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Interviews: JordanCon 2012 - AMOL Update Panel

Summary:

Entries

14

Date

Apr 21st, 2012

Type

Verbatim

Location

Roswell, GA

TourCon

JordanCon 2012

Reporter

Terez

Links

Theoryland

YouTube

  • 1

    Terez

    I transcribed this one all by my lonesome. I prioritized LibertyCon since Marie already did a summary of this panel in April, and many of us were there anyway. The video just came out for some reason. (In August.)

  • 2

    Melissa Craib

    (After the reading.) Well, now we are at the point where we can ask questions. I'm gonna go ahead and stand over here, and if you want to ask a question, just form up a line. Somebody has to go first. Come on. There we go!
  • 3

    Jeremy Vanneman

    I noticed you said (in the prologue excerpt) that 'he' is the one that caused this, and I never actively noticed that the Dark One had never really had a gender before now. Is this referencing the Dark One or someone else?

    Harriet McDougal

    That's Bayrd's idea.

    Tags

  • 4

    Question

    I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about the release date timing, and how you guys decided when A Memory of Light would come out, and just all the decisions that went behind that.

    Harriet McDougal

    The book was originally planned for November, but when we got down to it in January, when Brandon turned in first draft material, I saw to my horror that Tor was planning to publish on November 27th. Excuse me, that's not really November—that's after Thanksgiving—and it seemed to me kind of a not very wonderful date. We needed time for editing, and for Brandon to come to a later draft status on the book, and the more we thought about it it seemed pretty nuts to break Brandon's back as well as ours to get a book ready for November 27th, which is sort of nothing...if if you're looking for Christmas, you have to get the book into the stores before Thanksgiving. You really do, because things are so nuts with Black Friday that the staff isn't actually gonna get stuff out of the back room in time, and thus we got to January, which seemed like a good bet. We would gain more time for the editing and to maintain the sanity of people at Tor Books and Peter and Maria and Alan, and moi. So somehow we arrived at January the 8th, which is a Tuesday, which it must be if you're aiming for number one on the Times list, because of the way Times reporting happens, and it keeps it in the last month of the Year of the Dragon, which seemed like a really good thing to do.

    Jason Denzel

    Harriet, I think that a lot of us would agree that, take all the time you need to make us the best book possible, right? (applause)

    Harriet McDougal

    If you reserve a copy of the book, that's not so long to wait after Christmas day itself, and in the old way of counting, the twelve days of Christmas do exist. Christmas is the first day.

    Melissa Craib

    Well, I think our families probably appreciate the fact that we will not be reading this during Christmas. I for one know I'm going to have to take two weeks off.

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  • 5

    Question

    I was just interested in whether there were any plans for any further prequels or other parts of the Wheel of Time?

    Harriet McDougal

    No. Excuse me, there will be an encyclopedia of the Wheel of Time, but that's the only other book that's planned.

    Question

    As a continuance, will you be willing to license it out to people who you feel are worthy to do it?

    Harriet McDougal

    No. My husband was very strong that he would rise from the grave in wrath if that happened. He really, really didn't want it.

    Melissa Craib

    No zombie Jordan!

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  • 6

    Question

    Is there any plan for a movie series—anything along that line—and if so, what is the progress on that, if any?

    Harriet McDougal

    The year after my husband's death, I signed a big, fat contract with Universal giving them the movie rights. They have the rights by contract to make a miniseries or movies of the Wheel of Time books, and they have seven years to get the first movie into theaters. And I've forgotten what the timing is on the miniseries. Somebody here in the room has seen a first draft of a movie script and said it is..."execrable" would perhaps be the correct word. Just no—no, no, no, no. I have not seen this, but the clock is ticking. I would...does anybody remember the Ralph Bakshi movie of Lord of the Rings?

    Audience

    Yeah...

