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Your search for the tag 'rj on reading' yielded 151 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)

    Jdieu

    I was just wondering two things: one, what books do YOU read, and what are some of the titles and types of your other written books? I'm really interested in reading more of your writing!

    Robert Jordan

    I read about four hundred or so books a year, half nonfiction, the fiction spread over almost every genre. I have written Westerns, historical fiction, international intrigue; I've ghostwritten some books; but everything except the fantasy is out of print at the moment.

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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

    What is your favorite scene to this point in the books? Are there any scenes that you like to go back to and reread, because you like them so much?

    Robert Jordan

    My favorite scene, like my favorite character, is always the one I am working on at the moment. Once I am done with a scene—and I'll admit that can take some time—I don't go back to read it unless I want to check on exactly how I worded something. (The exact wording can turn out to be crucial, later on.) I don't think my ego is particularly mild—ahem!—but I certainly don't sit around reading what I have written for the enjoyment of it. I mean, I wrote the bloody thing! I know what's going to happen and why!

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  • 5

    Interview: Jul, 2002

    Question

    What other authors have most influenced your work?

    Robert Jordan

    Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Robert Heinlein, John D. MacDonald and Louis L'Amour.

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  • 6

    Interview: Jul 19th, 2005

    Week 17 Question

    You have said before that you write High Fantasy and not Sword and Sorcery Fantasy. What do you feel the future holds for those of us who are so in love with High Fantasy? Do you consider your next works to be High Fantasy? Who else do you consider as writing High Fantasy?

    Robert Jordan

    If I knew what the future held, I would make a fortune on the stock market, but my next works—tentatively titled Infinity of Heaven—will definitely be High Fantasy. At least, I think so. Others may disagree. That is the slippery difficulty with sub-genres. Everybody has an opinion, and those sometimes differ. As a short—not at all attempting to be all-inclusive and in no particular order—list of who writes High Fantasy in my opinion: Robin Hobb, Jacqueline Carey, Robert Holdstock, Tim Powers, Guy Gavriel Kay, George R.R. Martin, Tad Williams, J.V. Jones.... Wow, this list is getting long. But I'll add one more. When John M. Ford finishes Aspects—he's let me read some excerpts—I think you'll call it High Fantasy. Then again, he may disagree. There's that difficulty again.

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  • 7

    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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  • 8

    Interview: Jan, 1991

    Starlog Interview (Verbatim)

    William B. Thompson

    Since the books meld elements of Celtic, Norse, Middle Eastern and American Indian myth in a largely Medieval setting, obligatory comparisons with J.R.R. Tolkien surfaced almost immediately. Jordan accepts them with resigned good humor.

    Robert Jordan

    "On the one hand, I'm flattered. On the other, I would have to say it's overplayed. On the third hand, Tolkien encompassed so much in The Lord of the Rings and other books that he did for fantasy what Beethoven did for music.

    "For a long time, it was believed that no one did anything that did not build on Beethoven. For his part, Tolkien did provide a foundation while himself building on an existing tradition. Although it's difficult now to forge a singular place in this foundation, people like Stephen R. Donaldson are doing it. I hope I am as well."

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  • 9

    Interview: Jan, 1991

    Starlog Interview (Verbatim)

    William B. Thompson

    Throughout the years, genre fiction always has suffered from a sort of stepchild reputation, in part because so much formulaic, derivative, clumsy work has been produced in the various categories. Then again, as Jordan points out, much the same can be said of any literary form. Regardless of the fictional landscape he explores—fantasy, Westerns, historical—he rejects the creative straitjacket whose constraints allow no deviation from a basic genre formula.

    Robert Jordan

    "Genre survives; Moby Dick is an adventure story, for heaven's sake. William Shakespeare wrote comedies. Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote mysteries. What dooms a book is believing you have to stay within the guidelines. And with each book you write, in whatever genre, you must strive to make it better than the preceding one. You hope one day to write The Canterbury Tales, something that will last 1,000 years."

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  • 10

    Interview: Jan, 1991

    Starlog Interview (Verbatim)

    William B. Thompson

    Crafting his stories in a highly visual style, Jordan joins a celebrated list of contemporary fantasists and science-fantasy authors composed of such names as Joan Vinge, Fred Saberhagen, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Anne Rice, Roger Zelazny and Donaldson.

    But Jordan sees fantasy splitting into altogether too many lines to assay broad trends.

    Robert Jordan

    "You have, basically, magic realism, high fantasy and sword and sorcery, and between these reside at least a half-dozen other sub-genres. So, it's hard to see specific overall directions in the field."

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  • 11

    Interview: Jan, 1991

    Starlog Interview (Verbatim)

    William B. Thompson

    Just because Jordan happens to write fantasy, it doesn't follow that he sees life in heroic or romantic terms. Quite the contrary, at least since he began conjuring fantastic visions.

    Robert Jordan

    "Before I began writing fantasy, I did have something of a romantic sense of the world. I was flamboyant and sort of an oddball as a kid. I still am in some ways. I made it through Machiavelli's The Prince by age twelve, which may have begun to cure me of romantic illusions."

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  • 12

    Interview: Jan, 1991

    Starlog Interview (Verbatim)

    William B. Thompson

    In the realm of fantasy writing, Jordan has been less influenced than simply entertained by such works as Donaldson's Thomas Covenant series and the horror writing of Stephen King.

    He never reads fantasy when he is in the midst of writing it.

    Robert Jordan

    "I read fantasies in between books. When writing, I make it a point to read other genres, plus philosophy, history, biography, mythology."

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  • 13

    Interview: Nov, 1993

    Trinity College Q&A (Paraphrased)

    Robert Jordan

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

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

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

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

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  • 14

    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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  • 15

    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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  • 16

    Interview: Oct 19th, 1994

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Tom Knudsen

    Much of your work reminds me of J.R.R. Tolkien and David Eddings in scope and character development. My question is, who are YOUR favorite authors and why?

    Robert Jordan

    Mark Twain, followed by Charles Dickens and Jane Austen, because they're good.

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  • 17

    Interview: Oct 19th, 1994

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Sat

    My question has three parts: First off, the scope of your work outstrips many of today's other authors, and has spoiled me! 1. Do you recommend any other authors? And who? 2. Are you planning any tours in Canada? 3. When is Lord of Chaos available in Canada?

    Robert Jordan

    1. Ray Feist, Janny Wurts, C. S. Friedman, Robert Holdstock, Tad Williams, Barry Hughart. The problem is that there are a lot of people I like, and these are just the first names that come to mind. 2. I'll be in Toronto at the end of October and beginning of November. 3. By the end of the month.

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  • 18

    Interview: Oct 26th, 1994

    Greg

    I couldn't resist telling him that I really dislike the cover to Lord of Chaos because I've had three people who know nothing about WoT see me reading the book and think I'm reading a cheesy romance novel because of that terrible picture of Rand.

    Robert Jordan

    RJ replied that they probably thought I was reading soft porn, and that some of those cheesy romance novels I was talking about are some of the best soft porn he knows of. Later someone asked to have his picture taken with RJ and he replied, "What kind of picture are we talking about? I'll only do it if I get to keep my clothes on." Oh, and RJ said that the woman on the cover of Lord of Chaos is an Aes Sedai of the Red Ajah, but he doesn't know which Aes Sedai because it was changed a number of times.

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  • 19

    Interview: Oct 30th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    He mentioned Hyperion... he loved the book until he read the ending. "There was no ending, no resolution." At that point, he threw the book across the room and never got around to reading Hyperion II.

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  • 20

    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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  • 21

    Interview: Jun 16th, 1995

    Robert Jordan

    Authors he recommended were Guy Gavriel Kay, CS Friedman and Ray Feist in the fantasy genre. Non-fantasy he recommended his major inspirator: Mark Twain. He wouldn't give any non-recommended authors.

    He said he reads about 300-400 books per year, which is a drop-off from what he normally read due to the high workload from the WoT books.

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  • 22

    Interview: Jun 16th, 1995

    Robert Jordan

    His influence from Mark Twain, mainly Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, he said was in the dialogue. Every person was given a rather natural, personal way of speaking, separate from the "chanting" found in other fantasy or pre-20th-century novels.

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  • 23

    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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  • 24

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Martin Reznick

    I am an avid reader of author Ayn Rand. A hero in her novel The Fountainhead matches Rand's physical description exactly. Coincidence?

    Robert Jordan

    Coincidence—I'm afraid I haven't read Ayn Rand since college.

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  • 25

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Moiraine Damodred

    I'd like to thank you for your wonderful series. It has provided me with many hundreds of hours of entertainment at home and at work. Are there any other fantasy authors or titles that you are particularly fond of? Do you ever re-read your own Wheel of Time?

    Robert Jordan

    The only time I re-read is to check on something when I have to make sure of exactly what I said in a certain circumstance about a certain character or incident.

