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Your search for the tag 'rj on life' yielded 273 results

  • 1

    Interview: Oct 21st, 1994

    AOL Chat 1 (Verbatim)

    Drayken

    When did you decide to become a writer? Did you always want to write or did it come later in life?

    Robert Jordan

    At five, while reading Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, I decided I wanted to write, but I always thought I would do it "one day," after I had a practical career. Then I was injured and I had a lot of time on my hands, so I decided to put up or shut up about this "one day" stuff. To my surprise, somebody actually wanted to buy it, and that was that.

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  • 2

    Interview: Oct 21st, 1994

    AOL Chat 1 (Verbatim)

    Phylwriter

    I was wondering more what your "writing life" was like...you know, like an every day kinda thing—could you tell us what a normal, RJ day is like?

    Robert Jordan

    Average day at beginning of book is: have breakfast, answer letters and telephone calls, then write for six to eight hours. Do this five days a week. After a while, this gets to be: drink a quart or two of strong coffee, write for twelve to fourteen hours a day, and do this seven days a week. Eventually the book is finished or I am dead.

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  • 3

    Interview: Jul, 2002

    Question

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

    Robert Jordan

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

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  • 4

    Interview: Jul, 2002

    Question

    How does your knowledge of physics influence your idea of channeling and the Talents involved in the books, such as Traveling, Skimming, etc? Do you have other hobbies or talents that influence your writing?

    Robert Jordan

    My knowledge of physics influenced channeling to the extent that I have attempted to treat channeling as if it were a form of science and engineering rather than magic. You might say that the Laws of Thermodynamics apply in altered form. I expect that my reading in history has influenced the books more than my knowledge of physics or engineering. I have not tried to copy any actual historical culture or period, but a knowledge of the way things actually were done at various times has helped shape my vision of the world of The Wheel, as has the study of cultures meeting that are strange to one another, and cultures undergoing change, willingly or, as is more often the case, unwillingly. I used to spend summers working on my grandfather’s farm, a very old-fashioned set-up even then, so I have some feel for country life, and I like to hunt and fish, and spent a good part of my growing up in the woods or on the water, so I have a fair feel for the outdoors and the forests, which also helps. And of course, I can use a little of my Vietnam experience. Not for setting out the actual battles, but because I know firsthand the confusion of battle and what it is like to try to maintain some semblance or order while all around you random events are pushing everything toward chaos.

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  • 5

    Interview: Jan, 1991

    Starlog Interview (Verbatim)

    William B. Thompson

    When Robert Jordan's parents couldn't find a babysitter, they would utilize the services of his redoubtable older brother, who read to his four-year-old sibling from a rich varied repertoire of Mark Twain, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and the like.

    The common thread was a zestful, sometimes wry imagination. And Jordan was an exceedingly quick study.

    Robert Jordan

    "It was galvanizing, better than a movie. I could visualize all of it in my head. By the time I was five, I had taught myself how to read."

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  • 6

    Interview: Jan, 1991

    Starlog Interview (Verbatim)

    William B. Thompson

    Following military service, Jordan enrolled at The Citadel, earning a degree in physics in 1974. For a time, he toiled as a nuclear engineer for the Navy. He became a writer largely out of boredom with the works of authors he read during an extended hospital stay, recuperating from a severe knee injury.

    His first book, Warriors of the Altaii, was fantasy. So was his dream of a publisher. A book contract signed by Jordan was rescinded, reputedly due to "excessive demands." Despite the setback, Jordan determined he would no longer work for anyone else, that he would henceforth write full time.

    In a reversal of the path taken earlier by John Jakes, Jordan went from "generational sagas" to the fantastic. However, his first major commercial success came in 1980 with the historical novel The Fallon Blood. Eleven years later, Jordan has published works representative of many fields, including dance and theater criticism.

    Robert Jordan

    "I enjoy whatever I'm writing at the moment. Right now what I want to write is fantasy. But I would also like to do plays, horror, mysteries, poetry and maybe some hard science fiction. Fantasy is challenging enough. Day to day, I try to keep things fresh and vital so there's no danger of self-imitation or self-parody. At the same time, it concerns me occasionally that I might court burnout from staying too long in one world."

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  • 7

    Interview: Jan, 1991

    Starlog Interview (Verbatim)

    William B. Thompson

    Jordan's mechanics are fundamental enough. He begins by supplying a foundation, layer by layer, erecting a general outline that is the story's scaffolding. Between the layers are inserted the roughs of characters and events that lend motive force to the tale.

    His outline, which can run from 20 to 40 pages, rarely is adhered to in minute detail. It's still a formative sketch—lines of charcoal on a white surface.

    Robert Jordan

    "My goal is to write a minimum of six hours a day. If I haven't begun writing by 11 a.m., I feel incredibly lazy. You see, writing is the mainline of my life, which may or may not be the best thing. I go back and forth on how I feel about this. I can get manic-depressive about my work. When that happens, I think I'm a lousy judge of my writing."

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  • 8

    Interview: Oct, 1992

    Robert Jordan

    Jordan was quite interesting and personable. He said he used to be an engineer of some kind. He LOOKED and sounded somewhat like a computer-type (a little nerdy—I can say that, since I'm one too :-)). It took FOREVER to get through the few people who were there for the signing (it wasn't advertised, at least not very well), because he took a break between each book he signed to tell a little bit more about himself (which was definitely interesting). Several people asked, of course, how the series was going to end, and, of course, he wouldn't say, except to suggest finding out by buying the book when it's published. He mentioned that there was a special limited edition set of the four books in the series so far being published in leather bound, gold-inset (?) volumes, selling for around $200 (or was it $200 per book?). I think he said only 200 copies would be published (200 seemed to come up a lot in his dialogue :-)).

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  • 9

    Interview: Dec, 1993

    Question

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

    Robert Jordan

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

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  • 10

    Interview: Mar 1st, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    Hey, don't publish the picture Gerard gave you. Our house has no wrought-iron gates. Also, no renovation has been done here since the fix-up after Hurricane Hugo several years ago. I kid you not. Poor Gerard got the wrong house. I'm glad you don't intend to publish any address, whether or not it is mine. There are fans who write letters, and then there are fans who show up at the front door unannounced. I hate to be rude to people, but with the time I spend writing, I barely have time for a social life with my friends, and frankly, someone who has managed to track you down is going to think you have cheated them if you scribble your name in their book and say, "Now go away. I'm busy." Believe me.

    Well, again, thanks for the letter, Carolyn. Do keep me abreast of what's happening with The Chronicles. I really would like to see copies, if it is possible for you to send them to me care of Tor Books.

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  • 11

    Interview: 1994

    John-Mark Turner

    RJ was very patient and enthusiastic. He looked different than the picture mostly due to the dark tint in his glasses.

    Robert Jordan

    RJ also mentioned being unable to attend West Point due to poor vision in his left eye. Shannon Faulkner and the Citadel...he feels she should not be allowed to attend the Citadel because she lied on her application by not revealing her gender. He also feels that single sex education is beneficial for both men and women. He said men tend to be more successful in a competitive environment while women tend to excel in cooperative environments (e.g., studies have shown that girls that go to all girl colleges have less math fear, stress, etc. than coeds). He also mentioned that he personally feels that the physical standards suffer at military institutions when women attend. He talked about himself being shot down in a helicopter and having to run twenty-five miles literally and anyone who would have been unable to do that would not have survived.

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  • 12

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Daniel Rouk

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

    Robert Jordan

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

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

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  • 13

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Erica Sadun

    Erica asked Jordan about Shannon Faulkner, the female attempting to get into The Citadel.

    Robert Jordan

    Jordan immediately said "She's a liar," and explained how she misrepresented herself on her application. The Citadel has an honor code that views lying as a very serious offense. He thinks the military is one role where men are physically more able to do the job, and if one can't meet the same requirements then they shouldn't be accepted. He frowned on the practice of West Point no longer having women march in combat boots. He mentioned that in Vietnam he had to run for twenty-some miles, and if he hadn't been able to make it he wouldn't be here today. He says in some fields though women would naturally replace men if tradition didn't keep men involved, such as law.

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  • 14

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Robert Jordan (18 October 1994)

    Jordan was a nuclear engineer for the Army, doing work on submarines. (Army working on Naval craft?) From there he entered government service of some sort, and when he hurt his knee started writing. (See previous post on details.)

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  • 15

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Robert Jordan (18 October 1994)

    Jordan reads voraciously, a book a night. He says if he sat down for an evening's reading he could probably put away two books the size of Lord of Chaos easily. When tested in grade school he was sent to the principal because the teachers were sure he had cheated. No one could read as fast as he did with as much comprehension as he had at that age. Jordan recalls that being called to the principal didn't upset him as much as not being apologized to afterward. Apparently the library where he grew up restricted children under twelve to the kids' department. This rankled the young Jordan, who read all he wanted to from that department in two days. He thus swiped books from tables and sat in a corner to read them. His main supply of literature as a kid was through his older brother. (10 years older)

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  • 16

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Robert Jordan (18 October 1994)

    Jordan doesn't like his first book, but is scared to throw it away because he thinks his luck might be tied to it. He detailed how he sent it to a publisher and it was accepted. When he asked for a few minor changes be made to his contract, they sent a letter dropping him. Since he now knew he could write, he set about doing so.

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  • 17

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

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

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  • 18

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    World Design: about 10 years before writing commenced. Stopped being a nuclear engineer to write.

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  • 19

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    Verin: "I don't know what she'd drink but I drink very strong coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon and evenings." (A description of exactly how strong the coffee is followed.)

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  • 20

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    Girl at Citadel: "She is a liar. She and the guidance counselor deliberately whited out all references to her gender." (Followed by about 10 minutes of impassioned talk about how running in combat boots saved his life in Vietnam—fascinating, touching and irreproducible.)

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  • 21

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Question

    When did you start reading?

    Robert Jordan

    Age four. Started with The Letters of Thomas Jefferson and Forever Amber. After, when he got a library card, he found the children's section extremely limiting.

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  • 22

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Question

    Do you get to keep your frequent flier miles on this tour?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes. And he's going to Sweden next year for the Swedish sci-fi convention.

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  • 23

    Interview: Oct 19th, 1994

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Ben & Chris

    This obviously requires huge amounts of plotting and info outlining. Did you have any pertinent WOT info lost during Hurricane Hugo? (And did your house suffer at all?)

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, my house suffered during Hurricane Hugo, and no, I didn't have any significant information loss.

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  • 24

    Interview: Oct 13th, 2005

    Question

    Someone else mentioned how they liked the way he writes political figures as self-interested people who truly believe they are doing whatever is right for the common good.

    Robert Jordan

    RJ agreed with this and said that that's what he believes the vast majority of politicians are like. There are of course some who are corrupt. He then told a story of a frightening meeting with a man (I forget the name) who was ex-KGB and connected to powerful Russian politicians and liked his books, who then asked RJ how he knows what he knows. A sweating RJ then told the man they first had to agree on what it is that he knows.

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  • 25

    Interview: Oct 11th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    Someone asked him advice for newly-wed to which he responded make her laugh and she'll forgive you lots, dance with her and she'll forgive you even more. Dance well with her and she'll forgive you anything.

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  • 26

    Interview: Oct 11th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    He admits that he had had carpal tunnel, and went into how he fixed that.

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  • 27

    Interview: Oct 19th, 1994

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Lou Person

    Hello all and Mr. Jordan. I am a big WOT fan and I am amazed by some of the themes, i.e. struggle between men and women. Mr. Jordan truly sheds some light on differences between men and women. There also seem to be some allusions to Native Americans, weaves of fire, air, etc. The politicking and warring of the Game of Houses and battle scenes are told with the clarity of someone who has military experience. Can you briefly state what from your background makes WOT so realistic?

    Robert Jordan

    Forty-odd years of life. "Briefly?" It's what it boils down to.

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  • 28

    Interview: Oct 20th, 1994

    Delemin

    My dear fellow rasfwrjians, as (to the best of my knowledge) the only one of us to attend the signing at Science Fiction, Mysteries, and More on Thursday, I feel obliged to report what Jordan said there, and my impressions.

    Robert Jordan was stockier, shorter, and better cushioned than I expected. He wore a wide brimmed hat and walked with a cane with a ram's horn like handle. Generally he was open and friendly. When he came in late he explained that it was because Princess Di was in New York to meet Bill Clinton to discuss Vince Foster's suicide. However he made repeated references to being worn out and overworked by Lord of Chaos.

    Robert Jordan

    "If I work that hard on this one I'll die," he commented several times. Apparently he worked 12-14 hours a day, 7 days a week. In August (he usually finishes in May) the folks at Tor sequestered him in a hotel in New York City, where he finished the book in two weeks. He said he would try to get the book out on time but he figured we would rather have him finish a book late than finish his life early.

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  • 29

    Interview: Oct 20th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

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

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  • 30

    Interview: Oct 20th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    Jordan also mentioned a few things about himself. He planned to go to West Point and have a military career, but his eyesight wasn't good enough, so he went to The Citadel and served a single term in the military. When he started writing he imagined living on the French River, working 2-3 hours in the morning, and spending the day on the beach with a blond, a brunette, and a redhead. Sound familiar?

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  • 31

    Interview: Oct 20th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

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

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  • 32

    Interview: Oct 28th, 1994

    Julie Kangas

    I asked him if he based any of the male characters on himself.

    Robert Jordan

    He answered 'Of course not. All of them are flawed.'

    :)

    Julie

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  • 33

    Interview: Oct, 1994

    Sense of Wonder

    That brings us to your interests outside of writing fantasy. Could you tell us about them?

    Robert Jordan

    I like to hunt and fish, primarily fly fishing, though I'm not a absolute purist. If the fly fishing isn't going well, I don't have any objection to spin casting. I like to play poker and shoot pool, and play Go. Well, I like to try to play Go. I also collect antique weapons, swords and old muskets and that sort of things and also Asian and African art. Of course, writing is what takes up most of my time. I hope people are enjoying The Wheel of Time.

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  • 34

    Interview: Nov 1st, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    I know the last scene of the last book, I've known it from the beginning, I just have to get there.

    Fast Forward

    Well, let's talk about getting there. Let's talk about the process. Let's take a look at Lord of Chaos from the moment you start it.

    Robert Jordan

    All right.

    Fast Forward

    Because you are walking toward a final scene, and because you aren't sure how long it's going to take to get there, in terms of the events that are going to happen, the people that we are going to meet—let's talk about how you wrote Lord of Chaos, and the discipline you placed upon yourself to generate this 700 page book. How did you go about putting this last novel together?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, first off, along with knowing what the last scene is, there are certain events that I know I want to happen. Certain things that I want to happen, both in relationships between people, and in the world, if you will. I picked out some of those events to see if I could fit them in from the position everyone was in, the position the world was in at the end of the last book. I then began to roughly sketch out how I would get from one of those to the next. And then I sat down and began writing, in the beginning eight hours a day, five or six days a week. And—I do my rewriting while I am doing the writing. When I hit the end, I only allow myself to give a final polish. I keep going back while I am writing and rewriting the previous stuff. By the end of the book I was doing twelve to fourteen hours a day, seven days a week. I did that for the last five months of Lord of Chaos, except that I did take one week off to go fly fishing with some brothers and cousins and nephews up in the Big Horn and Yellowstone. It was terrific. It kept my brain from melting.

    Fast Forward

    The more intense schedule—was this a more difficult book to write and get to the end of, in terms of the amount of time you had to spend than some of the others in the series?

    Robert Jordan

    No, not really. They're ALL like that. The only difficulty this time was that I perhaps went to the seven day a week and fourteen hour day a little sooner that I would normally. Partly that's because each of these books takes MORE than a year to write. The publisher likes to publish them once a year, though. With the result that with each book I've slipped a little bit more beyond the deadline, and I DON'T LIKE being beyond the deadline. So the further beyond the deadline I get, the more I want to put the pedal to the floor and get done.

    Fast Forward

    Does having to put that much time in per day affect your focus, your ability to work? I mean, do you ever get the feeling when you turn something in that if you had another month to do it you could have put more of a "shine" on it, or are you satisfied with the product when it is turned in?

    Robert Jordan

    I'm satisfied and I'm not satisfied. It doesn't have anything to do with the time. The effect of the time is that I have to work to disengage my mind so that I can go to sleep. I have to read somebody else who will engage my thoughts. Charles Dickens is always great for that. If I don't do that, I will lie there all night thinking about what I'm writing, sure that I will go to sleep in just a few minutes now, and then it gets light outside, and I haven't been to sleep yet. What happens is that I get this DESIRE to keep writing. Once upon a time, before I was married, I used to write for thirty hours at a stretch.

    Fast Forward

    Good Lord.

    Robert Jordan

    And then I would sleep for nine or ten. I didn't do this all year round, it was just when I was working on a book. When I get going, I want to keep going. And about the other thing, I ALWAYS think I can make the book better. I'd probably spend five, six, ten years on a book if I was left to myself, trying to polish each phrase. So it's just as well I do have deadlines to bring me into the real world.

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  • 35

    Interview: Nov 1st, 1994

    Fast Forward

    One of the things I found particularly affecting in this latest book—I enjoy the major characters, I've followed the major characters through six volumes. But there are certain scenes that really strike me as being very real and very personal. For example, in the middle of the book, Mat—who has been sent on a particular mission by Rand—meets a young boy named Olver?

    Robert Jordan

    Uh-Huh.

    Fast Forward

    And their meeting, where as Mat is talking to him, Olver is showing him his possessions: his little cache of coins, the game his father has made for him, and his red hawk's feather and his turtle shell.

    Robert Jordan

    Um-Hum.

    Fast Forward

    That was a very personal moment, that was a very real, very human moment.

    Robert Jordan

    I try to make it so.

    Fast Forward

    Which you don't see a lot in some fantasy. That one, and Rand's looking into the face of one of the maidens after she has died protecting him from an attack. Memorizing her face and name because he has vowed to memorize the face and name of all the maidens who had sworn to give their lives to protect him. Let's talk about that scene in particular, I'm curious about it. You had two tours in Vietnam, you've had military experience, you're a graduate of The Citadel. Does something like that particularly come out of the people you've met in the military and the kinds of personalities you met in the military, do you draw any of that kind of thing from that?

    Robert Jordan

    Some of it. I suppose, actually, that particular thing came from the only time I was really shaken in combat in shooting at somebody, or shooting AT somebody. I had to, uh, I was shooting back at some people on a sampan and a woman came out and pulled up an AK-47, and I didn't hesitate about shooting her. But that stuck with me. I was raised in a very old-fashioned sort of way. You don't hurt women—you don't DO that. That's the one thing that stuck with me for a long, long time.

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  • 36

    Interview: Nov 1st, 1994

    Fast Forward

    We had talked, a little bit, about your schedule and how much time you've had to put into the writing, especially the latter part of a cycle of completing a book. Do you have to think very carefully about taking time away from the writing in order to maintain the schedule you keep? I know there has been incredible interest in your book tour, which you are currently on. As a matter of fact, the reason you are here in Washington, D.C. is because the fans of Robert Jordan and The Wheel of Time in this area pitched such a fit...

    Robert Jordan

    They burned a couple of embassies, I heard.

    Fast Forward

    ...on the Internet, that TOR added this to your already extensive tour schedule. Which allows you to be here, so we appreciate that very much—thank you folks, for doing that. But does it make it difficult for you to do the other things you want to do in your life? Do you find yourself calculating more what it's costing you away from the book?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes. My vacations are almost inevitably now a few DAYS tacked on to the end of a business trip. The fishing trip was an aberration of wild dimensions. I stuck with that despite various people saying, "Can you really do that, can you really take the time out?" I said, "I plan to get my brothers and cousins and nephews together. We're going to fly fish, we're going to fly fish, I don't CARE, we're going to FLY FISH, and catch some trout." But generally I have to think about things like that. I don't go to conventions very much anymore, I used to go to a lot of them, I don't have the time.

    Fast Forward

    And that's why, of course, your time is so valuable when you are available to people around here. Well, WE'RE out of time, as a matter of fact. Mr. Jordan, thank you for being here. Tad Williams, when he was on this show, basically called his Dragonbone Chair Trilogy the "story that ate my life", which it seems like The Wheel of Time, based on our discussion, is at least nibbling on the edges of this portion of your life. Which for our sakes, in terms of finding out what the end of the story will be, we hope won't be TOO much longer. And for your sake too, so that you can afford to take a couple of months to go fly fishing with your family.

    Robert Jordan

    It would be nice, but if a book is worth doing, if it's worth wrestling down, it's always going to eat your life.

    Fast Forward

    And on that note we say thank you very much.

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  • 37

    Interview: Apr 3rd, 1995

    Robert Jordan

    Unfortunately, I am not on any of the 'nets. Mike Ford spends a lot of time on that, and frankly, it looks addictive. I don't think I can afford the time. (Semi-famous author found dead of starvation at keyboard! Internet addiction suspected!) Do you think you could send me copies of the photos?

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  • 38

    Interview: Apr 3rd, 1995

    Robert Jordan

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

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

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

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  • 39

    Interview: Apr 3rd, 1995

    Robert Jordan

    Majority rules, my dear? You should know that I am neither Democrat nor Republican; I am a monarchist. For the church for the laws, for the king, for the cause! For Charles, King of England, and Rupart of the Rhine! Ah, for the chance to re-fight Malvern Hill. God send this crumb well down!

    Ah, me. To do evil without doing wrong. What about the law of unintended consequences? An example, partly fictive, but possible. We have passed laws protecting harp seals. The result so far, an explosion in the harp seal population, an explosion in the orca population (they feed on harp seals, among others) and a sharp decline in commercial fishing in those waters (orcas and harp seals both like to eat the same fish that people do). Nothing evil so far, just fishermen and cannery workers out of work and some fishing towns in depressions, but here is the fictive yet possible part.

    Population explosions frequently result in waves of disease, quite often new and deadlier strains of something that has been around in the population with less effect for some time. As witness AIDS, Ebola, Zaire and the Devil's own litany of others, these things can be devastating. So, postulate that the explosion in harp seal population results in the appearance of a virus among the seals—call it Seal Ebola—and the next thing you know there aren't any harp seals left at all. (Some of these things do seem to come close to 100% lethality, and if you only have 90%, which is the rate among humans with Zaire, I think, you are left with 10% of the population weakened and in no shape to escape orcas or sharks and with systems weakened to where they would be easy prey for other illnesses that they usually shake off.)

    Worst case. Seal Ebola does not only infect harp seals. After all, most diseases that affect one part of a species will affect the rest. So seals vanish. All of them. Or maybe it's the orca explosion, and all the whales and dolphins that are wasted. The ecology of the oceans is thrown into a tailspin from which it might never recover. Now, will future generations record what we did as evil? If they use out present manner of viewing history—holding everyone in history to the standards of our time, usually more tightly than we hold most of our own populations, holding them to account as if they had our knowledge and lived in a world with our moral views, and condemning those ancestors who fail to measure up—if thy use that method, they certainly will. Would what we did be evil? I don't know. An act taken with the purest of intentions that resulted in the death of an entire species. The result could not be called other than evil, but does that make the cause evil? Now more than ever, I regret that Robert Marks, an old friend, died some years ago. This is the kind of question that would make him want to open a bottle of good brandy and discuss it for hours.

