll do back there, and then we'll go to random...all of that stuff. [laughter] So, anyone up here have a question for any of the three of us, we'll start right there.

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  • 150

    Interview: Jan 9th, 2013

    Question

    How did you keep track of all the characters?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are, what? What are we up to, like 2800 named characters in the Wheel of Time? [laughter] It's more than two thousand; it was more than two thousand when I started, and it was like 2400 or something like that when I started, and I've added a few. So, how can we keep track of all of these characters? That actually is when people ask me, what the hardest part about this was, I often say that that was the hardest part. It's not just keeping track of them, because actually keeping track of them is somewhat easy; there's lots of fan resources, which I use. The Encyclopaedia-WoT is my favorite, though tarvalon.net runs a very nice Wiki which goes more in-depth and things. And keeping track—that's the easy part. The harder part is, Robert Jordan gave them all voices, right? Everybody talked in their own way, and was their own person, and when, you know, Perrin is traveling with like three random Wise Ones, they're all individual personalities, and so before I could write a scene, I had to go back and remind myself, how each of these three people...what their attitudes were, and how they spoke, that sort of thing. It was very difficult.

    I don't know if you—I mean, I tell this story; I don't know if you guys have heard this before—but the level of detail Robert Jordan went into in the worldbuilding...there was one point where I was working on Towers of Midnight, and I sent an email to Maria saying, "I can't keep track of who is with Perrin. Do you have just a list somewhere?" And I was really just meaning the Wise Ones, right? And, you know, named characters. Maria comes back and says, "Well I just dug this out of the notes; I hadn't seen it before. Maybe this will help. It's a file called 'With Perrin'". I went, "Oh, good." And I opened it up...no, that's not what it is; it is the names of all the Two Rivers folk who haven't been named in the books yet. [laughter] ...who are traveling with Perrin, and often a little bit about each of them, and a list of several dozen names of people who haven't been named yet. That's the level of detail we're talking about with this, and it was a challenge; it was a challenge on all of us.

    Fortunately, we did have Maria and Alan, who we should mention—Alan Romanczuk, who is also one of the assistants and very good at this sort of thing, and I would focus my writing, particularly in first draft, on just getting the emotional content of a scene down, right? Get the narrative flow down, make sure it's working, and I would try to get all the voices of the characters right, but I wouldn't worry as much about continuity. I would then send it to Maria, and she would send back this thing with all of these notes saying, "Oh Brandon. Oh Brandon, you can't do this." "Oh Brandon, you killed her." "Oh Brandon..." You know, stuff like that. You see her shaking her head over each of these things. And then we would try and fix all of the problems caused by that, and that's kind of how it went.

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  • 151

    Interview: Jan 9th, 2013

    Question

    Was there a character that you took in a different direction than Robert Jordan had originally intended?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not specifically against his wishes. If it was in the notes, talking about a character...one of our first requirements, and I put it on myself on this, was to avoid going in different a direction from Robert Jordan with anything, specifically because I didn't want these books to become about me. I wanted them to remain the Wheel of Time. Now, I had to be nudged by Harriet at several points early on. She would tell me, you have to change some of these things. You do have to be willing to write the book as it needs to be written; Robert Jordan wouldn't have stuck to this outline exactly, and if you did stick to it exactly, it would feel like it doesn't have any life to it.

    And so, there are times, when I was working, and mostly these are plot things—I would say, "You know what, we need to change this." An example of this is in The Gathering Storm, there's a scene—it's not too bad; it's not a big spoiler [laughter]—but there are several scenes where Egwene is having dinner with the Amyrlin. Well, that was originally in Robert Jordan's notes as one scene, and I split it to two scenes, where there's a dinner, it breaks, and then we come back, and I put some things in between because with the narrative flow of that sequence, it felt more powerful for me to work with it that way. I didn't remove any of the things that Robert Jordan said to have happen, and used several of his scenes that he'd written to construct those, but in that case, I felt that moving it around like that made for a better book. And so that's the sort of thing I would change.

    I will say that, early on, when I first met with them, I did say, "I would like to have a character that I can just kind of do whatever I want with," so that I have, you know...it was kind of, maybe hubristic of me or whatever—I wanted to do that, I'm like, "Can I have one to play with? I want an Asha'man to play with." And it was actually Maria who suggested Androl, and said "Go look at him; there's not a lot written about him. The personality, Robert Jordan doesn't have much written down for who he is, and he seems like he's well-poised to do this. That would be a very good one." So Androl, almost everything that's happening with him, Robert Jordan didn't say "Do it with him." There are things I have him doing that Robert Jordan said, in this notes, "This has to happen." But I specifically took Androl as a character and went places with him.