    As far as the people I read, there are far too many to list...Tad Williams, Barry Hughhart, Ray Feist, it could be a very long list, but we'd be here quite a time listing authors.

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  • 26

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Charles W. Otten

    I find your style similar to Ernest Hemingway in your attention to detail. Do you consciously write this way, or do you find yourself just writing this way? I wish to write in the future after life's experiences and this would be of great assistance.

    Robert Jordan

    I simply write the way I write. I don't try to imitate anyone. I've certainly read—and still read—Hemingway, and admire most of his books, but I think the person with the greatest influence on my style is Mark Twain. The trouble with that is that I've read a great many authors, and I can't say who has most influenced me over the years without my knowing it.

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  • 27

    Interview: Oct 18th, 1996

    AOL Chat (Verbatim)

    Question

    Any suggestions for authors/books to keep us busy while we wait for Book 8?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes. Terry Pratchett, Ray Feist, C.S. Freidman, Barry Hughart, Robert Holdstock, Guy Gavriel Kay, and of course there's George R. R. Martin's new book. You ought to go back and read anything by John M. Ford that you can get your hands on.

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  • 28

    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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  • 29

    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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  • 30

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1997

    Sisay from Frostburg, MD

    Rumor has it that you read 400+ books a year. Is this true? What kind of books do you read? Any recommendations (besides re-reading WoT!!) while we're waiting for The Path of Daggers?

    Robert Jordan

    I don't manage to read over 400 books a year now. I'm not certain that I even managed to average a book a day. About half of what I read is nonfiction, half fiction. And the fiction takes in everything. As for recommendations, I assume you mean in the field, so try John M. Ford, C.S. Friedman, Guy Gavriel Kay, Terry Pratchett, George R. Martin and a slew of others—too many to name. You can find them.

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  • 31

    Interview: Oct, 1998

    Waldenbooks

    The Chicago Sun-Times calls your work "A fantasy tale seldom equaled and still more seldom surpassed in English." This is rather high praise! What does fantasy mean to you? Why would you decide to write epic fantasy?

    Robert Jordan

    It is certainly high praise—embarrassingly high! I chose fantasy in a large part because of its flexibility. It is possible to talk about right and wrong, good and evil, with a straight face in fantasy, and while one of the themes of the books is the difficulty of telling right from wrong at times, these things are important to me. There are always shades of gray in places and slippery points—simple answers are so often wrong—but in so much "mainstream" fiction, there isn't anything except gray areas and slippery points, and there isn't 10 cents worth of moral difference between "the good guys" and "the bad guys." If, indeed, the whole point in those books isn't that there is no difference. Besides, while I read fairly widely, fantasy has been in there since the beginning. My older brother used to read to me when I was very small, and among my earliest memories are listening to him read Beowulf and Paradise Lost. I suppose some of it "took."

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  • 32

    Interview: Oct, 1998

    Waldenbooks

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

    Robert Jordan

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

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

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  • 33

    Interview: Oct 29th, 1998

    Robert Jordan

    At one point, someone made some comment about Orson Scott Card (which I didn't hear), and Jordan replied with a meaningful "Scott and I disagree on many things." I don't know what brought that on, but evidently the two have had some contact, enough to identify gaping differences. It was hard to miss the point of his comment; in fact, if I remember correctly, he said basically the exact same thing at least twice, and almost in succession.

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  • 34

    Interview: Oct, 1998

    Sense of Wonder

    You are a strong support of literacy programs, such as Reading is Fundamental (RIF), and your novels have been praised by the American Library Association, VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) and Library Journal. Do you hope your work will be used to further literacy?

    Robert Jordan

    I hope so, and I also hope that people will occasionally think about "the right thing to do," about right behavior and wrong, after reading one of my books. I don't try to tell them what is right or wrong, only to make them think and consider. But primarily, I am a storyteller, and the job of a storyteller is to entertain. In the case of the Wheel of Time, I tell a story about ordinary people pushed into extraordinary events and forced to grow and change whether they want to or not, sometime in ways they never expected.

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  • 35

    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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  • 36

    Interview: Nov 1st, 1998

    SciFi.com Chat (Verbatim)

    Kayleigh

    Who is your greatest inspiration?? Your greatest influence?

    Robert Jordan

    I really have to list five authors I believe are the greatest influence on me. Louis L'Amour...Jane Austen...John D. MacDonald...Charles Dickens...and Mark Twain.

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  • 37

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1998

    Tijamilism

    I love all the similarities between Frank Herbert's Dune and WOT. Was this intended? If so, are you a fan of his?

    Robert Jordan

    No, there was no intention to make any similarities between Dune and my writings. And I am certainly a big fan of the original Dune novel. Although I doubt if I've read it since it first came out!

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  • 38

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1998

    Jimbo3

    How did you get the idea for the the Wheel of Time series?

    Robert Jordan

    Well...the first thing I thought of was what would it REALLY be like to be tapped on the shoulder and told that you had been born to save mankind. And somehow or other I suspect it wouldn't be very much like anyone had said it was so far...and about the same time, I was wondering about the sources of myth. And why there are so many myths and legends that show striking similarities when they're paired with cultural references. Those two things are as clear to a starting point as I can show you. And they bounced around in the back of my head along with 40 odd years of reading everything I can get my hands on. History, Biography, Myth, Legend, Comparative Religion, Social Anthro, whatever I found. And out eventually came the Wheel of Time...but not until a number of years thinking about it.

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  • 39

    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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  • 40

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1998

    jude74

    Who is your favorite author in any writing field?

    Robert Jordan

    I'll have to give six. John D. MacDonald, Jane Austen, Louis L'Amour, Charles Dickens, Robert Heinlein, Mark Twain. And I also like the essays of Montaigne, a lot. Sorry they're all dead guys, but I don't read contemporary stuff! You asked for favs....

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  • 41

    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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  • 42

    Interview: Nov 14th, 1998

    Robert Jordan

    Other favored authors:

    I missed quite a few of these while I tried to scribble it all down.

    —CS Friedman
    —Hughart
    —Guy Gavriel Kay
    —Turtledove
    —Most Recommended: Guns, Germs, and Steel

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  • 43

    Interview: Nov 1st, 1998

    SciFi.com Chat (Verbatim)

    Drollick

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

    Robert Jordan

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

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  • 44

    Interview: Aug 27th, 1999

    Robert Jordan

    We talked about touring, I asked him whether his signature ever got wobbly, and he said he had it down to a fine art, and could do 1200 sigs in 90 minutes. He went right off at John Grisham when he found out the first edition of his first book was worth $450,000, and I told him I felt the same way about Sara Douglass. After hearing my criticisms, he decided that he'd have to read them, so he bought the books there and then.

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  • 45

    Interview: Aug 27th, 1999

    Robert Jordan

    I'm fairly sure he's done this before, but he said Aginor and Balthamel are Aran'gar and Osan'gar, and he also said that Terry Goodkind actually uses WOT as inspiration, instead of going to a historical source. He sounded serious.

    Finally, he also recommended several authors, but said that the guy who wrote Cryptonomicon was really good.

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  • 46

    Interview: Aug 27th, 1999

    Question

    Someone asked him about the Creator.

    Robert Jordan

    He gave the distinct impression that he wouldn't even contemplate having the Creator step in, nor is there any real Creator worship, because there is no need, the effects of the Creator are all around the citizens of Randland. I believe he's said that much previously. He quoted Terry Pratchett (from Mort, I think) regarding the way belief works.

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  • 47

    Interview: Aug 30th, 1999

    Question

    Did you enjoy writing Conan?

    Robert Jordan

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

    Question

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

    Robert Jordan

    Oh yeah.

    Question

    And we can tell you're having fun.

    Robert Jordan

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

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  • 48

    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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  • 49

    Interview: Sep 20th, 1999

    Robert Jordan

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

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  • 50

    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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  • 51

    Interview: Mar, 2000

    Question

    Have any writers influenced you?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, I think so. I believe that the major influences on my writing are Jane Austen, John D. MacDonald, Mark Twain, Louis L'Amour and Charles Dickens.

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  • 52

    Interview: Mar, 2000

    Question

    Do you read fantasy yourself: and are you aware of the other fantasy writers out there?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, I do. If anyone is looking, I suggest, in no particular order, John M. Ford, Isabelle Allende, Guy Gavriel Kay, C.S. Freidman, Barry Hughart, A.S. Byatt, Robert Holdstock, Tim Powers, Terry Pratchett, and George R.R. Martin. There really are too many excellent writers to list them all, or even come close, but these names are a start.

    Question

    If so would you want to work with any in the future?

    Robert Jordan

    I’ve never really thought of collaborating with anyone. It might happen, I suppose, but it just hasn’t occurred to me.

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  • 53

    Interview: Nov 10th, 2000

    Robert Jordan

    I had a dinner date, so I didn't stay around for much longer, but I did get to hear RJ talk about his reading habits (he reads about 2-3 hours a day, and doesn't watch much TV at all.)