    "No man is an island, but every one a part of the main. Therefore, send not to ask for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee." John Donne.

    Don't worry about grinning over the fate of the poor string bean. I have heard people express the belief from the heart. Not from the brain, though; I think that they lacked that particular organ. Then there is the group of rather vocal people who believe that human beings have no more rights than any other animal ("a boy is a cat is a dog is a rat"), though they generally express it by saying that animals should have the same rights as people. To vote, perhaps? To hold elective office? We already see enough jackasses in public office.

    Don't worry too greatly about how much of what you said there that you actually believe. The purpose of the sort of discourse you engaged in is not so much to express belief as to explore ideas and possibilities. you say, if this, then maybe that, and if both things, then this other should follow. None of that is saying that you necessarily believe in any of the points, though it can lead to belief in various things. It is a good way to reason out what you do believe in. Much better than simply taking someone else's word for it. That is fine for 1 + 1 = 2, but not so good on points of morality, ethics, philosophy, or whether monarchist feudalism would function better than the mish-mosh of corruption, self-interest and idiocy we are saddled with at present.

    In the end, I believe that we ourselves define what is good or evil. Several hundred years ago, slavery was seen as good and right. I don't mean just black slavery; there were white slaves in Europe—and slaves in Asia, Africa and just about everywhere else—for thousands of years before the first black slave was brought to America. Helping a slave escape was theft of property at best and an abomination in the eyes of God—or the gods—at worst. Time passes, and our views alter significantly.

    If an Avatar of Pure Good appeared and told us that in order for Good and Light to triumph over Evil and Darkness, the human race must be extinguished, I think we would decide that old Av was sliding us the long con. And I think we would be right to. Not only as a matter of species survival—any species that is ready to slit its collective throats for whatever cause should go ahead and do it now; it isn't up to survival in a universe that, if not malignant (I do not believe that), is certainly neither benign, compassionate nor caring—but also because I would seriously doubt the Good- and Light-hood of whoever/whatever made such a pronouncement. The Devil can quote scripture, and all that.

    Footnote

    See RJ's previous letter to Carolyn for the beginning of this conversation.

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  • 40

    Interview: Apr 23rd, 1995

    Interviewer

    Jordan's books have been called a combination of Robin Hood and Stephen King. He manages to create characters that seem real, perhaps because he uses many of his own personal experiences in the telling of these epic stories. Do you ever use your experiences in Vietnam in your stories?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, indirectly. I know what it's like to have somebody trying to kill you. I know what it's like to try to kill somebody. And I know what it's like to actually kill somebody. These things I think help with writing about people being in danger, [or] especially if it's in danger of violence ... which happens occasionally in my books.

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  • 41

    Interview: Apr 3rd, 1995

    Robert Jordan

    Actually, if everybody was like me, I'd probably start carrying a gun. But then, they probably would too. Sigh. Good God! I just thought of something. Women with beards! No, no, much better if I am the only me.

    Slayer was a typo. It should have been Stayer.

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  • 42

    Interview: Jun 16th, 1995

    Robert Jordan

    His impression of Sweden was: "Very nice, but a little cold for the season" (the temperature in Stockholm sunk 10°C during the weekend compared with the previous week).

    The biggest fish he has ever caught was a 12", 980 lbs tigershark, even though he had some help. He claimed he had on one occasion caught a tigershark bigger than the boat, but let it go. The audience saw with suspicion at this statement.

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  • 43

    Interview: Oct, 1994

    Dave Slusher

    Since you had mentioned the characterization of women in the books: now this book has, as opposed to some of the older fantasy of the last forty years, you have women, very strong women in positions of power, in positions of combat. Is that something that wouldn't have happened if you were writing these books in the past? Is that kind of a product of our times?

    Robert Jordan

    No, it's a product of growing up with strong women. All of the women I knew growing up were quite strong. All of the men I knew growing up were quite strong because any of the weak men got shredded and thrown aside. So it made for a certain viewpoint, a certain outlook in life.

    Aside from that, the basic premise of the books, that 3000 years before the time of the books the world was essentially destroyed. The details don't really matter in the context of this interview, except for the fact that that destruction was caused by men, members of the male sex. A world that has grown out of that has to have a great deal of power for women, especially when the world has spent the last 3000 years being afraid of any man who has the ability to channel the One Power. You have to have a world where women have power. That's the way it's going to evolve. It can't go any other way. It's only a question of how much power they have.

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  • 44

    Interview: Oct, 1994

    Dave Slusher

    In your background, you attended The Citadel. And you're a military man, you served in Vietnam. Did that kind of help you with this head for intrigue and the Machiavellian interactions that we have in this book?

    Robert Jordan

    Actually, all that really helped me with is that I know what it's like to have somebody trying to kill you. I know what it's like to have a lot of people trying to kill you. And I also know what's it like to kill somebody. These things come through, so I've been told by people who are veterans of whether Vietnam, or of Korea, or combat anywhere—Desert Storm; I had a lot of fan letters from guys who were there.

    As far as the Machiavellian part, as I said I grew up in a family of Byzantine complexity, in a city where there has always been a great deal of Byzantine plotting. The court of Byzantium never had anything on Charleston for either plotting or blood feuds. It came as mother's milk to me.

    Dave Slusher

    Do you think that these books, such as they are, could only have been written by a southerner, and someone with a head for that?

    Robert Jordan

    These particular books could have only been written by a southerner because I write in a somewhat southern voice. My major influence as a writer, I think, is Mark Twain. And, there's no denying the southern voice of the books. If someone from another part of the country had written them, they would sound entirely different.

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  • 45

    Interview: Jun 21st, 1996

    Robert Jordan

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

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

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

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  • 46

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Eric Ligner

    I like your use of strong female characters. Was there any inspiration for this?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, I grew up in a family of strong women. Most of the women I knew growing up were quite strong. I very early on realized that—well, it seemed natural, this is how I saw the world. There were strong women and strong men and when weak men came along they were ridden over. But the fact that there were strong women didn't mean no strong men. Again, it's a given, there had to be a balance.

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  • 47

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Charles Dockens Jr.

    Your female characters have so much feeling and emotion. How do you accomplish this as a male author?

    Robert Jordan

    With difficulty. I'll tell you, when I was about four years old, I was picked up by a friend of my mother and she hugged me, she was wearing a soft, silky summer dress, and her perfume smelled life. And as she put me down, my face slipped between her breasts, and throughout the experience, I was thinking, "this is wonderful, this feels wonderful". And though I was four I found I wanted to spend my life observing these fascinating people, and I've learned that they look different, they feel different, they are different, and I've put all this into the books.

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  • 48

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Ha T. Nguyen

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

    Robert Jordan

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

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  • 49

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Seancha’

    What are your days like and how do you discipline yourself to write? Is it something you only do when the mood strikes, or do you work at a page, despite it not really flowing, and then edit like hell later?

    Robert Jordan

    A writer who waits for the mood or the muse to strike will starve to death because he or she won't write very much. I write almost every day, I would say every day, but occasionally I actually do something else. My typical day is to have breakfast, answer the phone calls I have to answer, deal with the letters, and then I sit down and start writing. I then write for at least the next eight hours straight, and sometimes ten or twelve or more. Though I do occasionally take a day off to go fishing, my usual week is seven days.

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  • 50

    Interview: Jun 27th, 1996

    AOL Chat 1 (Verbatim)

    SCLaCore

    Which of the books is he most satisfied with?

    Robert Jordan

    I couldn't really say. I try to make each book better than the preceding book and frankly, once I have written a book, I stop thinking about it. My mind is focused on the next book, to the extent, actually, that when I came back from turning in A Crown of Swords, though I intended to take a short vacation, I found myself sitting at the computer and working on the next book.

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  • 51

    Interview: Oct 18th, 1996

    AOL Chat (Verbatim)

    Question

    How do you feel about women being admitted to The Citadel?

    Robert Jordan

    In the first place, I do wish that the school had been able to remain all male, but the fact is, women are in The Citadel, and as far as I'm concerned, it's time to get on with the business at hand and stop grousing about what's past.

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  • 52

    Interview: Oct 18th, 1996

    AOL Chat (Verbatim)

    Question

    Considering that schedule, do you spend every waking minute on your books or do you do other things in between that prepare you to write?

    Robert Jordan

    I do other things. I fish, although not nearly as often as I should, just for relaxation purposes, and of course I read. Actually, I have to read. If I don't read someone else before going to bed, I will lie there awake all night thinking about my own work and what I want to do next.

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  • 53

    Interview: Oct 12th, 1996

    Robert Jordan

    Vietnam/Rand's "No Kill Woman" Thing

    RJ vividly described an experience he had in Vietnam where he killed a female Viet Cong. He said he simply spotted a figure holding a weapon and fired on it, then "acquired the next target." He then realized that he had killed a woman—the first (and I believe only) time he's done that. This provides an obvious basis for Rand's "Achilles' Heel." (I thought he should have offed both the Tower Aes Sedai in the beginning of A Crown of Swords and Lanfear earlier, but I'm rude like that.)

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  • 54

    Interview: Jun 28th, 1997

    Bondoso

    What other things keep you busy apart from working a lot on The Wheel of Time?

    Robert Jordan

    Hmm. Trying to finish the books would be enough for any sane person. I occasionally find time to go fishing, although not so far this year. I find time to read a little bit. Less than one book a day now. And I don't really have a great deal of time for anything else. When I'm doing anything else, I feel I should be writing. It's a sickness. [smiles]

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  • 55

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1997

    Lana Trezise from Columbia, MO

    A recurring motif in the Wheel of Time series is the differences between men and women. Why did you decide to make this such an important feature in your writings, and why do you take such a bipolar view on gender?

    Robert Jordan

    I became fascinated with women at the age of three. It's a long story—too long to go into here. But I quickly realized that for everything that was the same about men and women, there seemed to be at least two or three things that were different. Once I had decided that I wanted to use the One Power in the way that I was using it—that is divided into a male half and a female half—it became obvious to me that the differences between men and women themselves should also play a part.

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  • 56

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1997

    JRS Caudill from Minneapolis

    Mr. Jordan, I believe you have stated in past interviews that you already have an idea for your next project. I wonder, have you begun to work on it yet? And, will you work on both series simultaneously or will you complete the WOT series first? Also, is there any source currently available for us to see your work written under the pseudonym of Chang Lung? Thank you.

    Robert Jordan

    Yes I have an idea for what I intend to write after I finish the Wheel of Time, but I have not put anything down on paper. And I will not until I have finished the Wheel of Time. Until then, the next work exists only in the back of my head. As far as Chang Lung, I don't think there is any source anywhere except for my files and I'd just as soon leave them there. There are few things more boring than ten-year-old dance reviews and theater criticism.

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  • 57

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1997

    Joel from Phoenix, AZ

    You have said several times that you based many of the cultures in the Wheel of Time on cultures of history. Do you have a favorite period in history, or a favorite culture?

    Robert Jordan

    The Enlightenment would have been a fine time to live, I think. And there are a few others. But by and large I am happy right where I am . . . and when.

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  • 58

    Interview: Oct, 1998

    Waldenbooks

    As a man who served tours of duty in Vietnam, how does your epic reflect your own personal experiences with war, and how difficult is this for you to write about?

    Robert Jordan

    It really doesn't reflect any of my own experiences, except that I know what it is like to have someone wanting to kill you. I don't try to write about Vietnam; I thought I would, once, but now, I don't believe I could make myself. But I know the confusion, uncertainty and out-right ignorance of anything you can't see that exists once the fighting starts; I don't think war will ever become sufficiently high-tech to completely dispel "the fog of war." So I can put these sensations into my writing.

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  • 59

    Interview: Nov 1st, 1998

    SciFi.com Chat (Verbatim)

    Moderator

    Welcome, Robert! We're thrilled to have you with us here. Why do you think "The Wheel of Time" series has struck such a chord with fantasy readers? Do you have any speculations about its amazing popularity?

    Robert Jordan

    No, I don't really. I write stories...I try to write stories about real people. I'm really glad the books are popular. But, I don't really have any clue why they're so popular, except possibly the fantasy element. I think that we have a real need for fantasy as human beings. Actually Terry Pratchett says it quite clearly. He says that by believing in things that don't exist, we set ourselves up to believe in other things that don't exist such as justice and mercy.

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  • 60

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1998

    K2

    Robert—what's your take on society and the current level of technology available—do you feel people are becoming enslaved at the expense of more idle pursuits, such as reading/enjoying a good book?

    Robert Jordan

    Well....I keep being told that all sorts of technology are going to overtake books, make books obsolete, but in fact sales of books go up year after year. And while I am a technofile of the first water, I have never found any technological device that could produce what a book does....That I could put several hours of entertainment with spectacular special effects...in fact, special effects as great as my mind was encompassing, a cast of perhaps hundreds or thousands, and no need of a power supply, and all of it would slip into my jacket pocket....and very easy to read to boot. No tiny screens, no glare from the sun on a page as it would be on a screen. Somehow I think books are in for the long run.

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  • 61

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1998

    Tijamilism

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

    Robert Jordan

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

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  • 62

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1998

    Jimbo3

    Since you know the whole WOT series, how do you remember it all? Photomemory?

    Robert Jordan

    No....my father had a photomemory, but I don't. All I have to work with is a good memory, and an IQ of 170 or so, it works out well enough.

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  • 63

    Interview: Nov 14th, 1998

    Robert Jordan

    I grew up around strong women; weak men were pickled and salted. The women wouldn't waste time raising a weak boy.

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  • 64

    Interview: Nov 14th, 1998

    Robert Jordan

    Evidently, Jordan didn't like being taught cursive, but showed otherwise by a teacher at a young age. "A gentleman's handwriting is always round and legible, always clear, no matter how drunk, how tired, or how busy he may be. This I require of you." Being "required" to do something by that particular teacher was evidently a big deal.

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  • 65

    Interview: Nov 14th, 1998

    Robert Jordan

    It seems Jordan learned to read by having his father read to him constantly (when he was being read to, he wasn't messing around with expensive "toys" that broke easily). They started out with children's books, until Dad found out that it didn't matter whether Jordan really understood or not, and started reading books that Dad wanted to read instead. This went on for a while, until the night Dad put a book away before it was finished, so Jordan grabbed it and struggled through it on his own, figuring out what he didn't understand through context. (The Maltese Falcon was mentioned, but I don't recall how, other than as one of the books that he liked.)

    When Jordan was six, he got a library card—like "the keys to the city". The librarians didn't want to let him out of the kids section, so he learned tricks. If you shelved books in the reading room, they would stay there, so you could pick them up again later, whether they belonged there or not. And kids could go to the reference section. "I discovered the encyclopedia."

    The library at the time was in a mansion—the "Miskelle house", I think. He spelled it for me (without being asked; by that time there had been more than one comment about the lunatic scribbling notes on everything), but my notes were rather cramped by that time.

    "Reading is like breathing. If you take it away, first I become antsy, then violent."

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  • 66

    Interview: Aug 27th, 1999

    Mark Erikson

    Other than that, we just chatted about his life.

    Robert Jordan

    I asked him about the Vietnam War, and found out that he was a cold blooded killer in his youth, and he smoked a lot of pot. He even said that during that time he had someone trying to kill him, personally, and I got the distinct impression that it was someone on his own side. He said his nickname was 'The Iceman'.

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  • 67

    Interview: Aug 30th, 1999

    Question

    Are you still enjoying what you're doing—

    Robert Jordan

    Immensely.

    Question

    And how do you manage the enormous pressure that must be part of your daily life?

    Robert Jordan

    I'm a warrior god!

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  • 68

    Interview: Aug 30th, 1999

    Question

    Do you read other contemporary fantasy?

    Robert Jordan

    Sure. Gavriel Kay, J. V. Jones, Robin Hobb and Tad Williams, as long as he's not writing about animals. C. S. Friedman. I read a great many people and a lot of books that aren't fantasy, I must say. I realize that no more than probably fifteen percent of what I read is fantasy or science fiction. Maybe ten.

    Question

    You shouldn't do any of that reading yet, just keep writing!

    Robert Jordan

    Straight truth here. Straight truth here. I have to, I have to. Because if I don't read somebody else in the evening and get my mind uncoupled from the work, I lay down and spend the night just on the edge of going to sleep, thinking, "All right, a couple more minutes I'll be dozing off, I really feel like hell here." And my mind is worried and buzzing and clicking and working on the story, then it gets light outside and I haven't been to sleep. And the next day if I don't do it, the same thing happens—no sleep. And by three or four days of this I'm beginning to feel a little groggy and I'm beginning to stare at the page and realize I've lost the train of thought in the middle of the sentence. So if you will excuse me, I'm gonna read other people!

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  • 69

    Interview: Aug 30th, 1999

    Question

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

    Robert Jordan

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

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

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

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

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  • 70

    Interview: Mar, 2000

    Robert Jordan

    I've never used my real name on a book. In the late '70s, I used to think I would write a novel about Vietnam, and put my name on that. I had decided I would put a different name on different types of books, different genres, simply to avoid confusion. People would know clearly, this is a fantasy novel, this is a science fiction novel, this is a western, this is a historical novel, and I would put my real name on any contemporary fiction I write. Well, I've never written any contemporary fiction, as it turns out. If I wrote that Vietnam novel now, it would be a historical novel, and I'm not sure anybody's really interested anymore. Vietnam is a long time in the past, almost 30 years ago,' and it struck me that 30 years after my father came home from the South Pacific, not only had men walked on the moon, but the manned space program was already dying. That's a long time! It gives you a little perspective.

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  • 71

    Interview: Mar, 2000

    Question

    Did you enjoy your time in New Zealand and will you be back?

    Robert Jordan

    I enjoyed my visit to New Zealand tremendously, and I certainly hope to return. New Zealand is the most beautiful country I’ve ever seen, and on top of that, I hope to return at the right time of year to do some serious trout fishing.

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  • 72

    Interview: Mar, 2000

    Question

    What inspired you to write?

    Robert Jordan

    I decided that I would write one day when I was five. I had finished From the Earth to the Moon, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, and I stood them up on a table and sat staring at them with my chin on my knees—I was rather more limber, back then!—and decided that one day I would make stories like that. But by age seven or eight, it seemed to me that writers who made a living from writing all lived in Cuba or Italy or France, and at that age, I wasn’t sure about that big a move. I followed my second love, science and math, got my degree in physics and mathematics, and became an engineer. I didn’t try writing at fifteen or twenty, because I didn’t think I had enough experience; I had nothing to say. At thirty, I was injured, spent a month in the hospital, nearly died, and took four months to recuperate enough to return to my office. I decided it was time to put up or shut up about writing one day, and the rest followed.

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  • 73

    Interview: Oct, 2000

    Orbit Interview (Verbatim)

    Orbit Books

    When you are writing, do you have a daily routine?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes. I read the newspapers over breakfast, lift weights or swim for half an hour, then go to my desk, in the carriage house in the garden, and answer the email, letters and telephone calls that simply must be answered. Then I begin writing. I usually spend at least eight hours a day writing, with a short break for lunch, and normally I do this seven days a week. Occasionally I will take a day to go fishing, but unless I am away from home, I usually find myself wondering why I am not back at my desk writing.

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  • 74

    Interview: Mar, 2000

    Question

    What does the future hold for you?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, I’d like to catch a thousand-pound black marlin, a thirty-pound brown trout, and a sixty-pound Atlantic salmon. I’d like to shoot a twenty-four point whitetail and a perfect round in sporting clays. I’d like to get another royal Flush in poker—I got one, once—finally learn how to play go beyond the basics. I’d like to learn to sky dive, and.... Oh. More writing, certainly, for as long as I can find a way to put words on paper. I used to keep notebooks of story ideas, until I realized that I wold need three or four lifetimes to write just the ideas already had. I would like to do different sorts of writing, too. History, stage-plays. I’ve been noodling around lately with the idea of musical composition, too, something I haven’t touched in many years. Given the way medicine advances, I might have lived little more than half my life so far, which means I have a few decades remaining. Not enough to do everything I want to do, but I think I can fill them up.

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  • 75

    Interview: Nov 11th, 2000

    Emily from San Jose

    If you could choose any one element from your series to bring into the 'real world', what would it be? Use of the One Power? Tel'aran'rhiod? Something else?

    Robert Jordan

    I don't think that I would bring anything from my world into the real world. They're all very wonderful things, I believe, but taken all in all, they make the world much too interesting for comfort. And the world we live in is awfully darned interesting, and sometimes awfully uncomfortable, as it is.

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  • 76

    Interview: Nov 29th, 2000

    Brian

    Some more random RJ stuff for those that are actually reading these posts...

    Robert Jordan

    —Pulled up in a black stretch limo with police escort (one car).

    —Opened up with the same exact intro as Raleigh.

    —As I had him sign the 'Faces of Fantasy' book he was talking about the picture. He said that the photographer came in and saw his chair and that he was actually on his way to a "black tie affair and she had to have me in my tux". Then he said "ya know, I wasn't trying to be all suave you know."

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  • 77

    Interview: Dec, 2000

    Orbit Interview (Verbatim)

    Orbit

    What do you have planned for Christmas?

    Robert Jordan

    A few house guests, some family and some friends. Gifts under the tree, a fire in the fireplace, and as many people at table for Christmas dinner as we can accommodate. Too much food, a little too much wine, and a lot of sitting with my feet up.

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  • 78

    Interview: Dec 5th, 2000

    Robert Jordan

    We asked who he voted for in the election, he said that it was his business. He went on to say that he obtained his absentee ballot and that he did vote.

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  • 79

    Interview: Dec 12th, 2000

    CNN Chat (Verbatim)

    Moderator

    Why do stories of the titanic battles between good and evil seem to attract such a large and loyal audience?

    Robert Jordan

    Because most people believe in good and evil, in right and wrong. And I think most people would like to believe that they would stand on the side of good—of right—however they happen to define those things.

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  • 80

    Interview: Dec 1st, 2001

    Dragonmount

    In the December issue of the Orbit Books Newsletter, the UK publishers asked various authors what the best, and worst part about the Holidays were. Robert Jordan gave this answer:

    Robert Jordan

    The best thing about Christmas is getting family and house guests together. We always have the largest tree we can find, over-decorated in a rather Edwardian fashion, and Christmas morning, with everyone around the tree opening presents and drinking eggnog or champagne—or both, for the foolhardy—is always wonderful. The second best thing is Christmas dinner, with extra tables set up because we can't seat everyone in the dining room even with both leaves put in the dining room table. The worst thing about Christmas is trying to find just the right present to match each of those family members and house guests, plus the folks who couldn't make it to Charleston for the holidays. It has to be something to suit the person exactly. One year, I became so maddened by this search that I wrapped everyone's present in paper that repeated "Bah, Humbug!" all over. The second worst thing is cleaning up after Christmas dinner. The champagne always means that any offered help is highly suspect as to stability.

