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Your search for the tag 'tom doherty' yielded 96 results

  • 1

    Interview: Apr 5th, 1996

    Robert Jordan

    Jordan's Writing Process

    Jordan spoke a bit and answered a few questions about his writing process. He said that he originally thought the series would be three to four books. When he was negotiating a contract with Tom Doherty, he told Tom that he didn't know how long the series would be, but that he did know the ending. Jordan says that writers seldom get contracts under those circumstances, but Tom signed him one because he like Jordan's writing. The contract was for six books.

    After Jordan wrote the first book, he increased his estimate to four to five books for the series. After the second, he thought it would be 5-6, then 7 or more, etc. Now he does not give any estimate of the length of the series and is upset that the jacket of Lord of Chaos suggested that the series would end with eight books. (Update: In an open letter sent courtesy of Tor Books, dated 19 May 1996, Jordan said that the series will comprise at least ten books.)

    Jordan says that the idea for WoT came to him about ten years before he began writing. "What would it feel like to be tapped on the shoulder and told, 'Hey, you're the savior of the world?'" He began writing The Eye of the World four years before it was published (and I say that it shows).

    Jordan has lots of notes for the series. He began by writing approximately ten pages (of notes) of history about each of the countries in his story, more for the places he was going to use first. Right now his notes fill more pages than his manuscripts, he says.

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  • 2

    Interview: Oct, 1994

    Dave Slusher

    How did the series come about when you originally started writing it? You started about eight years ago?

    Robert Jordan

    I started writing about eight years ago. The first thought occurred to me, oh, somewhere between 18 and 20 years ago. My books always bubble around in my head a long time before anything gets on paper. Actually, yeah, I guess it is about that.

    The first idea that came to me, the first thought, was what is it really like to be the savior of mankind? What's it really like to be tapped on the shoulder and told you are the savior of mankind, and oh by the way, we expect you to go mad and die in order to fulfill prophecy and save everybody. That was the genesis.

    Dave Slusher

    Originally, had you planned it to be as epic in scope as it has turned out to become?

    Robert Jordan

    Not really. When I went to my publisher originally—and this was about 1986—I said I want to do this set of books, and I have no idea how many books I'm talking about. It is at least three or four, it might be five or six, I don't know. And luckily he was willing to go along with that. Most publishers would not go along with that. Most publishers would not go along with me not giving then an outline for the book, but instead giving them a twelve- or fifteen-page philosophical treatise explaining the themes of the book, and not a damn thing about what's actually going to be in the books. But Tom has always liked what I write, so he was willing to go.

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  • 3

    Interview: Jun 27th, 1996

    AOL Chat 2 (Verbatim)

    OpenStone

    How difficult is it to get a major publisher like TOR to publish a novel, Mr. Jordan?

    Robert Jordan

    I forgot who asked this, but it wasn't difficult to get Tor to publish my first novel. Tom Doherty liked what I write. I've been writing for 20 years and I told him that I had an idea for a multi-volume book. I didn't know how many books and probably any other publishers would have thrown me out of his office but Tom said OK!

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  • 4

    Interview: Oct 19th, 1998

    The Man from Ganymede from WoTism

    How far in advance did you plan the later novels like Lord of Chaos and A Crown of Swords? Did you know the series would be this long when you started?

    Robert Jordan

    I did not know the series would be this long in the beginning. When I first went to my publisher, I told him, I know the beginning, and I know the ending, and I know what I want to happen in-between, but I'm not sure I know how long it will take me to get from the beginning to the end. Now, don't laugh, but I said to him, "It's going to be at least three or four books, and it might be as many as five or six."

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  • 5

    Interview: Jan 21st, 2003

    SFRevu Interview (Verbatim)

    Ernest Lilley

    You didn't start out writing fantasy, you started out writing historical fiction under yet another name...

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, Regan O'Neal is my name for Historical Fiction. The first thing I ever wrote was Fantasy, at least I thought it was. It will never be published now because I'm a better writer now. I wrote this thing and I sent it to DAW books because I heard that DAW published first novels. So I sent it to DAW and got back a letter from Donald Wolheim that was exceedingly laudatory, and obviously he had written it at home and typed it himself because he had scratched out words and made changes in pen and his signature was cramped...and he made me an offer.

    And I asked for some changes in the contract. Nothing very big. I asked for some changes in subsidiary rights that I never expected to be exercised because I wanted to establish that I wasn't going to accept just anything that was offered. But I didn't know enough about the industry to know if I was being offered a minuscule advance or a fairly good advance.

    Ernest Lilley

    You wanted to establish a dialogue.

    Robert Jordan

    Yes. And I found out that he didn't like beginning writers to ask for changes. He thought that beginning writers should accept what was offered. So the result of my asking for the changes was that I got a letter back saying, "Dear Sir, in view of your contract demands we are withdrawing our offer. Sincerely, Donald A. Wolheim."

    I looked at the two letters and I didn't know why I'd gotten the second, as I hadn't demanded anything. It was actually a very diffident letter, and I had ended by saying, "If any of these requests seem out of line, please let me know." Thus throwing away everything, but I knew that I had no real knowledge of publishing.

    So, I decided to ignore the second letter because the first letter said; you can write.

    That novel that I thought of as a Fantasy was later bought by Jim Baen while he was at Ace as a Science Fiction novel. You may know that Jim doesn't think very highly of fantasy, so he bought it as SF while DAW had bought it as Fantasy. Then Susan Allison came in to replace him when he went to TOR and she didn't like it, so I got the rights back and it's sat on the shelf all this time.

    Ernest Lilley

    And what was this novel that we will never see?

    Robert Jordan

    Its title was Warriors of the Altaii, and you will never see it, or know anything about it. I have not destroyed the manuscript, because it has powerful juju...but in my will I have provisions to have that manuscript burned. But until then I'm afraid to get rid of the juju that resides in it.

    In a way that novel led to me meeting my wife, and it led to me getting my first novel published. Because she knew about that manuscript, when Tom Doherty got the rights to do the Conan novels, he needed the first one very fast so that it would come out the same time the movie came out. And he knew that I had once written a 98,000 word novel in 13 days.

    So he thought I could write something fast, and he was right, and I liked it. It was fun writing something completely over the top, full of purple prose, and in a weak moment I agreed to do five more and the novelization of the second Conan movie.

    I've decided that those things were very good discipline for me. I had to work with a character and a world that had already been created and yet find a way to say something new about the character and the world. That was a very good exercise.

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  • 6

    Interview: Jul 14th, 2005

    Question

    One person asked, rather impertinently I thought, if RJ had ripped off Tolkien's Middle-Earth map when he created his own.

    Robert Jordan

    Of course, RJ denied that, and said that after he had handed in The Eye of the World, he was asked to provide a map. "Why do you need a map?" RJ asked, and he was told, "Tom Doherty likes maps." So, RJ slapped a couple pieces of paper together and drew in the mountains, then scattered the countries around, added some cities rivers and other geographical features and sent it off to Tor. Tor revised it a number of times until Elise Mitchell produced the version that became part of The Eye of the World. RJ also stated that if you look at a map of southwestern Saudi Arabia you'll see two mountain ranges that intersect at right angles.

    When asked how aware of geography he was while writing, RJ said that he created the city maps whole, but only roughed out the larger ones. The bigger ones were then polished by the people at Tor before being printed in the books. I took it to mean that he wasn't all that concerned with larger geographic features, which might explain some of the geographic discrepencies in the story.

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  • 7

    Interview: Dec 1st, 2005

    Tom Schaad

    You know, I have to say first of all, congratulations. I mean, we get many successful authors on this show, many of whom make the best-seller list, but very few of them debut at #1 on The New York Times' best-seller list when a book comes out. Very well done!

    Robert Jordan

    Thank you, thank you. It's very nice to happen.

    Tom Schaad

    And I'm sure that Mr. Doherty of Tor is extremely happy that it happened, too, I'd say.

    Robert Jordan

    Oh yes, he was dancing in the middle of his office.

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  • 8

    Interview: Dec 1st, 2006

    Hannah Clark

    Jordan plans to live another 30 years—long enough, he says to finish all the books that are in his head right now. That will require a large dose of luck, and so far, his luck has been mixed. The new drug he's taking seems to be working well. Still, he can write for two hours a day at most, compared with eight or nine hours in healthier times. At this rate, he'll submit the final book in 2008 for publication in 2009, says Tom Doherty, president of Tor Books, Jordan's publisher.

    If he gets better, he'll write faster. No one wants to talk about the alternative. If he dies, could someone else finish the series? Authors like V.C. Andrews and Mario Puzo have posthumously passed along their series to other writers. Still, some fans worry that another author, even Harriet, wouldn't be true to Jordan's voice. Jordan, however, is open to the idea.

    Robert Jordan

    "I'm getting out notes, so if the worst actually happens, someone could finish A Memory of Light and have it end the way I want it to end," he says. "But I hope to be around to actually finish it myself."

    Hannah Clark

    The decision, Jordan says, will be left to Harriet and Doherty, who has been a close friend and colleague for years. But Doherty isn't ready to address that possibility.

    Tom Doherty

    "I'm not prepared to concede that that's going to happen," Doherty says. "I'm working on the belief that he's going to beat this thing. Who else can tell this story?"

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  • 9

    Interview: Jun 1st, 2007

    Robert Jordan

    Well guys, I'm back. I know you'd like to hear from me every week or even more frequently, but I'm afraid that once a month is going to be about it for a time. I am trying to put every spare moment into A Memory of Light. There aren't too many of those spare moments right now. My meds induce fatigue, so it is hard to keep going. I'll fight it through, though. Don't worry. The book will be finished as soon as I can manage it. NOT in time for this Christmas, I fear. I don't know where that rumor got started. Except that Tom Doherty, my publisher, wants to put out the Prologue if I can have it polished to my satisfaction by August. That isn't easy. I always hate letting go. I have rewritten prologues almost from scratch after I finished the rest of the novel. I always think I can do better with another go around. Oh, well, I'll give it a try.

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  • 10

    Interview: Oct 4th, 2007

    Jason Denzel

    Since posting the report on Robert Jordan's funeral, I've come across some more items I'd like to share with you. (With permission from RJ's family of course).

    First off, Tom Doherty and Wilson were kind enough to share the words they spoke at RJ's funeral with us. Tom is the president of Tor Books (who published the Wheel of Time), and has been a friend of RJ's for 30 years or more. Here's what he said at the eulogy:

    Tom Doherty

    "He came like the wind. Like the wind touched everything and like the wind was gone."

    Jim Rigney, Robert Jordan, friend, doer, dreamer, maker of dreams, one of the great storytellers of the 20th and I believe time will prove 21st century as well. His Wheel of Time is a towering epic of power and scope. After praising it extensively, The New York Times said of it:

    "—the evil laced into forces of good, the dangers latent in any promised salvation, the scenes of unavoidable onslaught of unpredictable event—bear the marks of American national experience during the last three decades"

    Truly Jim wrote for us all.

    And Harriet, the love of his life, what a team, Harriet is the finest editor I've ever worked with. Working together they produced wonderful things. His first two books, Fallon Blood and Fallon Pride were published by her company, Popham Press as a joint venture with Ace where I was publisher and she had been Editorial Director. And then at Tor, another Fallon, Conan and the Wheel of Time. The Wheel, which has touched the lives of so many millions and down the generations will touch so many millions more.

    Jim was a man of courage and heart and vision. He was my friend of 30 years. He's gone ahead of us now. Beyond that last horizon to a place we cannot yet see. But I think he can see us and he's glad we're together and he's already thinking of stories he's going to tell Harriet and then the rest of us when we get there.

    We miss you Jim. Thanks for all you've left behind.

    JASON DENZEL

    Thank you, Tom, for sharing that with all of us.

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  • 11

    Interview: Aug 9th, 2008

    Tom Doherty

    Moshe starts off the panel asking Tom to talk about how The Wheel of Time got started. Tom says that the story begins with Harriet. Tom was publisher of the Tempo imprint for Grosset & Dunlap back in the ’70s, and Harriet was his top editor. They did so well with Tempo that Grosset & Dunlap went out and bought SF publisher Ace for them to run. Their success continued at Ace, and Tom brought in an editor named Jim Baen to work under Harriet. Sales volume doubled.

    Soon after this, though, Harriet’s parents died and she inherited the family house in downtown Charleston—with a 500-square-foot walled garden, a gardener, a maid, and a cook who had been with the family for years. “Harriet is a Southern Princess,” Tom says. Harriet was divorced and wanted to go home to Charleston to raise her son. Tom didn’t want to lose her as an editor, so Popham Press was created. Harriet acquired and edited books down in Charleston, and production and marketing were done by Ace under a profit-sharing agreement. “It was telecommuting before the word was invented,” Tom says.

    Harriet met Jim Rigney in a local bookstore there in Charleston. Jim was an engineer in atomic submarines who had been injured, and while he was recuperating, he was writing. The bookstore owner knew Harriet was an editor, and he thought the two of them should meet, so he introduced them.

    Jim wrote a book called The Fallon Blood to romanticize a part of U.S. history he felt had been overlooked in popular culture—the Southern role in the Revolutionary War (Swamp Fox, etc.). He decided that he would publish his books under pseudonyms, and use a different one for each series. He used the name Reagan O’Neal for the Fallon books.

    Then Grosset & Dunlap started having problems and they brought in a “financial guy” to run the company. He decided that they should only publish bestsellers. This is part of the reason Tom left to found Tor Books. The opportunity came up for Tor to publish some Conan novels, one of which would be a novelization of the Conan the Destroyer movie. Jim Rigney was interested in doing the book and some other Conan novels, and the pseudonym he picked for them was Robert Jordan. He also took over editing some sword & sorcery books for Tor.

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  • 12

    Interview: Aug 9th, 2008

    Tom Doherty

    In 1984, Jim came to Tom and said, “I’ve got a great idea for an epic fantasy, and it’s going to be 6 books.” Tom says that book one was 5 years late [it came out in 1989]. Tom describes first reading the manuscript for The Eye of the World: “Oh God, I fell in love with it.” He knew it would be the greatest epic fantasy since Tolkien. Tor prepared a marketing campaign unprecedented in those days of 5,000 Advance Reader Copies to send one to every bookstore in the country and a combined hardcover/trade paperback first printing. 40,000 books sold out almost immediately, and when the second book came out, the sales of The Eye of the World shot up again, doubling what it had sold the first time. After that, Tor stopped the trade paperback part of the release and just pushed the hardcover.

    Jim always said he knew the ending of the series, Tom says. And when he was working on A Memory of Light, he wrote the ending. That plus the prologue and the rest of what he wrote totaled 200 manuscript pages [that’s about 50,000 words].

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  • 13

    Interview: Aug 9th, 2008

    Tom Doherty

    Tom loved Brandon’s book Elantris and liked Mistborn even more. While Jim was originally against anyone else writing Wheel of Time books, toward the end of his life he became convinced that since he would not be able to finish the last book, someone else needed to. Tom calls The Wheel of Time a series that “will be read for generations,” and he says, “We’ll be proud of Brandon’s work going forward.” Tom mentions that Jim also planned to eventually write some books taking place about 10 years after A Memory of Light that would mostly focus on Mat and Tuon [the books known as the outrigger novels].

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  • 14

    Interview: Aug 9th, 2008

    Peter Ahlstrom

    The death of Robert Jordan wasn’t an opportunity. It was a tragedy.

    Elise Mattheson

    Elise talks about how she saw Brandon’s blog post eulogizing Jim, and it immediately struck her that she needed to print it out. She gave it to Harriet, saying, “You have to read this.” Later that day she saw Harriet reading the post out loud to others of Jim’s friends. [I spoke with Elise right after the panel, and she added lots of fascinating details. I looked around to see if she’s shared her telling of this story anywhere online, but didn’t find anything. I hope that she will share it sometime, because it’s a great story from a fascinating woman.]

    BRANDON SANDERSON

    Brandon got a voicemail from Harriet that said, “Please call me back. I want to talk to you about something.” Brandon called back and couldn’t catch Harriet at home for several hours. He called Tor, and Moshe wasn’t in, but he got in touch with Patrick. Patrick said, “It’s what you probably think it is. I’ll make sure Harriet calls you back.”

    Harriet did call back, and she told Brandon that she was considering several writers to finish the last book of the Wheel of Time and wanted to know if he was interested in being considered. Brandon’s first reaction was to think, “Only Robert Jordan can write this book.” His second thought was, “If somebody else is going to write it, I want it to be me.” Up until this point, Brandon had been worried about who was going to finish the series—as a lot of fans were worrying. Brandon knew that as a fan of the series, he would write it with the needs of the series in mind and not try to take it his own direction.

    TOM DOHERTY

    Tom [at the panel] says that the pick of who to finish the series was Harriet’s pick and no one but her should make it. But in this case he agrees with her choice of Brandon. Harriet told him that Brandon was her first choice for the job.

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  • 15

    Interview: Aug 9th, 2008

    Peter Ahlstrom

    By this time a lot of the questions I gathered from the fans have already been answered just in the course of the discussion; I ask Tom one that’s left. “Will the dedication page at the beginning of A Memory of Light be for Robert Jordan himself, or will there be some sort of tribute to the original author in the book?”

    Brandon Sanderson

    Tom and Brandon both answer that all the previous books were dedicated by Robert Jordan to Harriet, and they’re sure RJ and Harriet wouldn’t have it any other way for this book. However, Tom says there could be something like an explanatory introduction written by Harriet. We’ll see.

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  • 16

    Interview: Aug 9th, 2008

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Another fan question for Brandon: The partial first draft (approximately 25%) that he’s going to send to Harriet, will the prologue be included in that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon says yes. He isn’t quite ready to send the partial draft to Harriet, but when he does send it, it will include the prologue. He did already send a single chapter of his writing of A Memory of Light to Harriet, so she’s seen some of what he’s doing with it—Moshe, who is Brandon’s usual editor for all his other Tor books, says that he has read that chapter and was impressed how much the writing to him did not sound like Brandon’s other books; he says that Brandon has really been able to adapt his style. Tom then complains that he hasn’t seen the chapter yet; “I have to wait like the rest of you!” he says to the crowd. Brandon mentions that when Jim Rigney wrote a Wheel of Time book, each book would be in a very complete and polished state before he gave it to Harriet. Brandon, however, knows that he needs Harriet’s input much earlier in the process than Jim would have—if there’s anything Brandon is doing wrong, he needs Harriet to point it out so he can fix it. For example, the feel of the characters, or if he’s not being descriptive enough—but Brandon has in the past tended to write rather rough first drafts for his own books, so he really needs to go back and polish even the first draft up before he shows it to Harriet.

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  • 17

    Interview: Aug 9th, 2008

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Someone from the audience asks about a box set release after the series is done, and Tom, Brandon, and Moshe start joking about offering a bookcase already filled with Wheel of Time books. [They may not be aware that this has actually been done before with other series, such as Naruto.]

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  • 18

    Interview: Aug 9th, 2008

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon does read the FAQs collected in various places throughout the internet, and they’re very helpful, though Maria, Alan, and Harriet are the best resource. “So far there have been no chapter-long baths,” Brandon says. [Though at this point I can only guess what that comment was in response to.] There are many mysteries explained in the notes, and some are specifically labeled as not to be revealed in the books. Some character relationships will also go unresolved. Just because the books get all written doesn’t mean the characters’ lives and problems don’t continue on. The Wheel of Time turns. However, Tom mentions at this point that the planned Mat–Tuon trilogy to follow the series was already under contract.

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  • 19

    Interview: Mar 30th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    All right, now that the press release is out, let's talk about some things. I like to be transparent with my readers, whenever possible, and I feel it's time to let you in more fully on what has been happening this last year.

    Pull up a chair. Get some hot cocoa. This is going to take a while. I'm a fantasy author. We have trouble with the concept of brevity.

    In order to explain to you how this book came to be split as it did, I want to step you through some events of the last sixteen months. That way, you can see what led us up to making the decisions we did. You might still disagree with those decisions (many of you will.) But at least you'll understand the rationale behind them.

    Before we start, however, let me explain that I only saw one piece of what was going on. As I've stated before, Harriet and Tom are the ones making decisions when it comes to publication issues. I've deferred to them. My input has by no means been ignored, but often I was so focused on the book that I didn't have the time or energy to do more than say "Harriet, I trust your decision. Go with what you feel is best." Therefore, some of what I say may be distorted through my own lens. I don't have the whole story, but I think I've got most of it.

    Let's hop back to November of 2007. That's the month where I'd discovered for certain that I'd be the one finishing THE WHEEL OF TIME. I was excited, nervous, and daunted all at the same time—but today's blog post isn't about that aspect of the experience. Perhaps I'll have a chance to write more about it later.

