I will go ahead an reveal one thing I learned at the signing. I took copious notes so much of what I say will be Martin's actual words.
A woman to my right asked "How many books will there be?" I braced myself for the usual type of statement GRRM makes, which is that there will be six and no more. But that was not exactly what was forthcoming.
Martin said that he hoped to do the story in six books. He said "I'm gonna do my damndest to finish the series in six books". He then said, "It_is_possible that it will go beyond six books". He said "the story makes its own demands". He mentioned that A Storm of Swords was quite long and said "I'm gonna try to get the later books down to the length of ACOK". He explained this a little bit. The implication was that he has a lot to tell and he is finding how limited he is with regard to the size of manuscripts. Then he said, "Hopefully, six books, but I'm not gonna swear it in blood anymore."
Later, over beer,I asked his specific permission to share this on the net and he gave it. He said its not definite that it will go beyond six books. In fact, he implied it might well stay at six books, but he is no longer going to swear that it will happen.
Ok, here are a few book questions I got in:
1) What is Casterly Rock like. Is it a fortress or is it actualy within the rock?
GRRM started giving descriptions. As we already know, we will see Casterly Rock in the next book. He said it was basically in the rock but that there were fortifications there. I don't know the exact words, but he said something that brought a picture to my mind of some walls and ramparts, framing the mouth of a cave. He also said, as brosan previously shared, that Casterly Rock should be thought of as like the Rock of Gibralter, but bigger, because this was fantasy.
2) I asked him about the Tower of Joy. What was its location - we know it the mountains of Dorne were in the background, but could he be more specific? I asked if it was a part of Summerhall.
GRRM replied that the Tower of Joy was not part of Summerhall, but did not want to say more about it.
3) I asked "If its not too spoilerific, could you tell us the translation of valar doeharis?"
GRRM replied "Naw, wait till the next book."
A fan asked "I was wondering if the fans ever bother you or bombard you with email and IMs?".
GRRM gave a lengthy reply, and he made very definite delineations between emails and IMs. Regarding IMs, he said you would not believe how many times he got on the computer and a message came through from "Fred the Lizard" or someone, saying "Are you really GRRM?", :::pause::: "Can you prove it?" We all laughed. He explained how he was on AOL so there were two things that happened with IMs. If it was another AOL member, the IM just came up on his screen. If it was a nonmember, he got a message asking him if he wanted to accept or ignore the IM. He said that he was choosing to ignore them more and more, because he had to. He said that many times he would just get done with one IM and another would start. He also said it was OK if it was a person with whom he had established a relationship and they had a specific question (I suspect this was partly a reference to my IMing him about his signing schedule a few days his departure for Germany. - One of my two IMs to him in three years.) "If they have a specific question, fine, but I really don't want to chat" is an exact quote.
Regarding emails, he said "I really don't mind emails so much because I answer them arbitrarily". He went on to explain about different types of emails he received. He said that sometimes he answers them very quickly, or even right when they arrive, because they have a simple question or remark. He said that other times, he puts them in a queue. "There are some letters in the queue I am embarrassed to answer because they have been there for two years", he said, and then gave a hypothetical example of how he might write "Hello, in response to your question of two years ago, I have now published two more books and as you can see.." We laughed. His comic delivery is good in person. Then GRRM said something that I thought might have been just the eensiest bit because I was seated in front of him and had identified myself. You see, if I email him, I always say not to answer if he is busy. He rarely answers me. But that has always been perfectly fine.
. . . he said "You must understand, the more philosophical and complicated the email, the longer I may take to respond to it. I will think, hmmm...thats a good one...I want to think about that" Then he might not get back to it.
I will now tell the story of what GRRM said when asked about the Stark children and their ability as wargs. He was asked if the trait of being a warg ran in the Stark family.
"I don't know if I want to get into genetics - this is fantasy, not scifi" He replied. "I don't think this is necessarily a 'Stark' ability, though all the children have it to one extent or another. They also realize it to one extent or another. Arya doesn't realize she has it, she keeps thinking she has these weird dreams, and of course Bran is much further along". Thats all I have in of an exact quote in my notes. I believe he went on to say something about how Bran was seeking the crow and then took the next question.
I am not sure this is anything new. But perhaps he had not said -all- of the children had it before. And perhaps he had not implied so strongly before that it was not genetic people like Ned would probably not have it. However, the later is my interpretation of something he was implying by words and vocal tone. He acutally only said what I recorded above, he did not want to discuss genetics, but the children had it.