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Storm Leader Report: Norcross, GA

Guest Kathana


This is the fourteenth of our Storm Leader reports we'll be posting throughout the U.S. book tour for


Brandon started off by talking about how he got this job, finishing our book. If you’ve been paying attention, you already know the story, but I pulled out some quotes that I thought were entertaining.

* When discussing the book store where he found The Eye of the World. “The new books are right in the front and right there was a copy of a “VERY BIG BOOK.†I like very good books.â€

*â€The good thing about big books is that when you realize you liked it, you still had so much to read! It’s also a good page per dollar value.â€

*When discussing learning about Jim’s passing: “I was stunned when I heard the news. It was like all of my high school friends died at the same moment. I had acquaintances in high school, but my real friends were the characters from the books I read.â€

* Discussing seeing Jim, “I saw him once at a convention and I was too chicken to go talk to him.â€

*Discussing the day he got the phone message from Harriet, “My wife says I was more nervous on that day than on our wedding day.â€




*Discussing things he was thinking about while he couldn’t sleep that night he found out what Harriet was after:

“The first one was- I couldn’t write as good a book as RJ would’ve. I realized that no one could replace him and that I was going to fail, in part, because no one could write the book that RJ would’ve written.

And then I realized something else… the next best thing to having RJ, was to do it myself. You know that old adage†when you want something done right, do it yourself.â€


“There are better writers, there are bigger fans. But there’s no one who has both.â€

And I realized that I had to do this book because I was the one who would screw it up the least. As a long time fan of the series, I could write this book in such a way that it wouldn’t change what it had been. “

*“The only thing I promise you guys is that it’s in the hands of a fan. And the one thing I can promise you is that I promise not to screw it up, or at least, I promise not to screw it up the least.â€


Brandon then introduced Harriet, who read from The Gathering Storm’s Prologue. I would tell you which scene she chose, but then I’d have to beat myself with the spoiler stick. They urged everyone to come have a seat, because there were people standing everywhere. While many of them found a place, perhaps the others just felt they needed to stand in the presence of such greatness.




After the reading, they started the Q&A. If there’s a spoiler issue from the new book, I did not include it here. HOWEVER, I will tell you that they were very interesting questions and if you want to know what they were… well, you should’ve been there!

1- Q: “Who killed Asmo?â€

Brandon- Harriet you want to do the honors?

Harriet- You want to live?

Brandon- We have our first RAFO of the night. I know, Harriet knows, and he told us to put it in the book somewhere.


2- Q: Were you a part of any of the WT online communities?

a. Usenet for RJ my first day on the internet. I was a member of DM and Wotmania, but never posted. He’d go to DM to check blogs. He’d drop by WoTmania, but they were kinda mean (aggressive about their viewpoints.)


3- Q: Why a pseudonym? Why not his real name?†(Harriet- and why?)

a. A: Harriet - He wanted to write everything there was when he was beginning. In the first place, he said he wanted to save his real name for his history of SC. Then his Vietnam novel.

b. A: Harriet – In youth he loved Louis L’amour’s westerns. He bought a new Louis L’amour book one time and when he read it, it wasn’t a western, it was a mystery! So, he thought he’d have a name for every genre to keep this from happening to his fans. “Robert Jordan†had nothing to do with For Whom the Bell Tolls.

c. Reference to a post from DM’er: The post was from a woman who started reading the series 12 years ago. She had small children, not enough money for drugs or alcohol. A friend gave her The Eye of the World. And it worked! Now her son is reading them and when he picked up the Gathering Storm answered the question of why he didn’t use his own name: “Why of course he did! He’s a superhero! You don’t think Batman’s real name is Batman, do you?â€


