art by Jake Johnson

Theoryland Resources

WoT Interview Search

Search the most comprehensive database of interviews and book signings from Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson and the rest of Team Jordan.

Wheel of Time News

An Hour With Harriet

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.

The Bell Tolls

2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."

Theoryland Community

Members: 7501

Logged In (0):

Newest Members:Tex Knoll , josepcristano24, Awildali, KrystalReign, hafezy20, MGLMRaBBaNy, vinzie, aron123, plefasrol89, jsmseow2,

Theoryland Tweets

WoT Interview Database

Home | Interview Database

Interviews: Wanderer Fantasy Convention - Interview with Robert Jordan

Summary:

Entries

14

Date

Sep, 2000

Type

Translated

Location

St. Petersburg, RU

Reporter

Tahir Velimeev

Links

fantlab.ru

Theoryland

  • 1

    Tahir Velimeev

    In late September of last year in St. Petersburg, the Fifth Science Fiction Convention in Russia took place, members of which were many Russian science fiction writers, critics and simple fans of science fiction. Some well-known American science fiction writers were invited as guests of the Congress: Lois McMaster Bujold, Alan Dean Foster and Robert Jordan. Conversations with the first two writers have been published in Ozone, but Robert Jordan for some reason, dropped out of sight of our interviewers. This interview to some extent fills this gap. It includes some of the questions asked by Russian readers and journalists at meetings with the writer as well as a news conference. In addition, much has been gleaned from personal communication with Robert Jordan, including questions by e-mail. (Yours truly participated in the "Wanderer" as one of the members of the organizing committee, and had the opportunity to talk a lot with the writer in an informal setting.) Frankly, even the first meeting with him made a strong impression: a tall, big man with a luxuriant beard, dark glasses and wide-brimmed hat; his confident gait did not prevent a heavy cane, on his hand dimly glittering rings, signets ... A sort of colorful plantation Southerner ...

    Tags

  • 2

    Tahir Velimeev

    I am very glad to meet you, dear Mr. Jordan! Welcome to St. Petersburg.

    Robert Jordan

    Thank you! I'm also glad for the chance to visit your beautiful city. I’ve been to not a few places, but this is my first time in Russia. Many thanks to the organizers of the Wanderer Fantasy Convention who invited me to St. Petersburg. And my special thanks to them for the opportunity to visit Peterhof and admire its magnificent fountains. Fountains have fascinated me since childhood ...

    Tahir Velimeev

    What is the proper way to address you?—Mr. Robert Jordan? Or Mr. James Rigney ... Or in some other way?

    Robert Jordan

    Call me, as we do it in America, just James.

    Tahir Velimeev

    Or Robert? ...

    Robert Jordan

    Robert is fine too. I'm used to it. I’m often addressed exactly so in meetings with readers.

    Tahir Velimeev

    By the way, how many names does the multifaceted James Oliver Rigney, Jr. have?

    Robert Jordan

    Not very many, but also not a few. Under the pseudonym Reagan O'Neal the historical novels The Fallon Blood, The Fallon Legacy and The Fallon Pride were published. The events in them takes place during the American Revolution, around my hometown of Charleston. The name Jackson O'Reilly is on the cover of the western Cheyenne Raiders. My critical pieces on theater and dance I signed Chang Lung. And under the pseudonym Robert Jordan the novels of the Conan series and the The Wheel of Time series were published.

    Tags

    ,
    ,
    ,
    ,
    ,
    ,
  • 3

    Tahir Velimeev

    James, please tell us a little about yourself.

    Robert Jordan

    I was born in 1948 in Charleston, South Carolina, where I live now, in a house built in 1797. My home town is famous because of the shelling of Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor during the Civil War between the North and South. My brother, older than me by twelve years, instilled in me an appreciation for books . And when our parents left him to the nanny, he read to me, not children’s books, but those that interested him—Mark Twain, HG Wells, Jules Verne. Along with Twain, my favorite writers became Louis Lamour, Charles Dickens, John W. McDonald. In the years 1968-1970, I served in the Army.

    Tags

    ,
    ,
    ,
  • 4

    Tahir Velimeev

    And as far as I know, the two tours [in the Army] were fighting in Vietnam. In what capacity?

    Robert Jordan

    I flew in a helicopter as a gunner. Then I was a Sergeant and trained recruits.