    Dragonmount

    As always, Robert Jordan had a lot to say. :)

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  • 81

    Interview: Apr 4th, 2001

    Aan'allein

    Jordan was asked something and answered:

    Robert Jordan

    That's alright...I like blue. I was given a computer, somebody sent me to a computer site, where they had lots of tests, where there was a gender test. Where you're to answer a series of questions and they'll tell you whether you're male or female. I don't know why people need to have this question answered, but... anyway, I was talking of going to the site. And eh... The questions were quite...obviously, you could see which, which you like better, circle or square. I'm not quite sure what this has to do with gender, but there it is. What color bedroom would you prefer to sleep in? Eh... And I was irritated, so it answered to the only 96% confidence that I was male [laughter] so this eh irritated me, but I think it was the bedroom, because apparently men are supposed to like sleeping in a white bedroom, rather than a blue bedroom. I don't understand this. I see a white bedroom, and I think, 'If I put anything down, some woman is going to walk in and tell me that I'm messing up the white bedroom.' [laughter] You know, I'm not even, gon...I shouldn't touch anything in this room, so...well, ... a whole different subject, it doesn't mean...never mind.

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  • 82

    Interview: 2002

    Robert Jordan

    My parents were not rich, not poor. My father was a police officer. When he was a captain, he resigned and went to work for the ports authority until he had to retire early for a disability.

    He was a man with an eidetic or photographic memory. A card sharp—loved to play bridge, poker, anything. You could take a deck of cards face down and riffle it once in front of him, and then he would call the cards in order before you dealt the card.

    He began to teach me poker when I was very young—when I had to sit on three encyclopaedias to see over the edge of the table. I was allowed to sit in on exactly three hands of poker when the game was in our house. No provisions made for taking it easy on the kid! My father staked me to the wagers. He would eat the losses, and the agreement was that I had to split any winnings with him. I did manage to win a couple of hands during that time! I certainly learned to play poker, I'll tell you. I miss him greatly.

    My mother was very beautiful. She looked like Ava Gardner's sister—the prettier one. She was a housewife. The only job she ever had was in World War II when everyone was employed—she did something then in defense.

    The added strain began when my mother had her first nervous breakdown, when I was eight. Those continued at regular intervals, necessitating her being hospitalized. I think that these two things—the fact that I was a precocious little monster in some ways, and that my mother had nervous breakdowns—in my case that was enough childhood stress to improve my chances as a writer, looking back at it rather coldly.

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  • 83

    Interview: 2002

    Robert Jordan

    I learned to read when I was four. My parents would go out to gatherings of friends. Two, three or sometimes four nights a week there would be—I hesitate to call it a party—music and dancing, that was it.

    My 16-year-old brother was sometimes stuck with babysitting the brat. He wanted to keep my hands out of his goldfish bowl and his terrarium, and keep my hands off his balsa wood planes. And he found that if he read to me and moved his finger along the line, I would sit beside him and stare at the page.

    Now he was not about to read children's books: he was reading me fairly adult novels. I don't know when I made the connection between the words he was saying and the symbols on the page. But one night my parents came home, he stuck the book back on the shelf, and I wanted more. So I pulled the book down and struggled through to the end. 'White Fang': that was the first book I ever read, if you want to call it reading. I did get a sense of the story.

    When my brother found out that I could do this, he started to supply me with books because that would keep me quiet. When he got guilty about letting me take books off my parents' shelves, he would bring me a book for a 10- or 12-year-old. My great uncles also supplied me with books, so I had a great clutch of pre-World War I boys' books.

    I did think about writing when I was very little. But writers didn't seem to make a living in the United States as writers. All sorts of fellows wrote books but they all had something else they did for the money. That's the way it seemed. And those who did, lived in Cuba or the South of France or Italy. I might have been precocious but I wasn't so sure about moving to Italy. . .

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  • 84

    Interview: 2002

    Robert Jordan

    School was very strange. The teachers finally discovered what was wrong when I was in the third grade, and tried to move me ahead three levels into the sixth grade. My parents said no.

    By and large I found school boring. Most of the time I could do a solid B, B+, perhaps an A, without studying. And since I was an athlete, that was considered sterling! Shot and discus, track and field, American football, basketball, baseball—I was good at everything.

    As for writing, I thought again about doing that, at 10 and 16 and 20. I said, 'It would be a useless exercise. What am I supposed to write about? I haven't seen enough of life, so anything I write is going to be empty.'

    I went to university and discovered that trying to carry a very heavy load in academic subjects and play football, I needed to know how to study. And that was something I had never learned how to do, so I floundered quite badly. At the end of a year at university I went into the army and went to Vietnam.

    I've always been a military history buff. But when I was in Vietnam I wasn't thinking history or strategy: I was thinking staying alive, and occasionally taking an R&R to Australia where I'd go to the beach and drink a lot of beer and try to meet a schoolteacher on vacation.

    I sort of knew in a way what to expect because military service has always been a family tradition. All my brothers, my father and my uncles, my grandfather and my great uncles went into the military—'some enlisted, most as officers, some made careers, some did not. But you did your basic service and if there was any shooting going on, you went where the guns were.

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  • 85

    Interview: 2002

    Robert Jordan

    Essentially I stayed in Vietnam until it was time to get out of the army. Then I went back to school and got my degrees: a Bachelor of Science in maths and one in physics.

    I had everything lined up to go to graduate school for a doctorate in quantum optics: I was very interested in theoretical physics. But I was tired of school, and I wanted to get on with my life. The government at this point was recruiting engineers, physicists and others, who they then sent to a school to study nuclear engineering. So I became an engineer, and for a long time I designed procedures to test and overhaul reactors on United States naval vessels.

    I had always said, 'One day I will write.' Then when I was 30 I was walking back from a dry dock to my office, and I had a fall and tore up my knee very severely. There were complications in the surgery, I nearly died, I spent a month in the hospital, and I spent three and a half months recuperating before I could walk well enough to go back to the office. During that time I reached burnout in reading. I remember picking up a book by an author I knew I liked, reading a few paragraphs and tossing it across the room and saying, 'Oh God, I could do better than that.' Then I thought, 'All right son, it's time to put up or shut up.'

    And so I wrote my first novel. It has never been published although it's been bought by two publishers, and a lot of good came out of it, including meeting my wife.

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  • 86

    Interview: 2002

    Robert Jordan

    I finished the novel within three and a half months, writing longhand on legal yellow pads. When I went back to work I typed it up in the evenings and made the changes, and sent it off to a publisher. The best I was hoping for was a letter saying, 'Not quite good enough but if you work at it you can get there.' I was very surprised to get an enthusiastic letter back offering to buy the novel. Then I tried to negotiate some minor points of the contract—I didn't have an agent—and I was equally shocked to get a letter back withdrawing the offer. (The publisher believed that a beginning writer should not quibble.)

    It didn't matter, because I decided I would ignore the second letter. The first letter said I could write. There were things happening at work that I found very irritating. So I cleared my desk and I completed every project in the pipeline, and I laid down my resignation. 'You can't go!' I said, 'Read the resignation. I'm going.' I was told, 'If you do this, you'll never work for the United States government again.' I said, 'Could I have that in writing?'

    My wife once said to me—when I'd been writing for ten or fifteen years—that I could always go back to being a nuclear engineer. And I said to her, 'Harriet, would you let someone who quit his job to go write fantasy anywhere near your nuclear reactor? I wouldn't!'

    I leaped right into writing, and I know a lot of writers who have done that. Other people need to develop the facility.

    I know as many different ways of writing as I know writers. To develop your own way of writing, read. Read everything you can get your hands on. Especially read what you want to write, and write what you like to read. . . because if you don't like to read it, you won't be able to write it.

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  • 87

    Interview: 2002

    Robert Jordan

    As soon as I realized I was going to be writing a lot from inside a woman's head, I wanted to write women that women thought were women. I thought getting myself into a woman's skin would be the hard thing.

    Certainly I talk to my wife: she's my editor as well as my wife, so she's intimate with the books. Sometimes I'll ask her, 'Do you think this character would behave in this fashion?' I also read books written by women for women, I read magazines, and I eavesdrop on women sometimes. It's a low trick but it's the only way to find out how women talk when men aren't around.

    One of the best compliments I got was very early, when I was touring for the 'Dragon Reborn'. Some women said that until they saw me they believed Robert Jordan was the pen name of a woman. I thought, 'All right, I did it!'

    I've tried to write in layers. In addition I've tried to write each book so that every time you read it, you're standing in a different place, you're reading a slightly different book. And when you read the third book it shifts your position again. Things you thought were innocuous are important, and things you thought meant one thing, meant another.

    Even if you do it unconsciously, you have to refer to religion if you're writing fantasy. You're stepping into the realm of the supernatural and so you're stepping into the realm of religion.

    A few years ago I found myself thrown into the company of theoretical physicists on panels. I thought, 'I'm not going to be able to talk with these men because my knowledge of this field is 25 years out of date.' But I found that I could hold my own not by talking physics but by talking theology.

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  • 88

    Interview: 2002

    One of my themes is (and it's one reason I wrote the books as fantasies) there is good, there is evil, there is right, there is wrong—lit does exist. If you do that in a mainstream novel you are accused of being judgmental unless you've chosen the right political viewpoint.

    Maybe it's not always easy to tell which is the right thing to do and the wrong thing to do. 'Good and evil—but relative to what?' This deconstructionism irritates the devil out of me. Situational ethics began as a way of making fine moral choices, but it's become this monster in so many people's minds: it now means there is no right, there is no wrong. 'Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.' That really doesn't work unless you intend to carry a gun all the time.

    What I believe goes into my stories. I'm not trying to preach. I believe these things, but I'm trying to tell stories. All my characters of course believe things I don't believe.

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  • 89

    Interview: 2002

    Robert Jordan

    I just see my life continuing until it ends. I intend to live! Most people exist. They simply do the job, go home, go to sleep, get up, go to work, go home, go to sleep. And it's understandable if you have a factory job—you can get very tired, you don't want to live. I'm lucky.

    I know my life is going to end.

    I was 19 when I realized I was going to die for sure. On my first tour in Vietnam, the helicopter I was in blew up and threw me into the jungle. I got up and ran back through the lines of an NVA ambush—I didn1t know it was there—I just knew the other chopper was in that direction.

    This knowledge changes your view of the world. I think it gives you a certain maturity. Perhaps maturity is the knowledge that everything is going to change, that neither you nor anything you see is going to go on forever.

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  • 90

    Interview: Apr 5th, 2001

    Question

    Don't you get totally absorbed in the books when writing them?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, I do... It's getting absorbed in the work, really, rather than getting absorbed in the world. I focus. When I used to play football, American football, we were calling it 'in the zone'. It's a total focus, so that eh... In football, American football, everybody else is suddenly moving half a step slower, almost as in slow motion. Peripheral vision extends. I can see facial twitches. I know who has the ball. I mean, I can see him, it's almost as if a faint glow comes up, but I can't hear the crowd. It's all dead silence, but I can hear the other players breathing, and ... it's a very strange situation.

    You get in the zone with the writing and here I am at my desk. My computer, the monitor. And here is a window looking into the side-garden [waving to the left], and over there [waving to the right] is a glass-paint door, looking into the long-garden behind our house.

    Now we have had heavy rainstorms and windstorms that drenched everything, that broke branches, were beating bamboo against this window [the left], there had to be bamboo hitting against this window, had broken branches down on the driveway over there [the right]. [...] and he never noticed any of it when in the zone with writing.

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  • 91

    Interview: Dec 9th, 2002

    Question

    Do current events and world politics, such as the tragedy on September 11th, ever end up influencing the events within the books? If so, what are some examples?

    Robert Jordan

    Only by accident. Any writing is always filtered through the writer, and whatever the writer lives through always changes the filters, but I don't consciously set out to mirror current events in any way.

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  • 92

    Interview: Dec 9th, 2002

    Question

    You have been awarded with the Bronze Star and other awards in Vietnam. Would you care to tell us how one or all of those awards came about?

    Robert Jordan

    (*sigh*) Everyone knows about one way of winning a medal. That is, to see something which needs to be done and to consciously do it at the risk of your life. I never did this. Relatively few people do, which is why we mark out those who do as heroes.

    But at other times, you can realize that you are going to die in a very few minutes, except that if you do something incredibly stupid, you might just have a small chance of living. And against all reason, it works. Or you take a step without thinking, and then it's too late to turn back, maybe because turning back is just as dangerous as going on, or even more dangerous, or maybe because you know that you will have to look in the shaving mirror, and that every time you do, you will remember that you turned back. So you keep going. Or perhaps it's because you are with your friends, and you have to back their play, even if it's crazy, because they're your friends, because they've backed your play, even when it was crazy.

    I was with a group of men who had a certain air about them, and if you didn't have it when you joined them, you soon absorbed it. A plaque in our day room read: Anybody can dance with the Devil's daughter, but we tell her old man to his face. At a time like that, in a place like that, you're all young and crazy, and if you've been there long enough, you know you're going to die. Not from old age; next month, next week, tomorrow. Now, maybe. It's going to happen, so what does it matter? In the end, for most of us, the medals boiled down to managing not to die. If you're alive when the higher-ups think you should be dead, it discombobulates their brains, so they hang a bit of something on you to balance things in their own heads. That's how it happened for me. That is why I am not I repeat, not! a hero. I just managed to stay alive. And I even managed to get sane again. Reasonably sane, anyway.

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  • 93

    Interview: Dec 9th, 2002

    Question

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

    Robert Jordan

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

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  • 94

    Interview: Dec 9th, 2002

    Question

    How has writing such a successful series changed your life? As a result of that success, how has your life changed the story and your writing?

    Robert Jordan

    I have to steal an answer from Stephen King, here. I read it in an interview with him, and his answer seemed so obvious, so right, that I said, "But, of course!" The biggest change in my life, and the best thing about having a successful series, is that now I can buy any book I want. I don't have to wait for the paperback or haunt the remainder tables or plow through the second-hand bookstores. I can just buy it. Being able to travel is great, especially when there is fishing to go with it, but being able to buy the books is bloody neat!

    As for my life changing the story: no, the story is still the story I set out to write God help me! more than fifteen years ago. My writing, of course, as distinct from the story, almost certainly has been changed by my life. No writer can be so isolated from life that what he lives through has no effect on his writing. Or if he can isolate himself, either his writing isn't worth reading or he himself is nuttier than a fruitcake! But I can't tell you how it has changed, except that I hope it has gotten better. After all this time, I would hope to God I've gotten at least a little better at it.

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  • 95

    Interview: Apr 6th, 2001

    Aan'allein

    The signing began, and all 300 people rushed forward. Heavy press there, luckily I was close to the authors, so out soon again.

    Just before getting to Jordan, I heard a question about him once having trouble with his arm or something, and how he got over that.

    Robert Jordan

    I worked very hard with grip exercises. Now I no longer have pain while writing or grasping, or ... Sometimes he does still wake up in the middle of the night with shooting pains though, end then has to do exercises until it's passed.

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  • 96

    Interview: Nov 6th, 1998

    Therese Littleton

    The Wheel of Time has been called the best fantasy epic of all time, and you've been compared with legendary fantasist J.R.R. Tolkien. How do you deal with all this adulation?

    Robert Jordan

    I grin nervously a lot. It's very nice. But my high school football coach gave me one of the best pieces of advice that someone in my position can have. He said, "Saturday morning, you can read the newspaper and you can believe how good they say you are. Monday, when you come to practice, nobody knows your name, and you have one week to get ready for the only game you'll ever have to make a reputation." So it's very nice to look around and have people pat me on the back and say, "Oh, you're wonderful, you're great, you're tremendous," but I know the end of this. I go and sit in front of the computer, and nobody knows my name, and I have one book to try and make a reputation.

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  • 97

    Interview: Nov 6th, 1998

    Therese Littleton

    There are a lot of battles, wars, and great conflicts in your books. Did your military experiences influence that part of your writing?

    Robert Jordan

    To some extent, but mainly the thing that comes out of my experiences in the military is that I know what it's like when someone is trying to kill you. And I know that being in a battle is confusion. You know what you can see; you don't know what is happening beyond your sight. That's what comes from the military. To tell you the truth, the battles aren't nearly as interesting as the people. I like the interactions of the people—the character development, the way people play off one another.

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  • 98

    Interview: Apr 6th, 2001

    Munda

    What are your interests and what do you like to read?

    Robert Jordan

    My interest are varied from chess and pool to hunting and fishing, and I like to read anything that is well written and interesting.

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  • 99

    Interview: Apr 7th, 2001

    Question

    Don't remember anything about the wording, but it should be clear from the answer...

    Robert Jordan

    There's a strict border between my writing and the rest of my life certainly, but the story involves itself in my head. And I continually think about it. I'm always thinking about how I'm going to structure things, how I want the flow of words to work, the rhythms and patterns of words. The difficulty is, I must...I have two rituals at night that are necessary. If I fail... The first is that I read...someone else. And I must read for several hours. And then having read for several hours, work myself from the books, I must make sure that there...for half an hour or so, I won't drift back with my thinking to my own books. So I drink a very, very large brandy...yes, 6 or 8 ounces. And just straight down. And this makes me sleepy enough that I will drift off, and that's the night.

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  • 100

    Interview: Apr 8th, 2001

    Aan'allein

    Do you ever talk to any other fantasy authors outside of work?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, sometimes... not often. They're a good distance apart. John M. Ford...

    Aan'allein

    Then he looked very closely at the card I had him sign...

    Me: It's supposed to be Graendal.

    Robert Jordan

    Yeah, well, it is...I just never knew that Graendal had nipple-rings, that's all. Now for once, it's just a thing I hadn't realized about a character in my book, that's all.

    I see fantasy writers sometimes at conventions. And no, we don't sit around talking about fantasy. We sit around drinking beer, talking about contracts, mainly. And John M. Ford comes to visit me almost every Christmas, he's a close friend of me, uhm, almost as long as I've been married. [I think that was what he said.] And no, we don't talk about fantasy either. We talk about other writers, and contracts. When...has his book finished, that sort of thing.

    Footnote

    RJ has often said that the common notion of your characters self-developing is a ridiculous notion, which adds a bit of extra humor to this quote.

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  • 101

    Interview: Apr 8th, 2001

    Question

    Why did he start writing, and is that still the reason he writes?

    Robert Jordan

    I started to write because I'm crazier than ... and I still am. [laughter] ... I knew at the age of five that I would write one day. One day I always was a ferocious little monster. That is to say, when I was five years old, my world view was equivalent to that of the average of a twenty-two or twenty-five year old. I had the life-experience of a five year old, but I had the way of looking at things of a twenty-five year old, and I looked at myself and I thought, "well, I can't be writing." No, I'll write one day, but for me to be writing now would be ridiculous. I'm a kid. and when I was a teenager, it was the same thing. I hadn't seen anything, I hadn't done anything.

    Aan'allein

    Okay, this simply isn't possible anymore. I'll just tell in general what else he said...

    Robert Jordan

    He finally started writing when he was in hospital some years later, realizing that life was too short. And that still is the reason he writes. Life is too short to waste on things he doesn't want to do.

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  • 102

    Interview: Apr 8th, 2001

    Question

    A question about how autobiographical the books are.

    Robert Jordan

    There is nothing in my books that I can point to and say, "that happened to me," but everything I write is talking about who I am. And who I am is a creation of all the things that have happened to me in my life. So you could say that everything I write was first shaped by my life's experiences. It's a rather tenuous connection, but that's the only one I can find for you, sorry.

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  • 103

    Interview: 2002

    Nothing Stays the Same

    Robert Jordan

    I come from Charleston, South Carolina, which is a city that has undergone tremendous changes. The time of the American Revolution, it was the wealthiest city in North America. It was also the site of the Secession Convention that started the Civil War, and as a result of that, it was written out of the histories. You learn, growing up under those circumstances, that nothing stays the same. Even when you look around you and see all of these old houses, and what tourists think of as a stable old culture, it's changed a hundred times in the last two hundred years. You realize that things that people think of as permanent, such as history, are mutable. They are changed by the observer. And what is remembered of history often becomes more important than what actually happened.

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  • 104

    Interview: 2003

    Orbit Interview (Verbatim)

    Orbit Books

    How do you feel about being considered Tolkien's equal by so many critics?

    Robert Jordan

    Both grateful and uneasy. It is like being compared to Mozart as a composer. A part of you feels gratified at the ego-stroking, but the rest of you worries that you might begin to believe it. In high school, my football coach used to tell me that I could read the newspapers the day after a game and believe what they said about me for that whole day, but when I came out to the next practice, I had to believe that nobody had ever heard my name and the next game coming up would be the only chance I would ever have to make a reputation. I've tried to transfer that into my writing. What's past is past, and I have to try to make the next book better than anything I've ever done before.

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  • 105

    Interview: 2003

    Orbit Interview (Verbatim)

    Orbit Books

    And, finally. This is sort of a variation of Desert Island Disks. If you were caught up in a vortex and deposited in the world you have created...

    Robert Jordan

    What sort of evil monster would do that to me, I wonder?

    Orbit Books

    ...what three things would you take with you?

    Robert Jordan

    The best "barefoot doctor" manual I could find, the best manual I could find of industrial chemical processes of the 18th and 19th Centuries, and an M-14 rifle with a good scope and as much ammunition as I could carry. The first is for obvious reasons; unless you have access to an Aes Sedai, healthcare depends completely on how good your local Wise Woman is and whether you even have a local Wise Woman. Additionally, the ability to treat injury and illness is a good way to be accepted as a stranger in a strange land. The second would be a source of obtaining an income until I could find my way back here. The third also is for obvious reasons. That world is dangerous, boys and girls!

    Orbit Books

    What would you do in your new home?

    Robert Jordan

    Spend most of my time trying to find a way back out of it. Do you remember the old Chinese curse, 'May you live in interesting times'? Well, that world is much too interesting for comfort.

    Orbit Books

    And which novelist's next book would you most regret not having the chance to read?

    Robert Jordan

    John M. Ford, Arturo Peres-Reverte, Thomas Harris... No, there are just too many to name.

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  • 106

    Interview: Jan 11th, 2003

    Robert Jordan

    Mr. Jordan stated that the first book he ever read was White Fang, at age four. When given his library card at five, he joked that when the librarian introduced him to the children's section asking him if he would like to have The Velveteen Rabbit read to him, he replied, "What, are you kidding?"... promptly being labeled a smart-aleck.

