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Source:USA Today Interview, 6 January 2004

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USA Today Interview January 6, 2004 was a interactive interview with Robert Jordan just after the release of New Spring. People from around the world asked Jordan questions and he responded to them.


Comment from Robert Jordan: Hi guys! Glad to talk to you again. Who's up first?

Tulsa Ok: With the success of the Lord of the Rings movies, are there any plans to make Wheel of Time movies?

Robert Jordan: Well, that depends entirely on Hollywood. If someone comes to me and wants to do a movie, I'm totally open about it, but so far nobody has come to me in a major way.

Arlington, Virginia: Is New Spring meant to be a sequel to the 10th book or does this stand on its own? There are still loose ends in the 10th volume which I hope you'll clear up in your next book in the Wheel of Time. I love your books!

Robert Jordan: Thank you. "New Spring" is not a sequel. It is a prequel. The events of "New Spring" take place about 20 years before the events of "The Eye of the World."

evanston, il: I'm sure you've been asked this many times but, here goes, will I live to read the end of the Wheel of time series? I'm hoping for at least 20 more years of life. Will I make it?

Robert Jordan: Easily. It's not going to be that long. I very much hope to finish in two more main sequence books. It's not an absolute promise, but I'm very much hoping for it and I think I can do it.

dallas, texas: Is your book out today?

Robert Jordan: Yes, it should be in stores today. It's available right now!

san diego, ca: I've noticed that many names, items, etc. are similar, if not the same, as what could be found in material relating to the Holy Grail and other subject matter relating to catholicism, the Crusades, etc. Is this coincidence or intentional?

Robert Jordan: It's intentional. I have intended from the beginning that these books should be a sort of source for all of our legends and myths. That is the conceit that I'm playing with here.

New Palestine, Indiana: What books are waiting on your desk to read?

Robert Jordan: I'm reading at the moment a mystery by the name of a fellow named Les Standiford. And I just finished the Neal Stephenson "Quicksilver," and I'm waiting to get my hands on the next book of that sequence.

Atlanta, GA: Will you be doing any signings in Atlanta?

Robert Jordan: The only signing for this book is the signing in Charleston, S.C., tonight at 6 p.m. at the Barnes and Noble. And if anyone wishes to order a book from that store, they can reach that store today at 843.556.6561.

Neenah Wisconsin: I was wondering when book 11 will be coming out.

Robert Jordan: You've heard this before, guys, and now you're going to hear it again: I absolutely guarantee that the next book will be on the shelves, in the stores, very shortly after I finish writing it.

Atlanta, GA: Do you have plans to attend Dragon*Con this year?

Robert Jordan: No, I don't. I don't go to very many conventions. I spend most of my time actually writing.

delmar, ny: Besides your incredibly structured magic system, how would you say that your physics education has influenced your writing? Do you regret at all not taking english and writing classes in college instead?

Robert Jordan: No, I don't have any regrets about not taking college English courses. If you major in English, I believe you're well trained to teach English but not necessarily to use it. And my physics background also gave me a view of structure that I think has been very useful in writing.

Norfolk, MA: I know you've said you think you can finish in two more books, but there seems to be so much that needs to happen before the last battle. It seems like we're still in the middle of it all. Is that a fair assessment?

Robert Jordan: No, we're not in the middle. I hope I can finish in two more books. But you ought to realize that I will not be giving you an absolute completion. That is, the major storylines will be completed, but some of the minor storylines are not going to be completed, so that when you finish the last book, you will still have a sense that this world is alive and kicking and things are going on out there. It's always disturbed me to read a book where at the end all problems have been solved. And I get the feeling that this whole world needs to be kept under a bell jar somewhere to keep the dust off.

Miami Fl: Is it easier to wite fanatsy, since there are no boundaries, other than ones imagination.

Robert Jordan: Well, there are boundaries, and everything has to make sense. And it's not easy to take things that are unreal and which the reader knows are unreal and make them make sense. So I actually think it's probably harder to write fantasy than it is to write some other kinds of fiction.

Neenah, Wisconsin: Will the whole moraine situation be resolved in the next book.

Robert Jordan: Read and find out.

St. Louis, Missouri: Which is your favorite book in the Wheel of time series?

Robert Jordan: My favorite book is always the one that I am working on right now. It doesn't matter which one that is, because the ones I've finished with I've finished with.

