Q&As with Christopher: Memorable Experiences, Oromis and Bowie, and Scrying a Changed Place

Q&ABannerSeptember2016-reduced, memorable experiences
Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain, modified


@Patajamon32: When do you plan to write Book 5?

Christopher: Not until I finish with my other writing projects. It’s something I definitely want to write, though!


Rider_of_Moonlight: Can you tell us the gender of the main character in the new Science Fiction Project?

The main character is a woman.

Aeduh: I’m intrigued about your FTL travel theory for your next book. When will we know something about it?

I probably won’t release anything about the FTL until the book itself comes out. However, I’m thinking of writing a pseudo-scientific paper at the back of the book, explaining the underlying principles. Might be fun. 😀


What have been some of your most memorable experiences as a result of this book?

I’ve fenced on stage with a team putting on a sword-fighting exhibition. I’ve had a man in a centaur suit attend a signing. I’ve been filmed in the London Eye, flown to thirteen-thousand feet with a parachute team in an open-cabin plane, attended film premieres, met with many of my favorite authors, spoken at the annual Steinbeck festival, crashed cars on a racetrack (on purpose, mind you), experienced both a hurricane and an earthquake within the course of the same week, traveled all around the world, spoken at an event directly after Angela Merkal, signed 9,400 books in 48 hours, and I was once chewed on by a marsupial. But more exciting than any of that have been the times that I’ve gotten to meet with my readers, shake their hands, and thank them for reading this series. For without their support, none of this would have been possible, and it’s the readers that allow me to do what I truly love in life, which is telling stories.

Will you please tell me some of the coolest/weirdest/most memorable people/things you have seen at your book signings?

I saw two twins with my face printed on their shirts. I saw a woman faint during a signing. I saw knights dueling next to displays of my books. I saw a Saphira float in a Halloween parade. And I once met a man whose fingernails were filed to points.

Bada**Ripley: I am currently writing a dissertation on fantasy maps, and I’m discussing the map for the Inheritance Cycle alongside the maps for The Lord of the Rings and A Song of Ice and Fire, so this AMA could not come at a better time! My questions to you would be: what did you enjoy most about drawing Alagaësia? What did you find most difficult? And finally, what are your thoughts on maps in other fantasy novels/series?

Love the user name! Alien(s) is one of my inspirations for writing sci-fi.

I love maps. They’re one of my favorite parts of books. In fact I have a giant map by Ben Sack (www.bensackart.com) on my office wall.

Drawing the map of Alagaësia was immensely helpful in visualizing and working out the relationships between the different locations. Also, since it forced me to fill in the otherwise blank parts of my world, I ended up inventing a lot of landmarks and other features that ended up suggesting story points later on. The Boar’s Eye whirlpool, for example. And the Beor Mountains themselves: originally I just scribbled them in, and the scribbles were twice the size of the Spine. Then I said, “Hmm, what if they really were twice the size?!”

Rangerthef***up: Do you wish you could change anything regarding the protagonist’s love interest? It’s been a while but all I could remember was that he was infatuated with her solely because of her beauty. Which is… well, not the best foundation for love.

SPOILER ALERT You’re absolutely right, which is why Eragon and Arya don’t end up together at the conclusion of the series. Eragon still has some maturation ahead of him, and Arya has her duties as queen. That said, I think Eragon does learn to see Arya as a person and not just as a pretty face. That’s pretty much the point of the whole fairth storyline.

Nobodies_Shadow: Was it hard coming up with a way to defeat Galbatorix since he was very powerful antagonist?

Yes! Very much so. For the longest time I really wasn’t sure HOW Eragon was going to pull it off. Fortunately, I had all the elements I needed in the plot to end the series the way I wanted.

redspyro99: If you go to a place, leave and then scry it after the place has changed drastically, would you see it in the past, present, or as a blank space? Also, how big is Alagaësia compared to our continents?

1. Depends how much has changed. Too much, and yeah, you’ll just see all white or all black. Or you might see a few elements that you’re familiar with, but the rest will be blank.
2. Pretty big. I forget the actual numbers, but the continent as depicted in the map is roughly equivalent to the western half of the United States.

Flame_half: My favorite character in your books is Oromis. He is very wise and kind, while also being stern. I’ve always wondered who, or what, was your inspiration while writing his character?

Thank you! No specific inspiration, but I always thought that Labyrinth-era David Bowie would have made a great Oromis.


Care to share how you know all these in-depth knitting terms? Have you ever, in fact, made a pink and yellow sweater with a ward to send away mad rabbits?

Because my sister, Angela, is a world-class knitter/weaver/crocheter/dyer/spinner/etc. As I’ve said before, she’s literally one of the world’s fastest drop-spindle spinners. (She won first place at a multinational fiber festival’s competition.) And I’ve also done a little knitting myself.

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Immanuela Meijer

Immanuela is the Paolinis' webmaster, archivist, and all around "make-things-go" Renaissance woman.