    He found it very difficult to get access to adult reading, and would have to sneak out of the children's section, snag books, and bring them back to the children's section to hide them where he could access them without being pestered. No one ever checked the children's section for the adult books he had sequestered there. Jordan said he never read children's books until much older.

    At age five he had three novels stacked on a table in his room (one of which included a Verne work) and he stated that at that moment he knew he would "make stories like that someday."

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  • 107

    Interview: Jan 11th, 2003

    Robert Jordan

    On the subject of relationships, he commented that "I know what women want. Because I am what women want. [laughter from the audience] Part palomino, part golden retriever." He then quickly howled like a dog and neighed like a horse, with more laughter.

    He commented that in 2002 he took perhaps five days off of writing. In 2001 he was "lazy" and may have had up to ten days off that year. He stated that he had originally thought that writing would be a relaxing job, in which he could retire to "the South of France and lie on the beach with three ladies in a red bikini, blue bikini, and yellow bikini to rub suntan oil upon me."

    Regarding the intensity of his lifestyle, he reminded the audience that he used to be an engineer, but found this job much more demanding. "To write successfully," he remarked, "you really have to throw yourself into your work."

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  • 108

    Interview: Jan 14th, 2003

    Matthew Julius

    We get close up in line and I can start hearing things, but nothing of importance. A lady—clearly a fan—in front of me must have asked him about the female characters in his books:

    Robert Jordan

    His reply is that his whole family is filled with very strong women...

    "All of the men in my family are strong, because the women in my family would kill and eat the weak ones."

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  • 109

    Interview: Jan 16th, 2003

    Tim Kington

    First someone asked something about him learning to read.

    Robert Jordan

    He said that he had only read one children's book—something about a pig, I think—and that the first book he ever read was the second half of White Fang. His brother had started reading it to him, and he wanted to finish it himself. He talked about a book that came out in the 40s which he said was the first bodice-ripper, and that he read it when he was five. He said that he was confused for quite a while after that and got in trouble for calling girls "wench". A while after that he got his first library card. He was disappointed to find out that he was supposed to stay in the children's section of the library, and that the librarian wanted to read The Velveteen Rabbit to him. He made a habit of sneaking into the adult section, grabbing a book at random, and taking it back to a reading room in the children's section. He found that if the book wasn't any good, he could leave it on the table there, and it would get returned to its proper place, but if he liked it, he would put it in the shelves of the reading room, and it would stay there until he was done with it.

    Someone asked what he's reading right now, and he said Salt, which is, I guess, actually all about salt. There were other questions like that and he recommended the fantasy of C.S. Friedman, John M. Ford, and Guy Gavriel Kay. He also recommended the essays of Montaigne and Guns, Germs, and Steel.

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  • 110

    Interview: Jan 16th, 2003

    Robert Jordan

    He talked a little bit about when he realized women are different from men. He said a woman (friend of his mother's?) in a summer dress picked him up, and he could feel the dress sliding over her, and he thought "She doesn't feel like mother." He could smell her perfume, and thought "She doesn't smell like mother." Then she went to put him down, and her grip slipped, and his face was buried in her cleavage. She set him down, mussed his hair and called him precocious. He ran off to look 'precocious' up in a dictionary. Now that he had noticed women, he was trying to figure out how they got to be that way. He could see that if you took a boy and scaled him up, you basically had a man, but he couldn't figure out how the little girls he knew could turn into women. He decided it must involve cocoons.

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  • 111

    Interview: Jan 16th, 2003

    Question

    Someone asked about how he writes women so well.

    Robert Jordan

    When he was a teenager, he didn't have much luck with women despite being very pretty. He mentioned this to his uncle, and he said, "You like to hunt deer, don't you?" "Yes." "You know a lot about deer?" "Yes." "You know their habits, when they get up, where they like to forage, what trails they tend to follow, etc.?" "Yes." "Well, do you think that hunting deer is more important than hunting women?" So he started to study women.

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  • 112

    Interview: Jan 16th, 2003

    Robert Jordan

    He served all over Vietnam. When asked, he rattled off about 15 or 20 different places. The only ones I caught were the delta and the rubber plantation. He was a gunner. He said he wanted to be a point, but his eyesight wasn't good enough.

    He was in the Army, and he talked about how the Air Force is full of slackers. He went to an Air Force base once and he was driving a car that had Admiral's stars on it (his dad's?) When he pulled up to the guard at the base entrance, the guy was about to give him a typical lazy Air Force salute, then saw the stars on the bumper of the car, and levitated a couple of feet off the ground. He asked the guard where the hospital was and got directions. When he got to the hospital, people were running in all directions, doctors were hyperventilating, running around holding paper bags over their mouths, and the place was chaos, all because there was a two-star on the base, and nobody knew who he was because the idiot at the gate didn't think to ask.

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  • 113

    Interview: Jan 16th, 2003

    Robert Jordan

    Tim's reported his comments on the Air Force, which was both brave and funny, considering Dayton is an Air Force town (Wright Pat is here, and is the area's biggest employer).

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  • 114

    Interview: Jan 18th, 2003

    Daniel G

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

    Robert Jordan

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

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

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  • 115

    Interview: Jan 18th, 2003

    Robert Jordan

    RJ read the Encylopedia Brittanica numerous times as a child; he claims that's the crux of his education.

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  • 116

    Interview: Jan 22nd, 2003

    USA Today Article (Verbatim)

    Robert Jordan

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

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

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

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  • 117

    Interview: Jan 21st, 2003

    SFRevu Interview (Verbatim)

    Ernest Lilley

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

    Robert Jordan

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

    Ernest Lilley

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

    Robert Jordan

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

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  • 118

    Interview: Jan 21st, 2003

    SFRevu Interview (Verbatim)

    Ernest Lilley

    Did you come from a reading family?

    Robert Jordan

    Oh yes, bookshelves all over the house.

    Ernest Lilley

    What did your parents do?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, my mother was a housewife, she worked in defense during WWII, but other than that she was a housewife. My father had been a police officer after WWII, and then he went to work for the State Ports Authority in South Carolina. Where he worked up till his retirement, he had to retire early for health reasons.

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  • 119

    Interview: Jan 21st, 2003

    SFRevu Interview (Verbatim)

    Ernest Lilley

    When did you start in as a full-time writer?

    Robert Jordan

    That was about twenty-five years ago. I was working as an engineer for the government and I was injured. I had to have my knee rebuilt, and there were complications from the surgery. A blood clot broke up in my lungs and kept me in the hospital for a month. Some sort of infection that gave me a fever. They tell me I almost died, and I decided that life was too short. I had always thought I'd write one day, but I decided that it was time to put up or shut up.

    Ernest Lilley

    When did you first start thinking you'd write?

    Robert Jordan

    When I was five. I learned to read very early. At five I was reading Jules Verne and Mark Twain. I had read Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, and From the Earth to the Moon, those were the last three books I had read and I propped them up on a table an looked at them and I remember thinking that someday I would make stories like this.

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  • 120

    Interview: Jan 21st, 2003

    SFRevu Interview (Verbatim)

    Ernest Lilley

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

    Robert Jordan

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

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

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

    Ernest Lilley

    Very nice hotels.

    Robert Jordan

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

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

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  • 121

    Interview: Jan 21st, 2003

    SFRevu Interview (Verbatim)

    Ernest Lilley

    Does touring cut into your writing time?

    Robert Jordan

    No, not really. It's so quick after the books. The last five books it's been two months between me handing in the manuscripts and me being on tour.

    I just have time to catch my breath after stopping writing and to go outside blinking a little because I'm unused to being in the daylight. Last year I figured out that I took five days off all year. The rest of the time I wrote. Two of those were days to go fishing, and there was a wedding, and I can't remember what the fifth one was...

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  • 122

    Interview: Jan 21st, 2003

    SFRevu Interview (Verbatim)

    Ernest Lilley

    You served in Vietnam, and I was wondering how you felt about it?

    Robert Jordan

    I'd say, ambivalent. I wouldn't say, I was glad that I went...but it was something I could not have done otherwise without being someone other than I was.

    Ernest Lilley

    Where were you stationed and what did you do?

    Robert Jordan

    I was a gunner in Hueys. I was in Saigon in the beginning, and then out of Bien Hoa, and we flew everywhere. Zone C, The [Phu Rieng] Rubber Plantation, down to Cu Chi in the delta, over to Nui Ba Dinh, Black Virgin Mountain, and we were flying into Cambodia long before the "Parrot's Beak". (misspellings are mine, feel free to correct me - Ern)

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  • 123

    Interview: Jan 21st, 2003

    SFRevu Interview (Verbatim)

    Ernest Lilley

    Here we are on the eve of another war, do you have any feelings about this one?

    Robert Jordan

    I wish we didn't have to do it, but I think it's the best chance we have for making some sort of turnaround in the Arab world. That means forcing a settlement to the Palestinian question. Iraq, before Saddam took over was the most secular and educated nation, and it is the one that has the best chance, despite the difficulties, of moving into something we would recognize as democracy.

    If that could be done, it might mitigate, to a great extent, a lot of the street hatred of the west. It really is hatred. We let women think, we let them drive cars, we let them get jobs...we tolerate Jews...we do all of these things that are nasty...and we are nasty ourselves. There's a great deal of hatred that stems from something that we in the US haven't seen since the Civil War, and possibly not even then. It's something that the Western World really hasn't seen in the last three of four hundred years.

    It's a hate of the other, because they are the other...and not like me, therefore we will kill them.

    Ernest Lilley

    Where does the hate come from?

    Robert Jordan

    A lot of it comes from awareness. Satellite television has made a lot of places in the world aware of Europe and the US, that thirty or forty years ago were barely aware of us.

    Ernest Lilley

    And we undermine their authority.

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, by merely being here we threaten them. An expert was asked after 9/11 what we could do to wipe out these people's hatred of us...and he paused a moment and then answered, "We could move off the planet."

    It's something we need to be concerned about. You may say, why do we care if a third world nation has a few A-Bombs, but you know, the Soviet Union was a third world nation. Once the wall came down, we realized we were looking at a Third World Nation...that had held the world in the Cold War for all that time simply because they had nuclear weapons.

    I don't even want to think about a world in which North Korea and Saddam Hussein have nuclear weapons. Both of those governments have people which would be quite willing to use these things.

    Ernest Lilley

    And yet, we often are ugly Americans. Our biggest ambassador to the world is "Baywatch".

    Robert Jordan

    Well, yes, but our TV has been moved to the wee small hours. Movies are still popular, but the people aren't watching it...unlike a government edict...they just seem to want to watch something else.

    Ernest Lilley

    Possibly cheap video technology has allowed them to make their own content.

    Robert Jordan

    Possibly.

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  • 124

    Interview: Jan 23rd, 2003

    Robert Jordan

    Someone else said something about his health and got a lengthy recitation of Jordan's blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and so on.

    John Nowacki

    I didn't stay for the whole thing but caught most of it. I may be at tonight's signing in Bailey's Crossroads (someone who's out of town asked me to take her books in and I didn't have time get them all signed this afternoon), and if so, I'll post something about it later this evening.

    John Nowacki

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  • 125

    Interview: Jan 23rd, 2003

    Robert Jordan

    (from John Nowacki's report): Someone else said something about his health and got a lengthy recitation of Jordan's blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and so on.

    Zeynep Dilli

    At his last physical: cholesterol 197, his doctor not worried about his triglycerides, blood pressure 105/62, resting pulse 68, and he performed exceedingly well in the stress test. He was a little irritated at the question, I think. Can't guess why. Someone else asked if people ever sent him vitamins etc. Nope.

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  • 126

    Interview: Jan 23rd, 2003

    Zeynep Dilli

    His favorite character?

    Robert Jordan

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

    Zeynep Dilli

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

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  • 127

    Interview: Feb 9th, 2003

    Bill Thompson

    His is a vivid daydream, alive on paper. Not an alternate reality.

    For those who suspect Robert Jordan is so consumed by his books, so immersed in their universe that the fanciful has more substance than the tangible, be assured this is not the case.

    He still takes out the garbage. And no fictional creations attend him as he does so.

    The books of his "Wheel of Time" fantasy cycle may possess prodigious detail, and characters who seem to breathe on the page, but the author recognizes the warp and woof of the real quite well, thank you, and embraces the knowledge that, in time, the party will come to an end.

    The Charleston native is as grounded as one of the most successful writers in the world can be. Hyperbole? Do millions read your books with the same fervor accorded Tolkien? Do 500 people a day show up for your book signings, from Sacramento to Sydney? Are your novels translated into 20 languages? Are you the standard-bearer for a major publishing company? Are there thousands of Web sites devoted in whole or in part to discussing your work?

    We thought not.

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  • 128

    Interview: Oct 17th, 2003

    Jason Denzel

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

    Robert Jordan

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

    Robert Jordan

    JASON DENZEL

    Have fun, RJ!

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  • 129

    Interview: Jan 6th, 2004

    Hellertown, PA

    I was in Iraq in '91 when I received a copy of The Eye Of The World. It was a spectacular read in the desert—wonderful fun reading. You went to The Citadel. Why did you choose that school?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, I went to The Citadel as a veteran student. And I was, frankly, going somewhere else, but Col. Bunch at The Citadel kept calling me after I came back the last time from 'Nam, and I went to talk to him, and he told me about the veterans' program there. And I knew they had a good reputation in engineering and the sciences, so I ended up going. I sometimes had the suspicion I might play football for them, but I was beyond that by that time.

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  • 130

    Interview: Jan 6th, 2004

    Neenah, Wisconsin

    What is it like driving your Porsche?

    Robert Jordan

    It's wonderful! Especially if I'm somewhere where I can get up to speed.

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  • 131

    Interview: Jan 6th, 2004

    Chicago, IL

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

    Robert Jordan

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

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  • 132

    Interview: Jan 6th, 2004

    Neenah, Wisconsin

    I was wondering when you got into pipe collecting?

    Robert Jordan

    Many years ago, when I was young, I smoked cigarettes and I decided to quit smoking cigarettes about 35 years ago, I guess. And that was easy enough, but after about six months of not smoking, I realized that I had become so used to having a cigarette in my hands that my hands felt awkward and I was always fiddling with things.

    I bought my first pipe and I trained myself not to inhale, and it was, in the beginning, just to have something to hold in my hand.

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  • 133

    Interview: Jan 6th, 2004

    Zaandam, The Netherlands

    Do you think your success changed you in any way?

    Robert Jordan

    I hope not, but it's hard to tell. I drink better wine and drive a faster car than I used to, I know that. I don't know if that's in the realm of personal change.

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  • 134

    Interview: Jul 22nd, 2004

    Robert Jordan

    His definition of a Hero is a person who keeps going, no matter what, despite being afraid.

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  • 135

    Interview: Jul 22nd, 2004

    Jason Denzel

    FRIDAY 23 July 2004

    Things went even more smoothly on Friday.

    Les Dabel picked them up again and I met them at the curb. RJ was in a great mood and had a smile on his face pretty often. This time we went right to the autograph area where a table had been setup for him to sign books. The Dabel Brothers and their team were all there. There were other celebrities nearby: I think Stan Lee was over at the next table signing photos of himself.

    RJ signed books for about an hour. Again, he was able to personalize most of them, and there were few enough people where he was able to sign as many as they brought. One guy had 12 or 13 things for him to sign: all ten WoT novels, plus the Guide, some promo items I had sent out, and even some copies of Jordan's other books.

    Robert Jordan

    After the signing was over, Harriet and RJ had some lunch plans. I met up with them a few hours later when it was time for the second panel discussion. This one was entitled "Painting the Big Picture—Speculative Fiction on a grand scale".

    During this discussion, RJ was much more talkative. He spoke quite frequently, at length at times. He cracked several jokes. He talked about many things he's talked about before: how he writes seven days a week, sometimes misses lunch, how Harriet can tell when he's been writing Padan Fain, how when we goes fishing and they aren't biting he feels like he should still be writing instead, and how he is the OLD TESTAMENT GOD in the lives of his characters.

    Jason Denzel

    Afterwards, I met up with him and Harriet and escorted them over to the final book signing of the weekend. It was by far the most popular one, and so I suggested that people just have two books signed per trip through the line. (If you were somebody in line with more than two books, sorry!! That rule always bugged me whenever I went to book signings, but now I see why they do it.) In the end, everyone had time to get all of their books signed. The few people who had brought suitcases of books (yes, suitcases!) were patient enough to just wait until the end, and then RJ signed all of their stuff.

    After the signing, the Dabels took them back to their hotel and I went to go watch the special The Return of the King footage from the Extended Edition DVD. :)

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  • 136

    Interview: Jul 22nd, 2004

    Jason Denzel

    One odd thing that RJ shared with us was his advice to men.

    Robert Jordan

    He said that men were like fish that had been removed from the tank placed on the ground. The idea was that a cat (a woman) watches the fish and often has no interest if the fish does not struggle enough before dying. The cats enjoy watching the fish flounder and flap around. But if the fish stopped, the cat loses interest. So Robert looked seriously at Brad and Bob and I (the only men present) and said, "Keep flopping and they won't lose interest. Always keep flapping!"

    It was a little silly of course, but it sounded as if it came right out of the books. One of Thom's sayings, maybe.

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  • 137

    Interview: Oct 24th, 2004

    Jason Denzel

    Regarding the holiday last year, RJ said:

    Robert Jordan

    We don't usually get into costume for Halloween, but this year we were asked to the Buildings and Bones Ball, a charity affair in support of the School for the Building Arts. That is a very neat organization here in Charleston that teaches young people old-style building methods and things like stone carving, wood carving, making decorative ironwork and gates, and working with slate roofs, all crafts that are fading away in much of the country as the older men who followed them retire without any younger men taking the crafts up. With as many old buildings as Charleston has—the oldest in the city dates to 1680—we really can't afford to be without those crafts. Other countries know this. SCOBA has formed a relationship with a similar school in Paris which has over 6000 students. SCOBA has only a couple of hundred students at present, though it is growing.

    JASON DENZEL

    He was also quick to add:

    ROBERT JORDAN

    Just be sure to let people know I've lost a LOT of weight since then. :) I've even lost weight since you saw me in San Diego.

    JASON DENZEL

    Indeed. Looking good, RJ!

    More information about the School for the Building Arts can be found via the link below. Please take a moment and learn a little about their organization.

    Overall, Robert Jordan summed these pictures up best:

    ROBERT JORDAN

    Actually, I myself think Mr. Depp should be afraid. Very afraid.

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  • 138

    Interview: Jul 22nd, 2004

    Jason Denzel

    One unique subject discussed over dinner was the metaphysical basis for the underlying spiritual topography of the WoT. Specifically, one member of the dinner party asked RJ whether he had intentionally woven core elements of the world's various spiritual/mystical traditions into his work, or whether those ideas were in fact manifesting THROUGH him as pure art.

    Robert Jordan

    His answer was a description of his bookshelf at home, which begins at the left side with the Christian Bible, continues into more Judeo-Christian texts, then picks up with the Quran, with books on Hindusim (I got the sense he was referring to the Bhagavad-Gita, but would need to check with him to be sure), Buddhist texts, and then what he called various "discourses" on world religion and spiritual philosophy.

    Jason Denzel

    In short—RJ is a student of world relgion, which explains much of the religious diversity of his work, not just in terms of the many cultures of his world but in terms of the underlying metaphysical structure of his universe.

    By the way, Robert Jordan also sent me an email recently further describing his book collection.

    Robert Jordan

    The bookshelf I spoke of is one bookcase that holds my books on religion. There are a couple of others for mythology, and a great many covering nonfiction and fiction. At present, the total collection is around thirteen thousand volumes in my study. That's the carriage house behind what is colloquially called "the big house" in Charleston, the main dwelling, whether it is all that big or not; books in the big house aren't part of this total since most of them are Harriet's, and she doesn't catalog her books. I'm trying to pare that number down because I don't have enough room. Unfortunately, as fast as I can give books away, I buy more. Oh, well.

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  • 139

    Interview: Jul 22nd, 2004

    Jason Denzel

    Later on, Melissa made a joking comment about Rand and his three girlfriends.

    Robert Jordan

    Robert Jordan's reply was not what we expected. He explained that at one point in his younger life he had two girlfriends at once. They knew about each other, and they arranged dates for him so they could both be there. They were fine with it, and young Jim Rigney just went along with it. (Wouldn't you?) He figured that if he could have two girlfriends at once, then a guy like Rand could definitely do three.

    Jason Denzel

    I guess it's true that we all find inspiration from our everyday lives!

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  • 140

    Interview: Jul 22nd, 2004

    Robert Jordan

    During the course of the meal, we eventually got on the topic of his time in Vietnam. What he revealed to us was deeply personal, disturbing, and moving. Although I will not comment on the specifics (it's his story to tell, not mine), I can say that it was the first time ever that I truly saw and felt the very essence of his books before me. In the days to come Melissa and Brad and I would talk about how it was during these stories that we saw Perrin, and Mat, and Rand in his eyes. We understood where their sad reluctance for war comes from. Their sense of duty.

    A few years ago, Robert Jordan talked about some of these same topics in an interview that he did with Dragonmount and Wotmania. Go here to read it. The part about Vietnam is about halfway down. It's one thing to read it and a whole other thing to hear him tell it. I think war in general is like that. I wouldn't know, because I have never served time in the military. But I have the deepest respect for those who do.

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  • 141

    Interview: 2005

    Experiences as a soldier

    Robert Jordan

    I'm not certain that my background in the military has informed my writing at all really. My experiences in Vietnam certainly did, because anything that you live through really has some effect on who you are and how you write. I know what being in a battle is like. I know what it is like to have somebody trying to kill me personally. I know what it's like to kill somebody. And I know what it's like to believe that you are going to die in the next two minutes. These things are very useful when you're writing high fantasy. Your characters know what it is like to experience these things; you can put that into those characters.

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  • 142

    Interview: Mar 8th, 2005

    CBR

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

    Robert Jordan

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

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

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  • 143

    Interview: Jul 14th, 2005

    ComicCon Reports (Paraphrased)

    Question

    Why does Rand get three girlfriends?

    Robert Jordan

    When RJ was young, for a while he had two girlfriends who shared him and even managed who got to date him when. He figures if he can have two, then the savior of the world can have three!

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  • 144

    Interview: Jul 14th, 2005

    ComicCon Reports (Paraphrased)

    Question

    Does he believe in magic?

    Robert Jordan

    No way no how. He is a pragmatist and realist. He also thinks current quantum mechanics is becoming more theology than science.

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  • 145

    Interview: Jul 14th, 2005

    ComicCon Reports (Paraphrased)

    Question

    How did he start writing?

    Robert Jordan

    He loved books from an early age and planned to be a writer when he was eight or ten. Later he realized that most authors can't actually make a living on writing alone so he went with his second love, science and mathematics. At age thirty he wrecked his knee and almost died from complications. During his recuperation he decided life's too short to settle for second best and he's been writing ever since.

