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  • 1

    Interview: Oct 21st, 1994

    AOL Chat 1 (Verbatim)

    Aaron

    Hi. I suppose you already know through some of the signings and various letters that you have large fan clubs on most of the major online services and that we've basically been going through the books with a fine tooth comb. I believe you've even seen the FAQ. I was wondering on whether you expected anything like this and has it affected you in any way?

    Robert Jordan

    I never expected anything in the least like this, and as far as affecting me in any way—I now look through the peephole before I open doors.

    Tags

  • 2

    Interview: Jan 25th, 2005

    Week 22 Question

    How many people have you met that have named their children or pets after characters in your books?

    Robert Jordan

    A fair number, though I haven't kept count. I'd say a couple of dozen, at least. Whether there are any who I haven't met, and who haven't written to tell me, I couldn't say, of course.

    Tags

  • 3

    Interview: Jul 19th, 2005

    Week 25 Question

    After reading a book like Misery by Stephen King I think that I would be terrified to be a writer. What has been your creepiest experience with a fan?

    Robert Jordan

    I haven’t had any creepy experiences with fans unless you count the bikers who came to a signing after hearing a rumor—untrue—that I was in very bad health and threatened to desecrate my grave if I died before finishing the books. That was a little on the odd side, especially since they looked as if they might desecrate graves for a hobby. On the whole, my fans seem to be pretty sane. No freeze dried cats as presents. No requests for autographs in blood. Oh, a few women have volunteered to have my baby, but that’s a whole different thing.

    Tags

  • 4

    Interview: Sep 6th, 1993

    Robert Jordan

    Dear Carol,

    Thank you very much for the copy of The Chronicles. I was not aware that I had fans who followed my work so closely. It is a real pleasure to discover. I apologize for the delay in writing, but in addition to writing (which takes no small amount of time), I have been on a round-the-world promotional trip and a close family member had to have open heart surgery, both of which occupied me fully. I do not have access to Prodigy, but please keep me on your mailing list through Tor.

    By the way, the capture of Yurian Stonebow did not "bring and end to the Trolloc Wars" (Guide to WoT). Yurian Stonebow "rose from the ashes of the Trolloc Wars." That is, he came along after the wars ended.

    Footnote

    This 'Guide to WoT' was something in the fan club newsletter; the Big White Book was published a few years later. The first quote is probably from this 'guide', and the second is from The Great Hunt.

    Tags

  • 5

    Interview: Nov, 1993

    Trinity College Q&A (Paraphrased)

    Robert Jordan

    He raised the point that Rand's creeping insanity may manifest in much more subtle ways than the people of Randland expect...which leads one to wonder about Rand's increasing withdrawal and possible megalomania. I think he is aware of the net discussion: he expressed surprise at the amount of analysis and comparison with Tolkien, Dune etc. (I felt tempted to mention A. A. Milne) and somebody in the audience compared WoT to Atlas Shrugged, which really seemed to surprise him. His attitude is that once he has written one book (and publicized it) it is time to move on to the next...The only deliberate connection between WoT and any other modern fantasy was giving the first 100-odd pages of The Eye of the World a Lord of the Rings-esque flavor, to start people off in familiar territory.

    Tags

  • 6

    Interview: Dec, 1993

    Robert Jordan

    I found the compendium fascinating. It is startling how much your group has puzzled out correctly, but I have to tell you that some of what you worked out is wrong, concerning both me and the books, but I have it in mind not to tell you which parts. That way you can have the pleasure of figuring out for yourselves where you went astray. (Easy to say that when I'm four or five thousand miles away.)

    Footnote

    RJ is speaking of an early version of the FAQ.

    Tags

  • 7

    Interview: Dec, 1993

    Question

    Ask him if he knows about all the Jordan junkies on the network. Tell him we love his books and are frenzied to know when the next one is coming out. Get him to confirm that Verin is not Black. (Not that he will of course; then again, those of us who know, know that she isn't.) Please find out if Lews Therin balefired himself in the prologue in The Eye of the World, or if he just drew too much of the One Power. If it isn't critical to the continuing plot, I'm sure he'll say.

    Robert Jordan

    I know about the "Jordan junkies" (ahem! Blush!), now. Lews Therin did not use balefire on himself; he simply drew as much of the One Power as he could, then kept on pulling it in. As for Verin: read and find out. Surely you agree with Oscar Wilde about the suspense? I will try to keep you right a tiptoe as long as I can.

    Tags

  • 8

    Interview: Dec, 1993

    Question

    We don't want to pry; however it was rumored that you had suffered a heart attack recently and your devoted readers are concerned for your welfare.

    Robert Jordan

    No, I did not have a heart attack, nor any sort of medical problem whatsoever. My wife did have heart surgery, she has made a full recovery; this may be the source of the rumors. Many thanks for your concern.

    Tags

  • 9

    Interview: Dec 8th, 1993

    Robert Jordan

    Thank you very much for your letter. Receiving it was like getting a great pat on the back.

    I have recently become aware of Internet, and have been a little dazed by the depth of interest Internet users display in my books. It's very flattering. However, I must correct the comment about Chapel Hill: I have never attended Chapel Hill in any way and I was not a geography major (sorry) . . I attended The Citadel, and took my B.S. there, with a double major in math and physics.

    Praise from a geographer for my world-building is praise indeed! Thanks for your kind words.

    Tags

  • 10

    Interview: Dec 8th, 1993

    Robert Jordan

    A note, since you apparently have access to Internet and maybe some of the others. Various people have told me that they have seen messages posted about The Wheel of Time purporting to be from me. I do not have access to Internet or any other bulletin board. I have never posted any messages, nor even listened in through someone else's connection.

    Tags

  • 11

    Interview: Feb 1st, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    Dear Carolyn,

    Thank you for your letter. It is good to hear about your newsletter and the activity of my fans.

    I think I need to address your question about the stories. You are right about stories set in my world or my landscape or my world's history plagiarizing my creation, and plagiarism is theft; a benign theft in the case of a fan publication, but just the same, an author's sole property rights to his creating lie in his copyright, and to infringe my copyright is to steal from me...Even if I were to set restrictions, any permission or approval from me would set a precedent that I cannot and will not set. You might agree not to use any of my characters, say, but another fan club might not be as correct as you have been regarding asking permission, yet take publication by your newsletter of stories in my world as an okay to do the same. Like Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, I might well find stories being published that do include my characters, and published to make a buck. Such would lead to all sorts of legal wrangles.

    For that reason, I cannot give you such permission.

    As to role playing, that is an entirely different matter. As long as there is no commercial consideration involved, feel free. With regard to sanctioning your club, I'm afraid I can't. I do not intend to sanction any fan club; there are a number of clubs, and I really can't favor one over another. I hope you understand.

    Tags

  • 12

    Interview: Feb 1st, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    I must say that I'm not surprised that most of your predictions didn't come out. I try to avoid doing what people expect. And I avoid answering questions, at least about what is happening in the books. If I answer some, people can begin to figure out some important things that I mean to hide simply by which I answer and which I don't. Whether you decide to go with publishing or illustration for a career—or both—good luck. Again, thanks for your letter.

    Tags

  • 13

    Interview: Mar 1st, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    Dear Carolyn:

    Thanks for your letter of February 6.

    I've had requests for info about starting clubs from three or four people, and have given them the address of The Chronicles. In addition, there was/is a club in Columbia S.C., but I've lost their address. In Scotland I was given a seventy-page printout of "facts deduced" about the books by a Jordan discussion group on Internet, which I am told has broken away from the main SF/Fantasy group. A fan wrote giving me the "address" of this group, but I would have to go through all the filed letters to find it; as I am not on any of the nets, I did not make a note of it. Otherwise, it's hearsay, that the clubs exist on the nets. If I find any addresses, I will send them on to you.

    Tags

  • 14

    Interview: Mar 1st, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    Hey, don't publish the picture Gerard gave you. Our house has no wrought-iron gates. Also, no renovation has been done here since the fix-up after Hurricane Hugo several years ago. I kid you not. Poor Gerard got the wrong house. I'm glad you don't intend to publish any address, whether or not it is mine. There are fans who write letters, and then there are fans who show up at the front door unannounced. I hate to be rude to people, but with the time I spend writing, I barely have time for a social life with my friends, and frankly, someone who has managed to track you down is going to think you have cheated them if you scribble your name in their book and say, "Now go away. I'm busy." Believe me.

    Well, again, thanks for the letter, Carolyn. Do keep me abreast of what's happening with The Chronicles. I really would like to see copies, if it is possible for you to send them to me care of Tor Books.

    Tags

  • 15

    Interview: Jun 10th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    Dear Carolyn:

    Thanks for your letter of May 21, and for the copies of The Chronicles, which I enjoyed very much. Please keep them coming. Your take on the prophecies is interesting. Hmmmm.

    Oh my dear, I do hope there will not be ten books all told. I'm planning for eight, at present, and hope very strongly that I can wrap it all up in that length. Enjoy your vacation!

    Best Regards,

    Robert Jordan

    Tags

  • 16

    Interview: 1994

    Grey Culberson

    Does RJ religiously read the WOT newsletter?

    Robert Jordan

    Absolutely. At least when I get it.

    Tags

  • 17

    Interview: 1994

    Grey Culberson

    What's the story with the limited editions?

    Robert Jordan

    So far there have been only limited edition of The Shadow Rising, The Fires of Heaven, and Lord of Chaos, however the publisher will be soon going back to the first three novels and will produce limited editions of those as well. According to the blurbs in the limited editions, RJ gets 25 of the less than 200 published but RJ refuted that saying he only signs them and then the publisher hands them out to important types. The publisher's 25 editions are lettered from A to Z (minus I) whereas the public editions are numbered. RJ expressed his disappointment in never getting limited editions to hand out and also his astonishment that people are willing to dole out the greenbacks it takes to purchase one.

    Tags

  • 18

    Interview: 1994

    Dennis

    (small report)

    Robert Jordan

    I asked him what we had picked up on that he thought we wouldn't, and he wouldn't tell me. Did say that the two ways of looking at the Rand/Lews Therin thing (Lews Therin causing Rand's madness/Lews Therin a manifestation of Rand's madness) was intentional. Wouldn't tell me which one it was though....

    Tags

  • 19

    Interview: 1994

    Daniel Flodin

    (small report)

    Robert Jordan

    Robert Jordan is supposed to be Guest of Honor on a Fantasy congress, called 'Easterly to the Sun', that is held in Stockholm...on June 16-18. If someone is interest of place, cost, booking and if Robert Jordan really shows up...then [write to Daniel through e-mail].

    Footnote

    This was 'East of the Sun' Con, the name of which is probably taken from Tolkien poetry.

    Tags

  • 20

    Interview: 1994

    Kris Quinn

    Like you, John, I discussed *P and said that I was one of probably dozens who had sent him one of those free subscription packets (I have no idea if *P still does it). Turned out it was a revelation to him.

    Robert Jordan

    "I was wondering why I kept getting subscriptions in the mail occasionally!" And we had a whole discussion on the net, which boils down to that he wasn't really crazy about getting onto the nets (Compuserve, *P, etc.) because he saw how addicting it is for a friend of his, but that occasionally he gets copies of stuff from the various nets...All in all, a REAL nice guy.

    Footnote

    *P is probably supposed to be P*, an abbreviation for Prodigy, which was a competitor of Compuserve, the main Internet Service Provider in the US at the time (before AOL).

    Tags

  • 21

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Ryan Gran

    I arrived about 50 minutes early, and immediately proceeded to complete my collection of hardcovers. Got the last copy of The Eye of the World and although it's not first edition, it's autographed; along with the other five! The Tor representatives were handing out book marks and postcards with the cover art from The Fires of Heaven depicted on them. In any case, by arriving 40 minutes early, I was number 16, and it took about an hour to get to me. I saw numbers in the high 60s, so I'm not sure if RJ was going to make an effort to get through everyone or not. He took the time to answer questions from each person, signed the books "For first_name, Best Wishes ... Robert Jordan" on the flip side of the page with edition information. He also signed maps and "The Wheel of Time" sampler, which SF&M was giving out.

    I met up with the original FAQ creator (sorry, I didn't catch/remember your name, but I'm sure she's quite well known!) and I posed a couple of questions for her (she was in the high 50s and wasn't sure whether she'd get a chance). She was taking notes, so I'll let her post the "official" Q&A from tonight.

    Footnote

    The 'FAQ creator' that Ryan is referring to is Erica Sadun; her report from this signing is available here.

    Tags

  • 22

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Daniel Rouk

    The only net personality I knew was Erica. She took notes so will have much more info when she posts tonight. The bookstore was packed with probably about 100 people. I left just after my book was signed. This took about two hours to get to my number as many people had several copies of each of the series to sign. Nobody seemed to mind. There are LOTS of internet lurkers out there in the world though. Too bad more of them don't post, but the ones I talked to mentioned the volume as too heavy.

    Footnote

    Erica Sadun's report from this signing is available here.

    Tags

  • 23

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Daniel Rouk

    I asked how far along he is [with A Crown of Swords].

    Robert Jordan

    Jordan said he didn't really know, as he is constantly writing and cutting parts. He writes from the beginning of the story to the end, and then cuts and edits large chunks, pulling together threads. He doesn't even think about a working title, but lets the story determine it.

    He says there will be at least three more books, maybe four.

    Jordan knows the very last part of the final book, but doesn't know how long it will be till he'll put it in.

    One humorous story mentions the quote saying he will continue writing until the day the nails are put into his coffin. One elderly lady apparently told him that she was a lot closer to that than he was so he had better hurry up.

    Tags

  • 24

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    Jordan knows about the internet groups, and even mentioned the recent split of the rawsfr-j from its parent group and said that is happening on a lot of other computer boards.

    Jordan quoted the FAQ! Erica said the relevant part was from Novak, about Bela being a Darkfriend and attending the social. "The cloaked figure of indeterminate sex."

    Tags

  • 25

    Interview: Oct 17th, 1994

    Question

    Is Bela ta'veren?

    Robert Jordan

    He quoted John Novak's Darkfriend Social scene. (He called it the "Darkfriend Social". He got the name from Judy.)

    Tags

  • 26

    Interview: Oct 11th, 2005

    NaClH2O

    Deadsy had sent me a Question of the Week that she had asked, the one about the configuration of the roof of the White Tower. The Barnes & Noble (or Tor I'm not sure which) clone said that it was against the rules to have this signed. I protested a bit and she called in a higher level clone.

    Robert Jordan

    RJ was listening to all this and said, "It's okay, I'd be happy to sign it. I'll sign anything as long as it's not certain male body parts." So I got it signed. And gave him the CD Deadsy had sent as well. He mentioned that bribes did not work and Deadsy would still not know the answer to "Boxers or Briefs". He seemed to be in a very jocular mood.

    Tags

  • 27

    Interview: Oct 20th, 1994

    Delemin

    My dear fellow rasfwrjians, as (to the best of my knowledge) the only one of us to attend the signing at Science Fiction, Mysteries, and More on Thursday, I feel obliged to report what Jordan said there, and my impressions.

    Robert Jordan was stockier, shorter, and better cushioned than I expected. He wore a wide brimmed hat and walked with a cane with a ram's horn like handle. Generally he was open and friendly. When he came in late he explained that it was because Princess Di was in New York to meet Bill Clinton to discuss Vince Foster's suicide. However he made repeated references to being worn out and overworked by Lord of Chaos.

    Robert Jordan

    "If I work that hard on this one I'll die," he commented several times. Apparently he worked 12-14 hours a day, 7 days a week. In August (he usually finishes in May) the folks at Tor sequestered him in a hotel in New York City, where he finished the book in two weeks. He said he would try to get the book out on time but he figured we would rather have him finish a book late than finish his life early.

    Tags

  • 28

    Interview: Oct 20th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    When a latecomer asked when he intended to "pop out next one", Jordan responded by telling him that he once sat at a table with G. Gordon Liddy, who explained how to kill someone with chopsticks. Having found this fascinating dinner conversation, Jordan was willing to bet he could reproduce the effect with a pen.

    Footnote

    At the time, G. Gordon Liddy (famous for his role in the 1971 Watergate burglary that led to Richard Nixon's resignation) was in the news again due to some controversial statements he'd made about how to kill ATF officers (in case of a misplaced raid).

    Tags

  • 29

    Interview: Oct 20th, 1994

    Dennis Higbee

    I was at the Robert Jordan signing today at Forbidden Planet on 12th and Broadway in lower Manhattan, NYC. I'm not going to set the scene, except to say that the line wasn't too long, and it moved well. I found him and his wife (who was also present) to be a charming and personable couple. They went out of their way to by nice and patiently answered all my questions. None of them were really of any significance, but he did identify me as a net-denizen from the question "Is Bela ta'veren?" (Yes, I know it's been done, but I could not help myself.)

    Tags

  • 30

    Interview: Oct 22nd, 1994

    Pam Korda

    David's wife took a picture of David, John, me, and RJ. I suppose he'll upload it sometime.

    John, Scot May, me, and my minions went for pizza afterwards.

    Mrs. Robert Jordan liked my T-shirt.

    Pam "not dead yet" Korda

    Tags

  • 31

    Interview: Oct 22nd, 1994

    Roxanne

    The signing at The Stars Our Destination was an overwhelming success by any measure you want to use.

    We had about a hundred people show up (this was hard to determine, really since many people went through the line multiple times in order to get all of their books/maps/paraphernalia signed). We sold about 75 copies of Lord of Chaos during the day. Everyone who wanted a book signed was able to get it signed.

    We found a couple of the maps in our basement, and the representative from Tor had about 15 that had been rattling around in her trunk, which we gave out as door prizes. We used 10-sided dice as random number generators, and your line number as your lottery ticket. It was a lot of fun and broke the tension of standing in line, not to mention equitably distributing the maps, of which there obviously were not enough to go around.

    I was busy (obviously!), but did overhear a couple of things:

    Tags

  • 32

    Interview: 2010

    Terez (30 July 2010)

    Does Min's comment to Corele mean that the Dark One can subvert her viewings BEFORE the Pattern is destroyed?

    Terez

    Asked in reference to the viewing that Elza would serve Rand. Or did it simply not imply she would serve forever?

    Brandon Sanderson (30 July 2010)

    Elza did serve Rand, in her own way. It did not mean forever. That was not a subverting of the viewing. (Or wasn't meant to be.)

    Terez

    Thanks! That's what I thought but some will still say you didn't answer the original question lol. It's Theoryland.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Robert Jordan taught me to give Aes Sedai answers.

    Terez

    Fair enough. :)

    Terez

    There is one case in which I suspect that RJ gave an Aes Sedai answer and the reporter may not have gotten it exactly.

    Terez

    Q: Was Else always Lanfear? RJ: No. Else did exist as a separate human but was played by Lanfear after Else was expelled.

    Terez

    Strange, because of the personality 'Else' showed, and the Tear trap being Mesaana's trap, not Lanfear's. Any comment?

    Brandon Sanderson

    MAFO.

    Maria Simons

    (later) I cannot find anything to clarify the question.

    Terez

    PS, thanks for taking time to do Q&A here. Far superior to tour reports, since the Aes Sedai answers are direct from you. ;)

    Terez

    ...not to mention the quick responses, and the fact that you have more time to think the answers out. You are awesome!

    Terez

    By the way, not knocking the tour reporters. They rock; we have a lot of good stuff because of them.

    Terez

    I am just reminded of Tam. 'Tell me what she said. Her exact words, mind, just as she said them.' And Thom too. :)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sure. Of course, I'm not convinced half of Theoryland hasn't joined Twitter only to follow/question me...

    Brandon Sanderson

    When I'm on tour, do be aware that I don't have notes handy and I'm usually very tired. All answers are suspect.

    Terez

    As for stalking you...someone has to do it to keep the Q&A organized, and I elected myself (also before you came along).

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ha. Just seems that I get a surprising number of tweets from people with no profile picture, and who are only following me. :)

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't feel stalked at all. This is how I use Twitter, and I'm happy to answer questions.

    Matt Hatch

    No profile pics and only following you? That sounds like my twenty other Twitter accounts...

    Footnote

    Min and Cadsuane told Corele that she sees pieces of the Pattern, but if the Dark One destroys the Pattern as he aims to do, then her viewings will be irrelevant. Those that are in reference to things after the Last Battle will only come to pass if they prevent the Dark One from destroying the Pattern. Some took this to mean that Shaidar Haran (essentially, the Dark One) subverted Min's viewing that Elza would serve Rand when he ordered Elza to help Semirhage torture and control Rand.

    Tags

  • 33

    Interview: 2010

    Austin Moore (30 July 2010)

    Who would you say is your favorite Forsaken? And that's coming from you as a fan more than you as the writer.

    Brandon Sanderson (30 July 2010)

    Hmm... Ishamael/Moridin.

    AUSTIN MOORE

    Who's second strongest Forsaken after Moridin? Some say Demandred some say Aginor. Did RJ say in his notes?

    BRANDON SANDERSON (1 AUGUST)

    It IS in the notes, very explicitly. As for your answer...I'll see if we can get that in the Encyclopedia.

    Footnote

    The BWB says that Aginor was second-strongest of the male Forsaken. It also implies that Demandred is somewhat lower on the list than some fans expect, but since the Forsaken are all very close, it probably doesn't make as big a difference as some imagine.

    Tags

  • 34

    Interview: 2010

    Austin Moore (9 August 2010)

    Have you seen any theories online about the ending of WoT that were right?

    Brandon Sanderson (9 August 2010)

    Yes, I have.

    Footnote

    Of course, 'the ending' is a rather broad category that could include anything at all about the Last Battle, Rand's death/resurrection, Shayol Ghul, the sealing of the Bore, etc.

    Tags

  • 35

    Interview: 2010

    Shivam Bhatt (13 August 2010)

    Do you ever feel that you're sharing too much info with all these updates?

    Brandon Sanderson (13 August 2010)

    Don't know. I worry about it mostly for Harriet's sake. I try to reign myself in, actually. I'd probably share more...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    ...but I don't want to make Harriet uncomfortable. This isn't my world, it's hers.

    Tags

  • 36

    Interview: Oct 11th, 2005

    Ted Herman

    Went to Walmart at 7am but the clerks there were not on the ball, so I had to wait until I got to Barnes & Noble to buy Knife of Dreams, around 10am. I was the first one there, though I ended up second on line. They were strict with two books signed, hardcovers only, per trip through the line, with no personalizations. Also, no question and answer session :(

    I did see TMH there (I'm not going to try to spell your name dude :p ) who was a few spots behind me in line. Didn't see anyone else from Theoryland to know it though. But if you were there I was wearing a Mets hat. And reading Knife of Dreams.

    Got a few questions answered though from the list, after going through the line twice. It was an hour wait just about, and I had no more books to sign, so I left. I am going to another signing tonight and possibly one tomorrow though, and hopefully I can winnow out the question list after I complete Knife of Dreams. No RAFOs either.

    Robert Jordan

    Didn't get really to hear other people's questions either unfortunately, except for one genius who asked when the next book is coming out, and RJ announced to everyone that it would be published after he finishes writing it.

    Tags

  • 37

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brandon Sanderson (3 January 2011)

    Yes, I will be live tweeting/blogging my re-read. Should have some fun things to post about the WoT as I go.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Some are asking if my tweets/blogs will have spoilers for WoT books. I'll try to keep those to a minimum. But there will be some.

    MATT HATCH

    Have you considered using a hashtag for your WoT re-read tweets? Would make it easier for fans to follow and participate.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yeah, but I always forget to put in the hashtags...

    MATT HATCH

    Pick a hashtag. We can always retweet the stuff you forget to tag. That's what HCFFs are for, right?

    MATT HATCH

    Want to join in the re-read fun? @BrandonSandrson is tweeting as he goes. Use this hashtag #wotrr to follow and comment as it progresses.

    KARA-NOEL (4 JANUARY)

    I want to do the #wotrr with you! What book are you on??

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I'm still on Book One. Basically, I'll do 10% of a book a day minimum.

    ANNE SOWARDS (5 JANUARY)

    I am feeling a crazy urge to re-read Robert Jordan's The Eye of the World. I blame @BrandonSandrson and his #wotrr tweets.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    The end of the series draws near. An end of an Age of fantasy reading for many of us.

    JASON ROSTAR

    Does it take you longer to read WoT now than when you first read them? Do you read more carefully since you're 'working'?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yes, much longer.

    MATTHEW TIDMAN

    The problem with trying to read through The Wheel of Time series for the first time is that it's so huge it's just daunting.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    First book stands very well on its own, and first three make a solid trilogy. You can read to either point...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    ...and there decide if you want to continue on. It feels less daunting that way.

    JAIME CALLAHAN

    I've never read any of the Wheel of Time books. I think this might put my fantasy book reader street cred in danger.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Ha. It's okay. They're fun, though. (I might be biased.)

    Tags

  • 38

    Interview: Oct 25th, 1994

    Tony Zbaraschuk

    Well, here's the Seattle signing report from the University of Washington bookstore. We had quite a lot of people (probably somewhere around 130-140, according to one of the UW reps there; he didn't think it was quite 150).

    Jordan was quite friendly and accessible, even on the factory line of signatures. I met several other net.inhabitants, and told one guy (who hadn't heard about it) about rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan; he said he'd log on immediately he got home that night.

    I got a number of questions answered, and heard the answers to many more. Herewith the digest. (There ARE some Lord of Chaos spoilers below.)

    Last chance to back out!

    OK, the straight scoop. At least, as straight a scoop as could be gotten. Following "answer" text is my paraphrase of Jordan comments. (I didn't have a tape recorder, sob.)

    Tags

  • 39

    Interview: Oct 25th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    Speaking of the Net, Jordan did say (as noted before) that he'd read the FAQ, and was both impressed and amused by it. We got a lot of stuff right, and a lot of stuff wrong. We also have based a lot of discussion on "facts" we deduced that were actually wrong.

    He DID say that he had done some things in response to net.speculations. First, if we seemed to be getting too close to something he had intended to stay hidden for a while longer, he would tone it done in later books. And if we seemed to be going off on an incredible tangent (the "How could they think THAT?" sort of thing) he would correct it. In both cases, however, he only did this if it could be fitted unobtrusively into the book.

    Naturally, he refused to provide specifics. I asked if the linking discussion on the Net had led to the glossary entry in Lord of Chaos (which discussed linking in some depth). He said no, the info about linking has been in his notes all along, but he had to cut it out of previous glossaries in order to save space.

    Tony Zbaraschuk

    [I was discussing Moghedien's nature at this point, as an example of how wrong some of our deductions were [specifically mine about Moghedien's exact identity and the nature of her companions—see the FAQ, and compare with the Salidar sections in Lord of Chaos] and said that it was almost impossible to get a straight answer (or any info) out of Moghedien, and Harriet Jordan said that that was a lot like her husband; it was very hard to get info out of him.]

    Tags

  • 40

    Interview: Oct 26th, 1994

    Don Harlow

    About sixteen or seventeen people eventually showed up at the DFS, which lasted for a little more than an hour and a half and was quite vigorous. I believe that Ken Kofman is going to post a fuller report here. Let me only say that when Ken insisted that we take the Darkfriend Oath (from the Social in The Great Hunt), Esther Harlow was the only person with the courage (?) to stand up and actually repeat it. Her unregenerate father, on the other hand, at the point where Ken had read "The Great Lord of the Dark is my master, and most heartily do I serve him..." piped in with "That's not an oath, that's a recipe!" (with thanks to Damon Knight for the inspiration).

    My wife reports that the signing at Tower Books in Concord this afternoon was well attended. Regrettably, both my spies in Sacramento are doing other things this evening... My wife took pictures at Concord, and when she gets them developed, I'll scan them in and post them, preferably at Ole' Miss (Viren? You listening?)

    Tags

  • 41

    Interview: Oct 26th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    RJ also told someone that about 25% of what had been figured out on the net was correct, about 25% was on the right track, and the rest was wrong.

    GREG

    I had trouble hearing these figures, so maybe someone can correct me if I've made any small errors with them. I wonder how RJ would come up with such figures, anyway? No doubt most of the "looney theories" are wrong, but I have trouble believing that the FAQ (which we pretty much know RJ has read) is 50% wrong. Then again, the FAQ does give bunch of "reasons for" and "reasons against" for certain ideas—maybe that's what he means! Who knows?

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  • 42

    Interview: Oct 27th, 1994

    Tom Burke

    I introduced myself as an internet user. I told him that some on the net seemed to think that every other person was a Darkfriend. He replied, "I've heard". I told him that my feeling was that the number of Darkfriends in Randland were probably between 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 100,000.

    Robert Jordan

    He replied, "Closer to the later, of course we see more of them because of the ta'veren."

    Tom Burke

    I asked if there were fewer amongst the Aiel than in the great cities.

    Robert Jordan

    He responded, "Yes, of course."

    Tags

  • 43

    Interview: Oct 27th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    Since he had read a lot of what the net had to say, I asked if the 50% of our discussion that was way off came under the heading of looney ideas. He responded, "Read the books."

    Footnote

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  • 44

    Interview: Oct 28th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    The real Robert Jordan was late arriving (he had an earlier signing and then an interview) and asked for a three book limit. I had six books so got to talk to him twice. He looked kind of tired and seemed to be in a hurry to get to everyone. Most of my questions got a 'read and find out.' He said he had read the 'Is Bela a Darkfriend?' thread from this group. He shook his head in a bemused manner as he said this.

    Tags

  • 45

    Interview: Oct 11th, 2005

    Ted Herman

    The second signing session of the day was local, just a short drive up a rainy, traffic filled highway. This one had a Q&A session also, same restrictions on autographs though (two hardcovers, no personalization per trip in line). RJ seemed like he wanted to get going quickly for an early trip to the next stop tomorrow, so I only went through the line once.

    Robert Jordan

    In the Q&A, everyone was using the same questions that are answered in just about every Q&A RJ does, or at least recently: about writing female POVs, about compiling his notes, how does he store all the info about the plots and characters, etc... He did give some new info/answers on a couple of topics. He did repeat the tidbit about writing additional side stories that was on Wotmania today. He mentioned that he hates Apple computers because the early versions were not compatible with each other :p He mentioned if a mini series is done on NBC, there might be other sequel series on showtime or sci-fi channel.

    Tags

  • 46

    Interview: Oct 11th, 2005

    Ted Herman

    Since you said at an earlier signing that the Dark One couldn't have brought back Asmodean if he wanted, was that at the time of Asmodean's death, or after that?

    Robert Jordan

    The Dark One couldn't bring back Asmodean because of the combination of two factors: HOW HE DIED and WHERE HE DIED. Not one or the other, both factors.

    Footnote

    The referred to earlier question was asked at the NYC Barnes & Noble signing on the Crossroads of Twilight tour.

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  • 47

    Interview: Oct 28th, 1994

    Eric C. Piquette

    I went to the signing last Friday down by the coast and thought I'd give a small report. I got there about 5 min. before 6:00, and not many people were there yet. I was #11. RJ was late, so in the meantime there was a discussion about WoT. Most of the the discussion centered on this group. Myself, Julie Kangas, and a couple other rasfwrj-ers explained to non-net fans about the group and about information gleaned from previous signings. (btw, if MIGHTY MORGNO was truly looking for other net readers, I fear he suffered from the rare malady of "can't see the forest for the trees.")

    Tags

  • 48

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brandon Sanderson (1 March 2011)

    You know what I'd like to see? A massive, fan-annotated WoT project, like the footnotes at http://bit.ly/7vrgs7 only more extensive.

    FOOTNOTE—TEREZ

    The guys at EWOT said they were going to do this, which makes the most sense because they've done all the detail work on the individual chapters already, but it's slow going with only two people on the job. It will no doubt happen one day, but alas, not soon enough to aid Brandon on his quest.

    ZARAKAND

    Any chance your blog will start posting copies of your tweets and replies to questions? I loved reading those and miss them.

    BRANDON SANDERSON (2 MARCH)

    It will continue to do that; I haven't been tweeting a lot lately, so we haven't been posting them. There will be more.

    ARKU (1 MARCH)

    Will there be a signing with Harriet in Utah anytime soon?

    BRANDON SANDERSON (2 MARCH)

    She is planning to come to Utah for the A Memory of Light tour.

    BRANDON SANDERSON (3 MARCH)

    Baby Meatloaf is very helpful when doing a WoT reread. He keeps bringing me various objects and toys to, you know, use in reading.

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  • 49

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brandon Sanderson (20 March 2011)

    People are asking for info about the WoT LARP at Vericon. It was written by several members, and was very extensive.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    It was set 500 years before the book series, and involved the political situation around a Shadowspawn invasion and a false Dragon.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    As I understand, the Darkfriends won. The Amyrlin got stilled and the new one unwittingly picked Black Ajah as Keeper.

    JOEL MACDOUGALL

    Can you help me understand what the LARP project you spoke about is? I was intrigued.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Live Action Role Playing. Basically, people take the roles of characters in the game. (Warders, ambassadors, and Aes Sedai.)

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Then they play a game where they try to achieve different goals. Like a much more extensive "how to host a murder" game.

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  • 50

    Interview: Oct 28th, 1994

    Michael Thompson

    My wife, my mother, and I arrived at Flights of Fantasy in Santa Monica about 5 minutes after six last night (October 28). We were given numbers 23 and 24. Robert Jordan hadn't arrived so everyone just milled around inside the store which became quite warm. I was wearing my Bela '96 button (ftp://netcom.com/pub/morgno/wot/bela.gif), but nobody commented on it. I heard no indication that any other rasfwrj readers were present, but then, I didn't ask. Someone had two children there, but they seemed ordinary children, not wide eyed and clinging, and I had no reason to suspect that Moghedien was among the crowd.

    About 6:20, they started lining us up, announced a three book limit and requested that we write our names down so he would know how to sign it. I would guess there were maybe fifteen people behind us before the line went out the door.

    A brief moment later, he entered the back of the store wearing, as foreshadowed in the previous signing reports, the hat and carrying the Trolloc-horn cane. The hat and cane were more impressive than I had expected. His wife (I presume—no announcement or introductions were made) has a streak of white in her hair, so I immediately wondered if she were one of the Black Ajah, but she has far too much presence and charisma for that.

    From reading reports from the other signings, I knew there wasn't much point in asking any substantive questions. Since the books usually do answer the questions eventually, there's no need to ask what's going to happen; in fact, such are really spoilers anyway. One young man was brandishing three printed pages of questions. The young man stationed himself off Jordan's left shoulder and sort of shouted out questions whenever there was a pause in the action. I don't expect he got much, but perhaps if the young man is one of us, he'll post his results here.

    Tags

  • 51

    Interview: Oct 30th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    He is aware of us, and the Bela discussion. We had a rather long convoluted discussion about Bela and the Darkfriend social, which seemed to leave everyone else clueless, when I identified myself as a net.jordanite...

    We complain about the Sweet covers. He complains about the German covers. (Well, not much. But one in particular had a naked woman wearing pearls holding back an army with a wave of her hand (The Great Hunt) and "I had no idea where they got that one.")

    You don't want to hear about his British agent.

    Tags

  • 52

    Interview: Oct 30th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    I asked if he had anything he wanted to pass on to the net as a whole, and he responded, "50% of the FAQ (pre-The Fires of Heaven) is wrong."

    He wants a copy of the latest FAQ, which I presume can wait until we can incorporate the primary points from Lord of Chaos into it. PNH, can we send that through you or through some other medium?

    He likes Mexican food and treats his driver well. ;)

    Tags

  • 53

    Interview: Oct 31st, 1994

    Judy Ghirardelli

    Well, we met the Creator tonight. Very nice, etc etc etc. What everyone else said.

    I did not have to say where I got the books. Whew.

    Being in a New Place, Warder was worried about me, and suggested I hire a temp Warder to fill in. He said "like that Chad fellow". So I temporarily bonded Chad, who kept me safe throughout the signing. I severed his bond as soon as I got home. Being Aes Sedai of the Teal Ajah (half Blue, half Green), I am permitted to occasionally bond other Warders temporarily for safety's sake.

    Mike—your book is signed. Chad did it, since he was getting just one book signed, and I was getting six signed. We had to write on a stickum what we wanted it addressed to—a book helper wrote it down on the stickum. I said, "To Sir" "Sir? Like, ... sir?" "Yes, sir... MPS Mike". She looked at me like I was a loon, but Chad rescued me and said, "You kinda had to be there". I think Jordan signed it no questions asked. I have it now, and if you'll just pay me $1453, I'll give it back to you . :)

    I got there about 20 minutes early, perused their SF selections (got Briar Rose by Jane Yolen and Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia Wrede), bought The Eye of the World and The Great Hunt in hardback, and got in line. I also saw in line Chad, Corwin (Jim Folsom) and a lurker named Russ (friends with Bob Gibson).

    I had a list of questions to ask, most from Erica, Twin of my Heart. I got up there and asked:

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  • 54

    Interview: Oct 31st, 1994

    Judy Ghirardelli

    I think I then asked how long of time elapsed in Lord of Chaos. Chad—did I ask that? My brain is fried a bit I fear. I thought I asked it, but I can't recall the answer. Chad? Can you help me out?

    Oh, I gave him the list of questions that I had made up—most were Erica's. I figured I did not need them, and he might get a kick out of them. I can post the list here, in case you all want to get a kick out of it. I won't do so now though because the questions came from Erica's personal email to me, and while I don't think she'll give two hoots if I post it, I wanna be sure. We all know how rude it is to post email without permission... but if she gives it, and if anyone wants to see the list (it really is funny) I'll post it. It was fun! Wanna add anything Chad? Or Jim or Russ?

    Oh, I got him to sign the books to Judy, except for Lord of Chaos which he signed to "Judy Sedai, the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills—Robert Jordan". Cool, huh?

    Tags

  • 55

    Interview: Oct 28th, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    I showed him my Bela '96 button, and he said, "So you're not one of those who think she's a Darkfriend?"

