Did Eithan ever play hide and seek as a kid?
Actually in Eithan's household, in the Arelius household they play hide and seek all the time. Frankly they don't ever stop playing hide and seek. So, he's very good.
Did Eithan ever play hide and seek as a kid?
Actually in Eithan's household, in the Arelius household they play hide and seek all the time. Frankly they don't ever stop playing hide and seek. So, he's very good.
Would Eithan have released Wintersteel early?
Eithan would have released Wintersteel back before Unsouled came out, and you guys just wouldn't have found it till today, when he planned for it to happen.
If your characters ever came to life, who would you be the most terrified to encounter?
One of the Great Elders. Any of them, that would be terrifying. Some of them I would not be terrified for long. So that would be, there's that. If I ran into Urg'naut, and I encountered him, I would be terrified for a few seconds before I was obliterated into nonexistence.
Is the Traveler's Blade series in the works or will I be sad?
I don't know what to tell you. You will probably be sad AND it's in the works. I haven't started anything. Other than Cradle. Cradle I have. Cradle I'm in the middle of. Eight books deep in fact.
Could Eithan be considered a monarch faction genius like Mercy or Sophara ?
Uh, he could be. He could be, potentially. He wasn't really in this particular case because he wasn't fighting for the faction who raised him who could take credit for him, right.
So... Therefore they don't consider him representative of their training prowess, as a matter of fact the Arelius family is just kinda happy he's there. So there's not really a, they don't actually claim responsibility for him, but if that were, if the family situation was different, yes, absolutely, he could be considered that way.
Can you tell us more about the training or techniques of some of the paths the books don't focus on? Specifically Amberwell or Chainkeeper?
Well, the Chainkeeper Path is mostly focused on one particular technique.
(Interlude for Will to get blown up and drown)
So, Path of the Chainkeeper is mostly focused on one technique. So it is one of those single technique Paths. It's not literally single technique, there are a few, but it's focused mainly on the Strings of Shadow technique that Mercy uses because it is so versatile. It's also not a hugely combat focused Path, though of course they are all somewhat combat focused, but it is very versatile and it is focused on survival and just sort of everyday use. You kind of Spiderman around, and lots of fun things you can do with that Path.
(More discussion of Will's drowning habits-spoiler-it involves inhaling water)
All right. Amberwell. The Amberwell path is... I don't know that I can really give a whole lot more detail than was in the books, even though the books were vague, because I don't have the specific techniques or anything on the Path memorized. But it was an aggressive Path that was focused on using, on weaponizing dreams. So it's sorta a water/venom/dream Path, so it's really complex to cycle, and the results are usually, they're all at least semi-mental attacks; you can sort of erode people's awareness, give them nightmares, that kind of thing. But it is a very niche, very aggressive Path; a lot of other dream paths are flexible, and you can do things like make dream tablets and that sort of thing, but this one is like, nope, it's just about burning people's minds away. That is the Amberwell Path.
Who creates Iterations? Can the Cradle world be duplicated?
Ok, that's a good question. Can the Cradle world be duplicated? In the sense that technically it could I guess... Like in the sense that if you shuffled a deck of cards technically you could get the same order. You almost certainly will not, but technically it is a possibility. Now, all the people living there would not be there; they would be completely different people. You could get a world that is very very similar. There is not anything like parallel dimensions. That's not a thing. At least not as a primary universal mechanic. There might be some Iterations that have some version of that.
And who created new Iterations? Iterations are born as a natural part of the life cycle that Ozriel and Makiel and them are always talking about. So as an Iteration gets closer to it's intended life span, as fate runs out and it starts to die, it splits up into fragments, which are basically like Territories from Traveler's Gate, and they float around in the void, and they eventually connect to one another based on common threads and ideas and concepts. And then they fuse and they become the seed of a new Iteration, which over time gathers population, and becomes a new Iteration. And the Abidan kind of, they are like gardeners, they kind of maintain that process. So that is the idea.
Dross cycled Charity's madra scales of shadow and dream. Does he only cycle the dream aspect of the scale?
Yeah, that's kinda how that works. There's a couple of ways to cycle things. It doesn't have to actually be the exact madra type that you cycle. So if you get the scale, you can process just the part of it that you can process.
Are there members of the Abidan that are below Sage level or didn't ascend?
Yes there are. So, the way the Abidan work, which I hope to get into at some point, is there are people who
(Pause for Will to argue with the game. It's a liar.)
(Also, a moment of silence for the massacre on Obraxis Prime)
So, the Abidan, there are definitely people who are born to Abdidan, who didn't ascend on their own, so they can join, maybe they can develop the powers necessary. That's certainly possible. There are definitely people among the Abidan, who are in technical terms, not great.
Would you accept a copious donation of Oreos? Like a pallet?
You know, I don't know how many Oreos are in a pallet, but I'm going to guess it's not enough.
(Transcribers note: It is hard to get good data without being a retailer for Nabisco or having access to wholesalers, but as best as I can tell, there are twelve 20 oz packs of Double Stuf Oreos per case, and 36 cases per pallet. This would be approximately 540 pounds of Oreos. I will do everyone a favor and not figure out how many calories.)
