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GRRM Interview - Wednesday, January 30, 2002 - Posted by: Dargon

George R.R Martin Interview

Conducted by Eric "Dargon" Cogan

Bold = Questions

Dargon: What advice would you give to other authors aspiring to write fantasy?

George: I always tell aspiring writers to read as widely as possible. And by that I don’t just mean fantasy. I mean different types of genres, non-fiction and history. Read everything you can get hold of. Also a writer has to write. A lot of writers just talk about writing. You should write every day. Work at it every day.

Dargon: Where do you get your inspiration for different characters? Are any of them based on people you know?

George: Not directly. But I think ultimately they are based on me. The person you know best is usually yourself. I also look around and make observations of friends, people I meet, personalities in the news. I’ve also used history as resource.

Dargon: There are many characters in your books, if you were to choose one as a favorite; who would it be and why?

George: In Ice and Fire it is certainly Tyrion Lannister. As to why -- he is easy to write about, I admire his wit. He is a tortured soul, but an articulate one, and he is full of so many contradictory yearnings and desires that there are always more depths to explore.

Dargon: Has a current event ever impacted direction of the plot in any of your books?

George: Not really.

Dargon: Where did the series name a Song of Ice and originate? What do you think this title reflects most upon in the series?

George: I don’t really remember where. I knew the first book was a Game of Thrones but I needed an overall title as well. We had these other elements in the story, beyond the struggle for power at court -- the Others beyond the Wall, and the dragons. That suggests Ice and fire, but that’s not the only possible meaning. I like titles that can have many meanings. I think it makes the writing and the fiction richer.

George: I have always had this obsession with songs as well --- the titles of my books are full of "song" references, from A Song for Lya and Songs of the Dead Men Sing to things like "... for a single yesterday."

Dargon: Was there anyone who inspired you, or whom you feel helped you pursue your dream of being a novelist?

George: A lot of people inspired me. Tokien inspired me. Certainly for any fantasy writer it is [hard] working under [his] great shadow. LORD OF THE RINGS defined the genre of fantasy itself. So he was certainly a huge inspiration for a Song of Ice and Fire.

Dargon: What authors do you enjoy reading? Is there a certain style you look for when you delve into a novel?

George: Well my favorite contemporary author is Jack Vance. I enjoy many genres, fantasy, sci-fiction and even mystery. The sort of books I like best are those that won't let go of me once I open the cover. If I have to sit down and not do anything at all till I finish reading it... well, that's really what I look for in a book. I want to be sucked into the world, and not to be able to put it down. Whatever I’m doing at the time whether on an airplane or a plane in a hotel or my own chair at home. All that will vanish.

Dargon: How has having a very successful and followed series impacted your life?

George: I don’t have to work in Hollywood. Books are my first love so it is nice to be back to that. Most important is telling stories.

Dargon: Why did you choose fantasy (as a genre) to write in? What interests you about the genre?

George: I read many genres as a child -- Tolkien and Robert E. Howard , Robert A. Heinlein, Andre Norton, Asimov, Eric Frank Russell, H.P. Lovecraft. I didn’t make distinctions. My father used to call it always “weird stuff”. It didn’t matter if the book had a castle or a spaceship, it was all the same to me. You write what you read, in the end. I knew sooner or later I’d work in all these genres and I have.

Dargon: I have seen a few e-mails and message board posts concerning certain errors in some of the books and seeing how much rich history is involved in the entire series, I was wondering if at times the process of keeping track of the plot and subplots becomes difficult?

George: Yes. It is becoming increasingly difficult. I know the broad strokes of the plot. It is the little details that slip your mind. But fortunately I have editors and copy editors and keen eyed fans. It is difficult and I’m keeping more notes then I have before. In some of my previous books I kept the details in my own head.

Dargon: Leading up to this interview I allowed fans to submit questions to me VIA e-mail and the message boards. I picked out a select few in hopes you could answer them.

Dargon: Here is the all-important question on many fan’s minds. How is book four coming along? Is there any chance it might come out earlier than expected?

George: Not as far as I would like to be. Fall of next year (Fall 2002). But that depends on how quickly I can finish it. But you can’t really tell about that until you do It. Right now I’d say Fall 2002.

Dargon: Could you perhaps give a brief history on why dragon’s died out in your series and why you chose this to happen?

George: Rather not.

Dargon: We all enjoy your novels immensely. Can you give us a little heads up on what you are working on next and where your taking some of our favorite characters?

George: I have scrapped the idea of a five-year gap, as I announced not to long ago. I was originally going to make the 4th book five years later. So I’m now picking it up immediately after the third book. Most of the characters will continue as they were so there will be some new points of view. Two, I think. Cersei and... well, another one, a character who I could not see just being idle for five years.

Dargon: Sounds great, thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview.

- Eric “Dargon” Cogan and George R. R. Martin

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