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Home | Interview Database

Interviews: Sydney Independent Theatre Q&A

Summary:

Entries

21

Date

Aug 30th, 1999

Type

Verbatim

Location

North Sydney, NSW

TourCon

Australia Tour

Links

The Wheel's Hub

  • 1

    The following is the Robert Jordan question and answer book-signing session held on the 30th August 1999 at the Independent Theatre, North Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. This transcript was made from a tape recording. Thanks go to Teresa Nielsen Hayden from TOR Books who helped iron out many of the errors that were present in the original transcript.

    Footnote

    Some differences in the text were found at another posting of this interview on the Wiki. It appears as though the Wiki version is the more complete version, but the archive link has since been added to the Wiki as an additional source. The reporter is unknown.
  • 2

    Question

    ...how many books?

    Robert Jordan

    There will be at least three more books. I say at least because I've known the last scene of the last book for—

    Question

    Can you tell us?

    Robert Jordan

    I certainly will not, I haven't told anybody. Not even my wife and that's very difficult. I could have written that scene more than fifteen years ago. That's how well I know it, exactly how this all ends.

    Question

    How did you know you were going to take us on this journey?

    Robert Jordan

    I didn't know I was gonna take you along. All I knew was I was gonna write some stories and it helps when people would read them. And the rest of it, I don't really think I take any blame for that.

    Question

    How do you know that you could've written this fifteen years ago, this last scene? What are you going to do for the next, I think, three books? We're up to eight, we'll get these three...

    Robert Jordan

    I'm going to do quite a bit, I hope. Don't expect me to give you any details, that's for certain. Details and you'll read the next book and say, "Oh, I know that, I know that one, I knew that one, I knew that one. Damn he's getting boring. I think I'll go out and read somebody else." So no, I'm not going to tell you what's going to happen.

    Question

    How long will I have to be in love with you before then?

    Robert Jordan

    Could you repeat the question?

    Question

    I think the question that we're most asked as book-sellers is, "when is the next one coming and how many more will there be?" And frustrated fans of yours, Robert, say, "but I'm ready for the next one," and we patiently explain the problems with writing one—

    Robert Jordan

    The trifle problems, yes... It takes longer to write it than to read it. As I said, at least three more books. If I can finish it in three, I will. I'm not promising. I simply know it's going to be... I cannot do it in fewer than three. And as for how long till the next book, I hope to finish it by next May and the way as things have been going, well my English publisher and my American publisher have both been having books out within two months after I've handed in the manuscript. They pay a lot of overtime.

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  • 3

    Question

    I was amazed at the proliferation when I started looking on the web in preparation for meeting you, at the number of Robert Jordan sites there are and the number of other activities your books have spurred. Games and art galleries, you can spend hours on the web let alone hours reading your books. Are you surprised by the proliferation of extra book Robert Jordan things that have emerged and the proliferation of fan clubs and sites and games and all the other spinoffs?

    Robert Jordan

    The whole damn thing surprises me. I just set out to write some stories and I hoped I'd get some people to read them. I never really had any thought that as many people would start reading them as have. I never gave any thought to the possibility of all the fan clubs or web sites, none of that. Sorry to be boring, but I just set out to write some stories.

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  • 4

    Question

    On the subject of websites, there's quite a large discussion group within the newsgroups about some of your ideas and where they're going to go. Obviously you're not going to give away a lot there. One of the large points of discussion is Mat Cauthon's absence from The Path of Daggers.

    Robert Jordan

    I'd like to point out, you know... Boy, spoilers here. A certain thing happened to Mat in the previous book. If you've read it you know what I'm talking about. Something very subtle and very surprising and remember the thought, "What the hell happened to my luck?" or something like that. This book [The Path of Daggers] starts before that occurs. Now think about what happened to him and you might realize why he might want to rest up somewhere and have a few beers and just sit this one out.

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  • 5

    Question

    I'm just wondering, for the Age of Legends, will you be following up or going back to that or maybe endorsing a movie on the Age of Legends?