    Harriet McDougal

    Yeah, was that the pits or what? Just awful. And it didn't kill the Lord of the Rings, because now there's the wonderful Jackson. It may be that this will happen with the Wheel of Time. I don't control it; I do have a little....if they sat down to make a triple-X movie out of The Eye of the World, I think I would be able to stop them legally. I don't have...I can't say "You have just really messed up this character." They would say, "Thank you, we've consulted you, now go away." It's pretty much how it works. The chances are that it may be shelved and never made at all under this contract; I get the rights back if they do that, after seven years...which is so peculiarly Biblical. (laughter) I think about the Pharaohs and the kine, and the lean kine and the fat kine, every time I say that. You know, why do they do that? They're obsessed with [permits?] maybe.

    So, chances are it will never be made—it will not be made under this contract. The next likely chance is that something awful will be made, and the third possibility is that they'll do it right and something wonderful will happen. I think it's about 50-50 that they're gonna shelve it. It's been very slow so far, and I don't think they'll make the deadline. But I hope they're all sitting out there going very broody about the Game of Thrones. They should be, little dollar signs flicking through their eyeballs like saa. (laughter) Because this would be bigger, if they did it right. It would be wonderful if they did it right, but there's no way to even expect that. The wisdom among writers and publishers is, "Oh, you're offered money for a movie? Take the money and run, and never, never go to see what they do with it." But of course I will. (laughter)

    Tags

  • 7

    Richard Fife

    I really enjoyed the comic books that are being done, the Eye of the World comic book that's being done right now. I know Maria's working on that quite a bit, and Alan. You wanna talk about that a little bit, about how that's going for you?

    Maria Simons

    Actually, we are getting close to the end of The Eye of the World, and it's going well. We haven't talked at all about The Great Hunt, but I'm hoping that we'll start. We've got one more script to go for The Eye of the World, and then hopefully we will be moving on, and the next graphic novel will be out in the fall, part two of The Eye of the World, and it's a lot of fun doing that, and I hope you'll all check it out.

    Alan Romanczuk

    It's put us in awe, also, of the amount of work that goes into creating a graphic novel. A great deal on our part, looking stuff over for approval, but what's happening in the graphic shop, and it's not unusual at all to get emails at 10pm Friday night, or midnight Saturday night, you know, "Here's the latest stuff from us." You know, when do you guys sleep? Any of you who are graphic artists out there, I guess you know what it's like. It's total geekdom. You don't think about eating, sleeping...you just do it. And the amount of change that has to go on in every single panel is pretty awesome.

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  • 8

    Melissa Craib

    I have a question for all four of you; it's one that I always like asking you. I think that Robert Jordan really liked to surprise his readers, and went to extraordinary lengths to do so. And I truly will have many, many surprises in this upcoming book, but speaking of books past, can you tell us an example of when you were surprised when you read what we've read now. I know you have a good one, Harriet.

    Harriet McDougal

    I've generally written most of the flap copies on all the books. The flap copy is what's on the inner side of the cover of the hardcover, on the dust jacket, the stuff that says "So-and-so..." I remember one of my favorite ones was when I went and..."Siuan Sanche is suspected of barn-burning, in her tattered straw hat." But I was writing the flap copy for The Dragon Reborn, and at the end of the flap copy, I said he is pulling the sword from the Stone... "You son of a gun, you've done it again!" (laughter) But I honestly hadn't figured out it was the sword in the stone. And it really did surprise me, even though I'd been all the way through it, and had edited it, and was writing that flap copy.

    Melissa Craib

    Do you have one Maria?

    Maria Simons

    Yeah. It's not a huge one, but we were working on Knife of Dreams—I almost said Knife of Daggers, and I was like, "I know that's wrong." (laughter)—and I got to the part at the end, where Perrin whacks Rolan, and I went running downstairs..."Oh my god! You killed Rolan! I can't believe you killed Rolan!" And Robert Jordan says, "What? He was toast from the start!" (laughter)

    Melissa Craib

    Do you have one Alan?

    Alan Romanczuk

    No, I've pretty much nailed it all along. (laughter)

    Harriet McDougal

    We all tell the truth, all the time.

