Thus Spake the Creator

What does Jordan read?

The summarised version is: Tad Williams, Robert Holdstock, Raymond Feist, Janny Wurts, Barry Hughat, C.S. Friedman, Mark Twain, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, John M. Ford, Guy Gavriel Kay, Terry Pratchett, George R.R. Martin, Jared Diamond, Robert Heinlein, John D. MacDonald, Louis L'Amour, James Patterson, Patrick O'Brian, Montaigne, Andrew Vachss, John Sanford, Patricia Cornwell, Jack London, Stephen King, Tim Powers, J.V. Jones, Greg Bear and everything else under the sun, except for romances. - Raina

Q: Mr. Jordan, are there any fantasy writers, beside yourself, that interest you? 
A: It's a moderately long list, but ... Tad Williams, Robert Holdstock, Ray Feist, Janny Wurts, Barry Hughart, C. S. Friedman, and really that's just the beginning, the ones that come off the top of my head.

Q: Who if any are mr. jordan's favorite authors? 
A: Tad Williams, Robert Holdstock, Ray Feist, Janny Wurts, C. S. Friedman, Barry Hughart, and we'll cut it off there before it gets too long... I assume the last question meant in the fantasy genre, because my favorite authors overall are Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and Jane Austin. Austen. Sorry, Jane. 

Q: Much of your work reminds me of J.R.R. Tolkien and David Eddings in scope and character development. My question is, who are YOUR favorite authors and why? 
A: Mark Twain, followed by Charles Dickens and Jane Austin, because they're _good_.

Q: What other fields of literature are you interested in?
A: Other fields of literature: Just about everything except gothic novels and nurse stories. 

Q: If you could work with any of the writers you named, who would you choose? 
A: None of them. I work by myelf. I don't see how to work with someone else, really.

Q: I'd like to thank you for your wonderful series. It has provided me with many hundreds of hours of entertainment at home and at work. Are there any other fantasy authors or titles that you are particulary fond of? Do you ever re-read your own WoT?
A: The only time I re-read is to check on something when I have to make sure of exactly what I said. In a certain circumstance about a certain character or incident. As far as the people I read, there are far too many to list: Tad Williams, barry Hughhart, Ray Feist, it could be a very long list, but we'd be here quite a time listing authors. 

Q: Rumor has it that you read 400-plus books a year. Is this true? What kind of books do you read? Any recommendations (besides rereading World of Time!) while we're waiting for THE PATH OF DAGGERS?
A: I don't manage to read over 400 books a year now. I'm not certain that I even manage to average a book a day. About half of what I read is nonfiction, half fiction. And the fiction takes in everything. As for recommendations, I assume you mean in the field, so try John M. Ford, C. S. Friedman, Guy Gavriel Kay, Terry Pratchett, George R. R. Martin, and a slew of others -- too many to name. You can find them.

Q: What kind of books do you like to read while working?
A: If something doesn't appeal to me, it goes away. If it doesn't turn out to be as good as I thought it was, it goes away. I don't have time to read books through when they no longer measure up. But everything... mysteries, Westerns, science fiction, nonfiction of all sorts. I've been recommending Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel to everyone, and I'm reading a James Patterson mystery right now, and getting ready to read Patrick O'Brian's The Hundred Days... Hornblower meets Jane Austen. 
Sometimes I'll just dig out one of the old Jane Austen or Charles Dickens books and read that, because I love those books. Or John D. MacDonald. My favorite authors are Robert Heinlein, John D. MacDonald, Louis L'Amour, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Mark Twain. These are the people I can pick up and read any time. And you have to throw Montaigne in there as well, but essays are a different sort of thing.

Q: On behalf of a promotion that Barnes & Noble.com is conducting, I'd like to ask: what are your favorite books, and why?
A: I can't give favorite books, but I can give my favorite authors: John D. McDonal, Jane Austen, Robert Heinlein, Louis L'Amour, Charles Dickens, and Mark Twain.

Q: If you had to put two books into a time capsule, one by you and one by some one else what would they be?
A: Well, I think that I would put The Eye of the World at this point, and someone else -- I think the essays of Montaigne.

Q: Do you read much fantasy?
A: I read everything. At the moment I'm reading an Andrew Vachss novel. The book before that was called "The Code Book," about the development of ciphers and codes. The book before that was called "Strange Victory," about the defeat of France in 1940 -- something that I think should be required reading for every member of Congress and every single person in the Pentagon.
Q: So you're an eclectic reader.
A: Yes. Before that John Sanford and Patricia Cornwell and George Martin. I don't act as a tourist when I'm on (book) tour. I make my appearances, and in between time I put my feet up to rest them and I read.

Q: You were very young when you came in contact with the great authors of fantasy..."
A: Oh yes, I.. Ah, I taught myself to read.
Well, it was quite incidental. My older brother.. ah, he would be stuck sometimes, when my parents couldn't get a babysitter, he would be stuck with looking after me. He found out that he could keep me quiet by reading to me. Mainly to keep me from flying his balls, or his airplanes or whatever and to keep my hands out of his tropical fishtanks , that sort of thing. Ah, and he read to me. but of course he wasn't about to read children's books to me, so he read the books that _he_ wanted to read. Uhm, I remember... I don't remember when I began making making a connection between the marks on the paper and the sounds coming out of his mouth, but I do remember a day when I was four years old that... It must have been a weekend, because my parents came home on a day like.. and he took off; He put the book back on the shelf, and I didn't want him to stop with the story, so I took the book back down, eh, it was Jack London's 'White Fang' and I managed to break through it... Ah, I didn't manage to understand every word, but I managed to make my way through the rest of the book with enough understanding to be able to pick up on the story. So I eh, I did start reading quite early.