    The first discussion of length came in late November, early December during the contract negotiations for A Memory of Light. I say negotiations, though those 'negotiations' were really nothing more than Harriet's agents saying "Here's what we offer." And me saying to my agent "Sounds good. Say yes." I wasn't about to let the chance to work on this book slip away.

    The contract stipulated that I was to provide a completed work which (including Mr. Jordan's written sections) was to be at least 200,000 words long. This sort of length provision isn't uncommon in contracts; it's there to make certain neither author nor publisher are surprised by the other's expectations. It's generally a ballpark figure, very flexible. I hadn't seen any of the materials for A Memory of Light at that point, so I essentially signed blind, saying yes to produce something "At least 200,000 words" in length.

    I'm not sure what Harriet was expecting at that point for length. She was still coping with Mr. Jordan's death, and was focused on finding someone to complete A Memory of Light so that she could rest easier, knowing that it was being worked on. Remember, this was just months after Mr. Jordan passed away. I honestly don't think she was thinking about length or—really—anything other than making certain the book was in the right hands. She left it to my decision how to proceed once I was given the materials.

    Around January or February, I posted on my blog that I was shooting for a 200k minimum. This surprised a lot of people, as 200k would not only have made A Memory of Light the shortest Wheel of Time book other than the prequel, it seemed a very small space in which to tie up the huge number of loose ends in the book. I wasn't focused on that at the moment; I was just passing along my thoughts on a minimum length. I think that I, at the time, hoped that we could do the book in around 250k. That was naive of me, but I honestly didn't want to drag this on for years and years. I wanted to get the readers the book they'd been waiting for as soon as possible.

    At that point, I started reading through the series again. I did this with the notes and materials for the final book at hand, taking notes myself of what plotlines needed to be closed, which viewpoints needed resolution. The read-through took me until March of 2008. As I progressed through the series, I began to grasp the daunting nature of this book. How much there was to do, how many plotlines needed to be brought back together, the WEIGHT of it all was enormous.

    April 2008. I had to make a decision. I realized that the book would be impossible to do in 200k. I'd begun to say on my blog that it would be at least 400k, but even that seemed a stretch. I looked over the outlines, both mine and Mr. Jordan's. I stared at them for a long time, thinking about the book. And this is where the first decision came in. Did I try to cram it into 400k? Or did I let it burgeon larger?

    To get this into one book, I'd need to railroad the story from climax to climax. I'd have to ignore a lot of the smaller characters—and even some aspects of the larger characters. I just couldn't justify that. It wouldn't do the story justice. I cringed to consider what I would have to cut or ignore.

    Perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps readers would have preferred a single, condensed volume so that they at least knew what happened. But I just couldn't do it. The Wheel of Time deserved better.

    This was not an easy choice. I knew it would anger some readers. I knew it would take a lot of time, and I would end up dedicating a great deal more of my life (and my family's life) to the Wheel of Time than I'd initially anticipated. At the very least, I was contemplating writing a book three to four times the length of the initial contract—essentially, doing four times the work for the exact same pay.

    But this had never been about the pay for me. I'd been put in charge of this project. I wanted to do what I felt Mr. Jordan would have done. I felt, and feel, a debt to him for what he did with this series. He had promised readers a big, big book—not big for big's sake, but big because there was so much to do, so much to tie up. I decided that I would do whatever the story demanded, no matter how many words it would require, no matter how mad it made people. I would not artificially inflate the book—but I would treat each character, even the minor characters, with care and consideration.

    I flew to Charleston that month and outlined my feelings on the various outlines for the different characters. The Charleston camp was cautiously enthusiastic; I don't know if they realized just how much work this would all take. I'm not sure if I even told them how many words I was starting to feel it would be. At this point, Harriet was pretty much letting me call the shots when it came to the actual drafting of the novel. Harriet is an editor; she works best when I provide material to her, then she works her magic to turn it from good to excellent. That meant I was in charge of getting material to her as I saw fit, then she would tell me if I was on target or needed to try again.

    I had already set the progress bar at 400k words on my website. I started writing in earnest, and also started warning people that the book was likely going to run longer than my initial estimate. Perhaps much longer. Soon, I was saying 750k.

    By this point, I'd already warned Tom and Harriet that I saw the length being very large, but I hadn't told Tom the 700-800k number. When I'd mentioned 400k to him once, he'd been wary. He explained to me that he felt 400k was unprintably large in today's publishing market. Things have changed since the 90's, and booksellers are increasingly frustrated with the fantasy genre, which tends to take up a lot of shelf space with very few books. There is constant pressure from the big chain bookstores to keep things smaller and thinner. When I'd turned in Mistborn 2 (revised and already trimmed) at 250k, production and marketing had nearly had a fit, complaining that the book would cost more to print than it would make. Tom approved the publication of the book anyway. (And fortunately we managed to fit it into enough pages—and sell enough copies—that it was still profitable.)

    Anyway, Tom implied that 400k was what he saw as a cut off for length. Anything 300-350 could be one book, anything over 350 should be cut. (That's me guessing on things he said; he never gave those hardfast numbers, and I know there was probably some flexibility.) Anyway, Tom—like Harriet—wanted to wait and see what I was able to produce first. At this point, it was too early to begin talk of cutting the book. I'd barely written any of it.

    I wrote all summer, and the next point of interest comes at Worldcon. Tom and I were on a panel together, talking about A Memory of Light. I noted that (by that point) I had around 250k written. He said something like "Ah, so you're almost done!" I looked chagrined and said "Actually, I feel that I'm only about 1/3 of the way there, Tom." He blinked, shocked, and then laughed a full bellied laugh. "It's happening again!" he exclaimed. "Jim sold me one book that somehow became three, and now it's happening again!"

    Well, that was the first hint I had that this might be three books instead of two. I started to lobby Harriet subtly, pointing out that previous Wheel of Time books had been 380k, and perhaps that would be a good length for each Volume of A Memory of Light, if it was cut. I also indicated that I felt it would be really nice to keep volumes of the book published close together if, indeed, the book had to be split.

    What I didn't realize was just how taxing this process was going to be. There's only so much one person can write in a year. Before working on A Memory of Light, my average wordcount for a year was around 300k. One 200k epic fantasy, then 50-100k on other projects. During 2008 I wrote over 400k—fully a third more than usual, and that was done with three months of my working time spent re-reading and taking notes on the Wheel of Time series. (Yes, it was easier because of materials left by Mr. Jordan. However, that was offset by the need to become an expert on thousands of characters, places, themes, and worldbuilding elements. All in all, even with outlines, notes, and written materials Mr. Jordan left, I'd say this was the most difficult 400k I've ever written.)

    By December, after my book tour, I was pushing hard to even get 400k done. I still had this phantom hope that somehow, I'd be able to spend January, February, and March writing harder than I'd ever written before and somehow get to 750k by the March deadline that Tom had said was about the latest he could put a book into production and still have it out for the holidays.

    In January, Tom called Harriet and they talked. At this point, I'd hit my 400k goal, and I knew that I was only about halfway done. (If even that far along.) Very little of that 400k had been revised or drafted. Tom and Harriet chatted, and several things came up. One of the most dominating points was this: it had been four years since the fans had been given Knife of Dreams. Tom felt that we NEEDED to provide them a book in 2009. They couldn't wait until I finished the entire volume to publish something.

    Harriet called me and I finally agreed that I needed to stop work on writing new material. It was time to begin revising. That was, essentially, the decision to split the book. And I wasn't certain that we could simply print the 400k that I had written. There were scenes all over the place, and if we printed that portion as-is, it would cut off right in the middle of several plot arcs. The book just wouldn't be any fun to read. Beyond that, editing 400k would take too much time to have it done by April.

    This is the second big decision. Perhaps you would have chosen differently. But let me outline the options as I see them. Pretend you're Tom Doherty or Harriet in January 2009, making the call on how to publish the book.

    1) You can decide not to print anything until the entire novel is finished. That means letting Brandon write until the end, then revising the entire thing at once, followed by printing the book (either as one enormous volume or several chunks, released in quick succession.) Last summer and fall, this was what I was hoping we'd be able to do.

    If you make this choice, the readers don't get a book in 2009. You're not sure when they'll get a book. Brandon took a year to write 400k words, and feels that he's around halfway done.

    So, if you choose this option, let's say Brandon writes all 2009, delivers you a rough draft of a full, 800k book in 2010. 800k words would take roughly eight months to edit and revise. Production would take another eight months or so. (Minimum.) You'd be looking at releasing the book somewhere in summer 2011. Perhaps one volume in June and another in August.

    2) You could publish the 400k as they are done right now. If you do this, the readers do not get a book in 2009. 400k would take roughly four months to revise (and that's rushing it), and you'd have to put the novel into production with a January or February 2010 release date. That's not too far off the November 2009 date you'd promised people, so maybe they would be satisfied. But you'd leave them with a story that literally cut off right in the middle of several plotlines, and which did not have tied up resolutions.

    In this scenario, Brandon writes all through 2009, turns in the second half sometime around April or May 2010. It takes roughly four months to edit and revise that portion, and you're looking at a summer 2011 release for the second half. Maybe spring 2011. (This way, you get the whole thing to the readers a little bit faster than the other option because you have the luxury of putting one half through production while Brandon is writing the second half.)

    However, in this scenario, you end up releasing two fractured books, and the bookstores are mad at you for their size. (Which may translate to the bookstores ordering fewer copies, and fans being mad because they can't find copies as easily as they want—this is what happened with Mistborn Two, by the way.). Beyond that, you missed releasing a book in the holiday season, instead putting one in the dead months of early 2010.

    3) You could do what Tom did. You go to Brandon (or, in this case, to Harriet who goes to Brandon) and you say "You have 400k words. Is there a division point in there somewhere that you can cut the book and give us a novel with a strong climax and a natural story arc?"

    I spent a few days in January looking over the material, and came to Tom and Harriet with a proposal. I had what I felt would make the best book possible, divided in a certain way, which came out to be around 275,000 words. It had several strong character arcs, it told a very good story, and it closed several important plot threads. I felt it would be an excellent book.

    Now, this was longer than they'd wanted. They'd hoped I'd find them a cutting point at the 225k mark. But I didn't feel good about any cuts earlier than 275. In fact, I later took that 275,000 word book and I added an extra 25k in scenes (one's I'd been planning to write anyway, but decided would work better here in this chunk) in order to fill it out and make of it the most solid novel possible. Right now, the book sits at about 301,000 words—though that will fluctuate as I trim out some excess language here and there. I suspect the final product will be right around 300,000k words.

    Now, let's assume you made this decision, just as Tom did. This is the ONLY case in which you get to keep your promise to the Wheel of Time readers and deliver a book in 2009. (Though, it took a LOT of work to get it ready. I've been pulling 14-16 hour days six days a week for the last three months.) In this scenario, you get to deliver them a solid book, rather than a fractured one.

    But you are also splitting a book that Robert Jordan intended to be one book. (Tom and Harriet both have said they don't think he could have done it, or would have done it, given the chance.) A bigger problem is that you're releasing a book without knowing when you'll be able to release the next section. You aren't certain what to tell people when they ask how large a gap there will be between the books; it will depend on how long the next chunk is and when Brandon can finish it. (Plus, Brandon keeps increasing the final estimate, which—now that I've added some material to this book—indicates that the final product will easily be over 800k.)

    So . . . how big will the gap be? Well, the honest truth is that I don't know. Tom has been telling other publishers and retailers that November 2009, 2010, 2011 seems like a safe bet. But that's just an estimate, erring on the side of caution. I'm pretty certain that we have to divide the book in three parts because of where I chose to make the split. There will be another good split at around the 600k mark.

    If I had the next 300k or so done already, it would take me 4 months to revise it at the shortest. I feel that the next chunk is going to need a lot more revision than this one did. Partially because I cut into the 450k completed portion with the hacksaw and pulled out 275k. What's left over is ragged and in need of a lot of work. I'd say five months of revisions is more likely. So, if it were all done, we'd have the second book coming out five months after the first.

    But it's not all done. It's around halfway done. I've got a lot of writing left to do—four to six months worth, I'd guess. By these estimates, we'll have another book ready to go to press, then, in February next year. That means a fall 2010 release. And if things continue as they have, the third book (none of which is written right now) would come out summer 2011 at the earliest.

    And I guess that's what I'm trying to show you with all of this: No matter how the book is split, cut, or divided, the last portion wouldn't come out until 2011. Why? It goes back to that first decision I made, the one to write the book the length I felt it needed to be. And so, it's not the greedy publisher, stringing you along that is keeping you from reading the ending. It's not the fault of production taking a long time. The blame rests on me.

    I am writing this book long. I'm writing it VERY long. Most books in most genres are around 100k long. I'm shooting for eight times that length. And one person can only produce so much material, particularly on a project like this. Writing this book, keeping all of these plot threads and characters straight, is like juggling boulders. It's hard, hard work.

    You're getting a book this year. You'll get one next year. You'll get one the year after that. I don't know which months in 2010 or 2011 the books will come out. You can keep hope they'll be sooner, but you might want to listen to Tom's November, November estimate, as I feel it's the absolute latest you'd see the books.

    I know some of you will be mad that it is getting split; I feel for you, and I hope to be able to persuade Tor and Harriet to publish a special edition omnibus some day. But . . . well, they're both convinced that it will be too long for that. I'm not going to fight for it right now; I'll wait until the books come out.

    I will continue to fight to get the books released as quickly as is reasonable. But I have to write them first. You've been able to watch my progress bar; you know that I'm working and the book is getting written. I'm not going on vacations and living it up. I'm working. Hard. Sixty, seventy, sometimes eighty hour weeks.

    I won't make you wait an undue amount of time. But please understand that some of the things you want are mutually exclusive. You want a high quality book that is of an enormous length published quickly. Get me a time machine and I'll see what I can do.

    George Martin and Patrick Rothfuss have both spoken on this topic already, and both did it quite eloquently. Books, as opposed to a lot of other forms of mass media, are unique in that they rest solely on the production capabilities of one single person. A good day of writing for a lot of authors is about 1,000 words. And you're lucky to get 200 days of writing in a year, with all of the other demands (edits, copyedits, book tours, publicity events, school visits, etc.) that come your way. I tend to scale higher than the average, partially (I think) because of all those years I spent unpublished getting into the habit of constantly writing new books.

    But even I can only do so much. We'll get these books to you. At the slowest, they will be November, November, November—meaning that they all come out in the space of two years. Perhaps it will be faster. If we can do them more quickly, and keep the quality up, I will continue to advocate for that. But I honestly don't know if I can do another two years like these last sixteen months. I'm exhausted. I've pushed very, very hard to get you a book in 2009 because you've been waiting so long. But I can't promise that I'll be able to keep the same schedule. Plus, I do have other commitments, contracts signed to other publishers, fans of other writings of mine who cannot be ignored. I'll need to write another Alcatraz book this year sometime. And I will have to do revisions on The Way of Kings, which I've stayed pretty quiet about. I'm planning to do these things during down time on A Memory of Light, when waiting for revision notes or the like. But I also can't afford to get burned out on The Wheel of Time. You deserve better than that.

    Now, some words about titles. Where did The Gathering Storm come from? Well, in January where it was decided to split the book, I continued to advocate for something that would indicate that this was ONE book, split into three parts. (I still see it that way.) And so, I suggested that they all be named A Memory of Light with subtitles. I love the title A Memory of Light; I think it's poetic and appropriate. Plus, it was Mr. Jordan's title for the book. That alone is good enough reason to keep it.

    And so, I suggested smaller, shorter, more generic sub-titles for each of the parts. With a long, evocative title like A Memory of Light as the supertitle, the subtitles needed to be shorter and more basic, as to not draw attention. The first of these was named Gathering Clouds by Maria's suggestion. Book two would be Shifting Winds, book three Tarmon Gai'don, all with the supertitle of A Memory of Light.

    We proceeded with that as our plan for several months. And then, suddenly, Tom got word from marketing that the titles needed to change. The bookstores didn't like them. (You'll find that the bookstores control a lot in publishing. You'd be surprised at how often the decisions are made because of what they want.) In this case, the bookstores worried that having three books titled A Memory of Light would be too confusing for the computer system and the people doing the reordering. They asked for the supertitle to be cut, leaving us with the title Gathering Clouds.

    I shot off an email to Harriet, explaining that I never intended that title to be the one that carried the book. It was too generic, too basic. She went to Tom with some suggestions for alternates, and The Gathering Storm was what they decided. This all happened in a matter of hours, most of it occurring before I got up in the morning. (I sent her an email at night, then by the time I rose, they'd made the decision out on the east coast.) Some materials had already gone out as Gathering Clouds, and I wonder if The Gathering Storm was chosen because it was similar. I know it was the one out of those suggested by Harriet that Tom liked the most. It's somewhat standard, but also safe.

    That title swap came at me rather fast. I plan to be ready for the next one, so hopefully we'll have the time to produce something a little more evocative. I don't mind The Gathering Storm, but I do realize that it is one of the more bland Wheel of Time titles. (My favorite title, by the way, is Crossroads of Twilight.)

    I think that brings you all up to speed. The question many of you are probably wondering now is "What did you decide to put in this book, and what did you decide to hold off until the next one?" I can't answer that yet—perhaps when the time gets closer, I'll be able to hint at what was included and what was saved. But know that I believe strongly in the place where the cut was made, and I love how the final product has turned out.

    I also want to mention that one of my main goals in division was to make certain that most (if not all) of the major characters had screen time. Some have more than others, but almost everyone has at least a couple of chapters. (In other words, it wasn't cut like A Feast for Crows/A Dance with Dragons with half the viewpoints in one and half in the other.) However, some of the important things you are waiting for had—by necessity—to be reserved for the second book.

    I'm almost done with the revisions on the first part. I expect to start writing new material for part two sometime in April. The progress bar will inch forward again when that happens.

    Anyway, that's the story of how this all came to be. I don't expect you all to be happy with the choices we've made, but I do want you to understand where we are coming from. I have to trust my instincts as a writer. They are what got me here, they are what made Harriet choose me to work on this book, and it would be a mistake for me to ignore them now.

    Those instincts say that we've made the best choices, and I think The Gathering Storm will vindicate those choices. So, if possible, I ask you to hold back on some of your worry and/or anger until you at least read the book this November. As always, the work itself is the best argument for why I do what I do.

    Brandon Sanderson

    March, 2009.

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  • 20

    Interview: May 7th, 2009

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, that's it, right? I think I've talked about everything. Now, some of you may be wondering what this means. Is there going to be no solo Brandon Sanderson book released in 2010?

    Well, maybe.

    As early as last summer, Tom Doherty began asking me if there was any way I could get Tor a novel for a 2010 release. He doesn't like going years without releases, and he worried that my readers would feel dropped in favor of the Wheel of Time readers. Plus, he really wants to see something more from me.

    When he first mentioned it, I laughed. He was asking me, essentially, to finish the entire Wheel of Time book by spring of 2009, then write him a solo book by fall 2009. Even then, I knew it wasn't going to happen. A Memory of Light was too big a project.

    However, now that A Memory of Light has been split, Tom has asked more and more often about getting a Brandon Sanderson solo book to release between the WoT books. He's very worried about there being a period of three years during which I don't release anything of my own. And so, with his questions, he got me thinking. Was there anything I would feel comfortable releasing? Liar turned out poorly, Scibbler isn't epic enough, Warbreaker 2 isn't written. What else is there?

    The answer was simple. The Way of Kings.

    The Way of Kings was the book I had just finished when I first got offered a book deal for Elantris. I originally signed a deal for Elantris and for Kings. (And because of that, you can still find an Amazon entry for Kings—which has some amusing reviews posted by readers with too much time on their hands. Note that the book was never released, so these are all just made-up amusing reviews.)

    Yes, the original contract was for Kings—but I decided that Kings needed to be put off. Kings is a great book, perhaps the best I've ever written. But it just didn't FEEL right to release after Elantris. The Way of Kings is a massive war epic of legends, mythology, and magical revolution. It's intricate, complex, and was a bit daunting for me when I thought about readying it for publication. Just to give you an idea, Mistborn has three magic systems, Kings has well over twenty. Mistborn has six main viewpoint characters across the trilogy; Kings has dozens. I wrote about 30k of background material for Mistborn. Background material for Kings is over 300k.

    Difference in scope is only one of the reasons Kings wasn't the right follow-up to Elantris. After a stand-alone novel, I felt that I wanted to publish a trilogy, perhaps two, before I offered my readers the first of a big, multi-volume epic. I also worried that the initial draft of Kings just wasn't good enough—because my skill wasn't up to making it good enough.

