have had to unlearn my habit of sitting in front of
my computer to the exclusion of all else and rediscover
the simple joys of helping my family to clean up after
dinner, reading books, hiking, and painting.
is almost as if I had left this world and then returned,
and in doing so, rediscovered how much I cherish my
time here. Even the most menial task, such as scrubbing
walls, now gives me pleasure. And in my spare time,
I gaze at the mountains limned with hazy gold and
conjure up Book III and what may come after it.
the first time in over three years, I can relax.
before I left for BookExpo America (BEA), I received
an advanced reading copy of Eldest. Advanced
reading copies are always printed as soft covers,
but, even so, that was my first opportunity to see
the manuscript in book form. I have to admit, upon
holding it, I thought, By the wind and the sun and
by the blood in my veins . . . it's big! I knew Eldest
was larger than Eragon, but, until that moment,
I never realized just how much a difference in pure
heft those extra words make. Dreams do have substance
after all, it seems.
trip to New York for the BEA was an extraordinary
experience. It's impossible—in so short a missive
as this—for me to mention everything that occurred,
but I will attempt to address the highlights. First
and foremost was again getting to meet many of the
wonderful people at Random House responsible for editing,
designing, promoting, and publishing the Inheritance
Trilogy. They are the spellweavers who make this epic
go, and I am forever in their debt. Chip Gibson, head
of the Random House Children's division was especially
kind to me, and for that, I thank him.
I mentioned in the previous newsletter, I got a chance
to visit the Listening Library studios during the
audio book recording of Eldest. Gerard Doyle was jovial
as ever, but I fear that all the Dwarvish and Elvish
I put in this novel made things a bit difficult for
him this time around. Dwarvish can be a tongue twister
for humans. It's probably a good thing, then, that
my editor, Michelle, persuaded me to cut several paragraphs
of it, thus sparing Gerard additional and unnecessary
headaches. At Listening Library, I also got to meet
Taro Meyer, who directs Gerard's performance. She's
an actress, singer, and altogether an extraordinary
woman. It is a privilege to have her contribute to
the recording of my works.
BEA was like Comic-Con: large, loud, and full of people.
Because of my obligations, I was unable to see more
than a fraction of the booths that covered the massive
display floor. However, I was lucky enough to catch
a glimpse of Orson Scott Card and be introduced to
Cornelia Funke, Ned Vizzini—a fellow young author—and
Jon Scieszka, editor and complier of Guys Read, to
which I contributed an essay. I also met R.L. Stine,
Mary Pope Osborne, and many others. Acting on orders
from my sister, Angela, I hunted down Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
to get a copy of her book, At Knits End: Meditations
for Women Who Knit Too Much, signed and personalized
for my sister, Angela, since she's fascinated with
making her own textile and fiber products. The influence
of her interest can be seen in Eldest. . . .
the BEA, I presented the Book Sense awards for Best
Children's Book of the Year and the Best Children's
Illustrated Book of the Year, which were Chasing
Vermeer and Duck for President respectively.
It was an honor to be chosen for this task, especially
since I was unable to attend last year, when I was
fortunate enough to be given the Best Book of the
Year award for Eragon.
treat at the BEA was crossing paths with Carl Hiaasen
again. Even more exciting than that, I got to speak
with his stepson, Ryan. Those of you who are familiar
with the story of Eragon's publication will know that
Ryan is the one responsible—through Carl—for bringing
Eragon to Random House's attention. Without
him, millions of people around the world would never
have been able to visit the world of Alagaësia.
My family and I owe Ryan more than he will ever know;
he irrevocably changed our lives for the better.
the last day, I had breakfast with Jonah Cader, son
of Michael Cader, who compiles and writes the online
Lunch, a publishing industry must-read.
wrote a very nice review of Eragon back in
2003, and so it was a treat to finally meet him. He
asked some of the most intelligent questions about
the story of both Eragon and Eldest
that I've ever heard.
I lunched with Mike Macauley, lord, founder, and almighty
ruler of the fansite, Shurtugal.com.
It was the first opportunity we had had to just sit
and talk. Mike has done an incredible amount for the
Eragon community. Not only that, but he's
a darn nice person to boot, as is his father, who
drove him to New York for the BEA. Thanks for coming,
guys! And thanks for what you do, Mike.
lunch, I also met with Robert Cox from the Argetlam.com
web site. He's another dedicated young man who has
helped to build and support the Eragon online
world. Without readers like him, the Inheritance Trilogy
would have never achieved the stature it has. Take
a bow, Robert!
favorite part of the trip, aside from the BEA, was
touring the Museum of Natural History under the guidance
of the marvelous Donna Sethi. Thank you so much! The
museum was incredible. Seeing the innumerable treasures
ensconced there only strengthened my sense of awe
toward the natural world; I find it amazing the variety
of wonders—proven wonders—that exist in this universe.
in all, my time in New York was fun and rewarding.
It has been brought to my attention, that a number
of people who read this newsletter have responded
to it directly, e-mailing Random House various pieces
of mail intended for me. I have not received any of
those messages, as I don't correspond online, though
Random House conveyed the sentiment of many of your
messages to me.
Now I must return to the garage and finish the painting
that is the prize for the Eldest poetry contest.
I'll get my dad to take a picture of it and post it
online once it is done. I have already chosen the
winners, which Random House will be revealing shortly.
The number of entries and the quality of the poems
sent in were very impressive.
your swords stay sharp,