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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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Apr 30th, 2010
As we got into The Wheel of Time, the biggest challenge was that we were always behind the eight ball as far as delivery dates to New York went. That was one of the biggest challenges, keeping the pressure off of him, and dealing with it myself and getting my work done in double time.
The other biggest challenge was keeping Tom Doherty from making editorial suggestions to Jim, because every time he did that, poor Jim would be stopped dead in his tracks. He'd lose about a month while he was brooding about that. So eventually, I told Tom, "Just don't, unless you want another late book." And Tom was very good about it once I explained the problem to him, I think. I don't know why it was so difficult for Jim to accept that from Tom, but it was.
No, it was a surprise because I really pretty much had to have it that way. If he told me about it ahead of time, I would look at it on the page and think, "I've heard this stuff, before. This isn't fresh," forgetting that it was he who told me.
But we did go out for lunch once, towards the end of The Eye of the World, and he said, "I want to talk to you about some people who are turning up in the series," and I said OK. He wanted to discuss the Aiel and how it would happen if a Maiden had a child. Well, you know the Aiel don't even appear until book three except for the guy in the cage. So, he was planning that far ahead, and he wanted to bounce it off of me.
And at the end, he was concerned about a young woman's reaction to her mother's love affair, and did that read true to me as a woman. He would do that very occasionally; his women were great. In fact, in an early signing, there were some women in shawls who came up to him and said, "You're Robert Jordan? We were sure that was the pseudonym of a woman, 'cause your women are so well written." That pleased him to no end. He loved that.
Yes! And the big thing about fantasy is that you can address questions of good and evil without making people run for cover and thinking, "Oh my God, he's going to turn into a preacher any minute now." But, making his great theme of making decisions without enough information is so true.
And, his early fan letters, I noticed, would come from two large categories of adult: people in law enforcement and people in medicine: doctors, nurses, policemen, district attorneys. What do these groups have in common? They're making life and death decisions, every day, without enough information. The policeman, should he draw his weapon? If so, he will probably be shot at himself. The doctor, dealing with a person who is dying, and you never have enough information.