Paris, Ontario, Canada: Wow your books are great!!! but they are hard to find and buy! i was wondering where the best place to buy them would be?

Robert Jordan: Well, I don't how the situation is in Canada. I know that in the U.S. any specialty shop that sells science fiction will have my books. And just about any bookstore at all will have copies on the shelves.

Carbondale, IL: Are there any plans for a video game made about the WoT that would do the series justice as in an RPG?

Robert Jordan: Well, there is a computer game out from Legend GTI, but there are no plans for PlayStation or Gameboy or those things. If I were approached by somebody who does that sort of thing, I would be amenable to doing a contract for that.

Allentown PA: First off - LOVE your writing - amazing in all aspects - question - How has the recent movement of fantasy from the traditional "geek" or "nerd" viewpoint to the mainstream affected YOUR personal views on the genre?

Robert Jordan: Not at all, really. I have always enjoyed fantasy, and I'm not certain that we have moved in the mainstream that much. There are a good many writers, from Doris Lessing to the magic realists, who write fantasy and they don't call it "fantasy," they call it simply "a novel," and they deny vehemently that they write fantasy at all.

London: Why did you decide to publish New Spring between the main volumes?

Robert Jordan: Actually, it was a way to take a little break. To still be writing, but write something that was a little different. I also thought I could do the short novels quickly enough that they would not delay the main sequence novels and would provide my readers with a book a little quicker than they would otherwise get it.

Laurel, Mississippi: In The Fires of Heaven, after Rand has his battle at the end, why is it that balefire works for his friends and not on his bites that have to be healed?

Robert Jordan: Beacause his injuries occurred in Tel'aran'rhiod. And what occurs there is different than what occurs in the Waking World. Different rules apply.

Carbondale, IL: What do you hope your legacy will be when all is said and done?

Robert Jordan: It's far too soon for me to be thinking about my legacy. I'm still thinking about the books I want to write! (P.S. I'm not THAT old.)

Warwick, Rhode Island: Will you retire when the Wheel stops turning, or will you still write other books?

Robert Jordan: I intend to keep writing until the day I die, and if I can manage to get a computer into the coffin, we'll see what I can work out.

Dallas, TX: You have a pretty big fan base here in TX but I have yet to see you tour Dallas. Any idea when you might?????? I would love to meet ya!

Robert Jordan: I go where the publisher sends me, and when I do a tour, the publisher has hundreds of bookstores apply for me to appear. I don't always makes the same stops ... how this is decided, I don't know. But I simply do what I'm told. The publisher says, "Go thou and sign," and I go thou and sign.

skokie, il: without telling us all the details, do you expect all the main characters in Wheel of Time to ultimately survive? Is it likely any of them will die before the end?

Robert Jordan: Read and find out.

Cheyenne Wyoming: Is there anyone particular Character that is your favorite or one you feel is more like you?

Robert Jordan: My favorite character is always who I'm writing at the moment, whether it's one of the good guys or one of the villains, because if I don't like that character more than any other, the character will not come across as real. As for who I think is most like me, Lan embodies the ideals that I aspired to growing up. While Perrin is, I think, most like me, on the other hand, my wife thinks I'm Loial.

Washington, DC: Can fans mail you books to be signed?

Robert Jordan: I would appreciate it if they did not.

Laurel, Ms: What is your favorit book(s) outside of WOT?

Robert Jordan: It would be very hard to point at one. My all-time favorite authors are Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, John D. McDonald, Louis L'Amour and Robert Heinlein. And as far as people writing at the moment, I will buy any book written by John M. Ford, Neal Stephenson, Robert Holstock ... there's a long list of people I will snatch up a book when I realize it's something of theirs I haven't read yet.

Baltimore, Maryland: After you finish with the WoT series, do you have any plans to continue the story with a series based on the Age of Legends and the events leading up to the Breaking or a series that takes place far in the future, perhapes in the next age or the next 3rd age?

Robert Jordan: No. When I have finished with this world, I will go on to something else.

NYC, NY: Wouldn't it be better if you finished in 13 books? Afterall the number 13 is a magical number in the series.

Robert Jordan: I have been writing these books for roughly 20 years, and I would like to finish.

Bristol: At present, do most of the people in the WoT world believe that Rand is dead?

Robert Jordan: At the present, most of the people don't know where Rand is or whether he's alive or dead. But many of them have erroneous ideas about where he might be and what he might be doing.