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  • 152

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2013

    Jason Denzel

    (into mic) Hello? You guys look like a Wheel of Time crowd! Hello, and welcome. My name is Jason Denzel; I'm the webmaster of Dragonmount.com. [applause, cheers] I'm going to do a—I mean, everyone up here probably needs no introduction, but we're going to introduce ourselves anyway, and then we have some treats for you. So, going down the line here, next to me is the wonderful, the incredible, the amazing Harriet McDougal. [applause, cheers, standing ovation]

    Harriet McDougal

    Hello! Y'all are going to make me cry! I put my shoes on one foot at a time, just the way you do. [laughter] Thank you very much for that incredibly warm welcome.

    Jason Denzel

    Next here is Maria Simons, Harriet's executive assistant, and probably the person who knows the Wheel of Time better than any of you. [laughter, applause, cheers]

    Maria Simons

    Hello. Great to see you all.

    Jason Denzel

    I'm going to skip over the next guest; we'll come back to him. [laughter] Matt Hatch, the webmaster of Theoryland.com [applause, cheers] And Peter Ahlstrom, Brandon's assistant, and also someone who knows these books inside and out. [applause, cheers] Last, but not least, of course, we have Brandon Sanderson. [applause, cheers, standing ovation]

    So we're going to begin here with something very special for you. Harriet is going to read from A Memory of Light, something that has not yet been put out in any of the various previews online or anything, so assuming you haven't read the book yet, this should be something new and special for you. Here's Harriet.

    Harriet McDougal

    This is why I've had my nose in this book, is checking out what I plan to read.

    Audience

    Read the ending! [laughter]

    Harriet McDougal

    You wish! This is from chapter nine. [snip Rand POV] [applause]

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  • 153

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2013

    Jason Denzel

    Okay, so...everyone, Maria Simons.

    Maria Simons

    I wanted to tell y'all a little about Waygate Foundation. When you get your book, on the back flap there's a list of websites—Dragonmount, Theoryland, a few others—Waygate's a new one. Waygate is a non-profit that has started to bring together authors and fans of science fiction and fantasy to [?] charitable efforts. Harriet is on the board; Brandon is on the board; I'm on the board; Wilson Grooms is on the board; Jason is on the advisory council.

    We're trying to put together a significant effort to raise money for good charities throughout the world, and right now Waygate is running a campaign; they're trying to raise ten thousand dollars to benefit Waygate and Worldbuilders, and if they raise ten thousand dollars, they will reveal a peek at the Encyclopedia, which will be forthcoming from us. I selected the material, and I tried to make it really good. [laughter]

    Waygate is starting an Encyclopedia Question and Answer with me and Alan and herself, and they are collecting questions on their Facebook page starting...this evening! [laughter] So if you check out Waygate, you can find them there, and if you have any questions about the Encyclopedia, you can ask them there, and they will be picking and choosing, you know, the questions that are really good, or that the most people have, and we will do our best to answer them while we're working on the Encyclopedia, because that's already underway. Thanks. [applause]

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  • 154

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2013

    Brian Hill

    Hello. I'm Brian Hill, from near Seattle, Washington, and I first want to thank Harriet for your courage and generosity in bringing this to us after the loss that you had. Thank you. [applause]

    Harriet McDougal

    Thank you. [applause] Thank you for wanting it. [laughter]

    Brian Hill

    Two things. If circumstances had been different, would Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson get along, and would they be friends? [laughter] And second, with this...now that it's all written, as he looks down, is he proud? What would his thoughts be tonight?

    Harriet McDougal

    Oh, I think he'd be proud. I think he'd be proud, and I do think he and Brandon would have gotten along. [laughter]

    Maria Simons

    One thing that was really strange...the first time Brandon came to Harriet and Jim's house, we were...when Jim was still alive, on Fridays we would order out from a restaurant and sit down and talk and everything, and so Brandon came. We ordered from one of the same restaurants. He ordered what Jim ordered, without any hints or anything. He sat in Jim's seat. It was kinda like, "Wow, this is kinda cool!" [laughter] It felt like it was meant to be.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Harriet tells a story—at least on the Gathering Storm tour, someone asked a question like that—and she said...(to Harriet) back then you said...she thought he was probably up there and looking down and saying, "Who is that kid?" And then kind of nodding and saying, "Yeah, it turned out alright." [laughter]

    Harriet McDougal

    I think he's definitely saying that now.

