Charleston, SC Post-ACOS Signing--21 June, 1996; report by Brian Ritchie.
report by Brian Ritchie
I just got back from Charleston. I got answers, kinda, to two big questions.
1. RJ wrote the Mat/Tylin scenario as a humorous role-reversal thing. His editor, and wife, thought it was a good discussion of sexual harassment and rape with comic undertones. She liked it because it dealt with very serious issues in a humorous way. She seemed to think it would be a good way to explain to men/boys what this can be like for women/girls, showing the fear, etc.
2. The total number of people in a circle, when you have the maximum number of women for each man, is always divisible by three. RJ thought that there was an error in the LoC glossary and that it had been fixed in ACoS. Some possibilities I thought of are:
M W T W T W T
0 13 13
1 26 27
2 37 39 34 36 43 45
3 48 51 42 45 51 54
4 56 60 50 54 56 60
5 61 66 58 63 61 66
6 66 72 66 72 66 72
He gave the following answers to questions from various people.
His opinion of newsgroup FAQ's he has read are so-so. First, he gets them from several groups he says. Us and the alt group and ??? He says the FAQ's are about 1/3 correct, 1/3 close but not quite and 1/3 wrong. He feels that some things that are obvious to the casual reader have been overanalysed and led to incorrect conclusions. I don't know if he has read the latest version of our FAQ and if it was better than the above stats.
All the women are based in part on his wife. Many women have been amazed that he was not a woman using a male pen name because he writes women so well. He just wrote them as he thought women would be if men had destroyed the world 3000 years ago. Obviously, their roles would be much different than they are in our society. The women are not based on Southern women in general, just his wife.
There will be a few more books, some, not a lot, hopefully fewer than seven more.
He knows the final scene of the last book, all the major events he wants to have happen and who will live and who will die. When he starts a book, he decides which of these events he wants to try to do and then writes it so they happen.
He will tie up all the major plot lines, but will leave a lot of the minor ones unresolved. He finds it too unrealistic for a series to end with all of life's problems solved. Expect the series to end with the major problems solved, but a lot of people will still have tumultuous lives ahead of them.
The universe is driven by saidin and saidar working against each other. They will not end up as the Light Power.
He may or may not give a Lan POV. The POV is usually determined by the slant he wants to give to the information. Sometimes he plans for one character to have the POV, but has to switch to another.
He made the Aiel look Irish because he thought it was kind of funny. He doesn't like the fact that hardened desert warriors are always described as looking a certain way, so he used the opposite description.
He intentionally started the series out kind of Tolkienesque, so that readers would feel like they already knew the land somewhat. Then he delibrately deviated from Tolkien so the readers would not know what to expect. He tried to avoid too much Arthurian and Celtic mythologic references early on because they are so well known.
He talked a little about his next series, Shipwrecked. It will be in a different universe, and focuses ona group of shipwrecked people (surprise, surprise). They come from a land with many countries, but basically all ruled by one religion that dominates everywhere. The new place has three powerful countries, but temples to hundreds of different gods and goddesses. It's going to talk a lot about culture shock I think.
He can be reached either by either email or snailmail through Tor in about the same amount of time. Tor prints out his emails and sends him the hardcopies about every fortnight. They also send his snailmail biweekly. He does respond to them, but he gets backlogged at the end of writing a book.
Here is the rough time schedule for book eight. The manuscript should be turned in sometime in fall of 1997. Expect it to go on sale in spring of 1998. He worked 10-12 hours a day, 7 days a week for 20 months, except for a couple days for each Thanksgiving and Christmas and a few single vacation days, to write ACoS. PNH, his wife, and everyone he knows told him he needs to slow down so he doesn't kill himself. Thus, PNH gave him 18 months to do the manuscript.
His wife said he is the only author she allows to submit partial manuscripts for editing. She also does Morgan Llewelyn, the Bears and David Drake among others. She said she was starting to reduce the number of authors she edits since she is overloaded. She edited one of RJ's books before they ever dated, so their professional relationship was already established before they married. She feels that mutual respect for the other's work is what keeps the two relationships from interfering with each other.
I think that's all that was said of any significance. The rest was personal info that I don't think is important here, and I'm not sure a lot of this was either. BTW, both Mr. and Mrs. RJ are very friendly, outgoing people and were fun to talk with.
Am I the only one that thinks he looks like an older Bayle Domon?
This could lead to some interesting speculations. From his web site picture, I'd say Novak might be related.
RJ seems to actually like the DKS covers. However, he disliked the cover of one of his books that someone brought. (I believe it was the UK version of TGH.) It was mostly light blue and lavender/purple. He disliked the artwork, not just the color scheme.
The short reign of Colavaere was not a reference to Jane Grey.
RJ has a lot of notes about the series although he doesn't have an outline. He guesstimates he has about twice as many pages of notes as manuscript pages.
ACoS only covered a week because a lot of important things needed to happen in a very short time span. The development of the heroes characters is some of the important events he wanted to accomplish.