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2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
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There was the usual mention of how many books. I heard three or so but then he said something else which I missed. It seemed to create a bit of buzz but I have no idea what it was.
He said he had no idea what the title of the next book was yet. Once again I did not hear the rest of what he said. I think though he said that once the title was firmly established he will let us know. Which is what he did with The Path of Daggers.
When are you hoping to have Book Nine released (do you have a title and is it possible to know what it is)? Is it also possible to give us a teaser to what the next book will be about?
The next book will be called Winter's Heart. The good lord willing and the creek don’t rise, I expect to finish the writing by the end of May 2000, and my American and British publishers are planning to put it out in November 2000. As for teasers, read and find out. Though I expect Tor Books will post the prologue on their website, as they have done for the last few volumes.
The general idea I now have is that it was something like 10, maybe 20 meters between them. Not the 100+ meters I'd kinda expected.
All in all it was a pretty short session, but well worth it, even with all the added travel time.
Was Erian Boroleos meant to disappear during the battle at Shadar Logoth or was that a mistake?
Erian Boroleos was not meant to disappear. In my notes, she is placed guarding those with Cadsuane who cannot channel and not too pleased about it (there are reasons why she was chosen out for this, which I won't go into here), and there is even a note (under CHECKS AND CORRECTIONS, a category I use to make sure that I haven't blinked at the wrong time) to make sure of mentioning her in passing. It didn't happen, for which, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I was so certain that I had done it, that I didn't find out I hadn't until the paperback came out, but a correction will be made.
In Winter's Heart, Min doesn't recognize Birgitte, but they were in Salidar at the same time. What is the story there?
No story at all. In Salidar, Min knew Birgitte as a adventurer, you might say, but not until Caemlyn did she realize that Birgitte was, in fact, BIRGITTE BY GOD SILVERBOW!
Are you going to take a break before starting the next book?
Well, when I finish this tour, I will go home and have Thanksgiving, and then I'll start writing the next book. So I'll take a short break, then start on it.
Now, a response to WoT Book Nine. As fans, we waited a long time for this book: The book where saidin was to be cleansed. True, we've waited longer for the final book in the series, but I remember this one providing a very nice sense that the series WAS indeed moving. The cleansing of the One Power really did deserve its own book, and the battle at the end was a nice focal climax, tying together several different characters and plot lines into a single awesome event.
I often wondered, when reading the early books as a youth, if saidin WOULD get cleansed. I worried that the end of the series would come and the taint would still be in force, leaving the Asha'man to deal with being hunted and gentled. As both a reader and a writer I found it immensely fulfilling to get this book, as I knew this event would change the series drastically. That's exciting because of the possibilities it opens up—possibilities for conflict and storytelling. How will the Aes Sedai, and the world, react to the realty that men channeling is no longer a terrible thing? I think the fact that we didn't get to see this reaction in Book Ten (as hoped) lead to a lot of the disgruntlement people felt with that particular volume.
However, we're here to talk about Book Nine. Reading it as an author and the one who is going to help complete this series, I see things differently now. I love how the events of cleansing the male half of the power drive this book. By having Rand announce up front what he intends to do, Mr. Jordan creates an expectation and a kind of narrative 'time bomb' for the readers. Will it happen? Won't it happen? This is very different from what authors normally do—my first instinct, for instance, would have been to keep Rand's plan a secret for a large chunk of the book, then have a dramatic reveal.
Yet, that would have had a much different effect, narratively, and I like how Mr. Jordan did it here. The plotting method I mentioned above would work for the first or second book of a series, but for book nine, I see the initial declaration as a move of honesty on Mr. Jordan's part. In a way, it's saying this: "Look, I know you've followed this series for a long, long time. I'm here to promise you that something incredible is going to happen here in this book." The joy for us as readers turns from trying to guess the plot to instead anticipation of what we hope will come at the end. Instead of "What will Rand do?" (A mystery plot) we get a "Will he succeed?" (an action adventure plot.) That made this book immensely satisfying, and allowed him to use Rand's plans as a focus for the entire book.
The other item I'd like to note here is that we get Mat back, which is very nice. As I've often said in these reaction pieces, I feel that this series is much larger than just one character—even Rand. The pleasure of the books lies in watching the interweaving and growth of the various participants. That said, Mat is a nice counter-balancing force for the stories, and he adds a lot to them. An edge of humor, a feeling of a guy who is still—somehow—an underdog rather than a powerful political or militaristic force unto himself. The three male leads work very well together, and when we have a book with all three of them, I think it helps the pacing and flow a lot. Perrin can be deliberate and thoughtful, Mat spontaneous and glib, and Rand almost more of a force of nature than a person.
Anyway, I finished off New Spring today and will begin Book Eleven this evening.
In one or two threads I have been wondering for a while why Erian Boroleos (Green) wasn't assigned to one of the circles that were defending Rand while he and Nynaeve were cleansing saidin. (See Pam's Winter's Heart notes for the details; IIRC it has been placed under the header 'possible screw-ups') So I asked RJ when I had the chance:
Me: "Could you tell me if Erian was present in the battle near Shadar Logoth, when Rand was cleansing saidin?"
[looking up] Who?
Erian, one of the captured Green sisters who swore fealty to Rand. Did she take part in the battle, or was she somewhere else?
Oh. Yes, she was there. RAFO.
This could either mean that Erian did something special that we don't know about, or that RJ forgot about her while writing the last chapters. On the other hand, possibly RJ thought I meant Elsa (who was definitely there). Perhaps Erian wasn't there but went to Tear with Alanna instead. I guess we'll find out in a year or so...
Another question followed about the number of books. Same answer.
He said that he writes about 8 hours a day 6 days a week when he is not on tour. He said something about when he was fishing, unless he was fly-fishing or was on the boat really having to work at it, he felt like he should be home writing.
He then answered a question about living in Charleston; about how it was his favorite place to live out of the half dozen or so cities he felt that he would like to live in.
He said that for this book it took two months from the time he handed in the final manuscript until he went on tour.
It's been an interesting experience. So far as I know, I'm the only person in the world to have ever read through—beginning to end—the Wheel of Time, starting with Book One and continuing through until I reached the final scenes Robert Jordan wrote before he passed away. (Maria might have done it, but I don't think so—she pretty much has the books memorized by now, and seems to spot-read more than she reads straight through.)
This is an experience others will start having in the coming years, and perhaps they'll agree with me that it DOES change the series. First off, you gain a better appreciation for Robert Jordan's ability to foreshadow. Second, the slow parts don't seem so slow any longer, particularly as you see books seven through fourteen as being one large novel.
I think I know who sent Slayer to Far Madding.
I always thought it was Taim...
Because why else would he disguise himself?
Yeah. That one I know.