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  • 155

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2013

    Zach

    Hi. I'm Zach [?], and I'm from here in Orem, and I kind of feel like a child with all these people that have read it for so long. I'm pretty new to the series—just a couple of years—but I love it just as much. And I'm really grateful you guys brought your assistants with you as well, because I know, with the creative writing process and writing, it takes a lot more than just one person.

    And so I was wondering, probably more directed to Brandon, how did you keep everything together? How did you encompass everything... [laughter] Just a little idea; I just wanted to know a little bit about how you kept up with everything.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's interesting. I am somewhat absentminded in a lot of things in my life, but I don't forget stories. Stories stay in my head, and perhaps that's why I forget everything else. [laughter] I can remember stories that I was planning to tell twenty years ago, and I've still got the details in my head, and I'm ready to write it at some point; I just haven't gotten around to it.

    That said, a lot of the minutiae that isn't part of the soul of the story to me—it's very important, but it isn't part of the soul of the story—and that sort of thing, I do need to keep track of, and so recently we've been using the Wiki, and the Wiki has worked really well; that's for my own books. For the Wheel of Time, I just let other people make the Wikis, and I use theirs. [laughter] So the Encyclopaedia-WoT—Bob Kluttz, and Encyclopaedia-WoT—and if there's anyone here from Tar Valon who worked on their Wiki, the Tar Valon Wiki is fantastic, and I really liked the Tar Valon Wiki. And so, those were two things that I used for the simple questions, the questions they couldn't answer. Maria was like our version of the Brown Ajah that has been gathering all sorts of things and getting them ready for us whenever we have requests about them and whatnot, so it's been very useful.

    Harriet McDougal

    She doesn't have a live owl on her desk, but she does have a large plastic iguana that has a cigarette in its mouth. [laughter]

    Maria Simons

    And I have two beautiful brown shawls proving I am of the Brown Ajah. [cheers, applause]

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  • 156

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2013

    Kevin

    My name is Kevin [?] from Orem, Utah. My question is mostly directed at Harriet, but also anybody else on the panel who wants to jump in here.

    One of the things I love about the books is that there's so many characters, and there are moments where like, each of the characters has their ups and downs, and there's chapters where like, "Man, Perrin is on fire," or "Mat is the greatest!" But if you could hang out with any character from this universe, you know—even disregarding what we know about Mat's similarities with Robert Jordan now—but if you could hang out with any character, who would it be?

    And then also, for Harriet and Maria, if you could be any Ajah in the White Tower, which would you pick?

    Harriet McDougal

    Well, Maria and I have different fancies about the male characters. [laughter] She fancies herself...she fancies some Mat. Big time. [laughter] And I, on the other hand, have always been stuck by the numerous ways in which Robert Jordan resembles Perrin. Very large, as a former lineman for Clemson University would-be, and hairy, and very gentle, and I just...anyway, I think it'd be Perrin. And I'm torn between the Blue and the Brown. I think mostly Blue.

    Maria Simons

    And I am so Brown. [laughter]

    Harriet McDougal

    Actually, on one of these last book tours, Brandon looked at this thing I'm wearing around my neck, because this is a nice, non-losable thing to put on some color. [It resembles an Amyrlin's stole, narrow and tied in a knot.] And he said, "Oh..." looking at the stripes, "Orange. My favorite Ajah." [laughter]

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  • 157

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2013

    Question

    Has it gotten any easier to dig through RJ’s very personalized and, in some ways, maddeningly genius organizational system?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You’d actually have to ask that of Maria and Alan since they are the ones who dig through it. I gave up on that after about two months into the first book because I couldn't make heads or tails of it; I just started asking questions of them. It still takes a long time sometimes to get responses, not because they're not working but because it's hard to find, so I don't know that it's gotten that much better.

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  • 158

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2013

    Question

    Now that the series is done, how does it feel and what are you planning to do now?

    Harriet McDougal

    I feel very satisfied that it’s complete; very sad that it is another occasion for me to say ‘goodbye’ to Robert Jordan. The last five years have been one goodbye after another, and none of them are easy. But I knew that he wanted the series finished, and it's done, and that's very satisfying, and also very sad. So it's sad, happy, bitter, sweet—a whole mix. It goes in and out of these things.

