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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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Sep 4th, 2005
Robert and Harriet introduce themselves.
Skipped [transcription of] first question, what are you doing when you aren't doing WoT track stuff at DragonCon?
Largely it was to make things realistic, as realistic as I can. Background in physics and engineering; I also tried to structure channeling as if it were a science or technology. No eye of newt, hair of dog. There are real limits, there are rules, there are technological structures to channeling which I think are fairly obvious to anyone who looks at it. That was the major influence.
Plus making sure that I see that everything is real. Well if I bring about a blacksmith, well I don't know anything about blacksmithing, but I was able to get some nineteenth century books on blacksmithing, and once I had written the scenes I sent them to a woman I met that was a blacksmith and farrier, and she said you need to do this and you need to do that, but otherwise it is okay.
Yes, she has the spark. The question seemed to me to be about the difference between the people born with the spark and those that aren't. Even people who are born with the spark are going to start channeling whether they want to or not. But Nynaeve did it through a conscious effort, really. It wasn't just happenstance that she began channeling at that point, she had a need to channel. Uhm, the same thing that would happen later to Rand, by the way.
Often the thing, that as I believe has been pointed out, often the thing that pulls someone that has the spark into their first channeling is a perceived need, when they channel without knowing they channel, not realizing what they have done, quite often.
The...the people who are not born with the spark, can they channel unconsciously, can they, that is someone who can learn but doesn't have the spark, can they channel unconsciously? No. For them, they must have a teacher to guide them, or make a conscious effort, which is unlikely to succeed, but might.
Um, when I was much younger, before I met Harriet, I had two girlfriends simultaneously, who arranged my dating schedule between them, who was going to date me on which night. They chipped in together to buy me birthday presents and Christmas presents. You know, they just sort of shared me between them, you know. And they had been friends before, and I am not quite sure whether or not they made the decision they were both going to date me or not, on their own, before they first met me, it just came about. But I figured if I could manage two, surely Rand could manage three. Besides there are mythological reasons to have these three women involved with him.
As far as my view on this, with Harriet, I have many more than three women, there are so many facets to her personality she quite often makes me dizzy, I am quite satisfied there. About how she feels about this, I suspect you want her answer, I seem to remember her saying to me, you do remember this is fantasy right? And I think it was an accident she was holding a carving knife to my throat, just coincidence, but I am not sure.
At some point I will do the two prequel novels that I talked about, the two other prequel novels, besides New Spring. But, primarily I will give Harriet a small hand on a project she has signed a contract for; she's gonna do an encyclopedia of the Wheel of Time which will have all of the characters, all of the terms, all of the invented words, and roughly and a roughly eight hundred fifty to nine hundred vocabulary in the Old Tongue.
What I will be starting with is a trilogy called Infinity of Heaven, which will be a different universe, different world, different set of rules, different cultures. One culture that you meet eventually will be as close to being inside the Seanchan empire as you can come, but this culture is even more stratified both vertically and horizontally than the Seanchan empire, much more like ancient Japan truly was, or really like medieval Japan truly was.
It's funny I talked about a book I'm gonna call Shipwrecked, some of you may have heard of that. Shipwrecked is actually the second volume of the Infinity of Heaven trilogy, because I realized I needed more of the setup and as I did more of the setup I realized I had another novel here. It could not be the first part of the novel to do that, it had to be this was a novel in itself. So in these things I had thought ten or twelve years ago, would be a trilogy, has become two trilogies, but I intend to try and hold it to that very tightly.