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Interviews: Elf Fantasy Fair Interview with Robert Jordan - Kurafire

Summary:

Entries

19

Date

Apr 10th, 2001

Type

Verbatim

Location

Arcen, NL

TourCon

Elf Fantasy Fair

Reporter

Kurafire

Links

Infogrames

  • 1

    Kurafire

    By yours truly.

    Before I start, I want to point out that it was a noisy environment: we were in the VIP-room of the Fair, but there were like 20 other people in there. Jordan had just started his lunch (he apologised for me having to ask him questions while he was "shoving down some of these sausages" ), and most of the other people there were eating as well. There was a lot of background noise, so at some times I really couldn't make out what exact words Jordan used in his sentence. This only happened four or five times, most of which are marked by [..] in the sentence.

    Then, this is just the interview, and nothing else. I will write a detailed report of last week completely, and make another thread for that. That thread will include this interview as well, WITH a lot of background information and the like to go with it. But that'll take me a while, and I promised you guys this interview Tuesday morning (i.e. now) so here it is. I haven't even had the chance to translate it for my work, ugh, be thankful.

    Final note: Everything that I say is in bold italics, the rest is Jordan's.

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  • 2

    Kurafire

    Has the Fantasy genre always been your favorite genre to read? Is it now?

    Robert Jordan

    No. I have no favorite genre to read, nor have I ever. I read any book that I think is good, in almost any genre. I mean I donít read romance novels. Simply the fact that a book is supposed to be a good book, is enough for me to consider reading it. And maybe if I decide it isnít a good book, it is not worth reading it. Iíll try anything; fiction, non-fiction...

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  • 3

    Kurafire

    You've learned to read at a very young age, and the books you read weren't children's books either. Do you think that this is what caused you to become an author in the long run?

    Robert Jordan

    Uhm, I donít think it caused me to become an author. I must say I prefer writer. I write, I donít 'author'. I think that theyíre synchronous things. Or perhaps, both indicative of the same thing about me. I didnít become a writer because I read early, any more than I read early because I was going to become a writer. I am the kind of person who would become a writer [...] and that kind of person is, I think, perhaps someone who reads early, who gathers inspiration for books.

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  • 4

    Kurafire

    When very young, did you ever think of writing already, or was it a sudden realization in your mid-twenties or so?

    Robert Jordan

    I knew that I was going to write, one day. From the age of five, I knew this. But, when I was very youngófive, tenóI was precocious enough, or advanced enough in my thinking, to believe that it was ridiculous, to think of a five, of a six year old, or a ten year old, writing. And I was very conscious of my dignity at that age. In my teens, Iíve said I havenít lived enough, havenít experienced enough. Anything that I will write will just be empty and useless. So I didnít write. And what actually got me started was in my late twenties when I was injured. I spent a month in the hospital. I was injured in the fall, was torn away from my family. Complications in the surgery. So I spent a month in the hospital; I nearly died. There were some other factors involved. In part, that simply convinced me that life was too short. I shouldnít wait any longer.

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  • 5

    Kurafire

    When you started writing, did you expect or hope to become so popular and famous?

    Robert Jordan

    I certainly did not expect it. That would go beyond having an ego, becoming an egomaniac. Everybody hopes that what theyíre writing will be popular. I donít think anybody writes a novel and says "I hope 50 people will read this". Thatís all they want, just 50 people. You hope that what you write is gonna be popular, but you certainly donít expect it.

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  • 6

    Kurafire

    Do you enjoy listening to music, and if so does it aid you in acquiring inspiration for your writing?

    Robert Jordan

    In many ways, yes, I listen to every sort of music. Classical, Rock, Jazz, Country, Western, Ethnic music from various countries... I do not write to Jazz, or Rock. I like all country western, I like to listen to it, or blues, but I canít write to it. I write, or at least maybe I can write to some Jazz, I mainly write to classical music, and some jazz. I usually have music playing when I write.

    Kurafire

    If a well-known composer would like to compose a musical score for your entire books, what would your opinion about that be? Would you like it?

    Robert Jordan

    Iíd be very interested to see what he or she would do! [smiles]

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  • 7

    Kurafire

    What did you think of the Wheel of Time game, and would you like to see more of them? If so, First-Person-Shooter type again, or something completely different? Something you would like to play yourself, perhaps?

