In response to the why was LF fostered at Riverrun when he was a insignificant lord question: GRRM said that Petyr's father and Hoster met up during the War of the Ninepenny Kings and became friends. Apparently that was a time when a lot of people from all over the realm forged friendships. LF's dad later "cashed in" on the friendship to get LF fostered at Riverrun.
The next Dunk & Egg story will largely involve a wedding and a tournament. He hasn't decided on a title.
At half of the signings George went into a brief history of his writing career. How he published his first story in 1971 and won a lot of acclaim with short stories in the 70's. The early novels he published (Dying of the Light, Windhaven, Fevre Dream) culminating with Armageddon Rag in 1983. He said Armageddon Rag was supposed to be his breakout bestseller that would make him a household name. At the Booksmith he asked us if any of us had heard of AG and a half dozen of us raised our hands. He then said we were the only ones that bought the book. tongue.gif
After the Rag he couldn't get a bite in the novel publishing world so in desperation he went to Hollywood. There he worked on the Twilight Zone and the Beauty and the Beast, writing and producing 12(?) episodes for the latter show. That lasted a few years. Then he entered the world of developing or, as some call it, "development hell." Apparently you can make a lot of money writing and re-writing pilots and such but only the network execs get to see em and George said he needs to have an audience.
ASOIAF is born
Around the summer of 1991, George didn't really have anything on his plate so he decided to give another go at prose which he had been away from for some time. He started work on a novel called "Avalon." Sometime into his writing of that, he woke up one day with the first Bran chapter vividly in his mind. It took him two or three days to write that chapter. Then the next chapter was in his mind. And the next and so forth until he had half a dozen chapters give or take.
However, at that time, Hollywood called. A pilot he had been trying to produce, "Gateways", about alternate dimensions was going into production and George was needed. So he spent the next three years working on that while ASOIAF sat in a drawer.
The Architect and the Gardener
At the Booksmith signing, George went into how he sees a general division between writers. Some are "architects." They create languages, write character biographies and map out plot points all before ever writing a word of their series. Then there are the gardeners, of whom George is one. They plant a seed, water it and let it grow. The thing is, they usually have to water it or it dies. Unfortunately, Avalon and something George worked on right after AR died. But AGOT refused to do so. George said Tyrion kept whispering in his ear over the years and when he went back to it in 1994 it was as if he had left it for three days instead of three years.
George told the now familiar story of St. Louis a few times over the last two days. I laughed each time as he has great elivery. "Some authors say no one showed up to their signings. Well, I can beat that. I drove four people away!" lol.gif Teri Pettit covered the Big Red Dog which was also hilarious. Unfortunately, Texas is SOL unless someone can convince George's publicist it won't be like AGOT. Kepler's is one of the only bookstores George has made for all four ASOIAF books. He was surprised in 1996 to see a huge AGOT display in the window and learned later that Kepler's sold the most hardcover AGOTs of any bookstore in the nation.
NYT List and Thanks
At all the events, George mentioned debuting at #1 on the NYT list and made sure to give many thanks. There were a lot of people at Bantam and his agents. He thanked the independent bookstores and their employees who handsell ASOIAF. Finally, he thanked all of us. He said some books go on the list because they have million-dollar advertising budgets, some go on the list because a celebrity writes them and some go on because Oprah likes them. But AFFC is there because of word-of-mouth and fans like us who introduce the series to everyone we know that ever periodically opens a book.
Shout-outs to the BWB
At every signing where Lodengarl, Caress of Cersei, Skylark the Red and Bronn Stone were in the back, George would somehow make sure to mention the Brotherhood without Banners as being the largest ASOIAF fan group. Lodey even spoke a few words at Kepler's. At the Booksmith, he also mentioned Ran and Linda in connection with "compendium" type resources and getting help with details. He said he goes to Westeros.org if he really needs to remember something. He also mentioned Dajamieson as someone he can call if he's really stumped since he wins all the trivia contests.
