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2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.

The Bell Tolls

2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."

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WoT Interview Search

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Your search for the tag 'where to start' yielded 19 results

  • 1

    Interview: Apr 20th, 2004

    Week 2 Question

    Once all three prequel novels are written, is there any particular order you would recommend new readers read the prequels/books? Should they start off with the prequel novels, or finish with them, or read each one at certain points throughout the series?

    Robert Jordan

    I intend to write each of the prequel novels just as I did New Spring: The Novel, in such a way that someone could pick any one of them up and begin there with no other exposure to The Wheel of Time, but for best effect, I suggest reading them in the order that they will be published. If you read the second one first, you might find a few surprises spoiled in New Spring: The Novel. And if you read the third one first, you would certainly find spoilers for the first book and some for the second. As for whether to begin with the prequel novels or with the main sequence books, you can do either.

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  • 2

    Interview: Jan, 1991

    Starlog Interview (Verbatim)

    William B. Thompson

    A sort of slenderized Burl Ives, with the same intelligent, probing eyes, ebullient manner, and faintly mischievous grin, Jordan, now in his 40s, is exploring the realm of fantasy after successful sojourns along a number of literary paths.

    Judging by the review and the sales—his pen seems as formidable as a highwayman's blade, or a sorcerer's talisman.

    Jordan, who also writes under the pseudonyms "Reagan O'Neal" and "Jackson O'Reilly," recently completed the second in a planned six-book fantasy series for Tor Books collectively entitled "The Wheel of Time." The first installment, The Eye of the World, was four years in the writing. It was released in February 1990 to broad acclaim, ascending the bestseller list. Volume two, The Great Hunt, was published this fall, with the third book tentatively scheduled for December 1991.

    Robert Jordan

    "Actually, I prefer not to use the term 'series' because it sounds so open-ended, like the writer will continue to produce books in the same creative surroundings indefinitely," says Jordan, a life-long resident of Charleston, South Carolina. "Each book is designed to stand alone. The Great Hunt is a sequel, yes, but I've put a good deal of effort into it to ensure that whoever picks it up first will not feel left out or cheated."

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  • 3

    Interview: Jun 27th, 1996

    AOL Chat 1 (Verbatim)

    OMNI Muse

    We're glad to have you here! I've got lots and lots of questions, and I'd like to ask you to briefly tell us about Wheel of Time before we get started. :)

    Robert Jordan

    It can't be done! Not briefly. This is Loial's country. :) I can't even do it in two or three pages. My advice is to read the books. :) And start with The Eye of the World, please. :) It works much better that way.

    OMNI Muse

    LOL! Okay, we have lots of fans out there, so let's get to the questions.

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  • 4

    Interview: Oct, 2000

    Orbit Interview (Verbatim)

    Orbit Books

    Do you think of the Wheel of Time as one very long novel, or as a series of separate novels?

    Robert Jordan

    To me, the Wheel of Time is one very long novel, with the individual books being sections of the novel. I try to provide a certain amount of resolution within each book, but a reader must begin with the first. It really isn't any more possible to pick up the newest book and begin there than it is to try beginning any other novel with only the last few chapters.

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  • 5

    Interview: Sep, 2005

    Glas Durboraw

    I should probably ask a question first: If you can't tell, this is my first weekend to be doing these interviews, and I've enjoyed it immensely. You've been interviewed by many different people about the Wheel of Time series and the like. What thing would you tell anyone approaching your series for the first time about it?

    Robert Jordan

    Start with a book called The Eye of the World, because if you start anywhere else, you will get twenty pages, and say, "I don't understand who these people are. I don't know what they're doing or why they're doing it," and you will throw the book down in disgust and frustration. And you can find The Eye of the World at any bookstore, but if you can't find it, they'll order it for you.

    Glas Durboraw

    That makes sense.

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  • 6

    Interview: Dec 23rd, 2002

    Ben P. Indick

    Like Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings but unlike the works of other post-Tolkien writers, The Wheel of Time is unusual in being one novel, of which Crossroads of Twilight is the latest installment [see review p. 50].

    Robert Jordan

    One novel, one very long novel. Because of the overlapping nature of the books, in the later books, they are not even sequential in the sense that the events of one book end and the next book begins. The events may begin back during the events of the preceding book.

    Ben P. Indick

    Would you recommend readers start with Crossroads of Twilight?

    Robert Jordan

    For many years, I've seen bookstore managers' faces go deathly pale, the blood draining from their faces, when I told someone, "Put that nice expensive hardcover back on the shelf and go buy that paperback over there, because you have to start at the beginning with The Eye of the World. You start here and you are bound to get utterly confused and won't understand what's going on."

    Ben P. Indick

    Didn't you feel you had to make every book accessible to newcomers?

    Robert Jordan

    At first I thought I must make these books able to be picked by anybody at any place, but with the third book, The Dragon Reborn, I began to realize this wasn't possible. I have too much to explain that I've already explained. I was asked to write one-page summaries and I replied, "It can't be done."

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  • 7

    Interview: Jul, 2009

    Nadine

    Is it possible for someone who has not read all 11 books in The Wheel of Time series to be able to follow and enjoy reading The Gathering Storm?

