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Interviews: AMOL Signing Report - Anna Hornbostel

Summary:

Entries

28

Date

Feb 11th, 2013

Type

Verbatim

Location

Beaverton, OR

TourCon

AMOL Book Tour

Bookstore

Powell's

Reporter

Anna Hornbostel

Links

Dragonmount

Theoryland

audio

  • 1

    Anna Hornbostel

    In the summer of 1996, my best friend Dani and I were on a camping trip when she handed me a paperback copy of The Eye of The World. She was living in Oregon, I was living in California and we were 16. We got to see each other roughly once a year and kept in contact via letters (the mailed kind) and pricey long distance phone calls. We didn't get to do much "together" given the distance, but The Eye of the World changed that. We spent the next sixteen and a half years reading those books together. There were literally HOURS of phone calls discussing prophecies, foreshadowings and of course theories such as who killed Asmodean and where Moiraine was.

    When the release date for A Memory of Light was announced I told my husband that all I wanted for Christmas was an airplane ticket so that Dani and I could both go to the final book signing. Since we had started the series together, it seemed fitting to end it together.

    When the announcement came from Dragonmount about the opportunity to be Memory Keepers, I nominated Dani and myself, hoping against hope that we would be able to add some wonderful memories to our WoT journey. I was shocked and thrilled when we were chosen, so I flew up to Portland to be a part of the magic.

    And magical it was.

    Powell's at Cedar Hills Crossing was enchanting. It was a HUGE bookstore that felt intimate and friendly. The staff was incredibly friendly and helpful, especially Renee and Peter, who interacted most with Memory Keepers and fans. They were full of enthusiasm, patience and joy and helped make sure the whole event ran smoothly.

    We arrived at about 5:00 pm. We met Andy (First Among Equals), the bookstore staff and the other Memory Keepers. The first hour was spent handing out tickets for the signing, collecting raffle tickets, answering questions and directing fans to their seats.

    Brandon and Harriet arrived at 6pm. We were escorted to the back stock room and spent a few minutes chatting with Brandon and Harriet. They were the sweetest, most generous people you could hope to meet. Author Brent Weeks popped back to say hi while we were chatting so that was a nice little bonus!

    At 7:00 pm, Brandon and Harriet walked out to meet the crowd of over 450 people. After brief introductions Brandon opened the floor to questions. Brandon and Harriet answered every question with good humor and charm. There were a lot of great stories told. For those of you interested in the details, skip below for the Q&A report.

    Then it was time for the signing to begin. Because of Harriet's desire to return to the hotel at a decent time it was decided that the line would be signatures first then personalizations from Brandon after a second time through the line.

    The Memory Keepers got to work organizing the queue of people, running the raffle and handing out prizes. Tor generously sent over 20 messenger bags, 20 paperback Way of Kings novels and 20 iPhone cases.

    The line was long but for the most part people were happy to be there. People chatted with each other and with us, the Memory Keepers. I felt at home, like I was amongst "My People." We were all fans of the fantasy genre, specifically WoT. We shared a special camaraderie which was clearly evident as the hours of waiting stretched on.

    I was tasked with sitting between Brandon and Harriet during the signing to assist in any way needed. This meant that I got to overhear a lot of great conversations! Fans continually expressed their gratitude to Brandon and Harriet for their hard work in giving us "The End". There were also a lot of touching expressions of sympathy to Harriet, and more than one person shared a heartwarming tale with her of how WoT had touched and changed their lives. Harriet was charming and gracious to all. She is truly an amazing woman. No wonder so many great WoT characters are based on her! The line stretched on well in to the night. The last book was signed after midnight. Brandon was kind and generous to each and every fan who came through. He answered as many questions as he could, laughed when he RAFO'd people, shook hands, took endless pictures and wrote more than a few silly personalizations.