    Working on the WHEEL OF TIME has forced me to grow immensely as a writer, however. Over the last year, the more I thought about it, the more I itched to dive in and do a revision of The Way of Kings. If I could effectively use all I've learned, I might be able to make the book become what I want it to be. And so, I told Tom about Kings, and he eagerly offered me a new contract for it. I've warned him that it might not be ready in time to come out next year, but I'm going to give it a try.

    Kings needs a solid rewrite. I've been tweaking it over the years, worldbuilding the setting and so forth. I've been planning, working on, and revising this book for eight years. I think that if I do a rewrite now with my current writing abilities, it would turn out very, very well.

    Maybe.

    The thing is, I can't be certain. Maybe it won't work as I want. Maybe I will just have too many things on my mind. Maybe I'm not up to doing this book yet. But, because of the pleading of Tom, my readers, and (most importantly) my own heart, I'm going to give it a try.

    As I said above, writing and revising take different parts of the brain. I can only write new material for a certain number of hours a day, usually around four or six. But I can revise all day long. Perhaps it's the difference between mental heavy lifting and mental long-distance running. Either way, in order to give this a try, I've hired a full-time assistant, Peter Ahlstrom, to do all the things in a day that normally take my time away from writing/revising. Usually, when I'm not revising, the 'non-writing' hours of the day are spent doing all kinds of tasks associated with being self-employed. Peter is going to be handling all of this, theoretically freeing up a few hours each day during which I can revise The Way of Kings.

    This will not take my time away from writing Shifting Winds. If it starts to look like it will delay that book, I will stop working on Kings—not because of any criticism I may get from readers, but because I feel a debt to Mr. Jordan and this project I have agreed to do. I like to keep my promises.

    I explain all this because I want you WoT readers to understand that I do have a life beyond the Wheel of Time. I have obligations, both to publishers and to myself. I feel very strongly that the time has come for me to show readers what I've been working on behind the scenes for many years. And so, on my blog I will spend time talking about projects other than the WHEEL OF TIME.

    I like to be open. I like you to be able to see what I'm doing, and so I feel I should be up-front with you about what I plan. I've shelved a lot of books for THE WHEEL OF TIME, and rightly so. But there are two projects I WILL be spending time on this year—Alcatraz 4 and The Way of Kings. I plan to add progress bars for each of them, and link the titles here so those who come to my site later can read this explanation.

    Sorry to be long winded . . . again. Occupational hazard.

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  • 21

    Interview: 2011

    Patrick Rothfuss

    Okay. Let me just jump right in here with a question. How long was Way of Kings? I heard a rumor that the ARC I read was 400,000 words long. It didn't really feel like it...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Let me see. I will open it right now and word count it, so you have an exact number. It's 386,470 words, though the version you read was an advance manuscript, before I did my final 10% tightening draft, which was 423,557 words.

    I didn't really want it to be that long. At that length we're running into problems with foreign publishers having to split it and all sorts of issues with making the paperback have enough space. I didn't set out to write a thousand-page, 400,000-word book. It's just what the novel demanded.

    Patrick Rothfuss

    Wise Man's Fear ended up being 395,000 words. And that's despite the fact that I've been pruning it back at every opportunity for more than a year. I'd spend weeks trimming superfluous words and phrases, extra lines of dialogue, slightly redundant description until the book was 12,000 words shorter.

    Then a month later I'd realize I needed to add a scene to bring better resolution to a plot line. Then I'd add a couple paragraphs to clarify some some character interaction. Then I'd expand an action scene to improve tension. Suddenly the book's 8,000 words longer again.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, that's exactly how it goes.

    It's very rare that I'm able to cut entire scenes. If I can cut entire scenes that means there's something fundamentally not working with the sequence and I usually end up tossing the whole thing and rewriting it. But trimming, or pruning as you described it, works very well with my fiction.

    I can usually cut fifteen percent off just by nurturing the text, pruning it, looking for the extraneous words and phrases. But I wonder if in doing that there's a tendency to compensate. There's a concept in dieting that if someone starts working out really hard, they start to say, "Well, that means I can now eat more," and you'll find people compensating for the extra calorie loss by eating more because they feel they can. I wonder if we do that with our fiction. I mean, I will get done with this big long trim and I'll say, "Great, now I have the space to do this extra thing that I really think the story needs," and then the story ends up going back to just as long.

    Though at least in my case I can blame my editor too. He's very good with helping me with line edits, but where we perhaps fuel each other in the wrong way is that he'll say, "Ooh, it'd be awesome if you add this," or "This scene needs this," or "Can you explain this?" And I say, "Yes! I can explain that. I'd love to!" And then of course the book gets longer and then we both have to go to Tom Doherty with our eyes downward saying, "Um, the book is really long again, Tom. Sorry."

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  • 22

    Interview: Oct 27th, 2009

    Question

    How do you think working on these books will influence your future books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    That’s a good question...It has had a couple of effects. One thing, partially Harriet’s pushing me on concrete details has helped me a lot. Harriet is very good at that as an editor. She is one of the best editors in the field. I don’t know if you guys are familiar and aware of Harriet’s history. Editors don’t get a lot of fame, it all kind of goes to the authors but she was the first person Tom Doherty hired when he founded Tor, she was his Editorial Director which means she was in charge of all of the editorial side. She edited some of the greatest books in the field over the last thirty years. She edited Ender’s Game for instance. If you have ever read that book, that was brought to us through the efforts of Harriet McDougal, Robert Jordan’s wife, before she even met him (rest of the answer cut off).

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  • 23

    Interview: Nov 7th, 2009

    Domani Lass ()

    After Knife of Dreams came out, Robert Jordan had said he was writing two more prequels...will you [Brandon] do them and what's the status on them now?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There are notes for two prequels, one based around Tam's story, and the other about Moiraine and Lan before they went to the Two Rivers. There are also notes for three additional books, outriggers, which take place in the Wheel of Time world.

    Brandon equates being handed the Wheel of Time series with being handed the One Ring—the longer you hold onto it, the harder it gets to let go. He doesn't want to ruin Robert Jordan's world; Robert Jordan and the series deserve to be allowed to rest. However, Tom Doherty wants them to be written, though the decision is ultimately up to Harriet—if she decides they should be written, he'll do it, but his gut says 'no', they won't be. At this, he was met with an "aaawwww!" from the fans, and nodding, he said that it is with a heavy heart but he feels it would be best. The last he heard, Harriet was leaning towards 'no'. If he does write them though, he feels there should be no more after this, "it would be nice to have a will" so no more can be made. He admitted that this is a half answer, but concluded with "Robert Jordan's legacy is more important."

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  • 24

    Interview: Oct 28th, 2009

    Question

    What is the setup for the prequels?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon responded that he is not sure. He states that he doesn't want it to be an eternal series, and suggests being very careful. He will go with whatever is the will of Harriet. Also possible to do outriggers, again depends on Harriet. There is a chance of both, Tom Doherty wants them both, so in the end it will be up to Harriet and Brandon will go along with whatever she wants and decides on.

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  • 25

    Interview: Nov 9th, 2009

    Old (Peter) Salt

    I also said I got the chance to talk with Tom Doherty. What a treat that was! I get the feeling that parts of Tam al’Thor and Gareth Bryne are modeled after him. A lot of life, very good sense of humor, and it doesn’t seem that anything much bothers him. We got talking about the ‘earlier days’ of Fantasy/SciFi. He’s of an age with me and we reminisced about the likes of the double back to back novels, authors like L. Sprague DeCamp and H. Beam Piper.

    Maria, Tom Doherty, Harriet and Tor staff, Brandon peeking in from the upper right.

    I wish I could say that I got to spend some time with Harriet also but alas as the photographer, I had work to do and time was tight. I can say that the other StormLeaders who did get a chance to talk with her were impressed with her friendliness, dedication and general joy of life.

    Harriet with a few StormLeaders.

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  • 26

    Interview: Apr 30th, 2010

    Richard Fife

    What was the biggest challenge of being your husband's editor?

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    As we got into The Wheel of Time, the biggest challenge was that we were always behind the eight ball as far as delivery dates to New York went. That was one of the biggest challenges, keeping the pressure off of him, and dealing with it myself and getting my work done in double time.

    The other biggest challenge was keeping Tom Doherty from making editorial suggestions to Jim, because every time he did that, poor Jim would be stopped dead in his tracks. He'd lose about a month while he was brooding about that. So eventually, I told Tom, "Just don't, unless you want another late book." And Tom was very good about it once I explained the problem to him, I think. I don't know why it was so difficult for Jim to accept that from Tom, but it was.

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  • 27

    Interview: Apr 28th, 2010

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon then went on to talk about his upcoming novel, The Way of Kings, which is book one of a projected ten in the Stormlight Archive. Brandon explained that, as one would expect, any writer that is developing while reading Jordan would have a grand epic of some sort in the back of his head. The Way of Kings is his. He wrote a first draft of it a while ago. It was a behemoth of a book, and he had initially tried to get it published right after Elantris. His editor was not so sure that would be something he could do, especially as it was a super-ambitious project. So they shelved it and he moved on to Mistborn. But it was still there, waiting.

    After The Gathering Storm was finished, two things happened. The first being that Brandon found he needed a break from The Wheel of Time to rejuvenate. The second was that Tom Doherty (the big boss of Tor) called him and said that they did not have a book from just Brandon Sanderson coming out this year and that he would like one. Brandon tried to protest, but Tom was persistent and said the six words one should probably never tell an author: "You can do whatever you want." So, Brandon rewrote The Way of Kings entirely, using his since-refined skills to tighten it up (some, it is still nearly a thousand pages), and even managed to get Tom to call in an old favor with Michael Whelan to do the cover art.

    Something to be warned of, though. Book Two of the Stormlight Archive is going to be a long time coming. Brandon is going to finish The Wheel of Time first before he goes back to that. He then intends to do two more Stormlight books, then some other single project, then two more, then a single, et cetera and so forth. So be ready for at least a small wait for a sequel to that.

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  • 28

    Interview: Apr 28th, 2010

    Harriet McDougal Rigney

    So, I got Alan and Maria cornered and did a joint interview with them, which was fun. After that, I went to the "What an Editor Does" panel with Harriet and Paul Stevens. Funny thing, Harriet had a slide show she wanted to show, but there was no projector, nor did that have a computer that would easily display it (Alan had a MacBook, but it was a Powerpoint slide show and no one was willing to trust the reader he had). I ran to the front desk and got the projector on its way, and then went up and snagged my laptop. This seemed amazingly fitting, as you can tell from this picture of my laptop's lid. (Yes, that is an older picture of the laptop, but it looks the same now, so shush).

    The panel was really interesting, by the by. Harriet and Paul really took us into the editor side of things, and not just on the "why do they pick this book or that" or the "how we line-edit" processes. No, we got to see the scary worksheets they have to fill out explaining to Tom Doherty and marketing why Tor should buy the book, samples of manuscripts at various stages of production, and even the cover art summary letter that was sent to Darrell Sweet for The Fires of Heaven with some of the subsequent back and forth correspondence (which we are assured is not really all that common nowadays). Some interesting things that were mentioned was how Tor actually expects to take a loss on a brand new author because they are in the business of building writers' careers, not just making a quick buck on a single book. To this end, Tor actually tends to sign even their new authors with multi-book contracts.

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  • 29

    Interview: Apr 22nd, 2009

    Richard Fife

    Day 2: Saturday

    I wake up at six AM (don't ask why, I just did, no alarm), and get ready for the day. I then go down and eat breakfast with Jimmy, our blademaster and con security. From him, I learn that Tom Doherty is giving an interview for the Robert Jordan Documentary soon, and I weasel myself a spot in the room (only non-documentary staff in there) and take a listen. It was a wonderful interview, even with the falling light fixture, and I can say that when it comes out, it will be well worth the watch. I'm all the more glad to have seen this since I missed the pre-screening of other parts of the documentary later in the day.

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  • 30

    Interview: Apr 22nd, 2009

    Richard Fife

    Soon as that was done, it was time to "work" again. I was the gopher for the Rampant Theories Panel, which had Leigh, Matt from TheoryLand, Jakob Remick of theory panels at DragonCon (ack, didn't catch which fan community he is on the most), and Bao Pham (see my description for Jakob). I commend all four on their handling of the frothing-at-the-mouth masses and keeping the discussion focused but at the same time broad. I will also note a big big big thing that was revealed by Tom Doherty, who was sitting in the crowd.

    tom doherty

    BIGGIE! The Seanchan will not be wrapped up by Tarmon Gai'don, and the three "outrigger" novels Robert Jordan wanted to do would be Mat and Tuon going back over to Seanchan and tying that up. And, before you ask, no one has even thought about whether or not Brandon will write those as well, along with Harriet, but in the Team Jordan Panel, it was said that they haven't ruled it out, either. Tom did say he has the contract for these novels already and intends on seeing them safely to our hands.

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  • 31

    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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  • 32

    Interview: Apr 22nd, 2009

    Leigh Butler

    Annnyway. Other stuff in the panel: during the Q&A, someone asked if they planned to release one giant set of the entire series once it was done, which earned a laugh, and Harriet grinned and said they would sell it in "a vintage Louis Vuitton steamer trunk". Naturally, someone in the audience called out that they would totally buy that. Of particular interest was the revelation from Tom that the "outrigger novels" that Jordan had long ago planned to do would have been a trilogy about the Seanchan, with Mat and Tuon going back to her homeland to deal with the fallout there. Which is... really interesting. I'm kind of uncertain about it in practice (I would worry about it being anticlimactic, for one thing), but it's an intriguing idea. (I think a comparable situation, though, would be the Empire Trilogy Raymond Feist wrote with Janny Wurts, which could be considered an "outrigger" series to the Riftwar books. And those turned out to be better than the original series, so...)

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  • 33

    Interview: Jun 7th, 2010

    Richard Fife

    And I know you are working on it very closely with Harriet, Alan, and Maria. What is it like getting the curb-side editing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Normally, I have a lot of alpha readers on my books. These are people that, once I finish a novel, I let them look at it and give me a reader response. In the case of the Wheel of Time books, most of those were not available to me. We have to keep it quite tightly under wraps and not show it to a lot of people. So, it is nice having multiple editors, both in the form of people who directly edit the book such as Harriet, Alan, and Maria, and also people like Tom Doherty, who has given me some good advice. My normal editor, Moshe Feder, did a read through on this book, and my agent did as well. All of them are giving advice.

    I am immediately juggling Alan, Maria, and Harriet's comments. I'd send a chapter in and then be working on the next one, and that chapter would come back three times with three different sets of revisions on it. That got really challenging to juggle. There was one time when I was flying on a plane to an event for Tor, and I had three separate paper sets of a chapter printed out along with electronic commentary by them on the chapters. So, I was juggling four files and three sets of paper on the same pages, trying to get this all inputted and changed. It got . . . well, it was a juggling act.

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  • 34

    Interview: Sep 4th, 2010

    Question

    I heard recently that there were plans for more prequel novels. I was just curious if you were going to work on anything...

    Brandon Sanderson

    A lot of people have asked this question. It's good to speak of it here because a lot of you are probably still wondering this. I get to answer this about once per signing. The short answer is probably not. I will give you the long answer, though. Robert Jordan was very uncomfortable with people writing in his world. You probably all know that. The stories of...people would ask what happens if you die before the series is done? He says, "I will have my hard drive reformatted and all of my notes burned," is what he used to say. He started changing his tune later in his life. And finally started, said "Well I'll have someone finish it," but mostly just said that to Harriet. Anyway, but he was very uncomfortable. I personally don't think there would be anything wrong with doing the prequels or the outriggers since he said he was going to do them, and he signed contracts for them. However, they are a slippery slope. And I've used the metaphor before on tour that working on the Wheel of Time for us has been a little bit like being handed the One Ring. And we are now standing, holding the Ring over the gulf, and the question is when do we let go? And if we hang on too long, we risk undermining the legacy of a very great man and a very great series. And when we've talked about this, the general sentiment seems to be we would rather stop earlier and err on that side than err on going too far.

    Yeah, I mean Tom pretty really wants to see them. You know, it's all going to be up to Harriet. If she makes the call, I will write them. But right now, this is the feeling that pretty much all us of have, and so I have a sense that it's going to be what I say.

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  • 35

    Interview: 2001

    Rochelle O'Gorman

    How long did it take you to formulate the Wheel of Time series before you started the first book? Had you had this ruminating in your mind?

    Robert Jordan

    Extending back to the first clear thought I had that I can say led into the Wheel of Time was maybe 10 years before I began writing. I'm not saying I knew 10 years before I began writing what it was going to be, or that I was actually on to something that would become the Wheel of Time.

    I thought I had a story set in my head, a set of stories, fixed. And when I began writing the Wheel of Time—The Eye of the World in particular—I realized I didn't have as much of it as clear as I thought I did. There were things that I needed to work on. So The Eye of the World took me four years to write. I guess you could say, in a way, it was about 14 years of development to get the thing set.

    Rochelle O'Gorman

    Did you ever think it was going to turn into this epic series?

    Robert Jordan

    No. The story is the same story that I set out to tell. I knew before I began writing what the story was. There were details of how it worked that I didn't have fixed that I thought I knew and suddenly realized I didn't. But, I knew the beginning and the end and the things that I wanted to happen in the middle. I literally could have written the last scene of the last book before I began writing The Eye of the World. The problem has been over-optimism.

    Rochelle O'Gorman

    In what way?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, when I went to the publisher with this at Tor Books and I said, "Look, this isn't a trilogy that I'm talking about. It's going to be four or maybe five books." I said. "It could be six. I don't think so, but it could be." And I really believed that. But the over-optimism has been, "How much of the story can I get into one book?"

    With every book I start out thinking I can get more of the story into this book than I actually turn out to be able to. I suddenly realize that I have to stop here or I'm going to have to write another thousand pages to really make it fit together. Or I realize that I'm going to have to take some things and do them later or I'm going to write a 2,000-page hardback, which they really would have to sell to people with a shoulder strap.

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  • 36

    Interview: 2001

    Rochelle O'Gorman

    How did you end up doing writing the Conan books? You picked up what Robert Howard had done, right?

    Robert Jordan

    When Howard committed suicide he left everything to a woman who had been very good to his mother. Today there is a corporation called Conan Properties, which owns the rights to all the original Conan material, the copyrights and so forth. Now, when the first Conan movie was coming out my publisher bought the rights to do some Conan novels written by other people. At first I said no, and he asked me again and I said no because I was working on something else. Then he asked my wife to ask me.

    Now, at that time she was senior vice-president and editorial director for Tor Books. And she was also my editor on everything Tor published by me. So, the upshot of that was I said I'd do one. And I had fun doing it. So I agreed to do five more, plus the novelization of the second movie. But when I had done that I said, "Well, this has been fun, but good-bye."

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  • 37

    Interview: May 24th, 2004

    Chiara Codecà

    I know that you are working on the eleventh book of the Wheel of Time series, Knife of Dreams.

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, but there’s no way I’ll tell you anything else about it.

    Chiara Codecà

    Tell me something about the prequel, then, New Spring. I know it was originally a short novel you published in 1998.

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, but it’s not an expansion. The novel New Spring is what I wanted to write in the first place, but I realized that Robert Silverberg would get very angry if I’d sent him a 120,000 words to put in his anthology! So I did a lot of cutting and I made it fits into the anthology, but I still had that novel waiting to be written and I wanted to write it because there was a lot to be said that really fits into the rest of the series.

    Even if the prequel has only two storylines while my normal books have four or five storylines there are things that you will not see anywhere else, such as the test for Aes Sedai. You actually see someone take the test for Aes Sedai and you learn how that is done: I have no intention to ever showing it anywhere else.

    Also there are clues in New Spring not only as to why certain people hate each other in the main sequence books, but why certain people die in the main sequence books, and I’m not going to put the evidence anywhere else because I’ve already given it here.

    Chiara Codecà

    That’s why you decided to publish the prequel before the end of the series?

    Robert Jordan

    Well, I decided to published New Spring before going on because my publisher asked me to do it, but in retrospect that was probably a mistake. I shouldn’t have. It won’t happen again, though, I’ll work on the next two prequels only after I’ve finished the main sequence books.

    Chiara Codecà

    And then what will you do? Do you already have another series planned?

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, a much more compacted sequence of books. Set in a different universe, different world, different rules and different cultures. Nothing that will be reminiscent of The Eye of the World or The Wheel of Time at all.

