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2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
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As of right now, what are your plans for supplemental books? Could you give us your plans in regards to the upcoming short novels, a second Illustrated Guide, etc.? Do you have any plans on when you might release them in relation to the upcoming books?
The first short novel is to be an expansion, or rather, re-writing, of New Spring. I had to crop and compress in order to fit the story that I wanted to tell into the required space for a novella, but this time, I intend to simply do it without regard to length. That isn't to say that it will be the length of the books in The Wheel of Time. I expect it to be about sixty thousand words, give or take. The other two short novels will be centered around two other events before the main story that I've often been asked about. How did Tam al'Thor end up back in the Two Rivers with his wife and the child, Rand? And, how did Moiraine arrive in the Two Rivers just in the nick? The intention is to release them in between the larger books of The Wheel.
As for supplemental books, the only thing I intend at present is a sort of Encyclopedia Wotiana based on the list I have giving every created word, every name, place, term, etc. That, of course, won't come until the cycle is completed. There wouldn't be any point doing it earlier. I won't say that there will never be anything else, because never has a way of coming back to bite you on the ankle. I once said that I would never do a prequel, yet that's what these short novels are, prequels, but I don't have any other plans. At present, anyway. And if anybody has any suggestions, please keep them to yourself. I am trying to move on, folks.
Books and other news: He stated that there will be three more supplemental short stories to go along with the series. One of course is a rehash of New Spring, which he plans to expand it to around 70,000 words. He did not mention what the other two would be.
No, not really. There are three short novels that I'm going to do. They're prequels in a way, and they cover specific incidents that I think are interesting, not considering the major characters really.
One of them will be an expansion of the novella, "New Spring", which appeared in the collection called Legends. I wrote that at 35,000 words after a great deal of compressing, and I had to drop several storylines to get it down to that length. So, I'd like to do it the way I'd done it originally, at 70,000 words perhaps. There are two others of that sort that would be shortish, but no, I won't write any more in this universe when I reach the end...unless I come up with something stunning, otherwise I'd just be running over the same ground again, and I don't want to do that. I want to do something different.
It's a complex answer, really. My publisher asked me to. I had written a novella for Robert Silverberg's anthology Legends. When I first sat down to do that novella, I had an idea of what I wanted to write and realized I could not put all the story I wanted to into that novella. It would be a novel.
I mentioned this to my publisher and he said, "Would you do the novel for me?" Since I had everything in my head already, it was a fairly quick write. It's not just an expansion of the novella. There's a lot more story and a lot of things that aren't hinted at in the novella.
I certainly have no intention of retiring. As a matter of fact, I've said quite seriously, I intend to keep writing until they nail my coffin shut, and if I can get a keyboard into the coffin, or even a yellow pad and a pencil, I'm not guaranteeing I'll stop then.
At the moment, I am working on a comic book with the Dabel Brothers and Red Eagle Entertainment. It is a comic book adaptation of New Spring, the novel. It will be eight issues, I believe it is, and when it is done, they will be gathered as a graphic novel. The artwork is by a guy named Mike Miller, and it is simply fantastic, I have to tell you. It's really just fantastic artwork. The way we worked that is Chuck Dixon, who's a well known writer of comic books, comes up with the script, sends it to me. I make changes and send it back to him, and then it goes to Mike Miller for the drawings. And then the inks are sent to me, and I say, "Well, you've got to do this, you have to do that." And then the colors are sent to me, and I say, "Well, no no no, this is not quite right and that's right." And eventually the comic comes out.
Robert Jordan On Bringing New Spring From Novels To Comics
Without a doubt Robert Jordan is the current reigning king of the fantasy publishing world. His series "The Wheel of Time," now with 11 volumes, has seen some 11 Million copies in print. Go to any Barnes & Noble or Borders book store and you'll see an awful lot of shelf space dedicated to his novels.
While the prolific author may have conquered the prose world with relative ease, he's decided his next challenge will be in bringing the prequel to "The Wheel of Time" series to comics. Red Eagle Entertainment, LLC, a brand management and licensing company, has formed a partnership with Dabel Brothers Productions to bring Jordan's New Spring: The Novel to the world of comics.