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  • 146

    Interview: Sep 7th, 2005

    Jennifer Liang

    There were no startling plot revelations from Jordan this time. The only questions asked were personal or repeats of questions asked at Dragon*Con or previous interviews, so I don't need to repeat much of it.

    Robert Jordan

    There is only one book left in the series but it will be a doozy. He will fight to prevent it from being "George R.R. Martined," or split for publication. He plans to do a signing in Anchorage, Alaska for Knife of Dreams, but it will be during the salmon season so he can do some serious fishing while there.

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  • 147

    Interview: Sep 19th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    I noticed in browsing the other day that someone wondered whether my cold was part of my "cancer." I want to quash that one before it turns into a rumor. I do not have cancer. I did have a cold that had me sick as a dog for three days, but not cancer. I've been undergoing a thorough checkup since finishing Knife of Dreams, with every sort of test you can imagine, and believe me, if there was any suspicion of such a thing, I would know.

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  • 148

    Interview: Sep 19th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    This should be confirmation that I do lurk upon occasion, on several sites. At the moment, working only half days on the new book—that will continue until the tour begins; after the tour, it is back to full days—I have time to do that more often than when I am writing all day. Then I can only drop by once in a while for a a few minutes to scan through the thread headers and see if anyone else has figured out who killed Asmodean—some of you have, but I won't say who—or whether some incredible rumor has begun growing like a fungus. But I am not a member at any site, so forget about the possibility that I make posts.

    Take care, guys. And remember—no cancer.

    RJ

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  • 149

    Interview: Oct 4th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

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

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

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

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  • 150

    Interview: Sep 5th, 2005

    Camel

    Tam and I went over to the Q&A. As we're crossing the street from the Mariott to the Hyatt, this guy goes:

    Man: "Whoa there. Where's your badge?"
    Tamyrlin: "Well, he lost it earlier."
    Man: "Can't let you in without a badge, sir."
    Camel: "But I lost it, man. I paid for it and everything."
    Man: "Well, did you report it?"
    Camel: "Yeah."
    Man: "Do you have a hotel key?"
    Camel: "Yeah, to the Travelodge down the street."
    Man: "Let me see it." I showed it to him. "Okay, you've got a hotel key, go on."

    So we went into the Q&A, and I watched everyone ask questions. At Isabel's first question, RJ said "Come up here and ask me closer." cause he couldn't understand her. So she went up there and showed him our huge list of questions. I got a picture. He read one of them and answered it. Then Tam asked a question and basically got RAFO'd, and he came back and sat down. I suggested a question to him, and he says, "Go ask it, man." So I got in line. And waited. Finally:

    Camel: "I know a lot of questions have been asked and I was wondering if either of you knew of a question we haven't asked that you think we should have asked already, and what would that be?"

    Robert Jordan

    "You really think I am going to be that easy. I mean I am gullible, but that's with women. Nice try, Jack!"

    CAMEL

    So I sat down, suitably embarrassed. Tam and WSB thought it was hilarious that he thought my name was Jack. (Hint: it's not). After that, we went over to the mall and grabbed a bite to eat. I got a picture of Tinkerbell. It was cool. Walking back to the hotel, I took a picture of some Cobra guys solely to stop up traffic in the hallway. Mwahahaha.

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  • 151

    Interview: Sep 3rd, 2005

    Great Lord of the Dark

    Your bio for Dragon*Con shows you enjoy the sport of poker. Do you get the chance to play often, would you consider playing against fans, and how much would someone have to match you and raise the stakes by to get an answer to who killed Asmodean?

    Robert Jordan

    As to playing with fans, no, I don't want to take money from fans, and I don't want you to take mine. And as for the raise of the bet of who killed Asmodean, you do not have enough money collectively.

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  • 152

    Interview: Sep 2nd, 2005

    Question

    Question about his writing routine. Do you write the same amount each day?

    Robert Jordan

    He has breakfast, reads the newspaper, goes to his desk. I look at the emails I have to deal with. I cannot say go to hell. Deal with the phone calls that have the same ranking. I am supposed to stop for lunch. I generally remember I have to stop for lunch about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. I don't often eat lunch. Then I go help Harriet to get dinner on the table. I do that pretty much seven days a week. I don't mind if I go fishing on a Wednesday or play golf. Last year I believe I played golf once and went fishing three times.

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  • 153

    Interview: Sep 4th, 2005

    Matt Hatch

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

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

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

    Robert Jordan

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

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  • 154

    Interview: Sep 4th, 2005

    Matt Hatch

    Skipped [transcription of] question about how he can do what others can't.

    Robert Jordan

    He talks about being picked up by a woman when he was very young, during which his face plunges into her cleavage, and she ruffles his hair and called him precocious, from which moment he was fascinated with, a life-long fascination of women. He said that in his family every last man is strong, because the women in his family kill and eat the weak ones.

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  • 155

    Interview: Sep 4th, 2005

    Question

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

    Robert Jordan

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

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

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

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

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  • 156

    Interview: Sep 4th, 2005

    Question

    While reading the whole series of books, I find myself seeing some aspects of Mat, Rand, and Perrin. I was wondering as you were creating these characters, what parts of yourself did you see in these three characters and then what parts of yourself does your wife see in these characters that you have created?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, I dont know, as I like to point out, Lan was the guy I grew up wanting to emulate. Mat is the side of me that at fourteen was passing myself off at twenty and picking up college girls in bars on North Market St. Perrin is the side of me who knew I was bigger than kids of my own age, so I did not have a fight with any single person, there were some times where kids of my own age decided since I was too big to fight one-on-one, it was quite alright to come at me with five or six together, but the only fights I had one-on-one until I got into the army were with kids who were three to six years older than I was, because I was going to hurt the other guys, I was afraid of [hurting] kids of my own age, I would walk away from a fight with kid of my own age because I was bigger than he was, I was going to hurt him, there was that out of me in Perrin. And in Rand, I don't know, I don't know what there is of Rand in me, except that I always felt like an outsider, even when I was an insider, I felt like an outsider.

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  • 157

    Interview: Sep 28th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Kamanile, I didn't put the whole onus for failing to see the gasp moment on the fans. If you read my post, I said that either I had failed completely in making you have the same sense of realness in the books that I do when writing or else.... I do think there is a hardening to many people, though, through being inundated with images of hurricane victims, tsunami victims, people starving because of famines, suicide bombing sites etc. There was a time that the splattered blood of a suicide bomb site would have been considered too graphic and violent for the evening news. Now, it is an appropriate thing to show while people are having dinner. It won't spoil too many appetites. I noticed one or two posts of comments to spoiler reviews where the gasp moment was revealed and some people seemed to find it funny. That's somebody who probably makes Darfur jokes.

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  • 158

    Interview: Sep 24th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Marigan at Wotmania, and anyone else who might be wondering, not only do I not have cancer at present, I have never had cancer. Never. That was one of those rumors that float around without a shred of truth to them, thank God. I understand that I have been dead or near dead several times according to the rumors. I was run down by a bus once, so I recall hearing. Not true.

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  • 159

    Interview: Sep 24th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

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

    Take care, guys.

    RJ

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  • 160

    Interview: Sep 24th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    No, I'm not going to reveal what the "gasp" moment is. I certainly won't be putting any spoilers here. But I have read the reviews, both spoiler and non-spoiler. For those who have read the book and believe you have identified the "gasp" moment, congratulations. For those who have read the book and still don't know what the "gasp" moment is, my sympathies. I mean that in all truth. You failed to see something that really should have made you gasp. I think I am fairly hardened, but occasionally something happens that makes me mutter, "Where are you, God? Are you sleeping? Are you blind?" This is fiction, but even so, I had to pause a couple of times in writing about it. Of course, I get deeply immersed in my work so that it becomes real to me while I am writing, but I hope to pull the reader into that level of realness, too. Either I failed completely in this instance, or some of you have become way too hardened. Too much on the evening news, I suppose. It's just today's hurricane, today's tsunami, today's Armageddon. I wonder what's coming up at eleven?

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  • 161

    Interview: Sep 25th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    I see a number of posts about that, and I find them a little surprising. Anybody out there ever read about the internal workings of the Third Reich or the reasons why the Nazis made some of their major, and often disastrous decisions? It was a zoo. A madhouse! Just for an example, even in the last days, they were sidelining trains carrying desperately needed supplies to the front in order to use the engines to transport more people to the death camps! And yet they came within a whisker or two of winning. There are hundreds of counterfactuals—the historian's name for alternate histories—showing how the Nazis could have won outright as late as Normandy, at least to the extent of hanging onto Germany and quite possibly France, or pulled out a tie as late as the Battle of the Bulge. The internal workings of the Soviet Union under Lenin, Stalin (even more so) and most of their successors often made the Nazis look almost sensible, yet Stalin did manage to defeat the Nazis, though largely with the inadvertent help of the Nazis themselves. And his successors, frequently making decisions in nearly buffoon-like fashion, came very close to pulling out a victory over the Western democracies. Henry Kissinger actually saw his position as negotiating the best second-place position he could for the United States vis-a-vis the Soviet Union and the inevitable triumph of communism. True fact. You can look it up. Both Kissinger's feelings and the view of many intelligent people on this side of the Iron Curtain that we were fighting a losing battle are a matter of record. I lived through a lot of that, took part in some of the skirmishing, and I'll tell you, it was a damned close run thing.

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  • 162

    Interview: Oct 2nd, 2005

    Robert Jordan

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

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  • 163

    Interview: Oct 5th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    If I seem to be posting a lot, it's because the tour is coming up. I want to get in some of these things before I go away and the blog goes on hiatus. We'll be flying to New York on Saturday to take care of some business before the tour begins, on Tuesday. I'm a little worried about the first signing, I'll admit. I know I can pull a good evening crowd in NYC; I've done it before. But 12:30 on a Tuesday? That's the slot where they put politicians, movies stars and celebrities. Yes, I'm a little concerned.

    I will try to post again tomorrow or Friday, but I can't guarantee. We've been housing relatives from New Orleans, you see. My younger brother Reynolds has already gone back and begun teaching high school again, and his son Rey, a NO cop who was at the precinct they dubbed Fort Apache until he was told off to drive a sick officer to Shreveport for medical aid, has also returned to duty after fighting off bronchitis. Rey's wife Heather, who has a masters in disaster relief management, is hoping to head back today or tomorrow with infant son David, while Reynolds' wife Barbara Gay will be heading back tomorrow or the next day with son Jim III. Can you spell hectic? I knew that you could.

    Well, let's get on with it. By the way, I don't favor women in my answers. I just answer what seem like interesting questions where answering won't give away too much.

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  • 164

    Interview: Jan 20th, 2003

    Rick Kleffel

    Your resume isn’t exactly what one might expect for a writer. Tell us how and when you began reading and writing.

    Robert Jordan

    Well, I began reading very early. I started reading in part because my older brother read to me when he was stuck babysitting me; he was twelve years older than me. And one day, I remember, he stopped reading because my parents came home, and he was off; I wanted to finish the book, so I took it down and finished it on my own. It was White Fang. I was four. Now, I'm not saying I managed every word, but I managed enough to be able to finish the book and understand what had happened, what was going on. By the next year, I was reading well enough that I did understand every word of Huckleberry Finn, and Tom Sawyer, and From the Earth to the Moon, and that was the year I decided I wanted to become a writer. But I didn't write anything then; I knew I didn't have anything to say. I knew when I was a teenager that I didn't have anything to say, and when I was in my twenties I didn't have anything to say. I became an engineer; I was injured quite badly, spent a month in the hospital—a full month recovering—and I decided then that life was too short.

    Rick Kleffel

    What kind of books inspired you first to write?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, in a way, it was the three I mentioned—Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer, and From the Earth to the Moon—those are the first books that made me decide that I wanted to be a writer, books like that, write books like that one day. I will not mention the book that actually made me start writing, because it was a matter of tossing a book across the room, because I was stuck in bed and grumpy, and saying, "Oh god, I can do better than that!" And of course when you've said something like that, you have to put up or shut up, so I made my effort, and...here I am.

    Rick Kleffel

    More than put up!

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  • 165

    Interview: Oct 5th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

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

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  • 166

    Interview: Oct 6th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

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

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  • 167

    Interview: Oct 6th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Ben, I'm glad you have a school-sanctioned WoT club at Alfred. (I do use WoT once in a while. Sometimes, though, it just seems to me that it should be tWoT. No big deal either way.) As an aside, my goddaughter, Jessica Jones, got her degree in ceramics from Alfred. You might be able to find out a little about her there. After she left and studied at Xian (I hope I have the spelling right), she began being referred to as Jones of China. She studied with a man who had been designated a "living treasure" by the government, and she was the only non-Chinese ceramist invited to display her work in a national show just before she came home.

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  • 168

    Interview: Oct 6th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Rory, I really don't think that I'll do any novels, short or otherwise, about the War of the Shadow. The outcome is already known, and it ain't good for our side.

    As for coming to Australia, you'll have to get onto the Australian publisher and bombard them with requests for me. I've been to Oz twice since the books began, both times at the behest of the publisher, though we added some vacation to the business. As an aside, I almost was born in Australia. My father liked Australia so much that my parents planned to emigrate after WWII, but my mother became pregnant with me, and she was concerned about emigrating under those circumstances—I believe wartime rationing was still in effect in Oz—so one way and another the move never happened. But almost.

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  • 169

    Interview: Sep 24th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    Take care, guys. And remember, if you can look at absolutely anything without at least a desire to weep, then you've lost part of your humanity.

    RJ

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  • 170

    Interview: Oct 11th, 2005

    Question

    Somebody then asked how he kept up his interest over the long haul.

    Robert Jordan

    He answered that he has been writing WoT for over 21 years, and that his work day remains the same: Reads the newspaper at breakfast; goes to his study (which isn't in the house it seems) answers necessary e-mails and phone calls, and then starts writing. He's supposed to take a break for lunch, but sometimes that isn't until 3 or so. Around six he goes back into the house and helps Harriet get dinner together. He does this 7 days a week. Occasionally he'll take a day off for golf or fishing but then mentioned that he's been golfing once and fishing twice. He then said that one of the things that keeps him interested is the growth of the characters.

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  • 171

    Interview: Oct 11th, 2005

    Question

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

    Robert Jordan

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

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

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

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  • 172

    Interview: Oct 13th, 2005

    Question

    One question was about his health.

    Robert Jordan

    He says he lifts 3 times/week, swims (less often than before), and walks. At his latest physical they had to give him an injection to speed his heart, and his blood pressure still didn't break 120/80 (double-checked). He's in fantastic shape.

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  • 173

    Interview: Sep, 2005

    Glas Durboraw

    Where are you both from?

    Robert Jordan

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

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    We paint it one side at a time.

    Robert Jordan

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

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

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

    Glas Durboraw

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

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  • 174

    Interview: Oct 21st, 2005

    Steve

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

    Robert Jordan

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

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

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

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  • 175

    Interview: Oct 22nd, 2005

    Question

    A question a girl asked, which is often asked, is why Rand gets to sleep with three women.

    Robert Jordan

    RJ laughed at this and explained the usual story of his earlier life when he dated two women. He explained if he could have two, why could Rand not have three?

    Allentrace

    I tried to catch Harriet's response to this but my vision of her was obscured.

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  • 176

    Interview: Nov 22nd, 2005

    Question

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

    Robert Jordan

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

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  • 177

    Interview: Nov 22nd, 2005

    Question

    Have your experiences in Vietnam helped to give a psychological depth to the Wheel of Time series?

    Robert Jordan

    I think they must have. I've certainly used some things from Vietnam. I know what it is like to have someone trying to kill me. Me in particular. Not some random guy. Me. I know what it is like to kill someone. I know how the first time feels, and how that is different from the fifth, or the tenth. These things certainly went into the characters I've written. That wasn't deliberate. Who you are is constructed in large part from what you have experienced and how you reacted to those experiences. Whatever you write is filtered through who you are. So the influence has to be there.

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  • 178

    Interview: Dec 1st, 2005

    Tom Schaad

    One of the things I wanted to talk about while we were here was something that I was thinking about as I was reading the last novel, and I think it just came more into focus for me; it's been there for a long time. You have a world that's teetering on the edge of destruction, possibly, and certainly on the edge of incredible change. And yet, so much of the story line is taken up with people who are aware that this is going to occur, know that it is coming closer and closer, and still their lives are dominated by petty squabbles and concerns about personal power to the detriment of people who are trying to deal with what is to come. Is this something you observe in human nature, and then you just incorporated it into this...

    Robert Jordan

    I believe it is part of human nature. I think people who have belly-buttons look to their own self-interest first. Politicians convince themselves that what is in their self-interest is good for the people, and it doesn't matter what political party—left, right, center—people say, "This is what I believe, this is what I want, and that means it's good for the people." People look at their own self interest first. If you want the self-sacrificing hero who is going to say, "This is what is truly in the best interest of the world, and I will put aside my own beliefs, my own wishes, my own desire," you have to find somebody without a belly button.

    Tom Schaad

    And there aren't many of those around.

    Robert Jordan

    No, no.

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  • 179

    Interview: Dec 1st, 2005

    Tom Schaad

    What I also found fascinating was...it struck me as I was reading this. The Aes Sedai are undergoing tremendous change for the first time in centuries, and I wondered as I was reading it if one of the problems with their ability to change and to recognize the world changing around them isn't the fact that their longevity allows them to kind of view the world one way, and the older they are, the longer it is that one unchanging way...the harder it is for them to adjust to the change that's occurring in the world.

    Robert Jordan

    It's not only that, their own longevity, it is more the longevity of the Tower which has existed as the one stable hall of political power and influence in the world for more than 3000 years. This tends to make people believe that the way they see things is correct, that they must know simply because they've been observing for so long.

    Tom Schaad

    And one of the lovely things about this universe is you very, very carefully explore and explain a number of very different worldviews of different groups that we encounter along this adventure, and it leaves room for people to think about whether or not their worldview is the worldview or just a worldview. Do you ever examine your own, sometimes?

    Robert Jordan

    Sometimes, but I generally figure I'm right, because I have a belly-button.

    Tom Schaad

    [laughs]

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  • 180

    Interview: Dec 1st, 2005

    Tom Schaad

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

    Robert Jordan

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

    Tom Schaad

    How has that experience been?

    Robert Jordan

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

    Tom Schaad

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

    Robert Jordan

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

    Tom Schaad

    What??

    Robert Jordan

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

    Tom Schaad

    [laughs]

    Robert Jordan

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

    Tom Schaad

    There are 761 pages of text in here!

    Robert Jordan

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

    Tom Schaad

    I'm certain that's true.

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  • 181

    Interview: Oct 31st, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    Then RJ explained that all the men in his family are strong because the women kill and eat the weak ones, and he wanted questions from women.

    Ursula

    I'm sorry, but I faded out at that point and don't remember those questions.

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  • 182

    Interview: Dec 19th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Weasel, my idea of the game of stones hasn't changed, though my way of describing it may well have. I try not to describe things the same way all the time. It gets boring after a while. I mean, think of Homer, who used some of the first macros. He gestured so, and the scribe taking the story wrote, "When first dawn with rosy fingers caressed the sky," or he gestured thus and the scribe wrote, "They sat at the oars row on row and smote the wine-dark sea to foam." Okay, okay; every time and culture has its catch-phrases which haven't yet become cliches. (Though they will. For anyone who has attempted, foolishly, to connect with a son or daughter or any other young person, especially one under the age of 25, by attempting to use their speech, take heart. Remember how you talked at 25, 18, 15? Nowadays, it would be good for a laugh from the younger set, right? Well, in another 15 years, the insular speech those younglings use today will be sufficient to send them scurrying from the room. And better still, sufficient to set their kids off in attacks of giggles and/or near-terminal eye-rolling. What goes around, comes around.)

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  • 183

    Interview: Dec 19th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    (for kcf) Now as to communications and the lack thereof, these things are not commentaries on any sort of technologies. They are a commentary on the human navel. Do you really know anybody who actually tells everything he or she knows to everybody? Even when they really need to know? Maybe especially when they really need to know. Do you really trust people who think they always know what other people really need to know? May I postulate that this person has few close friends, those quite quiet when around him or her? There are a thousand reasons why we don't tell everything to everybody, including often things that we should tell. Maybe the information puts us in a bad light, so we withhold information, or perhaps shade the truth a bit. That's one of the most common. Or maybe we think the other person must already know because it is so obvious. Which can add the factor that we don't want to appear foolish for pointing out that the sky seems to be blue today. Or maybe we just didn't bloody well think of it. It has always struck me how unrealistic, how incredibly fortuitous—you think ta'veren are centers of unrealistic coincidence? Huh!—books are where almost everybody learns everything they need to know as soon as they need to know it, where almost nobody of any note or importance ever has to make decisions based on incomplete information, information that the reader may know is at least partly wrong. Lord, even when they just learn almost everything they need to know exactly when they need to know it, matters seem just too far-fetched. No, it isn't a commentary on technology. Just people.

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  • 184

    Interview: Jan 20th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    Now, somebody says that I said I am conversational in Spanish and French and can read German. I didn't say exactly that since it isn't exactly true. I used to be able to get along fairly well in Spanish and French, and when I spend a week or ten days in France my French starts coming back. I think the same might happen if I spent some time where Spanish is spoken. Long, long ago I could read German after a fashion, but I was intent on being able to read papers in physics and mathematics, so I could barely slog my way through a German menu, something I wouldn't want to even attempt now. I know very little Russian, mainly obscenities and curses. Purely soldier's Russian, you might say. Frankly, I was more fluent in Vietnamese than in Russian, and my Vietnamese was never more than enough to get by.

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  • 185

    Interview: Jan 20th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For Jacham, I am not saying that there is no relative evil, no shades of gray. What I am saying, and complaining about, is that allowing shades of gray has led us all too often to believe that there is nothing except shades of gray. All truths are equal. By that reasoning, Hitler's reasons for murdering millions of Jews, and others, in the death camps carry as much validity, and are as "right," as any other opinion regarding him and the camps. You might say that I have front loaded that, but it wasn't so long ago that I heard of a number of students in a college class who refused to write papers which called on them to condemn the Holocaust, not because they didn't believe it happened and not because they were Nazi sympathizers, but because doing so would have required them to be judgmental. All versions of the truth must be given equal weight. That's the current thinking. And it's bull. Yes, there are gray areas. Yes, there is relative evil. But that is all too often today taken as an excuse to say that it's all relative. One man's perceived evil is another man's inconvenience. That last is a quote from a man, now dead, who was a terrific writer and a great intellect. I could never argue him down on that one, however. But I never stopped trying. Relativism or no relativism, however many shades of gray you want to call up, evil still exists, and if you won't expend the effort to figure out where and what it is, then one day it will swallow you whole.