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  • 38

    Interview: May 18th, 2002

    Robert Jordan

    The idea for the "short" novels came about because of a comment I made to Tom Doherty concerning the writing of New Spring. I almost always find that my initial plans for what to put into a story are too ambitious, and if I had followed the initial guidelines I set up for New Spring, it would have been somewhere between half again and twice as long, much too long to have fit Legends. Very early in the writing, I decided to cut down some of the storylines and alter others to make them shorter. Tom's idea was that I should, in effect, restore the cuts, though it will be more complex than that because I never wrote them in the first place. I had long ago promised Tom that I would do another novella-length or longer story, and it was when he reminded me of that that this came up.

    New Spring, of course, concerns events around the time of the birth of Rand al'Thor, with the "program" launched by the Black Ajah against men who might be able to channel (and the resulting deaths of many senior Aes Sedai, which in turn led to many Aes Sedai reaching positions of authority at younger ages that normally would have been expected) in the background, and the whole wrapped around the first meetings of Lan and Moiraine and the revelations of how someone as junior as Moiraine became part of the search for the Dragon Reborn and why Lan gave up his personal war against the Blight to become Moiraine's Warder. The framework of the other two stories I have in mind center around, first, Tam finding the infant and how and why a man who had risen to a position of some authority and responsibility as a soldier in the elite Companions threw that over to return to his childhood home and become a farmer, and second, around how and why Moiraine and Lan reached the Two Rivers just at the point that the Shadow's search for the young man who would become the Dragon Reborn had also focused in on the Two Rivers. There are some clues to events in those time frames in the larger books, though certainly not indications of everything that will be in those stories. That is, somebody might be able to pick up a few clues by close reading and study, but not the whole picture.

    These three short novels will be spaced out between the larger novels, with (knock wood) the revised New Spring coming out some time late next year.

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  • 39

    Interview: Jul, 2009

    timee1989

    Will you also work on the other two prequels?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It would be almost as hard to let someone else do it as it would be to let them do a Mistborn book. But Harriet and Tor seem more interested in the Outriggers right now. We’ll see.

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  • 40

    Interview: May, 2009

    Question

    And I know this is actually going to be not one final book, but three. And why is that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes, three. The split was decided by Tom, the publisher, and Harriet, who's not only Robert Jordan's wife but his editor for many years. They met before...you know, they got married because of the books, so she's been editing him for many many, years. Robert Jordan had been saying that this book would be big. He'd been saying it would be huge. In fact, he jokingly said they're going to have to sell carts to carry it on when you walk out of the store—it was going to be that big. We're looking at a book that was probably planned at eight hundred, nine hundred thousand words. Which, to give you relevance, a lot of books are around a hundred thousand words. That's a good normal size for many genres. Wheel of Time books, average is about three hundred thousand words. And we're talking about an outline for a nine hundred thousand word novel.

    And I tried to write it as one. In fact, my goal was: I approached this as one novel, that's what he wanted, and I sat down and started writing. But the shear scope of that nine hundred thousand words—three times as long as a regular Wheel of Time book—was so large. And Tom Doherty started warning me pretty early, "Look, I know Jim said that this was going to be one book, but I'm telling you what I would have told him, that it's just not feasible to be publishing it as one book." Tom seriously believes that even Robert Jordan—even if he'd been around, it would have been three books.

    Tom tells the story...he loves to talk about these things. Robert Jordan came in and pitched a trilogy to him. The Wheel of Time was supposed to be three books. Well, it's now been eleven books and a prequel, and a lot of times the scope of this thing, it takes a lot of work. And I don't want to cut any corners. I don't want to just slap together an ending. I want to give it the time it deserves, and the characters are all over the place, and they're slowly working back together for this conclusion, but it just wasn't right to try and just ram it together like that.

    So I was going to write it the length that he was planning to write it. I'm still writing it the length that he was planning to write it. I'm not expanding it. I'm not contracting it. I'm writing it that length. And the realities of the publishing industry are that it needs to be three books at that length. I'm still hoping to convince people to publish it as a one-volume nice hardcover omnibus at the end, but that may be unfeasible. Tom keeps saying, "Boy, I just don't know if that's possible, Brandon." So, we'll wait and see. I'm going to keep pushing for it. But for right now, it is one book in my head, but it is going to be released in three volumes, hopefully fairly quickly.

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  • 41

    Interview: Dec 8th, 2007

    Jason Denzel

    How did you first get involved in this project? Were you approached by Tor and/or Harriet, or did you dust off your resume and send it to them for consideration?

    Brandon Sanderson

    When I heard that Mr. Jordan had passed away, I was deeply saddened. Like everyone else, I was waiting for the final book—and last I had heard, he was doing better and was confident that he'd be able to pull through.

    After I got over the shock of his death, I did think "Wow. I wish I could help out on this project somehow." I loved the books, and if someone was going to be involved in finishing the series, I wanted to be there. However, I didn't feel it was appropriate to solicit work on it. There are a couple of reasons why.

    1) I figured that Harriet, Tom, and the people at Tor would be busy grieving as I was, and it just didn't feel right to me to respond to Mr. Jordan's death with a play for the series. As I noted in the essay I wrote about his passing, with Mr. Jordan's death, the fantasy community suddenly changed. There would be time for thinking about the final book later. For now, it was time to think about what this man had meant to the genre and its readers.
    2) I assumed that there was a good chance someone had already been chosen to work on the project. I trusted that Harriet and Tom Doherty knew what they were doing, and would see that the book got written in good time.

    So, I didn't send in a request—or even a question—about the future of The Wheel of Time. I was dumbfounded and honored when—a month or so after the death—Harriet called me on the phone to inquire if I was interested. I got the impression that she was calling several authors (I don't know how many) and making sure that they were willing before she invested the time in reading their work.

    About a month later (this would be around mid November) she called me again and said that she had been touched by the writing of Mistborn, and had decided she wanted me for the project immediately. However, she'd made certain to take time and think about the decision before offering it to me officially. At that time, she made the offer—and I accepted. (With great excitement.)

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  • 42

    Interview: Mar 5th, 2010

    Brandon Sanderson

    They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. I’ve always wondered who “They” are, and if—by chance—they’ve never heard of Michael Whelan. Because my experience in life has been very different.

    It’s been almost twenty years now since I first discovered Michael’s work. I was fourteen when it happened, and I was not a reader. I’d been handed a succession of novels about young boys living in the wilderness and taking care of their pet dogs. (Which would die by the end of the book.) I disliked reading with a passion. So, when my eighth-grade teacher assigned me to do a book report, I did everything I could to get out of it.

    That failed. In fact, it failed so solidly that the teacher—unwilling to let me choose my own book to read, for fear I’d choose something not up my reading level—steered me to the back of the room, where she kept a group of ratty paperbacks to loan out to students. You probably know the type—ripped, stained by spaghetti sauce from cafeteria lunches, pages folded and worn. I was told I had to read one of these and had to do a book report on them—and she’d read them all, so she’d know if I tried to fake it.

    Sullen and annoyed, I began to sift through the books. Most looked terrible. I resigned myself to another dead dog story, but then one of the books actually caught my eye. It had this vivid painting of a dragon standing in the mists, a woman held limply in its hand. Dragonsbane, by Barbara Hambly. The painting was so beautiful, so realistic yet imaginative, that I snatched it up, actually a little eager to look through the pages. I ended up taking it home with me.

    I read that book in one day. It wasn’t like anything I’d ever tried reading before. (I had never been introduced to fantasy novels.) Dragonsbane was amazing, challenging, imaginative, gripping, and beautiful all wrapped up in one. I remember a severe bout of disappointment upon finishing the book because I thought surely there couldn’t be anything else like it in the entire world.

    Still, hopeful, I visited the school library the next day. I looked through the card catalog, and picked the next book—alphabetically by title—after Dragonsbane. It was called Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey. I went and pulled it out, and was once again captivated by the cover. I took it home and read it.

    My life changed. Now, we throw around sentences like that in writing, using them over and over again until they become as worn as the shoes of a traveling salesman—hardly capable of holding meaning any longer. But let me say it again. My life changed.

    I devoured every Anne McCaffrey book in the school library. Suddenly, what I’d discovered in Dragonsbane wasn’t a single, freak event. There was a pattern. If two authors could do this, perhaps there were others. Hungry for more, I went to the bookstore and discovered there was an entire fantasy genre.

    There were so many books. Which to choose? Dragons had treated me well so far, so I looked for some dragon books. And there, right on the shelf, was a beautiful book called Dragon Prince. I consumed it, and then everything else Melanie Rawn was writing.

    What do these books all share? It wasn’t just the dragons; it was the covers. Each time, there was something dramatic and special about them. I now own prints of Dragonsbane and several of Melanie’s covers. All were painted by Michael Whelan.

    By the time Tad Williams’ Dragonbone Chair came out, I could recognize Michael’s art on sight. And I also knew to trust it. It didn’t seem logical—you really shouldn’t be able to judge a book by its cover. But a Whelan cover became a seal of approval to me, a sign that the publisher trusted the book so much that they got the best person available to do the cover.

    I can’t tell you all of the authors Whelan’s art led me to over the years: Patricia Mckillip, Joan D. Vinge, Stephen Donaldson, and even Asimov. (Yes, you read that right. I first picked up Asimov because Whelan had done the new Foundation covers.)

    I remember when winter 1993 rolled around. My local bookseller noted to me that Whelan had a new art book coming out, one half dedicated to covers, one half dedicated to his fine art. It was the only thing I requested for Christmas, and my parents bought it for me despite the cost. I spent hours leafing through the wonderous, fantastic art. Those imagines sparked things in my mind. I was an author in embryo, absorbing, thinking, dreaming. One of the very first stories I ever wrote was a ‘fanfic’ based on Whelan’s Passage series of fine art prints.

    The years have passed. There are other wonderful fantasy artists out there—and, in a way, the market has finally caught up to Whelan (much as the fantasy genre itself needed time to catch up to Tolkien.) I’ve been lucky to have some of those incredible artists paint covers for my books. But I’ve rarely felt as much excitement, wonder, and awe as I did the when I got to open an email and see the cover for The Way of Kings.

    Irene Gallo (Tor’s art director) asked me to provide a quote about how I feel having a Whelan cover on one of my books. My editor, Moshe, noted “Surely you’ll mention how it’s a dream come true for both you and your editor.” But 'Dream come true' is another one of those phrases we use so often it has lost its meaning.

    How do I really feel? Well, when I was a senior in high school, I was forced to take a life-planning class. In that class, we had to write down ten 'life goals' we wanted to achieve some day. #1 on my list, which I still have somewhere, was “Publish a book someday that is good enough to deserve a Michael Whelan cover.”

    It has always been a deep-seated desire of mine to one day have a Whelan painting on one of my works. Without this man’s skill and vision, I might never have discovered the fantasy genre, and I might not be writing novels today.

    You might say I’m a little bit pleased.

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  • 43

    Interview: Feb 26th, 2012

    Subwoofer (@240)

    ...I gotta be honest, the cover for The Eye of the World was what got me into the books in the first place.

    What really sucks is that I found out that the larger than normal paperback I have been rereading all this time was the first issue for The Eye of the World. I thought there was a hardcover version. So all this time I have been beating the crap out of a rare first edition. Boy do I feel special.... kinda like the time I found out my sister traded all my first run Uncanny X-Mens for my cousin's ... er "collection" of Archie comics.... kinda like the time... gah...

    KAFMERCHANT (@257)

    Hi All,

    Been lurking since The Beginning. Although I haven't had the time or the mental capacity/creativity, most days, to contribute in any significant fashion. Although hopefully I can find some more time in the future to do more than Lurk....

    However, to all the new posters, regulars and alumni—I'm appreciative of the hours and hours of entertainment you've provided; Kudos to all!

    Just a heads up to Sub, that the first printing of the oversize paperback isn't overly valuable (50-150 $) pending condition, and they show up on ebay on a regular basis—but still something worth looking after carefully.

    If I've managed this properly—my avatar will have a picture of what I believe is the first bound version of The Eye of the World that I rescued from ebay a couple of years ago (maybe tnh can/will comment). Read the red fine print, if/when you can ... it's really cool.

    Edited: for coherency. Deleted a sentence as my avatar showed up as planned. And add—you can't see it well in the picture/avatar, but there is printing along the top of book that reads "Harriet's marked up copy"—no trolling. This book contains some hand written edits by Mrs. Jordan (and someone else whom I have yet to identify although there is a fairly obvious choice), and includes a 3-page letter to tnh from Mrs. Jordan. As I understand it, the advance reading copy was created from this version, as were the final hardcover (yes Sub there was a limited hardcover printing) and oversize softcover both originally printed in February 1990.

    JD

    Teresa Nielsen Hayden (@276)

    How the devil did that production copy wind up on eBay? With, for all love, my correspondence with Harriet still tucked inside? (Is that the letter where we were going back and forth about Nancy Weisenfeld's copyedit, and Jim Rigney's preferred style of ellipses? It's been a long time.)

    Did the person who sold it say anything about it?

    I'd love to see large high-resolution photos of all those materials, including samples of the interior markup, and all three pages of the letter. I can recognize the handwriting of most of the people that could have marked up the pages, so there's a good chance that I can either identify the person or rule out some possibilities.

    I'd very much prefer that you mail me pictures of the letter, rather than posting them somewhere. My email address is on the front page of my weblog, Making Light.

    Onward.

    What you have there isn't the first bound edition. It's either a bound galley or a bound manuscript copy—I should remember which, but I don't. Tom Doherty did so much fiddling with the marketing and format of that book that it spent close to a year in production, rather than the normal nine months, and at times drove our department to distraction.

    If it's typeset, it's a bound galley. If it's reproduced from the manuscript pages, it's a bound manuscript. Both can be referred to as "advance copies."

    Anyway, the advance copies with the plain light-blue cover were superseded by the massive printing of ARCs with the four-color Darryl Sweet cover. An ARC (Advance Reading Copy) is basically a bound galley with a four-color cover that's usually an early version of the cover that will appear on the book. The Tor booth at the ABA that year had so many copies of it that they could have built Vauban-style fortifications out of them. Printing such a large and lavish ARC in such quantities was a gamble for Tor, which back then was a smaller and poorer company.

    Is the thing you're referring to as "the first printing of the oversize paperback" the ARC? Check and see whether it has a price printed anywhere on the cover. If not, it's an ARC. IIRC, the ARC also featured the interim state of the cover in which the author of one of the cover quotes was erroneously identified as "Gordon R. R. Dickson."

    KAFMERCHANT (@306)

    Thanks for the info, greatly appreciated!

    I will email pictures in the next 24 hours along with what history I know or have deduced. I agree with you that the letter shouldn't be made public without necessary approvals. The "discussion" you mentioned sounds...interesting...but the contents of this letter are more mundane and simply include info on book formatting, layout and listing of the chapter icons (I've scanned a copy of it too).

    While not clear in my avatar, the book looks grey in real life (although if there was a light blue one, that would be interesting as well). I acquired a second one, without markups, that is identical to that pictured, and it is grey as well.

    I know the ARC well, as at one point I had five of the things from various bundled purchases I made (the exterior cover of the ARC is the same artwork that is now found on the inside flap, and the inside cover of the ARC is the same artwork that now appears on the current cover). I just picked up one of the ARCs and on the back has a quote attributed to George R Dickson—is that what you were referring to? (Been so long since I'd picked it up that I'd completely forgot that I had the matching bookmark, and postcard inside, a pleasant surprise). I've since donated one to Jason Denzel and one to Jennifer Liang, for helping make a waking nightmare of a trip to the Gathering Storm signing in Charleston end on an awesome note.

    In referring to the "oversize paperback"—it is a softcover book with the dimensions of approximately 6" x 9" (matching the size of the arc as well as the other proofs/galleys/bound manuscripts that I have). On this version, the exterior artwork and inside flap match what is currently on shelves everywhere. There are prices (both Canadian and US, etc) and ISBN # listing.

    From your perspective—is there a difference between a galley, bound manuscript, or proof? Just curious, as I have various versions of almost all those written by RJ (have never seen a proof/galley/manuscript for Crown of Swords despite hours and hours of searching).

    Teresa Nielsen Hayden (@311)

    Okay, this is funny. I've been able to confirm that what Kafmerchant has is a one-of-a-kind artifact from the production of the first edition of The Eye of the World. The line written in red ink at the top edge of the cover that says "Harriet's marked-up copy" is in my handwriting.

    Tags

  • 44

    Interview: Apr 21st, 2012

    Matt Hatch

    How long did you work at John Wiley & Sons?

    Harriet McDougal

    Seven...seven lean years! It's funny the way the...to come back.

    Matt Hatch

    When exactly did you graduate?

    Harriet McDougal

    '60, 1960.

    Matt Hatch

    And when did you marry?

    Harriet McDougal

    '64.

    Matt Hatch

    And your first husband was...?

    Harriet McDougal

    Ed McDougal, and I married him in 1964. And Will, my son, was born in 1968, and I left Ed in 1970, at which point the women's movement had begun to take on steam.

    Matt Hatch

    And you met him in New York?

    Harriet McDougal

    Yeah.

    Matt Hatch

    Was he also in the same industry?

    Harriet McDougal

    No. He worked at Equitable Life Insurance.

    Matt Hatch

    And after 1970, when is it that you met Jim?

    Harriet McDougal

    I think I met him in '78? Yeah. I moved back to Charleston in '77, so...'78, '79, something like that.

    Matt Hatch

    So in that break between '70 and '78, were you still in New York at that time? You said you had seven lean years; where were you working during that period of time?

    Harriet McDougal

    Then I moved into trade publishing, which was a lot more fun. I started at Harcourt Brace, where I worked on the first textbook of science fiction ever published. We had a wonderful big editor named Mr. Pullen, and it was his project, and I said, "Can I work on it? Please, please?" And I did; it was fun. And from there, I went to World Publishing, and I've forgotten what they hired me to do...oh, run the copyeditors. And then it was...having one paroxysm after another. And they put me in charge of children's books, having fired a very distinguished children's book department, and it was nuts, which is of course a wonderful learning opportunity. And from there, I went freelance for a while, living in downtown Brooklyn, and realizing Will was, actually, turning four—I didn't have any health insurance, and neither did he, and maybe it was time to stop doing freelance and get a corporate job. And somebody had just left Grosset & Dunlap, and I said, "Well, who's replacing you?" and he said, "I can't even recommend that job to a friend, Harriet." I said, "Nevertheless..." and went and interviewed and got it, and that was where I met Tom Doherty, when I was hired as editor for Tempo Books. But then I began to get angry, because not long after I started working, the President of Grosset said in my presence, "Thank God we've got her instead of Dummy _____!" who was my friend I was replacing, and he had been making fifteen thousand a year, and I was making eleven. "Let me see if I can fight to get a raise to twelve," because I was paying six thousand for child care. Daycare just didn't exist back then. And I began to get pissed off.

    Matt Hatch

    What did you do?

    Harriet McDougal

    I put my head down and worked. (laughter) And began to think about how I could get out, and it finally came...what did happen? It was a big mess of family stuff and all, but I could move back to Charleston if I could figure out how to make a buck, and I'd met a guy named Richard Gallen who had been general counsel at Dell, and he had figured out how to tax shelter books, and needed books to tax shelter—there's nothing crooked about this—so he said, "You find the books; I'll give you the money to pay the advance, and see if we can't make money together," and I said, "I'm sorry, I can't; my monthly nut's too high, and I have a child to support, and no help from Ed. None, nada." But the chance to live in the house in Charleston...my sister's child—you don't want to know; it was a real can of bait—and I called Dick and said, "Is your offer still good?" And he said, "Yeah, I'll meet you for lunch tomorrow, and bring a contract." And he did; it was double-spaced, one page. I signed it, and armed with that—and I think I had two thousand dollars in the bank—off Will and I went to Charleston! So it was a pretty wild adventure, but it worked. It had some real poor moments, I'll tell you that.

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  • 45

    Interview: Apr 21st, 2012

    Matt Hatch

    So, you have partnered with Tom Doherty on sff books for a long time...

    Harriet McDougal

    Yeah, I met him at Grosset & Dunlap.

    Matt Hatch

    ...to Ace Books, and obviously to Tor. Can you tell us when exactly you started working with him, and a little about the key to your successful business relationship? So, what is it that meshed you and Tom together?

    Harriet McDougal

    (pause) I'm not sure. It was just a good partnership.

    Matt Hatch

    And how did you end up at Ace Books together?

    Harriet McDougal

    Grosset corporately bought Charter Communications, which was Ace's business identity, and asked Tom to be publisher and me to be editor in chief. Or they told us to.

    Matt Hatch

    And remind me...Tempo to Grosset & Dunlap...and did you leave? That's when you went back to Charleston?

    Harriet McDougal

    After Ace. And Tom was founding Tor.

    Matt Hatch

    At the time you left?

    Harriet McDougal

    Yeah.