    Brandon Sanderson

    My agent did just that, actually. He said he had a lot of trouble through the first half of the book, then had a blast with the second half.

    I honestly wouldn't suggest it. The Wheel of Time is meant to be an in-depth, immersive experience. There's a lot going on in these books, and they are not episodic—meaning the story is one long saga. It would be a little like tuning in to the Lord of the Rings movies and only watching the last chunk of the final movie.

    If you're determined, you could read The Encyclopaedia-WoT [which] has some excellent summaries of the books, chapter by chapter. But you'll be missing out on a lot of fun. There will not be summaries posted in the books themselves—the WoT is just too long and involved for that to work. (And Robert Jordan always resisted letting the publisher add anything like that.)

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  • 8

    Interview: May 15th, 2009

    Dave Brendon

    You have amassed a well-loved body of work, attaching your name to epic fantasy even before being approached to finish A Memory of Light; will you please tell us about your work, and why a reader who has never read your work should buy and read a copy of Elantris, the Mistborn series or Warbreaker?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I love epic fantasy, but I’m of the generation who grew up reading Robert Jordan and Tad Williams and are now trying to say, what else can we do with the genre? I want to write books that feel like the great epic fantasies of the past that you’ve read, but don’t use the same, familiar stories. In Mistborn, for example, the idea was to turn the standard fantasy story on its head–what if the prophesied hero failed and the Dark Lord took over and has ruled the known world for the last thousand years? My books are also known for their spectacular, interesting magic systems that are very rule based and almost a science unto themselves. But of course none of that matters without characters whose motivations you can understand and who you can care about as a reader. In Elantris I have three very different main viewpoint characters, and readers are fairly evenly divided on who’s their favorite–in writing as in anything else, it’s impossible to please everyone all the time, but I’m happy that my books have shown so many different people a character they can relate to and root for.

    Between writing Mistborn 2 and Mistborn 3, I wanted to try something new, and my series of humorous middle-grade novels beginning with Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians was the result. I love epic fantasy, and don’t intend to ever stop writing it. However, sometimes we all need a diversion toward something more lighthearted. If you want to get a taste of what my writing is like, because Alcatraz is so different from my other books I recommend that unless you’re between the ages of ten and thirteen you start with the first Mistborn book—or Elantris or Warbreaker. Mistborn is a good entry point for people who like trilogies and series (and the writing is better in Mistborn than in Elantris; I can see how much I have improved over the years). The other two are good entry points for people who prefer standalones–and Warbreaker is available for free on my website (as well as coming out in hardcover in North America from Tor next month), so it may be the most convenient starting point of all.

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  • 9

    Interview: Nov 7th, 2011

    Neth

    For those readers who read Mistborn years ago (or even not at all), what do they need to know before reading The Alloy of Law? Do you think this book is a good introduction to the world of Scadrial?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I honestly don't think you need to remember that much of the original trilogy, or even need to have read it at all, to enjoy this book. Granted, I drop some bombs on you in the epilogue—the epilogue and near ending of this book are deeply tied to the original trilogy, but the actual story of this book other than those after-the-fact bombs is very self-contained. Allomancy and Feruchemy are reintroduced; readers get some quick explanation of that. I think you can pick this up without having to read or reread the whole trilogy.

    Neth

    High Imperial? And where was Hoid?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You will have to look. Hoid is in the book, though his name doesn't appear. But the things happening here during this interim are not of deep interest to Hoid like the things happening in the original trilogy, so he is playing a much smaller role here than he was in the original trilogy.

    Also, High Imperial just cracks me up.

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  • 10

    Interview: Jul, 2009

    padmeamanda

    As a RJ fan who has never read any of your literature, which of your books should I start reading today?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I’d suggest Mistborn first. Warbreaker wouldn’t be a bad place to start either, as it’s a stand alone. Mistborn (the first book is called The Final Empire) is a complete trilogy. RJ readers tend to like series.

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  • 11

    Interview: Jul, 2009

    pfchristopher

    Now that you've published more, what order should people read your books in? Both Fantasy & non-fantasy readers.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Non fantasy readers I’d give Elantris to first. Fantasy readers I’d give Mistborn to.

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  • 12

    Interview: 1993

    Hailing Frequency

    How would you compare this multi-volume spinning-out of a single story with the "Conan" books, where you did a number of individual works that were part of a larger, but rather looser, series?

    Robert Jordan

    No comparison. I've made an effort to make each book stand by itself, but at the same time, I've tried to make each one a real part of the whole "Wheel of Time." In something like the "Conan" series, the books are really independent; there is no real relationship between them. In this series, while you could read The Shadow Rising first, and enjoy it, I think, you are going to get more out of it if you have read the first three books. You will pick up things that will seem different because of things you know from the first three books, things that are different from what they seem on the surface. There's a slightly different cast to things that people say and do.