    I am so grateful to Brandon, Harriet and Dragonmount for the chance to not only share in this night, but to be able to be there with my dearest friend. It was something neither of us will ever forget! Thank you to the other Memory Keepers and Powell's for their hard work in making the event run so smoothly and thank you to the other fans for giving me a place to belong. This may be "The End" of The Wheel of Time, but it certainly wasn't the end of the fandom or friendships brought together by this amazing series.

    Thanks to Dani for being note taker during the Q&A, and thanks to Terez and Marie Curie from Theoryland for doing a full transcript of the audio recording (available here). What follows below is a detailed summary using notes from the transcript. The general Q&A is spoiler free but I added a few interesting, spoiler filled tidbits from the signing table at the end.

    Terez

    Here is the transcript of the Portland Q&A. Thanks to Marie Curie for doing a little more than half of it, and to Anna Hornbostel for the audio, which she kindly assured me she would procure weeks in advance when I was whining on Twitter about a lack of such for certain January tour stops.

  • 2

    Question

    Tell me why there are so many references to peach pits in the Wheel of Time.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Harriet? (laughter)

    Harriet McDougal

    I've never counted them! (laughter) I will tell you this, though, that peach pits do....someone wrote and said, "When did peaches become poisonous?" And I said, "You know, they're not." One of Robert Jordan's great themes was the unreliability of information, that we all think we know things that sometimes are absolutely cuckoo, and that's one of them. We do...if a child manages to eat a peach pit, chewing on it to get at the kernel inside, then you have to call poison control. That's true now, so that's why. I guess. (laughter) I don't know how many references there are.

    Footnote

    Harriet is referring to her interview with Luckers, which was conducted by email.

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  • 3

    Question

    With the changeover from the young adult and the adult version, how much do you have to cut out for you to [say it's] appropriate for young children?

    Harriet McDougal

    None. What was done was that there was a forward, I guess you'd say, or a prologue written by my husband for the first volume of The Eye of the World in the YA version.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, but they didn't actually cut anything out; they just split the books into smaller volumes to entice the young readers into reading them. (laughter)

    Harriet McDougal

    That's right. And they got bigger type.

    Footnote

    The split version of The Eye of the World consists of From the Two Rivers and To the Blight. The extra prologue is called "Ravens"; it's an Egwene POV from when she was a child.

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  • 4

    Question

    So, I'll skip right to the end. Uh, spoilers...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, wait, wait wait! We can't ask any spoilers for the last book. You can ask them when you come through the line however, and I will happily answer them.

    Question

    That's all I came for.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, yeah. Just go ahead and ask [in the line]. The problem is...just a show of hands: how many people haven't finished the book yet? See, this is why. (laughter)

  • 5

    Brandon Sanderson

    I actually should probably do a few frequently asked questions as well. For those wondering, there is an encyclopedia in the works. (applause) This was something that Harriet's been working on for years, and (to Harriet) I'll just let you mention about it, if you would.

    Harriet McDougal

    I started keeping a list of proper nouns with The Eye of the World. I didn't know what I was up against. (laughter) Because I began, just keeping the list, without any chapter references, with The Great Hunt I began adding chapter references, and every book since then has been combed through. The last book, we had an intern, and we said, "Yeah!" (laughter) "You can code the names, and please put in when they die, what chapter, if anybody dies."

    So anyway, this thing has been in progress from the beginning, and it will take us a year to figure out exactly how to organize it, what to leave out, what to add in. As Brandon has said, there are 32? 38,000 pages of notes. The entire series is ten thousand pages, so there's a lot of stuff in the notes. Brandon tried to put it all into one document, and when it got to that far, his computer stopped counting, and then it crashed. (laughter) So there's a lot of material.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, it wasn't even funny. My poor little laptop's like, "What have you done to me?" (laughter) I thought, you know, because Harriet's often said, "Oh there's more notes than there are words in the entire series combined," and so I thought, "Oh, I'll find out exactly how many there are." No, I didn't find out how many there are; I just crashed my computer. But yeah, she has said that some of the things from the notes will end up in the encyclopedia, some tidbits and things that you don't already know, so that means I can still RAFO questions when you ask me. (laughter)