    Robert Jordan

    No. I'm waiting for some contracts to catch up with me which are an option by NBC to do a mini series based on The Eye of the World with the screen writer who did NBC's Merlin. Now that's an option. It might happen, it might not happen. That's the only movie or TV activity going on. As far as the Age of Legends is concerned and going back to them, when I reach the last scene of this book I would have told the story that I wanted to tell in this world. I would have said what I wanted to say in this world. And my intention at that point is to go onto a different universe, a different world, a different set of rules, different cultures. I've been thinking about it for about five or six years now.

    Question

    With the same characters?

    Robert Jordan

    No, certainly not. If I've done it, why do it again? That's the trap that sometimes you guys push the writer into. You say, "You know, I really liked what you've done before. Do it again." And he does. And pretty soon he's doing the same thing over and over again. Now I'll hope you'll stick with me because I've done this. When I finish it I will have done it and I will try to go on something else that is not exactly the same. I hope you'll like it.

    Question

    Wouldn't be based around your physics by any chance?

    Robert Jordan

    Not in particular. Not to any greater degree than this is.

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  • 6

    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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  • 7

    Question

    Where do you come up with all the names for the cities? Do you just pick them out of your head?

    Robert Jordan

    Ahh, yeah. And I admit to making lists. I read fairly widely and...Newspapers, foreign newspapers, foreign to me, to the States. The Economist and other magazines that have stories about other countries' news stories. And I'll see a name that it isn't the name that I want but I realize if I twist it and turn it inside out and tie it into a knot, it's a name that sounds very nice. It's the name I want. The same way names out of myth and legend that in some cases are twisted or turned or changed and others aren't. I figure that most of you are far enough along that you read, that you know Rand al'Thor, al'Thor, yes he is an Arthur analog. He is also a Thor analog. Some of you might not have picked that one up yet. And Artur Hawkwing is also an Arthur analog. Because what I've tried to do is not give you any sort of retelling of myths or legends but to reverse engineer every one of them so that I can give you some version of what might have happened and then have been changed by telling and retelling and retelling and retelling into the myths and legends we have today.

    Question

    On that point, the cultures from the books, would you say you've used cultures from today's society as a base for the cultures from the books?

    Robert Jordan

    Not a great deal from today's society, no. Not really. The Whitecloaks are based on any number of groups who knew the truth, who know the truth and they want you to believe the truth. They want you to know the truth too. And if you don't know the truth, if you don't believe the truth they'll kill ya. There's been a lot of them, all over the world. They're the basis for the Whitecloaks. The Aiel, for instance, bits of the Bedouin, bits of the Yaqui Indians, the Apaches, bits of Zulu, bits of the Northern Cheyenne, a lot of bits of my own. Some pieces out of Japan, some bits out of China. And then structure it together how these things have all...If all these things were true, all of these bits I wanted to have, and that culture lived in the middle of the desert, a very inhospitable desert, what else has to be true about these people. And thus I get the Aiel culture.

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  • 8

    Question

    Balefire is one of the most confusing things in the book, for me. I find the fine aspects of it, the whole threading together of the things that work in it... Could you be a little more elaborate on that?

    Robert Jordan

    All right. The cosmography we're looking at here, is not the cosmography of here and now. The Wheel of Time is in its way a spinning wheel. The fabric of reality is woven by the threads. Those threads are the lines that are formed by people passing through time. Each person has a thread. The thread has its sole dimension in time, its life is in time. Those are the threads that are used to weave the fabric of reality. When balefire strikes a person, a thread here, it doesn't simply stop the thread there. The thread burns backwards a little bit, like you just took a thread and put a match to it and it burns up a little bit before it goes out. It depends on how hot the flame is how far it's going to burn back and what the material is opposed to. It burns up a little bit, it doesn't just catch fire on the end and go out. So that person that was hit here is burned out of the pattern back to here. What that person did between here and here was no longer done. Other people remember seeing it. They may remember the supposed effects of it but what that person did wasn't done. It didn't happen, it's not real. Now that's a little bit of a shiver on the fabric of reality as it is. The reason that there was an unofficial agreement in the War of the Shadow to not use balefire any more, to stop using it, was simply that several cities were destroyed in that way. Hundreds of thousands of threads were burnt out from the Pattern in one go and the fabric of reality began to unravel. And even the guys going for the Dark One knew that there's not a whole lot of point to winning if winning means there's nothing there to rule, nothing there to win. If you burnt out the stakes, forget it. Have I made it a little clearer I hope?

