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Robert Jordan

answers the Usual Questions

"Robert Jordan" by Jeanne Collins - Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

Author Robert Jordan visited Melbourne in September, 1999 for the Melbourne Writers Festival. He told us the festival was very like a science fiction convention, except that there aren't any hall costumes (fans dressed in costumes attending events and startling the natives in nearby streets).

This wasn't his first visit to Australia, he has been here before and seen Uluru, the rain forests and so on. This time he's off to Lizard Island, but we managed to catch a few moments with him to ask the usual questions.

Robert Jordan started writing about twenty years ago at the age of thirty, before that he worked as an engineer. He has degrees in mathematics and physics.

He says, "I am a writer, I write fantasy .. I have written other things (and) I may write other things again." Going from the world of physics and maths to fantasy is not that big a step, he adds, "You have to have an almost theological faith for quantum physics."

His own reading list includes Jane Austen and Louis D. Lamour. "I think I write with a southern voice as we reckon things in America." Underneath the fantasy adventures, Jordan says his writing is about "the struggle between men and women ... not for control, the struggle to understand the rules of the game ... the interactions between men and women. We're all still playing it by ear (and) you're never really sure you've got it right. I've managed to hold on to my wife (Harriet) for 20 years, and she'd pretty special, so I must be getting something right."

Has your interaction with fans, for example, at conventions, affected your work?

A good bit of fan mail comes in. I don't have people showing up at my home. If they did it would stop me writing.

Is there any particular incident (a letter, a meeting, a comment that stands out?

No. I'm told them I am not going to write something because they want to see it, or not write something because they don't. It's going to be what I want to write.

I had a young woman call me a god. There was an 88 year old woman who wrote me a letter and asked me to "write fast".

Do you have a favourite author or book (or writer or film or series) that has influenced you or that you return to?

Charles Dickens, John D. Macdonald, Louis D. Lamour and Mark Twain.

Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a lift with? or a spaceship?

My wife. I find her infinitely fascinating and infinitely entertaining. My second choice would be a lift repair man.

Who is the person you would most DISlike to be trapped in a lift with? Or a spaceship?

I'm not going to answer that one.

What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn't do without?)

I assume that the oxygen is provided, so the essays of Montaine.

What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?

Satisfaction. I enjoy writing. That's where I get the greatest satisfaction ... in the writing of the book. When I'm doing a book tour, really what's going on in my head is the next book.

What is the special satisfaction of your work?

Having created something that is, I hope, better than I have done before. I think I am managing that.

31 August, 1999

For other answers to The Usual Questions Click here

Just the facts:
Born: James Oliver Rigney, Jr; Charleston, South Carolina; 17-Oct-1948
Died: 16-Sep-2007

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Publisher's site


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