(By request, I have now calculated the number of calories. 907,200 calories in a pallet of Oreos, assuming the above quantities. For comparison, that's 1,055.07 kwH. In 2017, the average home used 867 kwH per month.)
Were you originally planning on writing a series with romance in it? How do you feel about the community's response to the romance?
Was I originally planning on writing a series with romance in it? You know, when I started Traveler's Gate, I was like, "Haha! I'm going to do series with no romance." Because all series have romance, and it frankly doesn't add anything to most series. Well, not to most series. Movies, so I was really comparing it to movies, and individual books or short series or trilogies. So I was going, ok, in these short series and trilogies, it doesn't add a whole lot. It's just there because it's supposed to be there, so I was like "Aha! I'm going to buck the trend! I'm going to do one with minimal or no romance." And then I was very quickly like, "Nah, this doesn't really make any sense." So the characters just, kind of, interact with one another. They would be attracted to one another, which is logical. So that became quickly a policy that I abandoned, although I still am not super comfortable writing romance.
So therefore, in this series, as Cradle went on, I knew that at some point in the series I was going to have to write some romance. However, as I said in a recent blog post, I didn't expect Cradle to blow up quite the way it has.
(Will is briefly distracted by the threat of things exploding.)
So, I did not expect to get the point where I had to develop these characters to that degree, that it was going to be very important for me to write the romance. But in fact, as I continued, I was like, "Yup, I'm going to have to develop this into a romance." But it felt natural for the characters, it didn't feel like... I'm talking about it like I was forced into it because, you know, I was. But I was forced into it by the natural progression of the story, so it made sense, where the characters would go, it felt right. And so I knew I would have to stretch myself as a writer and challenge myself to develop character relationships as naturally as I could. So that is what I am trying to do.
Travis loves reading mushy stuff. I've just learned this about Travis. I did not know that. So that means I'm going to have to just get real mushy in one of these bloopers. It's just going to have to be - I'm going to write a fanfic - oh, I'll just include excerpts from my Twilight fanfic.
What can you tell us about Pride's Path? I was disappointed we didn't get to see Lindon fight him.
Pride's book is all Enforcer techniques. They're all solo combat, Enforcer, beat 'em up techniques. That is who Pride is and that is what his Path is about. Some of them are movement techniques, and so we get to see new types of Enforcer techniques that we haven't seen before. So it's not just a full-body Enforcer technique, which is obviously the most vanilla one. He's got a defensive one, a full-body one, one that is an attack technique, and one that is a movement technique. Those are the four that he can use proficiently. And of course, there are seven techniques in his book, as there are in all the books, but he hasn't unlocked those yet.
If humans are born with pure cores, what are sacred beasts born with?
If you're born a sacred beast, you are born with whatever madra your species has. You just have that naturally. So you're always born with aspected madra. So it depends on what you are. If you're not born a sacred beast, if you're just born a regular animal, you absorb ambient aura over time and slowly develop aspected madra. But since of course there is no pure aura, you can never develop pure madra.
How many pancakes or Cradle pancake equivalents could Akura Fury eat in one sitting?
The only appropriate answer I can think of to that is "Yes."
What other stories and monsters are the cradle kaiju inspired by?
So obviously they are modeled off the sacred guardian beasts of Chinese and east Asian mythology however those are benevolent divine creatures and obviously the Dreadgods are not; they are quite malevolent. So they are also modeled off of any big kaiju, you got it right, they are just big monsters. So I picked them, I didn't model their power off the actual mythological versions, that would have been difficult to do. So I kinda just picked their powers based on, like, I had their names kinda tied to what they were and then I (annoying subnautica notification). So I came up with their appearances while coming up with their names and based on that I kind of had their powers developed and then I kind of just themed them as big kaiju around that. So the bleeding phoenix of course, ok, so I'm going blood and rebirth, that makes sense and that's where that power came from. And the Silent King was I was like ok, white tiger with a cool halo, that sounds kind of mental to me so that's dream madra. So then I had the Silent King mind controlling people. Then there's the Wandering Titan who is big and made of stone, big crushy, smashy guy.
How did you decide on the name Dross out of all the literal garbage names?
Wow. That’s a good question, and I remember doing it. I remember where I was when i was doing it. I was sitting in my car parked in the corner of a Wendy's parking lot with my seat all the way back and my laptop between me and my steering wheel. Which is where I sometimes just kind of get out of the house, I'm like "ok I just need an isolated place, I am just going to sit in the car" and I was sitting there just going through different versions of the names and I came up with a bunch and I don't really remember all of them I just remember I liked him being named for like trash you would find in a facility. I was thinking of all those, I kind of did it as I was going through the scene, I was going which of these trash synonyms do I like, and Dross sounded the most like a name. So...Dross.
How do you wind down/reset after an intense period of writing?