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  • 13

    Interview: Mar, 2012

    Samuel Montgomery-Blinn

    How much did you focus on writing The Alloy of Law as a starting point for readers who were new to Mistborn? Was it hard to balance writing for new readers versus wanting to give your existing readers a "welcome home"?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It takes place hundreds of years after the trilogy, so there was enough that I had to bring longtime readers up to speed on that it felt very natural to write the book as a potential new starting point, just because the world had been updated so much.

    That said, I did make sure to slip in lots of fun things for those who had read the original trilogy, that are callbacks or that show how the world got updated and how it grew. I was conscious of the book possibly being a new starting point, but it's more that it felt natural for what the story required, as opposed to me sitting down and trying to force the book to be a new starting point.

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  • 14

    Interview: Apr, 1997

    SFX

    There's one major problem with huge fantasy series—picking up on them halfway through. Robert Jordan has one word of advice for anyone who's considering joining his epic "Wheel Of Time" saga with volume seven, A Crown Of Swords (SFX16; B), now out in paperback at £5.99.

    Robert Jordan

    Don't! Start on the paperback of the first book The Eye Of The World. The characters are innocent at the beginning and you see the world in a certain way through their eyes. One of themes of the books is the mutability of knowledge—you cannot possibly know the truth of an event unless you were there to see it, and then you know only what you observed yourself. So the characters suspect that some of what they know is wrong, but they never know which parts are wrong. Each book changes the books before.

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  • 15

    Interview: Aug, 1996

    Hailing Frequency

    How far do you attempt to make the individual volumes accessible to someone who's coming in fresh? Or is that a lost cause?

    Robert Jordan

    I think it's a lost cause. From the beginning, I've told people, "Start with The Eye of the World." If somebody tries to join at Book Six, there's a good chance they'll say, "Well, there's a lot of stuff here I didn't understand. I don't think I'll bother with this." While if they start with Book One, there's a very good chance they'll continue, and come back for more. I tell people, "Go buy The Eye of the World in paperback. You haven't invested a lot of money. If you don't like it you can quit. At least you're giving yourself a chance to enjoy it."

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  • 16

    Interview: Mar 15th, 2003

    M. L. Van Valkenburgh

    For new readers, Jordan entreats them to start with the first book in the series, The Eye of the World.

    Robert Jordan

    "You must start with that book. If you just pick up the new one you will be utterly confused within ten pages," he said. "Even if you only read Book One, and don't go on with the series, that's fine."

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  • 17

    Interview: Apr 14th, 2012

    Question

    Hi Brandon.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hi.

    Question

    I've read a bit online about how you have an overall storyline covering all of your novels, but I really don't know much about it. I was wondering if you could expand and explain.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay. The overarching story of all of my novels. This warrants some backstory. If you weren't familiar, I wrote thirteen novels before I sold one. I spent a lot of time practicing and learning, and I love big epic grand series. However, you know, you can't grow up reading the Wheel of Time without loving big series, but advice I heard early on was, selling a big series is actually pretty hard from a new author and if you, for instance, spend your life and you write like six books in the same series, and you send off the first book to someone and they don't buy it, you can't really send them the second book because, you know, they've already rejected that, and so it's really putting all of your eggs into one basket, and that doesn't end up working out for some people. I didn't want to do that; I wanted to expand my chances, and so I wrote thirteen novels in different worlds, all with their own different magic systems and own characters. But secretly I loved the grand epic, and so I started connecting all these worlds during my unpublished era, and telling a hidden epic behind them all that I was setting up for.

    Well, eventually I sold book number six, and embedded in book number six was a bunch of this stuff for the hidden epic, of course, and six is actually one of the ones where I first started doing this. My first five were kind of throwaway novels. It was six, seven, eight, and nine that were really involved in this. Six was Elantris; seven was a book called Dragonsteel; eight was a book called White Sand; and nine was a book called Mythwalker, which eventually became Warbreaker, which I eventually rewrote and released as Warbreaker. So that four-book sequence was very ingrained in this kind of hidden story behind the stories. When I started publishing these books, I just kept it going, the hidden story, the hidden epic.

    Now one aspect of this was that I didn't want people to have to know all the books that came before to understand what was happening in any one of them. So, for instance, if you read these you don't need to know anything about the hidden epic. It is back there behind the scenes for some day when I actually write a series dedicated to it, that there will be all this foreshadowing, but it will never directly and in really important ways influence a given series. For instance, you don't have to have read Elantris to understand Mistborn even though technically they're sequels; Mistborn is technically a sequel to Elantris, just set on a different planet.

    There is one character who has appeared in all of my novels, and several other characters who have jumped between novels. For instance there's a character from Elantris who is in The Way of Kings—one of the main characters from Elantris shows up in Way of Kings under hidden auspices, but it's pretty obvious; the fans found it really fast, those who were watching out for it—but that sort of thing. So, there is a story going on behind all of this that I will eventually tell, but what do you need to know about it right now? That all of these things are basically Easter eggs right now. None of them are dominating the storyline at all; it's just a bunch of cool Easter eggs that eventually will mean something to you. So the character to watch out for is called Hoid; it's a pseudonym he usually uses—pseudonym is I guess the wrong term; the alias he normally uses—and he's all over in the books, so if you watch out for him you'll see him.

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