Thursday, December 27, 2007

Merry Christmas! New FAQ!

I have been getting a lot of email--a LOT--these last few weeks.  As I've said, I really appreciate it when people write me, and the overwhelming majority of it has been positive.  I've been getting a number of questions over and over, however, and thought I'd better begin a FAQ to go in hand with the interview over at Dragonmount. 

I'll will probably expand this as the months pass.  I've answered some of these already, and others are obvious.  My goal is to make this comprehensive (eventually).  Once I have time, I will try to put this in html with all the questions at the top linked to answers below.


A: A MEMORY OF LIGHT is the twelfth and final volume of Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series The Wheel of Time. Mr. Jordan passed away earlier this year, but left notes and instructions regarding the completion of this final volume.

Q: So is it going to be your book or Robert Jordan’s book?

A: There is no question: It will be Robert Jordan’s book. The notes he left behind are very detailed, particularly with regards to the most important scenes of the book. I will be following his outline with exactness, and including as much of his actual written prose as I can, changing as little as possible.

Q: Will your name be on the cover?

A: Both names will be on the cover, but the focus will--and should be--on Mr. Jordan’s name.

Q: Will you tell me specifically which parts you are writing and which parts he wrote?

A: Maybe someday, once the book has been published. For now, however, I think that doing so would be counter-productive. The last thing we want is for people to read this book and instead of enjoying Mr. Jordan’s vision and story, spend their time picking apart which pieces were his and which are mine. I suggest that you not worry about this issue at the moment, but instead simply read and enjoy the book when it comes out. There will be time for analysis later.

Q: Is the book going to be as good as it would have been if Mr. Jordan had written it?

A: I have to be honest. I’m not Mr. Jordan. He’s the master, and I’m just a journeyman. He’s one of the greatest fantasy authors the genre has ever known. I can’t hope to write with his skill and power at this stage in my career--and I think there are very, very few writers who could.

Fortunately, I don’t have to do this on my own. I have seen the notes, as I mentioned above, and I find them very reassuring. Let me put forth a metaphor for you.

Pretend you have purchased an expensive violin from a master craftsman. It probably wouldn’t surprise you to discover that one of the craftsman’s apprentices helped create that violin. The master may have had the apprentice sand, or apply varnish, or perhaps shape some of the less important pieces of wood. In fact, if you looked at the violin before master craftsman handed it off to his apprentice, it might just look like a pile of wood to you, and not an instrument at all.

However, the master craftsman did the most important parts. He shaped the heart of the violin, crafting the pieces which would produce the beautiful sound. He came up with the design for the violin, as well as the procedures and processes used in creating his violins. It’s not surprising that some other hands were involved in the busywork of following those procedures and designs, once the most important work was done. And so, even though the apprentice helped, the violin can proudly bear the master’s signature and stamp.

It’s the same with this book. What I’ve been given may not look like a novel to you, but it excites me because I can see the book Mr. Jordan was creating. All of the important chunks are there in such detail that I feel like I’ve read the completed novel, and not just an outline. Yes, there is still quite a bit of work to be done. Many of the less important scenes are there only as a framework of a few sentences. However, Mr. Jordan left behind the design of this book. I am convinced that between myself, his wife (who was his editor), and his assistants, we can complete this book to be very, very close to the way he would have done.

Q: Will it be one book or will you split it into two?  I heard that this book would be really big, and that it might have to be cut into two chunks.

A: It will be one book.  Mr. Jordan wanted it that way.  I am certain from what I've seen that we will be able to complete the novel in a way that it will be published as one volume.

Q: What will this do to the release schedule of your own books?

A: You shouldn’t notice much of a difference. I’ve already got my next two Tor books and my next two Scholastic books finished. They will each continue to come out at a rate of one a year in 2008 and 2009. I will have to work hard in 2009 to finish new books for 2010, but I’m confident I can manage it. Keep an eye on my website and I will post updates.

Q: Are you going to tell us who killed Asmodean?

A: Mr. Jordan’s books are particularly special in that they don’t always tie up every loose end, but instead leave some things for the reader to imagine and decide for themselves. Originally, as I understand it, Mr. Jordan was not intending to ever reveal Asmodean’s killer, as he believed that the books were explicit enough for one to figure it out on one’s own.

However, as the years progressed, Mr. Jordan evidently grew to understand just how much this question was bothering his readers. Recently, he had promised that he would--indeed--find a way to explain Asmodean’s death in AMoL. He left behind notes regarding this mystery, and Harriet and I have determined a place in the book where we feel it would work to answer this question. So, yes, I will tell you who killed Asmodean.

Q: What other secrets are you going to reveal? Which plot points are you going to tie up?

A: This is one of the reasons that reading the material made me feel so relieved. While there are huge chunks that I need to write, there is always an explanation of what needs to be revealed, and what needs to be left for the reader to decide on their own. I will not be making any of these decisions on my own, but will instead be following Mr. Jordan’s wishes regarding the plotting.

He ties up some very important plot points. Others, he leaves without explicit explanation. That was his way, and is one of the things that makes these books so wonderful. You don’t need to worry, then, that I will try to explain too much or that I will leave out too much. I will do as the master instructed.