Slowly, Sam says, yes, My assistant gnome has spoken. Slowly is the correct answer. I uh, boy.... So what I like to do, the way I like to write, is I like to lock myself kind of... in a room, or a ship, for a week or two at a time. Then I just spend all my time writing, it's just what I do sort of from beginning to end. That has worked well so when I am done with that, it's typically been a long time so at the end of every day I’m really tired and I typically will play my Switch for an hour or whatever then go to sleep. Then I, when I’m done with that, I don’t know... when I am done with that, I crash. So I get home after that and I just kind of hole up and do nothing for a while I guess is the answer. I...uh, I just sort of crash, so I go home and I just sort of veg out for a couple of days. When it is really bad I sort of literally do nothing. Sort of just kind of lay on my bed and look at my computer forever and then hours pass and I'm like... "I don't know what I just did... maybe nothing...who knows? I have no memory from that period".
Occasionally I wake up and there's a bloody corpse of a bear and I’m in the woods and my clothes have been shredded and there is a lot of hair and I have dreams of the full moon but I don't....you know, I don't think that's weird or anything.
Aside from Sha Miara, who was the youngest when they advanced to monarch? Who was the oldest?
So among the current monarchs, I think...Emriss was the oldest when she advanced to monarch because she's a tree, so they advance slowly.I'm not sure is the youngest. Someone has asked this before...It could be the person who asked this now, I don't know, it's a mystery. I didn't remember then and I don't remember now. I don't know if I ever actually came up with an answer to that.
All the Monarchs could ascend at any time, we assume?
That is technically correct. The Monarchs have the ability to ascend past Cradle. If you're a Monarch, you have the ability to personally get out of Cradle. They have all chosen not to.
How many books left until Cradle ends?
My goal is twelve books. I'm open to doing one more or one less, but it's roughly twelve, and I think that's about on track.
How often do you read your own books?
However often I release books, so about twice a year I read my own books. Because I read the previous books in order to brush up on the next one, because is still of course I still have all my notes and all that and I generally remember what I put in my last book anyway. But you know it's never the same like there's a lot of times where - So shortly after Unsouled came out, I couldn't remember what Lindon's Dads name was because I was remembering all the names that I had potentially come up with. So I remembered it as one of a list of possibilities but I couldn't remember which one I settled on. - So that happens a lot. I remember what I planned to do as much as I remember what I actually did. So reading the books helps me refresh on that.
Is ascending harder if you don't join the Abidan?
In a sense, yeah. We're obviously going to go into that process a little later in the series. But in a sense it is harder in the sense that the Abidan want you to join them, or at least support them. So one of the things the previous books have said that the Abidan only get a recruit from cradle once every century or whatever. That is... that’s a count of people who do end up ascending and joining the Abidan. The number of people who ascend is greater.
Not everybody who ascends joins the Abidan, a lot of people just kind of ascend to the next world and...chill. One other fun fact about ascension, you can bring other people with you and they do not count as having been ascended. This also ties into the question earlier about are there people in the Abidan who are weaker than sages. There are people who were brought along with other people who ascended so they can be.. you know, you don’t have to ascend completely alone. You can bring people who were not qualified. They are not treated the same, they of course don't have the same level of power or skill or whatever but it is something that can be done.
Is it safe to say that Simon has the mindset to join the Abidan while Lindon doesnt?
Um, can't comment on that.
Would you ever write a novel of someone who was transported to a pioneer world by the Abidan?
Actually, yes. That was something I came really close to writing already. It was something that I wanted to write kind of as a break book, in between Cradle. Of course, I had Elder Empire, which was not so much of a break, as an intensification of the action. The opposite of a break, whatever that is. A seam? I don't know. That's the opposite of a break. But I really wanted to do that, because I talked with some LitRPG authors, and they mentioned that I had brought up the idea of a Minecraft/Terraria LitRPG. And I was like, I know there are a million of those. And they were like, I don't know that there are. And so I looked it up, and there are quite a few of those in Japanese, but there aren't too many in English, or at least there weren't a year or two ago, when I had this discussion.
So I said wow, that I had already outlined a book that involved a group of people on a pioneer world, the Abidan, where they're just kind of building a world. Literally just starting from scratch, figuring out the magic system, and all that stuff. I also had a story that I not only outlined, but also wrote a few chapters of, years and years ago, before House of Blades, in which a modern Earth-like but not technically Earth world had magic all of a sudden introduced, and so it was like this magic apocalypse thing and it was slowly becoming more magical and the whole world was breaking down. Which at the time was a new concept and is not nearly a new concept anymore because a lot of people did it, and they did a great job. So I missed the boat on that one, but that was fun to write. I actually reread the first few chapters of that and I was like, that's pretty good. Pretty good, young Will. Not too bad. So that was a... I kind of combined some aspects of that into this pioneer world developing idea.
Does the late Elder Serenity of Heaven's Glory have any relation to the Akura clan?
No. So, Elder Serenity did not have any relations to the Akura clan. That was before I had decided on Akura clan naming conventions. And in fact, funny enough, I had already named a few members of the Akura clan at that point, like Malice. But I hadn't thought of it like as a family trait, like I thought of it just as a trait of the family at the top, not the whole clan. And then I was just kind of like, why not? So I expanded it to make it pretty much anybody who was directly related, like not everybody in the Akura clan has a virtue name, but the cool ones do.
What's the best Mexican or Tex-mex meal you've ever eaten?