The comic book adaptation, tentatively titled The Wheel of Time: New Spring, is co-written by Jordan and comics writer Chuck Dixon, with art by Mike S. Miller. The first issue is scheduled for release at Comic-Con International in San Diego this coming July, where Jordan is a Guest of Honor. This also marks the emergence of Red Eagle Entertainment in to the comics world with New Spring published under the Red Eagle Publishing banner.
With all that in mind, CBR News caught up with Jordan for a quick chat about "The Wheel of Time," on bringing his world to comics and his own life long appreciation for the art form.
The Dabel brothers (the producers of the Wheel of Time: New Spring comic book) were on-hand to get some issues of New Spring signed for the Tor internet hunt and to get Jordan's approval on some sketches for some computer wallpaper they are producing.
RJ said he was excited but trepidatious. He described the process by which he was in collaboration with the folks at Dabel Brothers. He understood that certain cuts would need to be made as the story goes from the written medium into others, but wanted to insure that his vision was followed as faithfully as possible.
RJ also indicated that he was confirming even minor details with Dabel Brothers, and one example he used was that the facial bars on a helmet were too thin, and that such bars would be ineffective against a sword swing, that they would crumple and crush the wearer's face, and that the bars were then thickened in the comic book.
They showed us previews for the next few issues and explained the collaborative process that creates the comics.
First the adapter, Charles Dixon, writes a script that meets with Robert Jordan's approval. Then the artist begins drawing sketches, which are submitted to a panel of fan consultants who check them for accuracy and the general "feel" of the series. After they are checked again by Robert Jordan, they are sent to the colorist and sent to the consultants for approval again. If everything checks out, the letterer adds the dialogue and captions and they are sent on for publication.
They also announced that based on fan feedback for their first limited edition collector's print of Mat Cauthon, they will be releasing a series of computer wallpapers featuring the characters from the main series. These are still in development, but from what I've seen so far, they should be excellent.
For John Lynch and a number of posters at Dragonmount, what Moiraine made the woman drink in New Spring was not poison. The woman intended to drug Moiraine in order to rob her, including of her clothes. And, of course, leave her to the nonexistent mercies of the patrons. Instead, Moiraine made her drink the drugged drink herself. And left her to the nonexistent mercies of her own patrons.
To: Les Dabel
Sent: Wednesday, March 24, 2004 2:55 PM
Subject: Re: Fw: New Spring Script
I decided to look beyond the first few pages and found that this is indeed a new script. I'm sending you a copy of it with my comments. Chuck took my comments to heart in many places and occasionally bettered them, but in others, which are very important, he seemed to ignore them altogether. There are mentions of Aiel riding horses, wearing armor, carrying pikes; all of these things that the Aiel don't do. And he still has Moiraine, Siuan, Tamra and Gitara wearing robes instead of dresses. I hope he will take to heart the comments I have put into the script.
Take care, Les. All my best.
To: Les Dabel
Sent: Thursday, March 25, 2004 12:12 PM
Subject: Re: Fw: New Spring
Very good! Please tell Chuck that he did an excellent job. There is only one point that I need to raise. Tamra and Gitara would not be wearing robes. The descriptions of their dresses and jewelry can be found in the book. I appended a note to that effect in the note on the relevant panel, and I'm sending you this version back. Once that change is made, I'm good to go with this script.
Thanks. All my best,
To: Les Dabel
Sent: Friday. March 26, 2004 11:57 AM
Subject: Re: Final Corrections
Very good! I added a note, for the Trollocs at the end, and corrected a few typos—he where it said eh, changing would to what in one place where it was plain that what was needed and would made no sense, adding or removing the occasional s to a word, such as horses for horse, where appropriate—but that was all minor stuff. Go with it.
As for the ageless look, I have always imagined it as being a difficulty in setting an age to the woman. You glance at her the first time and think she's 40, but the next instant, you think she can't be more than 20, and you just can't settle on where she belongs in age bracket. If you try the idea about combining the two faces, I suggest using 20 and 40, not 50. But do you then end up with a face that simply looks 30? I wish I could give you more guidance or a good suggestion. It's a lot easier when I only have to envisage the image in my head.
