Jack's David & Leigh Eddings Page


AOL Interview with David Eddings

The following is a tidied-up version of an interview conducted with David Eddingson AOL on Wednesday 29th October 1997.

OnlineHost:The auditorium consists of two major areas: the audience (where you are right now)and the stage, where the MC/host and guests appear. Remember, text which you typeonscreen shows only to those in your row, prefaced by the row number in parentheses,such as (2) if you are in row 2. To interact with the speaker, use the "Participatein Event" icon on your screen.

The Book Report is pleased to announce author David Eddings, known to fantasy buffsas one of the most prolific and most beloved authors in the genre. Over the lasttwenty years, he has been lauded as a pre-eminent force in fantasyfiction - in the ranks of J.R.R. Tolkien and Ursula K. LeGuin. In short,Eddings is the reigning king of the genre. You can also read the exclusive excerptof David & Leigh Eddings' POLGARA at Keyword: TBR.

BookpgKrew of The Book Report will be interviewing Mr. Eddings tonight.

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 onBelgarath, and again on Polgara. How is it working with yourwife?

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 intochapters; then I hit the desk early in the morning - 2:00 am in themorning. My day's work is done by the time the sun is up. I print out a roughdraft and read it to her; she makes notes and such on it. I have developed ashort hand that no one else can understand. We get into long debates on how awoman would say something. She is responsible for how the female characterstalk. Then we have another draft and then we take it to a typist. I no longerhave to type - I hate typing.

BookpgKrew:Why did it take until nearly the end of the series before Leigh was givencredit 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 aproblem. He was a tough person to work with - he thought it would bebetter that way.

BookpgKrew:The book jacket refers to Polgara as "the epic culmination of amagnificent saga". Can you tell us something about what is coming next?

DEddings97:To take the scholarly tack on this: we have done preliminary studies onmythology. This formed the history of Belgarath: how he ran as a wolf andsuch; how he met his wife. We had a more extensive version of the otherbooks, for example, the Battle of Vo Mimbre. This book was used as a prologuefor 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 Garionand the Ant People. I will not write Silk and Barak meet Frankenstein. I amlooking at several possibilities, but there will be no Sparhawk stories, andno more Garion stories. Building worlds is my hobby - I'll build anotherone to see if I still know how. In the American Heritage Dictionary, I sawthat there are some peculiar similarities between Sanskrit and NativeAmerican languages: maybe there was a people somewhere in Asia, or maybethere was one particular language - they must have been tough invadersbecause they impressed their language on them. Finnish is not anIndo-European language; neither is the Basque language; but in all theothers you can track the language back to one language. Mother tongue wordsfascinate 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 somethingonline. 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 theBelgariad or the Malloreon?

DEddings97:It will be issued next year: it is called the Rivan Codex. I havebeen pressured heavily to do a CD-ROM type game, but I'm not reallyinterested 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 yougrow 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 ofthese language exams.

BookpgKrew:Which character in your books do you most closely identify with? Samequestion for Leigh.

DEddings97:Leigh is Polgara. Maybe I am Belgarath; Silk is my favorite. If I wrotemyself 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 slightlydifferent way. My all time favorite character is the child-goddessAphrael: she was a total brat but adorable.

Question:Did you base Belgarath partially on yourself, Master of MasterTaletellers? ;-)

DEddings97:He has many bad habits and we have many of the same bad habits. Many ofthe 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 Aphraelsimilar to the Polgara book you just released?


Question:I have read many of your books, but my favorites were The Losers andHigh Hunt. What inspired those two books?

DEddings97:High Hunt was my first book. It is first person and somewhatautobiographical, but we didn't shoot each other. The names were changed toprotect the guilty. All of those characters did exist - I am the hero. Iwas 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 Idon'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 whatyou 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 ofthe story: it was necessary for her to be a dominant character whether thekid liked it or not. She had to do it. She had him pretty well trained, andshe devoted her life to protecting him: this made her appear tough.

BookpgKrew:I also enjoy High Hunt and The Losers. How is writing fantasydifferent from writing in the real world?

DEddings97:Ahhh ... you can get away with things in fantasy that you can't getaway with in reality. You can't have a '57 Chevy flying in reality; you cando it in fantasy though. You can fly it to the moon. That fantasy andscience fiction are not real literature: it bothers me when critics saythat. Turn to the classics when the gods are walking around on thebattlefields. Kids today are not taught mythology, but modern literature.The novel - it essentially grew out of medieval romance. They werepure fantasy books. Merlin is the archetypal wizard.

Question:Are you planning to write any science fiction novels or stick strictly tofantasy?

DEddings97:I am not a tech freak. I don't get all worked up on technology. The basisof science fiction is faster than light drive, and you know what Einsteinsaid about that: can't happen, can't do it.

Question:All of your women hold themselves "above" watching the men "play life". Isthis intentional, or a by-product of strong female characterization?

DEddings97:Lecture time:

The main driving force behind medieval romance was Elanor of Aquitaine, whowas the daughter of the King of Aquitaine. She was married to Louis IV ofFrance, who divorced her. She was a raging nympho, supposedly, and had allsorts of affairs. King Henry IV of England married her to gain control ofAquitaine. She was the mother of King Richard the Lionhearted and John, whodid all those nasty things to Robin Hood. Ultimately she was locked up in atower so she couldn't have her affairs. She was a major figure in themiddle ages. She was a queen and damn well knew it. Most women in themiddle ages were wispy and frail. You need a girl with an iron hand to winher 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 coloredby what I read in his letters. He is one of the few people who spoke andread medieval languages; he was probably one of the most prudish humanbeings: as far as he was concerned the human female stopped at theneck - nothing below it. Like Tennyson - you don't want to offendanyone.

Question:Women always need ALL the details surrounding a birth. Why weren't thenames 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'tknow their names you can't ask me to write stories about them, and I ain'tgoing 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 aboutthe 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 thedetermining factor, Polgara would win. If cheating was allowed he wouldwin; he probably would cheat even if it wasn't.

I'd like to thank you all for your patience. Many of you have been readingmy 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.

OnlineHost:Copyright &copy 1997, THE BOOK REPORT, Inc.

Marlene T:If you enjoyed this event and would like to discuss it further, feel free to go to TheBook Story chat room at Keyword: TBR.

This interview was conducted on AOL, and is copyright © The BookReport, Inc. 1997.
The original HTML version was created and is maintained by:
Kamion (kamion@earthling.net).
This version is individually rewritten by Jakob Persson for use at this website.

This page uses frames. If your browser hasn't loaded the frames or if you're trapped inside someone else's frames, click here.

Last updated May 12th 1998

Note: Books, covers, booktitles etc. are copyrighted either by David & Leigh Eddings and/or by their publishers.

Copyright © Jakob Persson 1997-1998