BookpgKrew: Mr. Eddings, we were all delighted to see Leigh's name with yours on Belgarath, and again on Polgara. How is it working with your wife?
David Eddings: Ahh--we have been doing it together for so long now that it is second nature. We have been doing it for more than 20 years--I do the nuts and bolts stuff. We begin by doing a general outline--this turns into a sometimes heated debate. Then we will lay out an outline of a section--then we break down it into chapters. Then I hit the desk early in the morning---2:00 am. My day's work is done by the time the sun is up. I print out a rough draft and read it to Leigh and she makes notes and such on it. I have developed a shorthand that no one else can understand. We get into long debates on how, say, a woman would say something. She is responsible for how the female characters talk. Then after these talks, we have another draft and then we take it to a typist. I no longer have to type. I hate typing.
BookpgKrew: Why did it take until nearly the end of the series before Leigh was given credit for her part? Was it a personal decision, or the publisher's choice?
David Eddings: This was not my decision. It was Lester del Rey himself. He believed that multiple authorships could sometimes be a problem. At times he was a tough person to work with. He thought it would be better to only have one author listed on the book. Years later the practice was obviously changed.
Question: Is Polgara truly going to be the last of these series?
David Eddings: Yes, it is.
BookpgKrew: What is next?
David Eddings: It is finished. Done. Kaput. Finito. I am not going to write Garion and the Ant People. I will not write Silk and Barak Meet Frankenstein. There will be no Sparhawk stories. No more Garion stories. But I am looking at several possiblites for what will be next. Building worlds is my hobby. I want to build another one to see if I still know how. I recently discovered there are some peculiar similarities between Sanskrit and Native American languages. You can track back most languages to one mother tongue. There are a few exceptions--Finnish is not an Indo-European language, neither is the Basque language. Mother-tongue words fascinate me... they spark names and ideas.
Question: Do you want to write any more contemporary fiction or science fiction?
David Eddings: I want to get out of the middle ages. I have written a few contemporary things. Science fiction mainly looks forward--fantasy, backwards. I like to look mainly backward.
Question: Are you going to keep any of the series going?
David Eddings: No.
Question: Hello Mr. Eddings. It's a pleasure to finally hear of you doing something online. There are many devoted fans on the Web... and you probably know that. I have a question... Will we fans ever see an "Illustrated Guide" to the Belgariad or the Malloreon?
David Eddings: Yes. It will be issued next year. It is called The Rivan Codex. I have been pressured heavily to do a CD-ROM-type game. I am not really interested in that. I want to teach the "Nintendo generation" how to read.
Question: Good Evening Mr. Eddings. Who do you admire as an author and who did you grow up reading?
David Eddings: Oh, God--Homer, Virgil, Milton, Chaucer, Mallory and Shakespeare. When I was a child, I started out with Tarzan and moved onto Hemingway and others. I spent 8 years in college...4 undergrad 4 grad. I had to pass all of these language exams and read so many books.
BookpgKrew: Which character in your books do you most closely identify with? Same question for Leigh.
David Eddings: Leigh is Polgara. Maybe I am Belgarath. Silk is my favorite. Whenever I wrote myself into a corner he would get me out. Love Silk.
Question: Mr. Eddings, if you had to pick...which was your favorite series to write?
David Eddings: I wrote the Malloroeon to get the stink of bubble gum out of my study. Favorite series? I enjoyed each of them in a slightly different way. My all-time favorite character is the child goddess, Aphrael. She was a total brat but adorable.
Question: Did you base Belgarath partially on yourself, Master of Master Taletellers? ;-)
David Eddings: He has many bad habits and we have many of the same bad habits. Many of the male characters are based in some part of me. Silk, Garrion, Sparhawk are all me. I am not the bad guys, though.
Question: Mr. Eddings: Are you and your wife planing to do a book about Aphrael similar to the Polgara book you just released?
David Eddings: No.
Question: I have read many of your books, but my favorites were The Losers and High Hunt. What inspired those 2 books?