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  • 54

    Interview: Nov 11th, 2000

    Greg Basore from Oklahoma

    If you had to put two books into a time capsule, one by you and one by some one else what would they be?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, I think that I would put The Eye of the World at this point, and someone else—I think the essays of Montaigne.

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  • 55

    Interview: Nov 11th, 2000

    Eric from Cleveland

    Mr. Jordan, do you have to reread your books often in order to remind yourself of everything you have done and still need to do, or do you just look back at notes as a basic reminder? Thanks.

    Robert Jordan

    Sometimes I have to look back at the books themselves, but primarily that is to make sure that I remember for example, exactly what someone said to someone else, I don't need to remind myself of the story or what has happened. I sometimes do have to check on small details.

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  • 56

    Interview: Nov 11th, 2000

    Jennifer from BarnesandNoble.com

    On behalf of a promotion that BarnesandNoble.com is conducting, I'd like to ask: what are your favorite books, and why?

    Robert Jordan

    I can't give favorite books, but I can give my favorite authors: John D. MacDonald, Jane Austen, Robert Heinlein, Louis L'Amour, Charles Dickens, and Mark Twain.

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  • 57

    Interview: Nov 11th, 2000

    Dave from Wautoma, WI

    Thanks for such a terrific series! I can't begin to tell you how many hours of entertainment it's provided. I was just wondering . . . provided that you get the time once in awhile, do you tend to read books inside the fantasy genre or outside or it?

    Robert Jordan

    I read more outside of the fantasy genre than inside, but I certainly do read fantasy.

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  • 58

    Interview: Nov 28th, 2000

    Robert Jordan

    L. Ron Hubbard (don't ask) couldn't have written those last few books. He may have had Alzheimer's but he would have to have that and to be drunk for them to be that bad.

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  • 59

    Interview: Nov 28th, 2000

    Robert Jordan

    Talked about Harry Potter... Said that he has the first three books and that they are "very good but could see how the children love them."

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  • 60

    Interview: Dec, 2000

    Orbit Interview (Verbatim)

    Orbit

    What differences do you think there are between writing mainstream and fantasy fiction?

    Robert Jordan

    None, really. In truth, given the appearance in more and more mainstream literature of ghosts, telepathy, the past impinging on the present, and other things that should be called fantasy, there is much less difference than, say, fifty years ago.

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  • 61

    Interview: Jan, 2001

    SFBC

    What subjects interest you the most?

    Robert Jordan

    Oh, Lord. Almost anything. Half the books I read are nonfiction and it can be about anything under the sun. I'm just finishing up a book called Strange Victory, which is about the German defeat of France in 1940. What's fascinating about that is why it happened, because as the author points out, any time computers are allowed to run that scenario—the German invasion, the French defense—the French always win. The French had more tanks and the tanks were just as good. They had more men and the men were just as well trained. They had as many airplanes. Their airplanes were as good.

    But what happened was, the French did a couple of things that were very wrong. One, they had a high dependence on advanced technology and the arrogance, if you will, that comes from that, that says that technology will win for us.

    SFBC

    And they were relying on that?

    Robert Jordan

    They relied on that, and the second thing that happened was that because they had suffered tremendous casualties in World War I, they were very reluctant to suffer casualties again. The politicians were and the country was. And the third thing was that because of the reluctance to suffer casualties, they made all of the decisions be reviewed in Paris. So they had a slow decision-making cycle. If you put those together, does it give you an image of anybody else in the world right now, maybe?

    Anyway, the next book up is called The Code Book, and it's about development of codes and ciphers throughout history. As I said, I read about anything and everything... Whatever catches my eye.

    SFBC

    Does this wide range of interest also help in the development of your cultures and the incredible texture of the history in your books?

    Robert Jordan

    I think it does. History fascinates me. I read a lot of history, and I suppose what you might call cultural anthropology, also fascinates me. I like to read about other cultures. Specifically, not just about cultures now, but historically. You find surprising things.

    SFBC

    Past kingdoms?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, it's that, and more. Well, I'm reading a travel book about China that was written in the 1870s. Travel books at that time often told you everything about a culture that the writer could find out. I discovered that block watches, public self-confession, are very old traditions. If you were accused of something, you were expected to come forward and make a confession before your neighbors of what you had done wrong. And the large character wall posters, things that we think of as being modern and part of the Communist regime, are really very old.

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  • 62

    Interview: Apr 4th, 2001

    Question

    You were very young when you came in contact with the great authors of fantasy...

    Robert Jordan

    Oh yes, I... Ah, I taught myself to read. Well, it was quite incidental. My older brother...ah, he would be stuck sometimes, when my parents couldn't get a babysitter, he would be stuck with looking after me. He found out that he could keep me quiet by reading to me. Mainly to keep me from flying his [balsa wood] airplanes or whatever and to keep my hands out of his fishtanks, that sort of thing. Ah, and he read to me. but of course he wasn't about to read children's books to me, so he read the books that he wanted to read. Uhm, I remember... I don't remember when I began making a connection between the marks on the paper and the sounds coming out of his mouth, but I do remember a day when I was four years old that... It must have been a weekend, because my parents came home on a day like... and he took off. He put the book back on the shelf, and I didn't want him to stop with the story, so I took the book back down, eh, it was Jack London's White Fang and I managed to break through it... Ah, I didn't manage to understand every word, but I managed to make my way through the rest of the book with enough understanding to be able to pick up on the story. So I eh, I did start reading quite early.

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  • 63

    Interview: Apr 4th, 2001

    Question

    Is that also where you get your inspiration?

    Robert Jordan

    I don't know, I dont know where the inspiration came from. My favorite authors are ah... Bearly Whitespread [shame on me, this probably isn't the name, but it's the best I can make of it, not recognizing the name], Mark Twain, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, John D. MacDonald, Louis L'Amour. Ah, these are not people you pick up as eh... inspiration for writing science fiction or fantasy, although John D. MacDonald wrote eh, ...was best known for his travel [???] fiction, and did write a book called The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything which is a hilarious science fiction novel.

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  • 64

    Interview: Apr 4th, 2001

    Question

    What other authors do you read yourself?

    Robert Jordan

    Oh, I read everything, myself. At the moment I read Stephen King's Dreamcatcher. I've read about half of it this afternoon and I'll catch the other half of it tonight when we get back to Amsterdam. I ah... I read anything and everything. If you're talking about in the field... I would suggest people try err, John M. Ford, who's just had another one come out the last time recently... And it's very good. He's a winner of the world fantasy award. Twice. Once for his fantasy novel Dragon Waiting, and once for short fiction, which he won with a long poem, he made them change the rules, so that he could enter poetry and be nominated for short fiction category. He is a stone-cold good writer. Uhm, beyond that... uhm, lots of people, uhm... let's see now.. uhm, I must start blowing names... uhm, Ah, the guy who wrote Mythago Wood... [I blinked at that; very strange fantasy] Err, Holdstock. Robert Holdstock, err Tim Powers, uhm, C.S. Friedman, J.V. Jones, there are a lot of good writers.

    But I read everything, I read mysteries and western and history. Err, I don't read as much as I used to. I'm not certain I'm still averaging over one a day [damn, just met my match... I haven't been averaging one a day since I finished high school.] About half fiction, and half non-fiction.

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  • 65

    Interview: Apr 4th, 2001

    Questioner

    In Holland there is some contempt to the genre of fantasy.

    Robert Jordan

    Well, there's some contempt everywhere.

    Quesioner

    Well, I can't speak for the rest of the world, but what do you think of that?

    Robert Jordan

    I think it's foolish. There are many more people who write fantasy than are tagged with the ghetto-phrase fantasist, or fantasy writer. If you read A.S. Byatt, or 'The Magic Realists' you're reading fantasy. If you read any novel which has ghosts or spirits or time-weaving back and forward... many, many supposed main-stream writers write fantasy. And they just don't call it fantasy, eh... the worlds in their books are not set in reality at all, and that is fantasy. And... eh, A Midsummer Night's Dream, the epic of Gilgamesh, which is ... all over, it's a fantasy. I like to think of science fiction and horror as subsets of fantasy. They're particular sorts of fantasy.

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  • 66

    Interview: Apr 4th, 2001

    Aan'allein

    As I approached Jordan I heard him telling that he'd already been in the Netherlands for a couple of days, and that after the next weekend he would still stay around for four or five days, sightseeing.

    Getting my books signed, I gave him the 400 pages female Dragon debate, telling him that this was the debate he'd just ended (I mentioned how long it had been going on, just after he'd answered the female Dragon question), asking if he could perhaps be willing to take a look at it sometime. He said that he'd do that, but that he didn't know how much time he'd have, since he had to read something that didn't have to do with his own work before going to bed:

    Robert Jordan

    If I don't, I will not go to sleep. I will ponder all night completely about my own work. And about what I should be doing, and what I need to do in the future. So...it's necessary to read other people.

