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Posted by Robert Jordan on October 6th, 2005 in the Robert Jordan's Blog category
This may be the last post until after the tour, I’m afraid. We leave for NY early on Saturday, and that means tomorrow will be busy. There aren’t only preps for the trip, there is the matter of getting things ready here for us to be away for a month. And there is this huge stack of bookplates that I have to finish signing for Time Warner (UK). At least they didn’t do what they did the first time I agreed to sign bookplates. They sent me a carton with about 10,000 of the things, rough count. Good God! I think I ended up signing 500-1000. There just wasn’t time. But there’s never enough time, is there?
Now as to how I chose questions and why some of them don’t come from the blog comments. First off, I pick up on things among the comments that look interesting at the moment. Also, I pick up questions from some of the fan sites when I’m drifting about lurking and see an interesting thread title. Wotmania has set up sections where people discuss what questions to ask and whether some questions should be avoided, and that makes it very easy to find more questions. That is why so many wotmaniacs are getting answers. Of course, the volume of questions means that even some that I originally chose out failed to make the cut in the end. At one point I had over sixty pages of printout listing questions. The list was growing faster than I could answer. I’m really sorry about that, guys.
For kcf, I knew your deus ex machina comment was humorous. Don’t worry so much. Chill, man. Or girl, if that be the case.
For Anonymous - Carter, you won’t take over too much of my time. As I have said before, once I return from the tour, it is back to full days writing, which means maybe an hour a week of lurking, and I will be doing no more than one post to the blog a week. Almost certainly not as long as this one, I’m afraid, but I think you’d rather have the book in a reasonable length of time. I hope that will be enough to keep you all satisfied after I’ve gone on this recent splurge. As to how I find time for everything including daily life, there is Harriet, and a housekeeper who does the shopping and dry cleaner runs and the like, Harriet’s assistant Stuart who helps keep her head above water, and my assistant Maria who does the same for me. And then there is Kelly, the handyman, for heavy lifting. All together, they leave most of my time free for writing. I’m ashamed to admit that I go to the grocery store so seldom now that about every second visit I have to ask where to find items.
For Deadsy, you want to know what I wear when I’m writing? If I worked out in the morning, I may wear my sweats all day. If not, then it’s a shirt, trousers and suspenders. Oh, yes, and shoes and socks. Thought you’d found a sneaky way to an answer to your “boxers or briefs” didn’t you?
For Desiree, part of yours, about continuing the blog, is answered above. The criteria for rising among the Forsaken boils down to a combination of effectiveness and ruthlessness. Asmodean may have held few field commands, but he was quite effective as a governor and administrator. Even the Shadow needs those.
For John Lynch and a number of posters at Dragonmount, what Moiraine made the woman drink in New Spring was not poison. The woman intended to drug Moiraine in order to rob her, including of her clothes. And, of course, leave her to the nonexistent mercies of the patrons. Instead, Moiraine made her drink the drugged drink herself. And left her to the nonexistent mercies of her own patrons.
For Ben, I’m glad you have a school-sanctioned WoT club at Alfred. (I do use WoT once in a while. Sometimes, though, it just seems to me that it should be tWoT. No big deal either way.) As an aside, my goddaughter, Jessica Jones, got her degree in ceramics from Alfred. You might be able to find out a little about her there. After she left and studied at Xian (I hope I have the spelling right), she began being referred to as Jones of China. She studied with a man who had been designated a “living treasure” by the government, and she was the only non-Chinese ceramist invited to display her work in a national show just before she came home.
For Sidious and various others, my comments about arrangements in case of my death (burning the notes, doing triple Guttman wipes on the hard drives, etc.) were mainly a defense against any fans who became so frantic to see the end that they thought knocking me off might result in somebody else finishing the books faster.
For Lord of Salvation, I’m sorry to hear that you had to become a refugee. I hope you plan on returning to help rebuild. My brother teaches at West Jefferson High School. Also, Moiraine did enter the Rhuidean doorframe ter’angreal. That’s the one that caught fire and melted after she and Lanfear passed through together. Berelain certainly knows of the Tear doorframe, but she has never entered it.
For jofraz, I have gay and Lesbian characters in my books, but the only time it has really come into the open is with the Aes Sedai because I haven’t been inside the heads of any other characters who are either gay or bi. For the most part, in this world such things are taken as a matter of course. Remember, Cadsuane is surprised that Shalon and Ailil were so hot to hide that they had been sharing a bed even knowing how prim and proper Cairhienin are on the surface. Well, for many it is just on the surface.