    There is still an Encyclopedia for me to do with Maria Simons and Alan Romanczuk; Maria worked with my husband, and now with me, for seventeen years, and Alan has been around for twelve, so they know the material very well and have been...I started the material that will be the Encyclopedia back with The Eye of the World, writing down proper nouns. Then it got to be The Great Hunt, and I said, "Oh Lord." [laughter] You get pages of the Aiel: who are in which sept, who are in which warrior society, who is married to whom—the whole thing. I think y'all will like it, and we will be turning it in perhaps some time next year...I mean this year. We're in '13 already. By its nature it couldn't be done until the series was complete. It may amuse you to know that in the contract it says it will be delivered in 2008. [laughter]

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  • 159

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2013

    Question

    How do you feel about the graphic novel project?

    Harriet McDougal

    Well, it's in work, and mostly Maria Simons has been working with the Dabel Brothers, who have been a joy to work with editorially. There have been some problems about the schedule, but their devotion to the work is really just what we want to see.

    Brandon Sanderson

    They're famously wonderful artists, and not so good on the business front.

    Harriet McDougal

    And I've seen a French edition of a piece of The Eye of the World, and to see Mat talking French, and saying, "Ah, zut alors!"

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hey, that's a nice thing. Way in the back there, they have some of the graphic novels for sale!

    Harriet McDougal

    What a coincidence!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, what a coincidence. Ooh, someone's holding them right back there, the thing back there; you can go get some of the graphic novels, you can go through those....

    Harriet McDougal

    Yeah, and there's one in the front here.

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  • 160

    Interview: Feb 11th, 2013

    Question

    So I had a very emotional reaction to this book, and I'm sure a lot of people did. I actually had to put it down for about two weeks... [inaudible] As you the writer, how did you manage to get through the ending of a lot of characters that are part of our lives?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The answer is a complicated one dealing with the creative process. One part of the answer is I had a lot longer to get ready for it than you did. In fact, I was building the outline from this out of Robert Jordan's notes.

    We talked about the notes. I was handed two things by way of notes. One was a stack of 200 pages. And this is the writing Robert Jordan did for the last book, and including the Q&As he did with his assistants, where they would say, "Okay what's going to happen with this character?" And he would talk about it for a page or so, and they would actually just record that, and then they transcribed it for me. And so that's what those 200 pages were. And then there was a CD with all of this five million words of other stuff, which I would spend my time reading, but which would have taken me years and years and years to read through all the way. And so fortunately I had Maria and Alan working on that. It was real interesting because a lot of this is stuff like 'Chronology of events for Book 5', which there had been a lot of things like that, and then there'll be hidden little tidbits in there.

    But anyway, I was building the outline by rereading the series, taking the 200 pages—because we knew those were the scenes that he wanted in the book—and out of those two things I build the outline for the 800,000 word novel that I was planning. (laughter) So I used that. And I got very—I got time to come to grips with what was going to happen in a lot of the books. I had years to come to grips with it. It doesn't mean it wasn't an emotional time when I wrote it. We don't talk a lot—intentionally—we don't talk a lot about what was Robert Jordan and what was me. We don't talk a lot about where he decided characters needed to go, and where I decided characters needed to go, and where Harriet decided on occasion. But there were some long phone calls, where I would call and say, "This needs to happen. This is going to be really painful, but this is what the book needs." And we would talk it over and decide how to work it in and where it would go and how it would come about. Some of those conversations were tear-jerkers, but the Last Battle doesn't happen without some tear-jerking moments.

    But beyond that, of course, the idea that it was all coming to an end, right? That this was years and years and years of effort, and years and years and years of reading, coming to an end. And that was emotional in and of itself. So, I've now had six or seven months. It finished for me July/August-ish when I handed off the document to Maria, and she took over the copy edit, and the continuity—you know, tweaking little continuity things. From there on, I couldn't change anything—I could write to her and have her change things. That's when the book was done, to me. And I've had all that time to get used that idea, also, of the book being done. And so, yes it was emotional, but I had so much more time to deal with it than you did.

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  • 161

    Interview: Feb 7th, 2013

    Question

    Who was the most challenging WoT character to write?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mat was the most challenging, the second most was Aviendha. He explains that it is hard to write about someone so different than yourself and the Aiel culture seemed the most unique in the series. Of Rand's three women, Aviendha is Brandon's favorite. He recalls that after writing his first Aviendha scene, Harriet read it and then told him that it was a "picture perfect Elayne." Brandon went on to discuss how he has to write his way into his characters. Vin, in Mistborn, was originally a boy. Lots of his early work on The Gathering Storm was scrapped by Harriet because Brandon wasn't "there yet" with the characters.

