By now the story has become legend: how a decade and a half ago, author Carl Hiaasen and his wife stumbled upon a self-published fantasy novel called Eragon, written by a teenager in Montana named Christopher Paolini, and gave it to their son to read on a family vacation. The boy loved the book so much, Hiaasen brought it to the attention of his publisher, and thus was born a #1 New York Times bestseller. Paolini would go on to write three more books in the fantasy series he called the Inheritance Cycle. Now he’s back with The Fork, The Witch, and The Worm, a collection of stories set in the same world — and you can meet him when he visits Nashville on March 1!
Recently, we offered our social media followers a chance to submit their questions for Paolini, with one winning entry chosen for him to answer in today’s interview. Congratulations to Haley! Have a look at her question and Christopher Paolini’s answer — plus Paolini’s responses to our Authors in Real Life questionnaire — below. And join us next Friday for what promises to be an exciting event!
First off, our reader-submitted question, from Haley: They say every book is asking a question. What question would you say Eragon and the Inheritance Cycle were exploring? (And what about The Fork, The Witch, and The Worm?)
Christopher Paolini: Eragon and the rest of the Inheritance Cycle explore questions of responsibility, honor, and what it means to truly grow up. All of the main characters are in the process of transitioning from a state of childhood to that of adulthood, and they each deal with it in a different way. Additionally, Eragon wrestles with what I think may be the main question of the modern era: the relationship between the individual and society. What is your responsibility to society, and how much power should that society have over your life?
But let’s not forget that while exploring those issues, I also got to write about dragons, battles, magic, and other fun stuff!
The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm deals with a different set of issues. How does one move on with your life after you’ve already defeated the big, bad villain? How do you reintegrate into society after being (perhaps rightly) shunned and exiled? And greatest of all, how do we face and deal with the things in life that can’t be changed? It’s an issue all of us have to grapple with, and it’s no different for my characters (although they’re doing it in the context of an imaginary world, full of strange and threatening creatures).
And now the Authors in Real Life questionnaire…
I’ve been listening to: Movie soundtracks. Nothing with lyrics I can understand, though! Current top pick is the soundtrack to Tron: Legacy by Daft Punk. Perfect for writing sci-fi.
I love to watch: Everything and anything, but especially movies or shows that have a sense of earned wonder to them. Also, sometimes stuff with explosions, because explosions are cool.
Something I saw online that made me laugh, cry, or think: An article about magnetic monopoles. Super interesting.
Best meal I’ve had in the past month: Sushi with my editor and agent in New York, right before the launch event for The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm. Mmm, raw fish.
A creator who’s doing something I admire or envy: Stephen King. As a writer, I admire his work ethic and ongoing creativity.
A book I recently recommended to someone else: Wild Seed by Octavia Butler. Also The Worm Ouroboros by E. R. Eddison. You’d be hard-pressed to find two more different books, but they’re both incredibly well-written, imaginative, thoughtful, and beautiful. Epic, too.
The last event I got tickets to was: A production of Waiting for Godot that I saw in New York on my 30th birthday, courtesy of my sister, Angela. The play starred Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and Billy Crudup, so it was a real treat to watch.
Most meaningful recent travel destination: Touring for my new book. It’s been quite a few years since my last novel was released, so I really enjoyed getting back out and meeting my readers again.
I wish I knew more about: Everything. My curiosity is insatiable, and there are too few hours in the day.
My favorite thing about bookstores: The smell, and how it’s possible to browse among the shelves and thus discover books and authors that I’ve never heard of before.
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Meet Christopher Paolini
Author of Eragon and The Fork, The Witch, and The Worm
Friday, March 1, 2019, at 6:30 p.m.
Frist Hall at The Ensworth School
(Lower/Middle School Campus, 211 Ensworth Avenue)
Tickets are required for this event — click here to get yours!