    Tags

  • 56

    Interview: Nov 1st, 1994

    Fast Forward

    But there's additional pressure when you have this level of success. I recently plugged into the Internet—late in my life, of course. But I'm there and I'm mostly lurking. You have an extremely intense following on the Net. You have your own board and discussion group for The Wheel of Time.

    Robert Jordan

    So I've been told.

    Fast Forward

    You have a group of incredibly dedicated fans who have labeled themselves "the Darkfriends."

    Robert Jordan

    I've heard about that, too.

    Fast Forward

    Which is a little strange, that they're identifying with the people your protagonists are struggling against.

    Robert Jordan

    Well, some people think the snake has all the lines. (Sorry George).

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  • 57

    Interview: Nov 1st, 1994

    Fast Forward

    And your work has undergone an INCREDIBLY intense analysis. I mean, you have people dissecting PARAGRAPHS, trying to find hidden meanings, trying to forecast future events. Trying to determine where you drew certain elements of the religions and the beliefs and the customs that you have presented in these six books.

    Robert Jordan

    It's all part of the plan. (Laughs)

    Fast Forward

    It's all part of the plan?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, not really. Not that anybody would go into that depth of analysis. But I want to make the books as layered as possible, so that you could read them on the surface and have a good time, and no more than that. I have twelve year olds who write me fan letters, and I'm certain that's how they read the books. But I wanted layers beneath that, and layers beneath THAT, so that no matter how many times you read the books there would always be something new to find.

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  • 58

    Interview: Nov 1st, 1994

    Fast Forward

    Does it ever present a challenge to you, or do you ever find it disconcerting when things that—you have a progression of story, you have some events you want to happen. There are certain things that are foreshadowed, sometimes specifically in dreams or in auras that are presented to particularly talented people. Are there ever times when people start making assumptions that certain things are going to happen that are either totally wrong...

    Robert Jordan

    Oh YES.

    Fast Forward

    ...or that you don't want them to know that much about what's going ahead that has resulted in a rethinking how you're going to present things? Has it had any effect on the writing itself?

    Robert Jordan

    No. Not to any real extent. There are two things. One, occasionally I will find that the speculation is perhaps getting a little too close to something that I want to keep hidden for a while yet. So I try to become a little more subtle in talking about that. The other thing is that sometimes I discover that there's intense discussion over something that I assumed was quite obvious. I wasn't trying to hide anything at all, thought I was being quite straightforward, and I think, "Maybe I need to find a way to slip in something, a mention if it just happens to come up anyway, to let them know that this is the way that is supposed to be." It's simply a matter of how things come about, how it occurs with my work if it happens to come up.

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  • 59

    Interview: Nov 1st, 1994

    Fast Forward

    We had talked, a little bit, about your schedule and how much time you've had to put into the writing, especially the latter part of a cycle of completing a book. Do you have to think very carefully about taking time away from the writing in order to maintain the schedule you keep? I know there has been incredible interest in your book tour, which you are currently on. As a matter of fact, the reason you are here in Washington, D.C. is because the fans of Robert Jordan and The Wheel of Time in this area pitched such a fit...

    Robert Jordan

    They burned a couple of embassies, I heard.

    Fast Forward

    ...on the Internet, that TOR added this to your already extensive tour schedule. Which allows you to be here, so we appreciate that very much—thank you folks, for doing that. But does it make it difficult for you to do the other things you want to do in your life? Do you find yourself calculating more what it's costing you away from the book?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes. My vacations are almost inevitably now a few DAYS tacked on to the end of a business trip. The fishing trip was an aberration of wild dimensions. I stuck with that despite various people saying, "Can you really do that, can you really take the time out?" I said, "I plan to get my brothers and cousins and nephews together. We're going to fly fish, we're going to fly fish, I don't CARE, we're going to FLY FISH, and catch some trout." But generally I have to think about things like that. I don't go to conventions very much anymore, I used to go to a lot of them, I don't have the time.

    Fast Forward

    And that's why, of course, your time is so valuable when you are available to people around here. Well, WE'RE out of time, as a matter of fact. Mr. Jordan, thank you for being here. Tad Williams, when he was on this show, basically called his Dragonbone Chair Trilogy the "story that ate my life", which it seems like The Wheel of Time, based on our discussion, is at least nibbling on the edges of this portion of your life. Which for our sakes, in terms of finding out what the end of the story will be, we hope won't be TOO much longer. And for your sake too, so that you can afford to take a couple of months to go fly fishing with your family.

    Robert Jordan

    It would be nice, but if a book is worth doing, if it's worth wrestling down, it's always going to eat your life.

    Fast Forward

    And on that note we say thank you very much.

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  • 60

    Interview: Nov 21st, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    Dear Carolyn,

    I was beginning to think you had joined the Navy or gotten married or something. It's good to hear from you again. I suppose I'll just jump right in.

    1. I have never signed books in San Diego. San Francisco, yes. Los Angeles, yes. San Diego, no. At one time, I did hope for eight; now I don't think so. I certainly hope (Please, God!) it doesn't go to ten books, but I have stopped saying anything except that I will write until I reach the last scene of the last book, which scene has been in my head from the beginning. I will not write one word more in this world than I need to reach that scene.

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  • 61

    Interview: Nov 21st, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    2. Yes, I was on AOL. Sorry about not answering you sooner, but it takes a little time for Tor to forward letters, and by the time I got yours, I was preparing to go on tour, where I did indeed appear etc.

    3. Who said I didn't like the Midwest? On tour I go where the publisher is willing to send me. This has in large part to do with which bookstores convince Tor that I should go to a certain city. For instance, I was in Cincinnati and Lexington, KY because Joseph-Beth Bookseller sent somebody to New York to make a presentation and convinced them that there would be enough people at the signings to make it worth the publisher's effort; the two stores were jammed. On this tour I appeared in Atlanta, New York, Boston (and suburbs), Chicago, Naperville IL, Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Seattle (and suburbs), San Francisco, Halfmoon Bay CA, Concord CA, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Cincinnati, Lexington KY, Washington DC, Springfield VA, and Toronto. I think I left out one or two; I don't have my itinerary with me. One problem is that more stores want me to appear than I have time to appear at. I was told that if all the requests had been honored this time, I would have been on tour for four and a half months; maybe this was hyperbole, but I don't have time to spend even half that away from the writing.

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  • 62

    Interview: Nov 21st, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    4. I heard about the hoax. Thanks for the printout of the posting. I suppose whoever posted it thought this book—The Westing Game—had some influence on some part of my writing. I'll have to try finding it; it would help, of course, if I knew whether it was fiction or non-fiction, and who the author is. Or maybe it's part of the hoax, too. The Eddings War? The Grin Thingy War? The Lanfear Trials? Elucidate further, my dear. Sorry to hear of so many falling by the wayside.

    A note: Taim, whether you mispronounce it as TAME or pronounce it correctly as tah-EEM, doesn't rhyme with the others. Isn't anyone required to write poetry in school anymore? Of course, that dates me to the Dark Ages by most peoples' view, but I can still knock off a fairly good sonnet, Elizabethan or later.

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  • 63

    Interview: Nov 21st, 1994

    6. I'll give 10,000 Maniacs a try, if I can find a CD or tape in my copious free time, and also Ms. Merchant solo. As for Scott, I'll bet he doesn't!

    7. There are answers/replies or partial answers/replies to most of your questions in what is already published, through Lord of Chaos. For the rest.... You know the answer. All together, now...

    Yes, my wife was the one who had heart surgery. Not a heart attack, though. She is perfectly recovered.

    With best wishes,

    I remain,

    Sincerely,

    Robert Jordan

    Tags

  • 64

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    Brandon Sanderson (14 April 2011)

    Yes, Delta has free twitter again on this flight. I will try my best to get work done. Why is it so much more tempting while flying?

    LUCKERS

    Wanna have a detailed conversation about something? We already did sexuality in the Wheel.

    LUCKERS

    Seriously, its 4am here, I'm feeling loopy and sad not to be at JordanCon... I'm go for anything.

    LUCKERS

    Reverse the normal vibe. Ask me questions. :P

    JENNIFER LIANG

    Bad Luckers. Go to sleep, let him work.

    LUCKERS

    Hush.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Well, we could get into how timid a lot of us fantasy writers are about writing black viewpoint protagonists.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    It is noticeable to me. I don't think it's intentional bias, and if it is, it's worry about doing something wrong.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    But you see a lot of black side characters (in film too) but few black leading men.

    LUCKERS

    Interesting point actually... a form of reverse-racism. The fear that you are going to step wrong.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yes. You can read up on something called "Racefail" in the sff community from a few years back, if you want.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Google it. You'll find some interesting points along these lines.

    LUCKERS

    I did so, and yeah I see what you mean.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I do wonder if it also has to do with not having racially integrated kingdoms (as makes sense) in fantasy.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    So, if you want to tell a story about one kingdom, it naturally follows that you end up with a lot of people of the same race.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Then, you add someone else to be racially diverse—but that person you add becomes, by nature, the outsider.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Which, of course, only reinforces the bias, despite attempts at being diverse. It's a tough nut to crack.

    LUCKERS

    That does make sense—though I like RJ's futuristic blending of races. Sharan, Tairen, Seanchan—the blend has no meaning.

    FOOTNOTE—TEREZ

    I'm not so sure this is completely true; it's probably quite significant that the Empress of Seanchan, an empire despised mostly because of slavery, is a black woman (not because it's significant in the WoT world, but because it isn't). It might also be significant that the only other known slavery of the WoT world is in Shara, which parallels Africa in many ways, including the dark-skinned natives. The dark-skinned Tairens are unique in Randland proper for their feudalistic serfdom.

    LUCKERS

    For myself, I write fantasy set in modern times—I touch on race heavily but have avoided aboriginal issues.

    LUCKERS

    Which wasn't intentional.

    JAMES POWELL

    Often, when reading a book, I don't know what colour a character's skin is—it's rarely described.

    JAMES POWELL

    I suspect this is to do with "white" = "default". The best exception I've seen is @neilhimself's Anansi Boys.

    LUCKERS

    I don't think it's white=default so much as caution about giving offense...at least on my part.

    JAMES POWELL

    I often wonder if having one black character (amid a load of white characters) is worse than having none.

    LUCKERS

    It's funny, I never realised but I have no black characters in my book, and thinking about it it's likely...

    LUCKERS

    ...because I've no idea how to write an aboriginal viewpoint. I lack the insight—though that's wrong in itself...

    LUCKERS

    ...because there will be many black and aboriginal people with an upbringing similar to mine.

    LUCKERS

    Tokenism, and the perception thereof, is an issue. Brandon's revelation of a gay character in Towers of Midnight received...

    LUCKERS

    ...some very... heated... attention based on this.

    JAMES POWELL

    Yeah, but the revelation of a gay anything causes heated attention somewhere ;)

    LUCKERS

    This is true. My high school graduation was no exception. :P

    JAMES POWELL

    Oh aye? Did you ask for a Gay Diploma? ;)

    LUCKERS

    Made out with a guy on the dance floor... it was rather dramatic, but easier than explaining.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Yes. Tokenism is a real danger. And it's tough to do these things without stepping into this trap.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    On one side, you have GLBT readers emailing me and asking sincerely to be better represented.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Then, you have RJ saying to fans "Yes, there are gay characters. It just hasn't been right to mention it yet."

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    However, when the time is right to mention one, how do you keep it from feeling just like a token nod?

    LUCKERS

    On the other hand, from the perspective of a minority that has only very recently received airtime...

    LUCKERS

    ...seeing anything is kind of... well, nice. I can remember being young and avidly watching Dawson's Creek...

    LUCKERS

    ...for the characters who, by today's standards, are very much tokens.

    LUCKERS

    Avoiding a token nod: by not making it the main point. But even so, if he's the only one, he'll be seen that way.

    LUCKERS

    For all that she's a bad guy, Galina's lesbianism was the perfect non-token introduction.

    LUCKERS

    Lord of Chaos Chapter 53, her attentions to Erian....

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I'm curious. Did you ever read Rose of the Prophet? If so, what did you think of the gay character?

    LUCKERS

    Haha... you asked me this last time—but no. It's on my list now, but hard to find in Australia.

    LUCKERS

    She's also Mormon, no?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I liked them as a teenager, but haven't read them in years. If I remember right, however, the gay character...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    ...falls into the "safe gay friend" category that you see used so often in film, though he has a lot more depth.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    The gay man is a major viewpoint protagonist, but his sexuality is very subtle. [Tracy] Hickman is LDS, but not Margaret [Weis].

    PETER AHLSTROM

    And Tracy Hickman is a guy.

    LUCKERS

    Really? *goes red in the face* I've been referring to him as a her for YEARS.

    LUCKERS

    Have you read R. Scott Bakker's The Prince of Nothing?

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I keep meaning to read it. I think I even bought a copy. But I haven't yet.

    LUCKERS

    It's awesome. I raised it because it has a very poignant depiction character confused about his sexuality.

    LUCKERS

    Here's a question based on 'subtlety'—like the depiction of the black character, can an overly camp character work?

    LUCKERS

    In one of my early drafts I had a camp gay man, and I was accused of homophobia... it's kind of the same point...

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    As an aside, I really wish "homophobia" hadn't stuck as the term of choice in these matters.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I guess "homoinsensitivitia" didn't have the right ring to it.

    LUCKERS

    Fear of singularity in sexuality. Sounds like Star Trek jargon.

    FOOTNOTE—TEREZ

    This point came up in the flamewar that followed Brandon's revelation about the gay man on Dragonmount (referenced earlier by Luckers). I think that the connotations of the word are independent of the word itself, and would have likely stuck to whatever word we might have used instead of 'homophobia' (because 'phobia' itself doesn't always have connotations of hatred). In reality, there are many degrees of homophobia ranging from squick to hate, but those on the squick side tend to resent the word being applied to them as it implies a socially unacceptable prejudice.

    RI SCOTT

    On the gay character question, why do you think fantasy, in general, so badly underrepresents the LGBT community?

    RI SCOTT

    It's one thing that deeply bothers me about a genre I love so dearly.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    If I had to say, I'd guess it's not intentional. It has more to do with what I posted earlier—authors not wanting to do it wrong.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    That, mixed with the desire to create sympathetic characters—and the most simple way to do that is create someone like yourself.

    RI SCOTT

    I always wondered if there was any marketability concern—that books would sell less with major gay characters.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Maybe. But most writers/editors I know don't think that way. They write the book they want to, then figure out how to market it.

    LUCKERS

    I've had so much fun hanging out with you tonight, but its 5:30 in the morning and I need sleep.

    LUCKERS

    Have a blast a JordanCon. I'm really sorry I'm not there to meet you in person.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Ha. Good night, then. Sorry I've been a little distracted this time.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Remind me again. You're over in Australia, right? If so, what city?

    LUCKERS

    Sydney. Same as Linda.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    I'll be there next year, if I haven't mentioned. You, me, and Linda need to hang out when I come.

    LUCKERS

    We will do this. I'm definitely going to be at JordanCon 2012 as well. Still, sad... have fun on my behalf.

    FOOTNOTE—TEREZ

    It turned out that Brandon was planning on going to Australia during JordanCon 2012 (so of course Luckers changed his plans).

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  • 65

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    heridfan (26 April 2011)

    Dragonmount has cracked Taim's secret identity. Taim is Moridin's son!!! Will you admit it?

    Brandon Sanderson (26 April 2011)

    I'd like to read that thread. Will you link it for me?

    HERIDFAN

    Here it is http://bit.ly/ep6YgF I just thought you might find it amusing.

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  • 66

    Interview: Apr 3rd, 1995

    Robert Jordan

    Dear Carolyn,

    The first thing I have to do is apologize on several grounds. First off because I meant to answer your letter the day after I received it, several weeks ago. Second, because of the sanctioning problem. Carolyn, when I refused to sanction your group, I did not intend to sanction any groups; it seemed to me that I would be playing favorites. Later, when the Robert Jordan-Wheel of Time Fan Club wrote me, I frankly forgot I had ever said that. I decided I would give them a non-exclusive sanction—clearly stated as non-exclusive—and I'm afraid by then I actually thought that is what I had done with you. To set matters aright, I hereby and herewith give your club, the Texas Darkfriends, a non-exclusive sanction from Robert Jordan. I am not saying that I won't do as much for other clubs—though not very many, certainly; there are the restrictions of the Fan Club Proliferation Treaty (PCPT, pronounced Pttttth!) to be observed, after all—but you are now officially an official Robert Jordan-sanctioned fan club. Or Wheel of Time fan club, anyway. Whichever it is you really see yourselves as.

    I will get any addresses of fan clubs that I know of to you, but I often do not even know of their existence. I will hear something along the lines of, "There's a fan club somewhere in Los Angeles. No, I don't know where, exactly, and I can't remember the name, but they hold meetings." That is just an example, by the way; I have not heard of any fan club in LA. I haven't heard of this role-playing group either, so far as I can recall.

    I am going to talk over with my agent the matter of letting fan clubs put promotional stuff in the back of my books. This is in no way a promise that anything will change, but who knows? I just have to look at all the aspects and talk with some people who know more about the matter than I do.

    I haven't gotten the newsletter with the Texas minutes in it. I look forward to it. I must admit the way so many of you guys call yourselves Darkfriends (as in various "Darkfriend socials" I've heard tell of) makes me a tad nervous. Uh, you guys don't think I'm really—heh-heh—the Dark One in drag, do you? (Grin.) If you do, I'm going to start packing hairbrush, and I won't be using it to brush anybody's hair.

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  • 67

    Interview: Apr 23rd, 1995

    Don Harlow

    Herewith a sort of transcription of RJ's interview on the Sci-Fi channel. As you can see, very little that's new. For more interesting stuff, see Pam Korda's recent posting, heh-heh.

    ---Interview with Robert Jordan on the Sci-Fi Channel, evening, 23 April 1995. I = Interviewer, RJ = The Creator. Some minor stammers omitted.

    Interviewer

    Robert Jordan is one of the most popular story-tellers today. His multi-volume books The Wheel of Time have created a phenomenon with over two million copies in print. Not only is Jordan one of the most read and talked-about authors today but he is one of the hotter topics on the internet computer network.

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  • 68

    Interview: Apr 3rd, 1995

    Robert Jordan

    Unfortunately, I am not on any of the 'nets. Mike Ford spends a lot of time on that, and frankly, it looks addictive. I don't think I can afford the time. (Semi-famous author found dead of starvation at keyboard! Internet addiction suspected!) Do you think you could send me copies of the photos?

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  • 69

    Interview: 2011

    Twitter 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    JD (9 July 2011)

    Without asking for spoilers, have people hit the mark on how the WoT will end? Or are the common theories way off?

    Brandon Sanderson (9 July 2011)

    Some have hit near it, others are way off. There are some major things I haven't seen guessed.

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  • 70

    Interview: Apr 23rd, 1995

    Interviewer

    What do fans tell you they like so much about your writing?

    Robert Jordan

    It's a different thing for every person.

    Interviewer

    Really?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes.

    Interviewer

    What do the women like?

    Robert Jordan

    The women like the women. I was told by a number of women who came to a signing several years ago that they were surprised to find out that I was a man. They thought no man could write women like that. And I like this because my editor used to say that I couldn't write women at all. I find this a very sweet revenge.

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  • 71

    Interview: Apr 3rd, 1995

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, there were a couple signings (well one, anyway) with 30 or 40 fans, and I am ashamed to say it was a blessing. I can remember when 30-40 fans made me grin with pleasure, but after signings with 200-300 people, each with 3 or 4 books, and a tight schedule to get to the next signing, 30 or 40 seemed like a rest.

    New York decides where I go on tour, as I think I've told you. Sometimes they make odd choices; they once planned to send me to Phoenix so I could visit my brother, only he lives in Tucson, he couldn't dump the classes he teaches to come to Phoenix, and we had just seen each other on a fishing trip a few weeks before anyway. It is possible for fans to get places added. (Within reason, anyway; I was told if I had gone to all the stores that wanted me on the last tour, I'd have been out for six months!) Anyway, both Washington, D.C. and Toronto were added to the last tour because of fan complaints about being excluded. They made enough noise, apparently, that Tor decided I should go.

    I think I got the December and February Chronicles. I think I did. My wife sometimes wonders how I can keep the plots straight when I can't remember which day to put out the garbage. I tell her it's an acquired skill, but I don't say which bit is the skill.

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  • 72

    Interview: Jun 17th, 1995

    Robert Jordan

    On our FAQ, he stated that 30-35% is fully correct, 30-35% is close, but not quite correct, and the rest is "way off in the left field". He though saw it more as a conclusive document than a synopsis of earlier discussions.

    He also noted that some things we have rooted out he thought he had hidden immensely deep in the books, and we still managed to deduce the right "answers", while some things he saw as fully clear we had missed entirely or were totally clueless on.

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  • 73

    Interview: Jun 16th, 1995

    Robert Jordan

    Some of the "Read-and-find-out-answers" are partly due to that there are things that might happen, not decided yet, in future books. He also saw it as a way to diminish the reader's reading experience due to narrowing his view of the future works. And he was vastly amused by our looney theories, especially the Bela Darkfriend one. Unfortunately, I missed telling him of the Demandred being Olver theory.

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  • 74

    Interview: Jun 16th, 1995

    Robert Jordan

    When told about the Bela in Lord of Chaos plot contest he said that he knew what Bela had been doing in Lord of Chaos. WARNING! Non-family newsfroup material! Quote made without consent from the Great Lord of the Dark! "I wouldn't quite call it lesbian bestiality. Rather a very close mutual friendship with a certain female in Salidar." [I wonder who? :-)]

    Footnote

    [The 'froup' thing is apparently an inside joke at rasfwrj.]

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  • 75

    Interview: Oct, 1994

    Dave Slusher

    Now, when you're writing on this scope, you're writing on many levels at the same time. You've got the individual interactions. You've got the interactions of different cultures. You have the larger interactions of the good and evil, and you have the supernatural characters that are sort of pulling strings all down below them. How hard is it to balance the action through all of these different levels?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, it's not all that hard in my head because I grew up in Charleston, which one writer once said makes Byzantium look simple. But I couldn't do it in a computer. I don't have the time to invest in that much effort on the computer simply to keep track of it.

    There are a lot of layers—everything is an onion. And we're talking almost a four-dimensional onion here. Any particular point that you look at—almost any particular point—has layers to it. It's one of the interesting things to me, is how much can I layer things without making it too complicated. It's quite possible for somebody to read these books as pure adventure, and I actually have twelve-year-old fans who do that. I was surprised to find that I had twelve-year-old fans, but I do and they read it just like that. Other people spend quite a lot of time discussing the layering, and it's fun for me to do.

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  • 76

    Interview: Oct, 1994

    Dave Slusher

    Are there sheer, just logistical problems of having such a large cast that you're really directing traffic for hundreds of characters? Do you have to keep a chart as you go along to keep track of who is where and what action is happening?

    Robert Jordan

    I keep incredible quantities of notes. It's all on hard disk and on floppies, hard disks on several of my computers. But if I printed it all out, I would imagine that the notes would be equal in volume to the manuscripts for the seven books—six books that I've finished so far, seventh that I'm working on. It's really an incredible amount of notes. I'm sometimes surprised at it myself. It's broken down for each of the major characters, and for each nation and the cities. Small things, like music or food. Also, sort of, there are general categories, such as . . . one of the things that I start off with in the beginning is where is every single major character? All the major characters, all the people I've touched on: where are they at the beginning of this book? Even if they weren't mentioned in the last book and aren't going to be mentioned in this book, I still want to know where they are. And what have they been doing since we last saw them?

    Dave Slusher

    With such a large cast, you gain certain things. Does it cost you a little intimacy? If it was one book, focused on one person, strictly in their head, you would be a little more intimate.

    Robert Jordan

    No, because when I'm with the character I do get into his head, quite intimately. Or her head. In an aside, the biggest compliment I've had in a way was paid to me when I was autographing for the second book. At two different signings, I had a woman approach me and say that she had lost a bet, or an argument in one case, because I was a man. They'd been sure that 'Robert Jordan' was a pseudonym for a woman because the women characters they thought were so well written that no man could do that.

    But I do get into their heads. It's one of the reasons the books are as large as they are. There are that many layers and I cover that much territory and still get intimate, if you will, with each of the characters. Or at least each of the characters who is being a main character, or a viewpoint character at least, in that particular book.

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  • 77

    Interview: Oct, 1994

    Dave Slusher

    Do you have any personal experience from how Americans read the book versus other cultures?

    Robert Jordan

    I've spoken to people in England and Australia who've read the book. I've had fan mail from Spain and Sweden. As a matter of fact, I've been invited to be the guest of honor at the Swedish national fantasy convention next year. With a very laudatory letter, I must say.

    There's a very different view in the different countries. Everybody picks up different things. Somehow, and I don't know how, really—it's something I was trying for but I don't know how—I've managed to make resonances in each of these countries. But, it seems from the mail I've received that it's subtly different what resonances they pick up.

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  • 78

    Interview: Oct, 1994

    Dave Slusher

    Now, let's talk a little about when you first started writing this series. Did you have any indication that it would be as popular and take off the way it has?

    Robert Jordan

    Of course not. Look, I hoped that the series would be successful. Nobody writes a book and hopes it's going to be a flop. But as far as this—no, I had no notion, no notion at all.

    Dave Slusher

    And I'm sure that you're aware of it. For example, on the internet there's a very large group devoted to your work. Very in-depth discussion. Does this flatter you, that people are so willing to discuss in very, very fine detail?

    Robert Jordan

    It's a wonderful ego stroking. And it's also astonishing. I've known it about it for some time, and I'm not certain I'm over it yet, really. It does sort of make me want to drop my jaw. I find it astonishing. And, as I say, it's very very flattering, very flattering.

    Dave Slusher

    Do you find that people's interpretations of the book, do they match up with what you intend? Or do people sometimes bring to you an interpretation that you hadn't thought of yourself?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, more often they're trying to work out details of what I'm intending to do, and what I have meant by things that I've already written. I've been sent in some cases sheets of Frequently Asked Questions and the answers that have been deduced. The only thing is, they're right between 20 percent, and oh, 33 percent of the time. They're almost right maybe another 20 percent of the time, 25 percent. And the rest of the time, they've gotten off into an incredibly wild tangent that makes me wonder if I ought to re-read the books to figure out how they came up with this.

    I do look at what they have said. And by that, I mean I look at it when somebody sends me a print-out. I'm not on the 'nets, normally. But sometimes people will send me a print-out of a couple of days of discussion, or a Frequently Asked Questions list, as I said. And I'll look at that, and it does give me some feedback.

    There are things in the books that I have tried to bury very deeply. And if, from the discussion or from the questions, I can see that they're beginning to get close to something I want to keep buried, I know that I have to be more subtle from now on, that I haven't been subtle enough. Or, on the other hand, there are some times when I realize that they're spending a lot of time discussing something that I was certainly not trying to make obscure that I thought was perfectly obvious. Then it becomes plain to me that I've gone the opposite way. I didn't say enough about it for them to understand. So then I have to maybe reiterate a little bit.

    But I certainly—I don't change the plots or anything like that. I'm certainly not going to alter the fates of major characters or anything of that sort, whether someone has figured out what that's going to be or not. I must say, they've not figured out very much of that accurately, but it's fun to see.

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  • 79

    Interview: Jun 21st, 1996

    Brian Ritchie

    He gave the following answers to questions from various people.

    Robert Jordan

    His opinion of newsgroup FAQs he has read are so-so. First, he gets them from several groups he says. Us and the alt group and ???. He says the FAQs are about 1/3 correct, 1/3 close but not quite and 1/3 wrong. He feels that some things that are obvious to the casual reader have been over analyzed and led to incorrect conclusions. I don't know if he has read the latest version of our FAQ and if it was better than the above stats.

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  • 80

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Karl Schwede

    First I'd like to thank you for such a wonderful series. I'm curious about something, do you ever look at some of things people theorize about your books, in your newsgroup for example? Do you ever look to see how close other people's theories are?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, but only when someone sends me a FAQ. Sometimes someone will send me a print out of the latest FAQ from the latest source, or send it on disk (it helps if I can access it through Wordperfect 5.1). Generally these things divide up evenly...a third of the answers are right, a third are almost right, and a third are very off-the-wall.

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  • 81

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    James Tillett

    Of the many themes that occur throughout your books, which do you consider the most important?

    Robert Jordan

    I think that's for the reader to decide. I like to put things out there and let the readers absorb them as they will. One of the things that has happened that I rather enjoyed was listening to some people talk as they waited for me to sign books. They were discussing the books, then changed the subject, and, without meaning to, were discussing what I consider one of the subjects of the books...that was very gratifying.

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  • 82

    Interview: Jun 26th, 1996

    Compuserve Chat (Verbatim)

    Egeanin

    I was wondering if you accept fan mail...if so, how can I write to you?

    Also, how many books long do you think this series will end up being? I have no objections to it being long.

    Robert Jordan

    I like receiving fan mail! Write care of TOR books, 175 Fifth Avenue, NY NY 10010. They forward fan mail to me at fairly regular intervals.

    There will be a few more books, but not too many.

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  • 83

    Interview: Jun 27th, 1996

    AOL Chat 1 (Verbatim)

    AaronB20

    Did your interaction with fans lead you to make certain things previously hidden obvious in this book?

    Robert Jordan

    No, not interaction with fans. There are always things that are going to become more obvious as the story goes along. I certainly don't intend to keep everything hidden until the very last. There won't be any Perry Mason revelation scene where all the characters sit down and say, "This is what happened and this is why it happened." :)

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  • 84

    Interview: Jun 27th, 1996

    AOL Chat 1 (Verbatim)

    BHeins1

    I was just wondering if you have read the FAQ compiled by many of your fans. If so, how would you evaluate its accuracy?

    Robert Jordan

    It's been about a year since someone's sent me a copy of the FAQ. At that time, the proportions were running pretty much the same as the early ones I'd seen: about a third are right, a third are almost right, and the rest are blue sky. In fact, there have been some arguments over things I'd thought I'd made clear. (Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Bela knows!)

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  • 85

    Interview: Jun 27th, 1996

    AOL Chat 2 (Verbatim)

    Jaw 707

    What did you think about those folks arguing with you about YOUR characters?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, I'm sort of used to it. It's been going on for a long time now.

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  • 86

    Interview: Aug 4th, 1996

    Hawk

    Yeah, I know it wasn't heavily advertised—I just found out about it by dumb luck. It seems that when Barnes and Nobles rounds up the usual suspects to advertise to, it doesn't really include more than their newsletter, and the local News & Disturber.

    Robert Jordan

    RJ read from the same chapter that he did at Balticon—except this time he read the entire chapter, rather than just the part where Mat gets jumped upon by Tylin.

    He was remarkably patient with the amount of people there, and even remembered me from BaltiCon. I suspect it has something to do with him signing my books "To Hawk" than anything else.

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  • 87

    Interview: Oct 18th, 1996

    AOL Chat (Verbatim)

    Question

    Do you ever get tired of people turning every typo in your books into another plot line?

    Robert Jordan

    No, I just wish I could stop there from being any typos.

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  • 88

    Interview: Oct 12th, 1996

    Mike Lawson

    There were about 30-40 of us there who attended the signing, but I don't know who (if any) regularly read the group. So, unless someone else can independently confirm my description of the replies, I guess it's really only on my word that this is standing on...

    (I don't suppose Ryan came down from OSU for the signing, did he??)

    —Mike L.

    Pam: I apologize for forgetting to send you the blurb about Asmodean; reformatting my mail for posting to the group jogged my memory about it...

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  • 89

    Interview: Jun 28th, 1997

    Gurney

    Are you online? Do you have any access to the Wheel of Time discussion groups?

    Robert Jordan

    No.

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  • 90

    Interview: Jun 28th, 1997

    LadyWolff

    Is there an email address where we can write to you?

    Robert Jordan

    No. There is a way that you can get the latest information on the Wheel of Time series. By dialing: 1-800-221-7945. Then extension 701. This number is St. Martin's Press, and the extension has me telling you what the latest information is about when the next book will be out, what the price will be, that sort of thing.

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  • 91

    Interview: Jun 28th, 1997

    Hawkeye

    Did you anticipate, and do you appreciate, such a cultish following?

    Robert Jordan

    I certainly never anticipated it. I'm not certain that it is a "cultish" following. I hope that it doesn't fall under that definition. As far as appreciating it, I'm very appreciative. I hope that's what you mean.

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  • 92

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1997

    Larina from Minnesota

    I'm just curious...do you ever get on the internet and read any of the theories and ideas people post about the Wheel of Time? Were I in your shoes, I might be pretty entertained by that.

    Robert Jordan

    No. I usually avoid the Net. It's too addictive and I don't have the time. Occasionally though people will send me print outs of the latest FAQ or send it to me on disk and I do enjoy browsing through that. Let me add—I haven't seen one in about a year—hint hint.

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  • 93

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1997

    Corey Elliott from Amarillo, TX

    I have heard that you once said there are many things in your books that you were surprised readers hadn't discovered. And there were also things you were surprised we had "deciphered". Any comments?

    Robert Jordan

    Too true. Too true. But when I find out that something I wanted to be obvious isn't, I do look around to see if I can find another place to slip in a hint.

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  • 94

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1997

    Robert from Nebraska

    Robert, I'd love to meet you sometime. I love your books with a passion and think you are an incredible writer. Do you ever go to conventions or have any plans on touring to promote your next book?

    Robert Jordan

    I believe my publisher intends for me to tour for The Path of Daggers. But I have no idea which cities will be included. As far as conventions go, I attend far fewer than I would like to because three days at a con are three days I'm not writing.

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  • 95

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1997

    Josette from Pittsburgh, PA

    Was it your idea for the Robert Jordan hotline? I think that's such a great idea.

    Robert Jordan

    The hotline at Tor was my idea. And you reminded me—I have to record a new message. It's been a while since I've recorded one. A lot of what's on that is outdated now, I'm afraid. That is if you mean the message that I've recorded at Tor Books.

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  • 96

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1997

    Ayla Sedai from the White Tower

    I am in two online guilds based on the Wheel of Time series, but I heard you have officially approved one. I have also heard you approved no guilds. Which guild, if any did you approve? (And why did you let Darrell Sweet do your book covers—the Armylin wants to know.)

    Robert Jordan

    I have approved several fan clubs who wrote to me and asked me to endorse them. I don't approve anybody exclusively. As far as Darrell goes, he was selected by the publisher.

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  • 97

    Interview: Oct, 1998

    Waldenbooks

    What does your fan mail tell you of the chords you've struck to create such a devoted following?

    Robert Jordan

    In large part, that I've created characters people believe in. One fairly common is that the reader knows somebody just like Mat or Nynaeve or whoever, or that they feel they could meet them around the next corner. Character is very important to me; story flows from character. Also, I suspect that the strong interweaving of mythologies from a number of cultures plays a part, too. Modern society—at least in the West—pretends that we have outgrown the need for myth and legend, but people seem to hunger for them. Where we have forgotten our myths, we create new ones, although today we don't realize what we are doing. But then, maybe people never did truly realize what they were doing in making myth; perhaps it has always been an unconscious act. The cultural trappings surrounding myth and legend vary widely by country, but if they are stripped to the bare core you find among the same stories repeated over and over around the world. However different their cultures, custom and mores, people share many of the same needs, hopes and fears. Anyway, I believe there is a strong echo of myth and legend in my writing, and I think people feel that.

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  • 98

    Interview: Oct 19th, 1998

    Caesar from Texas

    Who exactly schedules your book tours? I have noticed the tours usually take you to a lot of large eastern and western U.S. cities. Does Tor know that, indeed, you do have fans in the Southwest?

    Robert Jordan

    I think they do, but I am a simple scrivener. I go where I am sent. I am told, "Go thou, and sign!" and I go thou and sign!

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  • 99

    Interview: Oct 19th, 1998

    Neil Anderson from Bermuda

    The Wheel of Time is the first series that I have been following where the development of the story line coincides with a vast amount of fan discussion on the World Wide Web and elsewhere. Given that you have stated you know how the story ends—all the major plotlines but not every single incident—do you ever find yourself taking into account the speculation about certain plotlines that occurs on some of the bulletin boards and newsgroups because it either requires clarification or suggests to you a better way of resolving some plot element?

    Robert Jordan

    No, I very seldom see any of the speculation. Occasionally someone will send me printouts of things that have been posted on the web sites. The last time I saw anything like that was about a year ago. I think three times I've been sent a copy of the FAQ, and while the comments in the FAQ have changed, at least in some places, I still have the same comment myself: About a third of the speculation there is right, about a third is almost right—it's sort of in the right direction, but they're not quite going in the direction I am—and the remaining third is totally blue sky. but I won't tell anybody which third is which. Read and find out... I know where it's going, and I really just don't take the time to get into the web sites.

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  • 100

    Interview: Oct 20th, 1998

    Aaron Bergman

    Brief NY and Social Signing Report

    Well, the book signing was mobbed. There were well over 150 seats and people were standing. It was strictly controlled with people going to have books signed one row at a time. This, of course, left little time for conversation.

    I was seated next to three random people who happened to have lurked on the group. I also had a copy of the FAQ with me that two people recognized. So, perhaps the great lurker hordes do exist.

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  • 101

    Interview: Oct 22nd, 1998

    Pam Basham

    A little of this, a little of that. Some general stuff about the signing, self-indulgent personal impressions and Q/A. For those of you just interested in facts, RJ's answers are at the bottom.

    NOTE: I've only read about half the book, so please use Spoiler Protection in any replies. Only one of my questions pertained particularly to new information in The Path of Daggers, and it may be a non-issue by the end of the book, so sorry if it's already been talked about.