Take care, Les. All my best,
To: Les Dabel
Sent: Wednesday, March 31, 2004 3:03 PM
Subject: Re: Characters
I'll get onto the additional characters ASAP.
Here are my comments on the new images.
The Aiel is very good except for the boots, which still need to look more like Apache moccasins. That is how they are described in the main sequence books, a soft, laced boots. The coat is much better. As a note, remember that the Aiel average about 6'2" for a man, about the same as the Masai. There are plenty of them as tall as Lan and Bukama, and a few taller. An Aiel man who is 5'10" tall would be considered short by himself and by other Aiel.
The eagle-beak Trolloc is very good. It was a small thing, but the devil is in the details, and Trollocs just don't get ornamentation on their weapons. Plain—so to speak, despite all the hooks, etc—functional, and not a lot of effort into making them look good. They aren't exactly crude—crudely made weapons just don't usually function as well as well-made ones—but they are never fancy.
Cadsuane. This is not so good. She looks too old and too thin, almost gaunt. Her dress is way too frilly for Cadsuane, and it shows way too much cleavage. Her garments are silk, but cut simply. When she has lace, it's just a touch, perhaps at the neck and cuffs, but she more likely doesn't have any lace at all. She's a woman who does a lot of traveling, and she wants clothes that are easy to care for and can be tended by a poorly trained maid at some country inn. The cross-lacing is off. Dresses in this world almost always button up the back. And Cadsuane is more likely to have a high neckline than not. She makes no efforts to appear in the highest or latest fashion, nor does she try to impress other women with her clothes or jewelry, or to attract men; she's too busy for such foolishness, as she sees it. She is quite impressive enough being who she is, thank you very much. The hair ornaments also appear to be attached to one another, which they aren't. Each one of the ten ornaments hangs from its own individual hairpin. The bun should be right on top of her head, not toward the back.
As a note on her character. Cadsuane was born in the city-state of Far Madding, which is an out-and-out matriarchy. Far Madding has no hereditary nobility, but its politicians and wealthy merchants are all women. There are men who are craftsmen, but a wealthy man in Far Madding is one whose wife or mother gives him an over-generous allowance. The only men allowed to carry weapons of the usual sort are the Wall Guard, and then only when on duty. The Street Guard is limited to truncheons, sword-breakers and catchpoles. Men visiting from other places must either leave their weapons at checkpoints coming into the city or have them peace-bonded, with severe punishments for being found with the wires of the peace-bond broken. Very few of the city's men seem to be unhappy with the way things are. Far Madding is a prosperous trade center. The usual form of address by a woman to man whose name she doesn't know, or sometimes to one whose name she does, is "boy." None of this has any bearing on NEW SPRING, but it gives some insight into Cadsuane, because the city shaped her early years. Quite aside from being the most powerful Aes Sedai living at the time of NEW SPRING, Cadsuane is a formidable woman.
Gitara Moroso. I like this very much, though the dress would not be off-the-shoulder. That strapless look isn't used in this world. Most Aes Sedai wouldn't show that much bosom, but Gitara would. And I like the face, too. Very good!
Moiraine. The dress is excellent, though the sleeves are a bit too wide, I think—remember, Accepted's dresses are described as "simply cut"—but the face seems to have shifted again. I've attached the faces that I approved for Moiraine and Siuan. Also, she wouldn't have her hair in a bun. It would be worn loose. Her left hand also seems way too big; it's nearly half the width of her waist.
Ryne. This is very good except that his expression here seems on the sour side. That would be okay at the end, when he is unmasked as a Darkfriend, but the continuous view of Ryne until then is that he is charming and personable. He's much more likely to be smiling, especially if there is a pretty woman around. As a note, the dagger he is holding is too elaborate in the blade shape. I know there are a lot of fancy blade shapes out there today—Gil Hibben has much to answer for—but knives and daggers that are, or were historically, used by actual people had practical reasons for their blade shapes, even the yatagan and the falcata.
Tamra. Overall she looks very good. The only things I don't like are the off-the-shoulder dress, too much cleavage showing for her—her dresses would have high necklines, much like what you show on the Accepted's dress on the Moiraine image, or at least a neckline that showed no cleavage—and her hands both look much too large. The left hand is also oddly shaped.