    Question

    I was really referring to the scene where the wall falls on them and Rand uses balefire and they all come back to life. There's a prophecy about Mat how he was going to die and I'm not sure whether that incident is where he dies or not.

    Robert Jordan

    Well you're not supposed to be, are you! Once, Mat was hanging by his neck and Rand wasn't sure whether he caught a heartbeat or not. You see, the thing is Mat doesn't know. Mat thinks he's got a little ace in the hole but maybe he hasn't. Maybe he doesn't have that ace in the hole that he has a death to give yet, and still live, the way he thinks. Maybe. There's an acronym they use on the net, RAFO. Read and find out.

    Footnote

    RJ confirmed at Balticon XXX that the prophecy was fulfilled in Caemlyn rather than Rhuidean.

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  • 9

    Question

    Back on Mat again. Could you comment on whether or not he may be able to channel?

    Robert Jordan

    Nope. Not a chance. Can't do it. He can get anyone in the world to dance with him just about but he can't channel worth a darn note.

    Question

    He's still young enough for it not to show up, right?

    Robert Jordan

    No he's not going to be... He can't channel. But if you approach him the right way he will come to your birthday party on a Harley.

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  • 10

    Question

    I think at one stage on the internet you're quoted as saying that you wouldn't be a Gaidin—

    Robert Jordan

    Not a chance of it. Would I be a Gaidin? No I would not.

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  • 11

    Question

    Would a Gaidin be aware if his Aes Sedai was Black?

    Robert Jordan

    There are some ways that the Aes Sedai can fuzz, so to speak, the two way nature of the bond. After all, think about it a minute. Do you know many women who'd really like to have this guy looking over her shoulder if she was getting it on with somebody? This minute that she doesn't really want him to know what's going on, what she's doing, she can fuzz the bond to the extent that Elyas Machera has to ask whether the woman who is his... who held his bond has perished. He needs to know. He can't be sure simply by feeling because she fuzzed the bond after he ran away so he wouldn't know until she tapped him on the shoulder.

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  • 12

    Question

    Are you still enjoying what you're doing—

    Robert Jordan

    Immensely.

    Question

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

    Robert Jordan

    I'm a warrior god!

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  • 13

    Question

    Are you going to resurrect any more of the Forsaken because isn't that kind of cheating?

    Robert Jordan

    Read and find out. Cheating? It isn't cheating. Remember that the Dark One is called the Lord of the Grave and the part of this whole thing is that the natural order of things is believed to be cyclic. You are born, you die, you are born again. To most of the people in this world the notion of living on forever is at least queasy making and to some considered to be an abomination. They don't want to. It would be doing something unnatural. After all, the next time you might be somebody better, somebody you like better than who you are now. You might be somebody richer or more famous or more skilled, or whatever. If you live forever under this set of beliefs, if you live forever as who you are, that's who you're stuck with. And you will never manage to top it.

    Question

    Or a different gender?

    Robert Jordan

    Well it's possible, yeah.

    Question

    You've obviously resurrected two of the forsaken as a different gender—

    Robert Jordan

    Have I? They send me FAQs. Frequently asked questions—FAQ. Various people will do a print out and send it to me. And I have read a couple of them, not one for several years. I'll tell you, in those FAQs, the last one I saw three or four years ago about a third of what they worked out was right and about a third of what they worked out was not right but not quite wrong, if they work on it some more... They think they've reached the end but they've not, it's like they stopped halfway. And the other third, I don't know what books they were reading.

    Footnote

    There might have been some confusion here between transmigration and rebirth, because RJ has said elsewhere that gender is a soul trait. The Dark One can put someone into a body of the wrong gender, but a soul will always be reborn as the same gender, and the Dark One cannot change the gender of the soul (hence Balthamel still channeling saidin as Aran'gar).

