GRADUAL INTERVIEW (February 2004)
Hierachy:  Roughly how large will runes of the earth be compared to the other books? I would have assumed about the same size as the others but I have heard rumours that it will be bigger, are these rumours true? Thanks for your time.
-Hierachy
When I wrote "Runes," it was about the same length as one of the "Mordant's Need" books--roughly 200 manuscript pages longer than the longest previous "Covenant" book. However, I'm under severe editorial pressure to cut the manuscript down by, you guessed it, 200 pages. So the published version may be about the same length as "The One Tree" or "White Gold Wielder."

(02/22/2004)

Tori Gallagher:  Will Cail come back? I feel like I'm using an Ouija board here, but he is my favorite character in the Second Chronicles.
-Tori
I don't want to answer this question because a) I don't want to give anything away, and/or b) because I haven't made up my mind. But you'll see in "Runes" that a great many things have become possible.

(02/22/2004)

jerry mcfarland:  If you are required to cut down the size of the books....any future chance of seeing the "original" or something like Gilden-Fire?

Personally, I like the thicker books rather than scaled down. If I have to pay $25+ anyway, better for a larger novel.
Oh, I wouldn't cut down the book just to please my editor. She has to convince me that the cuts are necessary (and I don't mean "necessary to the publisher," I mean "necessary to the quality of the book"). And if they *are* necessary, I certainly wouldn't be inclined to restore them. In any case, I don't cut by whacking out scenes or characters (with the one obvious exception of "The Illearth War"): I prune a word here, a sentence there, sometimes an entire paragraph. And I do a whole lot of rephrasing to say the same things more efficiently. Trust me, when I'm done cutting I'll have a better book.

(02/23/2004)

Michael Rowlands:  Mr Donaldson,
What do you think of the PostModern movement to 'reject the author's message'? I read that alot of writers now expect the readers to read their own interpretation into a text. Is this necessarily a bad thing, that the message can be ignored or missed?
Regards,

Michael
Here's what I think: there's less to this than meets the eye. Reading is an interactive process. Readers have always supplied their own interpretations of what they read. In my case, the issue is simple: I've never had a "message" I wanted to communicate (impose on the reader), so rejecting my message should be effortless. (I'm a storyteller, not a polemicist. As such, my only mission is to help my readers understand my characters and appreciate what those poor sods are going through.) In general, however, one might say that the task of any writer is to communicate his/her intentions so clearly that the reader will--as it were spontaneously--arrive at the appropriate interpretation. And if that task has been accomplished, what would be the point of rejecting the author's message?

(02/23/2004)

Tracie (Furls Fire):  Mr. Donaldson, first let me just say thank you so much for continuing one of the greatest stories I have ever read. I have always known the story was not finished, so many doors were left open. My question is, and this goes all the way back to "Lord Foul's Bane" and has been debated back and forth of Kevin's Watch: what exactly was his bane? I contended that it was the Illearth Stone, because that is what Lord Foul coveted and the Stone, of course, was a major "character" in all of the First Chronicles. But, others have had other answers...Covenant, the ring, Drool. So, I just thought I would go right to the source and see what it actually was. Maybe it is all of the above? <smile>

Also, I just want to say thank you for The Wounded Land, Chapter 26: Coercri. I have read and re-read The Chronicles more times than can be counted. Laughed, cried, raved over various events and parts, but nothing touches me more than Coercri. It still brings my heart up into my throat and tears to my eyes. So, thank you.
And thank *you*! I'm touched by your response.

Sadly, the answer to your question about the nature/identity of Lord Foul's "bane" is: I don't know. How could I not? you may well ask. Because I didn't make up that title, that's how. Lester del Rey imposed that title on the book for reasons of his own, mostly because he thought it would sell, not because it had meaning. *My* title, when I first wrote the book, was "Foul's Ritual," which I would cheerfully have amended to "Lord Foul's Ritual." But Lester wouldn't have it. And he's dead, so none of us can ask him what he had in mind.

(02/25/2004)

Peter B.:  Do you have any indications what the cover artwork for Runes will look like? There is a certainly a variety of artist interpretations through the different editions of the First and Second Chronicles.
No, I don't know what the art will look like. But I *do* know that the artist will be Michael Whelan--and there's none better. After the atrocities that Darrel K. Sweet perpetrated on the earlier "Covenant" books, I'm blissfully happy to be in Whelan's hands.

(02/25/2004)

Derrik S:  Well I am glad to hear that there is going to be a 3rd Chronicles. I am also glad i found this site. How many years will have passed for the "Runes of the Earth" since "White Gold Wielder"?
Do you mean for me, or for the story? You must mean for the story. Well, it's traditional--by which I mean that it's already happened once: Ten years passed in the "real" world (3500+ years in the Land) between "The Chronicles" and "The Second Chronicles"; so of course in "The Last Chronicles" ten years have passed for Linden Avery (and 3500+ more elsewhere). Time enough for the author to arrange pretty much anything he wants.

(02/25/2004)

James DiBenedetto:  In another interview, you said of Lester Del Rey that he kept sending you "bad ideas" for the Second Chronicles..."And they got worse as Lester pushed harder. Finally he succeeded at sending me an idea so bad that before I could stop myself I thought, "No, that's terrible, what I really ought to do is--"

I'm really curious: if you're allowed/willing to say, what kind of ideas did Lester have? And what was the idea that was so bad that it made you agree to finally write the Second Chronicles?
Sorry. This happened so long ago--and the idea was so bad--that I've long since deleted it from my memory. Knowing Lester, however, it must have had something to do with a thinly-disguised rehash of the first trilogy. "Change Covenant's name to Berek and tell the whole story again," that sort of thing.

(02/29/2004)

danlo:  Do you think you might write more Science Fiction after the Final Chronicles, or is it too early to tell?
You're right, it's WAY too early to tell. I have maybe nine more years of work to do on "The Last Chronicles," by which time I'll be, lessee, mumble, mumble, carry the 7, oh, nearly 318 years old. But if you held a gun to my head and forced me to guess, I would suppose that I'll probably stick to fantasy. After I write the last Axbrewder/Fistoulari novel.

(02/29/2004)

Derrik S:  For one I meant the story. But which covers did Darel K Sweet do: the original ones or the later ones?
Sweet did the original DEL REY/Ballantine covers. Lester considered him the greatest fantasy artist alive, despite the fact that Sweet told everyone who would listen that he hated fantasy. After the del Reys passed away, and the "Covenant" books were reissued, they featured a rather grand Michael Herring painting: one huge painting cut into six panels, so if you place your books side by side you can see the whole work. But Owen Locke, the King of Complacency, had become the head of DEL REY books, and he never bothered to change the artist credit in the books, so for quite a few years Sweet got credit for Herring's work. However, I *think* the situation has now been corrected.

(02/29/2004)

Elton Pruitt:  I just wanted to ask the correct pronunciation of Haruchai. I think I read in an interview with you once, but I can no longer find it, that it is pronounced Huh-ROO-cheye.

Thanks for bringing the Last Chronicles to life for us! I started re-reading both 1st and 2nd Chronicles a few months ago so I am glad they will be fresh in my memory when Runes of the Earth is published.
Really, I believe that the "correct" pronunciation is the one that works for the particular reader. After all, story-telling in print is an interactive process, and the reader's contributions are both necessary and valid. But I personally say:
ha-ROO-chai (where "ai" is pronounced "eye").

(02/29/2004)