Q&As with Christopher: Elf Fertility, Homeschooling, & Dragons in Modern Times

elf fertility
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Hello all! Here is another batch of questions gathered from social media, along with Christopher’s answers. As always, feel free to post your queries on his Twitter or Facebook, and he’ll do his best to answer.


Chris Maiden: Ok I have a question.. why do elves not have that many children don’t they feel things like loneliness or attraction or make mistakes when a tree festival goes too far?

As with most creatures, the longer they live, the fewer children they tend to have. The elves do have relationships like humans and dwarves. However, as a rule, elves aren’t as fertile as either of them, and as a result, they have many fewer children. Also, elves don’t always *choose* to have children. If you’re going to live for hundreds and hundreds of years, you might not feel any pressure to reproduce for a long time.

Joe Lorman: Who where the monks on Vroengard? What where they doing there?

The hooded people shall remain unnamed for now. They have been corrupted by the magic on Vroengard. Let’s just say that any sort of people who would be willing to live there, in the unhealthy environment that it currently possesses plus with the shadow birds and the burrow grubs and all that—not to mention the snalglί—probably aren’t people you want to mess with.

Samuel Bonilla Arias: Do you have something like a protocol to name swords in the ancient language? I have a sword and I wonder if I can find a name for it based on the Inheritance Cycle.

Swords — like dragons and people — are difficult to name. Mostly, I went off feel. What was the meaning associated with this sword? Also, what just sounded cool. 😀 Good luck!

Unknown: In Brisingr, Arvindr sword is mentioned but never appears. What color is it? And who was its owner?

Alas, I haven’t decided on the name of the sword yet, nor whom exactly was its owner.

Eden Sedman: I’ve wondered this since I was 6 and fell in love with Alagaesia and your characters, especially the elves! Do you have an Elvish word for yes? It would make my attempted conversations in Elvish a lot easier! I made up my own various words as a kid but it’d be good to have a real answer! I also want to just say thank you, in my years being home schooled you and your books were a real inspiration for my own stories.

“já” can serve for “yes”. Can’t believe I never used it in the main text of the series!

Deron Fenton: What were some of the spells that had been placed on Helgrind? Did you base the religions in Alagasia on real life religions, and if so which ones? Were/are the Grey Folk humans? What Eldunari was lord Barst given?

  1. Spells to hide the entrances to the Ra’zac/Lethrblaka hideout, and also many, older spells placed there by the priests of Helgrind.
  2. Not really. The religions in the books were more me trying to figure out belief systems that made sense within the context of the world I was writing about.
  3. Not as we know them.
  4. I’ve never specified, but it was the Eldunarí of a very large, strong dragon.


Vinícius Galindo: All I have in mind right now is: do you have any plans for publishing your new sci-fi novel? And how much did your writing style differ from Inheritance Cycle to this one book?

The sci-fi book will be published as soon as possible. I just finished a major edit/rewrite, so hopefully I’ll have an idea before too long of when it’ll actually be published.

As for how my style changed: I really strove to master a cleaner, more-concise style for this book. It was a nice break after so many years spent working in a more ornate style for the Inheritance Cycle. Also, I really, really enjoyed finally getting to use my everyday vocabulary! So many words we use have modern origins that wouldn’t have been appropriate in a fantasy setting like Alagaësia.


Austin Boyette: I’m rereading the series currently, and the thought crossed my mind… Brom and Jeod’s chase to find Saphira’s egg sounds like SUCH a good story… Any chance we’ll ever get any insight to that journey?

Quite possibly. It would definitely make for an awesome story. 😀

Joel Chamberlin: Since Dragon riders live very long lives have you ever considered writing stories from their perspective but having jumped forward 800 to 1000 years?

Yes, and that’s all I can tell you at the moment. 😀

Joe Plows: Will you ever write a book that focuses around Murtagh? Roran? Will Roran settle down as a family man or will he pick up his hammer once more to fight for Alagaesia?

I can’t answer your question without spoiling some of my future plans/stories, but I will say I think you’ll enjoy Book V. 😀


Irene Mardoglou: You wrote Eragon when you were pretty young, at 15 i think. Young writers get rejected instantly from publicers as they havent reached adulthood and they become discouraged! What made you not only write it but also chase your dream to publish it? Others would leave it in a drawer for three more years!

Well, first of all, I didn’t publish Eragon with a normal publishing company. At first, my family and I self-published, which allowed me to get the book out to readers a lot faster than might have otherwise been possible. Other than that, all I can tell is, “Be persistent!” Publishers are desperate for good books to publish, so if you can write a book people want to read, you’ll definitely have a long and successful career ahead of you as an author.

So don’t give up, and learn everything you can about reading, writing, and editing. It’s not easy, but I guarantee those topics will do more to improve your craft than anything else.

All the best!


Hector Torres: How do you think Riders and dragons would operate in a modern time? Would they let themselves be seen or work discreetly to hide themselves?

There’d be no hiding the existence of dragons, I think. If the Riders were around today, they might be part of a peacekeeping force. However, despite all the advantages of magic, dragons would still be at a disadvantage when faced with today’s weaponry.

Cruz Gregorio: What motivated you in your homeschooling? I homeschool and sometimes I don’t feel motivated:( As of right now actually haha

Ha! Yeah, there were plenty of times I wasn’t motivated. Still happens to me from time-to-time. Four things help. 1. Set small goals for yourself. What do you want to accomplish each day and week? 2. Keep your long-term objectives in mind. Do you want to graduate early and get a head start on your life? What about beating your siblings (if you have any) to graduation? Lots of things to keep in mind. 🙂 3. Give yourself regular breaks. Don’t just work all the time. That’s the fastest way to burn out. 4. Work on only one subject at a time. For me, this was the fastest, easiest way to blow through my subjects. In high school, I would tackle one subject at a time. Algebra 2 — done in two weeks. Geometry? The same. History, three weeks. And so on. Really ups your feelings of accomplishment when you can finish off a whole course/topic within a few weeks.

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Immanuela Meijer

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