    He then goes on to discuss the volume of notes left by Robert Jordan. There are about 200 pages for A Memory of Light and then there is roughly 32,000 pages of other notes for the series, three times as large as the entire series put together. Brandon tells of how he tried to open it once and it crashed his computer because the file was so large. He also wants to commend the enormous efforts of Alan and Maria for their help in managing all of the details of the series.

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  • 162

    Interview: Feb 22nd, 2013

    Terez

    I'm guessing you're aware that RJ told a couple of fans that the Heroes had to follow the Horn no matter who blew it (and that, if the Shadow blew the Horn, there would be some kind of 'rift' in the Pattern). What's the story there?

    Brandon Sanderson

    This is an interesting one for a multitude of reasons. I actually worked under the assumption that whoever blew the Horn would control the Heroes, going so far as to write several sequences in the last book referencing that to heighten tension that if the Horn were indeed captured things would go VERY poorly for the Light.

    I was quite surprised, then, when Harriet wrote back to me on the manuscript quite energetically crossing out these lines and explaining that the Heroes could not ever follow the Shadow. I called and asked for confirmation and clarification, pointing out that it seemed otherwise from the text and from fandom interpretation. She explained that this was one of Jim's ruses, that the characters in book were wrong and repeating bad information, and that Jim had been very clear with her that it was not the case. I can only guess that these reports in fandom were cases where people asked Jim a question he could Aes Sedai his way out of, and something got muddled in the communication or the reporting somehow.

    (Feel free to follow up with Harriet and Maria on this one, if you want more. Honestly, I was surprised, and it was something we had quite a dialogue on as I worked on the final book. I fought longer than I probably should for the "Shadow can use the Horn" theory.)

    Maria Simons

    I really can't add anything here. I thought I was led to believe (as opposed to coming up with it myself) that the Heroes really wouldn't follow the Horn if it were blown by Team Dark, but I cannot swear to that. I was unaware of the rift answer. Of course, it's possible that the Heroes themselves don't know the correct answer; they're Heroes, after all, and unless there's some Hero orientation meeting where they are filled in on all the details, they may just assume that they're always going to be Heroes, as in champions of goodness and Light.

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  • 163

    Interview: Apr, 2013

    Waygate Foundation

    Thanks again to everyone who submitted questions for our Team Jordan Q&A during the A Memory of Light tour. We were excited to see the questions, and even more excited to share the answers!

    This sneak peek into the future content of the Wheel of Time Encyclopedia is brought to you by Team Jordan in support of our "A Story Begins" campaign benefiting Patrick Rothfuss' Worldbuilders charity. To help us reach our goal and release a full page of the future encyclopedia, please consider contributing a donation using the "Support" form on the right!

    Warning—a lot of these answers contain SPOILERS. Read at your own risk! Each answer has been supplied by Team Jordan, and was written by Maria Simons, continuity editor of the Wheel of Time. Maria and the Team have been very generous with their time, and will provide as many answers as they can.

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  • 164

    Interview: Apr 20th, 2013

    Terez

    RJ said that Fain was responsible for the fly trap thing; it's in The Great Hunt, in that little village...

    Maria Simons

    He did?

    Terez

    Yeah. Because a lot of people thought it was Lanfear, and RJ said it was Fain.

    Maria Simons

    *looks surprised*

    Terez

    So I guess you don't know the answer to that question. (repeats self) ...and that kind of blew everyone's theories out of the water...

    Maria Simons

    Yeah, because I thought it was Lanfear.

    Footnote

    It's possible Maria is right that it's Lanfear; we only have paraphrased reports of RJ saying it was Fain: two reports from the same signing in 2005 that might actually be written by the same person.

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  • 165

    Interview: Oct 9th, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    So there I was, sitting beside Robert Jordan's computer, looking at printouts of his notes, and feeling supremely overwhelmed. You might wonder what was in those notes. Well, in preparing to write this piece, I went to Harriet and (as I'd often promised fans) asked if it would be possible to release the notes, or to at least speak specifically about their contents. (I still someday want to do a series of blog posts where I take scenes from the notes, then compare them to scenes in the finished books, with a commentary on why I made the decisions to change them that I did.)