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  • 6

    Brandon Sanderson

    Another frequently asked question that I will get a bunch of times in line, so I will answer now: I am working on the second Stormlight book. (applause) Tor thinks it's coming out this fall; I'm hoping to meet their expectations. (laughter) If not, it will be the following spring. A sequel to Alloy of Law would be the next thing I would work on. (applause) Yeah, it's funny how these things happen. One of my favorite stories about Robert Jordan and the series is, you know...I started reading these books in 1990, right? How many people picked it up in 1990, when Great Hunt wasn't out yet? That's...the few the proud, right? 23 years?

    Question

    How many times did you reread it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, and you would reread it every time a new book would come out, right? That's what I did. Until you...at one point, I reread the whole series, and by the time I got done, the next new book was out, and I'm like, "Whoa, this takes a long time!" (laughter) And...there's a lot of questions I had as a fan that I have now been able to get answers to.

    For instance, I went to Tom Doherty—Tom Doherty is the publisher at Tor; he started the company, and I don't know if you guys know, Harriet was the first person he hired, as editorial director; she was in charge of editorial, and Harriet edited a lot of wonderful books. One of the books she edited is Ender's Game, if you're familiar with that. (applause) And she did also discover Robert Jordan, and then she married him. (laughter) I've always noted that's a great way to make sure your editorial advice gets taken, right? (laughter)

    And so I went to Tom, and I said, "Tom, really...how many books was it?" When you hear this talk of, "Oh, we expect it to be this long," "We expect it to be this long..." And Tom sat me down and said, "Okay, let me tell you Brandon. Robert Jordan came in, and he had this pitch for me, and he gave me this big, long description of this awesome book. He said in the first book...the first book ends with our hero taking a sword that's not a sword from a stone that's not a stone. That's where the first book ends. And from there, we have two more books; it's a trilogy." This is what Tom Doherty said, exactly. And then Tom said, "Jim,"—Robert Jordan's real name was Jim Rigney—"Jim, I know how you are. Why don't we sign you for six books?" (laughter) And Jim said, "Well, I don't need six books. This is a trilogy." And Tom said, "Well, if you think you don't need that, we can do something else. You know, let's just sign you for six books in the series." Tom looked me right in the eyes, and he said, "Brandon, I thought I was so smart." (laughter) "I thought I was buying that whole series for sure." And here we are on book fourteen.

    And so, yeah; this has been quite the experience; quite the ride, quite the journey of 23 years, and it's been amazing to be part of it.

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  • 7

    Question

    I just noticed the graphic novel series. Is that planned to finish?

    Harriet McDougal

    Well, eventually, [we'll] do the whole thing, unless it stops selling in a dreadful way. In other words, I don't really know.

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  • 8

    Question

    This is a question for Harriet. What was it like editing for your husband, and having to tell him, "No..."

    Harriet McDougal

    Well, I gave him a contract for what proved to be his first published book. It was a historical novel called The Fallon Blood, and Tor Books has reissued it, and it says in huge letters on the front: "Robert Jordan writing as Reagan O'Neill," and of course it was James Oliver Rigney writing as Robert Jordan writing as... (laughter) It was very good, but he kept delivering it, and the manuscript was getting like this (gesture). It covered the American Revolution in South Carolina. He wanted to do what John Jakes had done for the northern sweep of American history, so it was getting bigger and bigger, and I said, "Well, Jim, couldn't we cut some battles?" And he said, "Harriet, that's why I sent Michael Fallon wounded to Georgia to recuperate. I've already skipped twenty-five battles. We can't cut any more." (laughter)

    And I said, "Well, then the only thing is we'll have to cut three lines a page," because my distribution agreement—it was my own imprint; this was before Tor came into being—was kind of fierce. So we....well, I'll tell you, I had a friend who needed a beard. She was seeing a gentleman who wasn't quite as divorced as he should have been..." (laughter) "...and you all know what a beard is? I would be the third person at their lunch table, so that no one would say, "Oh, she's having a thing with this guy." And I said, "I'll do it, as long as you come help with the snopake." So we sat around my dinner table, and this was so long ago, great swooping pencil-lines and snopake over the worst. It would be...[?]...It was a mess!"