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  • 67

    Interview: Apr 5th, 2001

    Robert Jordan

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

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

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  • 68

    Interview: Apr 5th, 2001

    Robert Jordan

    The standard 'Harriet saying you've been writing Padan Fain again, haven't you?' anecdote came along. [Now I remember that the character he mentioned actually writing was Semirhage.]

    He again mentioned the list of writers: Holdstock, Powers, Ford, Friedman, Jones.

    He likes George R.R. Martin's books, gave him a quote for his first book.

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  • 69

    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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  • 70

    Interview: Apr 6th, 2001

    Rand

    At what age did you start to think that you were going to write books and where did you get your inspiration?

    Robert Jordan

    I knew from the age of five that I was going to write books one day and the inspirations were actually Jules Verne and Mark Twain.

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  • 71

    Interview: Apr 6th, 2001

    aec

    Where do you get your inspiration from?

    Robert Jordan

    I get my inspiration from almost fifty years of reading everything I can get my hands on and thinking of everything I read.

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  • 72

    Interview: Nov 6th, 1998

    Therese Littleton

    One of the things that sets you apart from many other fantasy authors is your command of plot. Your stories are intricate and full of hidden puzzles. How did you learn to write like that?

    Robert Jordan

    I don't know. I read. I never took a course in writing of any sort. The only literature courses I ever took in college were required courses, since my degrees were in physics and mathematics. I never wrote anything that wasn't required until I was 30. I knew that I wanted to write one day. I knew that from the age of 5. But that was someday, after I had a stable career. And then 30 came, and I sat down and started writing. Where any of it came from, I don't know. At that point, from 30 years of reading everything I could get my hands on.

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  • 73

    Interview: Nov 6th, 1998

    Therese Littleton

    What kind of books do you like to read while working?

    Robert Jordan

    If something doesn't appeal to me, it goes away. If it doesn't turn out to be as good as I thought it was, it goes away. I don't have time to read books through when they no longer measure up. But everything... mysteries, Westerns, science fiction, nonfiction of all sorts. I've been recommending Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel to everyone, and I'm reading a James Patterson mystery right now, and getting ready to read Patrick O'Brian's The Hundred Days... Hornblower meets Jane Austen.

    Sometimes I'll just dig out one of the old Jane Austen or Charles Dickens books and read that, because I love those books. Or John D. MacDonald. My favorite authors are Robert Heinlein, John D. MacDonald, Louis L'Amour, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Mark Twain. These are the people I can pick up and read any time. And you have to throw Montaigne in there as well, but essays are a different sort of thing.

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  • 74

    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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  • 75

    Interview: Apr 8th, 2001

    Question

    A question about influences in his writing...

    Robert Jordan

    When I started writing I did not think of anybody as being an influence or an inspiration, in any way. There were simply stories I wanted to tell. Long before the Wheel of Time. I now believe I can see writers among my favorite writers, having certain influences on me, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, John D. MacDonald, Louis L'Amour. They certainly influenced me, but again not inspiration.

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  • 76

    Interview: Apr 8th, 2001

    Question

    I don't remember what exactly lead to the following two pieces...they could even be part of the same answer to one question... [first question appears to be about what sorts of things he's currently reading]

    Robert Jordan

    Well, I read a lot of things. Just finished Stephen King's Dreamcatcher [guess this past week really is playing havoc on his "one book a day" average], just started Big Chief Elizabeth, about the development of the English colonies. Prior to that Sammuel's Lutbang [??? any suggestions for this?] about the development of the Dutch-East-India trade. The Lutbang trade. [Ah, there's that word again. I know I should recognize this, but my mind still doesn't want to cooperate...] I read a lot of things. I was reading some... The stack of books that I've finished reading since getting to Amsterdam includes, let's see, four medieval mystery novels, one contemporary mystery of 'aran shames' [??? suggestions? I really know nothing about mysteries] And that's about it, because I haven't had that much time for reading.

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  • 77

    Interview: Apr 8th, 2001

    Question

    [Question about reading, research, sources, influences.]

    Robert Jordan

    It's hard really for a figure that I've been researching for the Wheel of Time. I see things, I notice things. I realize, "I can use this." An example I've used to you before, but it's a good one, is that [after leaving Tanchico, Nynaeve and Elayne needed] traveling companions. I wanted them to travel with some people, rather than by themselves. I wasn't too sure exactly what sort of group I was going to use. And I happened to go to the circus.

    And the circus happened to have a lot of acts that... (were) from Asia. I don't know why they seemed to have such a disproportionate number of acts from Asia. They were much different than most European circus acts and American circus acts, which are very similar to European circus acts. And when I went to my desk the next morning, I realized I knew exactly how Elayne and Nynaeve were going to travel. With Valan Luca's show.

    I have read for close on to fifty years, everything I could get my hands on. Various bits and pieces have been stuck in my head. And I use them. And sometimes...and if I see anything that's interesting, and a lot of things interest me, cultural anthropology, development of cities, how a windmill works, how does a waterwheel work? these things interest me, as much as how a modern day skyscraper is built, or how do you go about building a base on the moon?, or how do you go about building an industrial facility in an L5-point? Sometimes I do research and then... Well, I know nothing about blacksmithing really...[followed by that story you've heard before] No matter what you know, if you're an expert blacksmith, I want you to read right past that blacksmith scene, and believe it. And of course very few people will be expert blacksmiths, but that's fine. Because no matter what the scene is, I want you to believe it. No matter what your own knowledge is.

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  • 78

    Interview: 2002

    My Childhood Influences

    Robert Jordan

    Three books: Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, From the Earth to the Moon. I was five years old; I started reading early. I set those books up on a table on end, and I sat in a chair with my feet in the chair, and my chin on my knees—I was a little skinnier then. And I stared at those books and I said, "I'm going to do this one day. I'm gonna make stories like this one day." I can make a living writing books. This is wonderful, this is great. Yes, I love to write. It's sort of like finding out you can make a living eating chocolate.

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  • 79

    Interview: Dec 23rd, 2002

    Ben P. Indick

    Did you read fantasy as a boy?

    Robert Jordan

    Only prolifically. I loved Swift, reading Gulliver over and over again. My older brother introduced me to Huck Finn and the great writers. I read Tolkien only about a dozen times.

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  • 80

    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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  • 81

    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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  • 82

    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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  • 83

    Interview: Jan 16th, 2003

    Michael Martin

    That book about salt:

    Robert Jordan

    Salt by Mark Kurlansky. It is indeed about salt!

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  • 84

    Interview: Jan 16th, 2003

    Robert Jordan

    At the last signing, he recommended When China Ruled the Seas (fascinating book, BTW); when asked about historical books this time, he recommended Essays of Montaigne, and he also recommended Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond.

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  • 85

    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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  • 86

    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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  • 87

    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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  • 88

    Interview: Jan 21st, 2003

    SFRevu Interview (Verbatim)

    Ernest Lilley

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

    Robert Jordan

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

    Ernest Lilley

    It sounds like you were a pretty eclectic reader.

    Robert Jordan

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

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

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

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  • 89

    Interview: Jan 21st, 2003

    SFRevu Interview (Verbatim)

    Ernest Lilley

    I'm principally an SF reader, though I enjoy some fantasy. I think that one of the things I like about SF is that it tackles some big questions...but you write fantasy for the same reason.

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, it seems to me that the SF you like, as do I, so often the "ta-pocketa-pocketa" if you remember the old Walter Mitty movie, the ta-pocketa-pocketa takes over and the characters are just there to see that it happens at the right time. The best SF goes much beyond that and there certainly a lot of flaws in a lot of Fantasy as well, but perhaps that's the reason I decided to go with Fantasy instead of SF.

    Also, SF has absorbed something from mainstream literature, and that is something I think of as a moral ambivalence, which is the erroneous application of situational ethics. There really isn't anything that's right or wrong, there is no good or evil, it all depends on the circumstances.

    Ernest Lilley

    Post-Modern ethics for a Post-Human culture.

    Robert Jordan

    And I look at this and say, no, no. There is right and there is wrong and there is good and there is evil, and sometimes it's hard to tell the difference. But it's worth to try to tell the difference...you don't just flip a coin.

    Ernest Lilley

    Do you think that people are getting tired of this moral relativism?

    Robert Jordan

    I think so. Not to one value system. There are lots of value systems in this country. But I think that a lot of people want to believe in something, and they want a set of rules in life, or guidelines for life and behavior for what's right to do, or what's wrong to do and they may argue among themselves about whether this or that is right or wrong, but they want to believe in those things.

    Ernest Lilley

    Tolerance is good, but being not caring is a bad thing.

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, there is a difference between being tolerant and being a sponge.