    In response to my question, Harriet pointed out that work on the encyclopedia of the Wheel of Time is still in progress. She and Team Jordan haven't yet finished deciding what tidbits from the notes they want to include in the encyclopedia, and she thinks now is not the time to release them. (Or even for me to talk about specifics.)

    Therefore, I can't talk about many specific scenes. Instead, then, I want to talk about the general process—which might be of more interest to many of you. You see, as I've explained before, the "notes" aren't what people assume. I was handed two hundred pages of material by Harriet, and this is what I read that first night. Those pages included:

    Written sections by Robert Jordan: Robert Jordan was a "discovery"-type writer, meaning he tended to explore where he wanted his story to go by doing the actual writing. He didn't work from an outline. Harriet has explained that he had a few goalposts he was aiming for, big events he knew would happen somewhere in the story. He didn't know exactly how those would play out until he wrote them, but he knew what they were. Otherwise, he would write and explore, working his way toward his goalposts and discovering many parts of his story as he worked.

    Robert Jordan was also not a linear writer. From what I can judge by the notes, he was one of the relatively more rare breed of writers who work on a scene as it interests them, no matter where it may be in the story. It seems like he'd often dig out a file and write a short time on it, then stick that file back into the notes. The next day, he'd work on a different place in the story. It's possible that as he started work on a book in earnest, however, he progressed in a more linear fashion. The largest chunk of actual writing he left behind was for the prologue of A Memory of Light, after all.

    However, from what Harriet has told me, he did not show his notes to people, nor did he show them early drafts. Even Harriet often wouldn't get to see early drafts—she says what he gave her was often draft twelve or thirteen.

    In the stack of notes I was given were all of the scenes he'd actually written for A Memory of Light. Together, these were about a hundred pages. I can't tell you everything that was in there, not yet. I can speak about the things I've said before, however. One thing in these notes was the ending. (This became the epilogue of A Memory of Light, though I did add a couple of scenes to it.) Another was his unfinished prologue. (I split this into three chunks to become the prologues for the three books, though I did add quite a few scenes to these prologues as well. Scenes he'd finished, mostly finished, or had a loose first draft of include: the farmer watching the clouds approach in The Gathering Storm, the scene with Rand seen through the eyes of a sul'dam from the prologue of The Gathering Storm, the scene with the Borderlanders on the top of the tower in Towers of Midnight, and the scene with Isam in the Blight at the start of A Memory of Light.)

    Also included in this stack of scenes were a smattering of fragments, including the scene where Egwene gets a special visitor in The Gathering Storm. (Dress colors are discussed.) The scene in Towers of Midnight where two people get engaged. (The one that ends with a character finding a pot in the river—which is a piece I added.) And the scene at the Field of Merrilor inside the tent where someone unexpected arrives. (Much of that sequence was outlined in rough form.) I've tried to be vague as to not give spoilers.

    Q&A sessions with Robert Jordan's assistants: Near the end, Mr. Jordan was too weak to work on the book directly—but he would do sessions with Maria, Alan, Harriet, or Wilson where he'd tell them about the book. They recorded some of these, and then transcribed them for me. Most of these focus on someone asking him, "What happens to so-and-so." He'd then talk about their place in the ending, and what happened to them after the last book. A lot of these focus on major plot structures. ("So tell me again what happens when Siuan sneaks into the White Tower to try to find Egwene.") Or, they focus on the climax of the final book. The bulk of this information gave me a general feeling for the ending itself, and a read on where people ended up after the books. A lot of the "How do they get from the end of Knife of Dreams to the climax of A Memory of Light?" wasn't discussed.

    Selections from Robert Jordan's notes: As I've mentioned before, Robert Jordan's larger notes files are huge and have a haphazard organization. These are different from the notes I was given—the two hundred-page stack. My stack included the pages that Team Jordan thought most important to the writing of the book. They did also give me a CD, however, with everything on it—thousands and thousands of pages of materials.

    Though you might be salivating over these, the bulk are not things many of you would find interesting. Each version of the glossaries is included, for example, so Mr. Jordan knew what they'd said about given characters in given books. (These are identical to the ones printed in the backs of the books.) There are notes for many of the books, things Mr. Jordan used while writing a given novel in the series, but much of this ended up in the books and would not offer any revelations to you. There is, however, a great deal of interesting worldbuilding, some of which ended up in the books—but there's also quite a bit here that will probably end up in the encyclopedia. There were also notes files on given characters, with the viewings/prophesies/etc. about them that needed to be fulfilled, along with notes on their attitude, things they needed to accomplish yet in the series, and sometimes background tidbits about their lives.