Bukama. Yes. I like this one much better. Whatever Andrea did to the chin works just fine. And I like the armor. I hope this helps.
Take care, Les. All my best, Jim
To: Les Dabel, Ernst Dabel
Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2004 9:53 AM
Subject: SCRIPT #2
Dear Les and Ernst,
Here is Script #2 with my comments added in. There aren't many, this time, and they all have to do with dialogue. Some of that is too stilted, now, especially for Siuan. Moiraine speaks without any contractions, but Siuan is much more casual in her speech. And there is at least one place where someone says something that isn't needed, and in Bannerman Steler's case, is actually wrong.
Sorry to have been so long with this.
Mike Miller has shown me his artwork for the spread showing all of Tar Valon, and I must say that it is beautiful. I'm talking to him about getting my hands on it after you guys are done with it.
Take care, guys. All my best, Jim
To: Les Dabel
Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2005 12:09 PM
Subject: Re: Update
Things are going pretty well for me. I'm hard at work on Knife of Dreams, closing in on the finish. It will be good to get regular updates again. It would be good to get together during Dragon-Con, but as yet, I don't know what they will be having me do or when, so I can't make any commitments. Once I find out my schedule, things will shake out.
Take care, guys. All my best, Jim
To: Les Dabel, Ernst Dabel
Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2005 12:52 PM
I'm sending this to both of you to make sure it gets through to one of you. Here are the numerals I came up with. I think they fit well with Elisa's alphabet. I am considering that maybe the zero should be made a mirror image so it doesn't resemble a d so much. What do you think?
To: Les Dabel, Ernst Dabel
Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 5:16 PM
Subject: Re: Seruko and Canluum Guard revised sketches/ Page layouts 4, 5, 6
The layouts look good, and I look forward to seeing the inks. I do have some corrections for the script, though.
A correction for the wording on page 7, panel 1. It should read, "Lan floated in the ko'di, one with his sword." And in panel 2, it should read, "Lan danced the forms; time flowed like cool honey." Also, on page 12, panel 1, Merean should be saying, "She's undisciplined, Larelle, and too old, I'd say."
To: Ernst Dabel
Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2005 5:35 PM
Subject: Re: layouts H -18
I agree with most of the Consultants' suggestions. I know these are layouts and thus rough, but in the finals, the women really need to be wearing dresses. Even in the first image, they wouldn't be wandering about in just their shifts, especially since they have come all the way from their rooms in the Blue Ajah quarter down to the Accepted's Quarters. Both would be wearing something fairly plain, in wool most likely, though Moiraine may have silk. Each has a white ribbon of mourning tied to her hair on either side of her face like forelocks, while Moiraine also has long, lace-edged kerchiefs tied around her upper arms so that the ends dangle to her wrists.
Page 15, panel 2 and panel 4. Here Tamra is shown in a coffin. She would be wrapped in a shroud and laid atop a bier of wood. No coffin. A correction for the script. The panel 3 caption should read: "According to Tamra's wishes, her body was to be consumed by fire and her ashes scattered across the grounds of the Tower by the sisters." Fire should not be capped here.
Regarding Sierin Vayu on pages 16 and 17, please heed to the Consultants' comments. She is as they describe, not as drawn.
Page 18, panel 4. You can shift Moiraine's ring to another finger, but in fact, an Aes Sedai can wear her ring on any finger she chooses or not at all.
Take care, Ernst.
All my best, Jim
To: Ernst Dabel
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2005 4:54 PM
Subject: Re: NS6 Pg 2 & Pg 1
Page 1 looks terrific, but while Seroku is properly shown with two swords on his back there, on page 2 he is shown with only one sword on his back. The Thematic Consultants' comments are, as always, good.
To: Ernst Dabel
Sent: Monday. November 28, 2005 4:59 PM
Subject: Re: Kandori women & Kandori men
Regarding the women, they are all right, but remember that the baggy trousers are garb of country women, not city women, who would wear dresses. For that matter, some country women will. Also, some of these women should have a short coat rather than a shawl.
The Kandori men are all right by and large, but the peasant looks too Medieval. Tell him to think more 1690-1700 AD.