Well, one time I was driving late at night, and I ran out of gas. And it was one of those, it was dark, so it was one of those roads that there was forest to either side, just trees, so it's kind of like a road, like you're driving down in a nightmare. And I broke down, and I'm like oh, crap. So I'm pulling out my phone and I'm trying to figure out where I'm going. And I start walking to the nearest gas station I can find on Google maps, and I end up next to a, it really looked like an aluminum siding sort of barn, and it just had a neon sign up, that just said Jeff's. It didn't say Jeff's Mexican food, it just said Jeff's. And I went inside, and it was a Tex-Mex place. And it was just, I mean I still, I tried to find it later, and I just couldn't. I have no idea where I was and I couldn't find it. Couldn't find it under Jeff's, couldn't find it under Jeff's tacos, whatever. And they had just the freshest, just the freshest beef I have ever had. I'm pretty sure they kept cows out back. And we just had the best burritos and the best couple of tacos I ever had. And Jeff was really cool. Jeff was a chill guy. I was the only one there so he just sat there and chatted with me the whole time.
How common is it on Cradle for sacred artist to adopt Sacred Beasts or remnants as partners?
It depends. So one of the things that doesn't get brought up in the books a lot, because it's a, you know, magical Shonen fighting series, a lot of the people, a lot of the sacred artists on Cradle, don't fight a lot. They don't have a lot of... They don't actually complete for resources. They are part of an organization that does complete for resources, but they particularly don't, because they don't care if they really advance, so they plateau at whatever level. So among those people, contracting with sacred beasts or spirits is more common, because you get a sudden boost of power, or alternatively, this happens a lot, you bond with a sacred beast when you are both very young. So you grow up together. So you get a partner and someone who is with you your whole journey. Or if they are more advanced than you are, you get a sudden surge of power without having to fight for it. So therefore sacred beast contracts are often for utility, rather than cultivation.
I've always loved that in Cradle it seems that you've taken abilities from popular anime and put your own spin on them for Sacred Arts. Is there an anime ability you'd like to adapt but can't see how? Or one you haven't got the chance to yet that you would like to?
HMMMM. My brother started saying Kame... and I had to cut him off. Let's see. Is there an anime ability... Uh, yeah. Super Saiyin man. Super Saiyin. So, I obviously have powerups that are just general power ups, like Simon's mask, so functionally it's Super Saiyin, right? But it's just cool, it's iconic, it's just neat looking. I could have someone's hair stand up, with their energy glowing all around them, and it'd be like yeah, ok yeah.
Somebody said the frog girl from MHA. Yes, I would just love to give someone frog power. I'm desperate for that. Or tape powers. Like, someone shooting Scotch Tape from their elbows. Just can't adapt it. Can't figure it out.
So, Super Saiyin, I just think it's iconic, it's a great look, it's really cool. Ultra instinct is really great, although I do kind of have sort of a version of that, as you're exploring Sage powers, that's kind of sort of similar, in the sense that you get more and more in tune with an ability that lets you interact, whatever. So, yeah. I guess that'd be my answer. There's a few others that would be neat that are probably not very practical.
(Will almost cooked a bladderfish, but the crisis was averted. Will also needs computer chips. He sings a song about copper. More info about bladderfish.)
Are there any other anime abilities? There's got to be some. Weirdly enough, I like one for all, and all for one. Both of those. But one for all is really what I was thinking of. That'd be cool. From My Hero Academia.
Ok, so Travis has asked, how long until I add some sort of lyrics that must be sung, just so that he knows how to prepare and go into vocal training.
I would say, well, I don't want to spoil anything, but book nine is entirely in limerick form, it's just one limerick after another. It's not even like an epic bardic saga, it's just a limerick, just a series of limericks. So you need to be prepared to do those. Also, a lot of them need to be delivered in Irish accent. Little known fact, Ireland exists in Cradle. It's Ireland. Just straight Ireland. And you have to recite limericks in an Irish accent. As authentic as possible. So good luck.
Does Eithan keep random cleaning supplies in his soulspace?
Not in his soulspace, no. He keeps random cleaning supplies all around him and in his void key, but not his soulspace.
If Lindon were isekaied to our world and found your books how do you think he would react?
So, isekai is a Japanese term basically meaning another world, and it's a genre in which people from our world go into a fantasy world. So what this person is asking is, Chronicles of Narnia type stuff if you are not familiar with the genre, so what this person is asking is if Lindon where teleported to our world magically, and he found the books and read them, how would he react? So, that depends. So that depends on whether he believes, or whether it is true, if my writing this stuff caused things to happen. Or if I am just relaying what has happened in a real world. Because if he found out that this is real, and I'm just reporting on it, he would try to just learn anything he could from the books, he would try to read especially the scenes from other people's perspectives so he could get insight into Eithan's head and Yerin's head, and he would really love the presence reports and stuff, because that's information he doesn't have. If he found out that I was making things happen, he would hold me hostage and make sure that I wrote the rest of his life in a satisfactory manner.
Are the Akura Path of Seven Pages unique? Is there only one "Book of Eternal Night" as long Mercy is alive none can walk her Path?
In that particular case, yes, there is only one book of Eternal Night and as long as Mercy is alive there will be nothing else.In the case of other books of seven pages, I think most of them are unique. I don't think all of them are. If I had to answer off the top of my head...Which I do because that is the whole premise, I believe that there are some of them that are not unique. Some of them are sort of mass produced…Like, not really but this is like two or three copies.