    Maria and Alan had spent months meticulously combing through the notes and pulling out anything they thought I might need. This was the last chunk of my two hundred pages of notes, though I was free to spend time combing through the larger grouping of files—and I did this quite a bit.

    To be continued.

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  • 166

    Interview: Oct 10th, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    At this point, I sat down with Team Jordan. In case you don't know the members of this group it includes:

    Harriet: Robert Jordan's editor and widow. She discovered him as an aspiring writer in Charleston after moving there to raise her son from a previous marriage. (She didn't think NYC was the place to do it, and she had inherited the family home in Charleston.) She was encouraged by Robert Jordan's writing and started publishing his historical novels (she still worked for Tor, but telecommuted). Eventually they fell in love and were married. She edited all of the Wheel of Time books, as well as doing some other things. (For example, she is responsible for nearly all of the chapter titles in all of the books.)

    Maria: Maria was hired on somewhere around book seven, I believe. At first, her work seemed to be more clerical—but over time, she impressed Robert Jordan and Harriet, and moved into a more editorial position. She'd maintain continuity for him, as well as work on his copyedits. These days, she is also in charge of making certain things like the Wheel of Time graphic novels are following the storyline and descriptions in the right way.

    Alan: Alan came on later than Maria, but has still been there for years and years by this point. He helps with office work and is the resident timeline king. He also is a military history buff, and knows warfare quite well. He became my "Great Captain" for the last books. (Though he and I did butt heads quite a bit as I pushed for more drama and he pushed for more specific descriptions of tactics.)

    Wilson: I don't know if he'd agree he was part of Team Jordan or not, but I view him as part. Wilson is Robert Jordan's cousin and close friend growing up—the cousin that was like a brother. Jovial and welcoming, he recently dressed up in a costume of me for a costume contest. He's been a cheerleader for Jim's work for years, and every time I felt daunted by this project, it seems I'd get a little note of encouragement or help from Wilson.

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  • 167

    Interview: Oct 10th, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    During this second Charleston visit, I sat down with Alan, Maria, and Harriet to outline my thoughts on where the last books should go. I asked for big sheets of butcher paper, and upon this I started writing down characters, plots, goals, and sequences as headings. Then, we brainstormed answers to holes. I often presented my (somewhat daring) plans for sequences Robert Jordan had not outlined. I think a lot of the things I suggested were surprising to Team Jordan—and made them worried.

    My argument was this, however: Robert Jordan would not have kept the last book stale. He wouldn't have done everything as expected. He wouldn't have flatlined the character arcs, he wouldn't have stopped the worldbuilding. If we played this book safe, we'd end up with a bland climax to the series. Harriet agreed, and told me to proceed with some of these plans—but with the warning that as editor, she would read and see if I pulled off the sequences. If I did, they'd go in the books. If I didn't, we'd remove them.

    This ended up working really well. It allowed me to exercise artistic freedom, driving the books in directions I felt they needed to go without limitations. Granted, I had a personal rule—I didn't contradict Robert Jordan's previous books, and if he had finished a scene in the notes, we were going to use it.

    This might make it sound like I was trying to steer the books away from his vision. Nothing is further from the truth. In rereading his series, in getting close to his notes, I felt like I had a vision for the types of emotional beats Robert Jordan was striving for in the last book. These emotional beats required surprises, revelations, and transformations—I felt like I truly had the pulse of this series. My goal was to fulfill his vision. However, in order to do this, I needed to exercise my artistic muscles, as he would have exercised his own. I had to allow the creative writer in me to create, to tell stories.

    It meant approaching these books as a writer, not a ghostwriter. Harriet understood this; she hired me rather than a ghostwriter because we had notes and fragments of scenes—not an almost-completed novel. However, she was also very right to tell me that she would act as a stabilizing force. Letting my creativity out of its proverbial Pandora's box meant walking a dangerous line, with things that were too "Brandon" potentially consuming the series. I didn't want to let this happen, and Harriet was the failsafe.

    This is why some sequences, like the "River of Souls" sequence that became part of the Unfettered anthology, needed to be deleted from the books. It's not the only one. Others include a sequence where Perrin went into the Ways.

