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Interviews: AMOL Signing Report - DomaniSway

Summary:

Entries

21

Date

Feb 7th, 2013

Type

Paraphrased

Location

Huntington Beach, CA

TourCon

AMOL Book Tour

Bookstore

Barnes and Noble

Reporter

DomaniSway

Links

Dragonmount

Dragonmount

  • 1

    DomaniSway

    I see you, Dragonmount.

    Thanks for checking out the following recap of the Los Angeles (Huntington Beach) book signing of A Memory of Light with Brandon Sanderson and Harriet McDougal. My fellow Memory Keepers and I were happier than a Brown in a library to be chosen to help out and make this signing awesome. We started arriving at around 3 pm and were surprised to find that not a few avid fans had already arrived, eagerly awaiting the start of the event.

    Our Memory Keepers were a diverse group comprised of Rebecca, our "First Among Equals," Nathan, Ken, Joe, Rob, Carlos, and Kyle. Since Barnes & Noble took care of all of the setting up, we were able to focus on games and projects to keep everyone occupied while they were waiting. We had both drawing and sculpting setups, as well as extremely challenging trivia sheets for people to test their Wheel of Time knowledge. Want to take the challenge? You can find a copy here.

    Stumped? No worries, the answers are posted here.

    Those who participated in our sometimes fun, sometimes diabolical diversions were rewarded with various swag items including The Way of Kings in paperback, WoT phone cases, backpacks, and "Tai'shar Malkier" bumper stickers.

  • 2

    DomaniSway

    Right around 6:15 pm, we received word that Brandon and Harriet had arrived, and were smuggled into a back conference room to get our books signed and questions answered. An interesting outcome from our questions was that Brandon asked us to get people to compile a list of characters whose outcome was left out of the final book for potential inclusion in the upcoming encyclopedia.

    You can add to the discussion here:

    http://www.dragonmou...aracters-fates

    Upon our return from the back room, we chose a winner of the costume contest we hosted, but since we only had one participant, the choice was pretty easy. He looked really good though.

    Brandon and Harriet arrived upstairs and took a moment to admire everyone's handiwork... and promptly asked us to get it off of their table. They were thoroughly impressed, I'm sure.

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  • 3

    DomaniSway

    At this point, we were well past standing room only. Introductions were made, and Brandon reminded everyone to stay away from spoilers, especially since about 2/3 of the crowd had not yet finished A Memory of Light. From there, the Q&A began:

  • 4

    Question

    Loial is my favorite character in the series. Are his scenes in A Memory of Light written more by Brandon Sanderson or by Robert Jordan?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon replies by saying he will need to keep this vague due to not wanting to reveal spoilers to those who have not finished reading. He will answer this individually when the person comes up to him in line. He is against readers "looking" for him or for Robert Jordan in the books. The epilogue was entirely written by Robert Jordan, except for one portion that Brandon wrote.

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  • 5

    Question

    Is there anyone Brandon wanted to include in A Memory of Light but didn't get to?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, he was able to get to everyone. There were two major sequences cut from the book. One of these will appear in the charity anthology Unfettered. The other character POV just didn't work.

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  • 6

    Question

    What are the top three characters in which her personality dominated that character's personality?

    Harriet McDougal

    (joking) Graendal, Moghedian, ... (lots of laughter) Probably Nynaeve. Harriet remarks that she has several home remedies for any ailment. She states that Robert Jordan said all of the women characters stem from her and makes a comment about nagging Robert Jordan to take out the trash.

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  • 7

    DomaniSway

    When editing both Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, were there any scenes that needed to be cut because they were "too ridiculous"?

    Harriet McDougal

    No, for either of them. They are fabulous storytellers and did not show her ridiculous scenes. One scene of Brandon's she cut for pacing reasons. She did have some disagreements with Robert Jordan, different opinions. Some scenes that he absolutely loved, she did not like, and vice versa. She emphasized the importance of having your editor as a trusted first reader.

    Brandon mentions Dannil, the fourth Two Rivers boy, and Harriet explains that he was cut because he had nothing to do in The Eye of the World and he was boring. Robert Jordan said that he had big plans for him in the fourth book, and Harriet's response was that if you bore your readers now, there won't be a fourth book. Later, Robert Jordan admitted "how easily he [Dannil] unzipped out of the book."

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  • 8

    Question

    Did he get to include anything from his "Cool Stuff" list in the series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    A few things did end up in the book, but he won’t expand due to spoilers. He did say that he had ideas about gateways long before he was selected to finish the series. He wanted to include some of these ideas in his own work but he was too worried about copying Robert Jordan, so they just stayed in his file. He was able to pull these ideas out and use them with Androl in A Memory of Light.

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  • 9

    Question

    How did reading The Wheel of Time inspire his magic systems?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The first influence was Robert Jordan's focus on human characters over fantastical ones. He felt that Jordan's concept of weaving was complex and interesting, as opposed to magic systems of authors such as David Eddings. With the Wheel of Time, the rules and restrictions on magic made characters more clever and interesting. He didn't want to modify the WoT magic system but he did explore two aspects of it using ideas he had as a teenager: the World of Dreams and gateways. He avoided adding new weaves because the series was coming to a close.

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  • 10

    Question

    Who was his favorite character to write and who does he see himself the most in?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Perrin was his favorite. Even though Perrin went through "a slump" in the series in order to build tension, Brandon always stayed "Team Perrin." Perrin was the most natural. Mat was tough and thus a cooler character to write. Brandon enjoyed writing Mat, especially in A Memory of Light. Mat challenged his skills more than anyone else. The saddest part for him with finishing the series is that he can't write Mat anymore.