    Matt Hatch

    When you told him you were leaving, did he try to get you to stay in the area?

    Harriet McDougal

    Oh yeah. He wasn't too happy about it.

    Matt Hatch

    And you guys stayed in contact I'm assuming, after you'd gone?

    Harriet McDougal

    Yeah, and Grosset was in the hands, at this point—very soon thereafter I think it fell into the hands—of one of the worst CEOs known to the publishing industry, Beverly Sills' brother-in-law. His name was Something-Or-Other Sills. I never worked with him, but he was really not good. And one sign of it is that he fired Tom Doherty—you don't fire Tom Doherty if you have any sense—so Dick Gallen called me and said this had happened, and he was thinking about seeing if he and Tom couldn't make some money together, and what would I think about that, and I said, "Do it!" And that's the very tiny seed that grew into Tor. And then Tom wanted me to be editorial director, and I said, "Well, Tom..." And he said, "I don't care where you live. Just edit." And that worked.

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  • 46

    Interview: Aug 8th, 2009

    WorldCon 2009 - Dom (Paraphrased)

    Dom

    Brandon Sanderson

    He told a nice (but longish) anecdote about how Harriet and Jim met in a Charleston bookstore after she had left Manhattan (and her position as Tor's editorial director) to return to the house she had just inherited from her mother, while he was writing the Fallon books and planning WOT. He gave her his Fallon manuscripts (which she ended up buying and publishing through her own house), she became his friend/advisor about his Fantasy project. Eventually they fell in love, and she introduced him to Tom Doherty, who hired him for the Conan books. In the late 80s, Harriet and Jordan came to New York to pitch WOT to Tom Doherty together. At the time, Jordan wanted to do a trilogy. Book one's original outline, the one they pitched, ended with Rand taking Callandor in Tear. Doherty, who knew a bit Jordan's style by then, was adamant to have him sign a six books contract instead. He doubted it would be a trilogy, and if it did after all the contract would be for Jordan's post WOT books instead. As RJ wrote book one starting with its middle act (he usually worked out of order like this, according to BS'd educated guess from the spotty nature of the A Memory of Light manuscript and what Harriet told him—he was the kind of writer who worked on the scenes that inspired him when they inspired him, then filled the gaps) he realised it was too much for one book and that's how it ended up as The Eye of the World, The Great Hunt, and The Dragon Reborn.

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  • 47

    Interview: Aug 8th, 2009

    WorldCon 2009 - Dom (Paraphrased)

    Dom

    Brandon Sanderson

    About the prequels/sequels, there was no big news. Sanderson 'strongly advised' Harriet not to have them written—but if she thinks otherwise, he wants to write them. He said (contrary to what he implied before—or at least what fans understood of what he was saying) that it's not really a matter of money. The 'huge advances' and new contracts Tom Doherty showered Jim with came about out of personal friendship for him because the Rigneys needed help with Jim's escalating medical expenses and it was also Doherty's way to tell Jordan he had faith he would pull through and live to write many more books for him. He's apparently telling Harriet not to worry about those advances or to let that influence her decisions. According to Brandon, it's the three outriggers Doherty is trying very hard to convince Harriet to have written, and the motive is quite personal: RJ sold him hard on the ideas for this trilogy and Doherty is apparently the biggest Mat Cauthon fan on the planet, so he wants these books written very very badly. Brandon would still prefer they were not. Harriet doesn't want to think about them for the moment.

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  • 48

    Interview: Jul 20th, 2012

    Casey Phillips

    What was the impetus for splitting the last novel into three novels?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I was writing it to the length he instructed it was to be written. He wanted it to be so long, he said, that “it would take a wheelbarrow to get it out the doors.” The publisher and Harriet decided that was too long. I was supposed to split it into three novels because of the length I was writing it at. It came down to binding issues and things like that.

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  • 49

    Interview: Apr 2nd, 2005

    Bob Kluttz

    For years Robert Jordan has commented on another series of books he's been planning. We finally have something concrete. From the April 2005 issue of Locus magazine we learned the following:

    Robert Jordan

    Robert Jordan sold the first three books in his new Infinity of Heaven series, "high fantasy with a touch of Shogun," to Tom Doherty at Tor.

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  • 50

    Interview: Aug, 1996

    Hailing Frequency

    The number of projected volumes has gradually grown as the story has progressed...

    Robert Jordan

    Well, in a way yes, in a way no. When I went to my publisher in the first place, I said, "This is at least three or four books. It could be five or six. I don't know." I knew it was going to be long, but I didn't know how long it was going to be. I'm always optimistic about how much story I can cram into a certain number of pages. So we did a six-book contract. At first people were saying this would be a trilogy, and I'd say "No, no, no." But people kept saying that. And by the time the fourth book came out, people admitted that it wasn't going to be a trilogy. It's going to be more than eight books. I'm a lot closer to the end than to the beginning; there's not anywhere near the same number of books to come. But I refuse to suggest even a number now.

    Hailing Frequency

    Working on a series of this length—it's more like a singe story broken into book-length segments.

    Robert Jordan

    Yes, and in each book, I do try to provide a climactic closure that is satisfying.

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  • 51

    Interview: Apr 14th, 2012

    Question

    Hi Brandon. I hope you're enjoying your stay here in Australia. Thanks for coming out.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I am! No dropbears yet. [laughter] Look up and live.

    Question

    We're all really happy that you're answering a lot of these questions, cause obviously [unintelligible] answers, but can you answer one question that a lot of us have been arguing over, because we obviously started reading the books a couple of decades ago. The very first book. Was it ever going to be a standalone book, or did he always have this epic story in the background that he had a chance to run with because there's a lot of guys my age that are arguing over this and it would be great if you could answer the question for us.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I can actually put this one to rest, because I have it from as close to the source as we can get right now which is Tom Doherty and Harriet. Tom Doherty is the CEO of Tor. Harriet is Robert Jordan's wife and editor. She discovered him and then married him; she was one of the great editors in the business. She edited Ender's Game—that was another of her books, a little book you may have heard of—so yeah, she did Ender's Game and Wheel of Time, the two biggest books for the publisher, The Eye of the World and Ender's Game were both her books, so this is a pretty stellar woman. So, I asked Tom Doherty about this, and Tom said, Okay, I can tell you the story of what happened. Robert Jordan had been doing the Conan books, and he'd been doing some of his own historical books, and he came in to Tom Doherty with a proposal for the Wheel of Time. Harriet actually stayed outside because by that time they were romantically involved—I'm not sure if they were married yet [they were], but they were involved—and she was the editor; normally the editor is the person with whom you make these negotiations, but she recused herself from the process; she was a little bit biased.

    And so Robert Jordan went in to the head of the company himself rather than going to the editor with his proposal. And Tor has a very homey feel—Tom Doherty is like our grandfather; he's the one that okays everything, and he's just this wonderful guy, so you can go in and just talk to the president of the company. So Jim goes in—Jim, by the way...James Rigney...everyone called him Jim, so that's how I've started to refer to him; I didn't actually know him, but that's how everyone talks about him so I've fallen into that—Jim goes in to talk to him, and Tom says, he looks at me and says, Okay, Jim has this proposal. He says "Tom, I want to do epic fantasy." And he's like, "Alright, alright. Well what's it about?" He's like, "I've got this great story. It starts with this young man who has the destiny of the world unloaded upon him. It's this young man who finds out he has to save the world, and he's probably going to die doing it." And the book starts in the Two Rivers, he talks about it, and then the book continues on, and then there's this Great Hunt, and then the book ends with him taking the sword that is not really a sword from a stone that is not really a stone, and that's the end of the first book. That was what Robert Jordan pitched as the first book of the Wheel of Time to Tom Doherty from his own mouth.

    Tom looked at him and said, "That sounds like a really big story," because he went on and told him a lot of the other stuff, and he said, "That sounds huge. Why don't we..." And Jim said, "This is a trilogy; this is an epic fantasy trilogy." And Tom said, "Why don't I sign you as six books." And Jim looked at him and said, "No, no, no...I won't need six books." [laughter] "This is a trilogy; I can tell it in three." And Tom by then knew Jim really well, and knew he kind of tended to expand things, and said, "Let's do six books anyway, and if you don't end up needing all six books, then we can do some other series for the other three, but it feels like a big series; I want you to have the room to grow." When Tom told me this, he looked me in the eyes, and he said, "Brandon, I thought I was so smart. I thought I was signing for the whole series for sure by giving him double the length that he said he needed, and now we're at fourteen novels."

    So, the original pitch was for a trilogy with the first book being what became the first three books. And that's all I know of it, but that was the original pitch. And he was already involved, as I understand it, deeply in writing that first book when he made the pitch. It wouldn't be years later till they released the book.

    Footnote

    RJ claimed that he originally intended the story to be one book, but by the time he pitched it to Doherty, he signed a six-book contract.

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  • 52

    Interview: Dec 7th, 2012

    Narrator

    Before the tale of Rand al'Thor, the epic story of the Wheel of Time humbly begins with a man named Jim, known to the world as Robert Jordan, author of the best-selling Wheel of Time series. James Oliver Rigney, Jr. was born October 17, 1948 in Charleston, South Carolina.

    Harriet McDougal

    Growing up, he'd often told about lining up I think Jules Verne, Mark Twain and Jack London, and thinking, "I want to write books."

    Jason Denzel

    He joined the Army in 1968 and served two tours in Vietnam as a helicopter gunner.

    Harriet McDougal

    He returned to begin college at The Citadel as a veteran student and took a job as a civilian nuclear engineer working for the United States Navy.

    Jason Denzel

    And it was during this time that he took a hard look at his life and decided to become a full-time writer.

    Harriet McDougal

    He was in the hospital with a blood clot when he did the famous—the thing so many people talk about doing—he threw a book across the room and said, "I can do better than that." He wrote something called Warriors of the Altaii. I read it, and...no, it wasn't what I was interested in. But it showed he could do it. So I gave him a contract for a book that became The Fallon Blood. We'd been seeing a lot of each other. He brought a tiger claw from Vietnam to show my son. Will came running upstairs to my office one day and said, "Mom, he'll take me to see the Star Trek movie." And I said, "Can I come too?" And he said yes. And I guess that was our first date.

    Tom Doherty

    She edited Jim, and they fell in love, and they got married, and we all became friends.

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  • 53

    Interview: Dec 7th, 2012

    Harriet McDougal

    I've edited every single one of his books except for his Cheyenne Raiders. An agent said to me once, "What if he gave you a real piece of [crap]?" And I said, "But he never would!" Tom Doherty called me; he had gotten the rights to do a Conan the Barbarian novel. And I said, "Well, Jim could do it." And he liked doing it so much, he ended up writing seven of them.

    Tom Doherty

    He was using a new name. As you know, Jim used pen names.

    Narrator

    Over the next decade, Rigney wrote under many pen names: Jackson O'Reilly, Reagan O'Neal, and of course, Robert Jordan.

    Harriet McDougal

    J.O.R.—That was his initials, and I guess the rest just grew because, the way his mind worked, he'd be working on current stuff, but on the back burner, things were cooking away.

    Tom Doherty

    Jim said that he had just dreamed to write a big fantasy.

    Harriet McDougal

    He said his first thought was just, how would it be to be told that you are going to be the savior of the world, but you're going to go mad and kill everyone you love in the process?

    Tom Doherty

    We bought the book in the mid-80s.

    Harriet McDougal

    It was four years of actual work, with words on paper, before he finished The Eye of the World.

    Tom Doherty

    God, I fell in love with it. I read it, you know, and I said, you know, boy, this is big. This is the first thing I thought could sell like Tolkien.

    Harriet McDougal

    The New York Times called Robert Jordan the American heir to Tolkien.

    Tom Doherty

    Pretty strong statement for the times.

    Jason Denzel

    In a matter of three books, Robert Jordan had developed an international following.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Robert Jordan was a genius. He kept so much in his head. He had so much depth and wealth of worldbuilding for this series, it's mind-boggling. We've got somewhere around three million plus words of text. The notes are just as big.

    Tom Doherty

    There are very few things to which people had been willing to give this enormous commitment.

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  • 54

    Interview: Dec 7th, 2012

    Narrator

    But in 2005, Jordan was diagnosed with amyloidosis, a rare blood disease, interrupting work on what he'd hoped was the final book in the series.

    Harriet McDougal

    He was not well on our final book tour, which was Knife of Dreams. He failed to receive a diagnosis until after the end of the tour. This is true of the disease amyloidosis in general. By that time his heart had received so much battering from the disease that it was simply failing. And it took about a year for that to happen.

    Tom Doherty

    It was so sad. I mean, he was a friend; I took it personally, and he was a brilliant, epic storyteller. There was nobody like him, and it was a terrible loss.

    Harriet McDougal

    He had spoken publicly before that, that he would destroy anybody who tried to work in his universe, and he would sweep his hard disk three times to make sure that nobody could ever get anything out of it, but in his last weeks, he was telling us what needed to happen.

    Tom Doherty

    He wrote these very detailed notes. He dictated passages in the beginning and the end of this last book, and Harriet knew he wanted this series finished.

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  • 55

    Interview: Dec 19th, 2012

    Narrator

    In 2005, Wheel of Time author Robert Jordan was diagnosed with a fatal blood disease, disrupting his plans to finish the beloved series. With his fans in mind, Robert Jordan worked diligently through his final days, writing outlines, notes, and manuscripts so that his masterwork could one day see completion.

    Tom Doherty

    His fans—the people who had stuck with him all these years from 1991 on—deserved closure. And, he had created an outline which gave them closure, and he wasn't able to finish it himself. We wanted Jim's story to be told.

    Harriet McDougal

    A friend was staying with me in the week after Jim's funeral and put a print-out in front of me and said, "I think you need to read this." It was Brandon Sanderson's eulogy for Robert Jordan. And it was—it was beautiful. Such an expression of love for the books and for Robert Jordan's work. And it ended, "Mr. Jordan, you leave us silently, but you leave us trembling." And I thought, gosh, this is the attitude I would love to see. Brandon at this point was a published fantasy writer, so I called Tom and said, "I want one of his books to read." His world, his people, his conflicts were all clear in my mind. And I called Tom, and said, "Tom, I think this is the guy."

    Tom Doherty

    And she picked Brandon. And we're just delighted because we think nobody could have finished it as well.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I had no idea how to react to this. I could barely talk when I replied to Harriet. In fact, I sent her an email the next day. It said, "Dear Harriet, I promise I'm not an idiot." Because I couldn't get out words. Yes, I wanted to be involved in the Wheel of Time. No, I didn't think anybody else could write the Wheel of Time. What do you do when you're in that situation?

    Harriet McDougal

    We met in December, and I picked him up at the airport, brought him back, and said I've got some hot soup on the stove. He said, "I'd rather have the ending if I could, please." [Laughs]

    Brandon Sanderson

    Which I sat in his chair and read, well into the evening that night.

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  • 56

    Interview: Dec 19th, 2012

    Narrator

    Together, Brandon Sanderson and Team Jordan began building the strategy for finishing the last volume for the Wheel of Time.

    Harriet McDougal

    Well, he was working with everything Robert Jordan had ever written, including all the notes and speculations, as well as the outline that Jordan dictated in those last weeks.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He intended this book to be enormous. Getting the notes, I said, yup, it's here. I can do this, but it's going to be over 2000 pages long. At some point Tor and Harriet discussed how long it was going. And so that's when they came to me and said, "We want to split it."

    Tom Doherty

    This outline was too complex. There was too much that needed to be told, too much story.

    Brandon Sanderson

    We didn't add to it. This is the length that it was always going to be. But in splitting it—what it allowed us to do is take three books and focus them. The Gathering Storm has a focus on Rand and Egwene. They were able to shine in a much more spectacular way because of that. And the things happening with Mat and Perrin could have very easily been overshadowed by Rand and Egwene, who have monumentous things going on.

    Tom Doherty

    These last two books—number one best sellers. Number one international best sellers, number one up here on the Globe and Mail, as well, the national paper. People read and realized that, yes, it wasn't Robert Jordan, but by god it was being finished properly. And it was being finished from Robert Jordan's notes and his ideas, and Brandon's talent was that he could capture the dream.

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  • 57

    Interview: Dec 19th, 2012

    Narrator

    With Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight complete, Brandon Sanderson had to face his greatest challenge yet—writing the final battle in A Memory of Light.

    Brandon Sanderson

    A Memory of Light was a challenge for a number of reasons. There is a lot of warfare in this book—more so than all of the others—which needed to be realistic, and the tactics needed to be sound. And these were the sorts of things that Robert Jordan was extremely good at doing—he was a military historian. I don't have his background, so I had to rely a lot on the notes, and on Team Jordan. You want the story to be focused on the characters—it has to be a personal story. How to balance that, how to tell the story of these wars in a series which is primarily concerned with the characters was a real push back and forth with the text, trying to massage it and edit and work it to the point that it would convey their stories but still be true to the tactics that would make this all come together.

    Tom Doherty

    There's been huge enthusiasm. People have been waiting for this for a long time. If they once dipped into it, they wouldn't be able to put it down.

    Brandon Sanderson

    And in January, they will finally get the full story—the final volume of the Wheel of Time. The end of an Age has arrived. The Dark One is almost free. The Wheel of Time hangs in the balance, and prophecy must be fulfilled. The Last Battle begins January 8th.

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  • 58

    Interview: Jan 4th, 2013

    Dave Golder

    Was it your decision to split the final installment into three books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    "Robert Jordan was always telling fans that this book was gong to be so big that they'd have to invent a new binding system to get it out the door. When I was offered the project, I got all his notes and then spent about five months constructing an outline until I'd built the ending that I felt he'd indicated. I felt that he wanted it to be this big epic story and when I have an outline, I can usually tell how long the story is going to be. I realised that it was going to be a pretty big book—I was estimating it to be about 800,000 words, which is just enormous. I told Harriet and the publisher that this is what Robert Jordan wanted and what the story deserves. They then asked me if there were any places where I could split it. I agreed to do that as long as they would let me decide where and how to do that. There are some natural break points but it has to be done the right way. I haven't expanded the outline or lengthened what I felt the story should be; I've just portioned it into three volumes instead of one massive volume."

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  • 59

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2013

    Harriet McDougal

    Then there came the days of compatible laptops, so that he could finish a chapter in his machine and give me the disk to read in my machine. I recall one book we finished this way in the Murray Hill Hotel, an easy jump from Tor's offices in the Flatiron building. When the chapter was ready I would jump in a taxi with my laptop to turn it in to Tor—then gallop back to the hotel for more editing.

    We were doing that because the book was late. Weren't they all? Tom Doherty performed miracles in getting the books produced in no time at all. But what Robert Jordan did under the pressure of deadlines—even if he missed them, the pressure was THERE—seems, as I look back, to be little short of miraculous, too.

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  • 60

    Interview: Jan 9th, 2013

    Question

    How did you choose Brandon to finish this series?

    Harriet McDougal

    A friend had provided the eulogy which Brandon wrote for Robert Jordan on his website, and it was moving. So, Harriet called Tom Doherty and asked for one of Brandon's books. He sent her the first Mistborn book. She then told how she can't stop reading a book, can't fall asleep if she starts, if she doesn't know yet if those characters are "in good hands". After 47 pages, she fell asleep, not because she was bored, but because she knew that Brandon's characters were in good hands. She called Tom Doherty and told him this was the man to finish The Wheel of Time.

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  • 61

    Interview: Jan 11th, 2013

    Question

    Will the prequels be written?

    Harriet McDougal

    The answer, directly quoted from Harriet, is, "This is it. Except for the Encyclopedia, this is it." There are not enough notes to write them, and Robert Jordan didn't want any sharecropping, once stating he would "run over his hard disks three times in a semi" before he'd let that happen (which makes Tom Doherty sad).

    Robert Jordan left two sentences about the outriggers. Later, someone asked what the two sentences were. Harriet stated they contained spoilers, but they would be released at a later time, possibly six to seven months, possibly included in the Encyclopedia.

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  • 62

    Interview: Jan 9th, 2013

    Question

    I love all the books first off, but this question is for Harriet. Harriet, how did you find and believe that Brandon could be the guy to bring it all back and finish this fantastic world?

    Harriet McDougal

    A friend from Minneapolis was visiting me in the week of Robert Jordan's funeral, and she came up to me—I was sitting at the dinner table [?]—and she said "You need to read this." It was Brandon's eulogy for Robert Jordan which he had posted online, and Elise Mattheson is her name, and Elise knows that I am something of Luddite, so she couldn't just say, "Here's a good link." [laughter] If she put it in front of me on paper, I would read it. And I thought, my goodness, this is just the feeling for Robert Jordan's work, that I would like to see in anyone who was going to finish the books.