    During the process of writing these books, all members of Team Jordan offered commentary on every aspect—but a certain specialization fell out naturally. Harriet did line edits and focused on character voice. (She famously told me, regarding one of my very early Aviendha scenes, "Brandon, you've written an almost perfect Elayne." It took me a few more tries to get that one right.) Maria would watch for continuity with other books. Alan would pin me down on timeline, troop movements, and tactics.

    To be continued.

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  • 168

    Interview: Oct 17th, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Gathering Storm: What did I learn?

    The obvious thing I learned has to do with juggling so many side plots. I'd attempted this level of complexity one time before in my life, the first draft of The Way of Kings. (Written in 2002–2003, this was very different from the version I published in 2010, which was rebuilt from the ground up and written from page one a second time.) The book had major problems, and I felt at the time they came from inexpert juggling of its multitude of viewpoints. I've since advised new writers that this is a potential trap—adding complexity by way of many viewpoints, when the book may not need it. Many great epics we love in the genre (The Wheel of Time and A Song of Ice and Fire included) start with a small group of characters, many in the same location, before splitting into much larger experiences with expansive numbers of viewpoints.

    I couldn't afford to be bad at this any longer. Fortunately, finishing the Mistborn trilogy had taught me a lot about juggling viewpoints. Approaching The Wheel of Time, I was better able to divide viewpoints, arrange them in a novel, and keep them in narrative rhythm with one another—so they complemented one another, rather than distracting or confusing the reader.

    The other primary thing I feel I gained working on this book is a better understanding of my outlining process. Robert Jordan, as I said in previous installments, seems to have been more of a discovery writer than an outline writer—I'm the opposite. Working with The Gathering Storm forced me to take all of these notes and fragments of scenes and build a cohesive story from them. It worked surprisingly well. Somehow, my own process melded perfectly with the challenge of building a book from all of these parts. (That's not to say that the book itself was perfect—just that my process adapted very naturally to the challenge of outlining these novels.)

    There are a lot of little things. Harriet's careful line edits taught me to be more specific in my word choice. The invaluable contributions of Alan and Maria taught me the importance of having assistants to help with projects this large, and showed me how to make the best use of that help. (It was something I started out bad at doing—my first few requests of Alan and Maria were to collect things I never ended up needing, for example.) I gained a new awe for the passion of Wheel of Time fandom, and feel I grew to understand them—particularly the very enthusiastic fans—a little better. This, in turn, has informed my interactions with my own readers.

    I also learned that the way I do characters (which is the one part of the process I do more like a discovery writer) can betray me. As evidenced below.

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  • 169

    Interview: Oct 30th, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    Perrin

    When I launched into this book, I'd just finished Towers of Midnight and was in a very "Perrin is awesome" mood. I wanted to keep writing Perrin, so I did his sequence for the book first. It worked, to an extent. I love the Perrin parts of this book. However, by the end—and after finishing the other viewpoints—we found that the book had way too much Perrin in it. Cutting the sequence where Perrin travels through the Ways to try to close the Caemlyn Waygate from behind was one method of balancing this out. The sequence was also cut because Harriet felt I'd gone too far in the direction of returning to previous themes in the series, bringing back something better left alone so we could focus on the Last Battle. (In addition, Maria thought my descriptions of the Ways just didn't fit the story.)

    This was a 17,000-word sequence (and it ended with the Ogier rescuing Perrin and his company from the Black Wind, driving it off with their song). I love the sequence, but unlike the sequence with Bao (the deleted scenes named "River of Souls" and included in the Unfettered anthology) it is not canon. It couldn't happen for a multitude of reasons, and got trimmed.

    Otherwise, Perrin ended up as I wanted him. A lot of people were surprised that I knocked him out of the fighting for a big chunk of the Last Battle, but I felt it appropriate. The fighting armies were Mat's show, and Perrin's focus for the fighting was to join Rand and protect him in the Wolf Dream. There was so much else going on, I decided to bench him for a chunk of the warfare—and I'm pleased with the result. It brought real impact to the Slayer fight, where Perrin was left wounded.

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  • 170

    Interview: Aug 23rd, 2014

    Maria Simons (paraphrased)

    Jordan tried to protect Maria from spoilers in the work he had her do for him. She eventually persuaded him she could handle them. Almost the first thing he then gave her was Verin's full backstory. This was somewhere around the time Path of Daggers came out.

    The oddest research request was Jordan asking how babies feel when they are born. This was eventually used in the bonding scene in Winter's Heart.

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