    Tahir Velimeev

    On sorties, it most likely became necessary to shoot?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes ... But understand, on assignment you usually do not see people—you open fire as soon as you notice any movement, and do not think about it being a person. Otherwise, it is impossible—this is war, and the morals of a military person are other than those of a civilian: for a Commander the main thing is to perform his mission and save his soldiers. Reflection in the middle of a fight is dangerous—you will be killed before long.

    Tahir Velimeev

    Were you ever wounded?

    Robert Jordan

    Fortunately, no. A couple of times hurt ... Once, during a hard landing I knocked out teeth on the back of the pilot's seat in front of me. And another time a tiny splinter hit me in the eye. At first I didn’t notice anything and felt no pain, but then the blood flowed. Then the piece was drawn out with a magnet ...

    Tahir Velimeev

    Thus, the "Purple Heart" among your military decorations, right?

    Robert Jordan

    No—don’t even suggest such a thing! But there is a Distinguished Flying Cross for service, Bronze Star, and two Vietnamese Crosses for bravery.

    Tahir Velimeev

    Yeah, the bouquet* on a blazer really makes an impression ...

    Robert Jordan

    Thank you.

    Footnote

    *Literally "fruit salad".

    Tags

    ,
    ,
    ,
  • 5

    Robert Jordan

    After military service I entered the Citadel—The Military College of South Carolina. Despite its name, it is, in fact, a university. At the Citadel I received a degree in physics and worked as a nuclear engineer for the Navy. Doesn’t it seem to you that that a fantasy author having an education in physics is somewhat out of the ordinary?

    Tahir Velimeev

    I would not say that. I know several Russian science fiction authors with an education in the natural sciences that have been successfully working in the fantasy genre ... By the way, we now come to how the writer emerged from the engineer.

    Robert Jordan

    Well, maybe there is more prosaic level—the abundance of free time. After an unfortunate accident I found myself in a hospital bed with a lot of time, and I read everything I wanted. And one day I thought that could well try to write myself. Having started writing in 1977, I’m determined to do so right up my dying day.

    Tahir Velimeev

    And why fantasy? Why not works about, say, the Vietnam War, which would seem more logical?

    Robert Jordan

    In my opinion, fantasy allows you to create new cultures, experiment with them, and apply a freedom to them that is impossible in the real world. Fantasy enables a brighter, clearer portrayal of the struggle between good and evil, allows you to speak more freely about what is right and what is not, and no one can say that your opinion doesn’t fit with what is generally accepted. And I think one of the cornerstones of fantasy is the belief that any obstacle can be overcome, and that if things did not work out today, they will tomorrow. Also in today's world fantasy concerns itself with myth, directing us to the deep layers of the human soul, and teaches people to believe in miracles ... The popularity of this literary genre is to a large extent determined by humankind’s aspirations for Justice...

    As for books about war ... I have a desire to write about the Vietnam War, about my comrades, and I hope that God will give me this opportunity. And for myself, I decided that this book will be released under my real name—James Oliver Rigney, Jr. ...

    Tags

    ,
    ,
    ,
    ,
    ,
  • 6

    Tahir Velimeev

    Anyway, in 1990 a novel was printed that subsequently brought worldwide fame to the author: The Eye of the World. A year later The Great Hunt appeared (in Russian, the two works appeared in 1996). Since then, readers have been looking forward to and awaiting the release of new volumes in the magnificent fantasy epic. I can say without exaggeration that all fans of your creation are haunted by one little question: How many books will be in The Wheel of Time series?

    Robert Jordan

    Honestly, I don’t know. When I first started working about fifteen years ago, I assumed that there would be four or five books. Then, I understood that I could not fit my work within these limits.

    Tahir Velimeev

    On one internet site I came across information that the Wheel of Time will consist of ten volumes.

    Robert Jordan

    Well, it's not entirely true. I think the number will be greater. You see, every book is devoted to certain events that occur with Rand and the other heroes of the series. The plot, of course, is undergoing changes to the original plan, so sometimes it is necessary to sacrifice some things. Attentive readers may have noticed that Rand, after appearing at the beginning of the novels, only comes again to the forefront at the very end of the books ... I think, to complete the entire story I need to write three or four more volumes. In the summer of 2000, I completed and passed to the publishing house TOR a new, ninth book, which is called Winter's Heart, and it came out on November 7th. Let's hope there will soon be a Russian translation.

