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Home | Interview Database

Interviews: AOL Chat 2

Summary:

Entries

94

Date

Oct 21st, 1994

Type

Verbatim

Reporter

Aaron Bergman

Links

rasfwrj

  • 1

    Online Host

    Your host for tonight is CSEmcee1 (Norma II).

    Robert Jordan is a lifelong resident of Charleston, SC who served two tours of duty in Vietnam and received a degree in physics from The Citadel, the military college of South Carolina.

    When a injury sidelined him from a career as a nuclear engineer for the Navy more than a dozen years ago, he became a voracious reader, and the frustration with the quality of fiction he was reading drove him to begin writing himself.

    An avid history buff, Jordan is particularly interested in military history, and Charleston's past. He and his wife live in the Old Historic District of Charleston. The outdoorsman enjoys hunting, fishing, and sailing, and the indoor games of poker, chess and pool.

    Why are Jordan's books so popular? Look at the phenomenon of epic fantasy itself. When Tolkien's novels burst on the scene in the '60s, the fantasy genre was virtually unheard of. But his stories of hobbits and dark evils caught on. Without question The Lord of the Rings is nothing less than amazing.

    Countless readers fell in love with the chronicles of Tolkien's Middle Earth, and responded to it on a level that transcends mere entertainment. Then came Jordan. And with him, another popular cultural phenomenon—The Wheel of Time!

    Lest his fans despair, he wants them to know that even when he's on the road during is current tour, he is hard at work on his seventh (yet untitled) volume of The Wheel of Time. America Online is pleased to present perhaps the most-discussed author on the Internet, Robert Jordan!

  • 2

    CSEmcee1

    Good evening and welcome to the Globe, Mr. Jordan!

    Robert Jordan

    Good evening and thank you for having me!

    CSEmcee1

    We have some questions from the audience if you are ready!
  • 3

    Question

    How many books will the Wheel of Time series be?

    Robert Jordan

    As many as it takes to reach the last scene, which has been in my head since the very beginning. And not a book more. Sorry.

    Tags

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  • 4

    Question

    Whats it like to write a protagonist who frankly is going batty? How do you balance likeability with fading competence?

    Robert Jordan

    I just try to do it in the book the way I do it in real life.

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  • 5

    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.

    Tags

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  • 6

    Question

    How soon can we expect Lord of Chaos to come out paperback?

    Robert Jordan

    About a year.

    Tags

  • 7

    Question

    What was the primary driving force behind your world (other than making lots of money)?

    Robert Jordan

    The driving force was creating a world populated by cultures that seemed real, but alien–alien as in other.

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  • 8

    Question

    Who is your favorite of the Wheel characters?

    Robert Jordan

    The one I'm writing at the moment, whichever one that happens to be.

    Tags

  • 9

    Question

    What went on with Egwene, Mat and Fain in the dungeon The Great Hunt?

    Robert Jordan

    Most of it is fairly obvious, I would think. For the rest, you'll have to read and find out.

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  • 10

    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.

    Tags

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  • 11

    Question

    How many books will there be in Wheel of Time?

    Robert Jordan

    Several more. I did answer this earlier.

    Tags

  • 12

    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.

    Tags

  • 13

    Question

    How many books are in your current series?

    Robert Jordan

    Perhaps we should put "how many books" on the front door of the conference. Several more.

    Tags

  • 14

    Question

    What other fields of literature are you interested in?

    Robert Jordan

    Just about everything except gothic novels and nurse stories.

    Tags

  • 15

    Question

    Where did you get the concept for Perrin?

    Robert Jordan

    Out of my head.

    Tags

  • 16

    Question

    Do you plan on any computer or video games based on the Wheel of Time?

    Robert Jordan

    That really depends on the companies that manufacture such things. There has been some interest. We will see what we will see.

    Tags

  • 17

    Question

    How long did it take you to come up with the world for the Wheel of Time?

    Robert Jordan

    About ten to twelve years.

    Tags

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  • 18

    Question

    Are you going to write about the Age of Legends?

    Robert Jordan

    No.

    Tags

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  • 19

    Question

    When will your next book be out?

    Robert Jordan

    In a year, if everything goes all right.

    Tags

  • 20

    Question

    How do Wise Ones get gai'shain? (They don't fight, right?)

    Robert Jordan

    They can be traded, though. Besides which, there are other ways, if you read Lord of Chaos, to become gai'shain.