    So then I called Tom Doherty, who is of course the publisher of Brandon's own individual works, and said, "What do you think?" And since he's a publisher, he began telling me sales figures. [laughter] And I had no particular interest, and I said, "Would you send me one of his books, please?" And he said, "Yeah, I'll send you Mistborn; Elantris is a good book, but it's a first novel—if any of you are in the industry, you know first novels are misleading; you have to look at something later—so I read the first forty-seven pages of this book, and it was a period of enormous stress, and I should say that, as a professional editor, if I'm reading a book, and I want to go to sleep, I can't do it until I know the story is in good hands. Otherwise I'm going to keep reading it until I throw the book across the room and say "This is lousy." [laughter]

    Anyway, I fell asleep after forty-seven pages, not because I was bored, but because it was good. And when I woke up, the world, the characters, the conflict, even what they ate—everything was clear. And I said to myself, "This guy can do it." So I called Tom, and said, "I think this guy can do it." And he said, "You don't think you ought to read the whole book?" [laughter] It was a pretty important decision. And I said, "If I were asking him to write a Brandon Sanderson novel, then I would have to read the whole book, but I'm not." [laughter] "I'm asking him to write a Robert Jordan." And that's how it began.

    And then...[?] and I thought, "Well, Brandon Sanderson in Provo, Utah...how many can there be?" So I called Information and got a woman on the phone, and I said, "This is Brandon Sanderson?" and she said yes. And I said, "Hi, my name is Harriet McDougal; I'm Robert Jordan's widow, and I'm wondering whether your husband would have interest..." And she said, "I don't know what you're talking about...Books?" It wasn't the same Brandon Sanderson. [laughter] So then I called Tor, and said, "What's Brandon's number?" That was how it started. [laughter, applause]

    Brandon Sanderson

    That Brandon was actually a wrestler, like a high school or college wrestler. Not a pro wrestler, you know, an actual wrestler. And people always asked me if I was him when I was first published. And now I hear they all ask him if he's me. [laughter]

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  • 63

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2013

    Paul Williams

    Hi, I'm Paul Williams, of [?]/BYU Idaho/[?] Idaho...[?] going back there this week looking for a new job. Anyways, I got two questions.

    First one is definitely for Harriet. Can you share with us any details about the Infinity of Heaven series that Robert Jordan was planning?

    Harriet McDougal

    Well, the Infinity of Heaven series was—well, having been an editor for so many years, I'm really bad at coming up with these little soundbites, but that's a way of saying I'm really good at it. [laughter] But it was a fantasy shōgun, that people are shipwrecked on the shore of a country they really had never heard of before, that's a lot like Japan. Or Seanchan, if you like, but not Seanchan. The big difference is, they come from something more like Belgium, as I always thought of it. (to Maria) What did you think? Anyway, kind of as if a northern European country. And the difference...the two cultures have diametrically opposed views of...magic, if you like—how it's used. In one, it's...war revolves around magic; it's the major weapon, like the nuclear bomb, and in the other....(to Maria) what? It's the other way around; the government uses magic, but it is never even considered as a weapon. (to Maria) Am I even remembering right?

    Maria Simons

    I'm just drawing a blank. I know I've read it, but... [laughter]

    Harriet McDougal

    Yeah, there's very little about it. There was enough for Tom Doherty to give him a big fat contract. [laughter] But that had to be rolled over into these last books; he never got beyond a very brief outline. So that's about as much as I can tell you except there's a...I think it's a young man who is shipwrecked, and he has been in much the position of the hero in Shōgun, having to learn a very stratified, foreign culture from the ground up.

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  • 64

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2013

    Derek Cohen

    My name is Derek Cohen, and I'm from Provo, Utah. My question is for Harriet. After Jim died, of course, you're going through all of these authors, and there's so many authors in the fantasy and even science fiction genres that could have taken the step. But was there an "Aha!" moment, or...what was it that made you say to yourself, "This guy is the one"?

    Harriet McDougal

    The first thing that led me to Brandon was the very beautiful eulogy he wrote for Robert Jordan on his website, and I don't hang out on the net, because I figure I can either do that or have a productive life. [cheers, applause] But a friend who likes to hang out on the net saw the eulogy, printed it out, and said "You need to read this," and I certainly did. And I thought, "This is the spirit that I very much want in the writer who will finish the series."

    At the same time, another writer—a perfectly good writer who has a decent reputation—had had his agent call Robert Jordan's agent. Do you see the difference? But then what really...I had not read Brandon, and I called Tom Doherty—I was originally...I was the original editorial director of Tor, so my relationship with with Tom Doherty goes back to when dinosaurs roamed the earth [laughter]—and I asked him for a book, and he said, "Well, don't take Elantris; that's a first novel. I'll send you Mistborn [The Final Empire]."

    And he did, and I read forty-seven pages of it, and I fell asleep! Which is not... [laughter, applause] Wait! There's a thing you should know about professional editors, or at least this one. I cannot go to sleep while the story's in trouble; I have to keep reading until I see that the story is in good hands. And I was also exhausted. [laughter] So anyway, I woke up, and the story, the planet, the situation—even what they were eating—it was all clear, and I said, "Yeah, he can do it." And Tom Doherty said, "Well, don't you think you should read the whole book? It's an important decision." And I said, "It would be very important if I were hiring him to write a Brandon Sanderson novel, but I'm hiring him to write a Robert Jordan, and he can do it!" So, that's how it came about. [applause]

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  • 65

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2013

    Sarah Wilby

    My name is Sarah Wilby, and I'm from here. Actually, I started going to this high school about the time the books came out. So I think this is probably the coolest event that has ever happened in this entire building, what's happening tonight. [laughter]

    My question is—for Harriet—you said Robert Jordan had an engineering job with the government before he started writing books. How heavily did you try to dissuade him from giving that up to write this...this crazy fantasy stuff, because I remember what fantasy books were like at the time these started coming out, and I mean, this changed everything—there was nothing at this level—so he was doing something very, very different.

    Harriet McDougal

    I didn't know him when he quit to start writing. I met him, I guess a year or possibly two after he had stopped, and gave him the second contract he had been offered. The first was a contract given to him by DAW books, the little skinny ones with the yellow spine? And then the contract came with this nice, long letter from Donald Wollheim, the publisher. And he wrote back—he'd been taking a course in Business Law at the College of Charleston—and said, "Oh, I'm so glad to have your offer, but could I have a little more than five percent of the movie rights?" [laughter] Or something like that. And Wollheim wrote back a one-line letter: "In view of your contract attitude, I withdraw my offer." [laughter] But he was an optimist, and at that, rather madly, and chose to remember that on his first submission he'd gotten an offer, rather than "the son-of-a-gun withdrew the offer, and I will therefore be discouraged."

    So I gave him what was a contract for his first published book, which was a historical novel called The Fallon Blood. And then, Doherty wanted somebody to write a Conan novel, after three Fallons, and distribution was drying up on the third book. And I said, well, because of this Wollheim rejection, I knew that Jim could write a Conan, and he said, "I don't want to do that." And three weeks later, I hadn't thought of anybody else, and I said [with pout] "Please!" With the lip...and he said, "Don't wiggle that thing at me, Harriet!" [laughter] So he did, and he liked it so much he did seven.

    And so...I mean it was long after his quitting his job that this began, and I had nothing to do with that. [laughter] Except that, in the middle of all this, it looked as if my imprint—which had published his first thing and all—was going to go belly-up, and I was in the yard pulling wild onions, which is what I do in moments of insane stress, cause you never get rid of wild onions—it's impossible—and I was out there pulling these things up, saying "I can't go back to New York; I can't get a job; I'm in my f—" I guess I was forty. Anyway, "I'm forty; I'm too old!" You can't climb the corporate ladder after that. And he said, "Harriet, I can't go back to being an engineer for the Navy now that I've been writing Conan the Barbarian. Do you think they'll let me anywhere near their nuclear subs?" [laughter] And I looked up at him, and I laughed, and I said, "I guess not; we're both doomed!" [laughter]

    Sarah Wilby

    Thank you very much, all of you.

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  • 66

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2013

    Question

    How are your plans for Stormlight Two doing?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I am trying to get done for a fall, late fall release this year. Harriet snickers at me when I say that, because she knows that the chances of that actually happening are kind of slim. It could happen. It's more likely that it would be spring the following year, but I'm going to try. I'm going to try very hard. I'm about forty percent of the way through the first draft; the problem is never first draft, though; revisions take a long time on a book this big. Rothfuss once described it as, "It's like ninety percent awesome, but you don't want to release something that's only ninety percent awesome, and that last ten percent is really hard to get to sometimes." So we'll see.

    Harriet McDougal

    And then, production on an enormous book is also very time-consuming, and the way I think of it is, there will be Gelusil on coffee carts at Tor, or other remedies for stomach upsets. They say, "You want this book by when?"

    Brandon Sanderson

    Tom, who runs Tor, is optimistic, though I noticed he had little stickers—there's copies of Way of Kings to give out as prizes, and they have a sticker on it that says, "Watch for the sequel in late 2013."

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  • 67

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2013

    Question

    What is your best or maybe most important memory to you through the entire process of working the books?

    Harriet McDougal

    Well, I'll never forget when my husband handed to me the first section of The Eye of the World—it was about a third of the book—and it knocked me off my perch. And I'll tell you, I called Tom Doherty, and said, "Tom, you'll have to read this one," and he said, "Why?" [laughter] When he founded Tor, he said he wanted a company where he could always read everything that he published, and Jim said, "It's not going to be long before he said, 'I want to read all the "read" books that I publish.' " And he had been—at that point, Robert Jordan had been writing Conan the Barbarian, which were not significant record-breaking novels. They were very good, but they were what we call midlist. [?] I said because either after—I've forgotten what it was; seven years of marriage?—"Either after seven years of marriage, I have fallen into the 'wife trap' and can't tell whether it's good or not, just cause I've married Jordan—and either that, or this thing is wonderful. That's why."

    And so, he did read it, and I started—he was my working [?] publish it, but he did support the book. And as it went on, he was giving it to me in [?], and at one point I said to him, "Now, when we get to Tar Valon...." He said, "We don't get there in this book." [laughter] I said, "Okay." And then, when they go to Rhuidean—that surpassed the beginning....[?]....just absolutely gorgeous, gorgeous writing. So that was high. And in one of the books—and I've honestly forgotten which one it was—I said, "Honey, this is a boring section. You've got talking heads, talking heads, talking heads. Can't something happen?" So somebody gets killed. [laughter]

    Footnote

    Harriet has told this story before here.

    Brandon Sanderson

    And you know, Tom once told me—this is the guy who founded Tor, Tom Doherty, and it was his company all through the 80s—he once told me he sold the company in order to get the capital after reading The Eye of the World, that he thought, "I need money to promote this book, to make it a best seller." And that was one of the main things, he said, that convinced him to sell the company.

    Harriet McDougal

    I never knew that. That's a hell of a story. Anyway, he did do a splendid job in publishing it. There used to be something called the American Booksellers' Association, and there was a huge convention in the spring. He had gone to Dallas to hand out previews to booksellers, which was common in those days, but what was not common in those days is that he had done a double, full-color cover on the book. Nobody did that—they had those gray covers, with plain type—and that startled all of them. It just really did; he just did what he does better than anybody else, and he did it with The Eye of the World. He was just a wonderful publisher all through the series.

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  • 68

    Interview: Jan 4th, 2013

    Petra Mayer

    What was your first encounter? Did he read you a little bit of it? Did he show you a manuscript?

    Harriet McDougal

    He showed me the first half of The Eye of the World, and I read it. (laughs) You'll love this—as I was reading it, I said, "Well, when they get to Tar Valon . . ." He said, "They don't get there in this book, Harriet." And I just looked at him. (laughs) But by that time, I had called Tom Doherty. I was at that point editorial director of Tor Books, and Tom was the publisher and founder. I said, "You've got to read this one." He said, "Yeah, why?" I said, "Because either after eight years of marriage, I've fallen into the 'wife trap,' or this book is absolutely wonderful." So he did read it, and the second half came toddling along, and Tom did a wonderful job of publishing it. Really, when we talk about 'going the whole hog,' well, Tom Doherty went the whole hog and all the piglets to launch the series. And the rest, I guess you'd say, is history.

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  • 69

    Interview: Jan 4th, 2013

    Petra Mayer

    How many books was this originally supposed to be? I don't think it was fourteen, right?

    Harriet McDougal

    It wasn't . . . it was six.

    Petra Mayer

    Oh, I thought it was three . . . okay.

    Harriet McDougal

    Well, Tom remembers three, but I remember six. And since we were living on my fees as an editor and my husband's advance money, I think maybe my memory is better. But . . . I could be wrong.

    Petra Mayer

    I'll go with yours.

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  • 70

    Interview: Jan 4th, 2013

    Petra Mayer

    So tell me about how you chose Brandon Sanderson to finish the series.

    Harriet McDougal

    Brandon Sanderson wrote a very beautiful eulogy for my husband on his web site. And a friend of mine was browsing around on the web, and saw it, printed it out—I'm not really a Luddite, but I'm computer resistant, you might say—and put it in front of me and said, "You really need to read this." And it was just a beautiful eulogy, in which he said he'd been reading Jordan since his middle teens, that Jordan had inspired him to become a fantasy writer. I believe he said that one reason his characters stay in one spot is that he felt he could never do the 'haring across the landscape' kind of fantasy that Robert Jordan did any better than Robert Jordan had done it.

    Anyway, he was very loving towards the series. And I called Tom Doherty—Brandon was being published by Tor and said that one reason he wanted Tor was that it was Robert Jordan's publisher. So I got hold a copy of Mistborn, and spoke to Tom about his sales numbers, too. I was really tired and after I'd read about 47 pages, I fell asleep, which is no fault of the book—it was my exhaustion. When I woke up, the characters, the situation, the conflicts were all clear in my mind. And I thought, "Yeah, this guy can do it." And I called Tom to tell him that was my opinion, and Tom said, "You don't think you ought to read the whole book? It's an important decision." And I said, "Well yes, if I were hiring him to write a Brandon Sanderson novel, but I'm not. I'm hiring him to write a Robert Jordan novel." And we moused around a little bit, trying to think is there anybody that should be considered. And then after a while I called Brandon and said we were developing a short list—I didn't tell him how short the list was—but would he be interested in being on it. And he said he would. And a couple of weeks go by, and then we said, "Okay, you've got it."

    And Brandon came east—he lives in Utah, but he came to Charleston—and I picked him up at the airport and brought him back to my house, and said, "Well, I have some soup for your supper." He said, "What I'd really like is the end." The end of the series—(laughs)—the material my husband had left. I said, "Okay. Here. Let me know when you're ready for your soup." So that's how that started.

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  • 71

    Interview: Nov 5th, 2009

    Matthew Peterson

    Well, your Mistborn series did bring attention to you. I mean, that's one of the reasons why you are writing the Wheel of Time series. Robert Jordan wrote the first one in 1990, it's called The Eye of the World. Eleven books later, he passed on, suddenly, and left millions and millions people with their mouths open like, "Well, what's next?" Tell us a little bit about how you jumped on board to complete the Wheel of Time series.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay. I got up in the morning one day in October of 2007, fumbled downstairs to my long commute to my couch, picked up my phone to see if anyone had called me. And lo and behold there was a message from someone I didn't know the number of. And so I picked up my phone and I listened to it and was completely dumbfounded and shocked to hear a message from Harriet Rigney, Robert Jordan's widow, asking me if I would call her because there's something she wants to talk to me about. To be perfectly honest, my response was something on the lines of, "Blah, blu, blahb".

    Matthew Peterson

    [laughs]

    Brandon Sanderson

    I mean I couldn't even talk. Well, turns out that I was well known at TOR as a big fan of the series. I had written, when Robert Jordan had passed away, a eulogy for him, that kind of explained how he had been such a big influence on my life and upon how I had decided to become a writer and why I even chose my publisher. And so that eulogy had ended up on Harriet's desk and she had read it and then called Tom Doherty the publisher, and asked him, "Is this one of your guys?" He's like, "Yeah, this guy's a good writer. You should look into his work; he's a possibility." And so that's how I got brought on. I've described it like being hit by a freight train that I wasn't expecting.

    That’s the first I had heard of it. It was out of no where. At least as far as I was expecting it. So at that point, she requested some copies of the Mistborn books and she called me. Her initial call was a call to ask me if I'm interested before she did the work to search through my books and decide if she wanted to choose me. And so that initial phone call, when I finally got a hold of her. . . It was actually pretty hard to get a hold of her. She had left the house and I was just kind of running around in circles like a chicken with his head cut off because I didn't know what was going on and I was very tongue tied. And I eventually got a hold of her and she just said, "I want to see if you're interested before I do the work of reading one of your books and deciding." Well, to be perfectly honest, my response was something along the lines of "Blah ble blahh . . ."

    Matthew Peterson

    [laughs]

    Brandon Sanderson

    I mean, I couldn't even talk. I wrote her an email the next day that I sent care of Tom Doherty, that really essentially said, "Dear Harriet, I promise I'm not an idiot, even though I sounded like one."

    Matthew Peterson

    [laughs]

    Brandon Sanderson

    But she then sat down and read Mistborn, and it was about a month later. She read Mistborn. She considered some other people. She called me up and said, "Yes, I would like you to do this. Are you still interested?" And of course I was. It is one of those things that just happens unexpectedly.

    Matthew Peterson

    Just an amazing thing.

    Brandon Sanderson

    And it changes your life.

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  • 72

    Interview: Nov 5th, 2009

    Matthew Peterson

    Yeah. Well, I caught Tom Doherty at a convention a couple years ago. He was alone, which doesn't happen very often. So, I chatted to him a little bit about this. At that time it was one book, and he said, "Well, he's actually written like close to 1,000 pages so far, and he's only gotten like 1/3 into Jordan's notes. So, we might have to split the book into two." And then lo and behold, there's going to be three books.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's an enormous amount of work and we feel that fans will enjoy it better, if we give it to them 1/3 at a time, for three years. As opposed to making them wait an extra three years and then get the whole thing.

    Yeah. What happened was. . . and I want to make this perfectly clear as I try to explain this. I've not expanded the size of the book at all. Robert Jordan, before he passed away, kept saying, "This book is going to be enormous. This book is going to be huge. They're going to have to sell a wagon with the bookstores, so you can get it out of the bookstore." And I took that to heart and was writing it as I felt he would have written it. He wanted this book to be enormous.

    And Tom Doherty and Harriet made the call, I left it up to them, that they were going to decide how it was going to be divided or if it was going to be divided or if they were going to be printing it as one. And what really happened is about January of this year, Tom and Harriet got together and they looked at what we had and they made the call for two reasons. One reason being, they felt that it was too large to publish as one book. Harriet had said to me, kind of in private, she said, "I don't think Jim could have done this in one book." I don't think he was planning to do this in one book. He maybe would have tried to get them to publish it as one book, but the realities of the publishing business . . . the larger reason I think that they did it because it was going to take me another two years to finish that one book if we were going to be publishing it as one. And they didn't feel that it was right to make the fans wait that long. It's already been four years since the last Wheel of Time book.

    And so the decision was made that they would take the first third, which I had finished already, and then have me work with it and edit it so that it was a single volume and it doesn't read like the first third of a story. The way I approached writing this made for some very natural break points. And they were going to publish that and then we would publish the second third and the third third. And it's really more about the fact that this just takes time. These things are enormously difficult to write, in a good way, but very, very hard, because of how much work it requires to get it right and how many pages there are. I mean the first third is going to be as long as an average Wheel of Time book.

    Matthew Peterson

    Oh, yeah.

    Brandon Sanderson

    And so you can imagine stacking three copies of Eye of the World on top of each other; that's how long Jim planned this book to be.

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  • 73

    Interview: Feb 7th, 2013

    Robert Moreau

    During my second pass through the line I mentioned I was a redditor and he asked if he ever replied to one of my threads. I had posted a copy of Terez's quote collection of Jordan saying "Three more books" from 1995–2007. He then told the story that Tom told him of RJ pitching the series:

    Brandon Sanderson

    (paraphrasing Tom Doherty) "So Jim came and pitched me a trilogy, and he started telling me the story of this boy who is destined to save the world but has to die and gave a quick over view of the first book that ended with the boy pulling a sword that is not a sword from a stone that is not a stone." Now Tom knew that Jim liked to write long and offered him a contract for six books; Jim refused saying it was a trilogy, but Tom convinced him sign for six. He thought he was soooo smart getting Jim to sign for six books at beginning authors royalties, little did he know it would be another eight to finish the series.