    Robert Jordan

    I thought it was a good game. I have to admit I have not played it. I have seen it. I think it is visually beautiful. I have talked to peopleófriends, and fansówho are both gamers and fans to the books, and they seemed to think it was a very good game, so I trust their judgment more on that than I trust my own. I would like to see more games, yes, and, I would like to see different types of games. I think that this type of game is fine, I would have no objection to another game of this type, certainly not, but I would also like to see it expanded into other types. IĎm not sure how workable that is. I have a tendency to speak full of ignorance in this areaóI wouldn't know. There were things that I asked them to do, when Legend was beginning to do the game, and I didnít know that the technology did not exist to do what I was asking them to do, and in fact, the last time I talked to anybody from Legend/GTI, they had been at that point hired to rewrite the Unreal Engine itself, in order to make the Unreal Engine capable of doing some things that I had asked them to do in the game, that they couldn't do.

    Kurafire

    Youíve seen the level design and the detail in each level from the gameódo you like it, compared to the amount of detail you put in the environments in your books?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes and no. Yes, it is wonderful realism for in the game. But, compared to the books, I wouldn't be fully satisfied with anything other than photo-realism. Not for 100% at least.

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  • 8

    Kurafire

    What will be the very first thing you'll do when you finish writing the last Wheel of Time book?

    Robert Jordan

    If the past is any indication, I will immediately get into a plane to New York to hand it in to the publisher [laughs]. What I will probably do at that point is take a vacation, after I finish the tour of the book. I will probably try to take a vacation of a couple of months, and then get to work on the next project.

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  • 9

    Kurafire

    Have you ever thought of writing a novel called "Making the Wheel of Time"?

    Robert Jordan

    No.

    Kurafire

    Youíre not planning to do that either?

    Robert Jordan

    No!

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  • 10

    Kurafire

    Do you have an underlying purpose with your books? Something other than to entertain?

    Robert Jordan

    Of course. You always like to write about things, talking about things. The primary goal is always for it to be a good story, to entertain, but at the same time, it would be very nice if you're able to make people think about certain things, in my case the whole notion of right and wrong, good and evil. There is a popular view today, that, right and wrong are simply two sides of a coin. Dependent, looking in the mirror in different angles. It all depends. It comes from the modern misinterpretation of situational ethics. Today there are no ethical rules, there are no ethical standards. Dues are all because they hold the law. Fact is, there is right, there is wrong. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference, sometimes it's very easy to tell the difference. Sometimes you study very closely for what is the right thing to do here, and you still make the wrong choice. But even if itís hard to find the difference, even if you realize later that you made the wrong choice, it's worth the effort to try. I have some basic rules in my life. I try not to cause harm, to anyone, unintentionally. I try not to give offense to anyone, unintentionally. There are many people who offend, not because it's intentional necessarily, but because they can't be bothered not to. There are many people who cause harm, because they can't be bothered not to. I don't mean that they go around beating people in the streets, necessarily, but, they harm people, in many various ways. Simply because they canít be bothered not to. The other people arenít really real, real to them, no, they're the only ones that are real. And everybody else is no more than a checker on a board. And I'd like my readers to be more than that.

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  • 11

    Kurafire

    You very often answer questions with "Read and find out"ó

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, yes, and I will say that the answer to the coming question is Read And Find Out. I like that answer. My wife once asked me what I wanted for dinner, and I told her 'Read And Find Out'. Three days before I had the nerve to go home.

    Kurafire

    Well the question was: but will you really write down concrete evidence to all the mysteries from your books, or will you just add a last bunch of hints in the next few books and 'call it a day'?

    Robert Jordan

    Read And Find Out.

    Some things will be concrete evidence, some things will be hints and clues. I do not want to tell you whatís coming. If I would tell you everything what's coming, you'll start saying: "Oh gee, I knew that. I knew that. Yeah he's getting awfully boring. I'm gonna go and read Terry Goodkind..."

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  • 12

    Kurafire

    What are you planning to do with all the notes you have made for The Wheel of Time when you are completely done with the series?

    Robert Jordan

    I might publish some of them. I have thought about publishing some sort of concordance, or single volume dictionary/encyclopedia, a very straightforward thing, not with any pretenses to be part of the Wheel of Time. From the beginning my editor has kept a list of wordsócreated wordsóevery plant that I mentioned, animal that I mentioned, every personís name that was sitting in a town, or a village or an inn, every song. And itís all there in that long, long list, and just the bare list right now I think is probably over a thousand pages. Which would present some difficulties, but the thing is I think I might take that list and give the basics, give definitions, put in definitions, put in references, who this person is, where this personís seen.

    Kurafire

    Sort of like a massive glossary..?

    Robert Jordan

    In a way, yes. I donít know, I think, perhaps, there might be some interest in that. I certainly wouldnít do it until this is all over, because I, uhm, if and when I do it, I would like it to be complete, just nothing left out.

    Kurafire

    There is a large request from the fans that you do not let it to be edited, and that you publish them in their Ďraw diamond formí.