    But we did all of that before we ever went out on a date; we went all the way through publication. And that means the professional relationship was older than the romantic relationship, and it sort of...it worked! Somebody said to me later, "Yeah, well what would you do if he gave you a piece of [expletive]." And I said, "Well you know, he never would!" If he was writing a midlist book, it wouldn't be [expletive], it would be good midlist, and it wasn't about games; it was about the book, always. So that's how we did it, and it worked. (applause)

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  • 9

    Kathy

    I don't know if you remember me, but I was a Stormleader for The Gathering Storm...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Thank you.

    Kathy

    ...and I got that first RAFO part, which was then answered in this book. And I was wondering if that question that I gave to Robert Jordan so many years ago, and he gave that wonderful answer, was the reason [?] or was it...[?]

    Brandon Sanderson

    (laughs) You're dog girl. Yes, you are! I will say...there's an inside joke here. Once, this wonderful young woman asked Robert Jordan what would happen if you balefired yourself through a gateway, and what exactly did he say?

    Kathy

    He said, "Young woman, I need you to go have an affair—with man, woman, or German Shepherd; it doesn't matter. Either way, you need to get a life." (laughter, applause)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Now, I, uh...(laughter continues)

    Kathy

    I also happened to then, several years later, marry a man who also read, and this is our daughter Aviendha.

    Harriet McDougal

    Awwww! (applause)

    Kathy

    See...[?]. (laughter)

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't have one either, and I'm worried...my big question was always about gateways, and when I began reading the series, as soon as I discovered them, I started to think about what would happen, cause I'm a magic system guy, right? And I'm like, "Oooh, what could you do with this? What could you do with this?" In fact, I started taking notes on what I could do, and they sat there in my notes file for years and years because I eventually started moving away from things I had seen done by other authors, and that meant, specifically the few things I was most interested in in the Wheel of Time. I didn't end up ever writing a magic system using. gateways and the World of Dreams, the way Robert Jordan had it. I avoided these things intentionally. And yet I had all these notes of things that I would like to have done, if I ever did a magic system with them.

    Lo and behold, I got that opportunity, and so I found ways to....when I got the project, I didn't want to come in and make any sweeping changes—that wasn't my goal—but there are some places where I felt it appropriate to add some of my touch to the books, and one was with the gateways. I didn't want to be spending a lot of time doing anything with the magic system, you know—inventing a lot of new weaves, or anything like that—but I did want to expand some parts.

    And so I actually....I went to Charleston, and we needed a new viewpoint character, specifically someone in the Black Tower—we hadn't had...we didn't have the right viewpoint character for the Black Tower—so I said, is there an Asha'man you guys think that I could take over, so to speak, and really flesh out and make into a more...you know, elevate a side character to a medium level character, which is something Robert Jordan frequently did in the series, and they came to the decision that Androl was the person that I should take, and I gave him the gateway Talent because I wanted to explore what happens with gateways.

    And so, right there....we are all on the same wavelength; it wasn't necessarily me trying to answer your question. It was me answering questions to myself as a young man reading the series, wondering a lot about gateways. And so, Androl was a lot of fun.