    As a member of the "great lurker hordes," per Aaron Bergman's NY Signing Report, I'm here to assert our existence. I kept trying to ferret out members of the 'froup by asking pointed questions like, "So... how did you find out about this signing?" and throwing out random bits of 'froupness such as information about the NY Signing. But no one one around us bit. I kept looking for Tony Z., Julie Kangas or Hohn Cho (sorry if I mangled the spelling), but either my memory's going and I didn't recognize them after 2-1/2 years (post-A Crown of Swords Darkfriends Social) or I didn't see them. The line went up the block to the corner, but I'd guess that it was a considerably smaller crowd than in NYC.

    At any rate, after getting stuck at Sta. Monica Blvd. and the 405 Fwy and wishing desperately for a gateway we could drive through, we (my husband, Kevin, and I) arrived at Flights of Fantasy at 4:30 and there were a couple dozen people in line ahead of us. As it was my first Jordan signing and I was too manic to stand still, I ended up in the store spending money. As I signed my life away to the credit company for a copy of Legends, RJ arrived at the back of the store. I found it extremely gratifying to find out that even store owners get nervous about such things as RJ arriving at their back door while they're finishing up a sale.

    Back outside, in line, the store personnel announced that RJ would be signing only WOT books, and no personalizations, please. Legends, for the purposes of the signing, was considered WOT. We were not, however, obliged to buy The Path of Daggers there, or to include it as one of the two books signed.

    There seemed to be a number of people there who weren't actual fans, serving as ambulatory book holders for friends or family. So perhaps that made RJ a little more tolerant about answering questions from the people who are reading the books. But he seemed genuinely interested in talking about them, and was very warm and responsive.

    Harriet was with him, and I was really pleased to meet her, as well. She's a lovely, elegant lady. But she sat up suddenly with a startled look several times during our chat, and the whole effect was somehow birdlike. I couldn't help but think of Verin in her "pay no attention to the little brown sister in the corner" mode.

    Tags

  • 102

    Interview: Oct 24th, 1998

    Drew Gillmore

    I don't remember most of the other questions. A couple of interesting things I do remember, however:

    Robert Jordan

    The first is that the reason The Path of Daggers seems short is that Jordan could not go any farther without writing a whole lot more. The stage it seems, is once again set. Another interesting thing was Jordan asking Hawk if she was into leather, and if she was "top, bottom, or switch".

    Dirty old man, indeed.

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  • 103

    Interview: Oct 25th, 1998

    Rick Moen

    I'm hoping that Hawk will report on the wonderful time The Usual Gang of Lunatics had last Saturday in Palo Alto, CA and thereabouts, starting with RJ's signing at Future Fantasy bookstore. So, I'll leave that to her.

    There's rather less to report about Sunday's signing at the Barnes and Noble barn (er, store) in San Jose: I foolishly hadn't checked for scheduling updates, and found out at 2pm that it'd been shifted to 3:30—but there were already about 100 people in line, zig-zagging around the store's rope barriers from the signing area in Children's Books. By 3:30, there were maybe 600, lined up out the front door and down the block.

    As usual, there was a two-book limit, one of which needed to be Path of Daggers. No personal inscriptions this time, just signature, and paperbacks were allowed (both in contrast to the Saturday signing). Harriet (Jordan's wife & editor, and a very winning person) wandered off to other parts of the store.

    I'd missed most of Jordan's comments during the signing at Future Fantasy: arrived late for early remarks, too long in line for others. This time, I parked myself strategically within earshot, so I could catch everything in my Palm Pilot.

    Guess what? 600 people over a two-hour period, and hardly anyone asked Jordan questions! Arrgh.

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  • 104

    Interview: Oct 29th, 1998

    Kevin Bartlett

    Hello all,

    Last night I went to the Seattle signing at the UW bookstore, and all in all it was ... anticlimactic. Admission was ticketed, and in order to get a ticket, you had to have a receipt from the bookstore for The Path of Daggers, Legends or The World of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time. There were 350 tickets distributed, but more people showed up, and they waited in a first-come, first-served line. He would only sign two hardcover books per ticketholder from the WoT, Legends, or The World of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time.

    Of approximately 400 people, I was the only person who tried to ask him plot-related questions, as far as I know. I stood around up near the front until my number (157) was almost up, and heard not a single interesting tidbit. He should really consider putting together a Signing FAQ: "Book 9 will be published shortly after I finish writing it." "There will be at least three more books in the series, and that's a minimum. I've known the last scene of the last book since I started writing, and the series will keep on going until I get there." He must have gotten really tired of giving those answers.

    I only got to ask two of the five questions I had prepared, and I got one RAFO (sigh). Here they are (my answers are paraphrased, but accurate):

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  • 105

    Interview: Oct 29th, 1998

    Robert Jordan

    At one point, he began reminiscing about signings from years past when all of 15-20 people would show up for a signing, and after they were all done, they would sit around and chat. I'm sure that some of the signings he was referring to involved some of our very own Cabal members (TINC). He said he hopes those days never come again, but that he certainly enjoyed the signings more back then...

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  • 106

    Interview: Nov 1st, 1998

    SciFi.com Chat (Verbatim)

    Moderator

    Welcome, Robert! We're thrilled to have you with us here. Why do you think "The Wheel of Time" series has struck such a chord with fantasy readers? Do you have any speculations about its amazing popularity?

    Robert Jordan

    No, I don't really. I write stories...I try to write stories about real people. I'm really glad the books are popular. But, I don't really have any clue why they're so popular, except possibly the fantasy element. I think that we have a real need for fantasy as human beings. Actually Terry Pratchett says it quite clearly. He says that by believing in things that don't exist, we set ourselves up to believe in other things that don't exist such as justice and mercy.

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  • 107

    Interview: Nov 11th, 1998

    Slayer

    Have you ever read Dragonsworn magazine?

    Robert Jordan

    Dragonsworn? I don't believe I've ever seen it.

    Slayer

    It is an online magazine, interesting reading, well put together.

    Robert Jordan

    There is a magazine called Dragonsworn? I would very much appreciate if anyone who has a copy would send it to me care of my publisher.

    Slayer

    www.dragonsworn.com

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  • 108

    Interview: Nov 15th, 1998

    Michael Martin

    RJ was very personable and seemed to genuinely enjoy the interaction with the fans. I was disappointed, however, by how few questions there were—most people simply stood there silently while he signed. I was also surprised by how few people seemed to know about the newsgroup, the FAQ, and the Compleat Index.

    There were a number of people there who were only partway through the series (although I guess we all are only partway through the series!) and many had not yet read the book.

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  • 109

    Interview: Nov 21st, 1998

    John Hamby

    A few things not mentioned but learned at the signing.

    Robert Jordan

    Jordan has not replied to any fan letters in the last year. I am not sure if he said he would be tackling the old letters or whether he would be answering any from now on. He did say he apologized for not being able to get to them. I think he said he was basically involved in writing something. (duh)

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  • 110

    Interview: Nov 21st, 1998

    Rachel K. Warren

    A lot of people I talked to in line had never read the FAQ, nor the newsgroup. I found that amazing.

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  • 111

    Interview: Nov 14th, 1998

    Robert Jordan

    Someone asked about signing multiple books. Jordan said that the rule was that you had to go through the line for every two books, and that he would "enforce the rules with my bullwhip if necessary"; a bookstore employee(?) commented that it was more of a guideline really. General laughter and bullwhip comments ensued, culminating with "Just so no one asks, 'Can I fondle your bullwhip?'" from Jordan.

    Matthew Hunter

    (I didn't catch all of this. I regretted it. Oh well.)

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  • 112

    Interview: Nov 14th, 1998

    Robert Jordan

    Jordan likes his fans, because:

    —We don't ask for autographs in blood (his, or theirs).

    —We have never given him a gift of a dead cat's head on a stake. At least not in public.

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  • 113

    Interview: Nov 14th, 1998

    Matthew Hunter

    Lots of minor comments thinly veiled towards the net-jordanites. I got the impression he thinks we're a bit obsessive but appreciates it. Some of the more interesting ones:

    Robert Jordan

    —"I like the idea of Bela as a Darkfriend."

    —"There is an alphanumeric code in the copyright page." He expects us to decode it shortly. Let's get cracking!

    —"How do you know Mat isn't back as Cyndane?"

    —"Any crazy rumors I can start on the Web are good."

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  • 114

    Interview: Aug 30th, 1999

    Question

    I was amazed at the proliferation when I started looking on the web in preparation for meeting you, at the number of Robert Jordan sites there are and the number of other activities your books have spurred. Games and art galleries, you can spend hours on the web let alone hours reading your books. Are you surprised by the proliferation of extra book Robert Jordan things that have emerged and the proliferation of fan clubs and sites and games and all the other spinoffs?

    Robert Jordan

    The whole damn thing surprises me. I just set out to write some stories and I hoped I'd get some people to read them. I never really had any thought that as many people would start reading them as have. I never gave any thought to the possibility of all the fan clubs or web sites, none of that. Sorry to be boring, but I just set out to write some stories.

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  • 115

    Interview: Aug 30th, 1999

    Question

    Are you going to resurrect any more of the Forsaken because isn't that kind of cheating?

    Robert Jordan

    Read and find out. Cheating? It isn't cheating. Remember that the Dark One is called the Lord of the Grave and the part of this whole thing is that the natural order of things is believed to be cyclic. You are born, you die, you are born again. To most of the people in this world the notion of living on forever is at least queasy making and to some considered to be an abomination. They don't want to. It would be doing something unnatural. After all, the next time you might be somebody better, somebody you like better than who you are now. You might be somebody richer or more famous or more skilled, or whatever. If you live forever under this set of beliefs, if you live forever as who you are, that's who you're stuck with. And you will never manage to top it.

    Question

    Or a different gender?

    Robert Jordan

    Well it's possible, yeah.

    Question

    You've obviously resurrected two of the forsaken as a different gender—

    Robert Jordan

    Have I? They send me FAQs. Frequently asked questions—FAQ. Various people will do a print out and send it to me. And I have read a couple of them, not one for several years. I'll tell you, in those FAQs, the last one I saw three or four years ago about a third of what they worked out was right and about a third of what they worked out was not right but not quite wrong, if they work on it some more... They think they've reached the end but they've not, it's like they stopped halfway. And the other third, I don't know what books they were reading.

    Footnote

    There might have been some confusion here between transmigration and rebirth, because RJ has said elsewhere that gender is a soul trait. The Dark One can put someone into a body of the wrong gender, but a soul will always be reborn as the same gender, and the Dark One cannot change the gender of the soul (hence Balthamel still channeling saidin as Aran'gar).

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  • 116

    Interview: Aug 30th, 1999

    Sastan

    There were other details about RJ himself that came out.

    Robert Jordan

    He mentioned the FAQ, and how only 1/3 of it is correct. Another 1/3 is completely wrong, and the remaining 1/3 is partly correct, but not complete, even though the FAQ concludes some of these. I think this means that the rasfwr-j regulars can stop flaming anyone who asks questions that are covered in the FAQ; NO, it is NOT an excuse anymore that you have discussed everything there is too discuss; according to RJ, 2/3 of your holy FAQ needs rewriting and revising.

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  • 117

    Interview: Sep 20th, 1999

    Willum

    I had my 1990 Tor hardback version of The Eye of the World signed, but I was chagrined to realise that other people were getting two or three books signed. Oh well.

    Finally, I would like to say that RJ seemed like a very polite and patient man, who was generous with his time. We probably annoyed the hell out of him asking him questions after the talk, and even though half the answers were RAFO, he made an attempt to answer each sensible one.

    Harriet sat next to him during the signing, and seemed to me to be a very polite and forthcoming person. I can believe she is the model for the better qualities in RJ's female characters, but I had no inkling of the darker ones, but it was clear that in many matters RJ defers to her and respects her judgement.

    RJ and Harriet had just returned from New Zealand (RJ had been fishing) and their schedule seemed pretty hectic. Next stop for them was Lizard Island, and I assured Harriet that they would have the time of their lives there.

    Apart from the drunk idiot sitting a couple of seats down from Joel and I during RJ's talk, everything went very well and I think everyone had a very good evening.

    --

    Willum

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  • 118

    Interview: Mar, 2000

    Question

    Did you expect the Wheel of Time to be as well received as it has been?

    Robert Jordan

    Good God, no! I’ve been told I have a healthy ego—a necessity for any writer—but I would have to be a stone cold egomaniac to have expected anything like what has happened.

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  • 119

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2000

    John Heltsley

    Although this doesn't have anything to do with the ideas presented in this thread, I can't really justify starting a new thread for a simple comment...

    I must say, that I was extremely disappointed with my meeting of RJ at a book signing in San Diego on the 8th.

    I got there about 1 hour before he was to start signing books. When I went inside to purchase my book ahead of time, he was already in there, and was doing an interview for the local news station. I met a few people there, and waited for 4:00pm to roll around. We all got in line (We were assigned numbers in the order we purchased the book—I was #24.), and waited for our turn to see the man.

    Turns out that he was not taking any questions during the signing. He was also not personalizing any of the books—so "he could get out of there quicker". (As I was told by a staff member at the book store.) I was disappointed by this, as I had heard that he usually takes a few questions during the book signings, and I had heard that he was a genuinely nice guy. When I got up there, I said "Good Afternoon.", and held my hand out to shake his hand. He ignored my hand, and asked for my books. He signed them, and that was it. Not a single word from him at all.

    I was miffed, to say the least, so I left right after that. He might have done something for the fans after all of the books were signed, but by everyone at the store's, and his, attitude, I doubt it. Maybe he had an appointment to go somewhere, or his flight was scheduled soon after the book signings. But regardless, I was extremely put off by his, and the store's, attitudes about this signing.

    I'd like to put some of the blame on the store, but I was there when Terry Goodkind's last book came out for his signing—Mr. Goodkind was extremely nice and talkative, and he took about 5-10 minutes with each person in line. (I was 5th in line that night, and it took me 45 minutes to get to him!) Not that I was complaining, though... Therefore, I can't say that RJ's signing was caused by the store pushing him out of there; the choice must have been all on RJ's part, and that ticks me off. Especially since he's my favorite author. I'm not going to stop reading or anything, I just wanted to throw this out there, and get it off my chest.

    Anyone out there have any experiences similar to this? Or did I just happen to see him for my first time on a "bad day"?

    —John

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  • 120

    Interview: Nov 10th, 2000

    Brandon Downey

    I was fortunate enough to attend the Robert Jordan book signing at the Barnes and Noble in San Jose near where I live in California, and I figured everyone might be interested to hear what it was like.

    RJ was scheduled to appear at 7pm, so, my (much more dedicated friend who drove seven hours from LA) went down to get in line around 3pm. Shortly after he arrived, he called to warn me, "The guy next to me says that last year, the line wrapped around the building!" So, I took the afternoon off work and headed down to ye olde book store.

    I got there around 4, and about seven people were in line. Surprisingly, only three of us had read Winter's Heart, so we went off into the onsite coffee shop, and had a few hours of hard core Jordan discussion. We went back and forth on a lot of the issues in Winter's Heart: Demandred (we really wanted to be convinced that the evidence was inconclusive—IMHO, RJ is a huge, deceptive tease otherwise), the possibilities for Slayer as Asmodean's killer (Sure, he really looks like it now—but did we really have enough evidence to guess it was him pre-Lord of Chaos?), whether Sammael is alive, whether he's directing the slayer, if Moridin was just sending the Forsaken off to "pay the butcher's bill" rather than actually stopping Rand, if Olver was Gaidal (this never dies!), and if a Well explained Verin's delving in the stedding.

    Naturally, all this rampant Jordanism led into what questions we would ask Jordan. I had brought a notebook, and wrote down a few of my favorites:

    —How many more of your books will feature nude women slapping each other? Is there any possibility they will be illustrated?

    —Is it now crystal clear who Asmodean's killer is? [I know what poor luck Asmodean questions have—but I figured a quasi-indirect one might get by.]

    —What can you tell us specifically about the compulsion used by Aes Sedai in the Warder bond? What effect, if any, does channeling have on preventing this? Is it sufficient to just be holding saidar/saidin to avoid this effect?

    —Is Machin Shin a result of the Dark One's taint on saidin being used in the creation of the Ways, or a result of some portion of the corruption of Shadar Logoth creeping into the Ways via the Waygate there? Or is it something completely orthogonal to both these powers, merely being a parasite that showed up once the place began to grow dim?

    —Were The Path of Daggers and Winter's Heart originally meant to be one book? Why was the book jacket changed?

    —What does the title Dragon mean, historically speaking? Was there some deeper significance to Lews Therin Telamon being named that, or was it because dragons have always been historically badasses?

    —What happens to an Aes Sedai's Warder bond if she enters a stedding? Can she still detect it? What if I tie off a weave, and enter a stedding? If the weave vanishes, will it reappear when I leave? If it won't reappear, why can't shielded/tied channelers such as Asmodean or Liandrin simply enter a stedding to have their shield dissolved?

    So, naturally, my friend and I didn't have time to ask all these questions, but it was quite an event.

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  • 121

    Interview: Nov 10th, 2000

    Robert Jordan

    RJ rolled in at almost exactly 7, and by that time, the line really did stretch all throughout the store and outside! RJ nuts of all shapes, sizes, and varying degrees of hotness were there, and we were having a good time jeering at the girl in front of us who thought that whoever helped out Rand in Shadar Logoth was a GOOD guy.

    Then, they brought Jordan out, and we all started hopping up and down excitedly. (Well, not ALL of us...but the ones that are worth speaking of. Heh.) Jordan looks a bit like someone's grandfather, except witty, and if your grandfather happened to be a retired badass. He had his cane, ring, and glasses, and a charming, witty style of speaking. This may just be fandom talking, but he seemed like someone you'd genuinely want to spend an idle evening with, shooting the breeze.

    So, being near the beginning of the line, we only had to wait while some fetching young female types had their picture made with RJ (Mmm...lechery).

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  • 122

    Interview: Nov 10th, 2000

    Hawk

    Originally I was going to skip this signing since I (A) didn't finish the book until Monday and (B) have been to so many of these before but Batya wouldn't stop bothering me until I agreed to go.

    While I was one of those near the back of the line (though not quite out the door), I had a surprising amount of fun. At the store I managed to bump into someone I know, have some fun debates with the people in line around me, was introduced to a Discovery Zone book about Dungeons and Torture for kids, discover that RJ still remembers who I am, and was able to hang around and listen to RJ speak. Since only one of us in my group had finished Winter's Heart, there were very few questions asked about that book.

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  • 123

    Interview: Mar, 2000

    Question

    What is the best thing about being Robert Jordan and the worst?

    Robert Jordan

    The best thing is that I get to put my daydreams down on paper and make a living from it! I’m not sure there is a downside. I suppose that people always want to know when the next book will be coming out—even when they are getting me to sign the latest book, which they have just purchased and haven’t even begun yet.

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  • 124

    Interview: Nov 11th, 2000

    Moonhair from Wotmania

    Have you ever actually visited a fan-based WoT website? Do you agree with many of the theories you find there?

    Robert Jordan

    I have occasionally dropped in on some websites. Some of the theories are very good, and some of them are very much wild blue yonder. And no, I won't tell you which ones are which!

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  • 125

    Interview: Nov 11th, 2000

    Rick from Medford, NY

    Mr. Jordan, does it ever frighten you that people ask you the most detailed questions about your series, kind of like Star Trek fanatics do with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy?

    Robert Jordan

    No, that doesn't worry me or frighten me. The only times I get worried are when people seem to believe that I am some sort of guru, and I'm not—I'm a storyteller. I write books, that's it. I tell stories.

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  • 126

    Interview: Nov 11th, 2000

    Baroc from Dragonmount

    Do you have any special fan activities planned for DragonCon next year? Thank you.

    Robert Jordan

    No, to the best of my knowledge, I have not agreed to be at DragonCon next year! I have to point out that in the last few years, there seems to be a rash of people convincing world fantasy conventions, world science fiction conventions, that they are ME, and they have arranged panels that I knew nothing about until I received a schedule from the convention saying that these were the panels I was on.

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  • 127

    Interview: Nov 14th, 2000

    SciFi.com Chat (Verbatim)

    Jenn703

    Mr. Jordan, do you ever find yourself "corrupted" by the ideas put forth in such places as on the FAQ?

    Robert Jordan

    No I rarely go online. Occasionally I look at a website, but I'm writing my story for me. Not to please everybody else. :)

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  • 128

    Interview: Nov 27th, 2000

    Robert Jordan

    He was in a pretty good mood, and joked a bit about the rumors of health problems—he told a story about a couple of Hell's Angels at a signing who said they'd desecrate his grave if he died before finishing the series.

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  • 129

    Interview: Nov 28th, 2000

    Robert Jordan

    He went on about other things but all in all, he was a nice guy who was down to earth. Actually made a joke about Anne Rice too. The owner of the book store thanked him and then thanked those that had come to the signing. Jordan said: "Well I usually don't get the type that want the books signed in their own blood. Or even come to the signing in a coffin... wait, that was Anne Rice herself."

    His wife was seen wandering around the store but never came to the table.

    —done rambling—

    ~B

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  • 130

    Interview: Dec 12th, 2000

    CNN Chat (Verbatim)

    GH

    Mr. Jordan, what are the most crazy reactions you have received from your fans?

    Robert Jordan

    I suppose it's the people who believe that I am telling them the absolute truth: that there is a thing called channeling, and that I can teach them how to do it. I'm not a guru. I'm not a sage. I'm not a teacher. I am just a storyteller.

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  • 131

    Interview: Apr 4th, 2001

    Isabel

    I came to Leiden and met up with a (new) friend of mine. (Wolf Gaidin) We came like three hours in advance, because I expected about 500 people. I heard about US signings and there could be 500 people there. I was worried about being at the back of the line and I didn't want that. Of course when we arrived no one was there yet. In the end the people from the bookstore said that they would reserve some seats for us. So we went to have dinner.

    When we came back, there were some more people at the bookstore. I was a bit shy and was really nervous, so I didn't say anything. One of those people is now a really good friend of mine (Aan'allein). He had a tape recorder with him and transcribed everything. I will use his report, because my report wasn't worth much.

    Anyway, we ended up sitting right in front of RJ. He was interviewed from someone from the bookstore.

    This report was written by Aan'allein. I have edited some comments out.

    I am putting my own comments in between, so you will have some idea how I felt during it :-)

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  • 132

    Interview: Apr 4th, 2001

    Robert Jordan

    He also mentioned some things about the variation in his readers. This group of Hell's Angels a couple of years ago who came to him when there was some question about his health, telling him that they'd desecrate his grave if he died before finishing the story.

    Around the same time something was asked about him knowing the final scene (or maybe that was even earlier), because Rowling [the Harry Potter author; at least, I think it was her that was mentioned here] had already written the final sentence of her work. Jordan came with the usual story about him knowing the scene since before starting the series. He doesn't have it written down anywhere. Harriet already knows the final scene, she's very good at getting things out of him (at least, that's what I think I recall), but no one else... And then later he said absolutely nobody knew it besides him.

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  • 133

    Interview: Apr 8th, 2001

    Question

    Did you post that "Answer" post at Theoryland? Or have you ever posted a message at a messageboard?

    Robert Jordan

    Not quite answer (to another question): "I hardly ever look at the sites about WOT. If I sit behind my computer, I do what I like most there: I write."

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  • 134

    Interview: Dec 9th, 2002

    Dragonmount and Wotmania

    At last! Having just recently finished Crossroads of Twilight, Robert Jordan agreed to answer questions from Dragonmount and wotmania.com. Both sites collected well over 1,000 questions before narrowing them down to what you see here. Thank you to everyone who submitted questions. We're very sorry that many of the good ones submitted never made it in. There's always next time!

    We are very proud that this is an interview without a single "Read On And Find Out" answer.

    We also interviewed Harriet McDougal, Robert Jordan's wife & Editor. Be sure to check out that interview as well.

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  • 135

    Interview: Apr 5th, 2001

    Aan'allein

    Miss Nynaeve-fan asked a question, standing up very formal together with another girl.

    Robert Jordan

    Oh, well you're gonna sing...

    Isabel

    No.

    Robert Jordan

    No? what?

    Isabel

    Is Nynaeve self-assured?

    Robert Jordan

    Is Nynaeve self-assured?

    Isabel

    Or is she just pretending to be?

    Robert Jordan

    No, Nynaeve is self-assured.

    Isabel

    YES!! *almost bounces through the roof*

    (I had a bet with the other Amyrlin of the Offical Nynaeve Fanclub and of course I won.)

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  • 136

    Interview: Apr 5th, 2001

    Isabel

    I don't really remember anymore what I asked RJ, but I do remember that Liandra and I asked if Robert Jordan and Harriet wanted to join the Nynaeve fanclub. They did want to join it. :-) Now it's called the Official Nynaeve Fanclub.

    We also talked about my age again and I told RJ I would bring my passport Saturday, because I couldn't make it to the Friday signings. :-)

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  • 137

    Interview: Apr 6th, 2001

    Aan'allein

    The first question was for both authors [Robert Jordan and Terry Pratchett] to give us some introduction, tell a bit about how they liked it in the Netherlands.

    Robert Jordan

    I must say it's a pleasure to be in the company of so many Discworld fans. [laughter]

    Aan'allein

    Basically this set the stage for the rest of the evening, with Jordan and Pratchett continuously outdoing each other with funny remarks, but also responding to each other and continuing line of thoughts where the other left off. The interaction between these two truly was great to behold. Even though Pratchett began by saying that it had been a long day for the both of them (there were apparently a lot more people in Den Bosch the same afternoon (the one occasion I couldn't attend) than anticipated), I hardly noticed it in them.

    Terry Pratchett

    Pratchett also told about the bad plane flight he'd had, in an airplane full of football fans. And how fantasy was considered less in the UK, because people wouldn't be enthusiastic about anything, except for football.

    And that through careful purchasing you could wake up in a Manchester United bed, wear Manchester United pyjamas, and have a Manchester United alarm, and that this was perfectly acceptable, but that if you replaced Manchester United by Star Trek you'd suddenly be a freak.

    Science fiction and fantasy fans are better than football fans because Star Trek fans don't get in huge fights with each other.

    Robert Jordan

    Well, that's not entirely true, I remember one occasion where a group of Klingons and a group of Romulans at one convention got into such a big fight that they'd actually needed to call the police to break them up. [laughter]

    Terry Pratchett

    Star Trek fans don't get into heated battle with Babylon 5...well, never mind that. [more laughter]

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  • 138

    Interview: Nov 6th, 1998

    Therese Littleton

    You've got an especially enthusiastic readership. How do you deal with people who take your books too seriously?

    Robert Jordan

    Depends on what they're writing to me about. I explain that no, there really isn't a One Power, there is no ability to channel, and I cannot teach you these things because they don't exist. And I'm not a guru, I'm not a spiritual leader, do not quit your job. I will not allow you to sit at my feet. Go on with your life. But I don't read a lot of fan comments. I don't go on the Web. I don't pay any attention to it.

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  • 139

    Interview: Apr 8th, 2001

    Aan'allein

    This report is written by Aan'allein.

    Today Jordan would start with a signing session, having a public interview and audience questions in the afternoon. (Just the opposite of Terry Pratchett's schedule, so that they'd always manage to keep the number of people seeing the other small enough to actually fit in the rooms.)

    At 10:00 I went up, seeing only one other person standing in line. In fact, when the doors opened half an hour later, there were still less than 50 people there, as opposed to the 150-200 people of the day before. Early mornings are good.

    I liked how everything went today. I liked it very much. I actually got to talk an unbelievable amount of time with Jordan...

    Let's see, seeing how many people there were I'd already decided to just keep on going back to the end of the line each time, having yet another thing signed. The first time I came to Jordan (as the third person in line, KuraFire had managed to sneak past me earlier... ), the conversation went something like this:

    Aan'allein

    Good morning.

    Robert Jordan

    Good morning Sander, how are you today?

    Aan'allein

    Fine, thank you. And you? Slept well?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, no, actually not. I only got back to the hotel from the restaurant at 1 last night, after having been talked into eating traditional Dutch food. The food was very tasty, but that late at night, I think it was a bit...

    Aan'allein

    ... and on. I don't know, maybe Jordan secretly thinks I'm a horrible person and would like nothing better than to scream at me to get away, but if he does, he manages to hide it very well...I like the guy. He's got a great sense of humor and can talk very interesting. Plus he's the author of WoT of course.

    Anyway, getting back in line for the first time I noticed that Isabel had finally arrived as well. Well, actually, she noticed and recognized me and said hi. As the line moved forward we talked and I began to like her. Now that she has left the nervousness of the first few days behind she's pretty cool. (Well, besides the tendency to still talk a lot about WoT-related subjects using the translated words... *shivers*) Oh, and when she arrived at Jordan for the first time, he said something like "I'm sorry for teasing you so much", and then loudly stated that she really was 17, so we could all jump on her.

    Ah, it's like the passport scene, something for which you should have been there to truly comprehend; it's hard to capture the humor in a report like this.

    I also saw Iwitness again, and Beidomon Sedai and Lord Agelmar, two of my friends who very occasionally post here, showed up as well. Plus a few TFD members...

    Isabel, KuraFire, Iwitness and me made quite a few rounds, having something signed (I had a lot of cards from the card game with me), asking questions, moving back to the end of the line, discussing what questions we'd ask next and what the previous answers meant, and then all over again. I think we made at least 10 rounds, although the group changed every now and then with one of the other stopping for a moment, not making the round. And if people who hadn't been there yet showed up just as we stood at the back of the line, we let them go first, and waited on each other, and took pictures, and discussed WoT and talked more to Jordan and... It was just amazing fun. We got a few RAFOs here and there of course, but the amount of questions answered was really awesome.

    Let's see what my memo-recorder has...

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  • 140

    Interview: Apr 8th, 2001

    Aan'allein

    For the past few days I've tried to ask you many original questions, but I'm sure there must be things you're never asked at all, things we really should ask. Could you tell us something about these things? And if you want to go off on any wild tangents, please do so.

    Robert Jordan

    [Jordan was repeating every question because most of the audience couldn't hear the questions] He wants to know... [on a tone that set people laughing already, then: louder, with a malicious gleam in his eyes] Sander wants to know whether there are questions that I think fans should ask me, and haven't been asking. [more laughter]

    Sander...I am not going to tell you what sort of underwear I'm wearing. [spontaneous applause] There are very few questions that fans have not asked me. There are many questions that fans have asked me that I have not answered. There are a number of questions that fans have asked me that have made me blush. There are one or two questions that fans have asked me that have made me require smelling-salt to get out of the room on my feet.

    No, I am not going to give you more ammunition. You know, this is like the Calvin & Hobbes strip. I've just been assaulted with snowballs all the way from the sidewalk, and when I manage to reach the door, a voice calls out to me, "Hey, come out here and help us make some more snowballs!"

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  • 141

    Interview: Apr 8th, 2001

    Question

    Have you visited many WoT websites on the internet?

    Robert Jordan

    I do not regularly spend time visiting websites, though. When I sit down at my desk, I'm looking at my computer. When I'm looking at my computer, I think of what I can do with the computer, how I can best use it, and the answer to all these questions comes back: write! So, I have visited some, but it's not a regular thing.

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  • 142

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2003

    Jeffrey Cummis

    Even though they said he wouldn't do it because there were about 300+ people there and the fact that he talked for 15 minutes (Q&A), when I got up there, made a comment about the book, he smiled, asked what I was doing talking to his wife, told him getting the book signed, he flipped the page, laughed and said "Not that I am supposed to, but do you want your name in it like the way my wife wrote it?" I said, "No, you could put tsorovan'm'hael down?" He smiled, nodded, and did it, all in lower case to boot! I think he knows me from message boards, how scary is that!

    That was me, front row. Anyway, that question about Moiraine was stupid, you had to know that was a RAFO. He did personalize mine, laughed at me about flirting with his wife, who was sitting next to me. He did remember me from The Path of Daggers book signing, so he quickly personalized this copy of Crossroads of Twilight for me. :D :lol Lucky me.

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  • 143

    Interview: Jan 11th, 2003

    Robert Jordan

    He then retired to his signing table and began autographing away. I took up a position about 15 feet away so I could listen to some of his discourse with the audience. When signing the first book his ink ran out. At this point he seemed to panic somewhat. His host scrambled to find a solution, but Jordan stated repeatedly that he needed "his case", a black attaché-style pouch that apparently had ink replacements. Several fans quickly offered their own pens, but Jordan replied that he greatly preferred the "Census" pen as it had a cushioned section that made it much easier to hold the pen for hours at a time. Apparently growing somewhat uncomfortable, Mr. Jordan summoned his wife loudly by bellowing "Harriet!" into the crowd—disquieting some of the fans. Soon she appeared to soothe him and search for the case. Apparently they had brought the wrong style of replacements. The issue was soon resolved and signing resumed.

    Signing was limited to two hard-covers per person, though they were permitted to return to the end of the line for more signatures as time permitted. Personalizations were discouraged. Mr. Jordan allowed photos, though he called out that he had one rule: "Men must keep their clothes on."

    One fan brought a British edition of Crossroads of Twilight to the signing table. Jordan happily signed, but became agitated as he described to the immediate audience that the British publishers had lied to him. "They told me that under no circumstance would they release the book before the American release date." Despite this pledge, however, his novel was released in late December rather than in January. He further commented "you only get one chance to lie to me." I suppose we will have to wait and see the ramifications of this British publishing error at the time of the next book's release. Jordan commented that "perhaps I will not even send them my manuscript until after the American audience already has their novels in print."

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  • 144

    Interview: Jan 11th, 2003

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Later, I was sitting elsewhere in the bookstore further perusing, and noticed that Harriet, his wife, was seated reading through a book from the shelves. Several fans stopped by to obtain her signature next to Mr. Jordan's, to which she pleasantly assented. One individual asked her what she thought of the importance of book signings—did it really sell that many more books? She responded that book signing tours were really only profitable when you hit the really big leagues. Unless you are very popular author, you would often find only five or so people at the signing, which was very humbling to a writer.

    In the case of this tour, the publisher was gunning for the number one spot on the New York Times list. To generate such a rating, it helped to have a big book signing tour. In nearly every location so far, a reporter had been present, which bolsters the appearance of popularity of the novel in the media's eyes. Additionally, the book signings give the author some human connection to his readers. Mrs. Rigney stated that writing is "one of the loneliest occupations, in which you stare at a white screen and make black things appear" all day long. Harriet further commented that BN.com had sold over 70,000 copies of Crossroads of Twilight on the first day of release.

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  • 145

    Interview: Jan 11th, 2003

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    A female fan spoke with her briefly, commenting that as a girl she felt somewhat underrepresented in the genre. Mrs. Rigney replied that one thing she appreciated about "The Wheel of Time" was the strong female characters. My own observations of the 100 person crowd was that at least a third were indeed female.

    I briefly asked her how Mr. Jordan was enjoying his Porsche. She laughed and commented that he rarely had a chance to take it out, thought "it looked beautiful sitting in the garage." She stated that in two years it only had 1,400 miles on it.

    I also commented that I frequented www.dragonmount.com. She recalled that DM.com personnel had been present at the previous days' San Jose signing, who were also working on a short film - which may now be "live action"? [Editor's note: No. At the San Jose book signing we had a camera and we're interviewing some people for a short video we're planning to put online. This was not related to the DM movie.)

    With that, I thanked her for coming to Menlo Park and for sharing Mr. Jordan's time with the readers. Mr. Jordan concluded his session by signing approximately 40 of the store's novels to be included in Kepler's inventory—so if you stop by soon and look for the "signed by author" sticker on the dust jacket, you may have a signed first-edition of Crossroads of Twilight of your own for normal retail price.

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  • 146

    Interview: Jan 13th, 2003

    Robert Ruckman

    Here is some news that I picked up from the Jan. 13th Santa Cruz signing. I didn't have a recording device so I am paraphrasing what he said. On a side-note the entire interview was taped for public access TV. [Editor's Note: Very cool. If anybody has that on tape, please send it to us and we'll get permission to stream it online.]

    They had fliers which stated that it was the publisher who set the rules for the signing, the book totals, hardcover etc.... The flier stated that throughout this tour he will be signing two per person, hardcover only and will not personalize them.

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  • 147

    Interview: Jan 14th, 2003

    Matthew Julius

    So, I travel down to my friend's place early this morning hoping to get me one signed copy of Crossroads of Twilight...

    Random aside: The weeks leading up to the signing I had planned on getting him to sign all of my books, but the last week I was too busy to think about it, and sadly left all of my other books at home.

    We have arrive at the Kroger's (Yes, Kroger's) about an hour early and there's not much happening so we waste an hour (literally; it's a long story). We arrive back at the Kroger's right at noon, see what's going on—a small line has formed—and go back to the truck to pick up our books.

    Well, like I said, it was a small line, and there was about 30 people there waiting and the line went fairly quickly and smoothly. Most were just regular Kroger's customers and didn't really have much to say to him, it seems. I kept my ears perked listening for any signs of newsgroup regulars and I spied none—If you were there, sorry I missed you.

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  • 148

    Interview: Jan 14th, 2003

    Matthew Julius

    Me, being a dork and not being able to come up with any questions that would not be a RAFO, just stood by and listened as my friend calmly chatted with RJ. My friend brought his copy of Legends (and four other books), and had me get it signed since I only had Crossroads of Twilight. I hadn't thought about it and asked my friend where he wanted it signed (he was planning on getting all the authors to sign it...).

    Robert Jordan

    RJ solved the problem by signing in his section only, suggesting that to sign at the front would invoke the ire of Robert Silverberg. A nice man, he said, just not the man you'd want to piss off. My friend also asked him what he enjoyed reading. RJ's response was *mumble mumble* (names escape me, sadly), and that he was currently in his fifth reread of *mumble mumble*'s series. My friend's unavailable for comment right now, so I'll add it later. RJ also got a little amused by my friend's copy of The Shadow Rising complete with library tags and stickers.

    MATTHEW JULIUS

    We didn't stick around after that, having completed all that we could've done, that is, we had no more books to have signed. All in all, we had a good time and RJ was very pleasant to talk with, and he seemed to be enjoying himself too. My only regret is that I did not bring all of my books; I could've gotten them all signed easily, with much time to spare.