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  • 74

    Interview: Feb 11th, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

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

    Question

    How many times did you reread it?

    Brandon Sanderson

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

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

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

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

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  • 75

    Interview: Feb 19th, 2013

    Rob B

    Harriet joined in the storytelling when it came to the point where Brandon was offered the gig to finish writing the series.

    Harriet McDougal

    Harriet also told of how she realized Brandon would be "The Guy" (or as I've sometimes thought, the proverbial Rand al'Thor tapped on the shoulder by the creator to take up the tale). She also relayed her conversation with Tom Doherty, after being handed a printout of Brandon's eulogy for Robert Jordan. Doherty was concerned that maybe Harriet didn't connect with Brandon's writing because Harriet fell asleep after reading a small portion of Mistborn: The Final Empire. Harriet said because she didn't want to (a) correct everything in the book due to her editor's mindset or (b) throw the book across the room in frustration, she felt comfortable with the story he was telling. She also told Doherty, "Besides, I'm not hiring him to write a Mistborn novel, I'm hiring him to write a Wheel of Time novel."

    Harriet mentioned that when she called information for Provo, Utah, she was given Brandon Sanderson's phone number, but the person with whom she spoke on the phone had no idea about what she was talking. As it turned out, another Brandon Sanderson lives in Provo, UT but he's a professional wrestler. When she called Brandon after getting his number from Tor, she told him he was on the short list and held up one finger for the audience. Brandon, after thinking about it, said yes. Again, he didn't let Joshua do any negotiating, Brandon simply said yes.

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  • 76

    Interview: Feb 22nd, 2013

    Question

    Was New Spring originally a novella that was expanded, or was it planned as a novel that was released in several parts?

    Harriet McDougal

    It started as a novella for the collection called Legends. And then Tom Doherty said, "Well you can expand that into a novel, that won't take any time at all." I said, "Tom, that's not really a good idea." He didn't listen to me.

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  • 77

    Interview: Feb 22nd, 2013

    Question

    How did Harriet decide on Brandon, what specific works?

    Harriet McDougal

    The first work was the eulogy for RJ that Brandon posted on his website. A friend was staying with after Jordan's death, and she put a printout of this in front of me and said, "I think you need to read this." And I certainly did and I thought, golly, this is exactly the attitude and the heart of a writer that I would like to see finish the series. This would just be wonderful. And then I called the publisher of Tor, I've worked with him, I was the original Editorial Director at Tor, and I've worked with the publisher for some, umm, more years than you all have been alive. Although perhaps if we added you all together . . .

    Anyway, I know him well and I said, "Tom, tell me about this guy, Brandon Sanderson." And he's a publisher, so he said, "Well, his sales numbers . . .", I mean, he had two books out at this point, Elantris and the first Mistborn, he's a publisher, so he's rattling off numbers, which were not at all what I was interested in. I said, "Well, can you send me one of the books?" He said, "Okay."

    It's conventional wisdom in the industry that a first novel has training wheels, if you really want to see what a writer can do, read the second novel. So he sent me Mistborn. And I read 47 pages. Remember I've been doing this for many years. And I fell asleep. (Laughter) Not Brandon's fault. But when I woke up, everything in the world was clear. His world . . . and that's a challenge, to get that stuff done in so few pages. The world was clear, the characters, the conflict, what they ate . . . He can do this thing.

    So I called Tom, and told him what I thought and he said, "You haven't read the whole book yet, have you?" Cause he's also worked with me for more years than you've been alive. And I said, "Well, no." And he said, "Shouldn’t you finish it? It's a very important decision." And I said, "If I were hiring him to write a Sanderson novel, of course. But I'm not. I'm hiring him to write a Jordan." So that's, that's . . . And then I did, what is it, right brain things or left brain, I always get them mixed-up. But the sensible things. Asked advice of some, an editor in New York who I trust, and his, the British publisher of the series, and like that. And sort of stewed around about it for, gosh, six weeks, a month, yep.

    And then I called, and got, and thought, Provo, Utah, that must be about as big as a minute. I was wrong. I thought, I'll just call information, so I did, and got the number for Brandon Sanderson. And a woman answered the phone. And I said, "Hello, is this Mrs. Sanderson?" And she said, "Yes." And I said, I rattled off, "Hello, I'm Robert Jordan's widow. I'd like to talk to him about finishing Jordan's series, the Wheel of Time." And she said, "I have no idea what you are talking about." And it turns out that Provo, Utah, far from being a tiny place, has two Brandon Sandersons. {Laughter) So with the next try, I got him. I got his voicemail, actually. Anyway, that's pretty much the story.

    Tags

  • 78

    Interview: Mar 18th, 2013

    Tom Doherty

    It's kind of neat sitting here in this office, looking across Madison Square at the building where we first worked together at Tempo, back in the olden days, 1970. We started together there. I was Publisher, Harriet was Editor-in-Chief, and we had a lot of fun. We began doing fantasy and science fiction in that line, and Harriet was of course the one doing it. We did so well that Grosset bought [SFF imprint] Ace for us to play with. Harriet became the editorial director of Ace, and we experienced tremendous growth there.

    Harriet McDougal

    Tremendous growth. I remember when you went to your first science fiction convention, all happy you had a nice company, planning to do wonders for science fiction—as in fact you have. When you said hello to the first people you saw in the lobby, they stood up and said: "Hi, we're the Science Fiction Writers of America grievance committee, and we're going to audit your books."

    Tom Doherty

    Oh, I remember that so well.

    Harriet McDougal

    I think you came up clean.

    Tom Doherty

    Actually, we did come up clean. We'd just bought Ace that week. We were behind because Ace was behind. Our editor in charge of science fiction back then, Pat LoBrutto, understated the situation. He said to me: "You know, we've got a little bit of an image problem. It would really help if you would come out to the World Science Fiction Convention." It was in Kansas City, so I said, "Sure, Pat, if it'll help, obviously, I'll come."

    As soon as we came in, these two guys recognized Pat. They didn't recognize me yet. One of them said: "I'm Andy Offutt, I'm president of the Science Fiction Writers of America." The other one said, in a very loud voice: "And I'm Jerry Pournelle. I'm chair of the grievance committee, and we want to audit your books."

    Well, Jerry had been in the field artillery. His hearing was bad, and he talked loud enough to hear himself. That meant everybody in the whole lobby could hear. Everyone kind of turned en masse to look at us. One person in the group of fans pointed at me and said: "That must be Ace. They're the people who screwed Andre Norton."

    Now, we loved Andre Norton. Harriet had already bought her books at Tempo. We had published her there. But Ace had been in financial trouble, and they were behind on their royalties. What a way to be introduced to the World Science Fiction Convention.

    Harriet McDougal

    I was so glad I wasn't there.

    Tom Doherty

    I came home and went to Grosset immediately. I said "Boy, the first thing we do is pay all these royalties," and we did. That kind of annoyed Jerry Pournelle, because by the time he got there and did his audit, we didn't owe him anything, so he couldn't charge us for the cost of the audit. It's a long time ago, and Jerry may remember it a little differently, but I remember it pretty clearly, and that's how I remember it.

    Harriet McDougal

    It was an interesting time.

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  • 79

    Interview: Mar 18th, 2013

    Tom Doherty

    The very first book we published at Tor was actually Forerunner by Andre Norton.

    Harriet McDougal

    You went to Florida and said: "Please, I've never asked you for a favor, but I want one now."

    Tom Doherty

    It was neat, because Harriet was quite into woman's rights. She got a real kick out of the fact that, in the science fiction field that was so heavily male in those days, the first Tor book was by a woman.

    Irene Gallo

    I never thought of that. That's great.

    Harriet McDougal

    Even though she was deep in purdah writing as Andre. But she had first published at the age of, what was it, seventeen? Very early.

    Tom Doherty

    I looked it up later. Her first book was published in 1934, the year before I was born. She was great. She was a lovely person and a lovely storyteller. Of course, by the time of Forerunner everybody knew she was a woman, but I guess back in 1934 when she was starting to get published, they just didn't think women wrote science fiction.

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  • 80

    Interview: Mar 18th, 2013

    Harriet McDougal

    Tom and I were just discussing yesterday that we were doing "telecommuting" before it was even a term.

    Tom Doherty

    She was the first one.

    Harriet McDougal

    I had already moved back to Charleston when he was starting Tor. He asked me if I would be the editorial director. He said: "I'm not asking you to move back, I'm just asking you to edit." And I said okay.

    Tom Doherty

    She's the best editor I've ever worked with.

    Harriet McDougal

    Oh, thank you.

    Tom Doherty

    You know, I've worked with a lot of them, as Publisher, as Vice President of Sales at Simon and Schuster, at Grosset and Dunlap. Harriet's the best. I just couldn't do without her and, you know, just because she was in Charleston wasn't going to stop us from working together.

    Harriet McDougal

    Well, thank you, Tom. A week ago in Provo [at the first A Memory of Light signing event on January 8th, 2013] I walked into the high school auditorium where everybody was gathered for a pre‑event, before the book went on sale at Midnight. [Dragonmount.com Founder] Jason Denzel introduced me in lavish terms, using words like "wonderful". The crowd, which was wall‑to‑wall, gave me a standing ovation and moved me almost to the point of tears. They just weren't stopping. I began speaking over them and said: "Thank you very much. Thank you for the lovely introduction, Jason, but I don't think all those words are true. I'm here to tell you I put on my shoes one foot at a time, just the way you do." I actually got them to sit down.

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  • 81

    Interview: Mar 18th, 2013

    Tom Doherty

    Just to comment apropos of what I was saying earlier about this talented lady: we just got the Indie bestseller list in. Robert Jordan's A Memory of Light is number one, okay? But another book Harriet acquired, Ender's Game, is number seven on the mass market list. This novel was published in '85. Now, how many books from '85 are in the top ten bestsellers?

    Harriet McDougal

    This is a year for Ender's Game if ever I saw one.

    Tom Doherty

    Well, we're ahead of publicity. It's just starting. It's on the bestseller list now. It was last year too. Seventeen times, if you count the extended bestseller list of the Times.

    Harriet McDougal

    Wow, that's amazing.

    Tom Doherty

    Yeah. And Harriet's mentioned in the novel's acknowledgments. Scott [Orson Scott Card] talks about what a great editor she is, too. So there are other people with exactly the same opinion.

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  • 82

    Interview: Mar 18th, 2013

    Harriet McDougal

    Back at Tempo, I had a wonderful secretary. He had interviewed with Tom, who sent him down to me. Tom was planning to hire him, but he wanted to be sure I could work with him. Once I interviewed him, I called Tom to say I wanted him.

    He was a guy named Howard Ashman. He later went on to write Little Shop of Horrors and The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. He was just wonderful. While he was with Tempo, he did a little series of fairy stories that had black‑and‑white outline drawings every other page. You could paint them with water and vague colors would come up.

    Howard cut his teeth on retelling fairy tales with those little things. He had a background in children's theater, which he'd done in Baltimore. I later ran into him at Pinnacle when Tor had just barely started. All of a sudden there was Howard, spreading out galleys on the floor. He was eking out a dreadful living doing freelance proofreading. He showed me some lyrics for the show he was working on, and that was "Someplace That's Green". I said: "Howard, I don't know lyrics, but it looks okay to me." He was a special feature of those days, just a wonderful guy.

    And I couldn't get him a raise. Grosset wouldn't ante up a raise for him, and he quit. I asked him to come for a walk and said: "I'm so sorry. Please, stay another two months and I'll get you the money." And he said: "Harriet, no. If I had the money I would just buy a sofa, and then I'd be in trouble. It's time for me to go and chase the theater." And so he did.

    Tom Doherty

    I never heard that story.

    Harriet McDougal

    Well, he'd been waiting six months for that raise. Jim Frenkel was also editing under my direction at Tempo at that time. I could not seem to get them the bonuses they deserved. So I decided, all right, I was getting a bonus, I'd split it with them. In late January I called them into the office and said: "I couldn't get you bonuses, but I am going to split my bonus with you. Here it is." I opened it in front of them, but it was the withholding. One of my numerous times of making a fool of myself. But I did split the bonus with them when I finally got it, because they were great. Starting Tor was one dickens of an adventure.

    Tags

  • 83

    Interview: Mar 18th, 2013

    Tom Doherty

    Another great—and profitable—thing Harriet did for us was cartoons. She brought some great cartoons over to Tempo. In 1980, the very first year, we wouldn't actually have shipped any books, because it takes a while to get things organized and written. We'd just started incorporating late in '79. To get books out in 1980 would have been a challenge, but King Features had two movies that year: Flash Gordon and Popeye. We hadn't come up with the Tor imprint yet, but we rushed out tie‑ins for those movies, both in comic form and in novelization.

    Harriet McDougal

    Harum‑scarum. Conan with one hand and Popeye with the other. As the years went by, Tor grew and grew and grew. From my point of view, there came a year when Jim [James Oliver Rigney Jr., AKA Robert Jordan] was beginning to make some real money. I was commuting up to Tor for one week a month, every month. I had a TRS-80 machine with tape storage, and it would record the entire inventory of Tor books so nicely, but then I could never unload it when I got up here. It was a pretty miserable system. Then there came a year where I thought: "This is the year I could either add a third stress medication, or I could stop being editorial director of Tor." It was time to do that.

    Tom Doherty

    I hated every time she ever cut back. I understood, but I didn't like it.

    Harriet McDougal

    Well, I was doing a lot of editing. Heather Wood told me once, when she was working here, that I was editing a quarter of the hardcover list, which meant I was also handling a quarter of the paperback list because of the previous releases. It was a lot. But it was a great ride.

    Tom Doherty

    (To Irene Gallo) That was her problem for doing the best books.

    Harriet McDougal

    I don't know about that. But I loved working with Michael and Kathy Gear, Father Greeley, Carol Nelson Douglas. All manner of creature. Lots and lots of them.

    Tom Doherty

    Yeah. Andy [Greeley]'s books used to make the bestseller list back when you were editing him. That was fun. He came to us first with science fiction, right? Then we did a fantasy, with your editing. He loved your editing. We ended up doing all of his books.

    Harriet McDougal

    I really loved working with him.

    Tom Doherty

    You must have some stories like mine about Jerry Pournelle. What kind of crazy things happened to you in your early days? You were editing Fred Saberhagen, David Drake, people like that.

    Harriet McDougal

    They were just great to work with. Nobody was yelling and screaming down the phone at me.

    Tom Doherty

    Fred's Swords, the first three Books of Swords were bestsellers for us, too.

    Harriet McDougal

    They were good. I used to tease Fred about his day job as a pitcher in the professional baseball world. I think he'd heard that maybe too many times. "There was a Saberhagen pitching." "Saberhagen pitches shutout" and so on.

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  • 84

    Interview: Mar 18th, 2013

    Tom Doherty

    The first Robert Jordan novel Harriet published personally, we did as a joint venture under the imprint and the company Popham Press. Popham is her maiden name.

    Harriet McDougal

    Well, it was distributed by Ace.

    Tom Doherty

    It was distributed by it, yes. I was Publisher of Ace at the time.

    Irene Gallo

    What was the title of that book?

    Harriet McDougal

    His first published book is called The Fallon Blood. It's a novel that covers the American Revolution in the South. At the time, I thought: "If I have to look at one more book about the Civil War, I'll just throw up. I've had it with crinoline. There are too many. Margaret Mitchell did it once and for all. Let's go for the Revolution instead." So he did—the revolution in Charleston, South Carolina, in particular.

    He followed that with The Fallon Pride, which covered the War of 1812, and The Fallon Legacy, which took the Fallons into the brand new Republic of Texas. At that point distribution dried up, otherwise he could have just gone on. He had a dream in which a man is holding Michael Fallon's sword, standing next to the grave of the Fallon who has died in the Vietnam conflict, and I thought, oh, boy. Anyway, with those books he wanted to write the Southern sweep of American history, in the way that John Jakes wrote the Northern sweep. Taking people across the continent. And they were good.

    Tom Doherty

    They were.

    Harriet McDougal

    I would like to the point out something to the fans. Every single book Robert Jordan wrote begins with the wind. "The English wind blew the dust into Michael Fallon's face on his Irish road." That was the beginning of The Fallon Blood. The Fallon Pride begins, "The August winds scorched across Tripoli harbor." There is always a wind. I think it was very conscious that he was breathing life into his characters. Breath and wind have the same root, I think, at least in Hebrew.

    Irene Gallo

    That's wonderful.

    Tags

  • 85

    Interview: Mar 18th, 2013

    Tom Doherty

    By the time he was working on The Fallon Pride, he had already said to me and you both that he wanted to write a great epic fantasy.

    Harriet McDougal

    Yep. He wanted to write everything. I remember you called and you'd gotten the rights from Conan Properties to do a Conan novel, but you wanted it in time for the first Conan movie. Not that it would be connected to the movie, but obviously to get a ride on it.

    Tom Doherty

    Yeah.

    Harriet McDougal

    Jim Baen was working with us at the time. I said: "Why don't you ask Baen?" Jim said: "Baen doesn't like muscular fantasy, that's why." I remembered the first thing of Jim/Robert Jordan's that I ever saw, a manuscript called Warriors of the Altaii, which has still not been published. I think four or five contracts came out of that manuscript, including my own contract. A first novel is so dangerous because so many people start novels and never finish them, but I saw that he could indeed finish something. It was pretty muscular fantasy. I don't remember anything about it except the hero is shackled to a stone wall in a prison cell. The stone floor rumbles open and great tentacles emerge from it at the end of the chapter.

    So I asked him about the Conan novel, and he said no. Three weeks later Doherty hadn't given up, and he called me and said: "I can't think who else would do." I went back to Jim and said please, and he finally said he'd do it. And then he liked it so much that he did six more.

    Tom Doherty

    He cut his teeth on those.

    Harriet McDougal

    And then, after he stopped writing them, he edited a bunch of Conans. Once he had to take a plane somewhere and said: "Harriet, I forgot to write the sales copy for Conan the Whatever‑It‑Was", so I ended up having to write it, about Conan up against the thieving little wazir. I read as few pages as possible, you know, to get the hang of that thing. The sell line ended up being "Sell that Conan down, boys. Turn that Conan round. Rack that Conan round."

    Tom Doherty

    Those Conan books were fun, though. I never read his first novel [Warriors of the Altaii], but if it was like the Conan books, why didn't we ever publish it?

    Harriet McDougal

    Well, because I sent it to [Jim] Baen at Ace. Baen bought it for Ace, so it was sold. But then he left Ace, and Susan Allison came in, and she didn't like it. Finally, after about a year he wrote her or called her and said: "Would you like me to do some stuff on it?" I don't know what she said, but Jim said, it's the women, and she said I'm so glad you understand. "Tell me what you want me to change and I'll be glad to do it."—another year goes by and nothing happens. I said: "Honey, I think you need to ask for the rights back." He did, and she gave him the rights back.

    So, that manuscript got him a contract with me. It got him a contract with Ace. Before we ever met, he'd originally sent it to Donald Wollheim at DAW, who sent him a long single‑spaced letter with no margins, obviously written at home. Jim had been taking a course in business law of some kind, because he knew he wanted to write, so he wrote back and said: "Thank you so much, Mr. Wollheim, but I wondered if I could have a little more? Five percent of the movie rights?" Or maybe it was the foreign rights. Wollheim wrote him a one‑line letter back: "In view of your contract attitude, I withdraw my offer." So that's three contracts this book has given him.

    Tom Doherty

    But we didn't publish The Eye of the World until 1990, so why didn't we ever do Warriors of the Altaii? It would have seemed a natural fit while he was doing the Conans.

    Harriet McDougal

    I don't know. We never thought of it. We were busy. I guess I'm embarrassed to say I think it maybe was sort of like a John Norman novel . . . not something you’d really want to build a career on.

    Warriors of the Altaii needed a lot of work. At one point he decided it needed a rewrite, and I said: "Just don't." But old Warriors glows with a strange green light. All those contracts came slurping out of that book. It's the book that made me give him the historical contract. It had a beginning, a middle, and an end. He could follow through. And he was a wild bird.

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  • 86

    Interview: Mar 18th, 2013

    Tom Doherty

    I think he'd only actually written two Conans when he decided to write The Wheel of Time. We talked about it a lot in '83. I remember talking about it quite a bit before we did the contract in '84. I thought The Fallon Blood was going to be a standalone and that there was only going to be the one book on the Southern sweep of history. It ended up being three. We began talking about an epic fantasy: one book, then maybe three books like The Lord of the Rings. I just didn't believe it would get done in three books, because by then I knew how Jim liked to tell a story. So we did the contract in early '84. He was doing Conan books well beyond when we began talking about that in '83. When did the first Conan book ship? '81?