Has Fury or Charity penned a book of seven pages?
No. No they have not. So what Charity did was Charity developed her book with her grandmother so - With Malice. Malice had started had this dream shadow book and she and Charity finished it together but once Charity started showing signs of ascending to sage, they finished the rest of it together. So it was an unfinished booked and that was true in a lot of like, there was a lot of things, a lot of these books Malice didn't do herself. So the first person who carried the book or the first person who helped her make it or whatever was the person who helped her finish it.
Are there new books of Seven Pages being written?
Not anymore. Not really. They typically have more books than they have people capable of using the books so there’s really not a point in developing more.
Was Northstrider originally a fish species?
He was not. At no point was he anything but human.
Is Yerin stronger than the Sword Sage was at her age?
Are you going to include oreos canonically as a spiritual food in cradle in the books?
Uh, I did already. I explained a couple of times. First of all, the bloopers, people assume the bloopers aren't cannon but I don’t know why you think all the bloopers aren't cannon. There was already an Oreo blooper and someone also asked me a question about the greatest confectioneries and I answered about the honey finger sect who does research on chocolate and cream to create the ultimate cookie and one day they will succeed and cradle will be changed forever.
Any fantasy book recommendations?
Yes, I just made one. Arcane Ascension 3 by Andrew Rowe is out very soon. And I think I got that title correct, Torch that Ignites the Stars. That one recommendation was probably not sufficient, so I have recently been mostly reading web novels. I haven't read a lot of traditional novels recently. I have been mostly reading web novels, but I did read book 1 of Michael Miller's Ascendant. I don't remember what the trilogy is called. His dragon rider book. Ascendant. Does anyone remember the series name? Somebody will tell me in a second. That's pretty good. I haven't read a dragon rider book in a while. So that was fun. It got me thinking about dragons. And riding them thereof. The web novels I have read recently, I have reread a lot of one that I have already read, so I haven't read a whole lot that's new to me recently. So it's hard for me to... Like, I was just rereading Solo Leveling, or Alone I Level Up, or whatever the web novel is translated as. Solo Leveling. And that one is great. That's one of the few I recommend the comic over the original novel, even though the original novel is good too. The comic art just adds a lot. Yeah, the title of the book is Ascendant, it's the series title I don't remember. (Transcriber's note: Songs of Chaos) But the reason why I read it is he describes it as Cradle meets Eragon. So it's dragon riders who cultivate, with their cores, with their dragons. It's pretty neat; it was cool. There's a lot of creative dragon stuff in there.
So then, fantasy novel recommendations. I can give you something to read, but Dakota Krout already did. So, Something. Book 1 Murder Hobo, by Dakota Krout. The series has got the word Murder Hobo in it (that's actually two words, but Will and math, what can you do?) So, if you don't know what a murder hobo is, it's a DND term. And frankly, if you don't know what it is, I don't know that you're the target audience for the book. But it was hilarious, it has a lot of the trademark humor, so that is another recommendation.
Have you read Street Cultivation?
So, I read Street Cultivation when it was on Royal Road. So that was a rougher version of the book. So I can't... I am sure she has made a lot of changes and up dates and upgrades. So I really don't know a lot about the current version of the book. I keep meaning to read it, but it's like Wandering Inn; someone asked if I knew pirate aba, I do not, I don't even know pirate aba's gender, so I always refer to them gender neutral, as much as I can. Occasionally I forget. But I don't know anything about them. I don't know their real name. Nothing. So they're a pirate to me. A faceless masked pirate, sailing the seas. And I have not read Wandering Inn yet, because it is massive. And I feel like if I start, and I dive in, it's so much. They write so fast that there is really no way for me to catch up. The longer I delay, the more I have to catch up on.
What other characters/stories on Cradle would you consider exploring outside of the main cast of characters and the quest to save sacred valley?
So, basically, what sort of spinoff stories would I like to see, or like to write in Cradle?
(Will running around in circles in Subnautica.)
What other stories or characters on Cradle would I like to explore? I don't know. So Cradle, there's a lot, the number one thing I would do on Cradle if I really did write a spinoff of some kind, would be about, like I mentioned earlier, not all
(Subnautica AI interrupts to talk about exercise)
What I would do, like I mentioned earlier, not all sacred artists are all fight and all advance all the time. And I would like to show some of that. I would like to show some regular people on Cradle. Even some regular people who are not like really working to advance. So that's what I'd like to do. I'd like to show off some people who are just doing regular jobs, raising food, whatever.
Would you ever allow another author to write in the cradle universe?
Probably not Cradle, and maybe not for the reason you expect. It's because I would have to write a story bible that is at all consistent. When you get somebody else to write in your Universe, typically what you do is you write a story bible which is a document which includes all of the world building and rules for the universe so that they cant accidently violate something that cant happen in your world. And I don't know that I could write something like that cohesive that was comprehensible to anybody but me. So unless I designed the series that way from the beginning in order for it to be shared, I don't think I could do that. Maybe with Traveler's gate universe I could do that but nobody wants to write in that universe so.