Q: Is that also where you get your inspiration?
A: I don't know, I dont know where the inspiration came from. My favorite authors are ah... Bearly Whitespread [shame on me, this probably isn't the name, but it's the best I can make of it, not recognizing the name] , Mark Twain, Jane Austin, Charles Dickens, John D. McDonnald, Lewis Lemore.
Ah, these are not people you pick up as eh.. inspiration for writing science fiction or fantasy, although John D. McDonnald wrote eh, ...was best known for his travel [???] fiction, and did write a book called 'The girl, the goalwatch and everything' which is a hilarious science fiction novel.

Q: What other authors do you read yourself?
A: Oh, I read everything, myself. At the moment I read Stephen King's 'Dreamcatcher'. I've read about half of it this afternoon and I'll catch the other half of it tonight when we get back to Amsterdam. I ah.. I read anything and everything. If you're talking about in the field... I would suggest people try err. John M. Ford. Who's just had another one come out the last time recently... And it's very good. He's a winner of the world fantasy award. Twice. Once for his fantasy novel 'Dragon Waiting', and once for short fiction, which he won with a long poem, he made them change the rules, so that he could enter poetry and be nominated for short fiction catagory. He is a stone-cold good writer. Uhm, beyond that... uhm, lots of people, uhm... let's see now.. uhm, I must start blowing names... uhm, Ah, the guy who wrote Mythago Wood... Err, Holdstock. Robert Holdstock, err Tim Powers,uhm, C.S. Friedman, J.V. Jones, there are a lot of good writers.
But I read everything, I read mysteries and western and history. Err, I don't read as much as I used to. I'm not certain I'm still averaging over one a day. About half fiction, and half non-fiction.

A question about influences in his writing...
A: When I started writing I did not think of anybody as being an influence or an inspiration, in any way. There were simply stories I wanted to tell. Long before the Wheel of Time. I now believe I can see writers among my favorite writers, having certain influences on me, Jane Austin, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, John D. McDonnald, Lewis Lemore. They certainly influenced me, but again not inspiration.

Reports from signings

Authors he recommended was Guy Gavriel Kay, CS Friedman and Ray Feist in the fantasy genre. Non-fantasy he recommended his major inspirator: Mark Twain. He wouldn't give any non-recommended authors. He said he reads about 300-400 books per year, which is a dropoff from what he normally read due to the high workload from the WoT books.

Other Favored Authors: I missed quite a few of these while I tried to scribble it all down.

   * CS Friedman
   * Hughart 
   * Guy Gavriel Kay
   * Turtledove
   * Most Recommended: Guns, Germs, and Steel I agree with that recommendation - Raina.

Q21: What books do *you* read?
Q21: Another ‘everything under the sun answer’. The only author names I managed to jot down from his list were: Terry Pratchett, George Martin, Elmo Lemar (lol, I know I misspelled that, but I didn’t know the author). In short, he reads everything, except for romance. He’s tried a book or two, but never passes page 100.

He again mentioned the list of writers: Holdstock, Powers, Ford, Friedman, Jones.
He likes George R.R. Martin's books, gave him a quote for his first book.

On my second pass through, I asked him to name some favorite science fiction writers, since he always listed fantasy writers.
He answered John M. Ford (again), Greg Bear, and C.S. Friedman (again), who also has written a lot of good science fiction.
He actually reads a lot less science fiction, because he doesn't like distopias all that much.He likes technology. Why would people have to die at age 30 in the mud in some miserable hovel when they could live so much longer, do so much more.
Especially since it wasn't that long ago that people in American did die at the average age of 30.. You just had to go back a few hundred years.

A: Well, I read a lot of things. Just finished Stephen King's 'dreamcatcher' [guess this past week really is playing havoc on his 'one book a day' average.] , just started 'big chief Elizabeth,' about the development of the english colonies. Prior to that Sammuel's Lutbang [??? any suggestions for this?] about the development of the dutch-east-indie trade. The lutbang trade. [Ah, there's that word again. I know I should recognize this, but my mind still doesn't want to cooperate...] I read a lot of things. I was reading some... The stack of books that I've finished reading since getting to Amsterdam includes, let's see, four medieval mystery novels, one contemporary mystery of 'aran shames' [??? suggestions? I really know nothing about mysteries] And that's about it, because I haven't had that much time for reading.

Has the Fantasy genre always been your favorite genre to read? Is it now?
No. I have no favorite genre to read, nor have I ever. I read any book that I think is good, in almost any genre. I mean I don’t read romance novels. Simply the fact that a book is supposed to be a good book, is enough for me to consider reading it. And maybe if I decide it isn’t a good book, it is not worth reading it. I’ll try anything; fiction, non-fiction...

Raina's Hold / Thus Spake The Creator - Index

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