    In fact, there's another story there. At one point, I'm working on the series, and I get in the mail this envelope—it's a manila envelope from Charleston, and in it are a bunch of photocopied pages, and Harriet has written on the front of them: "Jim planned to use this somewhere. Can you fit it in?" And what it was was a detailed explanation from the viewpoint of a leatherworker about how one goes about using leather, and leatherworking. And this is the sort of detail, craftsman-style sort of things that Robert Jordan really liked to find places for that sort of detail in the books, and meanwhile, I've been sitting here trying to build a character for Androl, and I'm like, "Okay! I've got a place for it." And that's how Androl became a leatherworker, is from that stack of pages from Robert Jordan; it was just a photocopy of a leatherworker talking about their work.

    So, there's some Androl stories. And so the answer is, it's half to you, but it's mostly to me (laughter). It's to both of us.

    Footnote

    Kathy met her husband at tarvalon.net

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  • 10

    Question

    How did you end up with a 190-page-long chapter?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There is a 190-page chapter in the book, in this book. And it was done very intentionally. I actually planned it that way from the beginning in my outline, the goal being that that's a point in the book where the characters can't just put down their weapons and stop, and I did not want the readers to be able to put down the book at that point. And a lot of people say, "Well, I'll just read one more chapter." (laughter) I wanted you to feel like they did at the end of that chapter, where they have been, and involved in something that is just draining emotionally, mentally, and physically, and the closest...the best way I can think of to make you have empathy for them was to push you through the same thing.

    Question

    It worked! (applause)

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's authors getting tricksy, is what it is.

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  • 11

    Question

    So I had a very emotional reaction to this book, and I'm sure a lot of people did. I actually had to put it down for about two weeks... [inaudible] As you the writer, how did you manage to get through the ending of a lot of characters that are part of our lives?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The answer is a complicated one dealing with the creative process. One part of the answer is I had a lot longer to get ready for it than you did. In fact, I was building the outline from this out of Robert Jordan's notes.

    We talked about the notes. I was handed two things by way of notes. One was a stack of 200 pages. And this is the writing Robert Jordan did for the last book, and including the Q&As he did with his assistants, where they would say, "Okay what's going to happen with this character?" And he would talk about it for a page or so, and they would actually just record that, and then they transcribed it for me. And so that's what those 200 pages were. And then there was a CD with all of this five million words of other stuff, which I would spend my time reading, but which would have taken me years and years and years to read through all the way. And so fortunately I had Maria and Alan working on that. It was real interesting because a lot of this is stuff like 'Chronology of events for Book 5', which there had been a lot of things like that, and then there'll be hidden little tidbits in there.

    But anyway, I was building the outline by rereading the series, taking the 200 pages—because we knew those were the scenes that he wanted in the book—and out of those two things I build the outline for the 800,000 word novel that I was planning. (laughter) So I used that. And I got very—I got time to come to grips with what was going to happen in a lot of the books. I had years to come to grips with it. It doesn't mean it wasn't an emotional time when I wrote it. We don't talk a lot—intentionally—we don't talk a lot about what was Robert Jordan and what was me. We don't talk a lot about where he decided characters needed to go, and where I decided characters needed to go, and where Harriet decided on occasion. But there were some long phone calls, where I would call and say, "This needs to happen. This is going to be really painful, but this is what the book needs." And we would talk it over and decide how to work it in and where it would go and how it would come about. Some of those conversations were tear-jerkers, but the Last Battle doesn't happen without some tear-jerking moments.

    But beyond that, of course, the idea that it was all coming to an end, right? That this was years and years and years of effort, and years and years and years of reading, coming to an end. And that was emotional in and of itself. So, I've now had six or seven months. It finished for me July/August-ish when I handed off the document to Maria, and she took over the copy edit, and the continuity—you know, tweaking little continuity things. From there on, I couldn't change anything—I could write to her and have her change things. That's when the book was done, to me. And I've had all that time to get used that idea, also, of the book being done. And so, yes it was emotional, but I had so much more time to deal with it than you did.

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  • 12

    Question

    For us, we get the benefit of the worlds that you and Robert Jordan built, but what is it personally like for you to build such an expansive world and to build a life?