Q: Can you tell me anything of what happens in the book?

A: One of Mr. Jordan’s favorite phrases was “Read and Find Out.” I’ll leave it at that. (Besides, I signed a non-disclosure agreement, so I contractually CAN’T tell you anything. Sorry!)

Q: I’m not familiar with your own books. Can you suggest a place to start?

A: I include an answer to this one because I have been asked it quite a few times in emails. A MEMORY OF LIGHT isn’t about me, but about Mr. Jordan’s legacy and about the fans.

However, it does flatter me that people are interested in my books. I would suggest reading MISTBORN: THE FINAL EMPIRE. It’s the first in my epic fantasy trilogy, and is out in paperback right now. It stands alone as a single volume and story, should you simply want to read one book by me. You should be able to find it at most bookstores.

Another option is WARBREAKER, the book I’ve released on my website--however, I hesitate to suggest this one, since you need to know that it’s only a draft. There are still a lot of problems with it, as it is a work in progress.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Idaho Falls Signing

For those in the IF area, I'll be at the Barnes and Noble this Saturday, amid the chaos of the holiday shoppers, signing books and chatting away.  Drop by and say hello, if you dare brave the crowds.  The time for this thing is 1-3.

Also, there appears to be cover art up for The Way of Kings.  The book I never published, but Amazon is selling anyway!  (Long story.  I was planning to publish this book, but eventually swapped to Mistborn.  I have no idea why Amazon has a listing for the novel, since Tor never put it in any catalogues.  We changed too quickly.)

Thanks to those of you who've posted your amusing reviews of a book that doesn't exist.  You've certainly made me laugh.  Also, David Wood, you are a loon.  I had no idea that imaginary Terry Goodkind had cover quoted my imaginary book!  What an imaginary honor...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


First off, two new annotations for you!  They're double sized as an apology for not posting any lately.

Well of Ascension Chapter Sixteen
Well of Ascension Chapter Seventeen

Note that if you're unfamiliar with the website, these are a kind of behind-the-scenes commentary I do on my books.  There are massive spoilers in there.

I'm up in Idaho as of yesterday, spending time with my mother--who is, in turn, spending time being a grandmother.  (LimeBaby is her first grandchild.)  I'll probably be a little more reclusive than normal these next couple of weeks, though I'll try to make some forum stops now and then.  We'll see.  Email is another problem.  With the MEMORY OF LIGHT news, my inbox has...well, exploded.  I love hearing from you all, and really appreciate the encouragement and kind words.  I'm still deciding how to handle all of it.  I like to answer all of my reader mail personally, but we shall see.  For now, please don't feel bad if you don't hear from me for a couple of weeks. 

Monday, December 17, 2007

Back! Time for Housekeeping.

I am back from the tour/trip.  The highlight of this one was, without a doubt, the visit to Harriet's house.  The opportunity to see the Masters's home, the place where he worked, was incomparable.  I plan to do a longer entry on this when I have time.

I also want to give a big thanks to the Joseph-Beth chain and their booksellers.  If any of you live in Cincinnati or Pittsburgh, and you haven't visited these stores, I'd make a point of doing so.  (Partially because they have signed copies of all of my books.  :) They said they were going to spread them around to the other Joseph-Beth stores too, so if you live near one, be sure to stop by.)

Anyway, there is a lot of housekeeping to be done here now that the announcement is out.  I'll go through them one at a time.

1) Email.  I got around 650 emails regarding the Robert Jordan announcement, and most were overwhelmingly positive.  (Only two death threats, by my count, and they were still pretty nice for death threats.)  However, that many emails strains my ability to answer them with any semblance of haste.  I'm afraid I'll have to compose a standard response that covers most of the questions asked, then send it to everyone.  I'll try to throw in a few lines of personalized text, but no guarantees. 

2) Facebook friend requests.  I'll get right on this one.  Some authors I know don't friend people on Facebook they don't know, but I use my Facebook differently.  Essentially, it's another way for people to read my blog--I want to make that as convenient as possible.  Anyway, give me a day or two, and you should all be on.

3) The "Current Projects" list on my website.  It, obviously, needs to be switched up.   Here's what's happening book-by-book.

Mistborn Three:  Copyedit done, turned in.  All that is left is a quick proofread, which I'll probably have my wife/friends do so that I can focus on A Memory of Light.  I took the bar down.

Alcatraz Two: I have the copyedit left to do on that one, and it's due on Monday.  I've left the bar up for now, since I can get it done before January, which is when I'll start on A Memory of Light.

Alcatraz Three:  Rough draft done, this one doesn't need to be looked at again until September, by which time I hope to have the rough draft of A Memory of Light done and in Harriet's hands.  I should have a month's time then to revise other projects.  Bar taken down until then.

Warbreaker:  I REALLY need to get 4.0 of this done before I start on A memory of Light, and so I've left the bar up.  I'll be working on this as soon as I get the Alcatraz Two copyedit done.  Bar left up for now.

