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By Patrick (2006-02-24)
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Eddings, let me begin by thanking you for graciously accepting to do this interview. You are undoubtedly very busy putting the finishing touches to THE YOUNGER GODS, so we appreciate the fact that you are willing to take the time to answer these questions.
After what can only be called an illustrious and prolific career, what motivates you to keep on writing?
I keep writing because it's a habit. After fifty years or so I just can't set it aside.
Following a tenure of about two decades with Del Rey, you elected to put an end to that relationship and sign with Time Warner Books. Was there a reason behind that move? After so long, was the decision to part ways with Del Rey a difficult one to make?
After the German Company Berstelsmann bought Random House, they decided to cut back the amount of money they were willing to pay authors for new books (so the publisher would make more profit.) My agent put "The Dreamers" up for offers. Bertelsmann didn't offer much, but Warner Books did.
With the release of THE YOUNGER GODS, the series THE DREAMERS will reach its end. Any future projects on the horizon?
Nothing very specific. I'm looking into several possibilities.
How strong is the temptation to return to the worlds of your previous series? Do you have any plans to do so?
No. Those books are finished, so I won't tinker with them.
What advice would you give a younger David Eddings concerning his writing career? Looking back, would you have done anything differently?
I think a passage from "THE RIVAN CODEX" (a non-fiction book) should give you an answer:
This is what I was talking about earlier when I suggested most aspiring fantasists will lose heart fairly early on. I was in my mid-teens when I discovered that I was a writer. Notice that I didn't say "wanted to be a writer." "Want" has almost nothing to do with it. It's either there or it isn't. If you happen to be one, you're stuck with it. You'll write whether you get paid for it or not. You won't be able to help yourself. When it's going well, it's like reaching up into heaven and pulling down fire. It's better than any dope you can buy. When it's not going well, it's much like giving birth to a baby elephant. You'll probably notice the time lapse. I was forty before I wrote a publishable book. A twenty-five year long apprenticeship doesn't appeal to very many people.
In light of the current market, are you tempted to write one of those enormous fantasy epics which continue to be the most successful series at the moment?
I'll turn 75 in July this year, so I won't attempt any multi-book stories. "One book" is the rule now. When I was writing "The Redemption of Althalus" I had a large note pinned to the wall above my desk that said "ONE BOOK!!" Althalus proved to me that I can tell a story in a single book.
What do you feel is your strength as a writer/storyteller?
Characters. My people are as real as I can make them.
After producing all those bestsellers and selling millions of copies worldwide, is there added pressure when it comes to writing new series/novels, knowing that the expectations will always be high?
I'm not an egomaniac. I'll write what I want to write. If the readers don't like it, tough noodgies.
What was the spark that generated the idea which drove you to write THE BELGARIAD, THE MALLOREON, THE ELENIUM, THE TAMULI, and THE DREAMERS?
I think it's time to go back to "THE RIVAN CODEX:"
I was convinced that I was a "serious novelist," and I labored long and hard over several unpublished (and unpublishable) novels that moped around the edges of mawkish contemporary tragedy. In the mid 1970s I was grinding out "Hunsecker's Ascent" a story about mountain-climbing which was a piece of tripe so bad that it even bored me. (No, you can't see it. I burned it.) Then one morning before I went off to my day-job, I was so bored that I started doodling. My doodles produced a map of a place that never was (and is probably a geological impossibility). Then feeling the call of duty, I put it away and went back to the tripe table.
Some Years later I was in a bookstore going in the general direction of the "serious fiction." I passed the science-fiction rack and spotted one of the volumes of The Lord of the Rings. I muttered, "Is this old turkey still floating around?" Then I picked it up and noticed that is was in the seventy-eighth printing!!! That got my immediate attention, and I went back home and dug out the aforementioned doodle. It seemed to have some possibilities.