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  • 21

    Question

    What was your inspiration for this series? Anything specific?

    Robert Jordan

    For First Cause: I suppose the question of what it would really be like to be tapped on the shoulder and told that you were born to be the savior of mankind. Beyond that, two or three hundred things.

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  • 22

    Question

    Could Aviendha be pregnant? ...enquiring minds want to know!

    Robert Jordan

    Enquiring minds can read and find out.

    Tags

  • 23

    Question

    Have you written any books previous to the Wheel of Time set?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes.

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  • 24

    Question

    How did you initially break into fantasy writing? It seems like you've come from no where to suddenly be on top of the market.

    Robert Jordan

    I'm just another twenty-year overnight success.

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  • 25

    Question

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

    Robert Jordan

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

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  • 26

    Question

    You have written in many genres, but fantasy seems to be your most proliferate. The Conan and Wheel of Time are the most popular, it would seem. What do you attribute this to?

    Robert Jordan

    Good genes.

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  • 27

    Question

    Have you ever thought about writing about a renegade hacker?

    Robert Jordan

    No, and remember, I own guns.

    Tags

  • 28

    Question

    I was wondering if you could comment on some of the clues that Randland (as we call it) seems to be written as a future earth.

    Robert Jordan

    Time is a wheel. If you look in one direction, you are looking at the past. If you just turn around and look in the other direction, you are looking at the future. The books are set in our future and in our past, depending on which way you look.

    Tags

  • 29

    Question

    Your perspective on Shannon Miller?

    Robert Jordan

    Do you mean Shannon Faulkner? [no response]

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  • 30

    Question

    Mr. Jordan, who is your favorite character in Wheel of Time? Who do you relate to most as a person?

    Robert Jordan

    My favorite character, and the one I relate to most, is the one about whom I am writing at whichever moment I happen to be writing.

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  • 31

    Question

    Are your Arthurian legend parallels intended or were they written in and only realized afterwards?

    Robert Jordan

    They were intended.

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  • 32

    Question

    Are you going to continue writing fantasy after the Wheel of Time and Shipwreck series are over?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes.

    Tags

  • 33

    Question

    Mr. Jordan, your work is purely exceptional. Do you do much research once you begin writing? What type of things do you research?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, because I need to research things like the details of exactly how a blacksmith works. For example.

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  • 34

    Question

    So how many books do you THINK are left in the series, at this point?

    Robert Jordan

    As many as it takes to reach the end, and not one more.

    Tags

  • 35

    Question

    Do you ever let compassion for a character affect or influence plot development?

    Robert Jordan

    Never.

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  • 36

    Question

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

    Robert Jordan

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

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  • 37

    Question

    When did you first develop the idea for Wheel of Time? How long had you been working on it before it was accepted by a publisher?

    Robert Jordan

    The very first notion came to me nearly twenty years ago; I spent ten or twelve years mulling it over, told my then-publisher about it, and he offered me a contract.

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  • 38

    Question

    Why is Myrelle so heartless? She nearly let Lan die. Why?

    Robert Jordan

    She's dealing with a man capable of taking her head off before even she could blink and a man who's in a mental state where she can't be sure he won't.

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  • 39

    Question

    Are you considering chronicling the latter part of the Age of Legends?

    Robert Jordan

    No.

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  • 40

    Question

    I was pleased to see Lord of Chaos appearing as a new bestseller in today's USA Today bestsellers list.

    Robert Jordan

    Thank you.

    Tags

  • 41

    Question

    Mr. Jordan, I think your series is wonderful! Do you have any plans for a new series?

    Robert Jordan

    New series: yes, but not until the Wheel is done.

    Tags

  • 42

    Question

    Your style of writing is so simple, yet so complex that it is a genre all its own. Will Moiraine come back from the dead since Lanfear and Asmodean apparently have?

    Robert Jordan

    Read and find out—in fact, I really suggest you read and find out.

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  • 43

    Question

    You've lived in Charleston all your life. Is there anything here that's affected your novels?

    Robert Jordan

    Trying to call them "palmetto bugs" so as not to terrify the tourists has nearly driven me batty. That's about it.

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  • 44

    Question

    Not that I'm complaining, but could you write the books faster? I'm dying here.

    Robert Jordan

    No, I can't write the bloody things any faster, and if I find out where you live, I will send my friends Little Guido and and Harry the Nail around to talk to you.

    Tags

  • 45

    Question

    Is Aran'gar really Lanfear? If she is, how did she come back?