Dark One:  This was an 'on spec' novel I was working on.  That means it had no contract, and I was fiddling with it in my spare time, with the hope of one day finding a home for it.  'Spare time' is no longer something I have.  Bar removed. 

Scribbler:  Same as Dark One.  Bar removed.

Warbreaker Two:  Not sure right now if I want to do Warbreaker 2 immediately.  You see, it would come out the year after A Memory of Light.  I'm leaning toward doing something big that year--launch of a new epic--rather than doing the second book of a two-book series.  Warbreaker Two will get written someday, but the first book is a stand-alone, and it doesn't demand an immediate sequel.  We'll see, but for now, this bar is gone.

In addition to all of that, I've added a bar relating to A Memory of Light.  Step one is to do a complete read-through of all eleven books, making notes on speech patterns, thought patterns, and the narrative personalities of all the main characters.  That'll probably take me through January, but we shall see. 

I'll post that email FAQ here once I finish it.  And, for you Mistborn fans, I'll have some annotations for you soon. 

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Warbeaker Updates

Thanks to all who came and saw me today!

In other news, I've run some updates of the Warbreaker pages to bring them into line with the rest of the site, now that the new website is live.  You can read my introduction to the book, including why I wrote it and why I'm releasing it for free.  Also, I finally have an official CC licence posted for the book, along with an explanation of what you can do with the text.  This page also includes links to the older versions, for those who want them. 

Finally, as a reminder, check back on Monday to hear my big news.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

More New Website News + Signings

I don't know if you're tired of this stuff or not, but I have a new introduction to ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS posted to go in line with the new website.  Also, things for the store are really shaping up.  I'm not going to post that link yet, but I think by the end of the week we'll have a paypal cart ready to go for those who want to buy signed, personalized copies of my books for holiday presents. 

You have TWO chances left to get signed books from me for the holidays if you live in Utah.  One is at Sam Weller's in Salt Lake this evening.  I'll also be doing a reading from unpublished material at this signing, as well as talking about upcoming works and other exciting things.  Sam Weller's always does excellent events, with an event hall for readings and refreshments served.  So, come see me tonight!

For those who can't make it, we have my final Utah signing of the season this Saturday at the Borders in Provo. 

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

New Website Coming + Unshelved

First off, the new website goes LIVE at the end of the week.  We're almost sure that we'll hit the deadline this time, so get ready for it!  I've almost got all of the 'Blah blah' sections replaced with actual text.  Huzzah! 

Included in this all is a new introduction, along with a long list of reviews, for Mistborn 2.  If you haven't read book two (but have read book one) click on over and check it out.  If you haven't read book one, though, watch out--this has spoilers!

Secondly, Unshelved did a comic based on ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS.  Thanks to all who wrote me about this, and thanks to Bill and Gene for the very flattering shout out.  I actually read Unshelved on occasion, but completely missed this one. 

As many of you may know, I'm a total Webcomics junkie.  I probably spend a lot of time reading them when I SHOULD be writing new novels.  However, I think that the webcomic explosion is fascinating (I even wrote an essay on it a while back.) 

The medium allows for more varied expression and experimentation in the art form, and also gives cartoonists a chance to 'live the dream' and become full-time artists, yet not have to deal with the insanity of the current comics syndication scheme.  (And, as you might note from their front page, one of the creators of Unshelved just quit his day job to work on the comic full time.  I remember the day when I got to quit my job and become a professional writer.  Go, Bill!  And, to the rest of you, make sure to go buy lots of their swag!)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Elantris Map Progression

It's been a LONG time since we've had any bonus material for ELANTRIS up here on the website, and I thought that it was about time for a little reminiscing.  So, in preparation for the launch of the new website, I did a little essay on the various incarnations of the map for ELANTRIS.  If you've read the book, you'll probably find this interesting.  If you haven't, it does include some spoilers, so I'd stay away! 

Also, remember to look at my upcoming signings page, as I have three signings this week!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Upcoming Signings + Annotations

Man, I'm bad at letting people know where I'll be.  After all, in a couple of hours, I'm going to be at the Gateway Mall up in Salt Lake--and I haven't told anyone at all about it.  So, here's a list of my holiday signings this year:

Saturday December 1st: 3-5 PM, Gateway Mall Barnes and Noble, Salt Lake City.
December 5th, 5-7pm University of Utah Bookstore, Salt Lake City
December 6th, 6-7:30 Sam Weller's Zion Bookstore, Salt Lake City.
December 8th, 3-3 Borders Provo
December 13th,7-9pm  Pittsburgh Joseph Beth Booksellers
December 22nd:  Idaho Falls Barnes and Noble Time TBA

By the way, you read that right.  I'll actually be hitting the east coast!  Huzzah!  Only one stop this time, though I'll be in the D.C. area, Cincinnati area, and in a few other locations doing "drop by" signings at bookstores and signing their stock.  If you live in the area and want to get a book signed, fire me off an email and I'll let you know about where I'll be and what time, and we can probably get them signed.

New Annotations:
Well of Ascension Chapter Fourteen
Well of Ascension Chapter Fifteen