    Harriet added that there will not be any more WoT books (other than the encyclopedia). She said that Robert Jordan hated the idea of someone taking his material, although he did want the series finished. He stated he would run over his hard drive before allowing others to "sharecrop." Harriet stated that the two sentences about the outriggers that Robert Jordan left behind will be released in April or May. She said that with the encyclopedia there is "the work of at least a year."

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  • 11

    Question

    Did Robert Jordan have a favorite character?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes—the one that he was writing that day. She said that some days after writing he would come into the kitchen slouching and sidling up against the wall, and she would say, "Have you been writing Padan Fain today?" She went on to say that he always wrote from "a position of love" for every character.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon tells about one of the editing notes that he received from Harriet which read "Padan Fain needs more crazy."

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  • 12

    Question

    Do Robert Jordan's notes state who killed Asmodean?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon states that at the top of a large stack of Robert Jordan's notes that he received, there was a print-out of a fan's theory about the killer of Asmodean. Stuck to it was a post-it note from Jordan that read, "this is right."

    Harriet McDougal

    Harriet commented about the importance of glossaries.

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  • 13

    Question

    Is the dialogue between Rand and Mat in A Memory of Light more Robert Jordan or Brandon?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon does not want to answer that publicly due to the potential for spoilers.

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  • 14

    Question

    Will the encyclopedia have illustrations?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Much more time will be given to the illustrator than with the earlier book (the Big White Book). He stated that the BWB illustrator is very talented but was rushed.

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  • 15

    Question

    Will you share the story of the day you got the phone call from Harriet about completing the series?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Here, Brandon reviewed the story, remarking that he was more nervous than on his wedding day.

    Harriet McDougal

    Harriet added that she told Brandon that he was on her short list, but didn't reveal at the time that it really was a list with just one name. She said that she knew that he was a good writer but she didn't know just how superb he was going to be. He was "a great choice" to finish the series.

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  • 16

    Question

    Why do the Shardblades in the Stormlight Archive have the effect on flesh (human tissue) that they do?

    Brandon Sanderson

    He originally wrote the scene in the prologue with the assassin Szeth using a traditional sword, but it was so bloody and gruesome that Brandon was actually disgusted. He had to find a way to avoid that and so he came up with a new way for the swords to behave.

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  • 17

    Question

    What were Robert Jordan's influences for the creature that Padan Fain became?

    Harriet McDougal

    Just his own work and imagination. There were no outside influences that she knows of.

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  • 18

    Question

    Who was his favorite villain to write?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Demandred.

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  • 19

    Question

    Could you elaborate on some of your recent comments about the difficulty of writing shorter books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    One of Brandon's favorite stories is "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut, and it's only five pages long, but he has struggled with writing shorter works. He's tried, but he has felt bad at it and it's not something he's ever been trained in. He realized that he was trying to write shorter fiction for the wrong reasons—he was doing it for New York and not because he wanted to do it. He feels that his best short work is Emperor's Soul.

    He goes on to praise Harriet for her remarkable career, specifically pointing out her role in Ender's Game and Eye of the World, two of the greats in sci-fi/fantasy. Harriet modestly says, "I put my shoes on one foot at a time."

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  • 20

    Question

    Who was the most challenging WoT character to write?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Mat was the most challenging, the second most was Aviendha. He explains that it is hard to write about someone so different than yourself and the Aiel culture seemed the most unique in the series. Of Rand's three women, Aviendha is Brandon's favorite. He recalls that after writing his first Aviendha scene, Harriet read it and then told him that it was a "picture perfect Elayne." Brandon went on to discuss how he has to write his way into his characters. Vin, in Mistborn, was originally a boy. Lots of his early work on The Gathering Storm was scrapped by Harriet because Brandon wasn't "there yet" with the characters.

    He then goes on to discuss the volume of notes left by Robert Jordan. There are about 200 pages for A Memory of Light and then there is roughly 32,000 pages of other notes for the series, three times as large as the entire series put together. Brandon tells of how he tried to open it once and it crashed his computer because the file was so large. He also wants to commend the enormous efforts of Alan and Maria for their help in managing all of the details of the series.

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  • 21

    DomaniSway

    At this point, in the interest of time, the Q&A ended so that, as Brandon said, "We can do a reading. We meaning Harriet." She read the opening paragraph of the wind rose chapter, and it was magical.

    Following that, the signing began. As Harriet said, "I love you all, but I hate midnight." In consideration of that, everyone was allowed 3 books their first time through the line, and anyone who wanted additional books signed or any personalization had to go through the line a second time after Harriet left. Before that could happen though, they had the daunting task of signing books for approximately 500 people! Here are some cool things that happened as people made their way to the front of the line: [photos not available]

    With all of these awesome and interesting things happening, the highlight for me was when out of the blue, Harriet poked me in the ribs and said, "He looks like Perrin! Doesn't he look just like Perrin?" I was so surprised that of course I immediately agreed, and that is forever more what I'll remember when I think of Perrin Aybara. Not that I even saw the guy. Sorry Harriet.

    All too soon, it was time for Harriet to say goodnight. The Memory Keepers then enlisted Brandon's help to give out the last of our remaining swag to the die-hards who remained for personalization.

    Then we breathed a collective sigh of relief, watched the line dwindle down to the last person (a B&N employee who just got off of work), took a moment for one last picture, and made our exit.

    We hope you enjoyed this brief recap of the awesome night we had here in Huntington Beach. We are incredibly grateful to Dragonmount for choosing us to be a part of the Memory of Light Tour, Barnes & Noble, and of course to Brandon and Harriet for making all of this possible. Thank you all for checking out our event. May you always find water and shade.

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