Marlene T: Good evening Krew and Mr. Eddings. Welcome!
DEddings97: Good evening.
BookpgKrew: Mr. Eddings, we were all delighted to see Leigh's name with yours on Belgarath, and again on Polgara. How is it working with your wife?
DEddings97: Ah, we have been doing it together for so long now that it is second nature. We have been doing it for more than 20 years. I do the nuts and bolts stuff, stepping back. We begin by laying out an outline; this turns into a debate. Then we will lay out a general outline of a section, then break it down into chapters; then I hit the desk early in the morning - 2:00 am in the morning. My day's work is done by the time the sun is up. I print out a rough draft and read it to her; she makes notes and such on it. I have developed a short hand that no one else can understand. We get into long debates on how a woman would say something. She is responsible for how the female characters talk. Then we have another draft and then we take it to a typist. I no longer have to type - I hate typing.
BookpgKrew: Why did it take until nearly the end of the series before Leigh was given credit for her part? Was it a personal decision, or the publisher's choice?
DEddings97: This was Lester Del Rey himself - multiple author ships is sometimes a problem. He was a tough person to work with - he thought it would be better that way.
BookpgKrew: The book jacket refers to Polgara as "the epic culmination of a magnificent saga". Can you tell us something about what is coming next?
DEddings97: To take the scholarly tack on this: we have done preliminary studies on mythology. This formed the history of Belgarath: how he ran as a wolf and such; how he met his wife. We had a more extensive version of the other books, for example, the Battle of Vo Mimbre. This book was used as a prologue for one of the Belgarath series. Let's use the whole thing.
Question: Is Polgara truly going to be the last of these series?
DEddings97: Yes, it is.
BookpgKrew: What is next?
DEddings97: This is finished - done, kaput, finito. I am not going to write Garion and the Ant People. I will not write Silk and Barak meet Frankenstein. I am looking at several possibilities, but there will be no Sparhawk stories, and no more Garion stories. Building worlds is my hobby - I'll build another one to see if I still know how. In the American Heritage Dictionary, I saw that there are some peculiar similarities between Sanskrit and Native American languages: maybe there was a people somewhere in Asia, or maybe there was one particular language - they must have been tough invaders because they impressed their language on them. Finnish is not an Indo-European language; neither is the Basque language; but in all the others you can track the language back to one language. Mother tongue words fascinate me - they spark names. I want to get out of the Middle Ages. I have written a few contemporary things: I like to look mainly backward. Sci-fi mainly looks forward, fantasy backwards.
Question: Are you going to keep any of the series going?
Question: Hello Mr. Eddings. It's a pleasure to finally hear of you doing something online. There are many devoted fans on the Web, and you probably know that. I have a question: Will we fans ever see an "Illustrated Guide" to the Belgariad or the Malloreon?
DEddings97: It will be issued next year: it is called the Rivan Codex. I have been pressured heavily to do a CD-ROM type game, but I'm not really interested in that. I want to teach the Nintendo generation how to read.
Question: Good evening Mr. Eddings. Who do you admire as an author and who did you grow up reading?
DEddings97: Oh God. I have Homer, Virgil, Milton, Chaucer, Mallory, Shakespeare - when I was a child I started out with Tarzan, then moved onto Hemingway. I spent 8 years in college, 4 undergrad 4 grad, and had to pass all of these language exams.
BookpgKrew: Which character in your books do you most closely identify with? Same question for Leigh.
DEddings97: Leigh is Polgara. Maybe I am Belgarath; Silk is my favorite. If I wrote myself into a corner he would get me out.
Question: Mr. Eddings, if you had to pick, which was your favorite series to write?
DEddings97: I wrote the Malloreon to get the stink of bubble gum out of my study. Hmmm ... favorite series. I enjoyed each of them in a slightly different way. My all time favorite character is the child-goddess Aphrael: she was a total brat but adorable.
Question: Did you base Belgarath partially on yourself, Master of Master Taletellers? ;-)
DEddings97: He has many bad habits and we have many of the same bad habits. Many of the male characters are based on some part of me. Silk, Garion ... Sparhawk is me - I am not the bad guys though.
