View Full Version : Tor-Forge Interviews with Team Jordan 2009

Marie Curie 7
09-10-2011, 05:30 PM
Transcript: Tor-Forge Interview with Harriet McDougal and Brandon Sanderson (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6apckMB0Ww)

1 October 2009

Harriet: I had not heard of Brandon until. . . it was the week of my husband's death. A friend was visiting. She put in front of me a print-out, and it was the eulogy for Robert Jordan that Brandon had posted on his web site. Brandon's eulogy was really beautiful, and very loving. And I thought, gosh, this guy. . . he knows what the series is all about.

And I got on the phone, called Tom Doherty and said, "Send me one of Sanderson's books." And he's a bit darker than Robert Jordan, but the series, as everyone knows, is heading towards Tarmon Gai'don, which is the battle with the Dark One that will decide the fate of the world. Tom said, "Okay, I'll go for that. We'll go for Brandon."

You made it clear that you would love to do this. And that was wonderful. That's what I needed to hear.

Brandon: The next thing was for me to fly to Charleston. Harriet drives me to her house. You know, I'm fanboying all of this. And you said, "Do you want some dinner?" And my response was, "No, I want the ending. I want the ending and I want to know who killed Asmodean."

And you're like, "Oh, all right. Well, here it is." And you handed me that, and kind of waved me into the den, I guess it is, or the sitting room. "Head over there, go ahead, go for it."

And so I was over there poring over the materials. And I flipped right to the ending and read because Robert Jordan had always said, "I have the ending in mind". And all the readers, all the fans had known this. And we’d listen to interviews and he'd been saying for years, "I know the ending. The last scene is in my head." And so I got to read that last scene before dinner.

Then I retreated to my cave, and crawled in.

Harriet: Yes, he did. And put up a 'do not disturb' sign.

Brandon: And wrote furiously for a number of months.

Harriet: This book had taken shape, particularly for Brandon. And he said in the conference call, "Look. Here's what we're gonna do." And it made perfect sense.

Brandon: The amount of material he left behind is what makes this book possible.

Marie Curie 7
09-10-2011, 05:37 PM
Transcript: Tor-Forge Interview with Team Jordan on The Gathering Storm (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7LWAU69UwQ)

16 October 2009

Maria: In January of 1996 I went to work for Jim to answer fan mail. And the job just kept evolving and evolving, and I became what he called his right arm.

Alan: My name is Alan Romanczuk. I started working for Jim about eight years ago. I was brought on for continuity. By the time I came on, there were well over 1500 characters in the Wheel of Time world.

Maria: I know what happened to whom and when. I can amaze people by remembering people's eye color and hair color. And if there's something we need to check happened, I can find it pretty quickly; pick up a book, flip to the page, and get it.

Alan: Developing timelines, coordinating action and characters. Measuring distances from one location in the world to another. All of that nitty gritty detail that has to be done, someone has to do it. This translated in his filing system to something I had never encountered before. He had what I could only describe as a maze-like hierarchical system of files.

Maria: Brandon has been great. And he's got three of us that are emailing him, and we're doing this constantly, now for over a year.

Harriet: Poor Brandon, who is an enormous gentleman as well as a very, very good writer. The material that Robert Jordan left begins with the outline for what will now be the final three books. Notes, some scenes, and more words in unpublished notes than have been published so far in the entire Wheel of Time.

Brandon: And he left behind tapes, recordings, which were then dictated and transcribed and given to me, of him just talking about the last book and what he wanted to be in it. And the important events, and the important scenes, and all these things. All these materials were. . . you know, you've got a file here that's only got a few paragraphs in it, and a file here that's thirty pages long, and a file here, and a file here. Dozens of different files, just scattered all over the place, some about all these characters, and some about 'oh this scene needs to happen'. And then lots and lots and lots and lots of notes of how everybody ends up. The thing we have I think the most information on is, the two things: the world itself, everything in the world, all the characters. And then, how everything has to be. We know very specifically lots about how the world is going to end up.

Maria: It picks up where Knife of Dreams left off. As for the rest, read and find out. I've always wanted to say it.

Alan: I think there's one thing we can safely say, though. The Last Battle is coming.

Marie Curie 7
09-10-2011, 05:38 PM
Transcript: Tor-Forge Interview with Brandon Sanderson (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zmi56xBQWc)

20 October 2009

Brandon: Just to give you an idea of the depth of what's going on in these books, and the level of detail that Robert Jordan put into them: there was one point where I was working on a character, working on a scene. And I was just having trouble keeping track of all the characters that were involved in the scene, just all the different names and all the different personalities, and things like this.

So I emailed one of Robert Jordan's assistants, and I said, "Is there a file or something that explains everybody who's here that's going to be in the scene so that I can keep them all straight?" And a few minutes later I got back an email from Alan who said, "Well I found this, buried in some notes somewhere." And it said 'with. . . ', and then it listed the name of the character. And Iím like, oh good, it's a file called 'who's with this character'. That's exactly what I needed.

I opened it up, and what this file contained was a list of dozens and dozens, maybe hundreds, of names of people who hadn't yet appeared in the books, who were just members of this character's army, who were just there. Robert Jordan had named them all, and in many cases he'd listed their profession, a little bit about them, what they looked like. Now I had to keep track of all these other people who he hadn't even named yet. They hadn't even appeared in the book, fans didn't know about them, and I've got dozens of names of people to keep track of that he had spent the time to go through and say, all right, what are the names of all these people who might just walk by in the background.

So much detail, so much depth to these books, that really when you read these books you don't even know how much there was behind them, filling this out. Robert Jordan knew this world, he knew these people. He knew them so well that they were real to him.