    Alan Romanczuk

    One of the scenes I keep coming back to that very much impressed me was when Perrin cut off the limb of the captured Shaido, which was a scene...it was surprising, because this was a fellow who had been resisting his lower urges, if you will, all along, but his love for his wife was so great that we saw the degree to which he would push himself to save her, and it's the first inkling we had of what kind of stuff Perrin was made of, up to that point, I think.

    Melissa Craib

    Peter, do you have one?

    Peter Ahlstrom

    When Demandred was revealed to be... (laughter) (applause)

    Audience

    That's not nice!

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Um...sorry, I got nothing.

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  • 9

    Question

    I was just wondering if we have a rough idea of how long the next book's gonna be, how many pages (hardcover).

    Harriet McDougal

    Not really. I could tell you, and the reason is that the number...I've worked out the number of pages because the computer tells me, and as Brandon sends us parts, and I've added them all together with a pencil. But this is in 12-point type, and it includes a lot of editorial back-and-forth, so it's looking fat. But it's skinnier than it looks. And there are some sections Brandon and I are having—well, even one I don't think he's seen yet—animated conversations about cutting. Well see, I really hesitate very deeply to say because 12-point type is a lot bigger than 10-point, and then you have to adjust from manuscript page to printed and on and on...I think probably at least eight hundred.

    Maria Simons

    It's gonna be fat.

    Harriet McDougal

    It will at least be pleasingly plump. (laughter).

    Melissa Craib

    Just big-boned.

    Alan Romanczuk

    And it'll look great on the bookshelf.

    Melissa Craib

    Absolutely, very impressive!

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  • 10

    Melissa Craib

    Could you tell us a little bit about how the writing process for these last couple of books has been, how it is for this one, as there are so many people working on it?

    Harriet McDougal

    Well, the first thing is that Brandon writes, and...you could talk about that, Peter. I don't really know much about Brandon's writing process except that it tends to be at night. (laughter)

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Well, for those who aren't aware, Brandon...(sigh)...Brandon tends to stay up until four o'clock in the morning writing, and then he gets up at noon. So he gets up at noon, and then he writes from about one to five, and then he is with the family until bedtime for the kids, and so from about...I guess he starts writing again at about eight, and then he keeps going until four. Some of you may be interested to know that he has a walking treadmill desk, so he does a lot of his writing standing up, walking on the treadmill (laughter) and when he's not at the treadmill, he's got multiple fireplaces around the house now, so he's usually in front of one of those.

    Harriet McDougal

    Are they wood-burning, or gas, or what? (laughter) I love fireplaces!

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Uh...they are gas fireplaces.

    Harriet McDougal

    Yeah, those are fun. Then Brandon gives us the first draft, and some bits are rough, and some are polished. And we go through it with our three various combs. Mine is characters and prose. Maria is continuity. I am not. (laughter) And she's a wizard at that, and Alan is a military wizard. And notice it's...I guess sexist, to give him the boy's stuff. (laughter).

    Alan Romanczuk

    I get all the alcohol as well. (laughter).

    Harriet McDougal

    That's just 'cause he's lucky.

    Maria Simons

    And Alan does Old Tongue and geography as well, because I kinda stink at both of those.

    Harriet McDougal

    And I just kind of lose my temper with the geography. (laughter) And then, we get this stuff, and with this book, we're doing a better...it is a better thing we are doing for our country this time. (laughter) We send our combined nit-picking to Brandon section by section, and right now he's had...what did I send you last week? Five?

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Part six.

    Harriet McDougal

    Six! I'm in eight; so is Maria. (to Alan) Where are you?

    Alan Romanczuk

    Seven.