Do you think your next series will have another tiny doll character?
I can almost guarantee that it will not. I have relied on psychic assistance and tiny doll characters like the dolls and lil' blue, I have relied on those mascot characters a little to much I think. So while I enjoy them and they are fun, I like shuffles, i like Dross, I like the dolls. I am probably going to try and get away from that just because it is like, you know it is like a hallmark of my writing. I would like to make it so that I am not the one where always there is little tiny cute mascot characters. So I am going to try, I don't know how well I’ll do it because I still think they're fun. So if I get something and I think of something I will probably just do it.
Do the other planets or asteroids or space bodies in Cradle's Iterations gather aura?
Yes, they do. The other celestial bodies in Cradle do have the same rules and laws of aura that Cradle does. It won't be as rich or as powerful, but it'll be there.
Do you know Chinese? How do you ensure your usage of Chinese characters make sense?
So, I don't do any of the graphic design on these projects. So I, it's not my, I do not use Chinese characters, at all. So that is very much something I avoid. Because I do not speak Chinese. I do not speak any dialect of Chinese. Or version of Chinese. I do not know any version of that language. So, in order to, when these covers and paperbacks and stuff that do actually have Chinese characters in them are done, my graphic designer does run it by an actual Chinese speaking person. And they are the ones who decide what characters get used, based on the descriptions in the books. So it is someone who is fluent, a native Chinese speaker, who decides what gets done, but it is not me. Si I have no input on that.
What is the correct way to eat Oreos?
Long ago, in ancient times, they decreed that in order to consume Oreos properly you must first fill a receptacle with the milk of a cow, ice cold as much as possible. So in those days they would put their receptacle in the snow. And then you would dunk your Oreo as thoroughly as possible into the milk. Now, as you dunk your Oreo, you of course are holding it fingers, kind of like Achilles, as he was dunked into the River Styx. In fact, you must speak about Achilles as you dunk the Oreo, or you have done it incorrectly. This place where your fingers clutch the Oreo becomes the Achilles heel, and the weakness of the Oreo itself. So you must devour the rest of the Oreo's flesh, the moist succulent flesh that has absorbed the milk for the proper amount of time, and you must devour all that in one bite, leaving only the Achilles heel, at which point you may consume it, or indeed, throw it away. There are some Oreo purists who don't eat that piece of the Oreo, because it is considered tainted.
Do we ever learn Pride's full height?
While I used a lot of imprecise measurements for Pride, I think he was just a couple inches under 5 feet if i remember correctly. So, he is like 4'10", something like that...I don’t remember. I do actually have heights for him I'm just not going to get my laptop out and look that up precisely. But uh, he is short.
And - Lindon is at the high end of 6 feet so he is significantly taller than Pride. So from Lindon's perspective...Real short
What is the relationship between aura and physical processes on Cradle? Does a rainstorm cause an abundance of aura or does the aura cause the rainstorm?
A little of both, up to a point. The aura causes the rainstorm and the rainstorm gathers or causes water aura, as you choose to see it, but that is not an infinite loop. Otherwise, of course, all of Cradle would be water aura. So there's a natural cap.
Which character is the most fun to write?
Ok, look. Ok look, alright. So, characters that are fun to write. To me...
(in response to a different comment: Eithan is a few inches shorter than Lindon. Lindon has grown some over the course of the series.)
To me, the most fun characters to write are the ones that I can either write off the top of my head, or that are just fun, just like genuinely just amusing to write. So I really like writing Eithan; Eithan is just a lot of fun, I hada really good grasp on Eithan before I wrote the series. Bliss is another one; Bliss is another one I just genuinely enjoy writing. Because I had a good enough grasp on the series, and they are interesting and unique enough. (brief pause for Will to blame his lack of game progress on us.) So, those are my favorite characters to write. Dross, and... Ok, so I say Dross, but Dross is not actually one of my favorite characters to write, not because he's not fun, but because it is difficult. So I always have to do, well usually have to do a Dross pass. So like Yerin, I have to do a pass specifically for Dross's voice, to make sure it is consistent, because it ends up being a little too much like Eithan, and a little too much frankly, like me. And I want him to sound like Dross, and not like me.
Please confirm Lindon's height. I was not picturing an NBA player. I am confused.
I mean every time I describe Lindon I talk about how giant he is. So I don't know...I mean that is the only descriptor I use for Lindon. He is very tall.
When you were constructing the path that Lindon would follow what made you decide on a very brute strength path for him despite his personality leaning towards creativity?
I liked that dichotomy. I liked him being somebody who was a creative person who liked solving problems creatively and then all he has is a giant flaming hammer. I just enjoyed that little personality thing. If I had to do it now, i don´t know if I would give him the same path, I'm not sure. I like Blackflame a lot of course, I don't know if I'd do the same path now or if I would give him one that was more creative. The problem with giving him a more creative, intricate path is that it´s less straightforward, he has to come up with a lot of techniques. He's got to learn a new technique every book, he has to come up with new ways to use his techniques. It just seems very complex. So that might have been too much for the books, so giving him a path like Ziel has for instance might have been a little too much, even though he particularly would´ve liked it.