    Ernest Lilley

    So, fantasy allows you to deal with moral issues, while SF focuses you on the technology though it grapples with them somewhat, it is a setting based genre rather than a character based one.

    Robert Jordan

    And the technology is very often much more important than the issues, it seems to me.

    I say this as someone who likes Neil Stephenson. I like Greg Bear. I reread Heinlein periodically...I love Science Fiction.

    Ernest Lilley

    Do you reread the Heinlein juveniles?

    Robert Jordan

    Absolutely. I hate what they did with Starship Troopers. I kept waiting for Heinlein to come out of his grave and beat them all over the head. They made it very blatant that we were going to have a Nazi future there...and it was clear that the people who made it had no understanding of Robert Heinlein, or what made him tick, or what he was writing about.

    Ernest Lilley

    Aside from mucking up the concept, and with all the CGI they used, I really hated that they omitted the central technology in the film, the powered suit.

    Robert Jordan

    Ah, yes. I didn't quite understand why they left that out. I looked at the whole movie and decided I didn't want to buy the DVD on this one.

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  • 90

    Interview: Dec 19th, 2003

    Question

    Which famous Science Fiction & Fantasy (SFF) figure (writer or character) would you most like to bring to a Christmas party? And which of your own creations would you invite to pull a cracker or two?

    Robert Jordan

    Robert Heinlein and J.R.R. Tolkien. I'd go for Mark Twain and Jane Austen, but you did say SFF. And writers are, one hopes, more fascinating than any of their characters because they contain all of their characters, who might be let out if the wine flows freely. Heinlein and Tolkien were two very interesting and very different men, with a few similarities I believe, and it is the precise mesh of differences and similarities that make for brilliant dinner table conversation. If I could have a third, I'd make it John M. Ford. I know exactly what sort of dinner companion Mike is, and his presence at a table with Heinlein and Tolkien would guarantee an evening of marvelous conversation. Between the three of them, they'd make sure that everybody sparkled, if only by being pulled along in their slipstream.

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  • 91

    Interview: Jan 6th, 2004

    New Palestine, Indiana

    What books are waiting on your desk to read?

    Robert Jordan

    I'm reading at the moment a mystery by the name of a fellow named Les Standiford. And I just finished the Neal Stephenson Quicksilver, and I'm waiting to get my hands on the next book of that sequence.

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  • 92

    Interview: Jan 6th, 2004

    Laurel, MS

    What is your favorite book(s) outside of WOT?

    Robert Jordan

    It would be very hard to point at one. My all-time favorite authors are Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, John D. MacDonald, Louis L'Amour and Robert Heinlein. And as far as people writing at the moment, I will buy any book written by John M. Ford, Neal Stephenson, Robert Holstock...there's a long list of people I will snatch up a book when I realize it's something of theirs I haven't read yet.

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  • 93

    Interview: Apr 27th, 2004

    Wotmania Interview (Verbatim)

    Wotmania

    This must be a clichéd and obligatory question by now, but: Do you keep up with what other authors in the genre are putting out, or do you tend to read material from outside of the genre on your own time? Are there any other authors that you are particularly fond of at the moment?

    Robert Jordan

    I read both inside the field and outside. Inside, I’ll snap up anything by John M. Ford, Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, John Varley, Tim Powers, Guy Gavriel Kay, Jacqueline Carey, Lois Bujold... Whew! The list is getting long, isn’t it? Suffice it to say that I read a lot of writers.

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  • 94

    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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  • 95

    Interview: Oct 4th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Deadsy, the last book I completed was Walter Mosley's Cinnamon Kiss. I just started Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys. And I'm ashamed to say that when I first saw your post on Wotmania about having a secret, I thought, "Ah-ha! Palm or hairbrush?" Just following the context, and your blushes. Then I realized what it was. Thank you for keeping the secret.

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  • 96

    Interview: Sep 30th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Rohit and Mand680, Robert Jordan doesn't come out of Hemingway. In fact, when I first made the connection, I had already written three books under the name. My pen names have all been chosen from three lists of names using my real initials. It has been a matter of one from column A and one from column B, or maybe column C. One pen name actually managed to contain all three initials in a first name and a surname.

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  • 97

    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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  • 98

    Interview: Jan 20th, 2003

    Rick Kleffel

    Now, one thing that I find quite interesting about the Wheel of Time...to me it has an almost science-fictional feel. The prime driving force for the world is the ability that many characters possess to channel the One Power. Could you describe your hierarchy of psychic powers and talk about how you've developed it almost as a technology?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, I did think of it as a technology. One of the worst things that any writer who is writing about magic or some non-magic method of doing things—some non-scientific method of doing things, I should say—the worst mistake that those writers could make is to think that everything goes, anything goes. There are always rules; there are always limits; there are always prices to pay; there are always trade-offs. Asimov may have been right that, uh...no, actually it wasn't Asimov, it was Campbell? It was...

    Rick Kleffel

    Arthur C. Clarke.

    Robert Jordan

    Arthur C. Clarke; you're right! "Any sufficiently advanced science will seem to be magic."

    Rick Kleffel

    Exactly.

    Robert Jordan

    But it only seems to be magic to you and me; to the people whose science it is, it is actually going to be science, and they will be very well aware of the limits and the constraints and so forth. So I designed this as if it were a technology; I said that the world had been previously powered by this technology; the technology of the Age before the Breaking of the World was based on the use of the One Power. Their machinery used the One Power; their flying machines used the One Power; their toasters used the One Power. The One Power was how they operated their society, their civilization.

    Rick Kleffel

    And yet, of course as the technology in these books has spread to those beyond the select—the Aes Sedai—the old social hierarchies of this world start to crumble.

    Robert Jordan

    Well of course; that always happens. I'm writing about a world at a time of change. Change is uncomfortable, and there are two sorts of people: there are people who don't want change, and there are people who do want change. Both of these people are going to be disappointed. The people who don't want change are going to be disappointed because the change is going to come no matter what. The people who do want change are going to be disappointed because the change is almost never going to be anything like what they want. And what I am writing about is a world where the changes are coming to their society, to their world—changes have been coming now for some time—and the characters have to live through it, ride these changes, and make the best of it they can.

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  • 99

    Interview: Oct 2nd, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Flavion, I'm sorry you've had some bad experiences with writers. I think a writer should either make an effort to be pleasant with the fans or else avoid them. Of course.... A fellow once wrote me a long screed, back around The Great Hunt or perhaps The Dragon Reborn, complaining bitterly, and I do mean bitterly, about the complexity of the plots making the books unreadable. I shouldn't have done it, but I wrote back suggesting that he try The Velveteen Rabbit as more his speed. In my defense, I can only say that it was late in the day, and I was tired.

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  • 100

    Interview: Sep, 2005

    Glas Durboraw

    What influences you and your writing? Can you pinpoint anything in particular?

    Robert Jordan

    I believe the major influences on my writing style were Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Louis L'Amour, Robert Heinlein, and John D. MacDonald. They also happen to be my favorite authors of all time, but I believe they probably had the biggest influences.

    Glas Durboraw

    Sounds like very notable influences.

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  • 101

    Interview: Sep, 2005

    Glas Durboraw

    When you write, do you have a particular room in the house to study, or an office?

    Robert Jordan

    I have what I call my office; frankly it's a three-bedroom apartment in the carriage house behind our house, and the carriage house is divided into two apartments; I have the larger of the two. The walls are lined with bookshelves containing about fourteen thousand volumes at the moment. I keep trying to cull those and get them down, and unfortunately I keep buying more books. I have to steal this answer from Stephen King. He was asked, what is the best thing about having money? The best thing about having money is that I can buy any book I want as soon as it comes out. I don't have to wait for it to appear in paperback; I don't have to wait for it to appear on a remaindered table; I can buy it now, and that's terrific, and unfortunately I do buy it now. So I have fourteen thousand books and going, despite constantly giving away books.

    Glas Durboraw

    I can sympathize. I have a couple thousand, and I live in a one bedroom apartment, and as it is I keep trying to find out ways I can cut back. I'm not quite sure how to get it set up.

    Robert Jordan

    There is no way.

    Glas Durboraw

    You may be right.

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  • 102

    Interview: Sep, 2005

    Glas Durboraw

    What sort of influences do you find—not just in fiction and things like that—but, as you do your research, what sort of things influence what you write?

    Robert Jordan

    All sorts of things. Quite fascinating, I read a book called Salt, which was an actual history of salt. Fascinating book; a subject that I would not have thought would have been fascinating, but it was interesting enough that I picked up the book and read it in a night and a half, and a salt town appeared in one of the books. It was interesting enough that I said, "I'm going to have this salt town, and this next town you come to is going to be that."