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  • 149

    Interview: Jan 14th, 2003

    Matthew Julius

    Another random aside: I was waiting in line thinking about the red pens... I would never do such a thing myself, but I'd like to say this to anyone who's thinking about it. Do it with respect, please. I was looking to see if I could figure out how he'd respond to it but, if anything, I don't think he'd take it too well. He's a regular dude, just like you and me, so think about it carefully before you just throw a red pen down and tell him to find a damn editor—especially with Harriet standing next to him.

    My friends and I will also be at the Dayton signing, which is very near where I live, so hopefully I'll be able to get all of my books signed. I don't know though, the crowd's going to be huge. If I'm going to ask questions, these are what I'm going to ask:

    See if he can confirm that he said that Taim was not Demandred. Does Tuon or Suroth have the "sad" bracelets? Is Egwene going to use her dreaming talents to communicate with anyone outside of the Tower?

    Again, I can't think of anything that won't be a RAFO at this point, but it's worth a shot anyway. I wanted to ask them at the Dayton signing because the environment will be a little more fan based than in the Kroger's; might be a better place to ask them, I think.

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  • 150

    Interview: Jan 16th, 2003

    Michael Martin

    OK, Tim and Matthew did a great job on many, many aspects of the Dayton signing. I'm going to try and not repeat much of their reports; additionally, a lot of things that RJ said and many questions are well-known to the group (such as the Shipwrecked book, the last scene already known, Halima wears a thong, etc.).

    I was impressed with the number of folks—Tim was right, near 300. I lucked out—arrived at the store around 5:45 PM, saw no seats in the back of the signing area, lurked up front (passing Tim and his friend as they played Go, only I had no idea who they were) and sat down in the second row. Turns out the store handed out numbers going front to back, so I was #9. Having staked out a good seat, I was hoping for a good chance to ask all of the questions posted in the Last Call thread from yesterday.

    Also, I happened to be sitting next to Scott Carlson, an occasional poster to the group since 1998. I sadly did not get the name of his friend, but they were great to meet and discuss theories about the books, as well as talk about other sci-fi/fantasy works.

    OK...a few things missed on or not quite heard right from the other posters on the pre-signing spiel:

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  • 151

    Interview: Jan 16th, 2003

    Michael Martin

    Then the signing began. I had my list of questions from yesterday's thread, but resolved to only ask during my time in line, and shout out others as opportunity allowed. Permit me to digress and ask opinion: at the signings, I am always unsure about what is courteous/allowable protocol. More people than not seem to wait and line up and say nothing at all to him (though of the four signings I've been to, this was the most with people asking to have pictures taken with him), and so I figure, "Hey, if they're not going to ask something, I will!"

    However, I can never really tell if this annoys RJ or not, and some of his answers were fairly curt. I couldn't tell if it was because I was being rude (or he thought I was) or that he simply didn't want to answer the question. The question about his time at The Citadel was mine—meaning I asked on behalf of a poster here—was answered with what I took as "Shut the hell up!" shortness. If anyone can offer thoughts as to what they think is acceptable at such events, I would be most courteous.

    Also, I happened to run into an old friend whom I had not seen for two years or more at the signing. So, despite my choice seat (front row after getting books signed) and list of questions, both my uncertainty of what was acceptable re: number of questions and the presence of my old friend made it impossible to ask all I wanted, and to hear everything asked by fans.

    However, I was able to glean a few things by either direct question or hearing it:

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  • 152

    Interview: Jan 17th, 2003

    JD Urbanski

    The following is from my recording and observations from meeting Robert Jordan at Waldenbooks, located in Waterford, CT on January 17, 2003. There were about 200 people waiting in line, and I was about 2/3 of the way in the line. The line was shaped like a horseshoe and I found myself directly opposite the entrance to Waldenbooks. A Waldenbooks employee was informing every new comer of the rules, "Mr. Jordan will sign only two books. They must be books from the Wheel of Time series. Mr. Jordan will not personalize. Mr. Jordan will sign only hardcover books." Somebody near me asked if the RPG books were okay. The employee left and came back to inform him that Jordan would sign the RPG books.

    Robert Jordan

    At around 6:00 Jordan stepped out of Waldenbooks with his cane and a slight limp. He looked around and announced, "There are too many people here, I'm going home." After the laughter subsided, he made a joke about being security's worst nightmare because, "I'm going to stand here and talk with you for a few minutes. Before I go and sign I'm going to answer questions a lot of people ask, that way you can ask something else and not waste time at the table.

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  • 153

    Interview: Jan 17th, 2003

    Robert Jordan

    At this point Robert Jordan went into Waldenbooks and was about to sit down, but came back out again and said, "A lot of people ask when will the next book be released. I promise on my mother's grave the next book will be on the shelves in stores." At this point some punk kid walking by screamed, "YEAH! I DON'T EVEN READ YOUR DAMN BOOKS! YEAH!" So I could not hear the conclusion to Jordan's statement. But one of the employees walked over from where Jordan was standing towards my end of the line, so I called her over and asked her what the last part was. She said he finished by saying "when I have finished writing it."

    Once again Jordan left to go sign books, but came back out soon after saying that it was okay to take pictures of him, to have your picture taken with him, but under one rule, men can't take their clothes off. After this he really did begin the signing.

    It took me about 30 minutes to get near to where Jordan was signing (the line moved really fast). I saw two people get their books signed before me. The first young man made a rude comment to Jordan as he walked off, saying, "See you in two years at the next book signing, if the book is out by then." But Jordan took it in stride and without comment turned his attention to the next person who asked him a question in a whisper, and he received a RAFO. The man seemed upset and asked, "What does that mean?" to which Jordan calmly answered, "It means I don't want to give away too much of the story." I handed my two books to his assistant, who got them ready to sign. I was a bit nervous, since the last two guys had been rather curt with Jordan, I wasn't sure if his mood would have soured. But he wasn't, in fact one of the things that impressed me the most, was that he was still in a jovial mood. I ended up asking two questions, but they are not story related, but his answers are interesting anyway.

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  • 154

    Interview: Jan 17th, 2003

    Jonathan Gan

    I was about tenth in line, I arrived VERY early, and passed the time playing the RPG. During this time, the manager of the Waldenbooks came out and told us that Crossroads of Twilight had just become #1 on the best sellers list, to which we all applauded. Being so close to the front of the line, I did hear what was said about the next book (which I believe he says about every book :) 'I can promise you, on my mothers grave, that the next book will definitely, absolutely, without a doubt, be released as soon as I finish writing it.' To which, as was stated, met with much laughter. I did get to hear a few more questions asked, before I was shooed out of the store by a clerk (two by me):

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  • 155

    Interview: Jan 18th, 2003

    Daniel G

    I had a tape recorder there, but for some reason, the moment RJ started talking, it stopped recording :(. It doesn't really matter anyway, because we left it at the store. This is not word for word what happened, but it's pretty close.

    COOP STAFF

    Alright, Mr. Robert Jordan will be coming in a few moments, and he'll answer some questions for 20 minutes, and then...

    Robert Jordan

    Oh, I can introduce myself.

    COOP STAFF

    Ok, well then, put your hands together for Robert Jordan! (applause)

    ROBERT JORDAN

    Alright, I'm not going to be answering questions for any bloody 20 minutes. And of course, any question I don't answer here, I'm sure to answer at the signing. But first off, its Nynaeve. (Laughter) It's Egwene. Not Eegwene, not Egweenee. Egwene. (Laughter) Cyndane, Semirhage, Aiel, (etc.)

    DANIEL G

    NOTE: If you want to find out accurate character pronunciations, read the glossary of The Eye of the World.

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  • 156

    Interview: Jan 22nd, 2003

    USA Today Article (Verbatim)

    Robert Jordan

    Fantasy—"fiction based on the unreal"—is his true calling, however. "It touches on dreams and hope. No matter how dire the situation...there is a presumption of things coming out all right."

    USA Today

    There are an estimated 65,000 fan Web sites devoted to Jordan's work. But The Wheel of Time series has not been made into a film or miniseries. (In the 1980s, Jordan wrote a series about Conan the Destroyer of film fame. The character was first created in the 1930s by Robert E. Howard.) Jordan promises that he will write "at least" two more novels in The Wheel of Time series.

    "What makes Jordan so popular, I think, is that everything he writes makes perfect sense," notes Swedish high school teacher Lars Jacobsson, 27, from Malmö. He has been a fan since 1995. "In most other fantasy books, there's always a point where you go, 'I don't buy that, that doesn't seem right.' In The Wheel of Time, that point has yet to come."

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  • 157

    Interview: Jan 21st, 2003

    SFRevu Interview (Verbatim)

    Ernest Lilley

    You have another couple weeks left on your tour, does this make up for the isolation of writing?

    Robert Jordan

    Not quite a couple, only nine days, and it more than makes up for it. It's fun. I've had a couple of crowds of over 600, and several from 500 to 300, so believe me, I get a lot of company on the road.

    Ernest Lilley

    Do you get starved for company when you write? I know you work for eight hours a day.

    Robert Jordan

    At least eight, sometimes nine or ten. No, I don't get starved for it. My wife says I'm a badger. She has to winkle me out of my den to get me to go to social functions.

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  • 158

    Interview: Jan 23rd, 2003

    Robert Jordan

    Some kid asked him something about material on the Internet, and he mentioned Wotmania, Dragonmount.com, TarValon.net, and something else. If he said anything about rasfwrj, I didn't hear it.

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  • 159

    Interview: Jan 23rd, 2003

    Robert Jordan

    (from John Nowacki's report): Some kid asked him something about material on the Internet, and he mentioned Wotmania, Dragonmount.com, TarValon.net, and something else. If he said anything about rasfwrj, I didn't hear it.

    Zeynep Dilli

    He didn't, and I paused and decided against mentioning the FAQ there. He mentioned tarvalon.net because the people from the site were next in line to the kid and they called out.

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  • 160

    Interview: Jan 23rd, 2003

    Question

    Ever had threats from fans?

    Robert Jordan

    Not really, but at one signing a biker gang showed up, mentioned rumors about his "failing" health, and threatened to desecrate his grave if he died before finishing the series. Heh.

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  • 161

    Interview: Feb 9th, 2003

    Bill Thompson

    His is a vivid daydream, alive on paper. Not an alternate reality.

    For those who suspect Robert Jordan is so consumed by his books, so immersed in their universe that the fanciful has more substance than the tangible, be assured this is not the case.

    He still takes out the garbage. And no fictional creations attend him as he does so.

    The books of his "Wheel of Time" fantasy cycle may possess prodigious detail, and characters who seem to breathe on the page, but the author recognizes the warp and woof of the real quite well, thank you, and embraces the knowledge that, in time, the party will come to an end.

    The Charleston native is as grounded as one of the most successful writers in the world can be. Hyperbole? Do millions read your books with the same fervor accorded Tolkien? Do 500 people a day show up for your book signings, from Sacramento to Sydney? Are your novels translated into 20 languages? Are you the standard-bearer for a major publishing company? Are there thousands of Web sites devoted in whole or in part to discussing your work?

    We thought not.

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  • 162

    Interview: Feb 9th, 2003

    Bill Thompson

    Very occasionally, Jordan meets a reader who believes the author is imbued with some arcane potential, that the ability to channel the One Power is not only an actual faculty, but something he can teach them to do.

    Robert Jordan

    Jordan chuckles, ruefully.

    "I have more often met people—just as frightening in a way—who think because of these books I am some sort of guru or sage, and that they can learn great wisdom from me. I just write books. I tell stories, that's all. The books demand as much as the reader is willing to give them. My main concern is to write them in such a way that they will not merely stand up to repeated readings, but still offer something the second time through, or the fifth."

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  • 163

    Interview: Feb 26th, 2003

    Robert Jordan

    The tour went very well. The first night, in New York, the store count (that is, the count of attendance by the store) was over six hundred and fifty people, which was terrific. We had over six hundred in San Jose, and over five hundred a number of other places, ending with four hundred and fifty or so at the last two stops, Toronto and Edmonton. The only small crowds were about a hundred and fifty at a midday signing in LA (the local media escort said it was a very good number, but did point out that Monica Lewinsky drew over fifteen hundred, though Joan Collins got only twenty and was truly pissed), and about two hundred and fifty at a store which shall remain nameless, where the store manager admitted after the signing that they had somehow failed to put out any advertising at all, so it was all word of mouth. All in all, I feel wonderful about the whole thing. Touring is exhausting, frankly, but it is also exhilarating.

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  • 164

    Interview: Feb 26th, 2003

    Robert Jordan

    I did have some people mention your movie. Not just the folks who came to various signings who are associated with it, either. I think there are people out there eagerly awaiting it.

    Take care, Jason. It's back to work for the likes of me. No rest for the wicked. I really hope—knock wood, spit over your shoulder, and sacrifice to the gods—that I can finish up in twelve books total. We shall see.

    Footnote

    This was in reference to Dragonmount's first 'trailer'-type film.

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  • 165

    Interview: Mar, 2003

    Tom Schaad

    Now you, along with several other prominent fantasy and science fiction authors, have a devoted fan following. Over a thousand websites are, one way or another, devoted to the world that you have created in the Wheel of Time books. And you, to a certain extent, actively communicate with some of these fans, through e-mails—answering e-mails, answering questions on boards when you’re available for answering questions from various people. On the Amazon.com board, for example—

    Robert Jordan

    Well, I’ve done interviews, online interviews. But I don’t show up in chatrooms, or things of that sort. There are arranged interviews, and then we have a chatroom set up, you know, but not beyond that.

    Tom Schaad

    Do you get much direct e-mail asking questions of certain aspects of—

    Robert Jordan

    No, because I don’t let anyone have my e-mail address.

    Tom Schaad

    Ah-ha.

    Robert Jordan

    I don’t have time. Even with the e-mail that I get with few people knowing my e-mail address, I quite often ignore e-mail for days, or even weeks on the assumption that if it’s important they’ll get back to me. And if I look at it and realize the same person has written me five times in the last three weeks, alright maybe there’s something I should look at there. I cannot answer all of the fan-mail as fully as I would like. I’ve now gotten to the point where I quite often have to simply send a card—a postcard saying, “Thank you for writing to me, and I do not have time to reply.” I hate that, but there’s no time.

    Tom Schaad

    It’s a reality, and quite honestly I think that most of the fans understand that, and would rather that you devoted your time to creating the next book that they can snatch off the shelves as quickly as possible so that they can get further along into the story. But now you’re on a tour.

    Tags

  • 166

    Interview: Mar, 2003

    Tom Schaad

    It’s practically near the end of the promotional book that you’ve been on for the Crossroads of Twilight. What’s the experience been like this time?

    Robert Jordan

    Oh, wonderful. It’s always wonderful. I spend most of my life as a hermit, sitting at my desk reading and writing, and I don’t get to speak to people very often. I talk to Harriet, my wife, and a few friends, but not to any great degree, any great number of people. But I come out on tour, and there are lots of people who want to talk to me, and it’s lots of fun. We’ve had large crowds a number of places. Over six hundred people some times.

    Tom Schaad

    Good heavens.

    Robert Jordan

    And it’s just been terrific.

    Tom Schaad

    So that... I would assume that’s... Now that’s got a be a validation of the work as a whole. To have that kind of a response when you make yourself available to the public to meet the author, the creator of something they feel very strongly about.

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, it’s a validation. Yes.

    Tags

  • 167

    Interview: Mar, 2003

    Tom Schaad

    And, of course, you’re getting more and more coverage in the general media. USA Today had you in the newspaper today, the day of this interview, talking about the success of the books and the impact that they’ve had. And the websites that have been created that are interested in this in every aspect of the world you’ve created, everything from fan-art to chat forums to role-playing mailing lists to web-rings to resources that intensively analyze every aspect of every line of every book that you’ve written. It’s just remarkable the level of interest.

    Robert Jordan

    It certainly amazes me.

    Tom Schaad

    Does it ever get to the point where it gets a little intrusive in terms of the kinds of things they want to find out about the chapters in the story?

    Robert Jordan

    No. No. I don’t visit the websites, so that doesn’t bother me. And when people ask me questions, whether it’s for a website or not, I either give them an answer which I don’t mind them taking out, or if I don’t want to answer, I have a standard reply for that, one I got from the net: RAFO. R-A-F-O. Read and Find Out.

    Tom Schaad

    Exactly.

    Robert Jordan

    An acronym developed from a phrase that I used to use a great deal. Still do, sometimes.

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  • 168

    Interview: Mar, 2003

    Tom Schaad

    This is the tour for the tenth book—you’re almost finished with it—and you’ve had large crowds. Has there been any one specially moment, or any one particular encounter that stands out from all the others?

    Robert Jordan

    Oh....walking into Barnes and Noble, Union Square; being told that there were over six hundred and fifty people there. And they gave me a standing ovation when I walked up to the podium. That really caught me. I had a man tell me that his son was reading the books; that they were easing his stay in the hospital. And when I said, as you do, “Well I hope it’s nothing serious,” he said, “Well it is. It’s cancer.” And I said, “I hope that he will get better.” And he said, “No. He’s dying. But he loves your books.” And that’s going to stick with me a long time.

    Tom Schaad

    I can imagine it would.

    Tags

  • 169

    Interview: Mar 29th, 2004

    Sci Fi Weekly

    Why do you think the Wheel of Time series is so popular?

    Robert Jordan

    I really don't know. If I knew, I would guarantee that I could do it again. I think it is all a good story. The characters seem to be real people. They behave in the way real people behave. Perhaps that has something to do with it.

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  • 170

    Interview: Mar 29th, 2004

    Sci Fi Weekly

    You have loads of fans—do any of them get a little carried away or become over-zealous sometimes?

    Robert Jordan

    Occasionally. But I haven't had anybody give me a freeze-dried cat or slit a wrist and ask me to autograph my book in blood. Both of those things happened to Clive Barker. Occasionally someone will get a little over-enthusiastic, but by and large fans are very nice people and very well behaved.

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  • 171

    Interview: Jan 6th, 2004

    Atlanta, GA

    Do you have plans to attend Dragon*Con this year?

    Robert Jordan

    No, I don't. I don't go to very many conventions. I spend most of my time actually writing.

    Tags

  • 172

    Interview: Jan 6th, 2004

    Dallas, TX

    You have a pretty big fan base here in TX but I have yet to see you tour Dallas. Any idea when you might?????? I would love to meet ya!

    Robert Jordan

    I go where the publisher sends me, and when I do a tour, the publisher has hundreds of bookstores apply for me to appear. I don't always makes the same stops...how this is decided, I don't know. But I simply do what I'm told. The publisher says, "Go thou and sign," and I go thou and sign.

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  • 173

    Interview: Jan 6th, 2004

    Washington, DC

    Can fans mail you books to be signed?

    Robert Jordan

    I would appreciate it if they did not.

    Tags

  • 174

    Interview: Jan 6th, 2004

    London, England

    Do you ever visit any of the numerous fan sites on the web dedicated to The Wheel Of Time? Do you find it strange (or slightly unnerving) that people analyze your work(s) in order to create theories?

    Robert Jordan

    I find it interesting. It's not something I'd ever expected would happen, certainly.

    Tags

  • 175

    Interview: Jan 6th, 2004

    Monticello, Indiana

    What's the most amusing and/or bizarre question a fan has ever asked you?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, I've had a couple young women ask if they could bear my child. That's not the usual kind of question I get—that sort of took me aback, yes.

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  • 176

    Interview: Jan 6th, 2004

    Carbondale, IL

    Have you ever considered a personal site to keep in touch with us the fans so that we can get our fix?

    Robert Jordan

    No. I would have to spend way too much time maintaining a site and, frankly, I think most fans would prefer I'd spend the time writing, so they could get the books a little sooner rather than later.

    Tags

  • 177

    Interview: Apr 27th, 2004

    Wotmania Interview (Verbatim)

    Wotmania

    Wotmania is a vibrant website, where fans passionately discuss the series in huge discussion forums. How often do you look at other such websites, and what do you think of the attitudes expressed there? How valuable a tool is the Internet for interacting with your fans? Does it slightly unnerve you that fans have managed to post new ideas at forums for over six years now?

    Robert Jordan

    I rarely look in the fan sites except when someone tells me that there is something I should check out on one of them. The occasional visit is all I have time for, since most of my day is given over to writing.

    I do believe the websites are valuable for interacting with my fans. I have an on-going relationship with Jason Denzel and Dragonmount that has lasted for a number of years, now. This relationship has allowed Jason to bring various rumors to my attention, so I can let the fans know that I haven't been hit by a bus, defected to China, or disappeared in a flying saucer piloted by Elvis. Both Dragonmount and Wotmania cooperated with Tor books in getting questions from readers for me to post answers to on the Tor Books website, and in finding romances that began over or because of The Wheel of Time.

    It does seem very odd to me that people are still posting new ideas after all this time. Frankly, I never expected ANYTHING like this when I began writing the cycle.

    Tags

  • 178

    Interview: Jul 22nd, 2004

    Jason Denzel

    THURSDAY 22 July 2004

    The convention started on a Wednesday, I think. I arrived that day but did not go to the convention center. I got into town and crashed at my Aunt and Uncle's house. The next morning I went there and met the Dabel Brothers. It turns out that we were to share a booth with Spooklight Productions, an independent film company from Arkansas. They're a great group of guys, and I suggest you check out their film, "FLIP".

    Anyway, Robert Jordan was supposed to do a book signing that day around 5 PM. The signing ended up being later than expected though. About 6 PM, one of the Dabel Bros picked Robert and Harriet up from where they were staying and brought them to the convention center. I met them at the curb along with Bob Kluttz (from Encyclopedia WoT) and Nicole Dubuc (a long-time Dragonmount member). The three of us escorted RJ and Harriet up to his first panel discussion ("Kicking Serious Butt: Action and Adventure in SF and Fantasy") while Les Dabel went and parked the car.

    I think Robert and Harriet were tired because of the time difference, but they still seemed happy to be there. On a side note: RJ looked great. He's lost some weight, and was telling some fans who asked about it that he's been working hard to do so.

    Robert Jordan

    Anyway, we made it to room 7A which was filled with about maybe a hundred people. At least one fan approached RJ right away asking to have his books signed. After signing several books for the guy, RJ found his way to the table with the other authors (among them was Raymond E. Feist and Harry Harrison). The panel began and was over about an hour later. RJ didn't speak as much that time as he did in a later panel, but maybe it had to do with jet lag. He chimed in every now and then with the other authors, but he definitely did not dominate any of the conversation.

    After the panel, he was almost immediately surrounded by people asking to sign their books. Having no other assistance, I stepped in and told everyone that "Robert Jordan will be signing books outside in just a minute or two." I got him outside the room (where there was room to breathe) and made sure he and Harriet had chairs to sit down in. I got everyone in line like the people at the book stores always did, and things were much better.

    RJ signed everyone's books, regardless of how many they had. (Only about 20-30 people were in line). He personalized the autographs if the person asked, and he took pictures. He answered questions too, as well.

    Tags

  • 179

    Interview: Jul 22nd, 2004

    Jason Denzel

    Before I continue, I need to inform you that what I'm posting here is only a partial account of our dinner. We discussed a lot of things with Robert and Harriet which are more personal in nature. Some things we were asked kindly not to post about, and other things are being left out on my own judgment call. But don't worry; I'm including all the really juicy stuff, especially as it relates to WoT.

    Anyway, we had carefully planned out the appropriate seating arrangement, but ultimately Harriet and RJ sat elsewhere than we had predicted. They sat across from each other in the middle of the long table, but both were still able to see the awesome view of the ocean that we had. I was at RJ's right side, and Melissa was across from me. Bob was at Robert's left, and Brad was at Harriet's right.

    After a few minutes of mingling at the table, I stood and gave a toast to him and Harriet, their work, and to the continued positive relationships between them and the WoT community in general. We drank to it, and then RJ stood and gave his own toast. He commented that he deeply appreciated all of the fan sites and said that he had a very, very long list of sites book marked. (So yes people, he does read your WoT website every now and then!) He commented that he had Dragonmount, TarValon, WoTmania, and SilkLantern saved in his "Frequently Visited" sub-folder. He thanked us all, and toasted to our continued success.

    The dinner conversation was fantastic. There were never any awkward moments. We discussed a variety of topics including the origins of the tradition of shaking hands, clinking glasses together, and why dinner knives are rounded at the tip and kept on your right-hand side. We talked about cats, movies, and other random things before we started discussing the books.

    Tags

  • 180

    Interview: Jul 22nd, 2004

    Jason Denzel

    At last, dinner wound to an end. Neither RJ or Harriet cared for desert, but they polished off their third (I think) glasses of wine. I took care of the bill (we all chipped in for Robert and Harriet's dinner). While we waited for the Taxi to arrive, we took pictures and they both had a glass of brandy.

    Melissa and I escorted Harriet and Robert out to their car, thanked them a million times over, and said that we'd love to do it again. Both of them thanked us and said that they would also enjoy getting together again next time they're out. Realistically I know it will depend on their traveling schedule and availability. But it was a very cool feeling to know that these two people cared about the websites and communities that we've built around their books. I think that our little dinner party represented all of WoT fandom in a positive way. Next time we do this, maybe we'll open the invitations up to a broader group. Perhaps a raffle contest?

    Overall, this was a really special night for all of us. After they left, Brad, Melissa, and I talked for hours about everything we had heard. I don't think we got to sleep until really late that night. I bet you can understand why.

    Tags

  • 181

    Interview: 2005

    Online Community

    Robert Jordan

    I've been quite astounded by the fans, especially the online community. There are hundreds I'm told, and some people say thousands, but I think I can safely say hundreds of web sites dedicated to fans, run by fans. It's one reason why I don't really have a fan site of my own, a web site of my own, aside from what Tor Books gives me.

    The fans are really remarkable. They discuss the books in incredible detail, argue about things in incredible detail. I was at a convention called Dragon*Con in Atlanta, which has a track dedicated to the Wheel of Time, and one of the things that I did was to hand out the awards after the final round of the trivia contest. Some of the questions that these people were answering, I would have had to go to my notes to find the answer to. I mean, "What is the name of the cat at the inn called The Queen's Blessing in Caemlyn?" Ahhh, and they knew it. It was remarkable.

    Tags

  • 182

    Interview: Jul 14th, 2005

    ComicCon Reports (Paraphrased)

    Question

    Again a question about his health.

    Robert Jordan

    He recently had a complete physical. His blood pressure and cholesterol are ridiculously low—he's in exceptional health. Anecdote—at a signing a couple of Hell's Angels told him he better not die before he finishes or they'll desecrate his grave!

    Tags

  • 183

    Interview: Sep 7th, 2005

    Jennifer Liang

    Robert Jordan was signing books today at the Chapter 11 store at the intersection of Peachtree Road and Peachtree Battle. I arrived early with my husband and a box of leftover goodies from Dragon*Con that we wanted to get rid of. For those who don't know, Tor sent us 900 sample booklets of Knife of Dreams and The Eye of the World, and 2,000 Knife of Dreams bookmarks. We still had quite a few left after the convention and we don't want to store that many, so everyone who attended the signing got to take some of those with them.

    The bookstore policy was that Jordan would sign only two books and they had to be purchased from the store. However, Jordan immediately brushed that aside and signed anything you put in front of him and as much as you gave him. He even did a few personalizations upon request for people.

    Since the signing wasn't very well advertised (I found out about it from the Jordans on the last day of Dragon*Con), turnout was low. I was the "flapper" for Jordan. That's the person who opens all the books to the right page for signing so that the author can sign more quickly. If you were there, I was the girl in the green and brown suit and my husband Jimmy was the Asian man in gray talking about sword forms.

    Tags

  • 184

    Interview: Sep 7th, 2005

    Jennifer Liang

    All in all, it was a nice, quiet evening with a favorite author for the hard core Atlanta fans. Those of you who are Dragon*Con regulars might be interested to note that Cadsuane was there to get her books signed as well.

    Tags

  • 185

    Interview: Sep 19th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    This should be confirmation that I do lurk upon occasion, on several sites. At the moment, working only half days on the new book—that will continue until the tour begins; after the tour, it is back to full days—I have time to do that more often than when I am writing all day. Then I can only drop by once in a while for a a few minutes to scan through the thread headers and see if anyone else has figured out who killed Asmodean—some of you have, but I won't say who—or whether some incredible rumor has begun growing like a fungus. But I am not a member at any site, so forget about the possibility that I make posts.

    Take care, guys. And remember—no cancer.

    RJ

    Tags

  • 186

    Interview: Jul 14th, 2005

    Diomedes

    After these initial comments, RJ proceeded to take questions from audience members. I won't actually provide all the questions and answers in this post, since a large number are really questions that have been asked many times before, and many of us are already familiar with the answers.

    I'm fairly surprised that so many questions were reminiscent of questions that have been posed to RJ in the past, but I think it has given me some insight into our little community here on the Wotmania message board, and the reality of RJ's fan base as a whole. The truth is that we represent a fraction of a percentage of a fraction of a percentage of RJ's audience. Most fans probably don't even know that RJ has numerous interviews posted online that could answer their question, and far far more fans are interested in who RJ's favorite character is, or what advice he might give to aspiring authors than they are about the minutiae of the series. The reality is that the vast majority of his fans are simply content to enjoy the story and wait for the next book without spending hours in discussion about plot points or combing though chapters in search of insights to the possible future the story holds.

    So, I won't provide every Q&A, partially because I was in line for the microphone for some of them and unable to jot down the responses, as well as distracting myself with keeping calm and running through my head exactly how I would phrase the questions—not that that particularly helped—but also because some of it is information that has been reported before.

    I'll start with my own questions, since they were about the only story-based questions in the whole lot.

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  • 187

    Interview: Oct 4th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    My, this could get addictive. I hope you guys realize that I'll be going silent this weekend, for the duration of the tour. But I'll try to get in another post or two before then. No promises, however.

    First off, apologies to everyone if I misspell your screen name. It seems that may turn out to be a bad habit I can't break. Spell-check is no help at all, of course.

    Tags

  • 188

    Interview: Oct 4th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Deadsy, the last book I completed was Walter Mosley's Cinnamon Kiss. I just started Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys. And I'm ashamed to say that when I first saw your post on Wotmania about having a secret, I thought, "Ah-ha! Palm or hairbrush?" Just following the context, and your blushes. Then I realized what it was. Thank you for keeping the secret.

    Tags

  • 189

    Interview: Oct 4th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Corin Ashaman, I've never changed anything because of a post. I did think of doing so when I first discovered the online community. I'd see someone who had figured out where I was going with something and think that I should change it just to keep the surprise factor. But there was always somebody else, often a lot of somebodies, who would post explaining why the first post just had to be wrong. So I went ahead and did what I had planned to do. Now, when somebody figures out what's what, I just think that's somebody who's on the ball and go on with my writing.

    Tags

  • 190

    Interview: Oct 4th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For elementfwwe, what keeps me going is that I enjoy what am doing. Think about it. I can make a living doing what I enjoy more than anything except sex.

    I don't pattern characters after real people, but I do sometimes lift part of a real person for a character. I will say that a character in Knife of Dreams, Charlz Guybon, is named after a man whose wife won an auction for naming rights after I agreed to be part of a fund raiser for an English charity that works with victims of torture. She sent me his description, which I used. As I've often said, each of my major female characters has at least one element drawn from Harriet. And I won't tell her which parts of which characters came from her. That despite the fact that, as she likes to point out, she knows where I sleep. She did figure out that she is Semirhage when the garbage doesn't get to the curb on time, though.

    As for my idol, that is my father, now deceased. He was a wonderful man, with a rich life. I'll try to paint a small picture. He got his first car, a Model A, at the age of thirteen because he had the habit of hitching rides with bootleggers in the Tennessee mountains, and after he was in a wreck where the driver ran off and my father told the police who had been chasing them that he had been driving, his father decided to put an end to the hitching. He was a noted middleweight boxer in the 1930s, rising in the rankings, but stopped after he badly injured another man in the ring. He was a veteran of WWII who spent a lot of time behind the Japanese lines, a quiet, gentle man who taught me to rebuild automobile engines, to hunt and fish. He told stories over the campfire when we were out hunting or fishing, thus starting me on the road to storytelling myself. He never said a word about me stealing shotgun shells from his stock so a known bootlegger and poacher would take me into the woods with him. Well, I didn't know about the poaching until later. But Junior knew more about the woods than anybody else I've ever met. My father was a poker shark with a photographic memory who allowed me to sit in for three hands whenever the weekly game was at our house, even when I was young enough to need to sit on three encyclopedias to be able to get my arms on the table. He staked me, he ate the losses, and we split any winnings I had. I did win one of those hands while sitting on stacked up Encyclopedia Americanas. He told my brothers and me that he had few requirements of us. Be honest. Keep your word always. Try to do better with your life than he had done with his. And whatever you decided to be, whether it was a college professor or an auto mechanic, be the best at it that you could manage to be. Yes, he was, and is, my idol.

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  • 191

    Interview: Sep 5th, 2005

    Camel

    At the book signing, I was kinda paranoid that I'd get kicked out cause I didn't have a badge, but really, nobody checked. Tam and I were about 5 people behind WSB, and Isabel was late. When she finally did show up, she cut into the line and stood with WSB. It was funny, though, everyone knew Isabel. And when I say everyone, I mean everyone. But I had this little superior feeling (i dunno why) because she was with US and not with THEM, if that makes sense. She was a Theorylander, and everyone knew her. That was cool, I thought.

    Finally, the line started moving, and WSB and Isabel were going over that huge list of questions that everyone submitted, trying to figure out which ones to ask and which ones had already been answered, and which ones were answered that might spawn new questions. I dunno, I didn't really care, I just wanted my books signed. I think it took maybe 30 minutes for me and Tam to get to the front. Isabel and WSB hadn't left after they got theirs signed, so they were standing around waiting to hear the answers to Tam's and my questions. Tamyrlin asked some weird question about cords and stuff, and I was just kinda speechless, cause, I mean, here I am, standing in front of the man who has dominated my literary reading for the past 7-8 years. I was kinda speechless. So he's signing my books, and I'm just standing there, and Isabel elbows me sharply in the ribs, and says "Ask him a question!" in a low voice.

    Camel: "Oh, right, I get a question."
    Camel: "Yeah, wheres your hat, in your little, in your picture, I was really looking forward to seeing the hat."

    Robert Jordan

    "I didnt bring the black one this time, I brought a brown one. I thought it might get rained on a lot."

    CAMEL

    Camel: "I was really looking forward to the hat."

    Isabel was furious. She got over it though. It must be the Camel charm, you know.

    So then Tam and I decided to go find him something to eat, since he was starving, and it was now about 5:00, so my lunch had been fully digested and my stomach was growling. But first we had to go get my car from the parking lot and take it to the hotel. So we got there, and apparently I owed a 15 dollar fine or something. I paid it and we went back to the hotel. And I feel that I must point out that Tamyrlin suggested a route back to the hotel, which led us in circles for half an hour before I decided to stop listening to the Lord of the Board and find the place on my own. We got there two minutes later. That's what you get for listening to Tam, folks. Then we started walking to find some food. The Quiznos was closed, so we went to McDonald's instead. Then we went back to where the bakery was, sat down, and got on Theoryland and posted again. Tam and I then returned to the hotel, and he began typing up the transcripts.

    In a word, boring.

    However, at some point we were listening to the transcript, and Tam made the comment that RJ had just pretty much flat out stated that Nynaeve was a Learner. Isabel was furious! She threw this cute little hissy fit and screamed "NO! NO! NO!" at the top of her lungs, jumped up and down on the bed, and tried to tell us RJ was wrong. Tamyrlin was sitting there, jaw on the floor, and then he says:

    Tamyrlin: "Isabel, I'm just quoting what RJ said, I'm not putting my spin on this!"
    Isabel: "He's wrong!" (ack!) "Now, you need to write that he's wrong on there!"
    Tamyrlin: "This is a transcript, Isabel, not a commentary!"

    Isabel then proceeded to grab the tape recorder and refused to give it back until she finished her tirade. Actually, at one point she sat down on the bed and ticked off all of the reasons why Nynaeve was a sparker. She even got her book out and found quotes. When she grabbed the book, I grabbed the tape recorder and gave it back to Tam, lol. This was quite possibly the funniest moment of the entire weekend.

    Well, that and RJ's comment about Tam's theories and the "Nice try, Jack!" line.

    Anyway, later I fell asleep. About an hour later, I wake up to Isabel practically sitting on my feet, and WSB and Tam arguing about something on the transcript. *yawn* I turned on the TV and watched something, I forget what. Anyway, around 9:00, the following conversation ensues:

    Tamyrlin: "Hey Camel, pizza?"
    Camel: "Sure."
    Tamyrlin (tossing a $20 to Camel): "Order it."
    Camel: "Now?"
    Tamyrlin: "Sure, why not?"
    Camel: "What do you want on it?"
    Tamyrlin: "What do you like?"
    Camel: "I like everything, so whatever you want."
    Tamyrlin: "Sausage and onions?"

    I must have made a face, cause he laughed.

    Tamyrlin: "You don't like sausage and onions?"
    Camel: "I like them.. I've just never had JUST sausage and onions."
    Tamyrlin: "Oh. Well, we can split it half and half. Get whatever you want on your half."

    So I go out to the lobby and get a flyer for the local pizza place, and order the pizza. I got one half sausage and onion and the other half pepperoni and mushrooms. I went back to the room and turned on the TV again. Flipping through the channels, I discovered that "Iron Chef America" was on. It was better than watching "Walker, Texas Ranger", so I watched that, while Tam typed up transcripts and WSB looked at something (porn? nah) on his computer.

    For those of you who haven't watched "Iron Chef" on the Food Network, it's basically a cook off contest between two chefs. They have an hour to prepare so many dishes based around a specified secret ingredient. Tonight's ingredient was mushrooms. It was a cool battle. About halfway through, the phone rings. Pizza's here! So I go out there and grab the pizza and bread sticks and come back to the room.