4- I can’t tell you the question, but I think the answer was insightful, so I’m editing out the spoilers to give you this:

i. You’ll notice that the prologues fulfill a purpose. Most of the prologues are written like epilogue to the book before. [This Prologue]was more of an epilogue to the [end of] Knife of Dreams. Brandon believes that RJ liked giving his fans something to talk about and then answer it in the prologue of the next book. Brandon “I can’t speak for what Robert Jordan was thinking.â€

ii. To which Harriet responded, “Even Robert Jordan couldn’t speak for what Robert Jordan was thinking.â€


5- Q: How’s The Towers of Midnight coming?

a. ToM is 70% done.

b. Harriet’s answer: “ If I can quote Robert Jordan, I can assure you without fear of contradiction, that ToM will be on the shelves very shortly after Brandon finishes writing it.â€

c. “This is a very, very… there’s a lot of work involved. People assume that when I was given the outline, I was given a point by point outline. RJ wasn’t like that. He wouldn’t show it to Harriet until he’d done 12 drafts. We got this in a state of incompleteness. The creative process isn’t as neat and orderly. Things were in dozens of files. “

Harriet: Brandon would say “what order do you want it in?†and I would say “Brandon, you’re the writer. It’s foolish for the editor to take over the part of the writer. And vice-versa.â€

d. He dictated some and the assistants transferred it into notes, scoured their memory for anything he’d said and put that in the notes. And then all the files… “this was all handed to me and told ‘ok, let’s write a book.’â€


6- Q: Was it difficult for you to find any of the character’s voice?

a. Answer: Brandon: Aviendha- the Aiel way of thinking is so different and I think like a Two River’s folker. It was easy to write the Two Rivers. And when I started writing Aviendha, I was writing like a Two Rivers-er.


7- Q: I am struck by how alike this is to Tolkien. Have you ever talked to Chris Tolkien (since he took over for his father using his notes)?

A: Brandon’s responses:

i. No, but I’d like to.

ii. We’re in a little better shape. Jim actually finished scenes. We have a lot more to work with. He wrote the end himself! He left landmarks to follow from here to the end. Not specific details, just “strong stuff†to get us to the end.

iii. “There are no characters that we don’t know how they end up.â€


Afterwards, Brandon made a few announcements:

Brandon’s Announcements (Some of them were specific to this signing, but here are some interesting bits for the rest of you):

1- We have lots of fliers and things that we will stuff in the books as we sign them.

2- Special Shout out to JordanCon here in Atlanta, where “both Harriet & I will both be there†(Great advertising, Brandon! THANKS!)

a. He’s presently on tour for Warbreaker, too!

b. On Mistborn, “I like epic stuff.â€

i. “These dark lords never get a break!“

c. On Alcatraz

i. Children’s series, they can all be read independently. It’s geared towards 10-12 year olds who are too smart for their own good.


3- Mailing list

a. I send e-mails before I come to places and for Announcements.

b. I promise I don’t spam.


Other stuff from listening to chatter:

When I mentioned that I couldn’t hear anything because of the noise in the room, Harriet responded: “At one book signing, there was so much noise that this man who was talking could’ve been saying “I’m going home and I’m going to slit my throat. I hope my wife will find me.†And I was just nodding and saying “Good!â€


Brandon and Harriet racked up with gifts from fans! They got everything from handmade truffles, to some breath-taking art work, to Brandon getting more Magic cards for his epic battle with Jason! (GO BRANDON!)





Some other little tidbits you might be interested in:

*Aviendha is Brandon’s favorite female of the series.

*Brandon’s favorite color is maroon. Green shirt says so!

*He’s planning another stand alone story about a world where virus and germs have evolved and possess magic powers. So if you catch a cold you can fly, when you get over it, you can’t anymore.

*He really likes carrot cake, and he likes Key Lime Pie, too. ‘And you know, a good brownie, with ice cream and… that’s really good, too.â€

*For NaNo, he participated for 4 years, but couldn’t “win†since he never wrote anything FOR NaNo. He just continued with what he was already writing. It usually came out to another 70 or 80 thousand words, though!


To see the rest of the pictures, please check out our album.



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