By the way. Racelle looks just fine.
All my best, Jim
To: Ernst Dabel
Sent: Monday. November 28, 2005 5:11 PM
Subject: Re: Thematic Consultants
The image of Eadyth is spectacular, although, as noted elsewhere, she must have a Great Serpent ring. As for pages 15, 17 and 18, I haven't seen those, yet.
I have seen pages 12, 13, 14 & 16.
On page 12, Siuan seems to have a Great Serpent ring on her left hand in panel 2, but not in panel 4.
On page 13, Moiraine doesn't seem to be wearing a Great Serpent ring.
For the others, they are fine.
All my best, Jim
To: Ernst Dabel
Sent: Tuesday, November 29, 2005 12:38 PM
Subject: Re: Thematic Consultants—pg H 15,16,17 & 18
Okay, Ernst, here are my comments on 15, 17 & 18, plus some additional comments on 14 & 16.
Pg 14, panel five: we should be able to see the vines and leaves on Siuan and Moiraine's shawls.
Pg 15, panels 2 & 3: the sisters should all have white ribbons in their hair as a sign of mourning. These are long ribbons fastened to the temples so that they dangle on either side of the face. Moiraine also should have a long white lace scarf tied around each upper arm, dangling so that if her arms were at her sides, the ends of the scarves would reach her wrists.
Pg 15, panel 3. Moiraine's dress is wrong here. For one thing, it shows folds where it should fit quite snugly. For another, it displays cleavage where it should have a high neck. The titillation factor for this dress comes entirely from the embroidery, which is done so as to emphasize the body's curves.
Pg 16, panel 1. Sierin needs a seven-striped stole, and also a Great Serpent ring on her right hand.
Pg 16, panel 3. Sierin needs the Amyrlin's stole here, too.
Pg 16, panel 4. The woman doing the birching should have her hair in "long, beaded braids" that flail about as she works the birch. This woman's hair is gathered atop her head.
Pg 17, panels 2 & 3. Sierin needs a Great Serpent ring (right hand) and the Amyrlin's stole. Remember that Sieren's stole is only half as wide as Duhara's. (Duhara being the woman seated behind her. Her stole, remember, is red.)
Pg 17, panel 4. Moiraine’s shawl needs the vines and leaves. Part of Sieren's stole would be visible here, too.
Pg 18, panel 3. Moiraine is galloping as though being pursued here, but in fact she is supposed to be riding away very quietly so as to attract no attention.
Pg 18, panel 5. The banker looks too tall, as is she would be taller than Moiraine if she stood. Remember, she is markedly shorter than Moiraine.
All my best, Jim
To: Ernst Dabel
Sent: Tuesday, November 29, 2005 12:47 PM
Subject: Re: Swordsmen
First off, Ernst, let's go over the five (out of six) who were actually described.
1) "A lean heron of a fellow."
2) a "fat man."
3) a "ginger-haired young splinter."
4) a "bald man."
5) a "fork-bearded fellow with shoulders like a blacksmith's." He wore a "too-fine coat," i.e. one clearly above his station.
None of the six men is bare-chested. The are described as "six ordinary men with swords at their belts, like any man on any street in the city."
These guys look like extras from a Conan the Barbarian movie. Remember, Ernst, for these guys AND for the Kandori men, their clothing should reflect about 1690-1700 but with Japanese influences. They would not be carrying multiple swords, but rather one each.
Let's see what he can come up with on another try.
All my best, Jim
Now, a response to New Spring.
As I mentioned, I've finished reading through the entire WoT series again and have moved on to actually working on Book Twelve. (Two chapters writing are done as of right now, by the way. Neither were chapters that Mr. Jordan left any actual prose for, as I'm practicing with writing particular characters, and want to get a feel for writing them. I'm writing them and sending them to the experts in Charleston for feedback as I adapt my style to writing in the Wheel of Time world.) Anyway, I'm behind on these blog posts, and so while I read New Spring a few weeks back now, I'm only now doing a response for it.
I've said before that I think Mr. Jordan's greatest strength as a writer was his ability to do viewpoint with such power. His second-greatest strength was probably his ability to plot on the large scale, planning for things that weren't going to happen for several books, leaving foreshadowing for novels that wouldn't be written for years. As part of that, he knew what happened in the past with his characters to a far greater extent than I think most writers do.