    I open the breadsticks box and have one of those, while Tam reaches into the pizza, and grabs a slice of pizza. We're eating and watching Iron Chef, and then I reach into the pizza box, and there are only two slices of PEPPERONI AND MUSHROOM left, and there are FOUR SAUSAGE AND ONION slices.

    Camel: "Whoa, Tam, you're eating my pizza."
    Tamyrlin: "No, I'm not, I'm eating mine."
    Camel: "Dude, you're eating pepperoni and mushroom."
    Tamyrlin: "OH NO! I'm so sorry, Camel!"
    Camel: "It's okay, don't worry about it."

    He kept apologizing. After my slices were gone, I tried one of his sausage and onion pizzas. Again, I must have made a face, 'cause he said "Don't like it?" I shook my head and ate some more bread sticks.

    Then Isabel came in and everyone argued about WoT stuff. Then we went to sleep. I got the bed this time.

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  • 192

    Interview: Sep 5th, 2005

    Camel

    Tam and I went over to the Q&A. As we're crossing the street from the Mariott to the Hyatt, this guy goes:

    Man: "Whoa there. Where's your badge?"
    Tamyrlin: "Well, he lost it earlier."
    Man: "Can't let you in without a badge, sir."
    Camel: "But I lost it, man. I paid for it and everything."
    Man: "Well, did you report it?"
    Camel: "Yeah."
    Man: "Do you have a hotel key?"
    Camel: "Yeah, to the Travelodge down the street."
    Man: "Let me see it." I showed it to him. "Okay, you've got a hotel key, go on."

    So we went into the Q&A, and I watched everyone ask questions. At Isabel's first question, RJ said "Come up here and ask me closer." cause he couldn't understand her. So she went up there and showed him our huge list of questions. I got a picture. He read one of them and answered it. Then Tam asked a question and basically got RAFO'd, and he came back and sat down. I suggested a question to him, and he says, "Go ask it, man." So I got in line. And waited. Finally:

    Camel: "I know a lot of questions have been asked and I was wondering if either of you knew of a question we haven't asked that you think we should have asked already, and what would that be?"

    Robert Jordan

    "You really think I am going to be that easy. I mean I am gullible, but that's with women. Nice try, Jack!"

    CAMEL

    So I sat down, suitably embarrassed. Tam and WSB thought it was hilarious that he thought my name was Jack. (Hint: it's not). After that, we went over to the mall and grabbed a bite to eat. I got a picture of Tinkerbell. It was cool. Walking back to the hotel, I took a picture of some Cobra guys solely to stop up traffic in the hallway. Mwahahaha.

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  • 193

    Interview: Sep 3rd, 2005

    Great Lord of the Dark

    Your bio for Dragon*Con shows you enjoy the sport of poker. Do you get the chance to play often, would you consider playing against fans, and how much would someone have to match you and raise the stakes by to get an answer to who killed Asmodean?

    Robert Jordan

    As to playing with fans, no, I don't want to take money from fans, and I don't want you to take mine. And as for the raise of the bet of who killed Asmodean, you do not have enough money collectively.

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  • 194

    Interview: Sep 3rd, 2005

    Question

    Have any of the members of your fandom affected your writing? For example have any of the latter minor characters been reflections or poked fun of anything you have read?

    Robert Jordan

    No, no, I don't believe in poking fun at my fans. (Tells a short story about using a name or two from individuals he has met. He mentions a couple of Aes Sedai names, missing Aes Sedai, from names of some fans who sent a letter to him without a return address.)

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  • 195

    Interview: Sep 1st, 2005

    Jennifer Liang

    Thursday 9/1/05:

    Thursday is not officially part of the convention. However, so many people have become Dragon*Con savvy over the last few years and realized that early arrival is the way to go, that it might as well be. Thursday afternoon was spent hanging our new flags in the Kennesaw conference room of the Hyatt and meeting all the WoT fans coming from out of town. I had dinner that night with the Dragonmount group, which turned into a big gossip session. ("Remember that crazy chick that used to post back in 1999...") That night I split my time between the TarValon.net Pants Free Party and a group of noisy, drunk WoT fans on the tenth floor lounge of the Marriott. We were there until the hotel staff asked us to leave.

    Remember the tenth floor. It pops up frequently.

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  • 196

    Interview: Sep 1st, 2005

    Jennifer Liang

    Friday night we hosted a banquet at a nearby restaurant with Robert Jordan, his wife Harriet McDougal, Darrell Sweet and his wife Janet. It was great dinner and I'm sorry that the layout of the room prevented everyone from being as close to our guests as they would have liked. However, we were able to give everyone a few minutes with them after dessert was served, which I hope was satisfactory.

    Afterwards, it was time for the Dragonmount Mead Party, hosted by long time DM members Scott, Nina and Jaime. This was located on the tenth floor of the Marriott, and stayed open late, as no one kicked us out this time. We passed around Mardi gras beads in honor of our friends who couldn't be there because of Hurricane Katrina. You can see them in various pictures all weekend.

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  • 197

    Interview: Sep 1st, 2005

    Jennifer Liang

    Saturday 9/3/05:

    Saturday kicked off bright and early with the fourth annual Dragon*Con parade. Once again, I marched as the Amyrlin Seat. We had several Tinkers, a group of Asha'man, a Seanchan woman, Mat Cauthon, the Daughter Heir of Andor and dozens of Aes Sedai. We marched from Woodruff Park to the Marriott by way of Atlanta's legendary Peachtree Street. The highlight was marching past the Hyatt and seeing Robert Jordan and his wife sitting on the planters clapping and cheering for us. It was one of those beautiful, rare moments that stays with you forever.

    Afterwards, we held a discussion group on the misunderstood cultures from the series, such as the Seanchan.

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  • 198

    Interview: Sep 1st, 2005

    Jennifer Liang

    After that we had the fifth annual Wheel of Time Costume Contest, with celebrity judges Teresa Patterson, Harriet McDougal and Robert Jordan. We had our largest turnout yet for this event, with over twenty contestants and several hundred people in attendance.

    The winner of the Master category was Melissa Craib and Ben Gunderson for their portrayal of a Green sister and her Warder. I forget the name of the winner of the Novice category, but the costume was a Keeper raised from the Brown Ajah. Other notable costumes include a member of the Deathwatch Guard, Elayne Trakand, two Myrrdraal and several Mat Cauthons. It was an excellent year for costumes.

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  • 199

    Interview: Sep 1st, 2005

    Jennifer Liang

    The other important event of Saturday was the first annual Gleeman's Competition. We only had two contestants this year, so we asked them to just perform one piece from their repertoire (They were required to participate in three events: story telling, music, and hidden talent). Melissa from TarValon.net performed slight of hand tricks and Ben from Dragonmount read an original story about Gaidal Cain he had composed. There was a little bit of random performances by people in the crowd after that, and we disbanded. We'll try this competition again next year, as I still believe there is enough talent in the WoT fandom for something like this to happen.

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  • 200

    Interview: Sep 1st, 2005

    Jennifer Liang

    Afterwards, was our big sword form demonstration. But before we talk about it, I want to clear up a misconception. As those of you who attended know, we had to perform this in the Kennesaw room where the layout and ceiling height did not allow us to perform the full demonstration as rehearsed. Instead we had to put on a shortened version of the program. Many people mistaken believe that this is the result of "Dragon*Con screwing us over". This is far from the case. Dragon*Con this year had several issues regarding scheduling, the biggest was the sudden cancellation of Joss Whedon after months of rumors that he wasn't even invited to the convention. Joss WAS invited and confirmed by Universal.

    However, when the rumors of his cancellation began to appear, the Programming Directors created two versions of the schedule. One that had Joss's appearances on it and one that did not. When we made the request for a larger room for this event, our request was put on one version of the schedule, but not on the other. The mistake wasn't realized until we were already at the convention. The room that I had been told was available for us was also booked to another group doing a light saber fight demo. When the mistake was realized, the senior Director we were working with offered to attempt to find us space elsewhere. We volunteered to take the sure thing and reworked the demo to make it fit into Kennesaw. The senior Directors at Dragon*Con have always been extremely supportive of the WoT track and sensitive to our needs. In five years, this is the first mix up like this we’ve experienced and they made every attempt to fix it onsite, before we asked them to stop.

    So now that you know far more about organized nerdery than you ever wanted to know, what happened at the sword form demo? Well, instead of having a series of staged fights scripted from the descriptions in the books, my husband simply performed some of the moves based on a fan interpretation that's been passed around the internet for years. He took requests from the audience, as well as performing a series that he had practiced. Because of the truncated program, we were able to run it twice, accommodating all the people who had lined up to see it. We also had a good discussion going of the inspirations of the forms and how they might change depending on the culture of the swordsman.

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  • 201

    Interview: Sep 1st, 2005

    Jennifer Liang

    Monday 9/5/05:

    Monday was another light day, which we needed. Our only real event was the final round of the trivia contest, which was won by Jennifer H. (I should note that this is the first year a member of Dragonmount.com has NOT won this event. Thanks Nina for spoiling our perfect record. =P) Robert Jordan was on hand to award the prize, which was a signed, personalized copy of Lord of Chaos. Harriet made fun of me for being groggy, but that's what I get for having fun.

    It was one thing to know that we would have bigger crowds that weekend than we were used to. It was another thing to actually see the crowds of people patiently lining up to see what ever it was we had planned. The convention assigned us a larger conference room this year and we filled every seat, except for events occurring during a book signing. These crowds could have quickly become overwhelming, but they weren't. I believe this is because of the uncommon good sense and good manners of WoT fans. Generally speaking, I find that we are a more mature and educated fandom than some of the others based around TV shows or movies. So many of you helped us out, in small ways and in large. When I needed furniture moved, some guy in a Band uniform I had never seen before in my life was there to take the chairs out of my hands. When I needed raffle tickets distributed during a Q&A session, a good friend was there to do it. And when we needed to move the Jordan's through a huge crowd of fans to get them to their next event, we had no shortage of large, burly men to help make a path for them. You guys and everyone else made sure I had fun too and I deeply appreciate that.

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  • 202

    Interview: Sep 1st, 2005

    Jennifer Liang

    We got two very special, very unique compliments this weekend.

    Teresa Patterson

    The first was from Teresa Patterson. After her Q&A, we were talking a bit and she told me that she encounters a lot of fan groups for the various series that she's written for. Most of them are full of "Oh wouldn't it be nice if we...". They talk about doing great things, but they don't ever DO great things. Looking around our track room, at the gorgeous hand made flags, the women in beautiful Aes Sedai shawls and men in sexy Asha'man coats, she told me that we are a fandom that actually DOES great things. We aren't full of idle talk, which is why she likes us so much.

    Jennifer Liang

    The second compliment was passed onto me by Bill Fawcet, Robert Jordan's literary agent and one of the people responsible for arranging his appearances at Dragon*Con this year.

    Robert Jordan

    While he was out with Jordan and Harriet, Jordan mentioned that he felt "inspired" by the huge, organized turn out for Dragon*Con this year.

    Jennifer Liang

    Not only did he have signings and speaking engagements like Comic Con, but he had an entire conference room devoted entirely to dissecting and celebrating his work. So, yes, I suppose that was a little inspiring.

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  • 203

    Interview: Sep 28th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    kcf asks whether I can get Tor to include Phoenix, Arizona, in my tour. Sorry, but I just go where Tor sends me, and they make their choices based on some arcane ritual in the basement of the Flatiron Building that involves killing a white rooster at midnight. No; don't take that seriously. No threads about white roosters! Actually they receive proposals from a LOT of bookstores and chains, enough to keep me on the road for four or five months they tell me, and pick out what they can fit into roughly a month while hitting most of the major markets (Chicago, Seattle, Denver and St. Louis are among those that missed the cut this time), making the major chains feel well thought of (sorry, but that's how it is), and trying to hit as many New York Times reporting bookstores as possible. The extent of my involvement this time was getting them to include a second Barnes & Noble signing in Charleston, SC, some weeks after the tour ends, because the manager of that store had really worked hard to get the Charleston signing. And that is about how much involvement I have in picking cities in any tour.

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  • 204

    Interview: Sep 28th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For kcf again, I haven't visited the FAQs recently. I'll have to do so when I have time. It does take time to go through everything in even one FAQ, you know. I suspect by this time you guys may have bettered what I said a few years ago, that one-third of the FAQ information was right, one-third was close but no cigar, and one-third was pure blue sky fantasy. Occasionally I'll see something posted and think, "Well, you really have been paying attention, haven't you, now. You hit that dead on." This is especially interesting when somebody has accurately figured out what I intend to do in the future, or close to it. Of course, I also see posts that make me chuckle. Somebody who though he was taking the train to Boston but jumped on a roller-coaster instead.

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  • 205

    Interview: Sep 30th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    First off, to all of you have said thank you, in so many ways, for writing these books, you're welcome. And also thank you. You have given me what every writer wants, a readership that is truly involved and interested. Thank you, very much.

    Some of you have expressed worry over my lurking and a fear that I might take offense at some of the posts. I don't. Not even at the trolls. Please feel free to keep on saying whatever you have been saying. I am not the thought police.

    For Seriana Sedai, don't worry. I won't be discussing spam here. To tell you the truth, I skip over it very quickly.

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  • 206

    Interview: Sep 30th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    DomA asks whether I feel sadness at the hatred of Cadsuane. No, nor do I feel sadness over those who dislike Egwene or Elayne or Faile or insert name here. The characters are who I want them to be. Some, people will like, and others people will dislike. In any case, I've noticed that even Faile has her supporters. As for her, I like her a lot. But then, I like all of my characters, even Semirhage. Even Padan Fain. As a character, anyway. As for Faile, she is a tough woman with a lot of gumption. Taken prisoner, enslaved in truth, caught in a cleft stick by the threats of Galina and Therava, she has (1) tried to get her people to freedom as she could and (2) worked toward an escape for the rest. However tough her situation gets, she wastes zero time on moaning about it. She gets on with trying to make it better. And Cadsuane? She's the tough maiden aunt a lot of us have had. Not the one who tries to keep you a child your whole life. She's the one who began expecting at least some adult responses out of you at about age six, the one who was willing to hand you responsibilities that everyone else thought you were too young for. You probably had a more nerve-wracking time, and more excitement and adventure, with her than you did with any three or four other adults in your life.

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  • 207

    Interview: Sep 30th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    Now then. Isabel. Does your mother know you're posting at 1 AM? Do I need to ask her to supervise your online activities? Well, I suppose it might be 1 AM Eastern time, or Pacific. And you are in the Netherlands. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. And thank you for the spirited defense. I probably won't answer plot-related questions, but who knows. I might slip up and do one now and then.

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  • 208

    Interview: Sep 30th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For JBunG, I will definitely be spending a lot more time writing than on the blog. Now, I put in an hour now and again on the blog, every few days. When I go on tour, the blog will go silent for a while. And when I come back and go to full work days on Book 12, I'll probably post no more than once a week unless I have something I think really needs to be said.

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  • 209

    Interview: Oct 2nd, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    Well, here I am again. I've compiled a long list of questions from various places, and I'll try to answer as many as I can before the tour begins. I won't be taking them in any specific order.

    First off, for JBumG, my apologies for misspelling your name.

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  • 210

    Interview: Oct 2nd, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For kcf, I think I would like fans to walk away with the following. If the answer is easy, consider the possibility that you asked the wrong question.

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  • 211

    Interview: Oct 4th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Niall Reborn, I don't think that lurking will make me lose detachment or distance. But then, I don't really do it very often.

    Oh, yes. Slayer just chooses who he will be when he steps into or out of Tel'aran'rhiod. The stepping in and out is part of the mechanism for his change. He couldn't do it in the middle of a street, say, not without the stepping in or out. Which might be a little noticeable, since he would vanish from sight for a perceptible time.

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  • 212

    Interview: Oct 4th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Anonymous, you can send plot related questions to me through my publisher, but I don't often answer those.

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  • 213

    Interview: Oct 4th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For ems, I really don't mind that some of you hate characters, and I don't mind the spam. Sometimes I read the theories, and if you mean by listen to the debates, read the posted discussions, then yes, I do, sometimes. This is very much a sometime thing, though. I don't have much time to lurk, so I drift around until I see what seems an interesting thread and peek in.

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  • 214

    Interview: Oct 4th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Mike Hopessorrow, it took me aback a little the first time I saw myself named as the Creator, but I don't really mind. So long as you don't start believing I deserve the cap. Now when a very pretty roughly twenty-year old girl, trembling mind, said to me, "You're a god!", that I liked a lot.

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  • 215

    Interview: Oct 5th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    If I seem to be posting a lot, it's because the tour is coming up. I want to get in some of these things before I go away and the blog goes on hiatus. We'll be flying to New York on Saturday to take care of some business before the tour begins, on Tuesday. I'm a little worried about the first signing, I'll admit. I know I can pull a good evening crowd in NYC; I've done it before. But 12:30 on a Tuesday? That's the slot where they put politicians, movies stars and celebrities. Yes, I'm a little concerned.

    I will try to post again tomorrow or Friday, but I can't guarantee. We've been housing relatives from New Orleans, you see. My younger brother Reynolds has already gone back and begun teaching high school again, and his son Rey, a NO cop who was at the precinct they dubbed Fort Apache until he was told off to drive a sick officer to Shreveport for medical aid, has also returned to duty after fighting off bronchitis. Rey's wife Heather, who has a masters in disaster relief management, is hoping to head back today or tomorrow with infant son David, while Reynolds' wife Barbara Gay will be heading back tomorrow or the next day with son Jim III. Can you spell hectic? I knew that you could.

    Well, let's get on with it. By the way, I don't favor women in my answers. I just answer what seem like interesting questions where answering won't give away too much.

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  • 216

    Interview: Oct 5th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Flavius who is not Flavion, my apologies. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Hey, it always worked with the vicar.

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  • 217

    Interview: Oct 6th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    This may be the last post until after the tour, I'm afraid. We leave for NY early on Saturday, and that means tomorrow will be busy. There aren't only preps for the trip, there is the matter of getting things ready here for us to be away for a month. And there is this huge stack of bookplates that I have to finish signing for Time Warner (UK). At least they didn't do what they did the first time I agreed to sign bookplates. They sent me a carton with about 10,000 of the things, rough count. Good God! I think I ended up signing 500-1000. There just wasn't time. But there's never enough time, is there?

    Now as to how I chose questions and why some of them don't come from the blog comments. First off, I pick up on things among the comments that look interesting at the moment. Also, I pick up questions from some of the fan sites when I'm drifting about lurking and see an interesting thread title. Wotmania has set up sections where people discuss what questions to ask and whether some questions should be avoided, and that makes it very easy to find more questions. That is why so many wotmaniacs are getting answers. Of course, the volume of questions means that even some that I originally chose out failed to make the cut in the end. At one point I had over sixty pages of printout listing questions. The list was growing faster than I could answer. I'm really sorry about that, guys.

    Now.

    For kcf, I knew your deus ex machina comment was humorous. Don't worry so much. Chill, man. Or girl, if that be the case.

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  • 218

    Interview: Oct 6th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Anonymous—Carter, you won't take over too much of my time. As I have said before, once I return from the tour, it is back to full days writing, which means maybe an hour a week of lurking, and I will be doing no more than one post to the blog a week. Almost certainly not as long as this one, I'm afraid, but I think you'd rather have the book in a reasonable length of time. I hope that will be enough to keep you all satisfied after I've gone on this recent splurge. As to how I find time for everything including daily life, there is Harriet, and a housekeeper who does the shopping and dry cleaner runs and the like, Harriet's assistant Stuart who helps keep her head above water, and my assistant Maria who does the same for me. And then there is Kelly, the handyman, for heavy lifting. All together, they leave most of my time free for writing. I'm ashamed to admit that I go to the grocery store so seldom now that about every second visit I have to ask where to find items.

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  • 219

    Interview: Oct 6th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Deadsy, you want to know what I wear when I'm writing? If I worked out in the morning, I may wear my sweats all day. If not, then it's a shirt, trousers and suspenders. Oh, yes, and shoes and socks. Thought you'd found a sneaky way to an answer to your "boxers or briefs" didn't you?

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  • 220

    Interview: Oct 6th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Ben, I'm glad you have a school-sanctioned WoT club at Alfred. (I do use WoT once in a while. Sometimes, though, it just seems to me that it should be tWoT. No big deal either way.) As an aside, my goddaughter, Jessica Jones, got her degree in ceramics from Alfred. You might be able to find out a little about her there. After she left and studied at Xian (I hope I have the spelling right), she began being referred to as Jones of China. She studied with a man who had been designated a "living treasure" by the government, and she was the only non-Chinese ceramist invited to display her work in a national show just before she came home.

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  • 221

    Interview: Oct 6th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Packersfan52, I never laugh at how lame anyone's conclusion is. Except for yours, of course. Just kidding. Bet I made you flinch, though.

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  • 222

    Interview: Oct 6th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    I see there has been a question on wotmania about whether there are more male or female readers. I don't know how it runs in the States, though attendance at my signings seems roughly equal, but I do have a fairly good idea about Britain. My British publisher commissioned a survey to identify my readership so they would know where to put advertising. The study said that my readership matched the demographic of Britain within the margin of error for the survey as to age level, income level, educational level, political party belonged to, newspaper read, magazines read, area of the country lived in...and gender. It was, in the words of the managing director, an ice cream scoop taken out of Britain.

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  • 223

    Interview: Oct 2nd, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Flavion, I'm sorry you've had some bad experiences with writers. I think a writer should either make an effort to be pleasant with the fans or else avoid them. Of course.... A fellow once wrote me a long screed, back around The Great Hunt or perhaps The Dragon Reborn, complaining bitterly, and I do mean bitterly, about the complexity of the plots making the books unreadable. I shouldn't have done it, but I wrote back suggesting that he try The Velveteen Rabbit as more his speed. In my defense, I can only say that it was late in the day, and I was tired.

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  • 224

    Interview: Oct 2nd, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    And last but not least, for Deadsy, there is only one way for you find out whether I wear boxers or briefs, and you wouldn't like Harriet's reaction. Neither would I. Yes, I've begun picking up questions before they reach the blog.

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  • 225

    Interview: Oct 13th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    RJ was amazed that few women were asking questions after the first woman asked her question (about the seventh speaker), specifically asked for women to ask (none did at that moment, but two more did later) and later specifically favored women asking questions over men. Interesting there—he ascribed the behavior to being at Harvard.

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  • 226

    Interview: Oct 17th, 2005

    Mad Cao

    About 40 people attended the Q&A and book signing at Chester County Books & Music in West Chester, PA. R.J. spoke for about 10 minutes and then answered some general questions from the audience for another 20 minutes. There was only one plot specific question during the open Q&A. Predictably, that question was about Asmodean's condition.

    Robert Jordan

    Everyone had a good laugh, and RJ responded, "Asmodean is dead, dead, dead." All other questions were about RJ's writing process, his daily schedule, what he likes to read, etc.

    The next hour was for the book signing. Again, 90% of the questions were about RJ's interests away from the book; his hobbies, suggestions for how to start a career in writing, and things like that.

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  • 227

    Interview: Oct 17th, 2005

    Mad Cao

    I have only been to one other WOT book signing, about five years ago, and I thought that RJ seemed much more at ease and more talkative about himself and Harriet at this event. Maybe it was because the audience wasn't hammering away with RAFO questions. We heard several funny anecdotes about Harriet and got several tidbits of advice about life and marriage.

    RJ was willing to sign anything he had written or to which he had contributed—even the illustrated guide. He signed old books brought from home as well as the new one from the store (for which they charged $31.50—what a ripoff!). By the end of the hour or so, all books had been signed (including two complete sets for two different fans) and RJ left for his birthday dinner in Philadelphia.

    Yes, we did sing Happy Birthday.

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  • 228

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    Before he started signing, he said that we could take as many pictures as we liked under two conditions: 1) NO male nudity and 2) Don’t show too much of his bald spot. (That worked for me as I had no intention of the first and I have a bald spot, too.) My wife and I got our books signed and took pictures with Mr. Jordan. He talked to us for about three minutes as our teenage daughter was with us and hasn’t gotten into the series. He told her that she might like to try it because of the strong female characters. He said all the men in his family are very strong because if they weren’t the women would eat them up.

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  • 229

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2005

    Bill Ford

    I found him to be warm, friendly, and down to earth. It was the first time I had met him. My wife met him at a signing for his last book, but I was out of town at the time. I may post some of the pictures if I didn’t break the camera. My wife hasn’t downloaded them from the memory card yet as we didn’t get home until late last night.

    It was DEFINITELY worth the wait!

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  • 230

    Interview: Oct 19th, 2005

    Jeff Bumgardner

    Hey, I was at the RJ signing last night (10/19) at Olsson’s Books in Arlington, VA. I’ve been reading the series for nigh 13 years now, but this was my first time attending one of his signings. I would have to say it was a bit of a disappointment...

    Robert Jordan

    He showed up about ten minutes late and went through his normal pronunciation spiel looking slightly perturbed. He then reiterated the answers for what have seemed to become the most oft-asked questions this time around: Book twelve will be done when he’s finished with it, it will be last one no matter what, Infinity of Heaven is the next thing he’s doing, the two WoT prequels will be done at some point in the future, and that he’s come up with an idea for a trilogy of “outrigger” novels in the WoT world, but that he has to let it stew for a few years before he decides on doing it.

    Then, probably because he arrived late, he skipped the Q&A and went straight to signing. Somewhat disappointing, as the event was billed as a Q&A / Signing, and the Q&A was the main reason I went in the first place. I would have liked to just hear him talk for a little bit.

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  • 231

    Interview: Oct 19th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    Anyway, when he signed my books I just asked him what he thought of the Darrell K. Sweet covers, and he said they were okay, but that he has minimal input on them. Sometimes he suggests scenes, and when he gets to look at the paintings prior to publication he suggest changes, but in the end basically Tor does whatever they want with it.

    A friend of mine ahead of me in line asked RJ if he would ever do any more Conan books and he said no, he only did them because he needed the money at the time. Obviously, he doesn’t need money anymore. ;^)

    So that’s it. Nothing too exciting. At least I got to finally meet him after so long.

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  • 232

    Interview: Oct 21st, 2005

    Shannan Lieb

    Around 6:40, I spotted Harriet coming out from the back of the bookstore to look around. Because I had the extreme fortune to host her and her husband for segments of this past year's Dragon*Con, I was really looking forward to saying hello, and took this opportunity to greet her.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    She was so friendly and said she was happy to see me. I told her I'd really been looking forward to the signing, and had brought my parents to meet them both and have their books signed. Then she said, "Jim is in the back, would you like to come say hello?" I started to say that I didn't want to bother him, but then realized I was crazy and said, "Well, I'm not going to turn that down."

    Robert Jordan

    So she escorted me into the back room behind the cashiers to where RJ was signing books. We came in behind him, and she said "Jim, look who's here," to which he turned and said hello and asked how I was doing, and gave me a very warm welcome. I just stayed for a few minutes to let him know I was happy he'd come to Dayton for a signing, and was looking forward to introducing him to my parents because they were fans as well. He was busy signing books for some special requests of the book store, and so Harriet and I left and went back out into the store.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    I walked with her for a little while, talking about how the tour had been going, and their plans while they were in town, and eventually we approached the stage where my mother was reserving our spot. I motioned for her to come join me, and introduced her to Harriet. We all chatted for a few more minutes, and then Harriet went to discuss the set up with the stage manager. I heard Harriet say "Will we have time for some Q&A before the signing?" and the manager reply "whatever he wants to do is fine." Harriet said, "Well I think he would like to do that first then."

    Shannan Lieb

    So Mom and I retreated back to our staked out location next to the stage, and waited for Mr. Jordan to come out. I was very happy that they'd both remembered me, and seemed happy to see me, and told Mom about getting to go "backstage." It was a great experience.

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  • 233

    Interview: Oct 21st, 2005

    Shannan Lieb

    Following the Q&A, they started with the signing. My goal was to get a picture with myself, my parents and both RJ and Harriet. I knew from Dragon*Con that Harriet isn't a big fan of having her picture taken, even though I think she is extremely photogenic. As they started to call the numbers around 80, I went to try to find Harriet as she was wandering through the store.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Eventually I found her looking at some of the cards, and asked her if she would mind taking a photo with myself and my family. She was very nice and said that she would. We wandered around a bit more, with my mother joining us, before they called our numbers, and Harriet showed us some of the books she'd been looking at. She said she really liked Books & Co. and said that she thought it was one of the nicer stops on the tour.

    They called our number and we met up with my father at the stage, and I introduced him and Harriet. We talked for a few minutes while we were waiting, about her getting to see her godson on their New York/New Jersey stop, and that I'd heard they were going to get to go to Alaska for a tour stop in 2006. She said that they had tried to combine the Alaska stop into the tour this year, but there was no way to do it without significantly modifying the tour that was already set up. So, RJ asked the tour manager "when are the salmon running?" and that decided when they would make it up to Anchorage.

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  • 234

    Interview: Oct 21st, 2005

    Shannan Lieb

    We got up to the table where he was signing and I said hello again and introduced my parents. We walked around the table and took the picture, and then gave him our books to sign. There wasn't too much time to chat because of the line, but I mentioned that we were all really enjoying the blog, and understood that he wouldn't be able to post more than once every couple of weeks or so.

    Robert Jordan

    He said that he probably wouldn't be able to post much more frequently than that, and I said that we all understood and were really enjoying whenever he had time.

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  • 235

    Interview: Oct 24th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    At this point, RJ commented that he was getting sick of men asking questions, and that since he knows that not all of the women are there to have their boyfriends' copies signed, he wanted to hear from them.

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  • 236

    Interview: Oct 24th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    He then talked a little about his female characters. He said the moment that had made him most proud as an author was when a fan came up to him, and said she was SURE that Robert Jordan was a woman's pen name because "no man can write women like that." He commented on how MANY male fans write and ask why all the WoT women are such "ballbusters". This got a chuckle from everyone. He finished this part by mentioning a coterie of female fans who once surrounded him, and in dead seriousness asked, "Who has been telling you things?"

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  • 237

    Interview: Oct 24th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    After the Q&A people were instructed to get in line according to their letter which was given to them from the main desk and were informed that Mr. Jordan would only be signing two hardcover Wheel of Time books per trip through the line, and if time permitted attendees could take a second trip through to get more books signed. Mr. Jordan also announced that he had no problem with taking photos as long as there was absolutely no male nudity, which got a nice laugh from the crowd.

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  • 238

    Interview: Oct 24th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    After about a dozen questions, he stopped and informed us that every person thus far to ask a question was male and he was tired of answering questions from guys. He knew that there had to be some woman there who read the series and wasn't there getting her lazy boyfriend's books signed because he wouldn't get off the couch.

    It did take a few moments for a woman to speak up, but speak up she did.

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  • 239

    Interview: Oct 28th, 2005

    Frenzy

    Don't ask. I have weird friends. :p

    Here are a few pictures from the signing. JWB got there early, so we got primo spots in line. We were singing along a bit when Jordan was reiterating some of the pronunciations and announcements he's said at other signings (and have been reported here and elsewhere).

    Robert Jordan

    He looked at us and said (paraphrased), "some of you have seen the websites."

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  • 240

    Interview: Oct 29th, 2005

    Sean AlThor

    We got all four of our books signed then left. All in all it was a very satisfying and enjoyable experience, BUT, it's not over yet!

    We decided since we were in the lovely city of Santa Cruz to walk around their downtown area and take in the sights. Katie and I were giddy, chatting about the signing when out of nowhere Katie says, "You're Harriet!" and stops dead. I look and sure enough Robert Jordan's wife Harriet is standing there looking surprised.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    She affirmed that she was in fact Harriet. We quickly mentioned how we were just at the signing and she seemed to relax. Katie chatted Mrs. Jordan up and she seemed more than happy to stand there and talk with us. It was very gratifying and we found the woman delightful. Just before parting ways Katie said "We are just the hugest fans of your husband and from listening to him speak and reading articles it is obvious that he loves you very very much." Harriet seemed a little embarrassed and her cheeks got a little red, but then she answered in just the sweetest shy voice, "The feeling is mutual." Big old romantic softies that we both are, we were very moved by the sentiment and seriously, meeting Harriet was just the coolest and left the biggest impression on us of the day.

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  • 241

    Interview: Oct 28th, 2005

    Jason Wolfbrother

    Yes Isabel I handed RJ your letter and 63 page dissertation on Asmodean. I told him that Isabel says hi and that she asked me to deliver this to him since she was grounded and couldn't make it.

    Robert Jordan

    He made a note on the front letter at the top and underlined it "Grounded".

    Jason Wolfbrother

    I begged him not to kill the messenger and he did notice my shirt, "You? No!" but did not comment.

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  • 242

    Interview: Nov 22nd, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    Once again, for fans in any country other than the United States who want me to tour there, bombard your publisher with requests. With the exception of Canada, however, where you'd need to bombard H.B. Fenn, the distributor. I've done Canada (three times), Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Hungary, Italy (twice), Turkey, Australia (twice) and New Zealand (twice). I did appear in Russia, but that was for the Congress of Russian Science Fiction Writers. So you can see I'm willing to travel. But tours have to be set up by the publisher in-country.

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  • 243

    Interview: Nov 22nd, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    I saw some complaints about the "reviews" posted on tWoT at Amazon.com, but you have to realize that a lot of people post at Amazon just so they can flame something. If you disagree, whether with the reviews or the ratings of which sort of reviews were most helpful, make your own posts. Seems to that a year or so back, maybe a little longer, Amazon let a glitch slip in so the reviews were no longer anonymous. Turned out some well known mainstream authors were putting up posts lauding their own books. And others criticizing the work of writers they didn't like. Red faces all around. Amazon fixed the glitch and nobody talks about it much any more.

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  • 244

    Interview: Nov 22nd, 2005

    Question

    Fantasy fans like to speculate about characters and plot lines in their favorite books. Have you ever picked up any ideas from reading fans' forums, FAQs or from the questions you have been asked?

    Robert Jordan

    No, I haven't. I've always known where I was going and what I wanted to do. When I first discovered the fan websites and occasionally saw that someone had puzzled out correctly where I was going or what I intended to do, I thought about changing directions or altering the story to avoid what they had deduced. I quickly learned, however, that as soon as anyone put up a theory on one of the sites, there would be at least one poster explaining why the theory was no good and even impossible for every poster who hailed it as the new Unified Field Theory. So I didn't change anything after all.

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  • 245

    Interview: 2005

    Robert Jordan

    To: Les Dabel
    Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2005 12:09 PM
    Subject: Re: Update

    Dear Les,

    Things are going pretty well for me. I'm hard at work on Knife of Dreams, closing in on the finish. It will be good to get regular updates again. It would be good to get together during Dragon-Con, but as yet, I don't know what they will be having me do or when, so I can't make any commitments. Once I find out my schedule, things will shake out.

    Take care, guys. All my best, Jim

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  • 246

    Interview: Dec 1st, 2005

    Tom Schaad

    You're in the middle of a new tour; we're about one third of the way through your US tour to promote Knife of Dreams, and last time we talked, we talked a little about the reaction of the fans that came to the readings, and your moments. Anything different in the flavor and the texture of the appearances you've made so far this time out?

    Robert Jordan

    No, no difference. People are full of praise, sometimes to the extent that I wonder if it's somebody else they're talking about instead of me. It's a lot of fun. One stop right after my birthday, they're saying 'Happy Birthday' to me; they just...I'm not sure how they learned it was my birthday, but they did.

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  • 247

    Interview: Dec 1st, 2005

    Tom Schaad

    And last time we talked, we went into a little bit of a discussion about how you didn't have time to look at the internet, and so going back and forth on the fan sites wasn't something that you did, but...you have a blog! You have a blog...Robert Jordan has a blog!

    Robert Jordan

    Yes I do, and as a matter of fact, I posted six or seven times in the ten days prior to going on tour.

    Tom Schaad

    How has that experience been?

    Robert Jordan

    It's interesting. A lot of comments from the fans, and it all came about because I had time, having finished this book earlier than I normally do in the cycle, I had time to actually browse some of the sites, and I commented to Jason Denzel who runs Dragonmount about something I had seen, and he said, "Would you like a blog?" And I said, "Well, sure." And people have rushed in to give comments, and I make a post, and go back the next day, and there are already forty, fifty, sixty, seventy comments already up, and I don't know whether that's high for blogs, or low, or what, but it's astounding to me.

    Tom Schaad

    What kind of...is it a dialogue? Are they observations?

    Robert Jordan

    It's a dialogue, really. It was going to be a very infrequent posting when I thought I had something to say to them, and right away I had to quash a rumor that I had cancer.

    Tom Schaad

    What??

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, yes, yes; apparently there was this rumor that I had cancer, and sometimes it was in remission, and sometimes it wasn't, and that's why the books were taking so long.

    Tom Schaad

    [laughs]

    Robert Jordan

    Come on guys, it takes a long time to write a 700-page book!

    Tom Schaad

    There are 761 pages of text in here!

    Robert Jordan

    Yes. So, I had to go back almost immediately and put up another post saying, "No, I do not have cancer, and I never have had cancer," and there were a couple of questions that had been posted at the same time, and so I answered those questions, and it began a sort of dialogue which has ranged from philosophical questions about the things in the books down through "Do you wear boxers or briefs?" I told the lady that asked that that there was only one way for her to find out, and she would not like Harriet's reaction, and neither would I.

    Tom Schaad

    I'm certain that's true.

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  • 248

    Interview: Dec 19th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Begona, I'm afraid there aren't any further signings until late June of 2006. And those will be in Anchorage, Alaska and Seattle, Washington. If you send a letter snail-mail to Tor Books, they'll forward it to me, and I'll send you some bookplates—if you want actual books signed, you must include the return shipping container and postage—but that won't get you autographs until February earliest, I'd say.

