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Interview with Harriet McDougal: December 9, 2002Edit
After recently helping her husband, Robert Jordan, finish Crossroads of Twilight, Harriet McDougal was kind enough to answer some questions from Dragonmount and wotmania.com. Here they are the good ones, listed below:
We also interviewed Robert Jordan. Be sure to check out that interview, if you have not already done so.
Do you often correct inconsistencies in the books? Or does Robert do it himself?
- No, I don't correct inconsistencies. Robert has a wonderful assistant, Maria Simons, who helps enormously in this regard, together with her sidekick Alan Romanczuk. Robert writes long lists of questions for them, and they come up with the answers in time, so that inconsistencies mostly just don't happen. Maria also checks all proper nouns in the manuscript against our own super-glossary, and picks up the occasional glitch that way.
Do you know what will happen in later books or do you have to "Read and Find out?"
- I know a bit, but for the most part I have to RAFO, too.
Do you ever find yourself reading to find out what happens next and forgetting about editing?
- Yes! And so then I have to go back through it.
Who is your favorite character?
- Bela, the stout, shaggy little mare.
- I love them all.
Your husband once commented that he could walk into the room and you would know who he was writing about. If this is true, do you ever make him wait outside until he can stop being someone, for example, Padan Fain?
- Well, I don't know EXACTLY who he's been writing, but if he's been writing somebody awful, like Padan, yes, I do know it. I never make him wait outside. I just hug him and give him a kiss, and he generally shakes himself like a retriever and begins to come out of it.
How do you think his writing effects your relationship?
- It gives our relationship a tremendous amount of fun.
What is your reaction to Robert telling people that all of the major female characters are partially based off of you? Doesn't that worry you a bit?
- No, it doesn't worry me. I am immensely flattered by it. And a bit amused. The cross wife who says, "you forgot to take the garbage out again": Is this REALLY Moghedien? Goodness!
We've heard that you enjoy reading and writing poetry. Is that just a hobby for yourself, or has your stuff been published? If so, where can we find it?
- I have just begun (in January of this year) submitting stuff, and so far poems of mine have been accepted by Eureka Literary Magazine (ELM), Another Chicago Magazine, and Confrontation. I think Another Chicago Magazine will be out first, some time this winter, with a poem called North Georgia Woods. Other poems are on submission all over the place. I'm having a wonderful time with this!
Who are some of your favorite poets?
- Galway Kinnell!!!! And Sharon Olds, and Mary Oliver, and John M. Ford and John O'Donohue. I've just bought James Tate to read, because of a yummy poem called Teaching the Ape to Write Poems. A friend has just given me Marina Tsvetaeva, but I haven't read her yet. I also want to read some more Billy Collins. Among the dead white males, I really like Tennyson and Hopkins. And of course Shakespeare.
From a professional point of view as RJ's editor, how many books do you think the series will end up running?
- I think twelve.
How much influence over that number do you have as an editor do you think?
- Something approaching Zip. It will depend on how many it takes for him to tell the story as he wants/needs to tell it.
Do you ever call your husband Robert instead of his real name?
- Only on book tour.
Even if you're mad at him?
- When I'm mad at him I call him a word that begins with A, with a lot of asterisks in it, or Warrior God, Perfect in Every Way. It is my contention that these mean the same thing....
Do you know who killed Asmodean?
Thank you, Harriet!