    Brandon Sanderson

    For me, what is it like to build such an expansive world and to create it? It's . . . I don't know, what is it like? It's what I do. You know, it's what I've done since I was a kid, and I've just found a productive outlet for it instead of an unproductive outlet. Which . . . the unproductive outlet was sitting in my classes, dreaming of these things, creating little notebooks full of notes about them, and not paying attention in class. I got into a lot of trouble for that. And, what is it like? It's supremely satisfying. It feels like the true creative process of taking nothing—blank pages—and being done and having them be something. That is awesome. And it's a really special something, because it's something that's going to create something in your mind. Those pages are really nothing, really. They're words, but they're abstractions. But I get to take what's in my mind, create these words, put them there. And then you will do this, and you'll see a picture in your head. That's amazing. It's a painting that's never existed except in my head, and then it's like telepathy—I'm projecting it into your head. It's awesome, it's incredible, and it's what I love to do. And I'm just very, very blessed and very, very lucky that I've found a way that I can continue to do this and still have food for my family.

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  • 13

    Question

    Is everything in the Wheel of Time just like a big chess game between the Creator and the Dark One? And if so, or even if not, why is the Creator so sort of hands-off, while the Dark One is talking to minions?

    Harriet McDougal

    Harriet, do you have any insight on this one?

    Harriet McDougal

    Well, this may sound silly, but I think the real answer for you is to be found in the Book of Job, where there is a tremendously hands-off Creator. And I personally have always had a lot of trouble with the Book of Job. But Robert Jordan was brought up Baptist, and was brought up in the belief that the Bible in one man's hands is enough to get that man to heaven, to the presence of God, in the long run. And I think that there are no churches in the Wheel of Time, they're very aware of goodness. They know what the Light is, even though they're not talking to it. If that helps.

    Question

    Yes, thank you.

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  • 14

    Question

    So a lot of my consumption of all of the books by both Robert Jordan and yourself have been audiobooks. And so just curious from an art direction standpoint—since now the book is no longer the medium through which I'm encountering the story, it's through someone else's interpretation—how much art direction would you have in saying, hey this is how this character is or this is how . . . ?

    Harriet McDougal

    Well, they read word for word. They're not edited. And really, as far as I know, there's no direction. They did ask for — at the beginning, with The Eye of the World, they wanted advice on pronunciations. (laughter)

    And they got it, and they understood some of the instructions and missed a couple. (laughter) And I will tell you that the readers are a husband and wife of professional actors, both of them. But the woman's response—when she saw The Eye of the World, she said, "Why do you bother with a woman reader?" And the answer was: wait for the next book. (laughter)

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  • 15

    Question

    Are you planning on continuing to the fifth book of the Alcatraz series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Am I planning to continue to the fifth book of the Alcatraz series, which are my middle grade and young adult wacky fantasy books? The answer is yes. I did not like what the publisher was doing with the Alcatraz series, so I actually bought the rights back as part of agreement last year, which gave them until January to continue selling the books, and then I got the rights back in January. But they didn't want to do the fifth book for various reasons, and so I bought them all back and am now planning on how to get them back out there. I've given my UK publisher the right to distribute in the US, so they should have distribution again. And so I'll do the fifth book sometime this year. I will initially probably just put it on my web site to read because you've been waiting for so long, and then we'll worry about getting it printed somehow. [applause]

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  • 16

    Question

    How much of your own books were you consciously looking at books like Jordan and saying, "I like that kind of world," and trying to create that kind of world in your own stuff?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I spent most of my early career, as I kind of implied earlier, reacting against books that I had really liked. The main purpose for this being that I felt that Robert Jordan and various other authors really covered that type of story and that type of world really well. And so I said, "Well, what other room is there to explore?" And so you see me reacting against.

