[When will GRRM visit Germany?]
I last visited Germany in 2000 for a con in Leipzig. I also visited Berlin (great museums), checked out the Frankfurt Book Fair and the Essen Game Fair, went drinking with my fans in Dusseldorf and Cologne, and played the tourist along the Romantic Road.
I'm sure I'll be back one day, but offhand, I don't know when.
[Might GRRM be able to visit Germany this summer?]
No, afraid not. These days I book all my appearances three or more years in advance.
[Confirmation that Ted Nasmith is illustrating one of the limited editions of the A Song of Ice and Fire series from Subterranean Press]
Yes, Ted Nasmith is supposed to illustrate one of the books for SubPress. Tom Canty is doing A FEAST FOR CROWS and Marc Fishman will be illustrating A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, so Ted will likely be the artist on THE WINDS OF WINTER.
[Word on the proposed HBO series.]
In development. Nothing new I can announce.
[GRRM is asked when a preview of Busted Flush will be made available on his site.
Some time soon. At the moment we're still trying to get people to buy INSIDE STRAIGHT, since it's in the bookstores now, and BUSTED FLUSH won't be out until December.
[GRRM is asked if the character of Mushroom Daddy is an incarnation of Dr. Mark Meadows.]
No, he is not.
[GRRM is asked if Meadows will return to the series.]
1) Have you watched any of the recently-released Beauty and the Beast DVDs? How does the show look on DVD, and how does it feel to look back on your work there?
I have the DVDs, but I haven't watched them yet, I'm afraid.
2) If a producer asked you to write the script for an episode of a currently-airing program on television, which would you want it to be? I suppose this may be the same as "What's your favorite program on the air right now", but if not, it'd be very interesting to know why.
Most of my favorite television programs were HBO series that have gone off the air in the last year or so -- ROME, DEADWOOD, THE SOPRANOS, etc. Of the shows still on the air, I suppose BATTLESTAR GALACTICA is my favorite, but that one is wrapping up too.
3) You've remarked that you're a "gardener" instead of an "architect" when it comes to writing novels. Do you feel TV series could work using the "gardening" approach for creative direction, or do the constraints of the format (budgets, production schedules, etc.) make the "architect" approach more typical? I'm thinking primarily in terms of the recent shifts away from more episodic television programs to series with running, season- or even multi-season-long story arcs, and the rise of complaints from fans when they discover less planning has gone into these arcs than they had supposed.
The nature of TV pretty much prohibits the "gardener" approach. Studios and networks want detailed outline at every step of the way, so they will have the opportunity to review everything, gives notes, request (demand) changes, and so forth. You can beat them off to some extent if you have the kind of clout that comes with a hit series, but they're always there lurking.
BUSTED FLUSH is finished and delivered, and has been scheduled for a December release.
Most of the spotlight will still remain on the characters introduced in INSIDE STRAIGHT, including Curveball, Drummer Boy, John Fortune, the Amazing Bubbles, and the rest of the AMERICAN HERO crew, but you'll also meet several brand new aces that we think you'll like... and yes, some of the original characters from the old series will be present as well. Cameo will be back in her own story, written by Kevin Andrew Murphy, and one of the original stalwarts first seen in volume one will return... though not, perhaps, as you last remember him.
Depends on when I finish it, and whether you live in the US or elsewhere. If I can deliver before the end of June, as I hope, you'll see the book this fall. If not, well...
Watch my website for updates.
Well, I have thought about adding a message board to my own website, but I hesitate to do it for a couple of reasons. I am a bit concerned about the number of questions it might generate. I don't really have time to answer a bunch of questions, but it would seem rude to just ignore them all. And if the fans want to discuss the books and argue about theories and such, that's not something that I should be reading, so it is better off somewhere like the EZboard BBS rather than on my own site.
Jack Vance would head the list. Stephen King is up there. Bernard Cornwell, at least for his Sharpe's books. I like his new medieval series as well, but not the Civil War stuff. Whenever a new Flashman novel comes out I grab it right away. I watch for William Goldman's byline. And I confess to being addicted to Colleen McCullough's "First Man in Rome" series, despite the fact that she's an awful writer in some ways. Even so I find the books compulsively readable.
A FEAST FOR CROWS is scheduled for fall, 2002, provided I can finish it on time. Check my website for updates on that and other subjects.
I am still hoping to do it in six books... however, I have backtracked on that "shoot me in the head" promise, which might have been a bit, ah... rash.
I haven't stopped posting here entirely, but I don't visit the board as often as I did. The amount of activity here has decreased considerably.
Book four will actually be called A DANCE WITH DRAGONS. It should be out in fall 2002, if I finish it on time. THE WINDS OF WINTER will be book five.
I have attended Dragoncon in the past, but it is not likely I will returning in the near future. Dragoncon is moving its date to Labor Day weekend, which conflicts with the World Science Fiction convention. I have been attending worldcons since 1971, and would never dream of going to another con on worldcon's traditional weekend.
I may come to Atlanta for other events, however, and I do sometimes teach at the Clarion West writer's workshop.
The ironborn come from a culture with a very strong warrior tradition -- much more so than mainland Westeros. The rest of the Seven Kingdoms have a warrior caste (the knights) on top of a larger base of peasants, farmers, craftsmen, merchants, etc. The "Old Way" of the islands encouraged almost all men (and some women, like Asha) to take up raiding, at least if they were young and healthy.
I expect I'll come to San Jose for the worldcon there in a few years, and maybe before that... but you can keep the dollar, thanks. Use it to buy my books.
In high school, I was reading J.R.R. Tolkien, H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Jack Vance, along with some writers I'd gotten hooked on in grade school, like Robert A. Heinlein, Andre Norton, Eric Frank Russell, and Poul Anderson. Also lots of Ace doubles and comic books. (The first thing of mine ever published was a letter in the FANTASTIC FOUR).
I was also writing for fanzines in high school.
I read a lot of history, and mine it for good stuff, but I also like to mix and match. That is to say, I don't do straight one-for-one transplants, as some authors do, so you can't really say that X in Westeros equals Y in real life. More often X in Westeros equals Y and Z in real life, with squidges of Q, L, and A.
In the case of Dorne, yes, Wales was definitely an influence, for all the reasons you cite. But there's also some distinctly unWelsh elements down there. South of the wall of mountains you have a hot, dry country more like Spain or Palestine than the cool green valleys of Wales, with most of the settlements along the seacoast and in few great river basins. And you also have the flavor given the culture by the great Rhoynar influx led by Nymeria. I suppose the closest real life equivilent to that would be the Moorish influence in parts of Spain. So you could say Dorne is Wales mixed with Spain and Palestine with some entirely imaginary influences mixed in. Or you could just say it's Dorne....