    Harriet McDougal

    Seven. And we'll wait until Alan has finished eight before it goes back to Brandon, so that he doesn't lose his mind, and nine is followed only by the epilogue, so we're almost through. And then Brandon will send it back and there will probably be more animated conversation (laughter), and this time it will include words from Brandon that sort of say, "But you said..." (laughter) And we'll work it out, and we hope to have it in New York June 15th, and that might seem like a long time for January 8th. Believe me, it's not. And it will...is Paul Stevens here? Yeah, hey Paul! This will save...if we can do it, it will save the coffee cart from adding Prozac and Gelusil in massive amounts, right?

    Paul Stevens

    Yes.

    Harriet McDougal

    But it might be...there is [?] [whispered conversation with Alan, something about June 15th]

    Maria Simons

    Scary, isn't it? (laughter)

    Harriet McDougal

    That's the goal.

    Melissa Craib

    It is in two months.

    Harriet McDougal

    But, we don't think Brandon really needs to sleep. (laughter)

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  • 11

    Question

    Is there an expected date yet for the artwork?

    Harriet McDougal

    The final artwork has been delivered by Michael Whelan. And it was gonna be shown to you ravening characters, except that Mr. Sweet has very kindly brought his father's magnificent art, and we decided not to, because we want you to eyeball and enjoy all the beautiful Darrell Sweet which is hanging in the art show, and it's just bursting with life if you haven't seen it yet. It's wonderful. But it should be possible to look at the Whelan...I dunno...Paul, when are you going online? Do you know?

    Paul Stevens

    I don't know...we were discussing that. [something about a couple of weeks]

    Harriet McDougal

    Paul's cover copy [?] [something about "I answered you this week..."] "Paul, give me a break! This is JordanCon. Next week?" But it's a beautiful cover. I guess that's an oxymoron...I mean a redundancy; it's Michael Whelan. It really is beautiful, but he is also—I don't know if we spoke about this—but I think he has taken pains to make it a compliment to all of Darrell's work on the series, so it's at one and the same time unmistakably Whelan, but it is also complimentary when it's put up with all the covers racked out. You'll see what I mean when you get a look at it.

    Melissa Craib

    Excellent. We only have three more minutes, so I have a question here, and then I'll go to Matt.

    Question

    My question was about Michael's cover. Did y'all have any particular scene that you wanted him to illustrate, or did y'all give him a couple of scenes, and he goes, "Oh..." and [?]

    Harriet McDougal

    No, in this case, Brandon worked with him at first, and I wasn't really privy with that. It was great; it started out that Michael Whelan was going to do a cover for the ebook of A Memory of Light, and Brandon and Michael were playing together happily. (to Peter) Any comment on that? It was the same scene always, wasn't it?

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Actually, Michael was curious about one of the scenes that might get deleted, but Brandon said that wouldn't be good for the cover anyway, so...(mic feedback) (laughter) (switches mic) Um...hello? (laughter) It mostly goes through Irene also, so Michael did one main sketch that had the full wrap-around cover, and then he did four alternate front covers, and then Brandon gave his feedback to Irene, and Tom Doherty gave his feedback, and...

    Harriet McDougal

    So did we.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Yeah, and Harriet gave her feedback, and then...so they picked which one they liked the best, and the finished version, I also agree, looks fantastic.

    Harriet McDougal

    And then of course, when we found that Darrell will very sadly not be here, the decision was whether to use it on the hardcover as well...and it's grand. It really is.

    Maria Simons

    And there was a section where Michael Whelan sent a bunch of questions to make sure he had everything right, and Brandon had to answer some, and I had to answer some, and so...

    Harriet McDougal

    And Sam? Is Sam Weber here? Well, Sam told me yesterday that Michael had called him and said, "What's a ter'angreal? (laughter) So thanks to Sam Weber too.

    Tags

  • 12

    Melissa Craib

    The last question is to be for Matt!
  • 13

    Matt Hatch

    I just want to prepare myself...Do you plan to reveal anything important in the glossary of A Memory of Light? (wild laughter)

    Harriet McDougal

    If I possibly can!

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  • 14

    Melissa Craib

    Wonderful. Well thank you so much for spending an hour and talking with all of us and sharing the prologue. (lots of applause)