Visualization help: Lindon lifting Yerin like a doll, or Yerin lifting Lindon like a doll? Which would look more awkward?
I told you I was getting rid of doll characters, so no one is lifting anyone like a doll. So anyways, here is Risk of Rain 2.
Ok so you have stated that chicken exists in cradle. So my question is regarding sacred chickens. What madra type would the chicken have to use to become the most tasty sacred chicken?
Blood path. That way they get all meaty.
Is it possible to make a contract with a Remnant to advance to Gold, instead of absorbing it?
Yes, that is possible. You can advance to gold with any level of remnant. But to make a contract with a remnant the remnant would have to have a certain level of advancement. But you could do that. You could make a contract with a remnant to advance to gold instead of absorbing it.
What does Little Blue do when she is in Lindon’s void key?
She does a lot of things! She climbs around on all of Lindon;s stuff. She plays with her junk that she views as toys. Picture paperclips and you're close, but Cradle doesn't have paperclips. She gets bored, but honestly she doesn't stay in the void key as much as it sounds. I don't cover Lindon during his down time, and she is always out during downtime.
Could you have a goldsign that looks like a giant chicken?
When I write I consistently end up longer than I am shooting for. How do you keep your writing crisp and consistent?
Overwriting is common. The only way I got to the point where I don't overwrite is by writing a lot! One example is that my short stories. Initially a 2,000 word short story would end up being 4,000 words. Over time I have got that down and consistent. Now I can land short stories. Novels are still tricky. I plan to to write 100,000 words, then be 30,000 words in and only be 2% in. I changed all that with Wintersteel. I wrote so quickly that I didn't have time to overplan or tighten things up. So that is up to you to decide what works.
So, in order to keep your writing tight, first of all, I try to plan accordingly. So you underplan. So if you have a tendency to overwrite, and you want a 100,000 word book, plan for it to be 60,000 word book. Plan for way under what you think. That's one thing. Another thing is practice, just the more you write; like I was able to do this with Wintersteel and not end up with an unusable monstrosity because it's my 17th book. So I have a lot of experience at this point and I was able to keep it under control and still somewhat reasonable. So, practice is good. Continually reevaluating where you are and knowing that you have this tendency is another good thing. Then you just keep doing it. You keep working on it. You work on it throughout the process, and hopefully you get better and better at it.
Did the Path of Twin Stars almost have another name, and if yes, what was it?
I don't think it did, I'm pretty sure it was the Heart of Twin Stars from the very beginning. The Path of Twin Stars was always named that because it's after the Heart of Twin Stars Technique, which is the logical name for the technique.
What would have happened if Suriel’s marble had fallen into the cracks in Ghostwater, which I believe lead into the void?
It would have not fallen into the cracks. So if he had dropped it in there, it would have avoided the cracks. If he really intentionally threw it into the void, it would have come back. It is conceptually linked to Lindon, so he cannot lose it under any circumstances barring the intervention of a truly powerful individual. If the Mad King wants to take this marble he's gonna get it, but that would be beneath him. I don't know why he'd want that. It'd be a weird thing for him to do, just descend and rob some random dude instead of just annihilating everything.
If sacred beasts only die when they are killed, and never of old age, which Whisper seems to prove, could a very patient sacred beast just cycle and practice in isolation for a few millennia and emerge a Monarch?
No. Some sacred beasts could, like Emriss kind of did that. But she's a tree. Their lifespan gets extended a lot, but they're not literally ageless.
Is Emriss considered a sacred beast?
She is an ancestral tree, well she was an ancestral tree, she is the Remnant of an ancestral tree.
What idea usually comes first for you? Magic, character, story?
Well, it's not story, I'll tell you that. What I normally do is I have notebooks on my phone and computer, note files. And whenever I have an idea, for whatever reason, I just write it down. So I have places to write those down and when I'm coming up with a new thing I just go through my thousands of ideas and pick the ones that I think are appropriate. So I'm generally organized, but I'm not a super organized person, so a lot of times I'll just find something in the wrong place and I'll think of it. But typically when I'm looking for new ideas, when I'm actively going out and seeking - like "I need a new idea here," let's say what I'm like if I'm going to develop a new series. I would look at the world and magic system first, just because that's what interests me. I go, "What's the concept? What's the high concept? What's the idea?" that hooks me, hooks my imagination. So someone asked me earlier about a Pioneer world story and that concept interests me. So that idea of someone being a magical terraforming group, that sounds really cool. I actually fleshed out an idea this past week, like what would magical terraforming look like, in real life, like you had to go to Mars and what spells would you need and how would you do it with magic instead of how people actually plan to do it with real technology. And that was a lot of fun. I enjoyed that. So that was a concept that definitely interested me.
(game: crits and shooting fire guys)
Imagine you create gravity or magnetism in your terraforming. That is true, and I had that under the domain of earth magic. And I was thinking, as long as you have the magical ability to turn energy into matter and matter into energy, you can solve any problem with magic. Even if you're restricted on what types of matter you can create, from what types of energy, that's basically the only ability it takes and that's what magic often is, is it's just you turn energy into some kind of matter. So that'd be cool.
Would the average person on Cradle consider Lindon and Yerin super rich and spoiled?