Carbondale, IL: Have you ever considered doing what Stephen King did with the Green Mile and releasing a book in multiple parts to keep feeding your rabid fans?

Robert Jordan: Well, I hate to tell you this, guys, but that's what I've been doing. If you look at it the right way, the "Wheel of Time" is one novel.

Hellertown, Pa.: I was in Iraq in 91 when I received a copy of the Eye Of The World. It was a spectacular read in the desert - wonderful fun reading. You went to the Citadel. Why did you choose that school?

Robert Jordan: Well, I went to the Citadel as a veteran student. And I was, frankly, going somewhere else, but Col. Bunch at the Citadel kept calling me after I came back the last time from 'Nam, and I went to talk to him, and he told me about the veterans' program there. And I knew they had a good reputation in engineering and the sciences, so I ended up going. I sometimes had the suspicion I might play football for them, but I was beyond that by that time.

Storrs, Connecticut: Did you get the name Robert Jordan from the novel, For Whom The Bell Tolls? If so, Why?

Robert Jordan: No, I got the name Robert Jordan from making lists of names using my real initials and taking one name from one list and one from the other list. I took a pen name because I wanted to keep the sorts of books I wrote separate, and I wanted to write a novel about my experiences in Vietnam and I was going to put my real name on that.

London, England: Do you ever visit any of the numerous fan sites on the web dedicated to The Wheel Of Time? Do you find it strange (or slightly unnerving) that people analyse your work(s) in order to create theories?

Robert Jordan: I find it interesting. It's not something I'd ever expected would happen, certainly.

Neenah, Wisconsin: What is it like driving your Porche

Robert Jordan: It's wonderful! Especially if I'm somewhere where I can get up to speed.

NY, NY: why was there a blue light flashing when Thom met the fade in whitebridge?

Robert Jordan: Because Thom's best knives are very special indeed.

Laural, Ms: If Hollywood made a movie of WoT, Who would you like to play Rand and the others?

Robert Jordan: I don't have a clue. I don't think I've ever even thought of that myself. I know other people have, but I have not.

Holland: What do Trollocs eat and how do they get enough food in the Blight to sustain all those Trollocs?

Robert Jordan: Trollocs eat almost anything, including other Trollocs. They are omnivores with a tendency toward being carnivores.

Aurora,Ontario, Canada: What are the other Short Novels you are thinking about doing before you complete the serries?

Robert Jordan: One would explain why Tam al'Thor abandoned a successful career to return to the Two Rivers and buy a farm. And the other one will, I hope, explain exactly how Moraine turned up in the Two Rivers just in the nick of time in "The Eye of the World."

Long Island, NY: Is Slayer a corrupted wolfbrother?

Robert Jordan: No.

Chicago, IL: What is your writing schedule like on an average day? Meaning, when you sit down to write, do you have a set goal of how many pages you want to write that day? How much is your average?

Robert Jordan: I have no idea how many words I write in a day. My usual schedule, seven days a week, is after breakfast I come back to my desk, I deal with the e-mail that has to be dealt with, and then I start writing. I try to remember to try to stop for lunch. Usually I don't remember until about four in the afternoon, which is a little too late for lunch, I think. Then at 6 p.m., I help my wife fix dinner. I used to work a more rigorous schedule, but wives don't like a husband who might be waking at 2 in the morning or might be going to bed at 2 in the afternoon and have an absolute disconnect with the sun. I don't know why she didn't like that, but I stopped it.

Zaandam, The Netherlands: First of all, I really, really enjoyed New Spring (it has been on sale here for a few weeks). Thank you for such a fantastic novel! My question: In “New Spring” you said Edeyn would be allowed to call herself el’Edeyn if Lan died and she and Lan were not even married. Is Nynaeve allowed to call herself el’Nynaeve al’Meara, now she’s married to Lan?

Robert Jordan: Yes.

Harrison, NY: I am sorry but it does not seem that you can tie up all the loose strings that you have laid out in two books. Are you planning on writing more than two more?

Robert Jordan: Well, we shall see. I sincerely hope it will be possible to tie everything up in two books.

Neenah, Wisconsin: I was wondering when you got into pipe collecting?

