Q&As with Christopher:
Roran vs. Eragon, Hog Dogs vs. Tacos, and More!

Water Drops On Leaf

Most of these questions are drawn from Christopher’s recent AMA on Reddit. We’re reposting them here for folks who haven’t seen them yet.

INHERITANCE CYCLE:

galunid: 1. Can the name of Alagaësia change? That way Eragon could be able to return to this land. 2. Will Nasuada ever accept Eragon’s offer to visit him?

1. Yes.
2. Probably.

Kesarkulfi: Why have you made Roran the hero rather than Eragon in all aspects like being a good warrior; being the person who can influence everyone around him; who has got a family a wife and a daughter and who is now a Lord and has basically done no wrong, I mean compared to Eragon who actually cursed a child!

Roran has his flaws too: he gets angry, threatens people, etc. He has two advantages over Eragon, which make things a little easier for him: a) Roran is already grown up. He knows who he is and what he wants; he’s already passed through the awkwardness Eragon is still dealing with. And b) there are a lot of challenges Roran doesn’t have to face. Learning magic. Facing the prospect of fighting Galbatorix. Shouldering the hopes of four different races. Pairing with a dragon. And the list goes on.

That said, you’re right: Roran is impressive in his own right. But had he lived through what Eragon experienced, there’s no guarantee he would have handled it significantly better.

Good question!

IshouldstudyFC: Unlike some characters who have distinct roles and critical responsibilities in Alagaesia by the end of the series, Murtagh’s opportunities now seem endless. Are you satisfied with the way you left things with Murtagh? (I have my own theory as to why you did it this way, but I don’t want to put you on the spot).

Very satisfied. And yes, you’re right to think he has a lot of opportunities in front of him. 😀

ElvenEbrithil: How did you come up with the idea of the Urgals and Kull? How much more energy can an elf contain than a human? How many of the Forsworn were female? What was your favorite scene to write about?

I live close to Yellowstone Park, so I’ve seen quite a few Big Horn Mountain Sheep. Their horns were the main inspiration for the appearance of the Urgals/Kull.

Depends on the individual elf. Larger elves can hold more energy than smaller elves. On average, though, elves can hold about 60% more energy than same-sized humans.

Ha! Not sure, since I never named all of them. Probably about half.

The first scene, the last scene, anything with Elva, the grass ship, the flight to Vroengard, the forging of Brisingr, and of course, the quiet moments between Eragon and Saphira. Can’t pick just one!

SCI-FI NOVEL:

Nobodies_Shadow: Hello, Why are you secretive with the title for your next book? Could you give some hints as to what your sci-fi book is about? What books did you use or read to inspire yourself for this upcoming sci-fi book?

1. Because the publisher likes to do a big reveal for the title. Also, I hate to commit to a title before it’s totally, 100% nailed down, because I often decide to change it.
2. Aliens and spaceships and explosions and all the good stuff a story needs. Also tentacles. . . . Lots and lots of tentacles.
3. Some of my inspirations for this book are: Dune, Alien(s), Starship Troopers, and the Hyperion series.

driggs333: I loved The Inheritance Cycle when it came out, and recently reread it, and it held up to memory. My question is, is your new novel going to be more YA ish a-la Eragon, or will it stray into more “mature” territory like the last couple books did? I’m looking forward to the new book and I’m sure the world building will be top notch.

The new book is definitely more mature, but if someone enjoyed reading Eragon, they should also enjoy the sci-fi as well.

Morvick: I’m hopeful to look for your sci-fi novel on shelves soon. Do you find you’re inspired by current mythos or contemporary scientists?

At the moment, I’m definitely inspired by what SpaceX has been accomplishing.

WRITING:

Faedoria: What’s it like after someone accepts your manuscript and agrees to publish it? Like what goes into that?

Well, several months of negotiation follow, wherein your agent/lawyer nails down the exact terms of contract you’ll be signing. During this time, you’ll probably start working with your editor at the publishing house.

The editor sends you a letter outlining whatever changes he/she thinks the book needs. You tear your hair out, gnash your teeth, swear the editor doesn’t know what they’re talking about . . . and then a few hours later realize that most of the changes will substantially improve your book. You spend a few months putting in the edits, and then you get a second edit from your editor. Then maybe a third round of editing as well. Mind you, this only happens at the larger publishing companies (the smaller ones don’t have the money to pay for a bunch of editing). After that, you get . . . COPY EDITING!!!! Which focuses more on technical stuff like punctuation, continuity, and so forth.

Assuming you survive all of that, the book is finally ready for publication. Oh, and at some point during this process, the publisher presents you with the cover art (prepared to be shocked. It’s always a shock.)

And then you still have to tour and promote the book. Oh, and your contract requires you to deliver the sequel in another six months. What are you waiting for? Get writing! You’re already behind deadline!

MISCELLANEA:

gunslingers: Is a hot dog a sandwich? If yes, is a taco a sandwich?

Yes, a hot dog is a sandwich. No a taco isn’t. See here for further enlightenment: https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/3fmabu/is_a_taco_a_sandwich/

TheEdgeofShadow: What books are you reading at the moment?

I’m currently reading the Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence. Didn’t expect to like it, but it’s impressively well-written. Can see why it’s such a classic. Also just read the sci-fi novel Saturn Run. Really enjoyed it.

Which character death in any book or book series made you want to cry or want to yell at the author?

It wasn’t a death, but the parting of Will and Lyra in the Amber Spyglass was incredibly wrenching.

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