    For instance, Mistborn is a direct reaction to the Wheel of Time. Mistborn began as the question, "What if Rand were to fail?" That's what spun me into creating that entire book series: what if the prophesied hero was not able to accomplish what they were supposed to accomplish? And that became the foundation of that book series. So you can see where I was going and things like that. A lot of times I will read something, and if it's done very well I'll react against it, and if it’s done very poorly then I’ll say, "Oh, I want to try and do this the right way". And both of those are kind of an interesting style of reaction to storytelling. So I would say I was deeply influenced, but it's more in the realm of, "Hey what have they done? What have they covered really well, and where can I go to explore new ground?"

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  • 17

    Brandon Sanderson

    All right, let's go over here—the hat.

    Question

    Hi, I'm the hat. This is a question for Harriet. And I'm wondering if you had an opportunity to witness the role-playing sessions that occurred with Jim and his friends, well to sort of play out the books, and ways things could go, and if so, what they were like? And if not, did you just hate the fact that he was doing it?

    Harriet McDougal

    If they were, did I just hate . . . ?

    Question

    Well, if the reason that you didn't like them was that he was spending time away from you and you would just rather be . . . (laughter)

    Brandon Sanderson

    All right. I'll just let you go into this one.

    Harriet McDougal

    He only played . . . well, he played Dungeons and Dragons, not on his own, with my son—his step-son. Jim and I married when my son was twelve. And his best friend whose name was Thomas—Thomas was just writing to me from Switzerland where he lives now—Jim just whipped them, left, right, and center, every time they played, mercilessly. And of course I didn't care. Because he was doing what gave him pleasure, and it certainly gave the boys pleasure. But that was pretty much the extent of his role-playing games. I played a lot of "Snakebite". Does anybody remember that? On the ancient computer? No, I see you don't. (laughter)

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  • 18

    Brandon Sanderson

    All right, we only have time for about two more questions. So, let's go—anyone who has one, throw 'em up. Oh you'll get yours later, Stormleaders. All right, we're going to go to this guy right here, and then I'll pick one more.
  • 19

    Question

    Is any more stuff planned from the Wheel of Time universe?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, excellent question. I should have put this during the frequently asked ones at the beginning. Are there any more plans to do anything else with the Wheel of Time universe?

    Harriet McDougal

    No, there are not. The encyclopedia was put under contract in my husband's lifetime. He did enter into a contract for a trilogy of novels that are not part of the series but set in the world. He left either one or two sentences about that trilogy, which is not enough for anyone to work with so that it would very much still be his. He also said that—in the trade, it's called sharecropping in somebody's universe—and he said if anybody tries to sharecrop in my universe, I'll take out the hard disk, and I'll rent a semi—or a big rig, you might say, since his name was Rigney—and I will drive it backwards and forwards over the hard drive three or four times to be sure that no one will be able to do it. He really didn't want it done. And since he made it clear in his last months and weeks that he really did want the series finished, you have the end of the series, but there won't be any more done in the Wheel of Time world. [applause]

    Brandon Sanderson

    Along those lines, though, I will mention—people ask a lot—the film rights are held by Universal Pictures, and they're working toward feature films, one film per book. We don't know how far along they are. They have a second draft of a screenplay, which I have not seen. They're on a second draft.

    Harriet McDougal

    And I haven't either.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, and Harriet hasn't either. There is one other little tidbit—there's an anthology coming out called Unfettered. It's a charity anthology for a member of our community, in the science fiction and fantasy community, who had huge medical bills. And in order to help pay those off, we donated a deleted sequence from A Memory of Light. It's something that was written, but we decided for pacing reasons did not fit in the book. And so we donated that to Unfettered and so you can read that to see something behind the scenes. I will admit it's much more me than Robert Jordan, but it is something that we cut from A Memory of Light, just it didn't fit, pacing-wise, in the book.

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  • 20

    Question

    Are either you now, or else in the encyclopedia—are you going to answer who killed Asmodean? (laughter)

    Harriet McDougal

    I wish to stand up for librarians, writers of indexes, and in this case, writers of glossaries. Glossaries need to be read very carefully, particularly—which one is it? (laughter) Particularly the glossary of Towers of Midnight.