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  • 14

    Sastan

    In Lord of Chaos when Elenia told Rand that Morgase and Tigraine weren't cousins, Rand felt really relieved. Was it because he thought there was something wrong having a relationship with his second cousin?

    Robert Jordan

    Well he's not sure exactly how close his relationship to Elayne might be, how close his blood relationship might be. That's what he wanted to find out. He's in love with her and he'd really like to get it on with her but on the other end, he thinks he's gotta stay away from her to keep her safe. And on top of that, if she comes to stay, and god he might be related to her, and you know, how close is he? What is the relationship? He doesn't know. For all he knows there might be some way that he's as good as her brother. He's gotta find out. But he's gotta find out without letting anybody know why he wants to find out or even really that he is trying to find out.

    Sastan

    But if he finds, because Galad is his half brother and also Elayne's half brother, won't he find anything wrong with that?

    Robert Jordan

    No. The way the mother-father relationship works is different. He has a blood relationship to Galad. He has no blood relationship to Elayne. None. At least not close enough to be counted by anybody except by how many lines of connection you have to the family of Andor.

    Sastan

    The reason that Morgase got her throne was because she was the most closely related to Tigraine.

    Robert Jordan

    That's part of it. You gotta be closely related to put in a claim. After that it becomes political. In a way almost like... More like a republic than a democracy in that the electorate is limited. And in this case, the electorate is limited to the nobles. How many nobles can you get to support you. And she was able to get enough, finally, after something very close to a civil war to gain the throne.

    Footnote

    Sastan claimed this question in his own report.

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  • 15

    Question

    Going back to the point about writing books that are prequels to the books you've written already. When you've finished the last book in this series will you have finished what you want to do in this world?

    Robert Jordan

    Unless I think of something, or else I'm hit by lightning and a bolt from heaven and suddenly this wonderful idea forms in my head... Barring that, adios muchacho.

    Question

    I think that most people probably accept that the best fantasy worlds usually take on a life of their own outside of even the author's control, so that after the author dies so long they live.

    Robert Jordan

    There are arrangements in my will for the kneecapping of anybody...

    Question

    So you certainly wouldn't extend your consent to any other writers writing anything about—

    Robert Jordan

    No. No. Ah-ahh. Not a chance. Nope. Nope. Sorry.

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  • 16

    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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  • 17

    Question

    I see the books, in a way you separate the sexes quite distinctly. Have you had much feminist critique of the way you treat the male characters and the way you treat the female characters, and how, in a way the male characters seem to be... have the upper edge?

    Robert Jordan

    You think the male characters have the upper edge? I like this, no, no, I like this one. I've had women come up to me before anyone knew who Robert Jordan was. I've had women come up to me at signings and tell me that until they saw me they thought that Robert Jordan was a pen-name of a woman, because they assumed that no man could write women that well. I thought, okay, that's the best compliment I received on my writing that I was able to get inside the skin of women well enough to fool women. You know, it's pretty good. I have seen feminist critiques, I've seen other sorts of critiques. Some of them made my hair stand on end. I had a woman stand up and point something out to me just down in Melbourne a couple of days ago about how all my women are very eager and ready to take charge, take the adventure, do what has to be done and all of my guys are trying to slide out the back door. You know, I don't want any part of this, and I haven't realized quite that it was that heavy. I don't think that I've had any really bad critiques. There may have, that haven't come to my attention. Just as I say a few that had been supposedly writing things that god knows I didn't intend to write or have any meanings I didn't intend to have. Does that answer your question or come close?

    Question

    It does answer my question. I think, to me, you certainly stimulate and challenge our imagination in your work. However I don't necessarily think you challenge our concepts of sexuality in the same sense. I believe that in your writing you very much distinctly keep the females in the female roles and the males in the male roles. And I think in our society, in today's society we're starting to get very challenged in the separation between the sexes—