Question: Mr. Eddings: Are you and your wife planning to do a book about Aphrael similar to the Polgara book you just released?
Question: I have read many of your books, but my favorites were The Losers and High Hunt. What inspired those two books?
DEddings97: High Hunt was my first book. It is first person and somewhat autobiographical, but we didn't shoot each other. The names were changed to protect the guilty. All of those characters did exist - I am the hero. I was at least a good a shot as the hero of High Hunt: I am a good shot. I have killed a lot of deer but I eat them. I shot for meat, not horns, but I don't do that anymore. I feed them now; they come to my orchard.
Question: I like Polgara's child rearing ideas - yours or your wife's?
DEddings97: Hmmm ... could you be a little more specific? I'm not quite sure what you are asking.
Question: She reared them hard: scrub that pot, tote that barge, lift that bale.
DEddings97: She is hard, but it seemed to work when I was growing up. They grew out of the story: it was necessary for her to be a dominant character whether the kid liked it or not. She had to do it. She had him pretty well trained, and she devoted her life to protecting him: this made her appear tough.
BookpgKrew: I also enjoy High Hunt and The Losers. How is writing fantasy different from writing in the real world?
DEddings97: Ahhh ... you can get away with things in fantasy that you can't get away with in reality. You can't have a '57 Chevy flying in reality; you can do it in fantasy though. You can fly it to the moon. That fantasy and science fiction are not real literature: it bothers me when critics say that. Turn to the classics when the gods are walking around on the battlefields. Kids today are not taught mythology, but modern literature. The novel - it essentially grew out of medieval romance. They were pure fantasy books. Merlin is the archetypal wizard.
Question: Are you planning to write any science fiction novels or stick strictly to fantasy?
DEddings97: I am not a tech freak. I don't get all worked up on technology. The basis of science fiction is faster than light drive, and you know what Einstein said about that: can't happen, can't do it.
Question: All of your women hold themselves "above" watching the men "play life". Is this intentional, or a by-product of strong female characterization?
DEddings97: Lecture time: The main driving force behind medieval romance was Eleanor of Aquitaine, who was the daughter of the King of Aquitaine. She was married to Louis IV of France, who divorced her. She was a raging nympho, supposedly, and had all sorts of affairs. King Henry IV of England married her to gain control of Aquitaine. She was the mother of King Richard the Lionhearted and John, who did all those nasty things to Robin Hood. Ultimately she was locked up in a tower so she couldn't have her affairs. She was a major figure in the middle ages. She was a queen and damn well knew it. Most women in the middle ages were wispy and frail. You need a girl with an iron hand to win her independence. I wanted to get rid of the weak namby pamby females; otherwise they are just property.
BookpgKrew: How do you feel your work compares with Tolkien or Jordan in style?
DEddings97: I am not familiar with Jordan. My opinion of Tolkien is somewhat colored by what I read in his letters. He is one of the few people who spoke and read medieval languages; he was probably one of the most prudish human beings: as far as he was concerned the human female stopped at the neck - nothing below it. Like Tennyson - you don't want to offend anyone.
Question: Women always need ALL the details surrounding a birth. Why weren't the names of Polgara's twins revealed at the end of the series?
DEddings97: Yes, OK. This was one way to close that door permanently. If you don't know their names you can't ask me to write stories about them, and I ain't going to. That door is closed forever.
Question: Will we see a "World of Eddings" book?
DEddings97: No biography. Writers are probably the most boring people in the world. James Joyce was a great writer but he was so boring. He would talk about the light bill.
Question: If Belgarath and Polgara were both running for President who would win?
DEddings97: It would depend on the election rules. If sheer force of will was the determining factor, Polgara would win. If cheating was allowed he would win; he probably would cheat even if it wasn't. I'd like to thank you all for your patience. Many of you have been reading my books since 1973. BookpgKrew: Mr. Eddings, this has been an extremely interesting and informative chat.
DEddings97: Thank you so much.
BookpgKrew: Thanks so very much for being with us, and keep writing books!
DEddings97: I will.