    Question

    Thank you.

    Harriet McDougal

    Somebody told me I was being a smartass. (laughter)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, okay. All right.

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  • 21

    Brandon Sanderson

    All right, I have to call on Mr. Brent Weeks, because he . . .

    Harriet McDougal

    Because he is who he is.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He knows many assassins, I hear. (laughter) So if I don't call on him, I could be in trouble.

    Brent Weeks

    So I hear the Stormlight Archive is supposed to be ten books. So does that mean 15 or 20? (laughter)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Stormlight Archive is supposed to be ten books. I'm hoping it will be ten books. It is two sequences of five, so you can ask me after the first five-book sequence where I am in my original outline. It should stay pretty close to that, I hope. I don't know. I used to be able to say everything stayed the same length I wanted it to be, but then my Wheel of Time book got split into three, so I can't say that any more.

    Brent Weeks

    Two years between books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, two years between books. They're very thick and involved, and I want to be doing other things as well. I like to jump projects—it's what keeps me fresh. It's what allows me to keep on doing this productively, and if I get stuck in one thing, no matter how much I love it, I find that I get less and less excited about it as time passes. But if I finish one book and skip to something else—like an Alcatraz book—for a little while and then jump back, I find my enthusiasm has come back to the beginning, where it was. And so I do a lot of jumping between projects.

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  • 22

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm going to do a few announcements, and then we'll do the reading. I say we—Harriet always rolls her eyes, because I’m going to have her read.

    Harriet McDougal

    Yes. Kemo sabe.

    [Skipped announcements about the logistics of the signing, Brandon's thank yous to the bookstore, and Harriet's reading of the wind paragraph.]

  • 23

    Anna Hornbostel

    Harriet then read the Wind sequence from A Memory of Light.

    There were a few memorable questions that I overheard while sitting at the signing table, so I will summarize them here. I didn't take notes so this is all from memory, not word for word, but I am only reporting the ones that I remember best.

    Spoilers ahead!

  • 24

    Anna Hornbostel

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Brandon stated that it was evident to him from the notes that it was always planned that Olver would be the one to blow the Horn at the Last Battle. He also said that there is no direct proof but that he would like to think that Olver did indeed get his chance to train with the Aiel.

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  • 25

    Anna Hornbostel

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    I asked him if Fain's ending was in the notes and he said that it was.

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  • 26

    Anna Hornbostel

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    A fan asked him if Alivia's role in the epilogue was her fulfillment of Min's viewing and he said that it was very clear that that was all that that viewing meant. He said that fans are speculating that she played a part in the body swap but she did not.

    Brandon went in to little detail about the body swap, saying he knows as much about it as we do and the notes just didn't give more. He asserted that he has to do with the balefire streams touching and the fact that Moridin no longer wanted to continue to exist but that Rand very much wanted to continue to exist.

    Footnote

    The viewing was almost certain a "riding into the sunset" metaphor, which we know is idiomatic to the WoT world from The Great Hunt Chapter 49, where Loial reads To Sail Beyond the Sunset (which is also a reference to Heinlein) as Rand accepts the oaths of the Shienarans, the first Dragonsworn.

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  • 27

    Anna Hornbostel

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Memory Keeper Andy asked Brandon about the timeline for the Wheel of Time. Brandon answered that the whole timeline for events is approximately 2 years long and that those years are the same length as ours, since this happened in our world in the past (or the future!). Brandon went on to say that he has seen some fan timelines but couldn't remember where they were, so I asked Terez and she linked me this one.

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  • 28

    Anna Hornbostel

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Brandon told a fan that the Alloy sequel will be called Shadows of Self. I then asked about the title for the next Stormlight book and Brandon laughed and said "Don't ask me that" so I guess we will have to wait on that!

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