    Robert Jordan

    Oh, ah, okay.

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  • 13

    Kurafire

    How much do you have to do with the Glossary of each book? Do you write it yourself, supervise it or just donít have anything to do with it?

    Robert Jordan

    I write it myself, yes. Of course, there are some difficulties when I do. I ask my editor and my assistant, both of who get the manuscript to read, simultaneously. I tell them: "Give me a list, what do you think should be in the glossary? What really needs to be in the glossary?" And I take a look at old glossaries, to see if there are things in the old glossaries that should be in the new glossary, and Iíll try to put together something, add in and take out terms, these sort of things. And add in terms that they think should be in the new glossary. They usually come up with a lot of the same things, apart of a few different ones. And there is also the difficulty of how much time is available, with the last four books, last five books I guess. And that is that for each of the last five books—I donít do the glossary until I finish the book—each of the last five books, thereís been two months from me finishing the book, to the book being in the stores. Itís been, in some of these cases, a week from me finishing the book to the second pass [..] and that means there is hardly no time at all, to write the glossary.

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  • 14

    Kurafire

    What do you think of Fairs such as the Elf Fantasy Fair here? Should more be held, to satisfy the needs of the ever-growing Fantasy-public?

    Robert Jordan

    I think so, of course. In the United States, there are many things like this, conventions as theyíre called. Every weekend in the US, thereís at least one, often three or four, sometimes five or six, conventions in different parts of the country, every single weekend of the year. Those conventions can be small, where there are three or four hundred fans, five hundred fans, who have gotten together for a three day weekend. They start gathering at Friday afternoon and take off to go back to their jobs and work on Sunday afternoon. And mainly when people that have gotten together at a small convention like that, they will have gotten together maybe ten authors. Maybe nobodyís famous at a small convention like that, the authors arenít famous. And some painters, professional painters, maybe to some average they hold an art-show, [..] judges competition, costumes, parties at night, singing of songs. And then there are the big conventions that maybe two thousand or three thousand, in some cases five thousand. And instead of ten writers they have thirty or forty or fifty writers. And almost certainly at a convention like that thereíll be someone well-known, famous, and illustrator and all the rest of it. I think that there are such conventions around Europe, I know, but yes, of course I think there should be more.

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  • 15

    Kurafire

    Who has been, in the past, your major role model, idol or source of inspiration?

    Robert Jordan

    I think Iím going to surprise you. I donít know... if I have a role model or inspiration as a writer. The people who have had the most influence on my writing would be Jane Austin, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Lewey Lamore, and John. D. McDonnel.

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  • 16

    Kurafire

    You've said in another interview that your current working-title for your next series is "Shipwreck". Will it be another Fantasy series like Wheel of Time, or something completely different?

    Robert Jordan

    Oh itíll be another Fantasy series. Do not say itís like the Wheel of Time because itís a Fantasy series, I do not intend to have any real connection between them. Itís a different world, a different universe, different cultures different laws, not simply a shift into the past or the future in the same world of Wheel of Time.

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  • 17

    Kurafire

    What do you think of the more unusual theories that some of your fans come up with?

    Robert Jordan

    Well some of them have made me wonder occasionally whether they were reading the same books I wrote.

    Kurafire

    And in general?

    Robert Jordan

    Oh, in general, they have seen what Iím trying to do, sometimes, occasionally, theyíve seen through what Iím trying to hide. And sometimes they are fixated on something that is so minor. They seem to think they found a major clue to something, but it isnít, but ehh, I donít always tell them. I will certainly tell if something isn't that important.

    Kurafire

    You just say read and find out and laugh behind their backs?

    Robert Jordan

    Sometimes. No I laugh right in their faces. If Iím gonna laugh, I donít laugh behind anybodyís back.

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  • 18

    Kurafire

    If you could be one of the characters from your books, within your own story, who would you like to be most?

    Robert Jordan

    [laughs loudly] I donít wanna be in this story. This world is entirely too interesting, too much going on. Any sane man wants to live in a place where thereís not a lot going on. Where thereís not a lot going on, and they can have a peaceful existence, and a long life. Trying to live in the world of my books would be, miserable, and probably short. I donít know about [...] but, definitely miserable and short.

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  • 19

    Kurafire

    Something quite unusual from now on. Is there anything youíd like to talk about, doesnít have to do with Fantasy at all, but just want to share your opinion with the world?

    Robert Jordan

    [snickers] No, nothing. The world has enough people who try to share their opinions with the whole world, and I figure I will share my opinions with the whole world when Iím backed into a corner and prodded with a pitchfork. Other than that, Iím sorry, I will just pass on that.

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