    Robert Jordan

    Read And Find Out.

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  • 46

    Question

    Exactly how tall is Rand?

    Robert Jordan

    Six foot five to six foot six.

    Tags

  • 47

    Question

    Your plots are so detailed and intricate—do you ever get confused about what should happen when?

    Robert Jordan

    No.

    Tags

  • 48

    Question

    Why was Perrin not in The Fires of Heaven?

    Robert Jordan

    He had a lot of things to do back home, and they were all pretty boring.

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  • 49

    Question

    Mr. Jordan, Are you aware of the interest that has risen on the internet and here on AOL about your books?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes.

    Tags

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  • 50

    Question

    What is Padan Fain's overall role in the Wheel Of Time (besides hating Rand with a passion)?

    Robert Jordan

    Read and find out ... except you should be able to figure out most of it by now. Think a little bit—it's all there, really.

    Tags

  • 51

    Question

    You're an amazing author! If only everyone else in the world was like you, then the world might be a better place.

    Robert Jordan

    How true, how true.

    Tags

  • 52

    Question

    What can you tell us about Kari al'Thor? Where was she from, etc.

    Robert Jordan

    About Kari al'Thor: you're going to have to read on to find out beyond what's already in the books.

    Tags

  • 53

    Question

    What other books have you written under your other pen names?

    Robert Jordan

    A number, in other genres, and they're all out of print at the moment.

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  • 54

    Question

    What is your opinion of the cover art?

    Robert Jordan

    I know that the covers are a hot topic for discussion, pro and con. I'd like to point out that I have had no end of letters saying that the reason they first picked up one of the books was the cover.

    Tags

  • 55

    Question

    Are you going to write any other books for different series?

    Robert Jordan

    Certainly not until I finish this one.

    Tags

  • 56

    Question

    Mr. Jordan are you willing to do lectures at colleges and universities?

    Robert Jordan

    Depending entirely on whether I have time, which I seldom do, unfortunately.
  • 57

    Question

    Do you follow any of the AOL discussions of your writings?

    Robert Jordan

    Only when someone downloads and sends hard-copy to me.

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  • 58

    Question

    From what sources did you develop the concept of Wolfbrothers and the "powers" Perrin has developed in the series?

    Robert Jordan

    Any number of myths from Europe, North American Indians, and the Australian aborigines.

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  • 59

    Question

    Is there any symbolism or "deeper meaning" behind this series?

    Robert Jordan

    There are layers, certainly, but I don't know about deeper meaning.

    Tags

  • 60

    Question

    Did you intend to have an extreme tone of Arthurian/Biblical references?

    Robert Jordan

    Do I have an extreme tone of same? I thought it was a mild tone of same.

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  • 61

    Question

    Am I seeing things that aren't there, or are there several references to the Arthurian Legends in the Wheel of Time?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, there are. Among many others. The Arthurian legend is the most recognizable in the United States. The others are much less so and you don't pick them out as easily.

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  • 62

    Question

    I work in a bookstore, and I can testify that your books are very popular in Kentucky. I am looking forward to finishing the series. Were you surprised at the huge following that have become almost obsessed with Wheel of Time?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, very much.

    Tags

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  • 63

    Question

    Does living in such an old and unique house aid you in coming up with ideas?

    Robert Jordan

    No.

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  • 64

    Question

    Do you have any interest in establishing a board to interact with fans ala R. Feist?

    Robert Jordan

    If I did, I'd never get any writing done.

    Tags

  • 65

    Question

    Can you tell us something of how you go about keeping track of such a complex world and so many characters?

    Robert Jordan

    Not without unzipping my head with a can opener.

    Tags

  • 66

    Question

    How did you develop the female characters in your series? They are a strength to the series, and are interesting because they seem to contain genuinely "feminine" thought patterns?

    Robert Jordan

    I spent forty-odd years listening to women, and besides that, they're all based on my wife.

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  • 67

    Question

    I hear your next book is "The Wheel of Shogun". Is this true?

    Robert Jordan

    Not exactly.

    Tags

  • 68

    Question

    Can we expect the introduction of any new, major characters?

    Robert Jordan

    Read and Find Out!
  • 69

    Question

    How hard do you find it to integrate all the subplots and characters? I find that your books are much more sophisticated plot-wise than any of the other fantasy/sci-fi books that I've read.

    Robert Jordan

    I don't know how hard it is; I just do it.