New Spring seems to me an experiment in showing off these strengths. Here we have two characters from the main series shown many years before. I am impressed at how well Mr. Jordan was able to make these characters feel twenty years younger, yet at the same time show them being the same people. Both Moiraine and Siuan exemplified this, and it was interesting to read from a writer's viewpoint, as I was aware of how tough this must have been to pull off.
What happens itself is less interesting only in that we already know most of it. (The classic problem with prequels, after all, is that you generally already know how it will end.) While I enjoy a good prequel, the feeling is different than it is for a main-line story. Reading a book like New Spring is more of a fan experience for me, as I get to see how Lan and Moiraine met, and we get a record of the infamous river dunking. Despite what the cover says, I wouldn't say this is the "New starting point" for the Wheel of Time. That's why I read it here, when it was written, rather than when it occurred in the series chronologically. Half of the fun of this book comes from having read the other books in the series first.
It was strange to read a book from Robert Jordan that was only 120k long, though. I remember when I first saw it, years ago. I thought "Man, that's barely a short story!" 120k. Barely a short story. That would be a LONG book in many genres. Here, it's tiny. (Like many of you probably did, I can remember being annoyed at getting a prequel instead of the next novel in the series. Now I'm happy to have it, though, as it's one of our only glimpses into the world pre-Rand.)
Anyway, it was great seeing Siuan being a punk. I think her character in this added the most to my understanding of the series as a whole. Lan was pretty much Lan, and while Moiraine was interesting, I found myself liking Siuan more. Perhaps because I really enjoy her storyline in the main series.
(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.
Yeah. I don’t care.
Yeah, but Robert Jordan cared, so I try to care.
So is it Lahn or Lan?
Okay, good, because that’s how I pronounce it.
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.
Wait, didn't he...he wasn't a blademaster in New Spring, was he? No...
Not that I'm aware of. And Ryne was better than him then at that time, so...
Yeah. So, somewhere in between those two. I suspect that was one of the things that Jim wanted to do in the prequel.
Right. Because there was definitely not a big deal made of it when he killed Toram Riatin.
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.
I wrote New Spring to be accessible to someone who has read none of the books. That is, somebody who's read the books is going to find a few things explained in New Spring, such as what the One Power is, things that they've already had explained, things that they know. But I simply decided to go along with the way that I had done it in the novella. This is to be accessible to someone who's never read a book in the Wheel of Time.
Well, let me change that. Stories, maybe. But when I finish the Wheel of Time I have no intention of doing novels that are prequels or sequels. I'm going to go to another fantasy universe, another world, another set of characters, another set of cultures, another set of rules. I won't say that I'll never do something like that, but I have no plans to.
Yes, but there’s no way I’ll tell you anything else about it.
Tell me something about the prequel, then, New Spring. I know it was originally a short novel you published in 1998.
Yes, but it’s not an expansion. The novel New Spring is what I wanted to write in the first place, but I realized that Robert Silverberg would get very angry if I’d sent him a 120,000 words to put in his anthology! So I did a lot of cutting and I made it fits into the anthology, but I still had that novel waiting to be written and I wanted to write it because there was a lot to be said that really fits into the rest of the series.
Even if the prequel has only two storylines while my normal books have four or five storylines there are things that you will not see anywhere else, such as the test for Aes Sedai. You actually see someone take the test for Aes Sedai and you learn how that is done: I have no intention to ever showing it anywhere else.
Also there are clues in New Spring not only as to why certain people hate each other in the main sequence books, but why certain people die in the main sequence books, and I’m not going to put the evidence anywhere else because I’ve already given it here.
That’s why you decided to publish the prequel before the end of the series?
Well, I decided to published New Spring before going on because my publisher asked me to do it, but in retrospect that was probably a mistake. I shouldn’t have. It won’t happen again, though, I’ll work on the next two prequels only after I’ve finished the main sequence books.
And then what will you do? Do you already have another series planned?
Yes, a much more compacted sequence of books. Set in a different universe, different world, different rules and different cultures. Nothing that will be reminiscent of The Eye of the World or The Wheel of Time at all.