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  • 249

    Interview: Dec 19th, 2005

    Robert Jordan

    For Deadsy, who has a truly incredible lingerie (or is it just underwear in general?) fetish, some people in this word wear silk smallclothes, and some have their sigils embroidered on their smallclothes. Some Aes Sedai do use pigeons to send cake recipes, but only in cipher and only to people they have never met. It's an Aes Sedai thing.

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  • 250

    Interview: Jan 20th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For those who think I might log into a WoT chat room, forget about it. I browse the message boards periodically, but my time at my computer goes into writing.

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  • 251

    Interview: Mar, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    I had a rough outline of a little over 3,000 years of history before I started writing the Wheel of Time books, enough to make me feel like it was a real world where I could drop in casual mentions of historical events. Where I come from, if you want to say something was a long time ago you say it was 'Before Second Manassas'—it's a historical tag that everyone in Charleston understands. I wanted to be able to do that sort of thing with history in the world of The Wheel of Time.

    The history began as a rough sketch with major points inked in. As I went along, I would sometimes look at the chart and say, "If this happened here and this happened there, something like this would probably happen here." It begins to create a real pattern of history. The readers picked up on it, realizing that there's more to the world than just what's happening in the story. The first time I got a letter asking about something like that, I thought, "God, this guy must be a fruitloop! He's talking about this as if it were real." But then it hit me. "Wait a minute, idiot. This is what you want them to feel, isn't it?" So I answered his question. A few times I've had to be fast on my feet, because I hadn't figured out something in the history that was very minor.

    DragonCon has a track that follows my books, and one of the things they asked me to do was hand out the prizes at the trivia contest. In the final round these two women were up there answering questions I probably couldn't have answered without my notes. But they were just popping out the answers, ding ding ding. I never expected this incredible depth of study.

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  • 252

    Interview: Mar 31st, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    Various folks have asked about making donations, and I see that Jason at Dragonmount has already put up the information about donating to the Mayo Clinic Amyloidosis Program. Thanks, Jason. I think its best to keep the giving centered at one place. That way there is more chance of it having an effect. Maybe for me and maybe not, but remember what I said. Amyloids pop up in all sorts of places, and it is entirely possible that amyloid research will eventually lead to a cure, or at least an effective treatment, for Alzheimer's. Your donation may just help with that, and that would be something to feel special about.

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  • 253

    Interview: Mar 31st, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    Several people have cautioned me against planning to make the June trips when I'll be having the chemo in April, but I intend to make that trip if I need a wheelchair to get on and off the airplane and a chair to sit in to fish. That is part of my commitment. No retreat, no surrender. From day one, I push back. Amyloidosis picked the wrong body to hang out in. Come late June, I'll be there in Seattle, and in Anchorage, and if I have to wear a mask, that's just fine, because I WILL be there.

    Well, there are a whole slew more questions waiting in the stack, but I am going to knock off for the afternoon. Tomorrow, Harriet and I leave for Minnesota, but my younger brother Reynolds arrived night before last, my close cousin Wilson arrived yesterday afternoon, and another cousin, Tom III, is expected to arrive any moment. It will be the first time in about 25 years that all four of us have been together. We are all having dinner at a good steakhouse tonight, and I'm looking forward to it.

    Some of you may be wondering why I've come out and told you so much about is going on with me. It's simple, actually. Over the years I've done my best to stomp on false rumors about my health, or about me having been hit by a bus or the like. As near as I can figure, rumor has had me dead about three times, possibly four, and near death's door at least that often. So I looked at this in two ways. One, this was all going to be a prime source of rumors once word began leaking out. And it would leak out. So I might as well start the damage control early. Two, since I had stomped all over those earlier rumors, maybe I owed it to you to come clean from the start. Between the two points, I decided I would be open. I'll post from time to time at Mayo, though I won't make promises about how often or at what length. There will be times when I'm too sick to post; that much is a given. There will be other times when what I might have to post would be nothing you care to read. I do promise that I'll try not to bore you.

    So until my first post from the Mayo Clinic, you guys take care.

    All my best,
    RJ

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  • 254

    Interview: Apr 18th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    I just got some mail from Brad Condray and "all the Maniacs at wotmania," pages and pages of get well messages. And never a troll in the lot of them. Thanks, guys. I can't tell you what it means. Thanks a lot.

    RJ

    PS Had my first chemo this morning, and though they say the side effects won't kick in for a few days, I have to say, so far, so good.

    PPS I decided not to wait on my hair falling out in patches. First visit after leaving chemo was a barber shop where I told the man to take it all off except for the beard. Harriet came in shortly after he was done. And she didn't recognize me! Okay, it was from the back, but you don't think I'm going to let her forget it, do you? I'll get some pics out as soon as I can.

    PPPS I was thinking, if I get a total shave and a wax job, plus a tattoo up the back of my neck (not a dragon. I'm thinking a salamander), this could be a whole new look for me.

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  • 255

    Interview: May 1st, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For those offering support and sympathy to Harriet, thank you ten thousand times over. She tells me that my job is to keep breathing, while she takes care of everything else. That is what they told us at the Clinic. But I have to keep an eye on her to see she doesn't overdo. As I've told her a couple of times, "If you fall over dead, babe, then I'm going to stop breathing anyway. So you won't be doing me any good." I wish that some of you might put together something for her along the lines of the Get-well Card that Wotmania did for me or the one that I understand Dragonmount is putting together. Remember. No Harriet, no me. No reason for me. So anything you can do for her in the way of support and sympathy would be greatly appreciated.

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  • 256

    Interview: Apr 25th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For Steakley, if you're still hanging around, contact jason@dragonmount.com, and he'll give you a direct e-mail to me. Mike Ford is arriving today, and there are some others in line, but you'd be most welcome for a few days later on. Chattacon, now. That was long ago when the world was green, now wasn't it? As I recall, I handed your clothes over to the young woman behind the front desk at the same time that I reported the possible presence of a naked and very drunk (remember that Lone Star belt buckle, about the size of a Mack Truck tire?) exceedingly drunk Texan wandering the halls of the hotel. I did learn that the Chattanooga PD had a tranquilizer-gun team for dealing with bears and the like that got into the city, and it seemed to be that you certainly qualified, but she was ratcheted to a whole new level. At least I was able to talk her out of calling the SWAT; she had been told about the previous night, John. That sort of word spreads. Neither police departments nor fire departments nor municipal zoos keep quiet in circumstances like those. She took the garments using tongs, as I remember. I thought she had returned to them to you the next morning, though that might have been a different morning and the young lady from the night before. Ah, yes; the good old days of youthful innocence, when unicorn horn went for a dollar a pound.

    Harriet just leaned over my shoulder to read and said, "Huh! You were never innocent, sport. And you were smuggling unicorns."

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  • 257

    Interview: Jul 14th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    I'd like to thank Mr. Dennis Fallon and Mr. Ulrich Santo for making contributions to the Mayo Clinic Hematologic Malignancies Program—Amyloidosis Research. Thanks a bunch, guys. I really appreciate it.

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  • 258

    Interview: Jul 14th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For Lisa, Harriet and I have visited the U.K. a number of times, both for my English publisher, to do signings in addition to adding on a little site-seeing, and on our own hook. We like it a great deal.

    For several people who've asked about a possible U.K. tour, or one in Ireland, you'll have to pester Time Warner (UK), my British publisher. I have toured for them, in England, Scotland and Ireland, but it happens because they want it to, not because I suggest it. I've heard rumors that I don't tour in the U.K. because I don't like to fly. That isn't true. I have so many frequent flier miles, I'll never have to buy another airline ticket once I get old.

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  • 259

    Interview: Aug 26th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    Many thanks for their donations to the Hematologic Malignancies Program—Amyloidosis Research go to Kyla Fitzmartin,Cheryl Bush, Joanna E. Stampfel, Kristin J. Jesenko, John Smedley, Tony Ryterski, Vickie Spear and Anthony Graybosch. A million thanks, guys. Donations like your will help find a cure for this thing eventually.

    For Jaime Platt and her sister, your offer touches me deeply. They were able to harvest enough of my own bone marrow stem cells that I don't need marrow donation from elsewhere, but thank you very much. That was a kind and generous offer.

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  • 260

    Interview: Oct 11th, 2006

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Dear all: Most sincere thanks from Robert Jordan (via Harriet) go out to

    Michael J. Fredericks, Jean Verney-Carron, Evan Harmon, Lisa Kirwood, Ryan Salsamendi, Emma de Laat (hello, Emma!), David Freeman, Helena Taylor and Janet Taylor

    for gifts to the Mao Hematologic Malignancies Program—amyloidosis research. Thank you one and all.

    Jim is taking it easy today, since we go up to the Mayo tomorrow for a routine workup -- but as a consolation prize, here is a poem of mine:

    Bard: n., a full set of equine armor.

    Your head seethes with essential magic,
    its glittering chanfron deep and wise,
    high-buffed, strong in dream and reason.
    and your escutcheon shining pure.
    The crinet of your glistening neck,
    articulated, burnished,
    glides swiftly to the brazen peytral
    of your great roomy chest.
    On it emblazoned script in gothic flame:
    Live in today, live for tomorrow.
    Your flanchards bearing you in strength,
    shine bright below your gleaming crupper.
    And for your groin: festooned galloons,
    fine textiles in a nest, and heavy gold.
    All worlds flare in your burning eyes,
    as soul and words bring fat new flames
    to the pale page, and to my greedy heart.

    Hope you enjoy it. You have all been a wonderful support for both of us.... I guess this is a little thank-you token. Best, Harriet

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  • 261

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    My thanks for Mr. Robert C. Fertig for his donation to the Mayo Hematologic Malignancies Program—Amyloidosis Research. Every penny is a help toward finding a cure for this condition, which is usually fatal. It looks very like I am dodging the bullet, but then, it seems that I am become Ganesh again, and if you will forgive me mixing metaphors, once again the baraka is with me and rides my shoulder. Most people don't have my luck.

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  • 262

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For SSG Travis Kennedy, thank you very much, both for passing your story along to me—frankly, I never imaged one of my books saving anyone's life, and I have passed your story on to various people under the title DO YOU STILL THINK I SHOULD WRITE SHORTER BOOKS?—and for the work you are now doing with our wounded undergoing rehab. Thank you doubly, for your service in the Sand, and for your service now.

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  • 263

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For Lelon White, getting off the heavy drugs for a month is a dream. Take all the advantage you can. Missing Patrick Stewart in the Tempest is a heavy price. No thoughts of trying to reschedule the doctor? Or doing what I call a ball-pein hammer reschedule? "Gee, doc, I wrote it down, and I could have sworn the appointment was for today, not yesterday." It works. It works. And Stewart, in any Shakespeare, is not to be missed.

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  • 264

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For Gary Bucey, hang in there, man. You can make it. I won't try to make it sound easy, because you sure as Hell know it is anything but. Just concentrate on breathing. You keep breathing and leave everything else, including worrying about everything else, to somebody else. You'll be surprised how much taking up some of that burden will help your wife, because she is undergoing her own kind of Hell right now. I know. No matter how she tried to hide it, I could see it in Harriet's eyes, in the days when we didn't know, in the days when it looked like I had no hope, just will power, and as much as she loves me, she wasn't sure my will power by itself was going to be enough. Will power really is a key. When you are sure there's nothing left, then you tell yourself, "I'm not giving up! I won't quit!" And if you have to crawl into the ring, then you by God crawl, man. You make the bell any way you can, and if you have to pull yourself to your feet by holding onto Liston's trunks, you damned well do it. I know the pain. You can beat that. You can. It is surprising how you can make friends with the pain when you have to. Somehow, it doesn't hurt so much then. It just is. But don't you give up. I expect to hear from you again. and again, for ten or twenty years to come at least. Don't disappoint me, man. Hang in, snake.

    For Jerry J, you and your wife are in my payers. Once again, a post has manage to humble me. I can hardly image, with your wife undergoing multiple surgeries for malignancies, that you could spare time for a thought for me, much to make a post.

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  • 265

    Interview: Nov 8th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    For James Schaller, anything anyone wishes to send me can be mailed to:

    Robert Jordan
    C/O Sobel Weber Associates
    146 East 19th Street
    New York, NY 10003-2404

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  • 266

    Interview: Nov 15th, 2006

    Robert Jordan

    Another aside. Some of you comment that you don't expect I will see your post. I do. I read every single post you guys make. I don't respond to them all simply because there isn't sufficient time. But I do read every one.

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  • 267

    Interview: Dec 1st, 2006

    Hannah Clark

    There are readers, and then there are fans. Readers offer condolences when a favorite author falls ill. Fans offer bone marrow.

    Robert Jordan, author of the best-selling Wheel of Time series, has fans. And if you want to understand them, take a look at his blog. Since last spring, when he announced he had a rare blood disease called amyloidosis, Jordan, 58, has been chronicling his life-and-death struggle online. Whenever he's well enough to write, he thanks the fans who sent care packages, and those who donated to the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minn., where he is being treated. Then there's this:

    Robert Jordan

    "For Jaime Platt and her sister, your offer touches me deeply. They were able to harvest enough of my own bone marrow stem cells that I don't need marrow donation from elsewhere, but thank you very much. That was a kind and generous offer."

    Hannah Clark

    And you thought Harry Potter fans were enthusiastic?

    Jordan's readers are offering help because they've developed a close connection with him through his books. They're also desperately hoping he lives to finish the series. Wheel of Time is like Lord of the Rings on steroids. Since Jordan launched the series in 1990, he's added another ten books, and more than 14 million copies have sold. Fans are patiently waiting for book No. 12, A Memory of Light, which Jordan promises will be the last, even if it reaches 2,000 pages.

    Hannah Clark

    "I've told people you might need a forklift to get it out the door," says Jordan, speaking by phone from his home in South Carolina.

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  • 268

    Interview: Dec 1st, 2006

    Hannah Clark

    But there is, of course, an elephant in the room. Amyloidosis has no cure. Untreated, the average patient lives only 12 months after diagnosis, says Dennis Krysmalski, founder and CEO of the Amyloidosis Support Network. With treatment, patients survive an average of four years.

    Jordan's fans are full of sympathy, but also fright of a more personal and perhaps selfish kind. His readers have been following the lives of Rand, Egwene, Elayne, Mat, Nynaeve and Perrin for more than 16 years. Fans have shared their concerns on Web sites like Dragonmount, Theoryland and WOTmania. "Of course you wouldn't ever wish a possibly terminal disease on anyone," wrote one poster, codman25. "But what happens if he doesn't finish the book?"

    It's a dangerous question. Most fans avoid posting such sentiments for fear of appearing tactless. Posters like codman25 are often chastised as insensitive by others who claim to care only for the well-being of Jordan and his family.

    Robert Jordan

    Jordan himself chuckles at these exchanges. He doesn't mind if fans worry about his ability to finish the series. "I hope I finish the books too," he says.

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  • 269

    Interview: Dec 1st, 2006

    Hannah Clark

    In the Internet age, fans can engage with a book long after they've finished it. They go online, meet other fans and participate in role-playing games. There's even a Web site profiling couples who have met and married because of the series. (One happy couple, Amber and Markku of Espoo, Finland, met in a "clan" devoted to the Wheel of Time board game.) Rabid Jordan fans know all about Harriet, his wife and editor, and they even sent her care packages when they learned he was ill.

    Jordan's connection with his fans has grown even stronger since he began blogging about his illness. He has commented on his flat "behind" and opined on the virtues of Tabasco sauce. When readers asked his thoughts on death, however, Jordan, a Vietnam veteran and former atomic engineer, became more philosophical.

    Robert Jordan

    "You deal with death the way you deal with breathing, or with air," he wrote. "Death is a natural and inevitable end." In other words, as he has written in all 11 books, "The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass."

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  • 270

    Interview: Feb 12th, 2007

    Wilson Grooms

    He reads your posts. I read them. All of them. You are all great for your caring and support. Thanks from the recesses of my soul. All of you WOT'ers are like extended family. But as family, I've got to ask that you allow RJ the time to heal. He's been extremely forthcoming with his status, and will continue to be regardless the news. But unless you've seen someone in a similar fight, you really have no idea how much of a struggle he's in. Thank God he's a stubborn ole cuss. Without that he could have easily said this is too difficult long ago and the game would have been lost.

    Not that we shouldn't still be concerned about his health, because we should. But he's as fine as is possible. At the moment, he is very, very tired. Rehab is hard work. The medicines he is on can have dreadful side effects and have to monitored constantly. A slight imbalance causes all manner of issues. In his writing to you, he has glibbed over them as simply "rough patches". Rough? As fans of his writing, you'll not believe it, but he does have a talent for the understatement. Rough? I'd hate to see something Really Rough. Those who have been through something similar know what it does to you. It zaps all of your strength. That's where he is right now. His words, "I'm as weak as a kitten". The great news is that the LLC production is in check, not officially in remission, simply in check. But, his system still has to shed those that were deposited in his heart, which will take time, lots of it. Waiting is hard work too. Patience is not something that either he or I possess in great quantities. His doctors told him 6 months, maybe a year till he feels himself somewhat back to normal. We chat frequently and laugh through it as best we can. That's a big part of my job in this journey, making him smile. I found myself doing the same with our beloved Harriet this past week. She's one of the two strongest ladies I know, still the load gets heavy. Thank you for always including Harriet in your well wishes. (FYI: The other woman of strength is my other mother, aka mother in law, who is a real lady and a tiger. Wouldn't want her in the other guy's corner.) Janet and I will be with Harriet and my Brother/Cousin next weekend, and all involved can hardly wait. We haven't seen them since Labor Day, too long.

    Physically he's a long way from being the man that many of you have met at events. But were you to speak to him via telephone, you'd not know that anything was going on. The voice on the phone is strong and resolute. Lord I love him for that, among many other things. But, he has to follow the advise of his doctors, do as Harriet says (we all answer to someone) and be patient, and careful to allow for his recovery to continue. Thus, we'll need you to be patient too. Hang in there gang. The Dragon is tired and may be dragging, but he is winning.

    Wilson Brother/Cousin 4th of 3

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  • 271

    Interview: Apr 26th, 2007

    Robert Jordan

    For Me, please let your father know he is in my prayers.

    For Ransomedge, you also are in my prayers. Keep fighting, man, and you can beat it.

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  • 272

    Interview: Jun 1st, 2007

    Robert Jordan

    For Rion, any convention that wants my attendance should go through my publisher, Tor Books. I have to tell you, though, that at the moment I'm really not up to attending cons, not even cons that are very close to where I live. I hope that maybe by next year that will change. Right now, getting out to a restaurant is a big expedition, and we don't do it very often. I was recently accepted for membership in the Carolina Yacht Club, and took Wilson and Janet to brunch. Sounds like a small thing, but it was enough to exhaust me. So until I manage to regain some strength, cons probably aren't in the cards for me.

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  • 273

    Interview: Jun 1st, 2007

    Robert Jordan

    I don't know exactly why the calendar contest is being limited to US residents. It is something the legal department insisted on. Now, if it was me, and I lived in Canada or Finland or somewhere, I might just take a chance that they wouldn't look too closely at the return address. Or maybe I'd ask Justin to be a cut-out for me. But that's just me. I would never suggest that any of you do these things. No. Never. Wouldn't be prudent.

    RJ

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  • 274

    Interview: Aug 22nd, 2007

    Robert Jordan

    Many people have given gifts to Hematologic Malignancies Program—amyloidosis research since the last time I thanked anyone. For donations since then, my thanks go out to Virginia A. Schomp and Chip Bigness, Mrs. Janna Kamenetsky, Mr. Tony Witherspoon, Mr. Ryan Breen, Mr. Nathan Chu, Mr. Todd Lyons, Ms. Kathleen D. Moore, Mr. Doug Carrithers, Mrs. Deborrah M. Kozel, Ms. Melissa Craib and Friends at TarValon.net, Mr. Eric Selby, Mrs. Carolyn Goodwin, Dr. Chris O'Sullivan, Mr. Georgy Kantor, Mr. Andrew Childs, Mr. Doug Peters, Mr. Scott Dimick, Ms. Pam Harley and the Hattie Mae Lesley Foundation. Thank you very much, one and all.

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  • 275

    Interview: Sep 16th, 2007

    Jason Denzel

    The entire staff of Dragonmount.com would like to extend its most deepest sympathies to Robert Jordan's family. He touched all of our lives in some way and we wish him the rest and peace he deserves. We will be posting information in the near future about where you can send condolences. Please check the News Section for these updates.

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  • 276

    Interview: Sep 27th, 2007

    Jason Denzel

    To be honest, I don't exactly remember what my first reaction to that gut-wrenching statement was. I remember being worried for Harriet, and I remember being sad for Wilson because I could hear how upset he was on the phone, but in that infinitesimal moment when the words first sink in, I think I felt a wide array of emotions. There was sadness, of course, and shock, because we had just received good news in the previous blog entry, but there was also ... what? Disappointment? It would be a lie to say that I wasn't heartsick at the thought that RJ wouldn't be finishing the final volume in The Wheel of Time. Most of you I'm sure, felt it too. Just as he was honest with us until the end, so I will be honest here. I think we're all sad, and at least a tiny bit frustrated, by not having A Memory of Light completed in the way we wanted and hoped for.

    Before you think poorly of me, hear me out. Obviously, we can't blame RJ for that. To do so is to show a lack of understanding of the way he worked and the way he fought this disease. Amyloidosis is a brutal disease and nobody could fight as hard as Jim Rigney. His blog is a testament to his fight and his dedication. He proved to us, right here, that he was Aiel to the core: "Till shade is gone, till water is gone, into the Shadow with teeth bared, screaming defiance with the last breath, to spit in Sightblinder's eye on the Last Day." I don't think there could be a stronger statement that defined RJ's fight with the disease. When I say I was frustrated, it lasted only a fraction a second. It is, in part, our ability to overcome our negative emotions that makes us human to begin with. I took that frustration and fed it to the flame, and let the void surround me. There was work to be done, fans to be notified, and questions to be answered.

    Thus began a three-day adventure that I'll never forget.

    A quick note: For those of you who may not know, Robert Jordan was a pen name used by James ("Jim") Rigney. Jim is survived by his wife Harriet, his step-son Will, his brother Reynolds, and a full host of cousins, nephews, nieces, second-cousins-twice-removed, and more. A few people have asked me who Wilson is, and what a "Brother/Cousin, 4th of 3" means. Indeed, it sounds like a bizarre mix of the Borg, southern genealogy, and the even stranger Aiel relationships, but it's actually quite simple. Wilson is Jim's first cousin and they have always been very close, so close in fact that they considered one another brothers. So, that's where Wilson's use of the term "Brother/Cousin" comes from. The "4th of 3" refers to the fact that Jim was one of 3 brothers (Ted, the third brother, passed away a few years ago) and Wilson was considered the "4th" brother in that family.

    Jim lived in Charleston, South Carolina, in a beautiful old home that's been in Harriet's family since the 1930's. One of the kindest gestures I received this week was having Wilson say that I would be welcome there, and at Jim's funeral.

    On Sunday evening, I posted the news of RJ's passing several hours after it occurred. Wilson sent me the brief write up that you've all read by now. Within minutes, the Dragonmount.com server began to see an unusually large increase in traffic. Within an hour, the site had slowed to a crawl. By the following morning, it was nearly impossible to get to RJ's blog. Initial reports run by the DM admins on the server at the time suggested an increase of traffic of about 250-300 times the normal amount. We estimated that it would take about 120 extra CPU's to fully handle all of the requests coming in at every moment. The DM server is brand-new, still cutting edge, but with the kind of numbers we were seeing, all we could do was try to keep the website stable.

    The next morning I found myself on a plane flying from California to South Carolina. I grabbed a rental car and set off to drive to Robert Jordan's house. Let me pause here a moment and say that again: I was driving to Robert Jordan's house! If you're as much of a fan-boy as I am (and I know there are A LOT of you who are AT LEAST as big a fan as I am of his books), it would be a wild and crazy thing to think of going to the Creator's house and seeing where the books were written. Less than a week ago, such a thing would have seemed ridiculous to me. South Carolina is so far away. The closest I had ever come to visiting the Deep South before this trip was watching Gone with the Wind, and attending DragonCon in downtown Atlanta a few years ago, a decidedly different experience than visiting Charleston.

    Jim once told me that he lived in the Two Rivers and suggested I check a map. I never had his mailing address though, and I couldn't exactly Google it, could I? But now, having been there, I can tell you that he wasn't kidding. He lives in the Two Rivers! Charleston proper is situated on a peninsula. The two bodies of water on either side of the peninsula are rivers, the Ashley and the Cooper. Jim and Harriet are very near the tip of the peninsula where these two rivers collide. They're deep in the Two Rivers. You might say they live as deep into their Two Rivers district as Emond's Field is in its own.

    All of the homes in this area are old historical buildings, usually three, maybe four stories tall, with the well-known pillars and balconies that define the architecture of the southern United States. Jim and Harriet's home was completed in 1795. As I drove up their street, looking for the right house number, I saw a large white gate, and knew that I'd arrived. Carved into the gates are two large, sinuous creatures with five fingers on each claw. The symbol of the Dragon used in the books. I had found it.

    FOOTNOTE

    For pictures, see the Dragonmount source link. We can't steal all their content!

    JASON DENZEL

    That Tuesday evening when I arrived was filled with so many amazing memories. I'll never forget it. First, I want you all to know that I found Harriet very quickly (or rather, she found me) and I let her know (on behalf of myself and all of you) that I was sincerely sorry for her loss. Her way of replying was to give me a warm smile, look me in the eyes, and say, "For you as well." Harriet is an amazing woman. You've heard RJ say it over and over again, but this week I saw it for myself. A southern lady to the core, Harriet is the essence of grace, with an easy manner that makes you feel like an old friend the moment you meet her, and an air of poise that belied her grief as she comforted others. Her eyes are warm and gentle, and sparkling with intelligence and wit. Oftentimes, I saw her with tears glistening in those lovely eyes, but she had just as many smiles to give to the rest of us. More, actually. She sang and clapped her heart out. She laughed with, and hugged, and kissed everyone who came to visit. I was welcomed into her home as part of the family this week, and cannot find the words to express how humbled and honored I am to have been included. By welcoming me, she and the rest of Jim's family welcomed us all as a unified collection of fans. Have no doubt that you were all there with us that evening.

    A bit about RJ's home. God, where to begin? Every wall is covered in artwork, most of it paintings. There are some photographs, but by and large those were only present at desks or set in a frame under a lamp. The parlor has several floor-to-ceiling bookcases filled with nothing except all the various editions of The Wheel of Time. It seemed as though every edition for each book was there and all of the translations. I'm six and a half feet tall and I would need a ladder to get to the upper shelves. If you have seen the book [?], then you've seen the large, antique dragon chair that RJ owned. It's pretty darn scary up close. It sits near the bookcases like a guardian ready to spring at the unwary critic. The effect, however, was a bit ruined by the fluffy pillows and blankets draped across it. :)

    As wondrous as the house itself is, the most exciting place to visit is, of course, the place where it all happened, the carriage house. This is where RJ wrote all of his books. Inside is a library of over 16,000 books (yes, you read that right) and at least several hundred bladed weapons. Swords, axes, spears, and knives of all shapes and sizes line the walls and shelves of his office. Both the upstairs and downstairs areas are jam-packed with this stuff. It was like walking into a used bookstore that also happened to sell weapons, smoking pipes, and funky hats. I guess RJ liked to wear different hats when he wrote. Not just the ones you saw him wear on tour or in publicity photos, but wacky Viking helmets or jester hats. Who knew? Maybe it helped him get into all the different characters. Maria, one of his assistants, seemed to think he did it just to keep them all laughing, or guessing about his sanity.

    One other thing about the carriage house is that it was filled with gifts sent to him by fans. There were sketches, paintings, sculptures, plaques, and other memorabilia that he had received over the years from people who loved his work. It was pretty clear that he treasured those things. So, if you were ever a fan who sent in letters or gifts, be assured that he received them. I also received confirmation that he read every single letter written to him over the years. Clearly, he did not always have time to reply to them all, but he read every one and it meant a lot to him.

    Okay, one last carriage house story, then I'll move on. While I was there, the temptation to sit down at his desk, in his chair, at his computer, became overwhelming. I noted at the time how strange it was to be feeling as though this act were sacrilegious. Of course, I meant no disrespect. I just wanted to sit at the place where these books had been written. As I eased myself into the chair, I was overcome by a profound sense of excitement and sadness. I could feel his presence and his eyes on me in this place where he poured out so much of himself through his writing. The screen was dark as my fingers hovered over the keyboard, aching to touch the letters. I typed the word "RAND", just a silly attempt to mimic the strokes that keyboard had seen countless times before. The computer screen, which a moment before had been a dark sentinel guarding its Master's desk, suddenly sprang to life from sleep mode and beeped loudly at me. I damn near jumped out of my skin! I vaulted from that chair as if the Dark One himself were in pursuit and fled with the distinct realization that there were a lot of sharp swords and scary masks watching my hasty retreat!

    That same Tuesday night while we were outside, Wilson pointed out to me that even though we were in the downtown area of a major city, if you closed your eyes and listened, all you could hear were crickets. Our beloved RJ lived in a slice of heaven, my friends. You probably have heard him speak of how much he loved that city, and I can now see why. Look at these photos and the lush jungle of greenery that surrounded him. I have little doubt that the trees and landscape of his home helped him to imagine the Green Man and the Nym, the Ogier Groves, and the eternal forests in dreams where wolves hunt and dreamwalkers dwell. It was here in his Stedding, beneath the trees and a canopy of stars that I stayed late into the night, sharing stories with Jim's friends and family and letting the peace of the warm southern evening pass through me.

    The following morning I arrived back at the house early. Even after the warm welcome the night before, I was amazed to find myself seated at the breakfast table with the members of his immediate family. (Somebody invited me to sit in Jim's chair, but I hastily declined because of my last adventure with one of his chairs. The walls of the dining room were covered in paintings of Jim and I felt them "giving me the eye.") The newspaper reports were rolling in and we all read them. One of them... the London Times, perhaps?... even used the term "Randland". Ha ha ha! I got a great chuckle from seeing that term used in a major newspaper.

    Shortly after breakfast, I found myself helping out by doing dishes. Washing dishes is a soothing task for me, so I find that I do it quite often. (My wife thinks I'm crazy, but she never complains.) Also, I figured that, had any of you been there, you probably would have done the same thing. Jim has given so much to us that doing a simple chore like washing plates on the day of his funeral was an easy task to do. It also helped pass a little time before going to the church.

    The funeral took place at St. Stephen's in Charleston. It's a small church with a simple and glorious beauty. Jim's ashes were on a pedestal in front of the altar. In addition to family and friends, I saw some fans who had come to pay their respects. Among them was Melissa Craib, the founder of TarValon.net. I was glad for her presence as she was someone I knew well, but more than that, I was glad she was there because she was another fan. Jim would have wanted her there. Melissa has already written up a report on the funeral. You can read it here.

    Tom Doherty, the founder and president of Tor Books, gave the eulogy. He said Jim was one of the greatest storytellers of the 20th century, and that he believed time would show the same was true for the 21st century. I couldn't agree more. Whether or not you like the books, regardless if you're frustrated by their size or pace, I think we could all agree that the sheer majesty and scope of the Wheel of Time series is unparalleled. Simply put, it's the longest, and perhaps the most accessible, epic fantasy saga today.

    By the way, I had the amazing fortune to be able to talk at length with Tom D. over the course of my visit. Tom is a man whose experience and insight into publishing is eclipsed only by his warmth and kindness, and his love for Jim and Harriet. If that sounds overly sugary, I assure you it isn't. I would be hard pressed to meet another man as kind and attentive as Tom.

    Harriet's son, Will, Jim's brother, Reynolds, and Wilson all spoke at the funeral. Wilson read a truly moving essay that touched me deeply. I'll post a copy of it soon.

    In the end, the most amazing part of the funeral was the singing. Now, I won't claim that we had the most talented vocalists in attendance, but what the congregation might have lacked in talent, it more than made up for in spirit. And that is what we sang, spirituals. Songs with roots that run deeply through the southern experience and blossom at need to replenish the hearts of the grieving and remind them of the hope that lays in faith. At one point, the church was bursting with song. I remember looking up as we raised our voices to heaven, and I thought of all of you fans who were not present. I thought of how, with the people above in upper balconies and the white walls, this must be a little what it's like to be in the White Tower for assemblies. The songs rose into the air, and together we sang Jim's spirit into heaven, and into one another, and around the world.

    I should mention that Harriet wore one of Jim's hats to church. You know those wide-brimmed hats he wore on tour? (Not at all dissimilar to a hat worn by a certain ta'veren gambler.) Well, Harriet was sporting one of those very stylishly and it choked me up to see her wearing it.

    Following the funeral was a reception where everyone could mingle and chat. I had met many of the people there the night before, but this became an opportunity to meet even more folks, and go deeper into conversation with those I had already spoken with. Many fond memories of Jim were shared. Aside from being a famous author, the fact that so many people would attend his funeral and have nothing but good things to say about him speaks volumes about the kind of man he was. I had come to Charleston for Robert Jordan's funeral, seeking a chance to say good-bye to a well-beloved author. What I actually found after three days with his family and friends was so much more than I could ever have imagined. I was gifted with the opportunity to learn about Jim Rigney, the man, a far more fascinating person than Robert Jordan could ever be.

    I spent the few hours between the funeral and the burial touring downtown Charleston and mingling at the reception. Harriet's cousin, Harriet (yes, another Harriet), and her husband George were gracious and gave me a tour of downtown Charleston. I was able to learn a bit about the city and places Jim used to frequent. Most notably, I saw the Yacht Club where he was a member. One thing that strikes me about a place like Charleston is how much HISTORY there is everywhere you go, and how people here know their ancestry back multiple generations. Harriet and George told me that they were instructed when they were young to "know the maiden name of all four of your great-grandmothers." I was only able to come up with one of them. I promised George that I'd research the other three and get back to him! Many of you are wiser than I am and already know this lesson, but for those who don't know it yet, I humbly offer it here. Take the time to learn about your roots! Know who your family was and how you ultimately came to be. Most of our personal histories are still passed through oral tradition. So, take the time at some point in your life to know those who came before you and pass the information on to those who follow. This is clearly a lesson Jim learned early in his life, or maybe had bred into him from the start. These histories will help complete you and may even spark creativity or insight that you didn't know was there before.

    The final stage of Jim's funeral was his burial. Once again I was humbled by the family's invitation to attend this very private affair. We buried him out in the country, and I say "we" now because it was made clear to me numerous times by different people that I was an honorary member of the family, a distinction that I kindly extended to all of you in spirit. Harriet dropped rose petals into the grave with her son Will by her side. At one point, she was presented with a folded United States flag as is traditional at the burial of a U.S. veteran. The men in Jim's family; Reynolds, Will, Tom Jones, and Wilson, all placed the dirt on top of him; an eternal blanket to keep him for the Ages.

    The church where he was buried was completed in 1785 and has had continuous services since then. Jim and Harriet were married there. His grave is next to that of several family members who preceded him and Harriet told me that one day she would rest next to him at the same site. Prayers were read, songs were sung, and tears were shed. This was, by far, the hardest moment for me personally. Despite the sadness of those present, you could see the deep bonds of family coming together to support each other. The Rigneys, like your family, like mine... are just that: a group of people who have discovered that together they are greater than the sum of their individual members. I saw Jim's family brought together by his life. Like any other family, I'm sure they have problems and disagreements, but the strength in their love for one another is evident when they gather together. These were the people who loved him, and I'm proud to have stood with them as your representative.

    While the tears flowed, and the bagpiper from the Citadel played his mournful tune, I saw something radiant which made me smile. A little baby, only a few months old with beautiful eyes, was looking directly at me. I snapped a photo of her because here was a sign of new life and promise among the cold stones and the earth. Here was someone that Jim probably cherished in his last months and would have wanted the world for. The Wheel of Time turns...

    Towards the end, when most of the family was finished with their farewells, I took a moment to sit before Jim's grave. I tried to recall that first excitement I had when I read The Eye of the World thirteen years ago. I offered a bit of that feeling to him, so that the joy of having read his books might stay with him for a while as he rests. Once again I thought of all of you and told him how much we all loved him. I thanked him for the gift of his books, and I bade him farewell.

    I remembered the previous times I met Jim (when he was on book tour). I would always see him and think "Wow! That man right there is Perrin and Mat and Elayne and Loial, and Asmodean and Elaida and everyone else all made flesh." I would imagine that by shaking his hand I would be shaking all of their hands. As the burial approached, I had expected to feel a similar thing when he was buried. I expected to feel as though we were laying all of those characters into the ground, but that never happened. I realized that these characters and events are very much alive and present. Go into any bookstore and Mat is as alive and witty as ever. Rand will always be his charming and...uh...moody... self. The Forsaken will always be a threat. Jim gave these characters life, but we sustain them, and that is what I truly believe applies to the living as well. We live life in order to interact and be with others. By sharing a bit of yourself with another person you connect with them on a deeper level. There is energy within and between us all. Life, God, or the True Source, whatever you want to call it, is what I think we're here for, or so I felt at that particular moment at the foot of Robert Jordan's grave.

    Jim had wanted a certain song to be played at his funeral, Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings. For some reason it wasn't possible to do it, so after most people had left the burial ground, Mary, Harriet's cousin whom Jim had treated and loved like a daughter, loaded the CD up in Jim's Porsche and cranked it up. The music evoked a sense of sadness laced with hope and the promise of salvation.

    Oh, and, by the way, I got to ride in that Porsche on the way home. Jim bought it for himself when he became the New York Times #1 best-seller for the first time. (Book 8, I think). He told me a couple of years back via e-mail that "it handles like it's on rails." Indeed, it did.