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  • 186

    Interview: Mar, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    I have talked before about turning the logic of physics into being a fantasy writer. The first part of it is a simple paradigm that you're given as an undergraduate: Schroedinger's Cat. An engineer says, "Well, we can't know if the cat is alive or dead. You open the box to find out." A physicist says (if he has the right frame of mind for quantum physics), "The cat is both alive and dead, and will be fixed in one state or the other when you open the box." If you can really wrap your mind around that, you're ready to write fantasy!

    I browse mythology, but I think if you've studied it too closely there is a tendency to be too grounded in it—an unwillingness to start twisting things and bending things too far. In physics, you expect it to twist and bend and you say, "How does this work? What can I come up with? Hmmm. I wonder how far this thing will bend?" At one time I really did want to get a doctorate in quantum optics but that was a long time ago, so I have not kept up with the literature at all (though I do like the whole notion of the particles, powers, and forces). Occasionally I've been stuck on a panel with physicists—I don't know why they do this to me, since I'm 30 years out of date! Most of the time I'm wondering what the hell they're talking about, but I've discovered a way that I can hold my own: I don't think about discussing physics; I discuss theology, and they think I'm discussing physics! That again says to me, physics is a great grounding for writing fantasy.

    Then there's the moral element. In fantasy you're allowed to have at least some dividing line between good and evil, right and wrong. I really believe people want that. In so much of literature there's total moral ambiguity: good is not merely the flip side of evil, it's on the same side of the coin. Quite often you can't tell the difference between the two. If you want to talk about good and evil in mainstream literature, you do it with a nudge and a wink to show that you're really joking, but in fantasy you can say, 'This is right, this is wrong; this is good, this is evil.' OK, sometimes it's hard to tell the difference, but it's worth the effort to try.

    Sometimes you're going to make the wrong call, but that doesn't mean you suddenly have to go on living and try to make the right call the next time, being aware that you have a belly button and that means you're going to make mistakes, sometimes big ones.

    Nobody has ever gotten up one morning and said, 'I am a villain' or 'I will be a villain.' What they say is 'I want power.' Serial killers want power, and so do rapists and a lot of other villains, but let’s stick with one sort as an example. You want power and you convince yourself that your being in power will be the best for everyone. That is the way most politicians work. But then there are the guys who say, 'I want power, and if I can convince them that it's the best for everyone, all to the good. I don't give a good goddamn whether it is or not, as long as it's good for me.' He doesn't think he's a villain; he's just trying to do the best he can for himself. But he's on the road to villainy. Unfortunately, so are some of the guys who said, 'This is going to be for the best for all the people involved.' If you do what you believe is the best thing in the world and the result is you deliver millions of people into slavery, as Lenin did in Russia, are you a villain? Yes, you are.

    A fellow in Russia, a politician who's a fan of my books, was asking me a lot of questions because he gives them to his friends. He said, "I tell them these are not a manual of politics; they are a manual of the poetry of politics." I'd never thought of them that way. But there's this scale: at one end is total purity in your beliefs, at the other what your enemies believe and are willing to do. Sometimes you can maintain total purity and still defeat your enemies—or win out over them, if you wish to use a less aggressive term. (It still means kick their butts into next week.) But sometimes you can't. If holding onto purity means that the other guys are going to win, then what is your purity worth? So you move just enough to counter them, but now you've danced onto that slippery slope of necessary evil.

    And it is necessary, that's the unfortunate thing. The world is not a textbook study—it's uncomfortably real. And that's where you have to start dancing very hard to make sure you don't swing so far over that your victory is no different from their victory. Often the media just give excuses: "He had a terrible childhood, so the fact that he killed 47 women with an ax is not totally to be held against him." Simplistic, true, but not far off the money really except in scale. I don't believe that many people are purely good, and most of those are ineffectual. We all contain shades of gray. But how dark is that gray? I used to pride myself on being a cynic until somebody said to me, "Oh, a cynic is just a failed romantic." These days being a cynic is too lazy an option.

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  • 187

    Interview: Mar 23rd, 2006

    Letter to Locus (Verbatim)

    Robert Jordan

    Dear Locus,

    I have been diagnosed with amyloidosis. That is a rare blood disease which affects only 8 people out of a million each year, and those 8 per million are divided among 22 distinct forms of amyloidosis. They are distinct enough that while some have no treatment at all, for the others, the treatment that works on one will have no effect whatsoever on any of the rest. An amyloid is a misshapen or misfolded protein that can be produced by various parts of the body and which may deposit in other parts of the body (nerves or organs) with varying effects. (As a small oddity, amyloids are associated with a wide list of diseases ranging from carpal tunnel syndrome to Alzheimer's. There's no current evidence of cause and effect, and none of these is considered any form of amyloidosis, but the amyloids are always there. So it is entirely possible that research on amyloids may one day lead to cures for Alzheimer's and the Lord knows what else. I've offered to be a literary poster boy for the Mayo Amyloidosis Program, and the May PR Department, at least, seems very interested. Plus, I've discovered a number of fans in various positions at the clinic, so maybe they'll help out.)

    Now in my case, what I have is primary amyloidosis with cardiomyapathy. That means that some (only about 5% at present) of my bone marrow is producing amyloids which are depositing in the wall of my heart, causing it to thicken and stiffen. Untreated, it would eventually make my heart unable to function any longer and I would have a median life expectancy of one year from diagnosis. Fortunately, I am set up for treatment, which expands my median life expectancy to four years. This does NOT mean I have four years to live. For those who've forgotten their freshman or pre-freshman (high school or junior high) math, a median means half the numbers fall above that value and half fall below. It is NOT an average.

    In any case, I intend to live considerably longer than that. Everybody knows or has heard of someone who was told they had five years to live, only that was twenty years ago and here they guy is, still around and kicking. I mean to beat him. I sat down and figured out how long it would take me to write all of the books I currently have in mind, without adding anything new and without trying rush anything. The figure I came up with was thirty years. Now, I'm fifty-seven, so anyone my age hoping for another thirty years is asking for a fair bit, but I don't care. That is my minimum goal. I am going to finish those books, all of them, and that is that.

    My treatment starts in about 2 weeks at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where they have seen and treated more cases like mine than anywhere else in the US. Basically, it boils down to this. They will harvest a good quantity of my bone marrow stem cells from my blood. These aren't the stem cells that have Bush and Cheney in a swivet; they can only grow into bone marrow, and only into my bone marrow at that. Then will follow two days of intense chemotherapy to kill off all of my bone marrow, since there is no way at present to target just the misbehaving 5%. Once this is done, they will re-implant my bmsc to begin rebuilding my bone marrow and immune system, which will of course go south with the bone marrow. Depending on how long it takes me to recuperate sufficiently, 6 to 8 weeks after checking in, I can come home. I will have a fifty-fifty chance of some good result (25% chance of remission; 25% chance of some reduction in amyloid production), a 35-40% chance of no result, and a 10-15% chance of fatality. Believe me, that's a Hell of a lot better than staring down the barrel of a one-year median. If I get less than full remission, my doctor already, she says, has several therapies in mind, though I suspect we will heading into experimental territory. If that is where this takes me, however, so be it. I have thirty more years worth of books to write even if I can keep from thinking of any more, and I don't intend to let this thing get in my way.

    Jim Rigney/Robert Jordan

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  • 188

    Interview: Mar 24th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

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

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

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

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

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

    Take care, guys. Until the next time.

    All my best,
    RJ

    Tags

  • 189

    Interview: Mar 31st, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For Isabel, and some others who urge me not to give up, I have stolen a mantra from Lance Armstrong and adapted it to me. "Amyloidosis picked the wrong body to hang around in. That punk should never have climbed into the ring with me. No retreat, no surrender. That mother is going down for the count. He is going down." Sounds corny, but I can picture amyloidosis now. It looks a lot like Sonny Liston before he fought Ali the first time, back when Ali was still Cassius Clay. Liston was considered unstoppable. More than that, he looked unstoppable. He looked meaner than mean. Liston frightened everybody. In fact, he was mean enough that Ali went into that fight afraid. Look at the films if you don't believe me. Ali won, but he didn't expect to. I think he expected Liston to demolish him. Well, I look at amyloidosis and I see Sonny Liston with his shaved head and his stone-cold killer's stare and his face that not even his own mother could have imagined with a smile. Only I know he can be beaten. That punk should never have climbed into the ring with me.

    Tags

  • 190

    Interview: Mar 31st, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    Perrab asks whether it was the pipesmoking. No, not at all. At one point recently, when they were trying to find out why I had a cough, I not only got two chest X-rays in one week but also a CAT scan of my chest. It turns out that despite all of my years smoking pipes and cigars I could be a poster boy for clean lungs. They are absolutely sterling! I'm thinking of licensing the film to Switzerland, Sweden, Iceland, various Rocky Mountain resorts and other places that supposedly have clean air. I am talking pristine!

    Footnote

    RJ indicated that when he quit smoking cigarettes and started smoking pipes in his youth, that he taught himself not to inhale.

    Tags

  • 191

    Interview: Mar 31st, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For Pat, who asked subtly, yes, I am, but like my father and grandfather before me, I don't advertise. We like to believe that no man in this country should feel in danger because of his beliefs, but times change. History tells us that, even here. Political practices we see as unthinkable were carried out as a matter of course by Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. Who can say what tomorrow will bring, or next year, or next decade? So should you ask me again, I have no idea what you are talking about unless you are inside the walls of a Lodge.

    Footnote

    In case it's not clear, RJ is saying that he is a Mason.

    Tags

  • 192

    Interview: Apr 21st, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    I've received some further acknowledgements of donations to the Mayo Amyloidosis Research in my name, and I'd just like to thank Ms Joanna Stampfel, Ms Lelon White, Mr. Ryan Kelly, Gospodin Dzmitry Ludzik, Mr. Steven Rowell, and Ms. Krisztina Radnoti. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

    Also, many thanks to all of you who have posted about your own experiences with severe illness and chemo. Chemo treatments are all different, but I appreciate your posts. You are all fighters, or you wouldn't still be here.

    Well, I got the stem cells transplant yesterday, and so far all seems to be going well. I essentially have no immune system right now and have to wear a mask whenever I leave the hotel room, but I actually feel pretty good. Of course, they told me that would be the case. In 4 or 5 days, when my white blood cells count hits bottom, I'll start to bottom out myself. Doctor Hayman suggested I might get sick enough that I wouldn't want to dress any further than sweat clothes, but I won't give in that far. I brought along almost every French cuff shirt I have, plus a dozen pairs of cuff links and a dozen pairs of braces, and I mean to look as sharp as I can every day no matter how I feel. When the disease pushes, I push back.

    Don't worry that I'll be keeping you up to date on exactly how sick I get or anything of that nature. I'd have to be a lot sicker than I am to do that.

    Tags

  • 193

    Interview: Apr 22nd, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    I received some additional acknowledgments from the Mayo of people who have sent money in honor of James O. Rigney, so here goes. My deepest thanks to Mr. Michael Nemeth, Mr. Ryan Tibbetts, Mr. Steven Odden and Mr. Spencer Martin. I really can't say how much this means to me.

    One thing I should point out is that you won't receive an acknowledgement, and you won't get one either, not from me, if you send money in honor of Robert Jordan. Their patient is James O. Rigney, and they don't have a clue in the world who Robert Jordan is. Well, most don't.

    Now, just a few tidbits, since there really isn't much happening here. I'm reading an old Tom Sharpe novel, Ancestral Vices, while waiting for a cousin to arrive for a visit, and the book is hilarious.

    Now, then.

    Tags

  • 194

    Interview: Apr 25th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    Well, the appetite is beginning to slip, and last night was miserable. I wasn't sick, per se, but I felt as if I were about to become sick shortly and I couldn't sleep worth a damn. Oh, well. I'm still doing pretty well. I managed a good (if bland) supper last night and a decent breakfast this morning. I am beginning to look around for any possible sources of calories I can get down for the future. That does mean anything, dark chocolate bars, ice cream, peanut M&Ms, anything. I'm not looking forward to it. The last time I got sick enough to be on this sort of diet, I lost 13 pounds in ten days. I mean, I like peanut M&Ms, but how many of the bloody things can you eat?

    Tags

  • 195

    Interview: May 1st, 2006

    Robert Jordan

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

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

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

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

    Tags

  • 196

    Interview: Apr 25th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For Steakley, if you're still hanging around, contact jason@dragonmount.com, and he'll give you a direct e-mail to me. Mike Ford is arriving today, and there are some others in line, but you'd be most welcome for a few days later on. Chattacon, now. That was long ago when the world was green, now wasn't it? As I recall, I handed your clothes over to the young woman behind the front desk at the same time that I reported the possible presence of a naked and very drunk (remember that Lone Star belt buckle, about the size of a Mack Truck tire?) exceedingly drunk Texan wandering the halls of the hotel. I did learn that the Chattanooga PD had a tranquilizer-gun team for dealing with bears and the like that got into the city, and it seemed to be that you certainly qualified, but she was ratcheted to a whole new level. At least I was able to talk her out of calling the SWAT; she had been told about the previous night, John. That sort of word spreads. Neither police departments nor fire departments nor municipal zoos keep quiet in circumstances like those. She took the garments using tongs, as I remember. I thought she had returned to them to you the next morning, though that might have been a different morning and the young lady from the night before. Ah, yes; the good old days of youthful innocence, when unicorn horn went for a dollar a pound.

    Harriet just leaned over my shoulder to read and said, "Huh! You were never innocent, sport. And you were smuggling unicorns."

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  • 197

    Interview: Apr 25th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For Chris Dalby, I wouldn't think of playing tricks on the staff here. At least, not beyond occasionally, when someone asks me to spell my name for identification purposes, spelling it R-i-c-h-a-r-d N-i-x-o-n or the like. No more than that. These guys are trying to keep me alive.

    And for David Litwin, I've been in Montreal before on tour, and expect that sooner or later I'll be there again.

    Tags

  • 198

    Interview: May 21st, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    Some of you don't like my striped shirt, and some don't like the braces but you'll have to get used to both, boys and girls; I like stripes, this simple red-and-white isn't even close to one of the full-bore stripes. With French cuffs. As for the braces, I adopted those some 20 years ago. A tailor in London was marking up the waist of a pair of trousers when I commented on the fact that I had trouble with trousers sliding down...and off "Sir has no shelf," he replied, and I realized he was right. I have very little behind. Hence the braces. Though I will admit that I have to go get these trousers taken up. When I bought them, I weighed approximately 30 pounds more than I do now.

    I am sleeping about 20 hours a day, and feeling ready to go back to sleep as soon as I wake, but I feel good enough to try bringing you all up to speed on how things have gone. Some of this will be repeat work, so bear with me. Those who've been there can consider it a recap with maybe a little extra that wasn't there before. No jokes in here, or not very many. Just the straight ski-nay.

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  • 199

    Interview: Jul 6th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For Kristin, who wanted to know what sort of fish I fish for, it depends on the time of year and what's biting, really. We can go off-shore and fish for blue marlin, sailfish, king mackerel, dolphin, swordfish, albacore, and several kinds of tuna, including occasionally one of the giant blues, or stay inshore and go after tarpon, redfish, jack crevalle, or sea trout (weakfish, technically, not steelhead) and if nothing else is biting, ladyfish, which is called the poor man's tarpon. They are fairly small—I think the world record is around five pounds—but they make spectacular leaps and runs and are very good sport on ultralight tackle. There are many other inshore fish, of course, ranging from croaker to hammerheads, but I don't fish for them, just as I don't fish for barracuda. They're something you catch by accident.

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  • 200

    Interview: Jul 14th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For Teri, the dolphin I wrote about is a fish, not a mammal. In Latin America it is called dorado, while in Hawaii (and in restaurants) it's called mahi-mahi. Just so nobody will think they're serving Flipper. Terribly wasteful creatures, dolphins. The mammals, I mean. Many times I've seen a dolphin herd redfish or sea trout into shallow water, then, with a swoop of the tail, send the lot of them up onto a mud flat. The dolphin will then semi-beach itself, eat what it wants, and swim off leaving the rest of the fish, the majority of them, lying on the mud. Intelligent? Maybe. But not ecologically minded. Not at all.

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  • 201

    Interview: Jul 14th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For Deadsy, I have occasionally played AT tennis, but I don't play the game. My knees don't hold up well under lateral motion any more. And as for Tori Amos, to the best of my knowledge I've never listened to anything by her.

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  • 202

    Interview: Aug 26th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

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

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

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

    Take care, guys. More soon.

    RJ

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  • 203

    Interview: Sep 25th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

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

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

    Christ, I miss him.

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

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  • 204

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

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

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

    Anyway, the list.

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

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

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

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

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

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  • 205

    Interview: Nov 15th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

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

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  • 206

    Interview: Nov 15th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For Jonas, I tried paragliding a few years back, and it was a lot of fun, but it seemed somehow gentler that skydiving. I guess I want the rush.

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  • 207

    Interview: Dec, 2006

    Question

    What is the worst lie you've ever told?

    Robert Jordan

    It's hard to think of one since I am genetically incapable of lying to women and that takes out 52% of the population right there.

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  • 208

    Interview: Dec, 2006

    Question

    If you could have one superpower what would it be?

    Robert Jordan

    That depends. If I'm feeling altruistic, it would be the ability to heal anything with a touch, if that can be called a superpower. If I'm not feeling very altruistic, it would be the ability to read other people's minds, to finally be able to get to the bottom of what they really mean and what their motivations are.

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  • 209

    Interview: Apr 26th, 2007

    Robert Jordan

    I think I need to put a few things straight about this whole shooting down an rpg in flight thing. First off, it definitely comes under do not try this at home even if you ARE an expert. Expert is defined as anyone who has tried it once and is still breathing. You see, there aren't many reasons to try such a thing. But when looking right shows certain death coming hotfoot, and looking left shows a crack in the wall that you couldn't scrape though one time in a million...one in ten million...you instinctively make a dive for the crack. Now I was very lucky. Very lucky. I just happened to be laying down suppression not very far from Mr. NVA when he took his shot, so I only has a small arc to cover. Just a quick shift of the wrist. Still, a lot of luck involved. When the pilot asked what happened, I just said an rpg went off prematurely. I figured he wouldn't believe what happened. Even some guys who saw it all from other choppers didn't believe. I heard a lot of "You know, it almost looked like you shot that thing out of the air" and "You were really lucky that thing went off prematurely. I never heard of that happening before."

    Now there's the matter of actually seeing the rpg in flight. That came from being in the Zone. An RPG is a rocket propelled grenade, and it is fast, fast, fast. I've heard a lot of athletes and sportscasters talk about being in the Zone, but I think most of them simply mean they played their A-game. But they weren't in the Zone, because in the Zone, you don't make mistakes. None. I discovered this playing baseball and basketball and later football. You can't always get there, certainly not at will, but when you do.... What happens is that while you are moving at normal speed, everybody else, everything else, is moving in slow motion. Passes float like they were drifting through honey. You have all the time in the world to position yourself. And your vision improves, sharpens. The quarterback has carried out a perfect bootleg. Everybody thinks that fullback coming up the middle has the ball. But even if you didn't catch the motion when the QB tucked the ball behind his leg, you spot that tiny sliver of ball that just barely shows, and you're right there to meet him when he reaches the line. Maybe you drop him for a loss before he can get his pass off. In the Zone. That's the only reason I could make this play.

    On another note, I was riding an M-60 on a pintle mount, not a .50 cal. We only had a limited number of Ma-deuces, and we had to be careful not to let any IG inspectors see them because we weren't authorized to have any at all. Don't know whether I could have done it with a .50, frankly. A matter of just that much more weight to swing, that much more inertia to overcome. It was damned close even with a 60.

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  • 210

    Interview: Apr 26th, 2007

    Robert Jordan

    For Paracelsus, I had two nicknames in 'Nam. First up was Ganesha, after the Hindu god called the Remover of Obstacles. He's the one with the elephant head. That one stuck with me, but I gained another that I didn't like so much. The Iceman. One day, we had what the Aussies called a bit of a brass-up. Just our ship alone, but we caught an NVA battalion crossing a river, and wonder of wonders, we got permission to fire before they finished. The gunner had a round explode in the chamber, jamming his 60, and the fool had left his barrel bag, with spares, back in the revetment. So while he was frantically rummaging under my seat for my barrel bag, it was over to me, young and crazy, standing on the skid, singing something by the Stones at the of my lungs with the mike keyed so the others could listen in, and Lord, Lord, I rode that 60. 3000 rounds, an empty ammo box, and a smoking barrel that I had burned out because I didn't want to take the time to change. We got ordered out right after I went dry, so the artillery could open up, and of course, the arty took credit for every body recovered, but we could count how many bodies were floating in the river when we pulled out. The next day in the orderly room an officer with a literary bent announced my entrance with "Behold, the Iceman cometh." For those of you unfamiliar with Eugene O'Neil, the Iceman was Death. I hated that name, but I couldn't shake it. And, to tell you the truth, by that time maybe it fit. I have, or used to have, a photo of a young man sitting on a log eating C-rations with a pair of chopsticks. There are three dead NVA laid out in a line just beside him. He didn't kill them. He didn't choose to sit there because of the bodies. It was just the most convenient place to sit. The bodies don't bother him. He doesn't care. They're just part of the landscape. The young man is glancing at the camera, and you know in one look that you aren't going to take this guy home to meet your parents. Back in the world, you wouldn't want him in your neighborhood, because he is cold, cold, cold. I strangled that SOB, drove a stake through his heart, and buried him face down under a crossroad outside Saigon before coming home, because I knew that guy wasn't made to survive in a civilian environment. I think he's gone. All of him. I hope so. I much prefer being remembered as Ganesha, the Remover of Obstacles.

    Footnote

    RJ told this story at Archon where he did a panel with GRRM in 2001, and there is a report from Westeros.

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  • 211

    Interview: Apr 26th, 2007

    Robert Jordan

    For Cody Griffin, thanks for your service, and congrats on the promotion. I'll ride the Ma-deuce on your APC any time, Cody. Who ever said I was sane?

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  • 212

    Interview: Jun 1st, 2007

    Robert Jordan

    For Piercy, I am Episcopalian, though rather High Church. I haven't been up to attending services this last year, but either the rector or one of the deacons comes by to give me communion, so I feel that I'm not missing everything. There was a time I could have made the one block to the Cathedral of St. Luke for communion, but before he died John Paul II put the kibosh on that. Oh, well.