    Harriet McDougal

    Oh, I don't remember. Maybe the movie you were hoping to plan your timing around was the second Conan movie?

    Tom Doherty

    I think it was. I think it was later because we were already pretty far along in the planning of The Wheel of Time, and this was related. It just seemed natural for him to be doing that, too.

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  • 87

    Interview: Mar 18th, 2013

    Tom Doherty

    I like the Fallon books. I like the Conans he wrote. But when I read The Eye of the World, I just thought, boy, this is just wonderful. This is special.

    Harriet McDougal

    Yeah.

    Tom Doherty

    Harriet and I decided we were going to make this a bestseller. We did it in trade paper because we were afraid we couldn't get enough out of a fat hardcover book. Trade paper wasn't anywhere near as big then as it is now, but we thought that's good, too, because it will call attention to itself. It'll be different. So we did it in trade paper and sold 40,000 copies, which was huge for trade paper in those days, for the first of a fantasy series.

    Harriet McDougal

    When I called you the first time, I was about halfway through reading the partials Jim was handing me. I said: "Tom, you've got to read this one." He said: "Yeah, why?" [To Irene Gallo] You know Tom. I replied: "Because either I've fallen into the wife trap after seven years of marriage, or this book is wonderful." I sent it to Tom, and you didn't just go the whole hog, you did the whole hog and all the piglets. A truly magnificent job of publishing.

    Tom Doherty

    Oh, we had so much fun with that. You know, it's funny. People think that, when you get a success like that, you don't want to mess with it. The second book doubled the sales of the first in trade paper. So when we got to the third book, we decided to do it in hardcover, and sales just screamed. People asked: "Why would you do that? Look how wonderfully it's growing where it is." And that was our first book to hit the bestseller list.

    Irene Gallo

    Really?

    Tom Doherty

    Yeah, it hit the New York Times, not high up, but it did. And from then on, always up. How about you, Irene? You've been working on the covers for a lot of years.

    Irene Gallo

    It's hard to say. I came on in '93, when Maria [Mellili, former Art Director for Tor Books] was here. It was already the big book of the year. Many of the cover decisions were set. My earliest memories were that the production schedules were set by hours, not days.

    Harriet McDougal

    Really?

    Irene Gallo

    There would always be four different versions of the production schedule, based on what day it came in. Contingency plans on top of contingency plans.

    Harriet McDougal

    For one of the books, Jim and I stayed at the Murray Hill Hotel, with twin laptops. He'd do a chapter and give it to me, I'd read and edit it, and then I'd bring a disk in. I had a terrific carryall I'd bought at the Morgan Library, but it was not up to carrying my laptop and gave up the ghost in the middle. That was, I think, the craziest.

    Irene Gallo

    I remember Jeff Dreyfus, our production manager at the time, spent the days walking back and forth from the office to the hotel.

    Harriet McDougal

    And Jim ended up having to stay up here to proofread. It was going to take a week or more, and I had to go back and deal with stuff at home. That's funny about the production schedules by hour, though. I'd never heard that.

    Irene Gallo

    They would set up four of them: if it comes on Monday, it's this, but if it comes in late Tuesday, it's this.

    Tom Doherty

    But hey, you know, it worked. We did a book each year, and each book built. By the time we got to the fourth book, we were selling the first book in mass market paperback. It was hooking people and bringing them in. Then the next book would grow, because people wouldn't want to wait.

    Tags

  • 88

    Interview: Mar 18th, 2013

    Tom Doherty

    Let's talk about windowing. [Note: Windowing is the term used for spacing out the release dates of different formats of a book. Hardcover followed by trade or ebook, etc.] Harriet windowed this book, and there's a lot of misunderstanding about this. People think that we did it for some selfish reason.

    Harriet McDougal

    No, it wasn't a selfish reason. The brick‑and‑mortar bookstores were very good to Robert Jordan throughout his career. They are having a hard time now. This was a chance for Robert Jordan to give back to people who had been very good to him for 20 years. That was really the main reason for the windowing.

    When I began in this business, which was when dinosaurs roamed the earth, a hardcover would come out and you had to wait a year or more for a cheaper edition to come out. Even now it’s generally more than six months for a paperback to come out after the hardcover. In that context, a window of three months doesn't seem very onerous. It's a way of holding out a hand to the bookstores, where you can have book signings and meet other people who like books and, above all, where you can browse. It's very difficult to browse on the Internet. It's fine when you know exactly what book you want, but how can you have your eye caught by something in the next aisle that you'd never considered, like maybe a book called Knit for Dummies. "What's that? I want to go look at that."

    Tom Doherty

    It's so true. We grew up selling books this way. Sure, there's a new, wonderful way to reach more people, but we shouldn't ignore all the things that booksellers have done for us all these years. I understand Harriet's feelings, and I think it's wonderful that she cares and wants to support the people who supported us over fourteen books.

    Harriet McDougal

    And all the people who found it because they thought: "Gee, that cover looks interesting." Well, when you're online that opportunity doesn't quite exist in the same way.

    Tom Doherty

    No, you've got to look at too many things. You can't see it by accident, out of the corner of your eye as you walk around.

    Harriet McDougal

    Exactly.

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  • 89

    Interview: Mar 18th, 2013

    Tom Doherty

    A Memory of Light was the biggest first day we've ever had.

    Harriet McDougal

    Which is something.

    Tom Doherty

    Yep. Harriet's agent, Nat Sobel, just sent us an e‑mail saying it's number one in England, too, right now. They said it outsold the one behind it four‑to‑one.

    Harriet McDougal

    It's so nice that missing Christmas didn't hurt. I really worried about that, but we just needed the time to comb its hair.

    Tom Doherty

    It had to be done right. It's just too important not to do it right. Rushing wouldn't work for this.

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  • 90

    Interview: Aug 21st, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's the first time I knew that Tor was a thing. I was like, "Hey, who's this publisher?" You have the best logo in publishing. I don't know if you feel that, but the little mountain...

    Tom Doherty

    That was all about visibility. I started out as a salesman, and we used to check stock. I wanted something you could see from a distance. If you have ten letters, they have to be small to fit on the spine of a paperback. If you have three letters with a handsome image, it fits in and you can do it big enough so it's visible. That was the idea behind Tor: mountain peak, small, nice looking, and just three letters.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That mountain peak, as a fantasy reader, actually meant "fantasy" to me. I'd see a lot of the logos, like—well, I'm fine with Bantam, but it's a chicken, right? Isn't that Bantam? I didn't see chicken and think, "Oooh, fantasy novel." With the Tor mountain peak, we've got the Dragonmount, we've got the Mines of Moria with the mounds... It's just so evocative of the genre. I'd see it and think, "Oh, fantasy novel." So that was very smart.

    Tom Doherty

    It was kind of lucky, because I didn't mean it especially for fantasy. I wanted it to be something handsome and visible and symbolic of the kind of things that we wanted to do. In the beginning we were planning to do history: past, present, and future. You know, starting with the prehistoric, which to me is science fiction, because it's an extrapolation from anthropology, rather than from physics going forward into the future. The far past leads you toward the present, and it leads you to a time when European civilization, which was industrial and much more advanced, met Stone Age North American. The same editors who are comfortable with "human meeting alien" are comfortable with the clash of such different civilizations.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I never heard it described that way. That's pretty cool.

    Then, from the other end, we did near‑future science fiction. Other people began doing it and calling it techno‑thriller.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right. The Michael Crichton sort of thing.

    Tom Doherty

    Yes. Michael Crichton was the beginning, really, and it sold better as a thriller.

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you look back at it, James Bond has always been slightly science fiction‑y, near future‑y science fiction. People who would think, "Oh, science fiction, I don't do that" would pick up a James Bond novel and read it.

    Tom Doherty

    That's how we created [Tor sister imprint] Forge. We were doing these near-future science fiction novels that weren't getting reviewed, because the people who'd review them were the thriller reviewers.

    We had a book by Paul Erdman, not really a techno-thriller, more a financial thriller. The San Francisco Chronicle had always been very good to him, but they totally ignored this book. We contacted them and said, "Look, far be it from us to suggest who to review, but we were just kind of surprised that you would skip Paul Erdman, when you've always reviewed him so well in the past." And they said, "Oh, we would never skip Paul Erdman. Let us look into that." When they came back to us, they said, "Oh, we got the book from Tor and sent it to our science fiction reviewer. He put it aside as not for him." So that's why we made Forge.

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  • 91

    Interview: Aug 21st, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    I remember those little half books of The Eye of the World. I was already a fan by then, but those became collectors' items among the fans.

    Tom Doherty

    We gave away over a million of them. I figured anybody who read that couldn't stop.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Wow. A million of them? Really. That's a lot.

    Tom Doherty

    It was. It wasn't quite half of the novel. It was a natural break that Harriet agreed on.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was Shadar Logoth, I seem to recall. Wow. A million. That's crazy. I mean, most authors don't have a million books in print, and Robert Jordan had a million of his promo books in print. That's just crazy. You did that right around the third book, wasn't it?

    Tom Doherty

    Yeah. The first book sold 40,000 trade paperbacks. We launched it as a trade paperback, because not many people were doing major promotions on trade paperbacks in those days. We ended up selling 40,000 of the trade.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Which is really good.

    Tom Doherty

    Which was very good, yeah. I had the hardest time with the sales force when, on the third book, I wanted to make the major promotion in hardcover. They said, "Well, you've got such a winner. Why would you want to change?"

    Brandon Sanderson

    See, as a reader, when I picked up The Eye of the World, I picked it up in mass market paperback. My bookstore first got it in mass market. I was just a new reader, and all the books that I had read up to that point had been series in progress that people handed to me, like David Eddings. Fantastic stuff, particularly for a teen boy. And Tad Williams, and Terry Brooks. I found the Dragonriders on my own and loved those, but it was already done. I was on the lookout for something to discover then. I didn't want to always just be handed something that everyone else loves. "Where's my series?"

    When I saw The Eye of the World, I was on the lookout for big, thick books, because you got more bang for your buck. As a kid who didn't have a lot of pocket change, that was an important thing. So I bought The Eye of the World, and I read it, and I said, "There's something really special here. I think this is going to be mine."

    Then my bookstore got the second one in trade paperback, and I said, "A‑ha! I've spotted it!" Because as a kid, that told me that this book was popular enough that my little bookstore was willing to order in the trade paperback. Then, when the third one came out in hardcover, I thought "He's made it, and I called it." I was like the Wheel of Time hipster, right? "From the get‑go, this is my series and I found it, and all you other people didn't see it in the beginning." Even still, I'll go on signings and ask, "Who picked it up in 1990?" and we'll get a cheer for those of us who waited 23 years for the series to end.

    Tom Doherty

    That's great.

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  • 92

    Interview: Aug 21st, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    When I started wanting to get published and was sending books out, there were really only two publishers I was sending to. One was you, as Robert Jordan's publisher, and the other one was Daw, because I really liked how Daw handled... Well, to be honest, I sent to them because they got Michael Whelan covers a lot, and I liked Michael Whelan covers.

    When Moshe [Feder, Sanderson's editor] finally called me, my agent wanted me to negotiate and take it to other publishers to see who would offer more. I wouldn't let him, because I thought, "Once you're at Tor, you don't go anywhere else. You go with Tor. Once you're at the fancy French restaurant, you don't go down and see if there's a better deal at McDonald's. Maybe there will be, but you end up with McDonald's instead of the fancy nice restaurant. Instead of getting a steak, you end up with a burger." I already had the steak, so I went with Tor.

    And now, sitting in this room... The readers can't see this, but we're in the prow of the Flatiron Building. It's one of the most famous buildings in the city. This was the Daily Bugle, right?

    Tom Doherty

    Yep.

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you go watch the Spiderman movies, you can see. I'll always be like, "There's Tom's office." I'm right at the tip of it, just looking out at the city. It's the coolest office I've ever been in.

    Tom Doherty

    They tell me it got trashed in Godzilla.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Godzilla reached in the window and pulled something out.

    Tom Doherty

    Apparently they shot some rocket at him. [Note: here's the scene on YouTube.]

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's looking remarkably well put together for having been blown up.

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  • 93

    Interview: Aug 21st, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    So after Ender's Game, the second Tor book that I can remember reading was The Eye of the World and the other Wheel of Time books. There were all these rumors out there about how many books it was planned to be and what it was originally pitched as. Tom, I think we need to hear it from your mouth: the first-hand witness of that pitch when James Rigney came in. Was it this office right here?

    Tom Doherty

    Well, actually we'd already done three books with him. The Fallon Blood, The Fallon Pride, and The Fallon Legacy. He did them under a different pen name.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right. Reagan O'Neal.

    Tom Doherty

    They had started out to be one book. He was going to do a big historical novel of the American Revolution, but it ended up being three fat books.

    When he came in and said he wanted to do a big epic fantasy novel, we said, "Well, a big epic fantasy?" He said, "Well, maybe it'll be a trilogy." So I suggested a six book contract, and when he said no I said "Okay, you know if you finish it in three, we'll just do a different trilogy." He said, "Well, all right, if you insist."

    Brandon Sanderson

    Didn't you tell me that, when he gave the pitch on the first book, it really ended where the third book now ends, with the sword that's not a sword being taken from the stone that's not a stone?

    Tom Doherty

    Well, he didn't actually, no. He didn't give me a very detailed outline, but I didn't really need one because he'd done such a great job with the Fallon trilogy and Harriet [McDougal, Robert Jordan's widow and editor] was sold on it. Harriet had edited the Fallon trilogy.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Right. She tells the story that she called you after reading the few chapters of The Eye of the World that she'd read and said, "You need to look into this thing, because either I've fallen into the wife trap after all these years, or this is the best thing I've ever read." [Note: Harriet McDougal told the same story during her conversation with Tom Doherty.]

    Tom Doherty

    I don't remember her saying that, but she did call me and say, "Hey, this is special." And I read it, and it was special. We did some things with those books that were pretty major for a small, independent company.

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  • 94

    Interview: Aug 21st, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    I remember coming to see you the very first time, when Elantris was just barely out. I've always been impressed, because I was a nobody and you had read my book. There can't be many other publishers of major companies who read as many of the books as you do. Why do you do that?

    Tom Doherty

    Well, if I've got an editor working for me, it's because I believe that that editor really has something to contribute. Moshe [Feder] was so enthusiastic about Elantris that I couldn't not read it. And when I read it, I loved it.

    I think it's pretty clear we really loved what you were doing. I may be a little prejudiced as his publisher, but I think Robert Jordan really created one of the great epic fantasies of all time—a magnificent series, and you just finished it magnificently. We never could have turned it over to anybody that we didn't have tremendous confidence in, Brandon. We loved what you were doing. It said to us, "Yes, he can do this."

    Brandon Sanderson

    If you weren't the type of publisher who read all the books, you couldn't have fingered someone like you did with me. You couldn't have said, "Give him to Harriet." I remember she said she asked you to send her some of my books. And you said, "Well, I'll send you Mistborn instead of Elantris. I've read them both and Mistborn is a better novel."

    Tom Doherty

    Yep.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Elantris is a first novel. The second novel's better. You knew to send her Mistborn, and it's that book that made her choose me. In a lot of ways, if you hadn't been on top of things, it may not have happened the way it did.

    Tom Doherty

    Well, Mistborn's really great. We thought of it as a trilogy, but then you wrote more.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I'm in the Robert Jordan tradition, right?

    Tom Doherty

    You are. But, anyway, it's smaller scale than The Way of Kings. The Stormlight Archive is such a natural progression for you, I think. You've told me you picked up foreshadowing from Jordan.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yep. One of the main things I learned from him.

    Tom Doherty

    If I recall, you said that you'd actually written the first draft of The Way of Kings in 2003, and that you had ideas for it way back to high school, and that when you and Moshe were talking about what to do after Elantris, you weren't completely happy with it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It wasn't good enough yet. I had all these dreams, these aspirations of doing something big and momentous like the Wheel of Time, but I couldn't do it yet. I tried, and I couldn't. The problem was juggling the viewpoints, and the foreshadowing.

    What I learned, when I was rereading the Wheel of Time to work on the series, was that Robert Jordan kept everything really quite focused for the early books of the series. He expanded it slowly. He didn't hit you in the face with twenty viewpoints.

    We had something like a seventy viewpoint chapter in the last book. That's something you have to earn, across years of writing. You have to get the reader invested in the main characters. Without that investment in the main characters, I wouldn't have cared enough to pay attention to the side characters.

    It was a matter of scale and scope and building upon itself, rather than just trying to start off with this massive book that gets everyone lost. That's one of the big things I did wrong in the original write. I had six main characters with full arcs and full viewpoints. It was too much. You couldn't really attach to any of them. In the revision I cut that down to three, which really focused the book. It let me give the passion and focus on these three characters, so that you felt it when you read the book.

    Tom Doherty

    Yeah.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Working on those Robert Jordan books did that for me. Writing The Gathering Storm in specific was like going to the gym and having to lift some really heavy weights you aren't used to. Either you get used to it or they crush you. I had to get used to it very quickly. That taught me a lot. I grew more that year than I had at any point in my writing career, except maybe the very first year I was writing.

    Tom Doherty

    When I look at the Stormlight Archive, you also like to jump around like George R. R. Martin. These are the two great epic novelists of our day, Martin and Jordan.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's really one of George's big strengths: jumping to keep the pacing up. But even he didn't start with a lot of characters at the beginning of the first book. I've actually tried to learn from Robert Jordan and George R. R. Martin and say, "Okay, what are the things they had to deal with? There are growing pains when you're creating a series this long. There are certain things that are difficult to do. What looks like it was difficult to do for them, and what can I learn from them?"

    I often say that I had a big advantage over Robert Jordan: I've been able to read Robert Jordan, and he couldn't, at least not in the same way. Reading Robert Jordan showed me what happens when you create a big series. Nobody did this before him, right?

    Tom Doherty

    No.

    Brandon Sanderson

    There were no massive epic fantasy series of that scope at the time. You have things that are episodic, like [Roger Zelazny's] Chronicles of Amber, which is fantastic, but it's thin little episodes. You have nice trilogies like Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. But you don’t have anything with the scope of the Wheel of Time.

    I was able to watch and benefit from what Jordan did. After the fact, he said "You know, I don't think I would have done book ten the same way if I had it to do over again. I learned this and I learned that." Being able to pay attention to those things allows me to hopefully use that.

    When I went into The Way of Kings, I saw what George R. R. Martin does, jumping to these other places and giving you a scope of the world. It makes it feel epic. But if you spend too much time on jumping to those places, you get distracted and can't focus.

    So I did this thing where I would end a section of The Way of Kings and do what I call interludes, where we jump around the world. If this is the sort of thing that doesn't interest you, you can skip those interludes and go on to the next part, where we get back to the main characters. But there are these little stories in between each part, showing the scope: "Here's what's going on around the world, now we focus." You get distracted for a little bit, after a natural end point, then we come back to the main story.

    That restrains me. It makes me say, "Okay, I can only put this many of these chapters in." It makes me keep my eyes on the main characters more. One of my main goals with writing this series is being able to juggle that. It's hard.

    Tom Doherty

    I think you’ve done a particularly great job of still having that broad, epic feel with fewer characters. You only have the three principals: Kaladin, Shallan, and Dalinar. Jordan had six, maybe eight depending on how you count them.

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  • 95

    Interview: Oct 15th, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    It became obvious to me early in the outlining process that I was going to be writing a big book. I was well aware of what Robert Jordan had said about the final volume—you can find quotes from him on the internet where he promises it would be so large, fans would need a wheelbarrow to get it out of bookstores. I took this to heart, but knew that there was little chance Tor would let me write the book that large without cutting it.

    Indeed, by late 2008, Tor had gotten word that I was promising Harriet a 2000-page book. I believe it was in January 2009 when I got the call from Harriet asking about splitting the books. I was ready for this. My first line was to tell her, "I still view this as one book, and would like to try and get it printed as one book if at all possible." She took my arguments back to Tor, and had a long conversation with Tom Doherty. When she came back to me, she said they strongly advised a division.

    I'm still not certain what would have happened if Robert Jordan had tried this. Perhaps Harriet would have persuaded him that the realities of publishing forbade a book so large. Either way, I felt I had made as strong an argument as I could—and I admitted, despite my desire to see the book as one volume as Robert Jordan had envisioned, that I would have to either discard several major parts of the outline or agree to split the novel.

    I think we made the right choice. Three books gave me the chance to really dig into the project not as a one-off event, but as a process. Cutting major plotlines would have made the last book a rushed endeavor, requiring me to ignore several large threads. However, the division of the outline did create some problems, which I'll talk about during the Towers of Midnight post.

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