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  • 70

    Question

    Any plans for a leather-bound copy of Lord of Chaos?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, it's coming.

    Tags

  • 71

    Question

    What exactly is Padan Fain?

    Robert Jordan

    Read & Find Out.

    Tags

  • 72

    Question

    Having just finished The Fires of Heaven I must say that I am greatly distressed by the absence of The Wolf ... Perrin. So what's happened to him?

    Robert Jordan

    He will turn up again eventually. Read on.

    Tags

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  • 73

    Question

    Is there something you've learned since, that you would now change in your first book?

    Robert Jordan

    No.

    Tags

  • 74

    Question

    Is Moiraine really dead?

    Robert Jordan

    Read and find...out.

    Tags

  • 75

    Question

    Will you write any books about characters from the distant past, such as Artur Hawkwing?

    Robert Jordan

    No.

    Tags

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  • 76

    Question

    I was curious about your attitude towards women. They have a strong (Aes Sedai for instance) presence in your books. I am glad you break the stereotype of 'women in chains needs Conan type to help her'. When you get writers block, what do you do to get it back into form?

    Robert Jordan

    i'VE NEVER HAD WRITER'S (SORRY) block–but I've sometimes had caps lock.

    Tags

  • 77

    Question

    Will what happened to Asmodean be explained in Lord of Chaos?

    Robert Jordan

    Read and find out.

    Tags

  • 78

    Question

    Hate to ask but how many volumes total in the Wheel of Time series can we expect (I don't really want it to end)?

    Robert Jordan

    Several more. That's as close as I can come.

    Tags

  • 79

    Question

    Do you have any "defined" plans for your writing career after you finish Wheel of Time?

    Robert Jordan

    Just as far as some ideas for the next book.

    Tags

  • 80

    Question

    If you could work with any of the writers you named, who would you choose?

    Robert Jordan

    None of them. I work by myself. I don't see how to work with someone else, really.

    Tags

  • 81

    Question

    Any chance of your books becoming movies?

    Robert Jordan

    Not under my control.

    Tags

  • 82

    Question

    Robert, in just about every story that I have read, good reigns supreme. Yet, wouldn't it be interesting if evil made just a little more headway than usual?

    Robert Jordan

    I think that's usually what happens in what we call a "story."

    Tags

  • 83

    Question

    What is there to Lan's brother Isam, in the Waste? Is he a Darkfriend, or more?

    Robert Jordan

    Read and find out.

    Footnote

    Isam is Lan's cousin, and he has no connection to the Waste that we know of. He was merged with Luc to form Slayer, though, and in that form he killed Rand's father Janduin (but in the Blight rather than in the Waste).

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  • 84

    Question

    How did the White Tower form after the Breaking?

    Robert Jordan

    Aes Sedai slowly got together.

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  • 85

    Question

    Was there anyone that helped you develop the characters?

    Robert Jordan

    No.

    Tags

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  • 86

    Question

    Why fantasy as a genre?

    Robert Jordan

    Why a duck? Why not a duck?

    Tags

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  • 87

    Question

    I would like to become a writer in the future. How do you suggest I get started?

    Robert Jordan

    By writing.

    Tags

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  • 88

    Question

    Are you ever going to expand the existing map and perhaps open up the lands east of the Spine of the World?

    Robert Jordan

    There are no known maps of the Aiel Waste. That has been established.

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  • 89

    Question

    If Rand's mother isn't Aiel, was she formerly Queen of Andor?

    Robert Jordan

    Read and find out!

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  • 90

    Question

    Why is Perrin's horse in Lord of Chaos called Stayer and not Stepper?

    Robert Jordan

    Because it's a different horse.

    Tags

  • 91

    Question

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

    Robert Jordan

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

    Tags

  • 92

    Robert Jordan

    One last question?
  • 93

    Question

    I'm sorry. How long after publishing The Eye of the World did you recognize the extent of the popularity of your book, and did you know at that time that the "World" would grow to such a great proportion (i.e., that you'd have written this many books)?

    Robert Jordan

    I never expected anything like this, and I really don't know how long it took me to realize that the books were very popular. It rather crept up on me.

    Tags

  • 94

    Host

    All good things must come to an end! Time has run out for this event! CSEmcee1: It has been a pleasure having you with us tonight, Mr. Jordan.

    Robert Jordan

    Thanks for coming, everybody.

    HOST

    Thanks to you audience for stopping by tonight! Good evening, everyone!