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  • 213

    Interview: Jun 1st, 2007

    Robert Jordan

    For Joshua, Charleston is a wonderful place to raise a family. There are very good schools, and also some that are not so good, so you do have to watch that. But you'd need to do that anywhere, and the good ones are VERY good indeed. It is smaller than Denver, maybe half the population or a third, but it has more good restaurants. Not just my opinion. Folks coming down from New York are always astonished at the number and quality of restaurants they find. There is a lively arts scene, ranging from numerous painter-operated galleries to the Spoleto Festival (17 days each year of international ballet, modern dance, opera, plays etc). And there are other, smaller festivals during the year, ranging from ethnic (Greek, German, African etc) to international film festivals. And there is the Maritime Festival, of course, with its tall ships and the start of various ocean races. The Concert Association brings in national and international companies during the rest of the year. The Charleston Ballet Theater is first rate (and building a national reputation), as is the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. I won't try to list the jazz clubs and the like. It is warmer than Denver, and if you want snow sports, you'll have to drive upstate, but we have terrific beaches, abundant golf courses (we get a fair number of PGA and LPGA tournaments) and tennis courses (again, with a good many pro tournaments). They city is older, of course (founded 1670) and there are a great many historic buildings and gardens. There is fishing, offshore or inshore, for everything from redfish and sea trout to blue marlin, sailfish and king mackerel. Well, that's kind of a thumbnail description. I didn't cover everything, of course. Suffice it to say I have found few places in the world where I felt I could live as happily as I do in Charleston, and one reason I don't live in London, Paris or Melbourne is that I would have to leave Charleston.

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  • 214

    Interview: Apr, 2001

    Gerhard Hormann

    Many people that like reading fantasy, are secretly aspiring writers. What is your advice to them?

    Robert Jordan

    To people that want to write, I always say: write. Start easy. Write something you would like to read yourself. Pick apart your favorite books and see how they are put together. Do the same with books that are praised by critics. Take a book you like, and rewrite it. Remove parts, change how it is built up, whatever. Not to get the results published – that would be plagiarism – but to get experience. Then proceed to write a summary of a book. Make a prologue for an imaginary book. That would, you get closer and closer to the real work. But seriously, don’t start with a series of over ten books. (laughs)

    Gerhard Hormann

    A bad childhood doesn’t hurt either, I’m told...

    Robert Jordan

    Indeed. Not and then, parents approach me to ask: “My child is talented, how do I encourage him to write?” My advice is always: “Give them an unhappy childhood”. All writers I know personally, and also painters and other artists, have all had an unhappy childhood. Or at least a very insecure childhood. You really don’t need to hit your child for that: moving every six months is enough. I can’t guarantee that they will actually become writers—they might as well turn into psychopaths—but it is a condition. Also, it might well be possible that a psychopath writes perfect books. In that regard, I can’t vouch for the mental health of myself and my colleagues.

    Gerhard Hormann

    Is writing therapeutical? Or is a bad childhood an inexhaustible sources of inspiration?

    Robert Jordan

    The latter. Children who experience what things in some way, often tend to seek refuge in the save, trusted world in their head. They become dreamers. And that budding creativity can later be turned into books or paintings.

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  • 215

    Interview: Oct 21st, 1994

    AOL Chat 2 (Verbatim)

    Question

    I lived in Charleston during Hugo–has that influenced you or the story in any way?

    Robert Jordan

    I don't think your presence influenced me at all! As for the storm, it didn't influence me either, except that I have noticed sometimes, when the wind gets high, I climb up on the roof for no particular reason.

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  • 216

    Interview: Oct 21st, 1994

    AOL Chat 2 (Verbatim)

    Question

    Are the men and women ever going to understand each other? I don't see the characters growing much that way.

    Robert Jordan

    They're going to try. We'll see how far they get. I've spent forty-odd years trying myself, and I'm not certain how far I've gotten.

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  • 217

    Interview: Oct 21st, 1994

    AOL Chat 2 (Verbatim)

    Question

    Do you play any role-playing games? What are your hobbies?

    Robert Jordan

    My hobbies are listed on the dust jacket; they're too many to list here.

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  • 218

    Interview: 2001

    Thus Spake the Creator (Paraphrased)

    Reporter (Robert Jordan Himself)

    Robert Jordan

    After he explained how they taught him to speak in the army. They'd stand you with your nose touching the barracks and get you to give your orders, if the people on the other side obeyed, you were half way there. If the barracks obeyed, you had it.

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  • 219

    Interview: 2001

    Thus Spake the Creator (Paraphrased)

    Reporter (Robert Jordan Himself)

    Robert Jordan

    RJ exercises his hands a lot to avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and whatnot. He had amusing comment on how women saying “Oh, he’s got such strong hands” and whatnot is BS, and that what they’re thinking about is those muscular jaws. (I won’t elaborate, as I think your imagination will make that more interesting than it really was.)

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  • 220

    Interview: 2001

    Thus Spake the Creator (Paraphrased)

    Reporter (Robert Jordan Himself)

    Robert Jordan

    [The next piece of conversation was between RJ and a guy from Russia. He started off asking how he liked Russia (since RJ went there before), and this whooooole thing got rolling. For the first part, I’ll just say that RJ has met some rather dangerous Russian mafia types (heh). Robert Jordan, a white-knuckled translator ready to wet himself, and a Godfather-type guy. “How do you know what you know?” Interesting picture there.

    Second part: What everyone wants to know: RJ’s drinking habits.
    When he was in Russia, he was surprised by the drinking there. Everyone says that Russians can and do drink a lot, he said, but he was amused that people kept telling HIM to slow down and eat before drinking. The man can handle a good deal. I mean, ****, he said vodka was like mother’s milk.

    “When I was young, when I really used to drink”—Imagine if you will, the Creator himself, sitting at a table with a bunch of drunken buddies. There’s $4700 dollars on the table. Yes, this is a drinking game. At any point, someone can say ‘stand’. The drinkers have to stand up, hold their hands above their heads, spin around three times, and sit back down. If you become unable to do that, you lose. After TWO QUARTS of Russian vodka, everyone else is floored, and our man wins. Not only that, but he drags his drunken friend back to their room. He mentioned that he didn’t get undressed for bed that night (as if admitting some weakness from the alcohol).

    He used to know all of 7 words of useful Russian, most of them curses (he repeated two of them, to the amusement of the guy he was talking to).]

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  • 221

    Interview: 2001

    Thus Spake the Creator (Paraphrased)

    Question (What are his sources and inspirations?)

    Have you ever studied comparative religion? (influenced WoT, inspiration, etc.)

    Robert Jordan

    No. RJ did make a comment on how he never studied comparative religion, but rather lived it. (He put forth a list of people that he knew in his life, with each person being a different religion. Sorry, I couldn’t write it down, since it was much too fast, and 80+ people in a small bookstore are LOUD.)

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  • 222

    Interview: Apr 10th, 2001

    Kurafire

    When very young, did you ever think of writing already, or was it a sudden realization in your mid-twenties or so?

    Robert Jordan

    I knew that I was going to write, one day. From the age of five, I knew this. But, when I was very young—five, ten—I was precocious enough, or advanced enough in my thinking, to believe that it was ridiculous, to think of a five, of a six year old, or a ten year old, writing. And I was very conscious of my dignity at that age. In my teens, I’ve said I haven’t lived enough, haven’t experienced enough. Anything that I will write will just be empty and useless. So I didn’t write. And what actually got me started was in my late twenties when I was injured. I spent a month in the hospital. I was injured in the fall, was torn away from my family. Complications in the surgery. So I spent a month in the hospital; I nearly died. There were some other factors involved. In part, that simply convinced me that life was too short. I shouldn’t wait any longer.

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  • 223

    Interview: Apr 10th, 2001

    Kurafire

    If you could be one of the characters from your books, within your own story, who would you like to be most?

    Robert Jordan

    [laughs loudly] I don’t wanna be in this story. This world is entirely too interesting, too much going on. Any sane man wants to live in a place where there’s not a lot going on. Where there’s not a lot going on, and they can have a peaceful existence, and a long life. Trying to live in the world of my books would be, miserable, and probably short. I don’t know about [...] but, definitely miserable and short.

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  • 224

    Interview: Apr 10th, 2001

    Kurafire

    Something quite unusual from now on. Is there anything you’d like to talk about, doesn’t have to do with Fantasy at all, but just want to share your opinion with the world?

    Robert Jordan

    [snickers] No, nothing. The world has enough people who try to share their opinions with the whole world, and I figure I will share my opinions with the whole world when I’m backed into a corner and prodded with a pitchfork. Other than that, I’m sorry, I will just pass on that.

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  • 225

    Interview: 2001

    Rochelle O'Gorman

    Is this what you wanted to do when you were a kid?

    Robert Jordan

    I wanted to be a writer.

    Rochelle O'Gorman

    Why fantasy?

    Robert Jordan

    I'll tell you. I learned to read at a very early age.

    Rochelle O'Gorman

    How old were you?

    Robert Jordan

    Four. I never read children's books. The first book I read by myself, the second half of it, at least, was White Fang. My older brother would read it to me when he was stuck babysitting and somehow or other I began making the connection between what was coming out of his mouth and the words on the page.

    And I do remember. It must have a weekend, because it was the day and my parents came back and my brother put the book on the shelf and took off. He always read to me what he wanted to read, usually not children's books. And I wanted to know the rest of it, so I got the book back down and worked my way through it. I didn't get all of the words, but I got enough to do the story.

    And I remember a particular incident when I was five, which is when I realized that I really wanted to be a writer. I had finished reading From the Earth to the Moon and Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. I put those three books on the table, standing up on end, and I sat in a chair with my feet on the chair and my chin on my knees and I looked at those books and said, "I'm going to do that one day. I'm going to write one day, make stories like that."

    Rochelle O'Gorman

    How did you get from there to the world of fantasy?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, the short version is that in fantasy you can write about things that you can't write about in mainstream fiction, or even in some other genres and still keep a straight face today. Right and wrong are taken to be simply two faces of one coin. It's simply a matter of looking in the same mirror, but you're standing at two different points, that there's no difference. And I believe that there is a difference.

    Rochelle O'Gorman

    You mean in fiction today?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, yes. In so much fiction it is a great effort to show just how many flaws the good guys have and just how many extenuating circumstances the bad guys had. They had terrible childhoods and were abused children and suddenly you find yourself feeling almost sympathetic toward someone who is out and out evil. I don't like that.

    I know too many people who had miserable childhoods—grew up in the slums and a ghetto and they did okay. They didn't come out bent. They didn't come out twisted, so I don't like that very much.

    I think it's hard to tell the difference between right and wrong. Sometimes a situation comes along and the only choice you have is between bad and worse. But I believe it's necessary to make the effort to try and find a difference. The other way it becomes very sloppy and it's very easy to just make your decision on the spur of the moment, without any thought about what you are doing. You never think that it's right or wrong, or you never even think about whether you are choosing between bad and worse. You're simply doing something for your own advantage.

    Rochelle O'Gorman

    That attitude, however, is very much a reflection of society.

    Robert Jordan

    That is a reflection of society, and it is part of society that I reject. I believe that you have to make that choice. I'm not going to tell anybody what to think, I'm not going to tell anybody what to do or what wrong is, but I think you have to try to make that decision yourself. And it goes beyond simply what's good for me today.

    I don't preach in my books. I just have my characters face some hard choices and have difficulty making their decisions. It's not always easy. It's not always cut and dry, and when somebody does something that is just for their own temporary advantage, to get a quick payoff, it doesn't always turn out the way they like it.

    Rochelle O'Gorman

    Do you manage to get this philosophy into your work?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, I try to. I try to. Again, what I am doing basically is telling stories. But I like to have my characters in what amounts to real life situations. That is, making hard decisions and finding out that the easy answer is quite often the wrong one, and that very often the right thing to do is the hardest thing to do. It's just a matter of fitting it into the story. I'm not preaching. I just try to reflect these situations and these things in the story.

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  • 226

    Interview: Jan 21st, 2003

    Sonne

    RJ also gave me some career advice. Careful not to offend him or imply that his wife is not an adequate editor, I asked if he had any advice for me, a wannabe Assistant Editor.

    Robert Jordan

    The Creator himself merely chuckled and admitted that he mostly tries avoiding New York City and those types, as he hates attending cocktail parties and other dreary social functions! However, he then encouraged me to keep writing, and submit manuscripts. He was pretty adamant about that.

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  • 227

    Interview: 2001

    Thus Spake the Creator (Paraphrased)

    Signing Report (Mat Cauthon)

    The person said something along the lines of: "My wife thinks Perrin is the sexiest man alive."

    Robert Jordan

    RJ responded by saying that he, himself, found Perrin kind of boring, and he didn't understand why people liked him so much. But what really surprised him was that the most popular guy was Mat, the guy he had thought would be the most hated.

    RJ then went into a minute-long tirade about how nice guys never get girls. He said that, while the girl might think she wants the good guy, she will always end up driving off with the guy in the Harley. Yes, he said Harley.

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  • 228

    Interview: Oct 5th, 2001

    Reporter

    Other than that, it was about Jordan. Not even mostly about his series. Just himself.

    Robert Jordan

    The highlight is that he served in the Vietnam war and he was, apparently, quite an efficient soldier. It did a job on his psyche, it seems. One thing he mentioned was that there was a picture that his friend took of him, where he was sitting on a log eating his ration, with 3 or 4 dead bodies around him. One of them was a guy with half his brain blown off by a grenade or something. Quite gruesome.

    Footnote

    RJ told this story on his blog in 2007.

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  • 229

    Interview: May 19th, 2004

    Robert Jordan

    Last question I remember, as his characters are so well defined and rounded, if he got his inspiration from real persons or if he studied psychology; Jordan replied that he never studied psychology (if his father teaching him to play poker can be excluded...) and that he doesn't write his characters after real persons, but that he tries to make them as real as he can, even the ones that only appear for a few sentences, trying to keep them consistent.

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  • 230

    Interview: May 24th, 2004

    Chiara Codecà

    You have a degree in physics and you were employed by the Navy as a nuclear engineer: why did you decide to become a writer?

    Robert Jordan

    It doesn’t seem to me such a big step, maybe because I’ve always wanted to write. When I was an engineer I got seriously injured, I had a very long convalescence in which I read a lot and I got bored with what I was reading. It was then that I said to myself that I had been waiting long enough, and if I wanted to write it was time to do it or shut up. So I did it.

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  • 231

    Interview: May 24th, 2004

    Chiara Codecà

    You said before that if you can wrap up your mind about Schrödinger’s cat then you can probably write fantasy. Could this lead us to say that a creative mind doesn’t resolve itself in only one area of expertise?

    Robert Jordan

    I think that if you’re truly creative you can be so in different areas, yes. Not in all them equally, of course, but a truly creative person isn’t bound to a single area, yes.

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  • 232

    Interview: May 7th, 2004

    Milan Signing Reports (Translated)

    mko

    Robert Jordan

    The third prequel would tell the story of how Lan and Moraine reach the Two Rivers and find the three ta’veren.

    Also at Turin Jordan said that he has serious health problems .... if I remember correctly he was involved in a traffic accident and had a narrow escape (and this is why he now walks with a cane).

    In addition, our Jordan also fought in Vietnam.

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  • 233

    Interview: Mar, 2000

    I thought, when I was going to be a writer, maybe I'd go live in the south of France and write in the mornings, and then in the afternoons I'd go down and lie on the beach and have a blonde, a brunette, and a redhead in string bikinis come down and slide the scented oil all over me. Now I work 60 or 80 hours a week, and the only time I get near the beach is if my wife pokes me out of my study with a stick!

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  • 234

    Interview: Dec 5th, 2000

    Robert Jordan

    Someone asked him whom he favored in the election. He said that it was his private business. He added that he did get an absentee ballot and that he did vote.

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  • 235

    Interview: Sep, 2000

    Tahir Velimeev

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

    Robert Jordan

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

    Tahir Velimeev

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

    Robert Jordan

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

    Tahir Velimeev

    Or Robert? ...

    Robert Jordan

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

    Tahir Velimeev

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

    Robert Jordan

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

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  • 236

    Interview: Sep, 2000

    Tahir Velimeev

    James, please tell us a little about yourself.

    Robert Jordan

    I was born in 1948 in Charleston, South Carolina, where I live now, in a house built in 1797. My home town is famous because of the shelling of Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor during the Civil War between the North and South. My brother, older than me by twelve years, instilled in me an appreciation for books . And when our parents left him to the nanny, he read to me, not children’s books, but those that interested him—Mark Twain, HG Wells, Jules Verne. Along with Twain, my favorite writers became Louis Lamour, Charles Dickens, John W. McDonald. In the years 1968-1970, I served in the Army.

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  • 237

    Interview: Sep, 2000

    Tahir Velimeev

    And as far as I know, the two tours [in the Army] were fighting in Vietnam. In what capacity?

    Robert Jordan

    I flew in a helicopter as a gunner. Then I was a Sergeant and trained recruits.

    Tahir Velimeev

    On sorties, it most likely became necessary to shoot?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes ... But understand, on assignment you usually do not see people—you open fire as soon as you notice any movement, and do not think about it being a person. Otherwise, it is impossible—this is war, and the morals of a military person are other than those of a civilian: for a Commander the main thing is to perform his mission and save his soldiers. Reflection in the middle of a fight is dangerous—you will be killed before long.

    Tahir Velimeev

    Were you ever wounded?

    Robert Jordan

    Fortunately, no. A couple of times hurt ... Once, during a hard landing I knocked out teeth on the back of the pilot's seat in front of me. And another time a tiny splinter hit me in the eye. At first I didn’t notice anything and felt no pain, but then the blood flowed. Then the piece was drawn out with a magnet ...

    Tahir Velimeev

    Thus, the "Purple Heart" among your military decorations, right?

    Robert Jordan

    No—don’t even suggest such a thing! But there is a Distinguished Flying Cross for service, Bronze Star, and two Vietnamese Crosses for bravery.

    Tahir Velimeev

    Yeah, the bouquet* on a blazer really makes an impression ...

    Robert Jordan

    Thank you.

    Footnote

    *Literally "fruit salad".

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  • 238

    Interview: Sep, 2000

    Robert Jordan

    After military service I entered the Citadel—The Military College of South Carolina. Despite its name, it is, in fact, a university. At the Citadel I received a degree in physics and worked as a nuclear engineer for the Navy. Doesn’t it seem to you that that a fantasy author having an education in physics is somewhat out of the ordinary?

    Tahir Velimeev

    I would not say that. I know several Russian science fiction authors with an education in the natural sciences that have been successfully working in the fantasy genre ... By the way, we now come to how the writer emerged from the engineer.

    Robert Jordan

    Well, maybe there is more prosaic level—the abundance of free time. After an unfortunate accident I found myself in a hospital bed with a lot of time, and I read everything I wanted. And one day I thought that could well try to write myself. Having started writing in 1977, I’m determined to do so right up my dying day.

    Tahir Velimeev

    And why fantasy? Why not works about, say, the Vietnam War, which would seem more logical?

    Robert Jordan

    In my opinion, fantasy allows you to create new cultures, experiment with them, and apply a freedom to them that is impossible in the real world. Fantasy enables a brighter, clearer portrayal of the struggle between good and evil, allows you to speak more freely about what is right and what is not, and no one can say that your opinion doesn’t fit with what is generally accepted. And I think one of the cornerstones of fantasy is the belief that any obstacle can be overcome, and that if things did not work out today, they will tomorrow. Also in today's world fantasy concerns itself with myth, directing us to the deep layers of the human soul, and teaches people to believe in miracles ... The popularity of this literary genre is to a large extent determined by humankind’s aspirations for Justice...

    As for books about war ... I have a desire to write about the Vietnam War, about my comrades, and I hope that God will give me this opportunity. And for myself, I decided that this book will be released under my real name—James Oliver Rigney, Jr. ...

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  • 239

    Interview: Sep, 2000

    Tahir Velimeev

    James, in recent years, many writers have created their own sites on the Internet, for example, your colleague, Alan Foster and Lois McMaster Bujold. But, try as I might I could not find your site, though I found many fan sites dedicated to The Wheel of Time.

    Robert Jordan

    I don’t have my own website! On the one hand, as you rightly pointed out, there are many fan sites, and some of them are very good. They come across just wonderfully! On the other hand, making a site is easy. However, if I had to constantly spend time maintaining it, answer e-mails ... It would take a lot of time! I would rather spend this time writing something.

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  • 240

    Interview: Sep, 2000

    Tahir Velimeev

    James, I noticed that you have a love for hats. Is there some special reason? Or is it something like a rabbit's foot, a talisman for good luck?

    Robert Jordan

    No, the reason is simple. Once I put on a hat and my wife noticed that the hat worked well for me. I have worn them ever since. I like it.

    Tahir Velimeev

    All of your nine Wheel of Time books have a dedication—they are dedicated to Harriet ...

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, to my wife, Harriet McDougal, the light of my life. Like me, she has a connection to the Navy—her father was an admiral, and as far as literature, fantasy—she worked about thirteen years as an editor at the publishing house TOR. Then she became my first and most faithful reader and the first editor of my books. I am very grateful to her for help and support. By the way, Sergei Berezhnoi told me that you Takhir, took part in the translation of the entire Wheel of Time in Russian! So you can be called in some way my co-author! I am truly glad! Let me shake your hand.

    Tahir Velimeev

    Thank you, James! We will wait for your new books.

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  • 241

    Interview: Sep, 2000

    Question

    Mr. Jordan, you're writing a lot about wars, about the psychology of man in war. Is this a consequence of your experience in Vietnam?

    Robert Jordan

    No, my knowledge of strategy and tactics, knowledge of the causes and possible course of the war is more related to history. It is true that I was a soldier and I had to fight to the battlefield, and then (I was young and stupid) I was expecting much from a military career, but now I have realized that in order to study the human perception of the war in the future and maybe even the changes in military affairs in general, we must first look at how war has been perceived in the past.

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  • 242

    Interview: May 15th, 2003

    Dario Olivero

    Why is the genre fantasy so loved?

    Robert Jordan

    In fantasy one can speak of good and evil, of right and wrong clearly, absolutely. In real life you cannot see the outlines so clearly. In real life you can say: "I believe in good and ill, I believe that they exist," but then it's hard to say where they are and in what form.

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  • 243

    Interview: May 15th, 2003

    Dario Olivero

    What is your view of the trilogy of films from the Lord of the Rings?

    Robert Jordan

    I like them, I have seen the first two episodes, I'll go see the third and I bought the DVD.

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  • 244

    Interview: May 15th, 2003

    Dario Olivero

    You were in Vietnam, you know war. What do you think of Bush's war? Is it good versus evil? Was it avoidable?

    Robert Jordan

    This morning I read in the paper that a mass grave has been found in Iraq in which there were three thousand bodies. Saddam Hussein murdered them, murdered his people. Yes I think it was a war of good against evil. That was evil.

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  • 245

    Interview: May 15th, 2003

    Dario Olivero

    You are an extraordinarily prolific writer and have recently surpassed the standing of a giant like Stephen King. Do you work as much as him and so methodically as to touch upon obsession?

    Robert Jordan

    My method is very simple: I read the newspaper at breakfast, I go to my desk, replying to e-mails to which I must answer and ignore the rest. I begin to write and go on for seven or eight hours. If I remember lunch, otherwise straight through. Seven days a week. But I must say that if I want to go fishing, I drop everything and go.