    The rest of Wednesday was spent back at the house. Once again, I walked through the carriage house, this time taking photos. (The swords and hats no longer seemed angry with me for sitting in his chair.) Wilson took me upstairs in the main house where I saw the original painting of the cover from The Dragon Reborn. This is the one for which Harriet asked the painter to remove Ishamael's face. I also was able to see Jim's numerous war medals, and those of his father.

    The evening went on, and night fell. My flight for home left the next morning at 6 AM (yuck). Making my farewells was hard, as I had genuinely come to enjoy everyone's company so much. I felt like I was leaving the Winespring Inn in the Two Rivers. Several of the ladies wanted to make sure I had had enough to eat, and a few of the gentlemen wanted to be certain I had all my travel arrangements in place. On both of my back-to-back nights leaving Jim's house, I walked away with a plate full of food. I now know what the term "southern hospitality" means.

    I could not possibly write about all of the conversations I had during my time in Charleston. There were so many of them, and much of what was said was somewhat private in nature. Mostly, conversations were about everyday things, but the WoT geek in me was curious, and so I poked around. I can tell you this much: nothing about the plot of the final novel was revealed to me. I'm no closer to the identity of Asmodean's killer than you are. (Although, come on people, it's been 15 years. You should know by now. Go read the WoT FAQ. When I suggested to Maria who I thought it was she gave me a "Don't-even-go-there" look.) What I do know about A Memory of Light is that we need to give everyone time to figure out what's going to happen with it next. Wilson has already revealed previously on RJ's blog that Jim left some pretty detailed notes on what would happen. He, Harriet, and presumably Maria and the other assistants, all know the endings and secrets. There are both written notes and audio recordings of Jim saying what happened. (Wouldn't it be cool to have that audio published with the final novel someday? Tor, are you listening?) How or when we'll see A Memory of Light in published form needs to be worked out. Jim's death is too recent and the wounds it left too raw to his family to say when the last volume will be completed. Time will provide us with the book we want, and the conclusion the series deserves. We just have to be patient.

    Speaking of conclusions, so ends my adventure. Although, as Jim has told us eleven times before, there are no beginnings or endings to the turning of the Wheel. I hope this gave you even a little taste of what it was like. I'll never forget those days at Jim and Harriet's house. I am saddened by our loss, and at the same time, overjoyed by the opportunity I was given. I wish each of you could have seen the bookshelves, felt the grip of the swords, and heard the crickets. And the music. Wow... the music especially will stay with me forever. The Tinkers and Ogier need look no further for their songs than the ones we sang to Jim Rigney when we gave him to the earth.

    I'll end with this beautiful quote that was printed on the back of Jim's prayer card at the funeral. I have a bunch of them and I'll figure out a way to give them away to some of you. The other fans at the funeral may have already posted them. The quote reads as follows. I have it burned into my memory.

    "He came like the wind, like the wind touched everything, and like the wind was gone."

    Thank you Jim, for touching my life, and the lives of all those reading this and beyond. We will miss you so.

    In loving memory, and on behalf of all those reading this, I remain,

    Your Friend,

    Jason

    Jason@dragonmount.com

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  • 277

    Interview: Apr, 2001

    Gerhard Hormann

    When one starts a series like The Wheel of Time, one most likely doesn’t know that it would will take over nine book and 6000 pages to tell the complete story.

    Robert Jordan

    No. When I started this series, there were only two commonly used means of publishing: a single book or a trilogy. I, however, told my publisher: this won’t be a trilogy, but a series of at least four or five volumes, possibly even six. At that time I knew the overall content of the story, I knew what events I wanted to put in them and also had the final completely ready-made in my head. But I soon discovered that I could fit much less in the first book than I thought. That first book was actually supposed to hold the story of The Great Hunt and at least a part of The Dragon Reborn. At that point, I though: “Okay, it will probably be six or seven books.” Exactly the same thing happened to the second book. At this point, I no longer dare make predictions how long the series will eventually become. It will end sometime, I swear, but I don’t know when exactly that will be.

    Gerhard Hormann

    So there will be some more volumes?

    Robert Jordan

    After Winter’s Heart, there will be about three volumes. At least, I hope that it won’t be much more.

    Gerhard Hormann

    Why do you hope that? Because you’re starting to get enough of it, yourself?

    Robert Jordan

    Absolutely not! But because it feels like I’m still working on the same book. What people consider nine volumes of a series, is in fact one huge novel. And it feels like I am only at three quarters of the story. It won’t be finished before I have typed out that final scene. And I really want to finish it. So it’s really not a case of me not liking it anymore. Quite the opposite: I love doing it. When the series is finished, I might miss it more than I can imagine right now. For fifteen years, I have been working on the Wheel of Time series. And that’s a hell of a long time for one project.

    Gerhard Hormann

    Most readers will be excited at the prospect of at least three more volumes!

    Robert Jordan

    People have told me that before, and every time I feel a great relief. They might just as well have gotten fed up with it. But that is not happening. People are, like you said, actually excited that it will keep going for a while. In fact: they’re already asking if there might be a sequel! But on that, I have to disappoint them...

    Gerhard Hormann

    There must be an enormous pressure on you to continue. For many people, the series has become a part of their lives; something they’re very attached to.

    Robert Jordan

    People will miss it. And I do expect pressure from every side to continue, including from my publisher. It is very tempting to come up with more of the same after this, but I think I am strong enough to resist that.

    Gerhard Hormann

    Your colleague Terry Brooks has succumbed to the temptation and has returned to Shannara with his latest series.

    Robert Jordan

    Correct. There are more writers that do that. But what I always tell my readers, is this: I don’t write for you, I write for my own enjoyment. I already have a clear picture of what I want to do after this, and I hope that by that time, my readers will be willing to follow me there.

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  • 278

    Interview: Apr, 2001

    Gerhard Hormann

    Unintentionally, you may have written the most ambitious work of fantasy in human history.

    Robert Jordan

    Maybe I have. But it is indeed unintentional. I did not know that the series would become this large, nor that it would this incredibly successful. To expect that, one would need an ego even bigger than mine. Every writer has a big ego, don’t get me wrong, but to consciously have planned all this, you would have to be suffering from megalomania.

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  • 279

    Interview: Apr, 2001

    Gerhard Hormann

    Are there people that save all the single volumes to be able to read all of them in a row?

    Robert Jordan

    Incidentally, I have indeed spoken to people that do that! I really can’t understand that. The there are also people who, whenever a new book comes out, first re-read all the previous volumes before starting the new book. Every time. There are people who have read the entire series eight or nine times. I always ask: don’t you have anything else to do? In that regard, the series has had a bigger impact than I could have ever guessed.

    Gerhard Hormann

    That’s almost scary...

    Robert Jordan

    Scarier stuff happens. There is—or was—a website that compared my book to the Bible and the Koran. As if they are in any way comparable. It was madness. The Wheel of Time series is a story of fiction, not some kind of religious text. I am a storyteller, not a Messiah or guru.

    Gerhard Hormann

    That last bit may be true, because you hardly honor Sunday as a day of rest! I read somewhere that you literally work on your books seven days a week.

    Robert Jordan

    I usually do, yes. In principle, I work eight hours a day. That does not include just the actually typing, but also the thinking I do while staring at the computer screen, or take a stroll for inspiration. The last six months I have imposed a murderous workload on myself, of fourteen hours a day for seven days a week. I had to, because of the deadline for Winter’s Heart. It took more effort than usual to determine exactly which events had to happen in this book and what I wanted to keep for later.

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  • 280

    Interview: Sep 14th, 2008

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sending an email through a website like mine can be kind of a nebulous process. You click send, get a little "Thank you for your email!" response on the screen, then wonder where the little bits of data have flown off to.

    Here's how it goes. Whenever someone sends to me, I get an email sent directly to my inbox. It gets filtered into a special folder. I usually read the email the same day it was sent, but I don't often have time to respond immediately. Instead, I try to answer the emails in the order I got them.

    At various times, I have 'email overload' where I have trouble getting responses to everyone who has sent to me. One of these times, as you might imagine, came in December following the Wheel of Time announcement. I got hundreds and hundreds of emails that week, and felt them pile up.

    However, lately I've been doing fairly well. My response time for emails is about six weeks—however, I had an overload February-April, and so very few emails got answered through there. I still hope to get to those someday. . . .

    Anyway, if you've sent me reader mail, know that I'm answering emails from the first week in August right now. So it may be a little while before you hear from me, but you SHOULD hear eventually. (Unless book tour wipes me out again . . . )

    As for forum going, I'm still on forum hiatus. I'm too tempted by forums, and don't want to get drawn into long discussions when I should be writing A Memory of Light. I plan to return eventually. Until then, know that the best way to get hold of me is via email or posting on my LJ. I plan to do a Q&A on my own forum come October, kind of a 'virtual book signing' for anyone who hangs out there. (Also, we're working on getting a new moderator for my forums to keep an eye on things there.) I appreciate all of you who populate the forums and post such interesting thoughts and speculations; I do want to be able to respond to you in the future, but right now I'm just swamped.

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  • 281

    Interview: Sep 2nd, 2008

    Brandon Sanderson

    Dragon*Con was awesome. I was so busy the entire time that I barely had time to think, but I have to say that the Wheel of Time fans are just about the coolest people ever. I loved hanging out with all the folks from Tar Valon.net, Dragonmount, Theoryland, and the rest of you. (I know that there were others.) Also, those of you who killed me during the game of Who's a Darkfriend are going to pay some day.

    I'd never been to Dragon*Con before, and it was . . . well, it was what I'd always thought a Con would be before I started attending other ones. Costumes, craziness, lots of paneling and things to do, and a whole ton of fun. High points for me were the WoT costume contest, dinner with Melissa and the group from Tar Valon, my reading (which was WAY better attended than my Worldcon one), and an extremely relaxing and engaging dinner spent chatting with Pat Rothfuss.

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  • 282

    Interview: Dec 3rd, 2008

    Brad Wilcox

    When word of Jordan's death hit news wires, Sanderson, like many of Jordan's fans, was devastated.

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I'll be perfectly honest: When I heard the news, my first thought was of the big loss of someone extraordinary," recalled Sanderson. "My second thought was . . . he was working on the last book, would we ever get to see it?"

    BRAD WILCOX

    His sentiment was echoed by many on "Wheel of Time" fan sites across the Internet, and soon Sanderson found himself becoming a topic on those sites.

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    "I'm relatively unknown as an author; I've only been published for a couple of years," Sanderson said. "I did not know I was being considered."

    BRAD WILCOX

    Indeed, the most prominent question on fan sites such as seemed to be: Who is Brandon Sanderson?

    That question was met head-on by Sanderson as he began interacting with "Wheel of Time" fans both live and on the Web, and taking the time to introduce himself to those who were still new to his work.

    JASON DENZEL

    "Overall, I'm absolutely thrilled that Brandon is the man for the job," exclaimed Jason Denzel, site founder of Dragonmount.com. "It's as if they picked the most talented fan they could find and handed him the series to finish."

    BRAD WILCOX

    As confident as Denzel and the rest of the fans on his website have become in Sanderson, they admit that there remains a trickle of skepticism.

    JASON DENZEL

    "The thing that we haven't seen yet, and whether or not it can be pulled off, is if this book is going to feel like someone else wrote it or as if Robert Jordan wrote it himself," said Denzel. "Our biggest worry is whether or not it's going to have the feel of the rest of the series."

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  • 283

    Interview: Oct 21st, 1994

    AOL Chat 2 (Verbatim)

    Question

    Mr. Jordan, Are you aware of the interest that has risen on the internet and here on AOL about your books?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes.

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  • 284

    Interview: Oct 21st, 1994

    AOL Chat 2 (Verbatim)

    Question

    Do you follow any of the AOL discussions of your writings?

    Robert Jordan

    Only when someone downloads and sends hard-copy to me.

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  • 285

    Interview: Oct 21st, 1994

    AOL Chat 2 (Verbatim)

    Question

    I work in a bookstore, and I can testify that your books are very popular in Kentucky. I am looking forward to finishing the series. Were you surprised at the huge following that have become almost obsessed with Wheel of Time?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, very much.

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  • 286

    Interview: Oct 21st, 1994

    AOL Chat 2 (Verbatim)

    Question

    Do you have any interest in establishing a board to interact with fans ala R. Feist?

    Robert Jordan

    If I did, I'd never get any writing done.

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  • 287

    Interview: Feb 1st, 1994

    Robert Jordan

    With best wishes, I remain,

    Sincerely,

    Robert Jordan

    Carolyn Fusinato

    [in black pen Jordan wrote in script at the bottom, "P.S. Good luck with the club and the newsletter. Please keep me informed as to how things are going. I'd also love to see copies of the newsletter. I must say I am very impressed with your maturity and your skills. In short, I'm impressed with you. RJ"]

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  • 288

    Interview: Aug 20th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm gearing up to dive back into the Wheel of Time next month. To those of you who only check the blog for WoT news, I appreciate your patience with me. I do try to incorporate things into the blog directed at you. I'm sorry there isn't more of it. This is partially because of the strict nondisclosure agreement I'm under. I fear saying much of anything because of how good the WoT community is at pulling meaning out of casual statements. And they're right a shocking amount of the time. So I've held myself back. That, unfortunately, means I often end up posting things like this:

    "Gearing up to write the next WoT section; emailing Mr. Jordan's assistants about clarifications on some issues. Can't say which ones. Sorry."

    That was posted to my Twitter/Facebook earlier today. (And note, if you're starved for posts, know that I do update my Twitter and Facebook pretty much every day. You can read them on my main blog too; check the left-hand sidebar on the blog page.) Anyway, I don't post such vague things to be annoying or teasing. I just feel compelled by Mr. Jordan and Harriet's wishes to restrain myself. If I tell you what I'm asking about, you'll be able to guess what I'm working on—and from that can guess what is in the second book, and from there guess the contents of the first book. Perhaps I'm too paranoid. But once the first book is out and you all know its contents, I'll let myself be more open about what is in the second book in posts and tweets.

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  • 289

    Interview: Aug 20th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Recently, I've found myself thinking a lot about the years when I was simply another Wheel of Time fan. This is likely due to the coming release of The Gathering Storm, which will be the first WoT book that I don't get to experience with the rest of the world as it is released. That puts me in a strange position.

    Actually, a lot of things about this project put me in a strange position. I've become the most direct face of the Wheel of Time, with my blogging and appearances. Because of that I find myself (by design) being an advocate for the series, rather than a commentator on the series. There's a distinction there. It's no longer my place, for instance, to offer criticism on the cover art. Perhaps some would call it two-faced of me to avoid discussion of things in the series that perhaps deserve criticism; I just feel that it is my job to stand in Mr. Jordan's place, as best I can, and be respectful of his memory and the responsibility I've been given.

    Still, despite this, I do find myself remembering the days when I was just a fan. I went through all of the typical WoT fandom emotions. There were times when I tore through the books, rereading them voraciously, loving every page. And yes—though I don't now talk about it often—there were times when I was annoyed with the WoT. The speed at which the series was released, the quirks of Mr. Jordan's language, the times he focused on a side character I didn't want to read about.

    There would be times when I would reread through all the books—taking months and months—in order to read a new volume that just came out. And then the next one would take just long enough to come out that I'd have forgotten the details of the books. I'd feel mentally fatigued and think, "What do I do? Do I spend all of that time reading again, or do I try to read the new one without a refresher on who is who, and perhaps lose some important threads?" During those times, I would think, "Why am I subjecting myself to this? This series is overhyped."

    And then I'd read the books and remember what I'd forgotten. Not just the names and plot threads; the love and the thrill of a purely majestic epic fantasy.

    The Wheel of Time is one of the few series I read a lot when I was younger that made the transition to adulthood with me. Other authors—good authors—weren't able to write for both the youthful Brandon and the adult Brandon. But Jordan could do it. There is something very special about these books. I think you'll find it again when you dig back into the Wheel of Time for what is happening in October, whether you decide to read the entire series (I suggest at least reading Knife of Dreams again) or just grab The Gathering Storm.

    Still, I guess I'm posting about this to say, "I understand. I don't feel it's right for me to agree with you most of the time when you complain. But I do understand. I've been there." I understand that some are annoyed at there being three books instead of one, I understand that some are excited about getting three books, and I understand that most of you probably feel both annoyed and excited at the same time. (This series does that to people.) I understand what it's like to defend the Wheel of Time vigorously to friends, but then find yourself saying, "I think I'll wait to read the rest of them until the thing is finally done" to other friends later in the week. I've been there. I have a friend who—each time Mr. Jordan's name was mentioned—used to raise his fist to the sky and curse. Partially in jest, partially to express his fascination and frustration at the same time. I empathized with him a lot.

    But I've read the ending now. It works. It fits. A journey like this one hinges a lot on the destination. And that destination turned out to be everything I wanted it to be.

    Some of you haven't ever felt these feelings; you've loved the WoT the entire time, and haven't felt a bit of frustration. Some of you have only recently discovered the series, and wonder what the fuss and frustration is about in those of us who have been reading for nearly twenty years now. To you who are like I was, I just say this. Give yourself a chance to discover the books again, and you'll remember what this is all about.

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  • 290

    Interview: Oct 26th, 2009

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Hi, Brandon's assistant Peter here with a quick update. Brandon is currently ensconced deep within the BYU Bookstore signing and numbering all their copies of The Gathering Storm in preparation for the release in a little over two hours. If you're anywhere near Utah Valley right now, consider heading over there to take part in the fun. The Storm Leaders headed up by Tamyrlin of WoT fansite Theoryland are working the crowd and handing out freebies. They've also set up several ways you can follow the release party from afar: they're tweeting at @MidnightRelease and they'll have a live webcam feed starting around 10:00. (If you're nowhere near the BYU Bookstore right now but still want to see Brandon and get your book signed, check out the full tour schedule.) The wait is finally over!

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  • 291

    Interview: Oct 8th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Finally, progress on Towers of Midnight is continuing at a fair pace. As always, there are sections that turn out beautifully and sections that don't. (The latter get thrown away and rewritten, the former get kept and rewritten. That's just how this goes.) I'm feeling very good about my deadlines on this one. It's going to be tight, but I think you'll get it next year as planned.

    One of the things I felt could be improved on from The Gathering Storm is my use of names. Robert Jordan had a distinctive way of using names, and I think that some of my names for the book didn't quite hit the right mark. We're talking about very minor things—people who are named and don't appear, or maybe who speak one line or another. Anyone more major than that generally had a name already (or if they didn't, I pulled a name from one of Mr. Jordan's unused names files).

    The thing is, a good epic fantasy like this uses dozens and dozens of new names in a book. I wanted to take a stab at approaching the naming in the way Mr. Jordan did. During my very first ride with Harriet, coming back from the airport two years ago to her home in Charleston, I remember her talking about some of Mr. Jordan's names. One came from a street we passed, another from a person he knew, and another from a word he saw on a sign. His goal was to hint at our world far in the future—or perhaps far in the past—by giving occasional hints to our world through legend, story, song, and name. Hence we get names like Thom or Artur, which are direct adaptations of names from our world.

    Therefore, for Towers of Midnight I've been using a list of names from our world as inspiration. I chose the list of donors for the charity event that TarValon.net did last spring, and I've been posting the names on Twitter and Facebook as I choose them. So if you're curious about this, you can watch and see who gets chosen. I'm certain someone out there is keeping a list of them all as well. (I've got one here, and may post it eventually.)

    I don't want to make it seem like I'm playing favorites or soliciting praise in order to get people into the Wheel of Time, and so for now I'm using this list ONLY. If we decide to do another charity event, I'll let you know. If you don't want to find out about the names, I won't post them here on the blog, but those who do wish to know can follow along. Remember, these are very small characters, often just mentioned by name but not seen. I'm adapting all the names, so the name I post is not what will appear in the book—it's just the inspiration for what will appear.

    Still, I think it will make some people very happy and will allow me to try a method that Robert Jordan used in making these books. Perhaps it wasn't so conscious for him as it is for me, but one of my duties in writing these novels is to try—to the best of my abilities—to maintain the proper feel of the Wheel of Time. I think this will help. We'll see; I've got Harriet and Team Jordan backing me up, and so if any of the names stand out to them, they'll vanish and get replaced with something more appropriate.

    (And, as I've said before, remember that the Wheel of Time turns, and people are constantly spun in and out of the Pattern. Those who are alive today could very well live again during the Third Age, and so it's not so odd at all for people who loved these books during our time to get pulled into Rand's ta'veren web and spun out again during the events of the Last Battle. . . .)

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  • 292

    Interview: Nov 7th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Even Brandon had moments of "Aaaah! I knew it!" He also has had the "wait, really?" moments and often, while going through notes, has said, "Ah, that group is right!" [Referring to groups on the message boards.] He also confided that there is one thing that isn't being discussed on any of the forums yet that will blow our minds when we read it. Yay!

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  • 293

    Interview: Nov 7th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Quite a few fans commented how much they appreciate how Brandon has replied to their emails.

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  • 294

    Interview: Nov 9th, 2009

    Harriet McDougal

    Harriet commented that she browses fan boards sometimes and that she had looked at people saying: this part is Brandon and this part is RJ. She laughed and said that most of the time they were totally wrong.

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  • 295

    Interview: Nov 2nd, 2009

    GeekDad

    I noticed that the hardcover's dust jacket specifically mentions the Wheel of Time fan community, calling out several of the most important ones by name. Why?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Partially because I am a part of the fan community myself. And because I'm part of the newer generation of writers who're very involved online. Robert Jordan did some of these things: he posted his blog on Dragonmount, and would post other things like that. But he was part of a different generation. The very first day I got onto the internet in 1994, I found my way to rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan. I found myself there—I was on Tolkien's, and I was on the Wheel of Time one, and that was the very first day that I was on the internet. You'll find that a lot of us in fandom were like that. The internet is our community for these books, and I felt it appropriate to involve them and mention them, because that's what they’re there for.

    GeekDad

    It's basically the air at this point.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right: It's like breathing. It's not like I sat down and said, "oh, I should mention the blogs." It's just what I do, because it's there—it's hard to say why or why not, because it's obvious that you should do it.

    It is true that Robert Jordan was of a different age. I've tried to respect that, particularly because Harriet is of that era, too, and she's very worried about spoilers on the internet and so forth—and I think rightly so. I might be a little too open, or a little too free with some of these things. I've tried to run more of a balance, and to give fewer spoilers. To talk about the process with people, but not tell people what's going to happen, or what specifically is going on with the plot.

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  • 296

    Interview: Nov 10th, 2009

    Question

    I asked Brandon which WoT websites he peeked at.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He said that he tries not to go to them for fear of being drawn into discussions. He said that if he goes anywhere, it's usually Dragonmount. To Matt of Theoryland who said to say "Hi", Brandon says "RAFO". When I asked him about my old home of wotmania, he said that he had been there and they seemed to like to argue a lot. I had to concede that.

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  • 297

    Interview: Nov 9th, 2009

    Ted Herman

    Maria Simons

    She also answered a few questions as follows: about symbology, she said that RJ had some notes on that, and that the posts on 13th Depository are pretty accurate regarding this.

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  • 298

    Interview: Nov 9th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    He agrees with fans who criticize that he isn't Robert Jordan, but hopes they will get past their anger at that fact. Also feels that the series belongs to the fans. He is happy with how The Gathering Storm turned out.

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  • 299

    Interview: Nov 9th, 2009

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Harriet said Jim was surprised by the fandom for the series and that he thought it was egotistical to do readings from the books. He loved using the pseudonym since it helped him keep a low profile, and would talk to some local shopkeeper who asked if he was still writing LOL and he would say, "Yeah, I made the Times list!"

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  • 300

    Interview: Nov 13th, 2009

    Question

    Were you a part of any of the WoT online communities?

    Brandon Sanderson

    "Usenet for RJ my first day on the internet. I was a member of Dragonmount and Wotmania, but never posted." He'd go to Dragonmount to check blogs. He'd drop by Wotmania, but they were kinda mean (aggressive about their viewpoints).

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  • 301

    Interview: Nov 14th, 2009

    Matoyak

    OK, just a heads up, I'm from Theoryland so you know I've got a few questions I'm going to have to ask you...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh boy...I'm going to have to think about these, aren't I?

    MATOYAK

    ~laughs~

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  • 302

    Interview: Nov 20th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, Jason is on Tor.com again, talking trash and showing off the huge numbers of cards he's been lent to build the perfect deck to kill me.

    If you're not aware of what's going on, tomorrow after my San Jose signing, I'll be having an epic set of Magic: The Gathering games against Jason Denzel (who runs Dragonmount, a Wheel of Time fan website). Read what he's said here and here.

    I haven't posted a lot about this because . . . well, I just haven't had time. I've been running, city to city, signing books. In fact, I can only do this update because my plane is delayed in Portland for half an hour.

    Now, reading those articles, Jason would have you believe that he's the underdog in this competition. He's been trying very hard to get your sympathy. And, well, some of the things he says may be true. Yes, I have more experience in the game than he does. But remember, I've put a severe limitation on myself in the form of requiring myself to use only cards I've been given by fans on the tour, so I can't reach into my extensive back stock of cards to build the perfect deck.

    What are my thoughts? Well, I think it will be fun. But I am also so exhausted from the tour I can barely think most of the time. And the match will happen after the last day of the tour, following two signings on the same day, with me having gotten very little sleep on average across the last four weeks.

    In other words, this is going to be by no means an easy win. Jason has been lent thousands of cards to augment his card stable. He's going to have very good decks, and I'm going to be so tired I won't be able to remember what day it is, let alone how many lands to put in my deck.

    But I'm still confident. Confident, at least, that this will be a fun time. We'll set up a streaming video of the match, so watch the updates on my Facebook and Twitter accounts to get the url. Also, I feel it's my duty to let you know that Jason has been trying to CHEAT LIKE A DOG (asking Storm Leaders to steal or hide my cards, maybe give him clues as to what I'll be playing).

    So I figure I'll just tell him. Here are the decks I'll be running:

    1. A WoT-themed deck given me by a fan. I'll play it as-is. It's white, with lots of cards that they've written on and named after characters. Quite amusing.
    2. A deck built from the Zendikar and other packs given me by the wonderful WoT fans. I've built this one out of the cards you've given me, and it's got 95% cards from Zendikar. Multicolor.
    3. A deck sponsored by Joseph-Beth Booksellers using only cards given me by Brian, the Joseph-Beth sci-fi guy. Multicolor.
    4. If there's time, a deck built from several other complete decks given me by fans on the tour.

    I actually don't have these completely put together yet. I was hoping to do that today at the hotel . . . though this delay is going to make that harder. Either way, tune in tomorrow night to see what happens.

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  • 303

    Interview: Nov 16th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Maria and Peter lurk on lots of message boards to keep in touch with the what the fans are talking and theorizing about (Hi guys). They occasionally talk to Brandon about stuff, especially when they feel it's something Brandon should know about. But Brandon generally keeps his distance so as not to influence his writing.

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  • 304

    Interview: Dec 1st, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Wheel of Time fansite TarValon.net is hosting another charity drive—this time in support of Doctors Without Borders. If you're interested, consider helping out at their team's donation page. It looks like they have a small number of "thank you" prizes as well, including one of the limited edition copies of The Gathering Storm.

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  • 305

    Interview: Nov 21st, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    Tamyrlin & Brandon wiped the floor with Jason and I at Magic:The Gathering.

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  • 306

    Interview: Mar 19th, 2010

    Luckers

    You told me that you sometimes lurk on the boards. Have you ever encountered something that for whatever reason made you laugh out loud? If so can you tell us what?

    Maria Simons

    I frequently encounter things that make me laugh out loud. WoT fans are an extremely clever bunch. Once, at Wotmania, someone joined using Harriet's name. That person made a lovely post that included the (false) info that Talmanes was a Darkfriend (I have a crush on Talmanes. Not as big as the Mat crush, but . . .). There have also been many posts regarding Bela that tickled my funnybone (Is she the Creator? A Darkfriend? The Neigh'blis?). And somewhere recently I saw someone aver that it stated flat-out in the text who murdered Asmodean; it had just been transcribed inaccurately. According to this poster, Asmodean didn't say "You? No!"; he said "Uno!" And Leigh Butler's reread posts generally make me laugh out loud as well. It's rare for me to go a-lurking and not lol at some point.

    LUCKERS

    'YouNo' lol. That's brilliant. And I guess it means I don't have to ask the tedious 'who killed Asmodean' question and we can just move on into the fan stuff.

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  • 307

    Interview: May 3rd, 2010

    Richard Fife

    OK, so you have known the secrets and have been poker-facing us all for a very long time. Is there anything that you felt was a surprise for the fans to key in on, such as the Asmodean mystery, or perhaps something you thought they should have but didn't?

    Maria Simons

    The fans are really amazing. They seem to pounce on pretty much everything, even when there's nothing to pounce on. I have pretty much never been disappointed by the fans' reaction to anything, although I never really understood why so many people were obsessed with who killed Asmodean. But the Verin discussion—Very Old Verin, the Purple Ajah, and all that—was just so much fun, and I'm so glad I can talk about my favorite sneaky Brown now. Verin rocks!

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  • 308

    Interview: Apr 30th, 2010

    Richard Fife

    One can take it even further with The Wheel. Even the magic system, which is very scientifically based, lends us to call it magical Sci-Fi. So perhaps some of the other concepts of Sci-Fi are there too, such as social commentaries or looking at issues from other angles.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Yes! And the big thing about fantasy is that you can address questions of good and evil without making people run for cover and thinking, "Oh my God, he's going to turn into a preacher any minute now." But, making his great theme of making decisions without enough information is so true.

    And, his early fan letters, I noticed, would come from two large categories of adult: people in law enforcement and people in medicine: doctors, nurses, policemen, district attorneys. What do these groups have in common? They're making life and death decisions, every day, without enough information. The policeman, should he draw his weapon? If so, he will probably be shot at himself. The doctor, dealing with a person who is dying, and you never have enough information.

    Richard Fife

    And sometimes, you just have to act.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Yes, and how you do that is a major theme in the series, and how you can be expected to have to do that.

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  • 309

    Interview: Apr 14th, 2010

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    McDougal had gone on tour many times with her husband, where she says she "just lurked in the back." Sometimes she would find a book to read in the store they were visiting, get through a chapter, then continue reading with another copy in the next town. Every now and again people would track her down and ask, "Are you Harriet? Would you sign my book?"

    With Rigney gone, McDougal found herself front and center at The Gathering Storm events. "The tour was amazing," she says. "It was awful to be out there without my husband. At the same time, people were so kind. They said, 'Thank you for finishing the series. Thank you for Robert Jordan.'"

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  • 310

    Interview: Apr 14th, 2010

    Brandon Sanderson

    The Wheel of Time fans are very vocal and some diehards were resistant to reading a new book with a different authorial voice. But the tone and characters were so consistent with the early novels that the response was generally positive.

    "I don't think you can find a fan reception about anything that is all positive," Sanderson reflects. "I've certainly never seen one. Not everyone liked the book, but not everyone liked Jim's books. Heck, not everyone likes Hamlet. That's just the way we are as people. There is no way to please everyone."

    The writer knows it's important to listen to the fans. "There are some one-star reviews out there, [but feedback] has been overwhelmingly positive. I very much appreciate hearing that I'm on the right course. I hope I can make the next two books turn out as well."

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  • 311

    Interview: Apr 28th, 2010

    Richard Fife

    So, after setup, I took part of the above photo, ran around and got the ball running on a few things for later, and then settled in for the opening ceremony. While doing this, I noticed in our program a "not finalized" cover for Towers of Midnight. I'm afraid I had no easy way to get it up so that you could see the detail, but I'm sure you're all clever enough to go hunt one down. Jason Denzel of Dragonmount.com soon walked up to the lectern and started us off with a story. I am sure we all remember Jason's trash-talk here on Tor.com over the Magic: The Gathering game he was going to have at the end of the The Gathering Storm signing tour, and then the subsequent beat-down Brandon gave him. Well, seems the truth of the matter was that Jason let Brandon win in exchange for the first chapters of Towers of Midnight, and that while he had promised to keep it secret, he was going to read them to us. Just as he was about to start, though, Alan Romanczuk, one of Robert Jordan's assistants, led a squad of Theoryland.com brutes out to arrest Denzel for crimes against the fandom and dragged him, and the pages, away. I'm not going to even speculate on what they did to him or the pages, but, well . . . here's a before and after shot. And yes, he might very well have been a zombie in the before.

    Anyway, Matt Hatch took over the opening ceremony, where he and his loyal minion Frenzy introduced us to the guests and gave us an overview of what is to come, including the new Writers' Track with Jana Oliver and David Wong, in addition to Brandon Sanderson, and Paul Stevens from Tor and Harriet McDougal (editor of The Wheel of Time, in case you've been living under a rock).

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  • 312

    Interview: Apr 22nd, 2009

    Richard Fife

    At one o'clock, we had the opening ceremony. Jason from Dragonmount created a funny, 40 page stage-skit that "recapped" all 11 books and introduced the Con. The actors were the Con guests, community leaders and some people from Tor, and... Yours Truly. There was a joke of Matt from Theoryland refusing to play Mat, so they needed a volunteer, and it got to be me. And I was truly a volunteer—my script cued me as "Volunteer Mat", and I had not seen it until Jason handed it to me. Getting to be on stage with everyone else was the next great indicator of the weekend. I know there is at least one recording of the ceremony, and I hope to find it soon just so that I can see what it was like from somewhere besides stage left. (and so anyone who missed the live feed or wasn't there can see it too).

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  • 313

    Interview: Apr 22nd, 2009

    Richard Fife

    After the opening ceremony, I worked three hours at registration, taking a bullet for the Con and missing the Harriet and Wilson panel and the "Big White Book—Worlds beyond the Westlands" panel. I did get to go to the sword forms workshop, though, which was fun. Jimmy from Age of Legends as done very well at recreating the sword forms, and supposedly Robert Jordan had said he did them right.

    I went to dinner at Chick-Fil-A with a whole bunch of con-goers, where we confused many people with discussion of Asmodeon, TAR, Taim, and other fantasy series. We then went back, and I became one of the dealers for the Seanchan (Texas) Hold Em tournament. Proceeds went to the Mayo clinic (I believe) and the prize was a signed, limited edition, leather bound, mint copy of Knife of Dreams.

    Now, the funny thing here is: I've never dealt or played or even watched Texas Hold Em. I volunteered to be a dealer just to help out and because I was gai'shain to the Con. Frickin' got touched while I was holding a butterknife, and I had to lessen my toh. Anyway, so I get a crash course in how to deal and start the tourney, and somehow, I ended up dealing the last table. Was great fun all told, though, and congrats to Matt from Theoryland (the same one that refused to be Mat) on winning.

    After that, I had drinks with some other random con-goers and crashed around one AM.

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  • 314

    Interview: Apr 22nd, 2009

    Leigh Butler

    But, it all turned out well despite my lack of airplane funk removal opportunity. The very next person I met, after a hasty dumping-of-my-crap in my hotel room, was none other than JordanCon Guest of Honor Harriet McDougal, whom I had met once years before (the same time I met Jason, actually) and completely do not blame her for not recalling, because I don't always remember people I work with every day, and she meets like twenty zillion people a year, give or take a few zillion.

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    Harriet immediately floored me, though, by telling me she had read my blog here on Tor.com and thought it was "wonderful" (her words! I swear!), which left me kind of weebling around mentally for a while. The cessation of said weebling was not helped by the discovery that the jovial-looking gentleman next to her was, in fact, Tom Doherty, who I understand owns some company having to do with books, or something, and has apparently also read and enjoyed the re-read. I'm embarrassed to report that my brain was coming up with phrases like Golly gee! at this juncture, though fortunately I don't think I actually said anything that inane out loud. I hope.

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  • 315

    Interview: Apr 22nd, 2009

    Leigh Butler

    Anyway, Jason had decided to "summarize" the first eleven books of the Wheel of Time in one hour, which officially makes him even crazier than I am. I mean, at least I originally gave it ten months. We met at eleven AM Friday to "rehearse", and by "rehearse", I mean "stand around and sort of read the lines while everyone keeps getting distracted by the actual work they have to do, or possibly a shiny thing on the ground". It was at this juncture that I met Trisha Norris, who was playing Min and is fabulous in every way, and who would end up being my Con Buddy for most of the weekend. We immediately started making fun of Jason, which just never gets old, while Jason smiled valiantly and refused to give up attempting to herd cats, poor man. It was like he had voluntarily decided to live every theatrical director's nightmare. I still giggle when I think about it.

    I confess I was kind of expecting this to be a disaster, and the thing is, it was a disaster, but in a completely awesome way. The fact that no one knew their lines and had no idea where to stand and kept forgetting who everyone else was supposed to be playing just made the whole thing funnier. My brilliant braided wig idea, of course, was the biggest disaster of all. I had recruited Nynaeve Fan Club President Emma de Laat (as is only right and proper) to help me get it on (weirding out a fair number of people in the lobby restroom in the process), but two good braid tugs in my first scene ended the dream right quick. I was reduced to carrying the thing around in my hand for the rest of the novel skit and randomly swinging it at people. Eventually I tossed it on the table behind the "stage", where Harriet promptly stole it and tried to put it on. I could have told her it was harder than it looks!

    The skit in general was a smash, actually. Harriet played the narrator and the Finn, I as mentioned was Nynaeve, which meant I got to shove Jason around, since he was playing Rand. Matt Hatch was Perrin (because "he likes dogs"), and we got a random member of the audience to play Mat. I later found out that Random Mat was actually Mr. Richard Fife, who y'all know as a frequent offender commenter right on this here blog. The best part is, he was the only person who didn't get to see the script beforehand, and yet did a better acting job than almost all of us. He was only overshadowed by Melissa Craib, who was a thoroughly awesome Elayne-as-New-Age-Ditz, and, rather to my surprise, Brandon Sanderson, who played all the male Forsaken, which meant he got to die at least four times (we skipped Be'lal), and did so with panache, flair, and a rather alarming amount of physical pratfalling. He really got into it, and kicked ass.