    Robert Jordan

    Would you like to tell an Aiel Maiden that she's in a traditional female role? Forget about Aes Sedai, I'd love to see you go up to Nynaeve before she met any of these people and tell her she's in a traditional female role. I don't think I've got anybody in a particular traditional role. And no, I'm not challenging gender stereotypes. I'm doing a lot of things here and there's only so much I can do. There are other threads, other questions, other things that would be great write about, to put into these books. The only trouble is, would you really stick around if it was twenty-two books and they were twice as thick as this? All right, if so... Not only that, I'm not sure you could stand the strain. I have notes on characters, on countries, cultures, customs, all sorts of things. Aes Sedai—I have two files of two megabytes or so on each. One's just lists of individual Aes Sedai and information about them. The other is the founding of the White Tower—the customs, the cultures, the sexual relationships among Aes Sedai in training, the whole nine yards. Everything I could think of that might be useful about them. The story isn't there. None of it is on a file anywhere, there are no charts. One of my cousins asked us, "What are your critical path charts? You gotta have critical path charts for something this complex." And I said, "Yes I do have to have critical path charts," but even putting them on a computer in 3D it looks like a mess of spaghetti. If I pull in close enough to be able to see what's happening, I am so tight on that one particular area that the rest of it becomes meaningless. The only way I can do it is keep it up here. So the charts are all up here, the stories all up here. And I'm not sure how much more complex I can make it and how many more threads I can add and still hang onto it. So if I'm going to go into gender stereotypes I'm going to have to drop some of the things from the prophecies.

    (Later) Robert Jordan

    Oh, I wanted to add something here because of gender stereotypes and so forth. Somebody asked me why didn't I have any, in another question and answer session, asked me why didn't I have any gay characters in the books. I do, but that's not my bag to bring out the question of gender stereotypes and the whole nine yards. And they're just running around doing the things that they do and you can figure out who some of them are. If you want to help them, I don't care. It's not the point if they're gay or not gay, okay?

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  • 18

    Question

    Do you know what the title of your next book is?

    Robert Jordan

    No, I won't until probably I'm close to the end. Sometimes it is the last bit of the book, something I've written in the last bit of the book. And a couple of times... A Crown of Swords. As soon as I knew I was able to put the Laurel Crown, Rand assuming the Laurel Crown in that book, I knew that that book was going to be called A Crown of Swords. But most of the time I'm at least halfway through it.

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  • 19

    Question

    Are you a very disciplined writer? You must work, for example, between nine and five. How does that fit in with the pressure to complete the series, for example, from publishers?

    Robert Jordan

    Well I've never looked at the page of something more common. That's simple fact. I get up in the morning, I have breakfast, I go back down the long garden to the carriage house where my study is. And Maria, my chief assistant is in and she will... Phone messages from yesterday mainly that I should maybe call back about. I'll look at my email and see what I want to answer and what I'm going to ignore. And then I start working, I start writing. And that's probably... that could be, depending on how late I slept. I could be at work from nine to eleven which is about the time I start writing. About four o'clock in the afternoon I realize that I haven't stopped for lunch and I'm a bit hungry but it's too late to stop for lunch now. Cause I'm figuring I'll knock off at six and go in to eat with Harriet. And sometimes I do and sometimes I forget the time again and I get a phone call saying, "Are you ever coming in?" I look up and realize it's dark outside and I quickly go into the house. I don't know whether you call it disciplined or obsessed but there are very few things I'd rather do than write. When I get into the story, I'm really into the story. The creation of it is at that moment the most important thing in the universe. I've had windstorms breaking branches and rain hurling things all over the place. The big window beside my desk to this side. Glass sided door, long garden over here, glass front door... And I didn't know there was a storm. I didn't know it was raining, I didn't know there was wind, I didn't know there was anything...

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  • 20

    Question

    Who is your favourite character?

    Robert Jordan

    Whoever I am writing at the moment. That's no lie. Whoever's head I'm inside, whoever the point of view character is and it doesn't matter who that is. If I am writing from Semirhage's point of view I have to like Semirhage to a certain extent. I have to like Semirhage because most people do like themselves to a certain extent. And if I don't, then Semirhage comes across as phony. My wife claims that she can tell when I've been writing certain people. There are days that I've gone into the house and I haven't taken three steps before she says, "Ahaa, you've been writing Padan Fain today, haven't you?"

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  • 21

    Question

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

    Robert Jordan

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

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

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

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

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