    Glas Durboraw

    Isn't that in book ten?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes. Crossroads of Twilight includes a visit to a town where salt is produced. And other things pop in. I needed a way for some characters to get from one place to another sort of stealthily; I wanted them to be able to move without being noticed much. And I just happened to go to a thing called the Circus Flora, which was a recreation of a 19th Century American traveling circus, a small one-ring circus. And I was fascinated by it, and as a result of going to that show, Valan Luca's traveling show appeared, the original version, which was in effect a small-time circus. It became something much larger later as he earned money and built it up, but in the start, it was a small-time circus with a few acts and a few animals, and it was a way for these characters to be able to move from one place to another because nobody noticed them; they were looking at the show.

    Glas Durboraw

    I do like it when influences like that make their way in. And can you point to it and say, "Oh, maybe it's squeezed out of history," or something like that, or you see something similar in a favorite author, and it's like, "Oh, that's very cool to see that sort of thing brought in."

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  • 103

    Interview: Oct 21st, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    Another person asked him what he was reading right now, and he mentioned that he had been reading work by Tad Williams and Greg Keys.

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  • 104

    Interview: Nov 22nd, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    I saw some complaints about the "reviews" posted on tWoT at Amazon.com, but you have to realize that a lot of people post at Amazon just so they can flame something. If you disagree, whether with the reviews or the ratings of which sort of reviews were most helpful, make your own posts. Seems to that a year or so back, maybe a little longer, Amazon let a glitch slip in so the reviews were no longer anonymous. Turned out some well known mainstream authors were putting up posts lauding their own books. And others criticizing the work of writers they didn't like. Red faces all around. Amazon fixed the glitch and nobody talks about it much any more.

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  • 105

    Interview: Nov 22nd, 2005

    Question

    Have you ever found yourself working on and formulating an idea ... but then read it, or something very similar, in someone's else's book and thought "damn, they got there first!"?

    Robert Jordan

    No, I haven't.

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  • 106

    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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  • 107

    Interview: Jan 20th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For kcf, the Terry Pratchett/J.K.Rowling broo-haha seems much overblown to me. J.K.Rowling said some silly things to which Terry made sensible replies only to have the headlines alter what he had said. And then the headline writers tried to cover themselves by altering the headlines online. Neil Gaiman, as near as I can make out, pointed this out. Enough said, and I wouldn't have dipped a toe in even if the sell-by date wasn't long past.

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  • 108

    Interview: Mar, 2006

    Steven Steinbock

    Decorated Vietnam War veteran Robert Jordan began putting quill to parchment in 1977, and hasn't stopped since. Storytelling is in Jordan's blood. The South Carolina native, who taught himself to read at age 4 and began reading Jules Verne and Mark Twain at age 5, has written novels set during the American Revolution, a dozen adventures featuring Robert E. Howard's Conan, and, most notably, 12 epic novels (11 primary novels and one prequel) in his Wheel of Time fantasy series.

    Robert Jordan

    "The spoken word is the basis for all storytelling," he told us from his 1797 home in the historic district of Charleston, South Carolina. "My father and my uncles were storytellers. When we went fishing or hunting, there was always storytelling at night. I grew up with that oral tradition. I've always thought that my writing lends itself to being read aloud for that very reason."

    Steven Steinbock

    We asked him about the advantages of listening to a book as opposed to reading it.

    Robert Jordan

    "When reading an actual book," he answered, "it's possible to skip over things. You make connections in your head, and you find you're not registering every word. But when it's read to you, there's a difference. You hear every word."

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  • 109

    Interview: Mar, 2006

    Steven Steinbock

    When we asked Jordan his thoughts on abridgments, he became incredulous.

    Robert Jordan

    "A book that was 1300 pages in manuscript, and the abridgment is only 130 pages, some of them not even full pages? This is not even a skim of the story. It's just incomprehensible."

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  • 110

    Interview: Mar 31st, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    I am taking a great many books with me to Mayo. There is a B&N not far from our hotel, but on the evidence, I, at least, may not feel up to much in the way of book shopping. So I'll finally get around to reading Erikson, and I'll have a tall stack of mysteries and thrillers, many of them older books by John Dickson Carr and Carter Dickson (the same fellow, for those who don't know; the master of the sealed room murder). Mainly I'll be setting myself up to laugh as much as possible, though, so I have a large number of Terry Pratchett novels, plus Donald Westlake (with apologies to Terry, the funniest man currently writing in the English language), P.G. Wodehouse and Tom Sharpe, an Englishman now deceased, I believe, but with a sense of humor so skewed and a world-view so outre that Carl Hiassen seems flat and ordinary by comparison. And I like Hiassen a lot. A number of his books are in that carton already winging its way to our hotel in Rochester.

    Since we can't read all the time, and no one really wants to watch television much more than they absolutely must, we have also sent up a Scrabble set, a backgammon board, a go board (though we will play go-moku, the simple version for teaching children) and a set of Apples to Apples, a game that Mike Ford and Elise Matthesen introduced us to.

    FOOTNOTE—TEREZ

    Maria informed me that RJ loved Erikson, was very impressed by him. She gave me (along with a few hundred other fans) a tour of RJ's office in 2011, and I observed Erikson on RJ's famed bookshelves, so of course I asked (I also spotted Goodkind); I don't believe RJ commented on his impressions anywhere publicly, at least not that was reported (we all know what he thinks of Goodkind). Apparently a lot of fans recommended the Malazan books to RJ.

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  • 111

    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.

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  • 112

    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.

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  • 113

    Interview: May 1st, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For Zack, I was interested in Ayn Rand when I was in my 20's, but I think she is something that interests the young. Once you get a few years on you, you begin to see the flaws and holes. By the way, did you know that as a young man, Alan Greenspan was an acolyte sitting at the feet of Ayn Rand. Yes, the interest rate Johnny. It just goes to show you.

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  • 114

    Interview: Jul 14th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For those who think I have adapted some name or other from another novel or series of novels, I have not. The names come from my head, from mythology and legend, from history, from the foreign news, often with a twist I give them to make them less a reflection of reality or less familiar. But never from anyone else's novels. Never.

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  • 115

    Interview: Aug 26th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For Jesse, George Martin and I know each other to the extent that we'll have a beer together when we run into one another, or dinner maybe. I like his books. His style is very different from mine, but I don't go around looking for people who write the way I do. Oh, yes. George is a good guy. I like him as well as his books.

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  • 116

    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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  • 117

    Interview: Nov 15th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    Oh, just to side-step for a minute, "Let slip the dogs of war" is not Roman, though Shakespeare put it first in the mouth of Antony in Julius Caesar. Cry Havoc, and let slip the dogs of war. The first part, Cry Havoc, was a recognized standard command among English Medieval soldiers. As much so as "attention" or "about face" would be today. It meant to turn the soldiers loose to loot and cause chaos. Dogs of war, of course, would have been recognizable to Shakespeare's audience as a term for soldiers. Sorry about that, but I thought I'd get it in.

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  • 118

    Interview: Dec, 2006

    Question

    What book has had the most significant impact on your life?

    Robert Jordan

    The King James version of the Bible. That seems a cliche, but I can't think of any other book that has had as large an impact in shaping who I am.

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  • 119

    Interview: Oct 21st, 1994

    AOL Chat 2 (Verbatim)

    Question

    Mr. Jordan, are there any fantasy writers, beside yourself, that interest you?

    Robert Jordan

    It's a moderately long list, but ... Tad Williams, Holdstock, Ray Feist, Janny Wurts, Barry Hughart, C. S. Friedman, and really that's just the beginning, the ones that come off the top of my head.

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  • 120

    Interview: Oct 21st, 1994

    AOL Chat 2 (Verbatim)

    Question

    Interesting parallels between your life and Heinlein, who also turned to writing after illness forced him from a military career. Mr. Jordan, how did you become interested in writing?

    Robert Jordan

    I was reading Mark Twain. I was five years old, and I wanted to make stories like that.

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  • 121

    Interview: Oct 21st, 1994

    AOL Chat 2 (Verbatim)

    Question

    Who if any are Mr. Jordan's favorite authors?

    Robert Jordan

    Tad Williams, Robert Holdstock, Ray Feist, Janny Wurts, C. S. Friedman, Barry Hughart, and we'll cut it off there before it gets too long. I assume the last question meant in fantasy, because my favorite authors overall are Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and Jane Austin. Austen. Sorry, Jane.

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  • 122

    Interview: Oct 21st, 1994

    AOL Chat 2 (Verbatim)

    Question

    What other fields of literature are you interested in?

    Robert Jordan

    Just about everything except gothic novels and nurse stories.

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  • 123

    Interview: Nov 13th, 2009

    Question

    Why a pseudonym? Why not his real name?

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    He wanted to write everything there was when he was beginning. In the first place, he said he wanted to save his real name for his history of South Carolina. Then his Vietnam novel.

    In youth he loved Louis L'Amour's Westerns. He bought a new Louis L'Amour book one time and when he read it, it wasn't a Western, it was a mystery! So, he thought he'd have a name for every genre to keep this from happening to his fans. "Robert Jordan" had nothing to do with For Whom the Bell Tolls.