    Tags

    ,
  • 7

    Tahir Velimeev

    Of course, one of the most frequently asked questions—how will the saga end? And by the way, does the author himself know what the finale of this incredible fantasy saga will be?

    Robert Jordan

    How it will all end, I have known this for fifteen years—from the moment I started writing the first book, The Eye of the World. But I will not reveal any intrigue and tell you everything in advance. Why would I? Read and find out for yourself!

    Tags

    ,
  • 8

    Tahir Velimeev

    Okay, you will put the last period on the final book of the Wheel of Time, and then what?

    Robert Jordan

    I have an idea for yet another series of books in the fantasy genre, but their events will not occur in the Wheel of Time world, but in a completely different universe. But I think it's a little too early to talk about future plans...

    Tags

  • 9

    Tahir Velimeev

    James, the artwork for The Eye of the World, The Great Hunt, and all the other books of the series that came out in the West were created by the artist Darrell Sweet. Have you seen the illustrations for your books published in Russia?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, your Russian publisher, Nick Naumenko, has been crucial and regularly sends me the translated publications printed in Russia. I really liked how it was put together and the work on the covers and interior illustrations. I met with Yana Ashmarin, one of the artists and we got to know each other and talked with great pleasure.

    Tags

    ,
  • 10

    Tahir Velimeev

    In recent years, computer games that are based on literary works (including fantasy/science fiction) have become very popular. For example, "World-ring" by Larry Niven, "Shannara" by Terry Brooks ... Have the creators of virtual worlds turned their attention to creating something from the Wheel of Time universe?

    Robert Jordan

    As far as I know, not so long ago a Wheel of Time role-playing game was released by Legend Entertainment. My friend, writer John M. Ford, acquainted me with its creators. Incidentally, he facilitated the appearance of a desktop-type card game similar to Magic issued by the company Precedence.

    Tags

  • 11

    Tahir Velimeev

    And how are things going with film producers? Have they brought up the acquisition of rights for a film adaptation?

    Robert Jordan

    Several times interest in the possibility of adapting my books for film has come up. One television station even wanted to buy the rights to create the series, but I, frankly, took to their proposal with a fair amount of skepticism. Because the book is full of events, the series could get very long ... Basically all of these proposals have been the same and might as well be smoke in the wind. More likely there will be an animated film as by a Japanese studio. We will have to wait and see.

    Tags

  • 12

    Tahir Velimeev

    James, in recent years, many writers have created their own sites on the Internet, for example, your colleague, Alan Foster and Lois McMaster Bujold. But, try as I might I could not find your site, though I found many fan sites dedicated to The Wheel of Time.

    Robert Jordan

    I don’t have my own website! On the one hand, as you rightly pointed out, there are many fan sites, and some of them are very good. They come across just wonderfully! On the other hand, making a site is easy. However, if I had to constantly spend time maintaining it, answer e-mails ... It would take a lot of time! I would rather spend this time writing something.

    Tags

    ,
    ,
  • 13

    Tahir Velimeev

    What advice would give the veteran writer, someone who is trying to write fantasy?

    Robert Jordan

    My advice? .. Hmm ... Once when asked this question, I replied: "If you want to write fantasy—go to a psychiatrist!" (Smiling with laughter evident in his beard.)

    Tags

    ,
  • 14

    Tahir Velimeev

    James, I noticed that you have a love for hats. Is there some special reason? Or is it something like a rabbit's foot, a talisman for good luck?

    Robert Jordan

    No, the reason is simple. Once I put on a hat and my wife noticed that the hat worked well for me. I have worn them ever since. I like it.

    Tahir Velimeev

    All of your nine Wheel of Time books have a dedication—they are dedicated to Harriet ...

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, to my wife, Harriet McDougal, the light of my life. Like me, she has a connection to the Navy—her father was an admiral, and as far as literature, fantasy—she worked about thirteen years as an editor at the publishing house TOR. Then she became my first and most faithful reader and the first editor of my books. I am very grateful to her for help and support. By the way, Sergei Berezhnoi told me that you Takhir, took part in the translation of the entire Wheel of Time in Russian! So you can be called in some way my co-author! I am truly glad! Let me shake your hand.

    Tahir Velimeev

    Thank you, James! We will wait for your new books.

    Tags

    ,
    ,