In my arrogance, I thought I could remember most of the Q+A without writing it down so I didn't write down the questions for Stacey's and the Booksmith. Alas, when I tried to post at the Best Western I was in for a rude awakening. Chastised, I bought a notebook and wrote down the Q's for Kepler's and Bay Book.
Q: Are there logistic aides?
A: It's all in his head aside from some charts, maps and word documents.
Q: Any type of film project?
A: He doesn't really see how it could work. An old-school miniseries of Shogun type length might work but the networks aren't really into those anymore. OTOH, if someone wants to give him a "dump truck full of money" and try their hand at the series then he will consider it. His Hollywood agent is getting alot of calls recently with the dubbing of GRRM as the "American Tolkien" but George thinks they will run screaming into the hills after they get ahold of the books. George also mentioned he would pen the screenplays if the films are made after the completion of the series.
Q: Action figures?
A: Testors will have a miniature's game with three sizes. Not sure on this but I think 33mm, 54mm and 118mm.
Q: Did the publishers have a problem with killing main characters?
A: No, apparently everyone liked it. smiley2.gif He went into how he likes to play for keeps by killing someone important early on. He wants the readers to feel the suspense of the character's predicaments. He mentioned how Indiana Jones would always win even against the 47 Nazis.
Q: 5-year gap?
A: It worked for characters like Arya and Dany but not so much for the adults or those who had a lot of action coming. He was writing chapters where Jon thought, "Well, not a lot has happened these past five years, it's been kinda nice." And Cersei chapters where she thought, "Well, I've had to kill sooo many people the last five years." So he ended up dropping it. He said he would have done it sooner if he hadn't told so many fans about it. And there is no gap anymore. "If a twelve-year old has to conquer the world, then so be it."
Q: Companion Guide to ASOIAF?
A: He prefers we read the books over again rather than have a companion because they are meant to be re-read and pored over. He will not do a synopsis in the beginning of each book as he sprinkles little nuggets to the books mysteries throughout the books and if he had to do a synopsis he would either leave those out or include them and reveal them to everyone. He then mentioned the Art of ASOIAF book, the RPG and Westeros.org and the chapter summary site.
Q: Do you play the games?
A: GRRM has played the board game but not the collectible card game.
Q: Do you have a history background?
A: History was his minor in school. He likes historical fiction and ASOIAF is meant to have a HF feel but he won't write it because we all know how it will end already.
Q: Do you know the entire story already?
A: It's like a journey from the West Coast to NYC. He knows his final destination, the interstates he will take, the hotels he will stay in. But he doesn't know what detours there will be along the road, where he will eat, what hitchhikers he might want to pick up, etc.
Q: How much does a character lose through death?
A: "Death is hard." lol.gif The character gets more and more removed from his or her former life. The main thing remaining, what brings Beric back, is the sense of purpose, the mission he has yet to accomplish.
Q: Will we see Willas Tyrell?
A: Yes. (now we can all speculate how)
Q: How long until next D+E story?
A: The story is half-written. It will not be in Legends are there are no more Legends. He wants to do 9-10 D+E stories covering their life. There will be comic book covering TSS.
Q: Favorite character?
A: Tyrion - smart mouth, very driven and tormented and easy to write about. He likes all the POV characters and understands them. He thinks everyone thinks of themselves as the good guy.
Q: Which characters are based on which aspects of personality?
A: All character are based on George to some degree. The close ones are easier to write about and the different ones are harder. The writer can't say, "What would a twelve-year old girl do?" he has to say, "I am a twelve year old girl. What do I do?"
Q: Did you envision Brienne as an XXY?
A: She is supposed to be freakish. She was an answer to the bad fantasy cliche of warrior women.
Q: When creating a character, do you have their fate envisioned?
A: Yes, to major character, no to minor characters.
Q: Are we ever going to learn about Jon's mom?
A: Yes. (Asha flat out asked if Jon was the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna just to see George's reaction)
Q: How many books?
Q: What books stuck with him as a child?
A: LOTR, Robert Heinlen