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  • 246

    Interview: May 15th, 2003

    Dario Olivero

    Amongst the monsters and fantastic creatures you have created, what is it that makes you really scared?

    Robert Jordan

    (Very long pause.) Alzheimer's, to lose the words.

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  • 247

    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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  • 248

    Interview: Apr 21st, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    The skinhead look seems to meet with a good bit of approval. Should I adopt that? Get the salamander tattoo and arrive at signings on a Harley. Fat Boy or Soft Tail? Not one of those new ones that try to look like a BMW, though. Maybe I should just go for a Japanese crotch rocket and blow into town at 200 mph. Well, even those need a little work to hit 200, but they'll leave a Harley in the dust for sure. No hate mail, please. I love Harleys, but I needed to go really fast, I'd be riding Japanese or Italian if stock.

    Some of you seem a little confused over what I mean by a salamander. My walking stick for black tie has a silver head which most people think is simply a lizard with malachite eyes. Only close observation will show that the lower half of the lizard is actually flames. The salamander, the lizard that lives in fire. The ancients believed that asbestos was salamander skin, that salamanders were fire elementals, and even that salamanders were the guardians of the gates of hell. In any case, they have always been seen as symbols of survival under adverse conditions, able to walk through the fires of hell unharmed. Of course, a group of us were going to get salamander tattoos during an R&R in Hong Kong. I was too drunk to make the appointment, and I was the only one who made it back to the world, but I figure that was coincidence.

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  • 249

    Interview: Apr 21st, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For Rachel, the phoenix is the female symbol of power in Chinese cosmology as the dragon is of male power, so a phoenix wouldn't do for me. Although there is a phoenix among the symbols carved into my Chinese chair, which you may have seen in Faces of Fantasy and elsewhere.

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  • 250

    Interview: Apr 21st, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    Deadsy, a backflap and footies? Never in life, my dear. Nor in death, for that matter. Also, chains and leather are so fifties, so post-Terminator, so rough trade. Not my look at all. I think I'll go a different route.

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  • 251

    Interview: Apr 21st, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    An aside. When I speak of so many million stem cells, that refers to that number per kilogram of body mass.

    For Child of Lir, most hospitals by far in the US do not have wifi or first run movies. The Mayo Clinic is most definitely top drawer.

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  • 252

    Interview: Apr 21st, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For Doctor, I've pretty much settled on channeling, if that is the proper word, myself. It seems to work. Although that first day, at lunch, I did slip briefly into Brando from Apocalypse Now, and I must say that afterward we could carry on a pleasant conversation at our table without any bother from brainless chatter from tables around us. I may keep that one in reserve.

    That's about it for now.

    Remember guys, Illegitimei no carborundum!

    RJ

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  • 253

    Interview: Apr 22nd, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For Roxinos, you are exactly right. The correct phrase is Illegitimei non carborundum, and I can only blame inattention and a small keyboard on my laptop. Yes, I know that keyboards are so cheap I can buy one when I'm traveling and toss it when I head home, but it still makes one more thing to look after.

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  • 254

    Interview: Apr 22nd, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For NaClH2O, I like the idea of an Indian—my father rode one a long time back, and a fellow down the street has a magnificent red one—but I'm not sure Harriet would approve of a sidecar. I think she'll want her own bike. Lacquered in appropriate Wonder Woman colors and motif to suit her, I'd say.

    I see that Deadsy is deep in discussion of my underwear again. Child, child.... Oh, well. A few words for your shell-like ear, Deadsy. Plain black or plain white, pure cotton or pure silk, but never red,or blue or any of those other suggestions. Those are for toyboys and pimps.

    See you around, guys. And the last word for the day is, so far, so good. In fact, splendid.

    RJ

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  • 255

    Interview: May 15th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    My cousin Wilson came down last weekend, and we went up to the big Harley shop on Dorchester Road, the one where a floor about twice the size of a basketball court is covered with new machines. The walls climb and climb and climb, and all the way up, six or seven up, they're lined with glass-fronted shelves that are full of classic Harleys, antique Harleys, you name it. Okay; they have a few Indians and the like up there, but we are talking 98% Harley here, and gorgeous. Stone cold gorgeous. And that's before you go back into the area where the mechanics work, which is about half again as large.

    I'm leaning toward a Fat Boy with a Black Denim paint job (as close to matte-black as you are likely to get) and a blacked-out engine (almost no chrome showing at all!). The balance is sweet, and if I get the backroom boys to work over the engine a bit, she'll dig in and climb for the stars, I'm betting. This is the machine you ride into town sliding down the razor's edge of midnight. By the time they know you've been there, it's too late. If anybody asks you, RJ's done been here and gone. Apologies to Josh White.

    Harriet's fighting me on this one. Which is to say, she hasn't said one word against the bike, but.... Those of you who are married to smart women know how this routine works. Luckily, she hasn't made this a hill. (A man who expects a long relationship needs to chose carefully the hills on which he is willing to die.) We'll have to see how it works out. Time is on my side. It will be August or September earliest before I am strong enough to actually ride. By that time, she'll assume she's won just because I've gone silent.

    I will, however, be in Seattle and in Anchorage as promised, so don't worry about that. I'll post a few "boiled egg" pictures in a day or two, though I have considered them long and hard. I don't think anybody will tell me how good I look or how cool or anything like that. This is one ugly dude, boys and girls. Stone ugly. Harriet can lie all she wants to.

    Well, I'm out of here for now, guys.

    Take care.

    RJ

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  • 256

    Interview: May 15th, 2006

    Wilson Grooms

    We had a really great day together this past Saturday. Our dearest Harriet insisted that the boys needed to visit the local Harley shop to procure do rags for our chrome domes. RJ entered the showroom of gleaming road-ready American icons with a thunderous, "Holy Mamma! We're in Church!" Stopped people dead where they stood he did. Janet, my love and shade of my heart, found a camouflage do rag which the Vietnam Vet thought fit him most nicely. Then she happened upon a black rag with a luminescent blue pattern on it. She showed it to me and I announced that they were dragons. RJ's head popped from around the opposite side of the display and he queried quite like we were still adolescents, "Dragons?" Two left the shop and were soon upon our heads. Oh we did kick tires and discuss at length the merits of this or that bike. I longed for the Classic mid life comfort bike, bedecked of faring, chrome, CD player, et al. RJ offered that I might as well be riding in a car. In the end I think we were both eyeing the Soft Tail. But our favorite was the Fat Boy in a very stealthy new matte paint, Black Denim.

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  • 257

    Interview: May 15th, 2006

    Wilson Grooms

    All the rattling about the Do Rags is for a reason. You, his loyal fans and supporters, know that this world that you so love has sprung from that amazing mind of his. Rand, for all his heroics is but a figment of my dear brother's imagination. RJ on the other hand, is now and has always been the Dragon. Seeing him wearing his dragon bedecked do rag only refocused me to that fact. When he called me with the news of the disease, he announced with calm resolve that it was there and that it was fatal. He also vowed to beat it. Heroes do that you know. He has shared the amyloid ordeal most openly with you all. Read between the lines of his postings and you will see that this was no small struggle. While he is setting all manner of records for an amyloid patient, we have yet to learn if the amyloids are truly gone for good. Time will tell. Pray, as I do, that they are. Dr. Hayman is truly of the Yellow Ajah. But, the medical treatments required to vanquish this unseen enemy damned near kills the patient. Thusly, RJ is back from near-death and reborn to us. Fantasy is just that. Reality is much more inspiring. I am here to proclaim loudly to all of you that my brother-cousin, my confidant, my friend, is indeed the Dragon Reborn. Long live the Dragon!

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  • 258

    Interview: May 21st, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    The first symptoms I am aware of occurred last Memorial Day. I was on my way to a charity fund raiser when I suddenly felt light-headed. I was afraid that if I did not stop, I would fall over, but since I was crossing an asphalt parking lot and didn't want to fall on the hot asphalt, I decided to keep going until I reached the grass on the other side of the street. I got there, but along the way, buildings began to glow white and everyone I could see acquired a nimbus. I made it inside, paid our entry fee (total elapsed time about 1 minute) and sat down for a while until I could join the festivities. A weird occurrence, but I paid it no further attention.

    Exactly one week later I was in the lobby of the theater showing Spamalot, five minutes to curtain. I went light-headed, and then I went blind. This lasted for about 3 to 5 seconds. [The blindness has not reoccurred, but I have not driven since. Three seconds of blindness at 80 is nothing I want to fool around with.] A lot of people (exclusively women) have asked why I didn't go to the ER. The men I have talked to, including every male doctor, has understood. On the one hand, a night waiting in an ER and on the other, five minutes to curtain for Spamalot, original cast. A no brainer.

    Still, on getting home, I went to my doctor, and she set up a full neurological work-up, a full cardio work-up, a full pulmonary work-up, everything she could think of. I aced them all. The techs started frisking me on the possibility that I was sneaking in a ringer. No ringer, but golden test scores.

    Then I went on tour for Knife of Dreams. I came home expecting to be five or six pounds up from where I started (3 meals a day in restaurants for five weeks), but I was nine pounds up. My cardio man put me in a Halter Monitor, which you wear 24 hours a day and which records pulse rate, blood pressure, and a mini-EKG. This showed that I had an irregular heart-beat with roughly 1.5 second gaps plus low blood pressure. When low blood pressure combined with a downward spike in the BP, the result was light-headedness.

    The doctor told me to load salt, and it was a good thing that he did. First off, I put on 15 pounds in 2 weeks. Then I had an episode of light-headedness while seated, which had never happened before. Harriet insisted on calling the doctor, who said to meet him at the University Hospital immediately. I was check in with what turned out to be congestive heart failure, a buildup of fluid around the heart. Once I was put on lasix, I lost 35 pounds in ten days. I also was seen by Doctor Zile, the head of the cardio department, because my cardio man had just gone on vacation. It turned out that he was med-school buddies with a man named Gertz, who is the #1 man in the world on amyloids. The result of that was that I was tested for amyloids (bingo!) and aimed at the Mayo Clinic.

    Now, we're going to skip over a few things in here—my first mini-dose of chemo, two hospitalizations with dehydration, fever and chills so bad that it was taking me three or four attempts to grasp my reading glasses, etc. The reason I've taken you step by step this far is that I got my first symptoms in May, my first diagnosis in December, and a confirmation of that diagnosis in January. That isn't just fast, in the world of amyloidosis, it is blindingly fast. Many people take 3, 4, 5 or even 6 years to get to that diagnosis. I intend to start a small foundation aimed at educating GPs primarily. At the Mayo, they say that by the time they get an amyloidosis patient, said patient has been beaten up within an inch of his or her life. It shouldn't be that way. I got lucky, but it shouldn't depend on luck.

    Okay. Back to the rendition.

    After roughly a week of testing to see whether I was a viable candidate, they decided that I was. Then I began bone marrow stem cell collection. I was able to collect 9 million ml/kilogram of body mass, which I though was very low. They will do a transplant with a few as 3 million per kg body mass, but they don't like going below 4, and they will not, can not, go below 2. I had been hoping to hit at least 12 million and preferably 16 million or even 20. Not until it was over did they tell me that people with amyloidosis often have trouble harvesting 4 million, and some can't make the 2 million.

    After this came two days of chemo. The drug used is melphalan. The old fashioned name is mustard gas. Yeah; same-same World War I. On each of those two days they give you just short of a lethal dose of mustard gas. There is nothing haphazard about this. They calculate exactly what it will take to kill you and stop just short of it.

    This is the point where I got my hair cut the first time. You see, movies notwithstanding, if your hair does fall out, it comes in chunks and patches, not smooth sheets. I figured I'd keep control of what I could keep control of and had the barber do me with a razor.

    On the third day, called Day 0, you get back some bone marrow stem cells. Your appetite has already gone away by this time, but you haven't really noticed it because you've been hooked up to an aphaeresis machine for stripping out the stem cells. If you were a non-amyloid patient, they would give you more injections of growth factor, they same stuff they gave you to make you produce extra stem cells in the first places. Not if you are an amyloidosis patient, in which case the growth factor can make you put on 30 to 40 pounds of fluid in a day, in which case you are hauled off for congestive heart failure. This while your blood numbers (white blood cell counts, platelet counts, red blood cell counts etc) are headed through the floor. Not a good thing, as they say.

    I've said that your appetite goes away during this, but this isn't a matter of just hunting for what you'd really like to eat. You don't want to eat anything. Nothing. Your favorite food? Forget it. You try to force something down, try to get some calories down. Protein powder, whatever, you choke it down. Only it still isn't enough.

    I went to the Mayo weighing 240 pounds, and that was 6 pounds lower than my trainer and I had established as my dry bottom weight. This morning I weighed 217 for the second morning running, and I am ecstatic. I didn't loose anything.

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  • 259

    Interview: May 21st, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    I'm very grateful to those of you who sent Harriet a care package. More grateful than I can say. She showed it around, laughing sometimes. And sometimes crying. You see, she's still afraid she could lose me. We won't know whether any of the treatment did any good for at least six months, and probably not for a year. Until then, we hang on and fight. Her as much as me. She's my whole corner team, cut man and all. Leaving the Mayo wasn't the bell to end the fight. That was the end of Round Five, and Liston made it a nasty one. (I've alluded to it earlier, and I'll let it go at that,) But I beat him back, got inside his rhythm by the end of the round. Is he ahead on points? Am I? I don't know. I just know we're fighting by the old rules. None of this 12 round kiddy stuff.

    "Welcome to the Garden, Ladies and Gentlemen, for at least fifteen rounds of cham-pi-on-ship boxing. By prior agreement, this fight cannot end in a draw. The match will continue until one opponent either cannot come out of his corner to answer the bell or cannot answer to the mark by the count of ten."

    (And we got one of Marciano's old refs, so don't worry it's going to be stopped on cuts. This guy figures if you step into the ring, you expect to bleed.)

    Anyway. The pictures are not for life-style options. When I can grow the hair back, I will. The goatee may stay, but not the shaved head. The tattoo, maybe. The Harley? Oh, yeah, I'm pretty serious about that. Harriet seems to leaning to riding postillion.

    Well, that about wraps it up for now. I'll be back to you in a few days.

    Take care, guys.
    All my best,
    RJ

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  • 260

    Interview: Oct 11th, 2005

    David Funke

    So yes, I was disappointed. However, I would NOT let my disappointment sully my chance to exchange a few words with this excellent author. I welcomed him to New York, and then told him I hoped he'd had a nice weekend here, even though it did nothing but rain.

    Robert Jordan

    He said he always liked New York; he'd taken in a show, had some nice meals, and visited his godson in New Jersey. "That's good, I'm sure it's nice to be able to see family on these things," I said. Then, I once again wished him enjoyment on his tour, and I left.

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  • 261

    Interview: Apr, 1997

    SFX

    That battle's inevitably violent, and Jordan's own background in the military has enabled him to bring a paradoxical perspective to the subject.

    Robert Jordan

    I know what it's like to be in the middle of a battle and I know what it's like to have somebody try and kill you... I can put that in. There's a balance between the moments when you can look back and say that was a magnificent thing and when you say, 'What the hell is going on here?' In the aftermath you're so relieved you're still alive that you can walk among the dead laughing, and people who haven't been there will say that's insanity. It's not; it's the sort of thing that happens...

    SFX

    Which presumably makes it easier to understand characters' motivations in combat?

    Robert Jordan

    I try to get into their heads. Sometimes it's difficult—it's hard for me to imagine being a five-foot three female, but I work at it and think I've done a fairly effective job. When I was touring for The Dragon Reborn a group of women told me I'd settled an argument they'd been having about whether Robert Jordan was a pen name for a woman!

    But I can get into anyone's head—I'll walk out of my study and my wife will say, 'Been into someone nasty today, haven't you?'

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  • 262

    Interview: Mar 15th, 2003

    M. L. Van Valkenburgh

    Robert Jordan scores big with his tenth Wheel Of Time novel—but is he really Tolkien's heir?

    Robert Jordan has lived his whole life in Charleston, as did his forefathers. It is his home, and he is very attached to it. He and his wife (and editor) Harriet have considered a host of other cities, many with brighter lights than our own, but they always come back to Jordan's roots.

    Robert Jordan

    "We've just liked it better than anywhere else. Other cities we've considered have been Paris, London, San Francisco, Melbourne—Australia, that is; I'm sure Melbourne, Florida is very nice, but I've never been there—but what's stopped us from moving is, Charleston is home," said Jordan in a recent phone interview granted prior to his whirlwind tour promoting his tenth book in the much acclaimed Wheel of Time series.

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  • 263

    Interview: Mar 15th, 2003

    M. L. Van Valkenburgh

    Jordan's background is not, however, in history. After a year at Clemson, he left school and did two tours of duty in Vietnam. He then enrolled at The Citadel where he got his degree in nuclear engineering and went to work for the government. But a badly injured knee that suffered complications nearly cost him his life and he turned to his real passion—writing.

    Robert Jordan

    "Writing is not something you make a living at unless you're very lucky. Go into something solid or safe like acting," he advises.

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  • 264

    Interview: Mar 15th, 2003

    M. L. Van Valkenburgh

    Another thing that sets Jordan apart from Tolkien is an ever-present sense of hope—something that has kept readers reading for 7,000 pages and will keep them reading 'til the end of the series, which Jordan says will take a minimum of two more books. No matter how bad the odds are against his characters, no matter that the world draws ever closer to its final battle with the Dark One, Jordan slips in enough events to stop readers from becoming fatalistic.

    Tolkien, on the other hand, was a profound fatalist himself. And, indeed, while his characters did, for the most part, achieve their ends, there is a sense of bittersweetness that pervades his works. His attitude is evident even in his relationships with the young children he left at home while off fighting World War II (and dreaming up his master work). Speaking metaphorically of the war with the Germans, he wrote his youngest son Christopher, saying, "We are attempting to conquer Sauron with the Ring. ... The War is not over (and the one that is or the part of it, has largely been lost.) But it is of course wrong to fall into such a mood, for Wars are always lost, and The War always goes on; and it is no good growing faint."

    It would be hard to picture Jordan announcing that wars are always lost to a young child; instead, he has a childlike sense of wonder and enjoyment of the world around him that his predecessor lacked.

    Robert Jordan

    "I like the Battery. The High Battery, particularly. (As a child) I liked its rickety nature. Now that they're fixing it up I'm not sure how I'll feel about it. But I loved the sense that at any moment the slates might drop you into the High Battery. My friends and I used to run through the streets and alleys, and things weren't as spruced up as they are now. Everything was overgrown with bamboo. It was wonderful," he recalls.

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  • 265

    Interview: Dec 7th, 2012

    Narrator

    Before the tale of Rand al'Thor, the epic story of the Wheel of Time humbly begins with a man named Jim, known to the world as Robert Jordan, author of the best-selling Wheel of Time series. James Oliver Rigney, Jr. was born October 17, 1948 in Charleston, South Carolina.

    Harriet McDougal

    Growing up, he'd often told about lining up I think Jules Verne, Mark Twain and Jack London, and thinking, "I want to write books."

    Jason Denzel

    He joined the Army in 1968 and served two tours in Vietnam as a helicopter gunner.

    Harriet McDougal

    He returned to begin college at The Citadel as a veteran student and took a job as a civilian nuclear engineer working for the United States Navy.

    Jason Denzel

    And it was during this time that he took a hard look at his life and decided to become a full-time writer.

    Harriet McDougal

    He was in the hospital with a blood clot when he did the famous—the thing so many people talk about doing—he threw a book across the room and said, "I can do better than that." He wrote something called Warriors of the Altaii. I read it, and...no, it wasn't what I was interested in. But it showed he could do it. So I gave him a contract for a book that became The Fallon Blood. We'd been seeing a lot of each other. He brought a tiger claw from Vietnam to show my son. Will came running upstairs to my office one day and said, "Mom, he'll take me to see the Star Trek movie." And I said, "Can I come too?" And he said yes. And I guess that was our first date.

    Tom Doherty

    She edited Jim, and they fell in love, and they got married, and we all became friends.

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  • 266

    Interview: Apr, 2003

    Galgóczi Móni

    The prophecies often shape the characters' lives in WoT. Do you believe that the stars influence human life and the future?

    Robert Jordan

    No.

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  • 267

    Interview: Apr, 2003

    Galgóczi Móni

    Do you by chance believe in reincarnation?

    Robert Jordan

    No, I don't. Actually, in my dilettante way, I study the legends and myths and their similarities and their relationships to each other. With a long view, the definition of fantasy can be traced there because this genre uses supernatural things but treats them as if they were real. Many people write fantasy, deliberately or not—well, they don't admit it, and what is more, they deny it because it is not really considered high literature. For example, I think the art of magical realism belongs to the fantasy genre, but I'm sure if I were to say so to one of these authors, he or she would not be happy.

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  • 268

    Interview: Apr, 2003

    Galgóczi Móni

    What kind of relationship do you have with the fans?

    Robert Jordan

    It's not too close. Of course, it happens sometimes—when a new books is out, I interact with the readers, or I have dinner with fan clubs—but it is not something I am known for.

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  • 269

    Interview: Apr, 2003

    Galgóczi Móni

    The female characters in WoT are very authoritative. Are they based on real-life personalities, or is this how you imagine that these women have to act in these situations?

    Robert Jordan

    All my life, I was always surrounded by strong women who "ate" the weak men, and so only the strong men survived in my family. My grandfather asked me a question: which is more fun: hunting rabbits or leopards? Otherwise, I always paid close attention to the women around me, and I observed how they "work". I always took care to portray them as accurately as possible, or at least that's how I think. This method was so successful—at least based on feedback—that some female readers believed that Robert Jordan was a pen name for a female author.

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  • 270

    Interview: Apr, 2003

    Galgóczi Móni

    What do you think of the computer games and role playing games based on the series?

    Robert Jordan

    I haven't played any of them, but my family and friends who have tried them gave them good reviews. I rarely play games, truth to tell; I tend to play chess on my machine.

    Galgóczi Móni

    Have you had any experience with role playing games?

    Robert Jordan

    Back when my son was little [Editor's note: he is 34 now], we played with his friends and I was the storyteller.

    Galgóczi Móni

    How long did that last?

    Robert Jordan

    About three years.

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  • 271

    Interview: Apr, 2003

    Galgóczi Móni

    You have been dealing with the series at least 8-9 years. How many hours a day do you spend writing?

    Robert Jordan

    I write eight to nine hours a day, seven days a week. Last year, I only took six days off. Actually, I rarely enjoy that. I admit I am addicted to writing.

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  • 272

    Interview: Apr, 2003

    Galgóczi Móni

    How did you meet your wife?

    Robert Jordan

    She worked for the publisher that released my first book. We met, we got to know each other, and I realized over the course of the third book that I wanted to marry her. It was awkward, because I was going to marry my only source of income. I solved the problem like this: I transferred my books to another publisher, but Harriet still edits my books.

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