Well, my books are edited by my editors -- Anne Lesley Groell at Bantam (US) and Jane Johnson and Joy Chamberlain at HarperCollins Voyager (UK). I do send them sections as I go along -- not individual chapters but sizeable chunks -- but the editing does not really begin until I deliver the finished novel. At which point they read the book and give me notes, and I revise. Then the manuscript goes to a copyeditor, who checks it for grammar, syntax, spelling, internal consistancy, and the like, and flags any mistakes. Which I then fix. Then the book goes to the typesetters, and I receive a set of galley proofs to check and correct. The typesetting process introduces new mistakes that have to be found and corrected.
All this takes time, obviously.
I have heard the same tales as you of writers who submit chapter one while still writing chapter two, but I could never work that way. I revise constantly as I go along, always honing and polishing. I may get a new idea while writing chapter fifty two which requires me to go back and change chapters three, nine, and twenty-one. If you lose the ability to do that, because the earlier chapters are already set in type before the later ones are finished, you're binding yourself in chains.
Thanks for all the kind words. I hope you'll like the forthcoming books as much as you did the first two.
As for signings in California... on the first two volumes, Bantam scheduled signings in San Diego (Mysterious Galaxy), Los Angeles (Dangerous Visions), and the Bay Area (Kepler's in Menlo Park and Dark Carnival in Berkley). I imagine I will be returning to some of the same places once again when A STORM OF SWORDS comes out.
I am a huge fan of Tad Williams. Although I loved Tolkien for many years, I had pretty much stopped reading modern fantasy, since so much of it was awful derivative stuff. Then I tried Tad's DRAGONBONE CHAIR, and sat up and said to myself, "Yes! This genre can be terrific, in the hands of a good writer."
I would likely never have written A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE without that inspiration.
So, yes, "Josua and Elyas" are definitely a tip o' the hat to one of my favorite fantasy writers. And here's a hint... there are numerous similar homages to other favorites buried in the text, if you can find 'em.
[In response to a reader asking whether any more children of the forest exist, if the remaining population is of pure or mixed stock, and how does their magic compare to what they did in ancient times]
You'll need to wait for later volumes to learn the answers to your questions about the children. Sorry.
You'll learn more about Valyria and its Doom in later volumes, but not especially in A STORM OF SWORDS.
I know my Homer, of course, but Cersei is not based on Circe. Many names sound alike.
Arya is two syllables.
There will be new maps in every volume, but I don't know when (or if) a map of the "entire world" will be made available. So far we have no plans for a poster map.
All that information was accurate at the time. Stories grow, and sometimes more quickly than dragons.
The series will be six books. A STORM OF SWORDS will be next, then A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, then THE WINDS OF WINTER. I am not completely decided on the title of the last volume yet. My contract says A TIME FOR WOLVES, but I am not completely happy with that and will probably change it if I come up with something I like better.
No plans for a European tour, but I will be attending a convention in Leipzig, Germany the first weekend of October in 2000. I hope to meet some of my German readers there.
The best way to contact Steve Youll, or any cover artist, is to write them care of the publisher at the address in the book.
The letter will be forwarded along, though it may take awhile. In the case of an artist, sending to the attention of the Art Director may speed the process somewhat.
This answer contains a SPOILER for those who have not yet read the story, so beware.
Egg did not want to reveal himself, and he most =especially= did not want to reveal himself to his brother Aerion, whom he hated and feared. He only did it in the end out of desperation.
[In response to a question asking why ravens are used instead of pigeons as messenger birds in the Seven Kingdoms]
All that Elio says is certainly true; ravens are smarter than pigeons, better flyers, more able to defend themselves against hawks and other predators, etc.
I also liked the mythic resonances. Odin used ravens as his messengers, and they were also thought be able to fly between the worlds of the living and the dead.
Would ravens actually be better carrier birds than pigeons? Probably not... but it seemed to me that if I was going to have dragons and direwolves, that stretching the truth about ravens a bit was allowable as well. In the end, after all, A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE is a =fantasy= series.
[Summary: In response to a reader who would like to know just how big Ser Gregor Clegane is, speculating near 7 feet]
Bigger, actually. Ser Gregor is closer to eight feet than seven.
I'm less certain about his weight, but he's pretty much all muscle.
Thanks for the kind words.
Authors really have very little control over where they go touring. The cities are usually selected by the publishers. A lot of it starts with the bookstores. The stores that get a lot of authors make a point of =asking= for them, ordering a large stock of their books, and doing whatever advertising is necessary to make a signing a success. Some bookshops want authors, but aren't willing to sink a penny into ads -- those signings are inevitably a disaster.
And the last tour can affect the next one. If a publisher sends Author X to a particular city or bookshop, and three people show up to buy books (or no one at all, which has also happened), that store is not likely to get a visit from Author Y when he tours six months later.
None of which addresses the particular question of why Oklahoma doesn't get a lot of touring authors. I don't know the answer to that one. The manager at your local bookstore might, however.
Tyrion has been trained at arms, insofar as he could be in view of his handicaps. And he always goes into battle well mounted, well armored, leading men, with a personal protector close at hand (Bronn on the Green Fork, Ser Mandon on the Blackwater). Nonetheless, he is wounded in one battle and nearly killed in the other. He can hold his own in the chaos of battle, for a time at least, but that does not mean he is an especially skilled fighter... that distinction belongs to his brother.