For Packersfan52, I never laugh at how lame anyone’s conclusion is. Except for yours, of course. Just kidding. Bet I made you flinch, though.
For the ever-popular Anonymous, Fain might be said to be contagious in the sense that he corrupts those he is around long enough, but not in the sense that they then have something communicable. As for his influence over people, remember that Fain is now an amalgam of Fain and Mordeth, and Mordeth was a counselor, quite accustomed to and skilled in gaining the ears of the mighty. And yes, Amico Nagoyin was Yellow, and Berylla Naron Blue.
For MJJ Sedai, Harriet is not a Valkyrie. Oh, no. When she isn’t being Copper Calhoun, the Dragon Lady or Wonder Woman, she is the mysterious, dark-clad woman who steps out of the shadows to put a hand on Wonder Woman’s shoulder and say, “I don’t think so. Now run home to that silly island, girl.” And Wonder Woman runs. It would still be a suicide mission, though.
Oh, yes, just to settle an argument that seems to be ongoing, Egwene saw a bat, guys. After Falme, she could recognize the long sweeping wingstrokes of a raken or to’raken, and she knows a bat when she sees one. Bats really do flutter, to confirm those who have pointed this out.
For Rory, I really don’t think that I’ll do any novels, short or otherwise, about the War of the Shadow. The outcome is already known, and it ain’t good for our side. As for coming to Australia, you’ll have to get onto the Australian publisher and bombard them with requests for me. I’ve been to Oz twice since the books began, both times at the behest of the publisher, though we added some vacation to the business. As an aside, I almost was born in Australia. My father liked Australia so much that my parents planned to emigrate after WWII, but my mother became pregnant with me, and she was concerned about emigrating under those circumstances — I believe wartime rationing was still in effect in Oz — so one way and another the move never happened. But almost.
I see there has been a question on wotmania about whether there are more male or female readers. I don’t know how it runs in the States, though attendance at my signings seems roughly equal, but I do have a fairly good idea about Britain. My British publisher commissioned a survey to identify my readership so they would know where to put advertising. The study said that my readership matched the demographic of Britain within the margin of error for the survey as to age level, income level, educational level, political party belonged to, newspaper read, magazines read, area of the country lived in…and gender. It was, in the words of the managing director, an ice cream scoop taken out of Britain.
For Desiree, the next project on the table is book twelve. The prequels will be waiting until some future time. I don’t know when, exactly.
For JustAnotherGreensWarder, Slayer’s choices are limited to Isam and Luc.
For Anonymous-George, long ago I saw one of the first, I believe, novels about a young woman who wasn’t allowed to use magic or whatever because she was a woman, and the thought occurred to me as to how it might go if men were the ones who were denied the right to do magic. Or whatever. I hate using the word magic. From that long ago thought grew the One Power divided into saidin and saidar with the male half tainted and the reasons for and results of it being tainted. Now in most of these societies — Far Madding is the obvious exception — I did not and do not view them as matriarchal. I attempted to design societies that were as near gender balanced as to rights, responsibilities and power as I could manage. It doesn’t all work perfectly. People have bellybuttons. If you want to see someone who always behaves logically, never tells small lies or conceals the truth in order to put the best face for themselves on events, and never, ever tries to take advantage of any situation whatsoever, then look for somebody without a bellybutton. The real surprise to me was that while I was designing these gender balanced societies, people were seeing matriarchies.
For Phil Reborn, the wind that makes Rand almost impale himself on Lan’s practice sword was one of the first bubbles of evil. A tiny one, but still dangerous.
For Anonymous — not George, I think — when I started writing, I knew the beginning, the end, and the major events I wanted to happen along the way. Some of those major, to me, events were as simple as two people meet and the courses of their lives being diverted in different directions by that meeting, but others were as large as Rand being kidnapped and his rescue/escape at Dumai’s Wells. How to get from one major event to another I have always left until I was actually writing. I would pick out the major events I wanted to put into a book, start figuring out how I could get from one to the next — without their order necessarily being fixed — and see what I could some up with. Usually, I had to leave a few of the major events out of the book I originally thought I could put them into, one reason what I had thought would be five or six books turned into twelve. And thank you for realizing that I don’t think my readers are idiots. I’ve never thought I had to tell the reader every last detail for them to figure out what was going on.
Well, that’s it for today, guys. I’ll try to get in another post tomorrow, but no promises.
Take care, everybody.
All my best, RJ