Robert Jordan: Many years ago, when I was young, I smoked cigarettes and I decided to quit smoking cigarettes about 35 years ago, I guess. And that was easy enough, but after about six months of not smoking, I realized that I had become so used to having a cigarette in my hands that my hands felt awkward and I was always fiddling with things.

I bought my first pipe and I trained myself not to inhale, and it was, in the beginning, just to have something to hold in my hand.

Baltimore, Maryland: When I finished book 10, I was a little upset that Rand and his story line was barely mentioned or developed anymore. Not that book 10 wasn't incredible, but was the reason behind this to catch the other story lines up to the present time?

Robert Jordan: Not so much to catch them up, because that was the way it played out in my head. This was what needed to be done now.

Wendell, Idaho: Do you have any plans for writing after this series is completed? If so, would you do another fantasy series or go for a different genre?

Robert Jordan: I've been thinking about what I want to write after WoT for about seven years now, maybe more. And I will be doing another fantasy series much more compact than "The Wheel of Time." I know some of you will be happy to hear that. But it will be fantasy, definitely.

NYC, NY: Has Perrin left his axe for good?

Robert Jordan: Read and find out.

Delmar, NY: Have you ever read or heard about the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind? After reading the series it is obvious many of the main ideas are copied from the WoT.

Robert Jordan: I'm aware of Mr. Goodkind.

Germantown, MD: I know you have always said that you have known what the ending will be since you started writing the series. Does that mean you know what will happen in the end, or do you actually have it written out now?

Robert Jordan: I do not have it written, but the final scene of the final book has been in my head for almost 20 years.

Philadelphia, PA: Okay, lets talk turkey, lots of comparison to you and Tolkien as the legacy and the new master. How do you feel about all these suggestions flying about? You both are easily my two favorite authors of all time (with Douglas Adams edging in to a close second!)

Robert Jordan: I feel a little nervous about them and quite pleased. I you're talking the realm of high fantasy,being compared to Tolkein is like being a musician and being compared to Mozart. That's the good part. The bad part is, I'm not Tolkein I'm not trying to write like Tolkein. So one one hand I'm pleased, the other hand ambivalent.

Monticello, Indiana: What's the most amusing and/or bizarre question a fan has ever asked you?

Robert Jordan: Well, I've had a couple young women ask if they could bear my child. That's not the usual kind of question I get -- that sort of took me aback, yes.

NYC, NY: Why are the women in your series very obnoxious? Does Harriet play a role in the characters of your women?

Robert Jordan: No, the women in my books are not obnoxious. The women in my books are strong. I grew up in a family where all of the men were strong, and the reason is the women in my family killed and ate the weak ones.

When I was a boy, just old enough to be starting to date in a fumbling way, I complained something about girls. And my father said to me, "Would you rather hunt leopards or would you rather hunt rabbits? Which is going to be more fun?" And I decided I'd rather hunt leopards.

Laurel, Mississippi: How much of your writing time is actually writing, and how much is spend rereading and researching?

Robert Jordan: I actually have an assistant to do as much of the research as I can. Most of the writing time is writing and rewriting, because I'm never satisfied with what I've written.

Detroit, Michigan: Have you been approached to allow your books to be turned into any animated (Anime?) format?

Robert Jordan: No. No one has approached me about that.

Providence, RI: Will there be Limited Edition releases of the the first three books? I have all the limited editions from The Shadow Rising through Crossroads.

Robert Jordan: For that, you'd have to inquire the publisher, Tor Books. I don't provide any input on that.

Lund, Sweden: Is there anything in the books that you regret , or wish to re-write?

Robert Jordan: No.

Zaandam, The Netherlands: Do you think your success changed you in any way?

Robert Jordan: I hope not, but it's hard to tell. I drink better wine and drive a faster car than I used to, I know that. I don't know if that's in the realm of personal change.

Carbondale, IL: Have you ever considered a personal site to keep in touch with us the fans so that we can get our fix?

Robert Jordan: No. I would have to spend way too much time maintaining a site and, frankly, I think most fans would prefer I'd spend the time writing, so they could get the books a little sooner rather than later.

Storrs, Connecticut: What advice can you give to an aspiring author?

Robert Jordan: Write. Send it to a publisher. As soon as you put it in the mail, write something else. Keep writing. Don't stop writing. If you can keep that up, maybe you can become a writer.

Comment from Robert Jordan: Bye, guys! Thanks for coming. It's been a pleasure talking with you.

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