Lexington, KY KoD signing 24 October 2005 - report by Kevin DeanEdit

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The book signing was at Joseph-Beth booksellers, a really nice and really classy bookstore. The signing was planned to take place in the back of the store, were they have an entire wall of glass, overlooking a fountain. About 300 people milled around, most crowding the aisles but a few sitting on the floor right in front of the red rope. A J-B employee came up to inform us RJ would be out promptly at 7, and invited us to come forward and maximize the space, as there were already 350 ticket-holders to the event, and more on lookers. The milling throng pressed forward, and I managed to get a seat slightly to the left of the podium, third row back. This seat worked out well, because I had the opportunity to get great shots of RJ while he was speaking, and right before he began signing, after had had sat down.

One of the employees introduced RJ, and he came up on stage to much applauds. When he stepped to the podium, the applauds ended, to which he replied “Don’t stop!” This got laughs and more applauds.

He commented that he has NOT read anything posted on fan sites since the tour began, and went on to say that he would be repeating himself. “You’ll be saying ‘I’ve heard all this before’. Well, you haven’t. You’ve READ it before.” He then began with the pronunciations. Siuan Sanche, Leane Sharif. Not Lee-an-E. Mazrim Taim. Not TAME, Never him. Not TAME. Aes Sedai, Nynaeve. Lan Mandragoran. He stopped on Lan, and commented how people often give him the same pronunciation of LAND, minus the D. He told us how he had gone to Harriet when he began writing, and asked her how she pronounced it, and she came to the same he did. He said “Alright, I can use this.”

RJ then went on to say that during the signing, he would be asked a few questions, as he always is. The second person in line, he said, would ask “When is the next book coming out”. He gave us a guarantee that we could “take to the bank” that it would be on shelves shortly after he finished writing it. And the fourth person would invariably ask, “How many more books in the series” which he explained the same way as other signing, about needing a “dolly” to carry the thing out. But unlike other accounts, he said at this point, it is not possible for him to write two more coherent books. He said he might get one coherent book, and one incoherent, or two semi-coherent, so tWoT would be finished by book 12. He then mentioned the two planned prequels, and said they would be written. After a brief pause, he said “… I would not write in the Wheel of Time universe again unless I had a GREAT idea. I may have had one.” He went on to say that he has an idea that MIGHT end up being two or maybe three “outrigger” novels, not part of the main sequence, and not prequels per se, but following other characters, at another time. He said this is not definite, and that he had to “poke around at the idea” before he decided. He doesn’t want to “write anything just to write it”.

He went on to say that the third person in line would ask “Who killed Asmodean?” He said “this person, I am going to hit.”

RJ then began doing Q&A. One was… Well. Odd. The guy who asked was obviously not all there, and had RJ confused with someone else, or so I suppose. Someone asked how he felt about Salvatore using the same range of mountains called the Spine of the World. RJ basically said “It makes sense as a name, The Spine of the World.” He can understand that it would also occur to other authors, and that he doesn’t mind Salvatore using it, since he doesn’t own a trademark on it.

I then asked. “Other than the third age, obviously, what events signal the end or the beginning of other Ages?”

He explained that, SOME call the “current” age the Third Age. He made it very clear that not everyone does, or has. He then said that Age ending events don’t fit a certain set of criteria, but “You’ll know it when you see it.” The next person who asked, wanted to know more about the swirling colors the three ta’veren see. RJ corrected his pronunciation, apologized for cutting the guy off, and then said “RAFO”.

The NEXT guy asked how the bond the Asha’man use is different than the Warder bond of the Aes Sedai. he explained that the bond is different because it contains that “Extra Bit” about obedience. Aes Sedai bound to Asha'man are compelled to comply with the demands of the men. While Aes Sedai can do this to their Warders, it requires work each time. He mentioned that Logain thinks that extra bit can be easily removed, but that the Asha’man feel this is EXTREMELY necissary. An Warder would not kill his Aes Sedai when she turned her back, but the Asha’man have NO such safety with their bound Aes Sedai.

At this point, RJ commented that he was getting sick of men asking questions, and that since he knows that not all of the women are there to have their boyfriends’ copies signed, he wanted to hear from them.

The first girl to ask a question asked, “Why is it that the most powerful women in the world, perceive their power as stemming from a ‘pale, white shaft’.” RJ chuckled, and then said if you “missed the symbolism there, you just don’t get it.” He also said that if their power came from a “hole in the ground” it just wouldn’t be as much fun, and they would only be feared if you thought you might “fall in”, which would not be much fun, he assured us.

He then talked a little about his female characters. He said the moment that had made him most proud as an author was when a fan came up to him, and said she was SURE that Robert Jordan was a woman’s pen name because “no man can write women like that.” he commented on how MANY male fans write and ask why all the tWoT women are such “ballbusters”. This got a chuckle from everyone. He finished this part of by mentioning a coterie of female fans who once surrounded him, and in dead seriousness asked “Who has been telling you things?”

The next question was about how much influence Harriet has on the story. He said other than being a sounding bored, she has no influence on the story. Though, she does have significant influence on his writing style. She often reads a chapter and says “You haven’t convinced me” or “Do better”. But none of the plot changes. The store employee told RJ that time was running out, so he had to end the Q&A session. He then got up and began walking to the signing table, where he stumbled down the stairs. Thank you, whomever it was that caught him!

I then snapped a picture, and RJ stood up to make a comment. I truly feared I had bothered him. He said that if we would like to take photos, please let him know so that he could look up, so you would get more than just the top of his head. He then said he only has one rule “No male nudity!”

At this point, got kind of chaotic. I stood where I had been seated, and listed to a lot of what RJ was saying, but I really didn’t hear much. I heard him say that only Philadelphia had sunshine, all of his other signings has been in the rain.

Someone commented on him not mentioning the title of book 12 (A Memory of Light) and he said that was merely because “no one has asked about it.” That was the last I heard clearly enough, up until I had my book signed. I asked him two questions, the first being “Would you be willing to take a picture holding this?” I then showed him my SAIDIN license plate. He did. My second question, based on a pet theory of mine, was “In any Age, in any turning, have the Ogier been able to channel?” To this, he answered a flat “No.” That was then end of the night for me, as there were still a LOT of people left to have their books signed, and I had had a friend get my third one signed.

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