David Eddings: High Hunt was my first book. It is first-person. It is somewhat autobiographical. But we didn't shoot each other. The names were changed to protect the guilty. All of those characters did exist. I am, of course, the hero. I was at least as good a shot as the hero of the High Hunt. I have killed a lot of deer but I eat them. I shot for meat--not horns. I don't do that anymore. I feed them now--they come to my orchard.
Question: I like Polgara's child-rearing ideas--yours or your wife's?
David Eddings: She reared them hard--scrub that pot--tote that barge---lift that bale. She is hard, but it seemed to work when I was growing up. This grew out of the story. It was necessary for her to be a dominant character whether the kid liked it or not. She had to do it. She had him pretty well trained. She devoted her life to protecting him and this made her appear tough.
BookpgKrew: I also enjoyed High Hunt and The Losers. How is writing fantasy different from writing real?
David Eddings: You can get away with things in fantasy that you can't getaway with in reality. You can't have a '57 Chevy flying in reality. You can do it in fantasy, though. You can fly it to the moon.
Question: What do you say to critics who say that fantasy and science fiction are not real literature?
David Eddings: That really bothers me when critics say that. You only have to turn to the classics--when the Gods are walking around on the battlefields. Modern literature, the novel, essentially grew out of medieval romances, which were pure fantasy books. It is a real shame that kids today are not taught mythology.
Question: Are you planning to write any science fiction novels or do you want to stick strictly to fantasy?
David Eddings: I am not a tech freak. I don't get all worked up on technology. The basis of most science fiction is the faster-than-light drive. And you know what Einstein said about that. It can't happen.
Question: All of your women hold themselves "above," watching the men "playlife." Is this intentional, or a byproduct of strong female characterization?
David Eddings: Lecture time: The main driving force behind medieval romance is Eleanor of Aquitaine, who was the daughter of the King of Aquitaine. She was married to Louis IV of France--who divorced her because she was such a raging nympho. She had all sorts of affairs. Then King Henry IV of England married her to gain control of Aquitaine. Eleanor was the mother of King Richard the Lionhearted and John--who did all those nasty things to Robin Hood. Ultimately she was locked up in a tower so she couldn't have her affairs. She was a major figure in the Middle Ages. She was a queen and damn well knew it. Most women in the Middle Ages were wispy and frail. In mystories I wanted to get rid of the weak namby-pamby females. If they are not strong and independent then they are just treated like property.
BookpgKrew: How do you feel your work compares with Tolkien or Jordan in style?
David Eddings: I am not familiar with Jordan. My opinion of Tolkien is somewhat colored by what I read in his letters. He is one of the few people who spoke and read medieval languages. He was probably one of the most prudish human beings. As far as he was concerned, the human female stopped at the neck. Nothing below it. Very similar to Tennyson's views. They didn't want to offend anyone. Very Victorian in their attitude towards women.
Question: Women always need all the details surrounding a birth...why weren't the names of Polgara's twins revealed at the end of the series?
David Eddings: This was one way to close that door permanently. If you don't know their names you can't ask me to write stories about them. And I ain't going to. That door is closed forever.
Question: Will we see a World of Eddings book?
David Eddings: There are no plans for a biography. Writers are probably the most boring people in the world. James Joyce was a great writer but he was so boring. He would talk about the light bill and people would run out of the room.
BookpgKrew: If Belgarath and Polgara were both running for President, who would win?
David Eddings: It would depend on the election rules. If sheer force of will was the determing factor--Polgara would win. If cheating was allowed Belgarath would win and he probably would cheat even if it wasn't.
BookpgKrew: Mr. Eddings, this has been an extremely interesting and informative chat.
David Eddings: I'd like to thank you all for your patience in waiting for the end of this 12-book series. Many of you been reading my books since 1973.Thank you for reading.
BookpgKrew: Thanks so very much for being with us, and keep writing books!
David Eddings: I will.