The idea for the "short" novels came about because of a comment I made to Tom Doherty concerning the writing of New Spring. I almost always find that my initial plans for what to put into a story are too ambitious, and if I had followed the initial guidelines I set up for New Spring, it would have been somewhere between half again and twice as long, much too long to have fit Legends. Very early in the writing, I decided to cut down some of the storylines and alter others to make them shorter. Tom's idea was that I should, in effect, restore the cuts, though it will be more complex than that because I never wrote them in the first place. I had long ago promised Tom that I would do another novella-length or longer story, and it was when he reminded me of that that this came up.
New Spring, of course, concerns events around the time of the birth of Rand al'Thor, with the "program" launched by the Black Ajah against men who might be able to channel (and the resulting deaths of many senior Aes Sedai, which in turn led to many Aes Sedai reaching positions of authority at younger ages that normally would have been expected) in the background, and the whole wrapped around the first meetings of Lan and Moiraine and the revelations of how someone as junior as Moiraine became part of the search for the Dragon Reborn and why Lan gave up his personal war against the Blight to become Moiraine's Warder. The framework of the other two stories I have in mind center around, first, Tam finding the infant and how and why a man who had risen to a position of some authority and responsibility as a soldier in the elite Companions threw that over to return to his childhood home and become a farmer, and second, around how and why Moiraine and Lan reached the Two Rivers just at the point that the Shadow's search for the young man who would become the Dragon Reborn had also focused in on the Two Rivers. There are some clues to events in those time frames in the larger books, though certainly not indications of everything that will be in those stories. That is, somebody might be able to pick up a few clues by close reading and study, but not the whole picture.
These three short novels will be spaced out between the larger novels, with (knock wood) the revised New Spring coming out some time late next year.
The trip to Europe went very well. I was at the Hungarian Book Fair in Budapest and the Turin Book Fair in Italy, both good experiences, and Harriet and I got a chance to do some sight seeing, too. No fish in Ireland, though; the weather was rainy, windy, and twenty degrees colder than expected this time of year, so nothing was biting.
New Spring is coming along nicely. There's nothing new to report there, but I do want to emphasize that this is not an expansion in the way that Scott Card's Ender's Game was. The story will begin some months earlier, there are more plot lines (putting in things I had to drop to make the novella length) and more detail. In short, it will be the story the way I wanted to tell it in the beginning, before I realized that that would mean seventy-thousand words, give or take.
His reply was that he wasn't working on any other projects, and that he can only work on one project at a time. When he was working on the Guide and New Spring, he had to stop working on the novel during that time.
I missed the next question, but it was something about his computer use. He said that whenever he was at his computer, he was writing. Apart from checking his E-mail and updating his virus definitions files, about all he did on his computer was write.
When asked about the total number of books, he gave the stock answer of at least three more books. When I suggested that 13 is a nice symmetrical number, he looked up at the ceiling and said "Don't listen to this man." I can only assume by his reaction that he took my comment to mean 13 additional books, instead of 13 total books.
I then asked him if there was going to be any more short fiction, he said, "I don't know. Maybe." He went on to explain about how the day that Bob Silverberg called him about Legends, he had been going through some notes about Lan and Moiraine's meeting. Lucky for us. He had to stop work on the novel to write the short story.
Will you write this before or after you finish the WoT prequels?
Infinity of Heaven almost certainly will be written before the prequels, though I might do them between the Infinity books.
You know, the reception of New Spring: the Novel surprised me. Some people were upset or even angry that I wasn't getting on with the main story. I even heard people say there was no reason to read the novel if you had read the novella. (That, by the way, is very wrong. There is stuff in that novel that won't ever be anywhere else, including the test for Aes Sedai and the reasons why certain people have the relationships they do in the books among other things.) Anyway, given the reactions of so many people, I decided to shelve the other two prequels for a while.
Was New Spring originally a novella that was expanded, or was it planned as a novel that was released in several parts?
It started as a novella for the collection called Legends. And then Tom Doherty said, "Well you can expand that into a novel, that won't take any time at all." I said, "Tom, that's not really a good idea." He didn't listen to me.