    And since I might as well finish the curtain call: Aubree Pham was Moiraine, which was hilarious considering she was the tallest girl there, Dot Lin, Tor publicity wizardess, was all the female Forsaken, Jennifer Liang was Egwene, Wilson Grooms, Robert Jordan's cousin/brother and best friend, played Tam, Larry Mondragon played, who else, Lan Mandragoran. Pablo Defendini was Padan Fain (HAHAHA) and tried to sell everyone... ads, Alan Romanczuk (Jordan editorial assistant extraordinaire) was Thom (and I bet the restaurant staff are still looking for those "daggers"), Maria Simmons (the other Jordan editorial assistant extraordinaire) was Elaida (the most awesome miscasting EVER), Bob Kluttz of Encyclopedia WOT was Loial (Awwww), Jason Ryan of Arms of Valor was Rhuarc (and sold "Rand" a sword, just for the cognitive dissonance), Rachel Little was Aviendha, Tiffany Franklin got to smack the crap out of Jason (Denzel) as Cadsuane (and she really did, too!), and Will McDougal, Harriet's son, was Mazrim Taim.

    And Tom Doherty, of course, was The Dark One. Mwhahaha.

    Good times, y’all. Good times. I have been avoiding YouTube assiduously ever since.

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  • 316

    Interview: Apr 22nd, 2009

    Leigh Butler

    Saturday

    The wisdom of poker-avoidance notwithstanding, going out drinking and dancing till three AM...ish when I had to speak in front of people the next morning like a human was probably not the most intelligent move I've ever made. Nevertheless, I was NOT late, JASON DENZEL. I was at the Fandom panel Saturday morning with like three whole minutes to spare. So There. Respect my Responsibilitai!

    The Fandom panel consisted of me, Jason D., Matt Hatch, Bob Kluttz, and Melissa Craib talking about, duh, fandom, from the differing perspectives of our respective websites. I felt a little bit like the odd man out on this, since all of the others had started their own websites, like normal geeks, while the history of my own participation in fandom is a little... bizarrer. Not to mention, I was the only one talking about a section of fandom that actually died (namely, the rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan group).

    But, it seemed to go over very well; I was pretty impressed at how many people showed, considering Brandon was running a writer's workshop at the same time (which I would have loved to go to, myself. Oh well). Basically the consensus of us all (which is something I've always said) is that the best thing about the Wheel of Time, aside from the books themselves, is the stupendous and enduring friendships and communities it has engendered, and how that has changed so many lives for the better. Mine definitely included; I've gotten to go places and meet people and do things as a result of WOT that I would never have done otherwise. JordanCon being, naturally, the latest example of such. Oh yeah, and what I'm doing right this second. Tis a thing of awesome, you guys.

    I think it was around this point that Rebecca Starr, also Of The Commenters, introduced herself to me, and we chatted for a bit. It was very cool. I sort of haven't been mentioning it that much, but quite a few people came up to me and complimented me on the blog throughout the weekend, which was really just so awesome, and I'm really sorry I was in such a state of sensory overload that I have not retained most of their names. My brain, she is sievelike sometimes. But I really appreciated it, you guys, seriously.

    Footnote

    The rec.arts.sf-written.robert-jordan Usenet group is now hosted on Google groups.

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  • 317

    Interview: Jun 7th, 2010

    Brandon Sanderson

    The folks over at TarValon.net let me know that applications for next school year's scholarship are now being accepted. It's a $500 scholarship open to all undergraduate students attending an accredited college or university, and the recipient is chosen based on their essay on the topic "How I plan to use my studies to become a Servant of All." If you're interested in applying, please visit TarValon.net.

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  • 318

    Interview: May 25th, 2010

    Patrick

    Are you pleased with the way The Gathering Storm has been received thus far?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, I'm very pleased. The fan reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. The sales on the book have been extremely good, and it seems like people are happy I did not screw it up.

    Patrick

    Understandably, it's no surprise that reactions are not 100% positive. How closely have you been following the fan reactions that are less than positive? How do you anticipate these reactions will affect your writing of the final two volumes? Is there any specific reaction you would care to address directly?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, it's not surprising that the fan response has not been 100% positive—in fact, if it were, that would be kind of suspicious. Sometime, look up Hamlet on Amazon and read the one-star reviews. If people can't agree on Hamlet, they're not going to agree on my books.

    As for the less-than-positive reactions, they range from completely useless to very helpful. But it's dangerous to look at reviews of any sort while I'm writing. As writers we tend to focus on the negative and ignore the positive. It's just human nature. Beyond that, a writer has to walk a very tight line between keeping an audience in mind and following their own artistic vision for a work.

    Now, these books are different in that—as I've mentioned before—I feel more beholden to the fan community than I otherwise might. These books belong to them more than they do to me. But I learned early on in my writing career that if I tried to do everything for everyone, the writing process would fail. So, it's more useful for me (on things like this book) to have people close to me watch the reviews/reactions and pass issues on to me when there seems to a consensus of opinions. Those are the types of things I find it important to keep in mind when writing.

    In the end, however, there is one opinion on these books that matters the most. That is Harriet's opinion. I look to her for guidance on characters, tone, and plotting. I will continue to do so. I think her hand on the book, mixed with Robert Jordan's notes, were the main reason the novel turned out so well.

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  • 319

    Interview: May 25th, 2010

    Patrick

    The promo tour for The Gathering Storm seems to have been a little crazy. What were some of your favorite highlights from the tour?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Every time I got to a city where I thought, just to prepare myself, "Well, this signing probably won't be as big as the others," the crowd would be even larger. The dedication and loyalty that readers have to this series still shocks and stuns me.

    Beyond that, the little gifts that people brought me were very touching. People gave bits of themselves. There was a reader who brought me a handmade blown-glass pen they had made. Another one brought me a Tar Valon mark coin that they had minted or forged and gave it to me. Pictures, paintings, gifts for the baby, cookies (in one case, shaped like the seals on the Dark One's prison,) and Magic Cards (which are an addiction of mine) are among the gifts I was given.

    Things like that were very moving. But mostly, the humbling part was how well received I was. I really feel thankful to the fan community. They did not treat me as an outsider. They welcomed me in.

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  • 320

    Interview: Jun 30th, 2010

    Luckers

    What's the weirdest thing a fan has asked (or suggested to) you about the series?

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    A question this summer: Where did Jim get his hat? The one with the snakeskin band, I assume he meant—and you will love the answer. We were in Billings, Montana, and there was a custom hatter named Rand's Custom Hatters. I kid you not.

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  • 321

    Interview: Sep 8th, 2010

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Hi all, Brandon's assistant Peter here. He's off on his tour (Thursday's stop is in the Chicago area), so he doesn't have a lot of time to update the blog. He did write one blog post ahead of time, which I'll post tomorrow probably. And you can keep track of his progress on Twitter and Facebook.

    Brandon wanted me to give everyone an update on the promotion for Towers of Midnight that Brandon & Tor are doing in conjunction with the The Way of Kings tour. (The book, by the way, was just announced today as having hit #7 on the New York Times bestseller list to be released in ten days or so. Congrats, Brandon!) This promotion is being called The Great Hunt; Brandon is dropping clues in every stop on his tour that will slowly reveal more of the encrypted text found here. As I write this, 17 clues have been found or guessed outright. Brandon wanted me to list the clues and who found them, but . . . why should I duplicate effort? ;) Terez from Theoryland is already doing a great job at exactly that. So I suggest you pop over to this page if you want a roundup of all clues currently found or guessed. Brandon also adds more information more or less daily on Twitter and Facebook.

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  • 322

    Interview: Sep 16th, 2010

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Peter here again. Today at around 9:00 p.m. in Venice, Italy, intrepid Wheel of Time fan Federico located the final The Great Hunt code's hiding place . . . and confirmed that the code was no longer there. Maybe someone saw Brandon's friend Ryan place it on top of this photo booth, perhaps via the prominent security camera, but in any case the clue is gone.

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  • 323

    Interview: Sep 21st, 2010

    Matt Hatch

    My son (he's ten and wore his Theoryland t-shirt) and I went down to Brandon's signing at the Orem, UT library this evening. I have the audio of the general Q&A with the audience, but nothing specific to anything WoT related, so I'm not going to transcribe that right now.

    After the speech and Q&A, we waited for the line of those waiting for their books to be signed to end. I didn't come with a list of questions, but I figured I couldn't leave without asking a couple. So, here are the few I asked—two are ones I came up with regarding two recently discussed theories and the rest were submitted by fans via @Theoryland on Twitter.

    Short and sweet.

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  • 324

    Interview: Sep 13th, 2010

    Patrick

    Setting out to complete The Wheel of Time following Robert Jordan's death had to be a daunting endeavor for you. Which facet of this undertaking did you believe would be quite difficult and in the end turned out to be easier than you had envisioned? By the same token, which aspect of finishing the series turned out to be a lot harder than you ever believed it would be?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I thought it would be much harder to get the characters' voices down. That was the part I worried about, and if you read my early interviews, I talk a lot about that. And surprisingly, it was not nearly as difficult as I thought. There are certainly a few characters I struggled with more than others. But in this book, Towers of Midnight, I think our character voices are spot-on. That actually comes from Jason from Dragonmount's interpretation of it—he said that he believes it's really just on. And that makes me feel good.

    What has been harder has been keeping track of everyone. I thought I was steeped in Wheel of Time lore before I started these books. No, I wasn't. When people on tour asked me questions I realized how ignorant I am, despite having written and studied as much as I have. I know a lot—it's like I've got a Master's degree in the Wheel of Time, but there are people out there with postdoc experience who are completely showing me up at every step of the way. Keeping track of everything is a real challenge. I've described before the way I approach this. Essentially, when I get ready to write a scene from a character's viewpoint, I dump everything into my head that I need, and I try to write all of those scenes in the book for that character while maintaining all of that knowledge. Then I dump it out and get everything ready for another character. That's the only way I can do it, because there's just so much to hold on to.

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  • 325

    Interview: Oct 4th, 2010

    Brandon Sanderson

    Back in June I mentioned the Robert Jordan Memorial Scholarship given out by TarValon.net and awarded based on applicants' essays on the topic "How I plan to use my studies to become a Servant of All." Well, the winner of this year's scholarship has been announced, and it's Christopher Lipnickas at Wichita State University, whose goal is to be a substance abuse counselor. Head over to TarValon.net to read his winning essay and more of his story. You can also read about the other philanthropic endeavors that TarValon.net is engaged in here.

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  • 326

    Interview: Sep 30th, 2010

    Brandon Sanderson

    The book's release is getting closer, folks. Are you excited yet?

    Dragonmount has announced the Tower Guard program for the upcoming book tour, similar to the Storm Leaders program from last year. Basically, this is an opportunity for a few hardcore fans in each city to spend some personal time with Harriet and me, in exchange for helping out at the signing. I had a great time with the Storm Leaders last year, and I look forward to it again this year. If you're interested in the opportunity, Dragonmount's application is right here.

    I've also put up a page explaining how to get signed & numbered copies of Towers of Midnight. For those who can't attend a signing during the tour, pay close attention to the section on the Sam Weller's signing by mail. There's an important addition to that this time: For no additional shipping cost, you can buy another book to be delivered in the same box, such as a second copy of Towers of Midnight, or a copy of The Gathering Storm or The Way of Kings. (Only Towers of Midnight will be numbered, but I'll sign and personalize the other books too.)

    On the same page, details on the numbering system for the midnight release are there too. If you went to the Way of Kings release it will work pretty much the same way, but there are a few changes from how it worked at last year's The Gathering Storm release. Plus they have some cool things planned for the release party. Check it out.

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  • 327

    Interview: Oct 26th, 2010

    Luckers

    Did the notes squash/support any of your theories/ideas of where the books were going? Are you able to tell us what or how?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. It did both. Some things were supported, some things were squashed, and some things I just didn't have any personal theories on. I can't speak of many of them. I'm trying to remember which ones were in The Gathering Storm that I can talk about. I did think that there was a good chance—or at least I hoped and theorized—that Elaida would end up as a damane. And I was very happy to see that. I was taken completely by surprise by the Verin revelation. Most of the things that were squashed happen in the next two books, so I can't really talk about them. And it's very hard to look back and say, "What were my theories, and what did I think about things?" because it's been three years now since I first looked at the notes and I already have all of that in my head.

    Oh, I can tell you one thing that was squashed. To be perfectly honest, I'd always secretly suspected that Asmodean was still around, and that was totally squashed. So there you go. Part of me always thought, “Oh, Robert Jordan isn't telling us because Asmodean is around; he's doing something," but no, he's just dead. He's totally dead. But you know, I think Robert Jordan had even confirmed that and I hadn't seen the interviews until after I started working on the series. I'm pretty sure that somewhere out there is a Robert Jordan confirmation, a "He's toast" comment.

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  • 328

    Interview: Oct 26th, 2010

    Luckers

    With The Way of Kings out, I think it’s safe to say your other works are more than holding their own, but were you concerned in the early days about the Wheel overshadowing your other stories? Are you happy with the Wheel Fandom’s response to your other writing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, to the last question. I am happy with the response. Though I do want to make the caveat that in my mind, the Wheel of Time fandom is not my fandom. I don’t mean that pejoratively. I mean that I don’t have any assumption that people who read the Wheel of Time books are going to like or even read my own work. I’m flattered when they give my books a chance, but people have asked me this question a lot and I do think that over the long haul there’s a pretty good chance that I’m going to stay overshadowed by the Wheel of Time. And that’s not a bad thing. In the case of something like this series—which has been a monumental influence, has sold so many copies, and is just such a dominant factor in the genre—I don’t think you can help but be overshadowed by it a bit. But I knew that when I took the project on in the first place. Being a footnote to the Wheel of Time is still a position of great honor. It’s been an honor to be involved.

    I write my own books. I enjoy writing them. It’s what I’ll be doing for the rest of my life, and I’m flattered that they’ve had the success that they have, and that people enjoy them. I don’t sit up nights thinking, “Am I only going to be known as the guy who finished the Wheel of Time?” People are reading my stories, and beyond that I get to be a writer for a living. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do. In all of those regards I’m insanely lucky. You’ve got to remember that I spent years and years and years writing books without anyone reading them other than my close friends. I wrote thirteen novels that way, and was completely satisfied. Sure, I wanted to get published, but it was telling the stories that was the most satisfying part. And if I had continued to do only that, then I still would have been completely satisfied. So anything beyond that is icing on the cake.

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  • 329

    Interview: Oct 26th, 2010

    Luckers

    I thought Rand’s arc in The Gathering Storm was brilliant—starting to get better then—bang! Cuendillar Rand, and finally "Veins of Gold". Was it difficult to write? Can you give us some insight into how you stayed in the mind of a madman?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was difficult to write. I’ve said before that I view a lot of these characters as my high school friends, people I grew up with. Facilitating Rand going through these extremely painful and sometimes revelatory moments was not easy emotionally, and yet there’s an excitement and a power to writing emotional scenes where things are coming together. So I would say it’s actually more difficult to write a character like Gawyn, who’s frustrated and struggling with not knowing what he’s doing, than someone like Rand who always has a direction—even if that direction is straight down, as it was in places. He’s always moving. So because of that, Rand was in many ways easier to write than other characters were. Yet at the same time it was painful to write. That doesn’t really answer your question, but maybe it does give some insight, as you asked.

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  • 330

    Interview: Oct 26th, 2010

    Luckers

    Following that is probably a good time to ask: Were you scared by the rabid nature of the fans? We do be crazy.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I was very scared. Heh heh. For one thing, I was really scared that I would pronounce things wrong and get raked over the coals for that. I also knew how passionate people are about this—and they have a right to be—so I feared I would be vilified for my faults. Because I do have faults. I’ve been very up-front with people that I don’t consider myself as good a writer as Robert Jordan, particularly at the height of his writing abilities working on these books. And so that was a real concern for me. I talked about that last year on tour quite a bit, which anyone who saw my presentation about the books would remember. Screwing this up would mean hatred on huge levels from a large number of people. So I just took that as extra motivation to not screw it up. Or at least to screw it up less than any other person could have, since Robert Jordan was no longer here to do it right.

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  • 331

    Interview: Oct 26th, 2010

    Luckers

    What’s the funniest/oddest thing a fan has ever suggested to you, or asked you about the series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There was a fan who came up to me completely seriously and said, “I know the secret. Don’t worry. I know it’s going to happen. I won’t tell people. I just want you to know that I know. I know that Mat is actually the Dragon Reborn and not Rand. I know this is going to come out in one of the next books, and everyone else will be surprised, but it’s all laid out right there, and here are the facts of why Mat is the Dragon Reborn.” And I blinked and said, “Oh, well, that’s an interesting hypothesis,” and then thought, I hope you’re not terribly disappointed when you find out you’ve been wrong all these years.

    Footnote

    This probably refers to Felix, whom Brandon met at a signing in the LA area at least once. Felix believes that Rand is a false Dragon, and that Mat is He Who Comes With the Dawn, and that he's going to have a threesome with Aviendha and Tuon. Or something.

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  • 332

    Interview: Oct 18th, 2010

    Brandon Sanderson

    Towers of Midnight will be released in fourteen days and seven hours. If you want to order a signed and numbered copy from Sam Weller's, you have just one week left. I'll be driving up there next Monday morning and personalizing all the books that they've received preorders for. As of a week ago more than half of their copies were already reserved, so if you've been thinking about ordering a copy, now's the time. [EDIT: Sam Weller's is now SOLD OUT. Wow, that was fast.] Of course, if I'm going to be appearing close to where you live, then you should support your local bookseller and get the book signed when I get there.

    The prologue ebook is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony, Kobo, Audible, etc. But with the book just two weeks away, if you haven't already read the prologue by this point you can hold off two more weeks, right? There are also free previews: Chapter One on Tor.com and Chapter Eight here. I believe that Tor.com will also be releasing Chapter Two, possibly this week.

    Dragonmount has announced the names of the lucky people selected to be Tower Guards for my upcoming tour. Congrats to the selectees! If you didn't get picked, don't lose heart. I'll still get a lot of chances to talk to people on the tour, and Tor will most likely make the next tour, for A Memory of Light, my largest ever.

    Have you seen the book trailer that Tor had Jason put together for Towers of Midnight? I realize it's been out for a while (it debuted at Dragon*Con), but it's a real treat. There's also a "making of" feature here.

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  • 333

    Interview: Oct 29th, 2010

    James Rundle

    As you said, you're a fan of the series, and there are thousands more around the world. Is there an added pressure when writing them, or do you just have to blank it out and do the best that you can?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Certainly, I do the best that I can. There is added pressure. Again, when I write my own books, I'm not beholden to anybody. I write it, and if it doesn't work out, or if it's not my best book, that's actually okay because I like to try lots of different things. I like to be bouncing around and experimenting with things. But with the Wheel Of Time books, that's not appropriate, I am beholden to people, I am beholden to all of these fans that you've mentioned. It's not appropriate to just take this series and go wherever I feel. I have to take this series and be true to Robert Jordan's vision, while being true to myself as a writer, while also making sure that I'm being very respectful to the fans, to the all of the people who have been following the series for 20 years. They rightfully have a stake and a passion in the series, and it's a lot different from writing a standalone novel. I do feel a lot of pressure—the series belongs to the fans much more than it belongs to me.

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  • 334

    Interview: Nov 2nd, 2010

    Brandon Sanderson

    At or around 3:30am we were packing up all my equipment, and leaving. Spencer and I were the last two Tower Guards remaining. The bookstore employees had mostly disappeared as well. Just as we were getting ready to leave we noticed that there was a very small group of fans (from the 17thshard.com—Brandon's official fan site) that were waiting patiently outside in the cold for Brandon to play a game of Magic: The Gathering with them.

    Even at 3:30am, Brandon was kind and alert, and he agreed to play "just one" game with them. I've never played, but I could tell that it was five on one. Brandon creamed them all. Muahahahahaha!! It was cool to see that. At about 4am, he said his good-byes, and walked away.

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  • 335

    Interview: Nov 14th, 2008

    Ted Herman

    When he signed my Mistborn books, and Elantris, I told him where my Theoryland name originated, and asked him if he ever visited Theoryland.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He has lurked at Theoryland for the theories, but never posted there.

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  • 336

    Interview: Nov 5th, 2010

    Renee

    All things considered, in short order the last person made their way through the line, and by eleven o’clock there were only a handful of people left roaming about the Tower. I was able to absorb a lot in that brief window of time, due in most part to Brandon and Harriet’s unflagging dedication to their fans. Over and over Brandon made sure to ask each person if they had any questions, not just about the Wheel of Time but about any of the projects he is involved in, and more than a few people were brave enough to ask the occasional question of Harriet or tell her how Robert Jordan’s work has changed their life. I felt almost like a Brown, quietly sitting back to listen and make mental notes to jot down once I returned home. If I can take away anything from that experience to pass on and share with the rest of you, it would only be to say that we truly are blessed to have Robert’s life’s work left in such capable, enthusiastic hands.

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  • 337

    Interview: Nov 6th, 2010

    Robert Mee

    Someone else (two different people, actually) asked about Nakomi.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon RAFO'd, but then said that there were some very interesting theories out there, and that some hard core fan freaks may have had some that were more accurate than others he'd seen. I don't know if he's referring to Theoryland specifically or just the OCD fan community in general.

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  • 338

    Interview: Nov 6th, 2010

    Tower Guard

    My job was to keep the masses amused. With 400 people, there was going to be some waiting in line. People were called up 10 to 20 at a time to wait, the rest reading, milling around the store, or venturing out to find food. When they arrived in line, they would find me waiting with a huge bag of candy and a list of trivia questions I’d composed (thanks http://www.encyclopaedia-wot.org/ for letting me fact-check my memory so easily!). If they answered a question right, they got to pick a piece of candy. If they answered it wrong, they could still take candy, because I felt like a jerk withholding it. Many who missed their question demanded to be asked another, stating they needed to “earn” their candy. There was also a large number of people who were there getting books signed for others who couldn’t be present. These people had never read the series. They got candy for being awesome.

    A number of hardcore fans demanded that I try to stump them. I’m happy to report that I was able to in most cases. But in these cases other fans quickly jumped in to help, ganging up on the poor helpless Tower Guard with his bag of candy. Everyone was in high spirits, despite the long waits, and the trivia seemed to amuse many. I did manage to learn one spoiler (due to a poorly-chosen question I asked) but it was something I had mostly guessed anyway. Oh well, the price I had to pay.

    There were three items in our WoT swag box that went beyond mere bumper stickers. These included an extra Tower Guard shirt (signed by Brandon and Harriet), a Borders display poster for the book (also signed) as well as an excellent bronze bookmark with the Serpent and Wheel logo. These were chosen by line number raffle, with the numbers picked by Harriet. The winner of the shirt went to a very excited woman who “never wins anything” in her words. A bookstore display Towers of Midnight Poster went to Craig, a recent fan who quickly became a “raving ultra-hardcore fan.” Truly, there is no zeal like the zeal of the recent convert. In a neat turn of events, the bookmark went to a gentleman who was there for his brother, currently serving in the military overseas in Korea. It will be shipped to him along with a copy of the book! We all agreed that this was a great way to part with the bookmark (which the Tower Guard all secretly coveted).

    The event wound down, and at last it was just a few stragglers and the Tower Guard that needed their books signed. In a move that would surprise no one who knows me, I managed drop one of my three Towers of Midnight copies, bending a few of the pages. I decided that, rather than saddling my brother or cousin with the slightly-damaged copy, I would pay the klutz’s price and claim that one for myself. But Brandon surprised and amused me when he found the bent pages and wrote BUBBLE OF EVIL along the crease. So yeah, sometimes being a klutz pays off. Also, Brandon Sanderson is awesome. I also got Harriet to sign my copy of Winter’s Heart, previously autographed by Robert Jordan himself. She found the dedication page (“Always for Harriet. Always,”) and signed beneath it, a gesture which I found very touching. Harriet McDougal is a very special lady, and it was a pleasure and an honor to have met her.

    I’ll close with a quote from a Tower Guard’s email. “One more time. In barely over a year, it will be over. Feels like ice water being poured down my spine. After doubts arose about the series even being completed, fans couldn't have a better person than Brandon complete it, or one who could connect as well with the fans. 20+ years will have passed since the furious ride to The Eye of the World, ‘yet shall the Dragon Reborn confront the Shadow at the Last Battle, and his blood shall give us the Light. Oh ye people of the world, weep for your salvation.’”

    Photos available here: http://www.dragonmou...dnight-signing/

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  • 339

    Interview: Nov 7th, 2010

    Hilwa Katir

    How can I describe a dream come true? With this report,I'll give it my best try. My day started with my son waking me up saying..It's today! Yes, I admit it,even my eight year old knew how special a day this particular Sunday was going to be for me.

    After going to church and offering prayers for the success of the whole Tour with special Trisagion Prayers of Mercy being said for the repose of the Soul of our beloved Departed Creator "Robert Jordan" and for the continued health of Harriet. I drove to Cambridge loaded with books, instructions and questions.

    I also had all the the Tower Guard T-shirts. Since the Tower Guards and I did not get to meet prior to the Book Signing, I wouldn't wear my t-shirt until each of the other Tower Guard's had theirs. I wanted so badly to show it off, but felt honor bound not to..so I waited.

    All the Tower Guards met at the Harvard Coop where there were lovely displays of the whole of the Wheel of Time Series as well as all of Brandon's books. I was pleased to see that Karen Porter from the bookstore was able to have all the books in time because last year I was unable to obtain even one full set of Brandon's books. This year, they were well stocked.

    If one were to guess the amount of people planning to attend the book signing from the facebook page, they would have been surprised. I think we had over fifty people waiting in line at the time the Tower Guards arrived, and we arrived at least three hours prior to the Signing. We got ourselves set up and Dennis got started right away asking people questions from his specially prepared list. I will include the questions at the end of this report. I must say that the people who "WON" the prizes deserved them. These were no easy questions. In the meantime, I had my cell phone on and was patiently waiting for a call from Brandon and Harriet's driver's to tell us they arrived, when all of a sudden, in walks Brandon. It was like, HE's here..OMG...he's here.

    One of the fan's went up and introduced himself to Brandon, reminding him that they met before and Brandon being the gentleman that he is, started to get involved in the conversation. We,. the Tower Guards being jealous of our personal time with Brandon and feeling it dwindle away, rushed him off to the fourth floor where the Coop kindly brought up a light lunch for us all. One of the Guards met with Harriet and we all sat down for our books to be signed, receive special instructions and ask questions.

    We're not allowed to "discuss" spoilers but suffice it to say that most of our questions were met with "RAFO". I needed to be told what RAFO stood for. (Read and Found Out). Brandon told us that this was one of +Robert Jordan's favorite answers. I can see why. After our time for which I and I'm certain the other Tower Guards are forever grateful for, we went to the book signing area where it seemed that the amount of people tripled. The first thing evident other than the size of the crowd was the diversity of the crowd. We had people from all over the world, Brazil, Portugal, India, China, Korea, Japan, Israel and Lebanon. Children, infant's and parents all were together to show support and love for the Wheel of Time Series and for their new favorite author.

    I met many people there who actually found out about the Wheel of Time because of Brandon's Sanderson's books and vice versa. While listening to many of the conversations the majority of people echoed the grateful feelings that Brandon is the one finishing the Series and that he is doing a "bang up job" of it. (bang up job-not being my words). I don't remember her name, sorry, but when I was asked by a young lady who the woman was sitting next to Brandon and I told her that it was Harriet, +Robert Jordan's widow, she was in awe almost to the point of tears.

    Brandon was introduced by Richard, a member of the Harvard Coop who was incredible. He compared the Wheel of Time with Mahabaharat both in size and complexity and really "blew it out the of the ballpark"! Brandon said a few words and made his plea for everyone to patronize the book store and thanked the Harvard Coop for hosting us. He then introduced Harriet who read from my book! Squee!! Brandon had chosen to read from my book last year and HE mentioned that Harriet should read from my book this year so I would have a set. Isn't he Super Fantastic??!! Silly question I know.

    Harriet read the Prologue and the few dry eyes that were in the crowd were probably hiding their tears well. I hope that my Tower Guard who had to step away for a moment doesn't get angry at me for writing this. What passion! What a Blessing to have had Harriet with us!

    After the Reading, which I do have on video and will post here, the actual signing took place. On a sidenote, my Red Sister, Kaths made me a shawl so that I could have it in time for the signing, and Harriet LOVED it. Kaths, you did good! I draped the shawl over the chair that Harriet or Brandon were going to sit in and there it stayed!

    Venkat and Andrea, who is the Mistress of Novices at theoryland.net, immediately started taking pictures, Bob and Dennis organized the people and started asking questions, I was standing there to make sure that everything was going well and if Brandon or Harriet needed anything, I was there to get it . The line went quickly with many surprise gifts for Brandon, Peter, his assistant, and Harriet.

    We actually finished half an hour prior to Brandon's deadline and got to spend an extra half an hour of quality time with the small group that remained. There were many people that made great impressions on us. The Wolf Brother was one, Kalyani, who made special t-shirts for Brandon and Harriet and a special one for Peter, because he answers all her questions. Kalyana was promised to be a Trooper/Guard next year and it struck a chord because the first thing out of her mouth was, "I hope I am in the US next year." I will go anywhere." It's fair to say that all who heard her heartfelt wish also want her to be in the US for the next Signing. Kalyani, I hope to see you next year!

    The little babies who were at the signing were a treasure but the young 13 year old who asked Brendan a question to which he was answered.."RAFO" was adorable. Okay,so I'm showing my age..but he was. Last but not least was the Pi Lanningham. who insisted that he be the "last" in line. Check out his t-shirt. I want one of those!

    After everyone had their books signed, extra books signed for the Coop, we presented Harriet and Brandon with our gifts to them. We got "Dark Magic Cards" for Brandon and a Harvard Sweatshirt for him and for Harriet. My trooper decided to get some small gifts for Brandon's children because as he said, parents love to buy gifts for their children and it didn't look like Brandon would have any time to do much shopping. I agree, great job!

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  • 340

    Interview: Nov 16th, 2010

    Jonathan B

    OK, here goes... If anyone else has pictures from the signing, please post them also. Thanks to Cuthbert 19 for sending me his pictures.

    In case the pictures get deleted from imagehost, I also put them up on a Dragonmount gallery here:
    http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/ga...igning-photos/

    Signing Report Paris—Major spoiler warnings

    The signing was a great event with over 100 people present. Brandon was very happy with it. The bookstore people were very nice and had bought some drinks for everyone.

    Brandon's wife Emily sent me an email when they got to Paris and they met me in a café beforehand as a thank you for helping set up the book signing. Brandon signed my books and drew a dead Narg for me because I told him that I am on Theoryland and Dragonmount and he had done things like this for other Theorylanders (See Terez's dead Asmodean drawing).

    Then we went over to the bookstore.

    Here's a picture of the store window with lots of WOT books:

    ...and the posters they put up:

    Brandon began by reading Lan's part of the prologue with great enthusiasm:

    Then came the questions & answers session (see detailed description below, videos are also coming).

    I met up with Cuthbert and we also talked with some other enthusiastic fans met at the signing, one of which I convinced to buy The Way of Kings. During the line, we read Julien's list of questions deciding which one or two he should ask if Brandon only had time to answer one and speculated about what the answers might be.

    Here's a picture of us with the list of questions:

    We intentionally placed ourselves at the very back of the line because both Cuthbert and Julien had a very big sack of books, and this gave us more time to talk about our questions and hang out near the diet coke . It took about 2 hours to get through the line, which was fine with us!

    Here's a picture of people in line (near the end):

    ... and Brandon signing books:

    When we got to the front of the line, we asked our questions and Cuthbert identified himself as the guy who (almost) found the Venice clue during the great hunt (it was lost, but Brandon sent him a copy of it + another code) who flew to Paris just for the signing. There's a great picture of them at the signing table with the clues:

    e

    Afterwards, the bookstore was planning to take Brandon and mily to dinner but as only one person from the bookstore was coming, Brandon invited Federico, Julien, 2 other fans and I who had waited at the back of the line to come along too which was a very fun experience and we got to ask more questions (yay).

    Brandon and Emily opening magic cards from Federico:

    The rare card in Brandon's pack (I think this is the one he had Federico sign):

    Group picture at dinner:

    Please note that here were some topics that Brandon talked about at the signing and also later, so I may have put some things he said later into the description of his answer to the question at the signing to have everything on the same theme in one spot.

    This was a really great time and I want to thank Brandon, Emily, the bookstore and everyone who came! For those who were there, let us know who you were and if you remember anything I didn't mention here or got a question in line that I didn't hear.

    Signing Q&A Video 1:
    Sorry about the shaky beginning, it gets better after about a minute:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pY8DNS9q_6U

    Signing Q&A Video 2:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_f8HUMHHDhY

    Video 3 and final:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSOzUje84ac

    Signing Q&A summary:

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  • 341

    Interview: Nov 10th, 2010

    Question

    How did you welcome the reviews? Were there different from the reviews you got for a novel which is your own a 100%?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right. With my own novels, it was very different in that. First of all, with the Wheel of Time, I really do feel that I'm in debt to the fans; I'm writing these books for the fans. But the series belongs to them, and the series doesn’t belong to me. With my own books, I really don't look toward what the fans are going to say; I follow my own artistic integrity and say: "I'm going to write the book that, as an artist, I feel needs to be written."

    But with the Wheel of Time I felt that I needed to consider the fans more, if that makes any sense. And in a lot of ways, the reviews on The Gathering Storm are more important to me, because if I wrote something the fans didn't like, then I was failing. Whereas if I write something artistically that I know people may not like as much, that won't be as popular, but that I feel artistically for myself important to release, I can be okay with bad reviews. So, I paid a lot more attention to them, and I wanted to see what the fans thought I was doing well and what they thought I was doing poorly. And I wanted to be able to respond to that.

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  • 342

    Interview: Nov 10th, 2010

    Question

    You've been very active on Facebook or on your blog, and this for a long time. How important are these new technologies for you?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I feel they're extremely important for me. We're entering an interesting age for art, because there are impressive levels of communications between artist and patron. And I really do look at my readers as my patrons. If you go back to the 19th century, for an artist to create great art, they would usually have to have a wealthy nobleman who was funding them to be able to do it. And these days, it actually works the same way in my mind, except the wealthy lord who's funding me is actually all the crowd, the fandom.

    We, in science fiction and fantasy, are a very tight-knit community, and I find that fans of science fiction and fantasy tend to be very different from like movie star fans who go crazy or things like that. Science fiction and fantasy fans are part of the conversation: they come up to you, and they can converse; it's like they're colleagues. And out of this entire group, they say to me: "Okay, you go create art for our entire community. We'll support you in it, as part of our community." And I really feel a debt to my readers, for allowing me the opportunity to do what I do for a living. And so my best way to respond to that, I feel, is to be very open and to have a lot of communication. A lot of fans get frustrated because they don't know when the books are coming out, and I like to have updates and let people know—daily updates. I belong to them in a lot of ways, so they deserve to see what I'm doing, with the opportunity they've given me.

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  • 343

    Interview: Nov 10th, 2010

    Question

    Do you have the feeling that you're among, let's say, the top three of the fantasy authors who are the most talked about these days? Do you feel some kind of pressure for being so often in the headlines?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, I don't know. I would say that I do feel pressure. An example of this is: before The Wheel of Time, I spent a decent amount of time on web forums, I would visit these forums and talk, and nobody really knew who I was; some of them would see I'm a writer but you know, there are lots of writers. So suddenly this happened, and everyone knew who I was, and every forum had a big long thread about me—I showed up on Slashdot, and all of these things. Suddenly, I'm very much in the focus and I found that I couldn't spend as much time on these forums, because if I did, all I wanted to do was argue with people, or sometimes just discuss and have good discussions, but I found that suddenly since it's about me it was so much more personal that it was very hard to let go of the web forums. So I just had to cut off ties to them, because otherwise I could spend all day just talking with the people who are posting on these threads.

    And so that level of awareness, it is kind of surreal. I've actually been recognized on the street, in a city. I went to San Diego, randomly, and someone recognized me and said: "Are you Brandon Sanderson?" That's bizarre! They weren't there for my signings, they didn't know I was in town; they just passed me on the street!

    So it is a little bit bizarre—now of course, as writers, we don't ever get really famous. Maybe once every couple of years someone will recognize me in the street, so it's not like I'm really a celebrity or anything, but it's still weird, and odd, to be able to post on a forum and people know who I am.

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  • 344

    Interview: Jun 22nd, 2011

    Brandon Sanderson

    About a week ago, I finally got back from my extended stay in Europe. I have to say, you guys treated me very well over there. I hope to be back soon.

    One of the highlights was my impromptu event in Amsterdam. If you didn't follow that little fiasco on Twitter, I ended up missing my connecting flight to Oslo because of an air traffic controller strike in France. This resulted in an eight-hour layover.

    Well, I tweeted about what was happening, and some very kind (and somewhat determined) fans convinced me I should go out and see the city. I did. And it was awesome. By the end, there were about twenty of us. We grabbed food at a local place, and I asked what was considered authentic Dutch cuisine. I was told pancakes by one person and potatoes by another. So, I ordered pancakes and fries.

    Strange looks ensued. Apparently "pancakes and potatoes" meant "pancakes or potatoes." But I stuck to my guns. (And this was by no means just an excuse to order some fries . . . )

    Footnote

    Fan reports from the Amsterdam meet can be found here, here, and here.

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  • 345

    Interview: Oct 10th, 2011

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've put up another Twitter archive post. And as I continue writing the first draft of A Memory of Light (now up to 75% of my 300,000-word projection), keep your eye on Twitter and Facebook. Each time I come across a spot in the book where I need to insert a new name, I'll pick one from the A Memory of Light fundraiser drawing that's currently ongoing, and I'll announce whose name I picked. For more info see last week's post.

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  • 346

    Interview: Apr 17th, 2011