    Reference to a post from a Dragonmounter: The post was from a woman who started reading the series 12 years ago. She had small children, not enough money for drugs or alcohol. A friend gave her The Eye of the World. And it worked! Now her son is reading them and when he picked up The Gathering Storm answered the question of why he didn't use his own name: "Why of course he did! He's a superhero! You don't think Batman's real name is Batman, do you?"

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  • 124

    Interview: Nov 2nd, 2010

    Tower Guards

    The signing was supposed to start at 7 pm. At 4 pm there were already people in the store waiting. At 5:45 pm they started to give out numbers and move people into line. That was when we realized just how big this event was going to be. Some of us had felt a little pessimistic about turnout because there hadn't been much advertising. We scoffed at the estimate Tor had given the store of 400 – 500 people. However at 6 pm we had over 60 people in line already, and still an hour to go until the signing started. We started to realize that this could well be long night. Brandon, Harriet, and Jason Denzel of Dragonmount arrived around 6 pm. Brandon and Harriet sat down with a couple of people for interviews, including one with Tower Guard Virginia for the 4th Age podcast. Meanwhile Jason helped us Tower Guards with getting things set up. Then at 6:30 pm the Tower Guards, Jason, Harriet, and Brandon got to sit down to a nice pizza dinner and talk. One of my favorite parts was talking with Harriet personally about how we both loved Terry Pratchet's "Discworld" series, and how she and RJ used to share reading them, passing the books back and forth as they got them read. I also loved to listen as Brandon talked about writing and the best ways to get going when you're having troubles.

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  • 125

    Interview: 2001

    Thus Spake the Creator (Paraphrased)

    Reporter (Robert Jordan Himself)

    Robert Jordan

    RJ first started reading at 4. He skipped children's books and read White Fang. By 5 he was reading Jules Verne. Since then it was his dream to become an author. But instead at uni he chose Maths(?) and Physics to become an engineer because he hadn't heard of a successful American author. Later, after he had had a near death experience, he decided it was do or don't time. He wrote The Eye of the World, and sent it in to a publisher hoping to get a reply something like "This is good, with some more experience you can do well." Instead he got, "This is great, we want to buy it."

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  • 126

    Interview: Apr 10th, 2001

    Kurafire

    Has the Fantasy genre always been your favorite genre to read? Is it now?

    Robert Jordan

    No. I have no favorite genre to read, nor have I ever. I read any book that I think is good, in almost any genre. I mean I don’t read romance novels. Simply the fact that a book is supposed to be a good book, is enough for me to consider reading it. And maybe if I decide it isn’t a good book, it is not worth reading it. I’ll try anything; fiction, non-fiction...

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  • 127

    Interview: Apr 10th, 2001

    Kurafire

    You've learned to read at a very young age, and the books you read weren't children's books either. Do you think that this is what caused you to become an author in the long run?

    Robert Jordan

    Uhm, I don’t think it caused me to become an author. I must say I prefer writer. I write, I don’t 'author'. I think that they’re synchronous things. Or perhaps, both indicative of the same thing about me. I didn’t become a writer because I read early, any more than I read early because I was going to become a writer. I am the kind of person who would become a writer [...] and that kind of person is, I think, perhaps someone who reads early, who gathers inspiration for books.

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  • 128

    Interview: Apr 10th, 2001

    Kurafire

    Who has been, in the past, your major role model, idol or source of inspiration?

    Robert Jordan

    I think I’m going to surprise you. I don’t know... if I have a role model or inspiration as a writer. The people who have had the most influence on my writing would be Jane Austin, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Lewey Lamore, and John. D. McDonnel.

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  • 129

    Interview: 2001

    Thus Spake the Creator (Paraphrased)

    Raina (What books does Jordan read?)

    The summarised version is: Tad Williams, Robert Holdstock, Raymond Feist, Janny Wurts, Barry Hughat, C.S. Friedman, Mark Twain, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, John M. Ford, Guy Gavriel Kay, Terry Pratchett, George R.R. Martin, Jared Diamond, Robert Heinlein, John D. MacDonald, Louis L'Amour, James Patterson, Patrick O'Brian, Montaigne, Andrew Vachss, John Sanford, Patricia Cornwell, Jack London, Stephen King, Tim Powers, J.V. Jones, Greg Bear and everything else under the sun, except for romances.—Raina

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  • 130

    Interview: 2001

    Thus Spake the Creator (Paraphrased)

    Question (What books does Jordan read?)

    What books do you read?

    Robert Jordan

    Another ‘everything under the sun answer’. The only author names I managed to jot down from his list were: Terry Pratchett, George Martin, Elmo Lemar (lol, I know I misspelled that, but I didn’t know the author). In short, he reads everything, except for romance. He’s tried a book or two, but never passes page 100.

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  • 131

    Interview: 2001

    Thus Spake the Creator (Paraphrased)

    Signing Report (What books does Jordan read?)

    On my second pass through, I asked him to name some favorite science fiction writers, since he always listed fantasy writers.

    Robert Jordan

    He answered John M. Ford (again), Greg Bear, and C.S. Friedman (again), who also has written a lot of good science fiction.

    He actually reads a lot less science fiction, because he doesn't like distopias all that much. He likes technology. Why would people have to die at age 30 in the mud in some miserable hovel when they could live so much longer, do so much more.

    Especially since it wasn't that long ago that people in American did die at the average age of 30. You just had to go back a few hundred years.

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  • 132

    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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  • 133

    Interview: 2001

    Rochelle O'Gorman

    Do you read much fantasy?

    Robert Jordan

    I read everything. At the moment I'm reading an Andrew Vachss novel. The book before that was called The Code Book, about the development of ciphers and codes. The book before that was called Strange Victory, about the defeat of France in 1940—something that I think should be required reading for every member of Congress and every single person in the Pentagon.

    Rochelle O'Gorman

    So you're an eclectic reader?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes. Before that John Sanford and Patricia Cornwell and George Martin. I don't act as a tourist when I'm on (book) tour. I make my appearances, and in between time I put my feet up to rest them and I read.

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  • 134

    Interview: Oct 5th, 2001

    Reporter

    ... Then my partner and I went to get a bite, thinking we'll make it to the Opening ceremony in time. Wrong. We got back after Martin had spoken. Apparently, Jordan made a short speech when he was introduced. You all should ask Trebla or Gareth to report it, since I wasn't there. But it's funny.....

    .... The interview was held at 2pm on Saturday. We went to that one after lunch. Martin introduced Jordan, and he repaid Jordan for his quip during the opening ceremony. I'll post both parts since Trebla hasn't come on to post yet.

    Robert Jordan

    In the Opening Ceremony, Jordan got up and he started saying that his mother had had some mental illness issues with manic depressive disorder. He went on to say that he had inherited her depressive mood swings and that he's been fighting it on and off for years now. Once in a while, when he's in the depressed mood, he'll write and later on, publish the work under the pseudonym of George R R Martin (because his real name is actually George B B Martin, of course). Hah.

    GEORGE R.R. MARTIN

    So in the interview session, Martin got up and said that it's true that he didn't write the Song of Ice and Fire, that it was actually Jordan who wrote it. That's why Jordan didn't have time to actually write the WoT, and instead, the WoT was written by David Eddings. Muwahahahahah.

    Footnote

    RJ had an opinion on Eddings at least five years before this point. It was probably something he and GRRM had discussed over beer.

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  • 135

    Interview: Aug 31st, 1999

    Robert Jordan

    His own reading list includes Jane Austen and Louis D. L'Amour. "I think I write with a southern voice as we reckon things in America." Underneath the fantasy adventures, Jordan says his writing is about "the struggle between men and women ... not for control, the struggle to understand the rules of the game ... the interactions between men and women. We're all still playing it by ear (and) you're never really sure you've got it right. I've managed to hold on to my wife (Harriet) for 20 years, and she's pretty special, so I must be getting something right."

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  • 136

    Interview: Aug 31st, 1999

    Question

    Do you have a favourite author or book (or writer or film or series) that has influenced you or that you return to?

    Robert Jordan

    Charles Dickens, John D. MacDonald, Louis L'Amour and Mark Twain.

    I've learned different things from different ones.

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  • 137

    Interview: Aug 31st, 1999

    Question

    Who would you most like to be trapped in a lift with?

    Robert Jordan

    My wife. I find her infinitely fascinating and infinitely entertaining. My second choice would be a lift repair man.

    QUESTION

    Who would you most DISlike to be trapped in a lift with?

    ROBERT JORDAN

    I'm not going to answer that one.

    QUESTION

    What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn't do without?)

    ROBERT JORDAN

    I assume that the oxygen is provided, so the essays of Montaigne.

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  • 138

    Interview: Jun 16th, 1995

    Hans Persson

    After this, the only thing left that seemed interesting and that was "The uses of myth in fantasy" that was a conversation between Stephen Grundy and Robert Jordan.

