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Interviews: Piers Anthony - Letters to Jenny





Feb 18th, 1994




Michael Macchione



  • 1

    Michael Macchione

    Last night, I was reading the book Letters to Jenny by Piers Anthony. When I was shocked to find Piers Anthony mentioning Robert Jordan. First a little background. In Feb. '89 Anthony was contacted by a 12-year-old girl's mother, who said that Jenny had been the victim of a drunk driving accident and was in a coma. Since Jenny was a big fan, her mother hoped a letter from Anthony might help bring it out of the coma. It did help and Anthony started to write once a week to Jenny about this, that and the other thing. Letters to Jenny is a compilation of the letters that he wrote in the first year.

    Anthony mentions RJ in two separate letters as being a worthwhile author. After finishing the book, I cannot remember any other author that he mentions that he is not currently working with.

    Here are the relevant parts of the two letters, which might interest people:

  • 2

    Michael Macchione

    (p 169)

    Piers Anthony

    September 22,1989

    {talking about Hurricane Hugo}...crashing into Charlotte, South Carolina. That was a secondary target; I know an editor at TOR BOOKS who lives there, Harriet McDougal, former senior editor. Her husband is Robert Jordan, author of several Tarzan novels, but don't judge him by that; he's about to get into major fantasy, and will be one of the leading figures in the genre. I know. {...} I read his first huge fantasy epic in manuscript; it hasn't been published yet. {continues on how Harriet helped him publish a book}


    Tarzan—Conan: What's the difference? They are both big muscular men who run around in loincloths.


    ARRGG. I hope this is a mistype by you MPS, and that this was not really printed in a book. Hurricane Hugo hit Charleston, SC, then tracked inland and hit Charlotte, NC. I know—I was living in Charlotte, NC, and the chimney on the apartment above us blew over, collapsing the apartment above us at 5:30 in the morning. That was Friday; they told us to get out on Monday after inspecting. We moved Tuesday. The true eye of the world went over us too...

    Anyhow, when living in Charlotte, much was made about the "ch" effect—people not being able to distinguish Charlotte from Charleston, and Charleston, SC from the same name in West Virginia, so I am a little sensitive. That is why I hope that the Charlotte, SC reference was your mistake Mike, and not Piers Anthony's. I can excuse you, since you live in Delaware, but I would hope that something like a book would get it right.

    Sorry to be venting...


    I just ran to get the book and I'm sorry, but it was Piers Anthony's error. (This is in the same chapter as the Tarzan reference.) Remember, these letters were written freehand and were not proofread, as most books would be. They copied these letters into the book, and edited for style not content.


  • 3

    Michael Macchione

    (p 213)

    Piers Anthony

    Convention—November 10,1989

    {Piers Anthony had flown to meet a still paralyzed Jenny at a Sci-Fi convention.} ...As it was, I read myself to sleep on Conan the Defiant by Steve Perry; {...} They say that Robert Jordan is the best Conan writer, but I liked this Perry Conan better than the Jordan Conan I read. Which is not to disparage Jordan; I am highly impressed by his major fantasy.


    Having read the whole book, I consider this high praise. When he wrote these two passages to Jenny, he did not plan on compiling them into a novel. Hence he would only be praising RJ to Jenny, not as a plug but as a good author. He recommends no one else to Jenny in this fashion.