    Robert Jordan

    Stephen Grundy bases his novel on the legend of Sigrid. Robert Jordan said that he instead took all the myths he could get his hands on, read what he could find, put it all in a large pot and stir and see what floats up to the surface. I have to admit I got a little jealous when he said he read about 300 books per year. At the same time he apparently seems to be able to write a whole lot too. The subsequent debate started with the authors arguing a bit for their respective views on how to use mythology in novels. Stephen Grundy thought that you should keep yourself to one example and keep more or less true to that one. While Robert Jordan thought it was OK to borrow material from loads of different myths. "If you find something you like, you should use it," he said; "if you then don't like the rest of the myth, just throw it away. You could either borrow something more fitting from other sources or just write in the holes yourself."

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  • 139

    Interview: May 19th, 2004

    Robert Jordan

    Someone else asked if he reads in his free time, and what kind of books, and if he reads fantasy books; he replied that he reads anything, and fantasy too (but not while he's writing! else he gets angry if he reads things he could have written better) and he gave some names (Pratchett, Key [sic] ...).

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  • 140

    Interview: May 24th, 2004

    Chiara Codecà

    A curios reader cant’t help but notice that the Forsaken are named after fallen angels and demons from the Judeo-Christian tradition. All the Wheel of Time series is full of themes and motifs from religions and myths from different parts of the world…

    Robert Jordan

    Oh, yes. I used Arthurian legends, Chinese and Japanese mythology, Indian mythology, traditions from Latin America and Africa. Some myths from Europe, but not much of Celtic because it’s been done so much.

    Chiara Codecà

    This means you’ve read about all of these subjects?

    Robert Jordan

    I read about everything. My knowledge is this wide and much less deep. I truly like to read about a lot of things.

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  • 141

    Interview: May 24th, 2004

    Chiara Codecà

    Do you think that your writing has been influenced by other authors?

    Robert Jordan

    I do in my writing style, not in the stories I tell. I believe six writers to have influenced the way I write: Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Louis L'Amour, Robert Heinlein and John D. McDonald. I know it’s a very wide range group of writer….

    Chiara Codecà

    Well, it certainly tells a lot of the wide range of your readings.

    Robert Jordan

    (Laughs) Jane Austen gave me an insight in the relationship between characters and in what we might call “social relationship”.

    Mark Twain did something that was unheard of, in his time: he had people speak the way people really spoke. I think it was revolutionary. Twain was the first to use the common language of the day, he taught me to use language the way I wanted. Dickens did some of the same, but later.

    L'Amour, John D. McDonald and Heinlein all gave me something about the use of language, mainly a certain freedom in using words, a lack of rigidity.

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  • 142

    Interview: May 6th, 2004

    Robert Jordan

    I also asked Jordan if he reads [GRR] Martin and he said he does and enjoys him a lot... and the same for Luca Trugenberger...

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  • 143

    Interview: May 7th, 2004

    Milan Signing Reports (Translated)

    kindra

    At the Milan meeting, Jordan has been extremely accessible, if it were not for us he would be gone ... since in the evening he had another commitment, and we showed up late.

    Robert Jordan

    Among other things Jordan said that in each of the female characters in the saga there appears some aspect of his wife's character, but what that is he is not going to reveal! He then recalled that in the past he has had health problems and that at a convention his fans in the United States threatened him that if he died before finishing the saga they were going to desecrate his grave! Among the authors he reads and appreciates are George Martin, Terry Pratchett, Katherine Kerr and Guy Gavriel Kay. (Of these, the only one I have not read anything of is Pratchett, but I have to say that he has good taste!)

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  • 144

    Interview: 1993

    Hailing Frequency

    In many places in "The Wheel of time," a careful reader will spot echoes of other myth cycles—the sword in the stone, for example. Do these things happen fortuitously or are they laid on in advance, intentionally as it were?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, they were laid on in advance. There are elements from Norse, Chinese, Japanese, and American Indian mythologies, to name just a few. I think it adds resonance to the story, although I've taken great care not to follow the older material in any slavish way. Occasionally, I will add in details here or there, and then discover that I have done something that is absolutely authentic to the myth I was working from. This is not automatic writing or channeling or being guided by something from the Great Beyond, it's simply that I have done a great deal of reading on these subjects and things bubble up in the back of my head all the time.

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  • 145

    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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  • 146

    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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  • 147

    Interview: Apr, 2003

    Galgóczi Móni

    Your brother read a lot of books aloud to you when you were a child. What was your favorite book, and which one had the greatest impact on you?

    Robert Jordan

    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is my favorite one, and the one that has had the biggest influence on me. Aside from that, I like works by John D. McDonald, Louis L'Amour, Robert A. Heinlein, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Mark Twain.

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  • 148

    Interview: Apr, 2003

    Galgóczi Móni

    You had made a statement once somewhere that the best thing about being successful was that you could buy any book you wanted from the money you made. Can you tell me how many books you have in your home library?

    Robert Jordan

    At the moment, I have just over 13,000 hardcover books.

    Galgóczi Móni

    That is fantastic. Can you tell me how much and what type of books you've read, or read lately?

    Robert Jordan

    I get a lot of books from various places, and after reading them I pass them along to my friends. The reason for this is that I have a very good memory, and once I have read a book it remains in my mind, so I do not read the same books twice, because it is not as exciting, as I remember the whole story after reading the first few pages.

    What type of books do I read? There are many best-sellers, mostly theological, historical, and scientific and technical works. It is important to me that I am interested in the book, but I often choose books based on reviews which appear in various journals. I'm actually omnivorous.

    Galgóczi Móni

    Do you have any favorites?

    Robert Jordan

    From the specialized work: Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel; otherwise, Lord of the Rings from Tolkien. But if you were to tell me now that you are going to take me with you to a desert island, and I will only be allowed to take one book, we would never get anywhere, because I could not choose which one to take with me.

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  • 149

    Interview: Feb 22nd, 2013

    Terez

    There were no personalizations the first time through because they wanted to get Harriet out of there. I did manage to ask her a question, though (paraphrased):

    Question

    What did RJ like to read (fiction or non-fiction) on the Civil War?

    Harriet McDougal

    He read non-fiction, no fiction.

    Terez

    Not even Gone With the Wind?

    Harriet McDougal

    No.

    Terez

    So nothing in particular?

    Harriet McDougal

    No, I can't remember anything in particular.

    Terez

    I know he liked Jane Austen from that general period...

    Harriet McDougal

    (big smile) Yes, he did.

    Terez

    The line was long, and she had someone else, so I had to leave it there. I didn't realize until later that Jane Austen died well before the Civil War began; I wasn't sure exactly when she lived.

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  • 150

    Interview: Mar, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    After Knife of Dreams, there's going to be one more main-sequence Wheel of Time novel, working title A Memory of Light. It may be a 2,000-page hardcover that you'll need a luggage cart and a back brace to get out of the store. (I think I could get Tor to issue them with a shoulder strap embossed with the Tor logo, since I've already forced them to expand the edges of paperback technology to nearly a thousand pages!) Well, it probably won't be that long, but if I'm going to make it a coherent novel it's all got to be in one volume. The major storylines will all be tied up, along with some of the secondary, and even some of the tertiary, but others will be left hanging. I'm doing that deliberately, because I believe it will give the feel of a world that's still out there alive and kicking, with things still going on. I've always hated reaching the end of a trilogy and finding all of the characters', all the country's, all the world's, problems are solved. It's this neat resolution of everything, and that never happens in real life.

    I originally thought I was signing up for a 10 or 15K run, and somewhere along the line I found out it was a marathon. So yes, I would like to cross the finish line on this thing and get on to what's next. I'm not that old, and I've got a lot of writing left. There are two more short prequel novels to be done at some point, but aside from that, I have said I would never write again in this universe unless I get a really great idea—which would have to be an idea that would support two or three of what I call "outrigger" novels, not part of the main storyline. Well, I may have had one! But I'll have to set it aside for a year or two because I've already signed contracts for an unrelated trilogy called Infinity of Heaven, which I'm very excited about. I've been poking that idea around in my head for 10 or 12 years.

    I've also thought about doing a book set during the Vietnam War, but Jim Rigney will probably never write the Vietnam book. If I did, it would be history now, and I decided a long time ago that Rigney was going to be or contemporary fiction, and my name for historical novels is Reagan O'Neill. Maybe Jim Rigney will never become a writer!

    There have been some computer games and comics, and a movie based on The Eye of the World is still in the works (with contracts that allow me a lot of involvement), but nobody else is ever going to write Wheel of Time books. For after I die, I've purchased an insurance policy with a couple of guys who have a kneecap concession in the southeastern United States, and they have rights to expand this concession should it be desired. For a very small fee, they have guaranteed that they will crack the kneecaps of anybody who writes in my universe, and nail them to the floor!

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