That was a discussion that was going on not too long ago. Would the average person consider them that way? I guess, the average person wouldn't understand who or what they are, they would just assume that they're rich and spoiled or else extremely talented - they don't understand what it takes to advance in the sacred arts to that degree so they wouldn't know. So that's forming the opinion - but it depends on what their personal biases are. So if they are just assuming that only the rich get to advance, then yeah, they would go, "These guys must be rich and spoiled, because they're young and advanced." If they're like, no, only talented people can advance, then they'd go, "Wow these guys must be really talented."
(He dies in game but it was his fault, Madhouse needs to animate the series)
They would consider them beyond anything they've encountered, so the average person would just be like, they wouldn't know what to say, like encountering someone from the future. So they'd say, "I guess you're rich and spoiled with all your future technology."
Will we see Lindon back in Sacred Valley in Wintersteel?
That is definitely a spoiler. That's the most spoiler. I'm sad, because -
I wrote a book and I'm not sure what to do except shotgunning and emailing random publishers.
Don't do that. The first thing to do is, you want to make sure your book is actually good. So you want to get it to people that will tell you the truth, and will read it, and can give you good feedback. So, if you are sure that your book, if your not sure it's good, I'm never sure my books are good, so if you are confident, if the other people around you are telling you your book is good enough to be read by other people, then I would highly suggest, beginning by putting your book up on Kindle. Get your book professionally edited and make sure it is formatted well. All these resources are available free online; there are tons of people who can explain the process better than I can. And just very much recommend Kindle Direct Publishing. KDP. Do what I did. And the reason why I increasingly recommend that; I used to be, "You know what, if you can get a traditional publishing deal, great for you. Check all out, try all your options." And more and more I'm just like, don't do that, just do KDP. Because it doesn't seem like what the publishers offer you is a whole lot better than what you get on KDP. So I have honestly liked my setup with KDP a lot more than the deals a lot of my peers have been offered. And the more experience I get, the more I go, yeah, I would recommend to anyone starting out to publish your own book on KDP. Do it the right way. KDP is Kindle Direct Publishing; that is a phrase I was using a second ago. And that is the program by which you publish books directly on Kindle. It is how I am published. So I highly recommend publishing your stuff on Kindle. But do it the right way. So do it the way other experienced authors tell you to do; do your research. Get a good cover, and you know, have a good book.
What kind of fanart would you like to see more of?
Any kind..? It's always fun for me to see fanart. It's funny, because whenever fanart is posted, especially on Reddit, people are always like, "Ah, that isn't exactly how I pictured it in the book," and "On page 33, they said that this character is this much taller," or "I don't get that vibe from this person at all." And I don't ever do that with my books, but I've also found that I am a lot less picky as a writer than as a fan. For me, if I recognize who the character is, I'm happy. I'm like, "Hey! It's Lindon! Cool!" or "Hey! It's Mercy! Cool!" and that's it. Some of the art resonates with me more than others, but that's the nature of art, I guess.
What is your favorite path, not necessarily the path you would want? What path would you want to practice, assuming you gain madra channels?
So, the path that I have set up that I would practice, is probably Cloudhammer, from the Blackflame Empire. Even though I never went into it, it is the one I would probably take, because it's good for combat, it's good for not combat. You can walk in the air on it, you can repel people, you can do a lot of things with it. And it feels like its the kind of, you can also cultivate it anywhere, like that aura is all over the place. So, yeah. Felt like the most convenient and the one I would most like in a real world scenario.
Is Emriss the highest level Remnant on Cradle?
Would it be possible to bond Emriss like Yerin did the Sword Sage?
Yes, technically. If she allowed you to, because you're not more powerful than Emriss. She's maximum power. So, yeah if she let you, you could adopt Emriss as a Remnant. That'd be a lot more like her adopting you though. Actually no, I guess it wouldn't be possible. Maybe, it could be if she let it happen. Could be. Technically possible, could be, and that is even if she allowed it.
Why can't Sesh defeat Northstrider since he has allies and Northstrider doesn't?
That is a misconception. Northstrider doesn't belong to an organization but that does not mean that he doesn't have allies.
Hard copies of the books?
I would love for their to be hardback of the books. That would be very cool. I think there could be some day but for now, we don't have them. The reason we don't is because its a difficult thing to know how many we would have. Just a lot of time and effort to put into developing something that we wouldn't have on sale, it'd be a limited run. So...maybe someday.
Can all madra be converted to hunger madra?
Would a bonded partner be able to rebond if one them died?
Can an iteration be moved between sectors? And does it affect new iterations in the sector if it can?
An iteration can be moved between sectors. It is kind of a fluid designation as to which sector an iteration is in. It does cause some problems when it is moved so, it is difficult to do and it doesn't happen alot. It's a Judge level operation for that to happen.
Hypothetically, if Orthos did not go to Sacred Valley and instead went with Lindon, would he be able to fight along side Lindon in the tournament? Or would he be considered a separate contender?
No. He is over the age requirement. So, there are some people who could take their contracted beasts. Lindon and Orthos would not be one of them. Orthos would be considered a separate competitor and he would be considered too old.
Will Lindon get involved more in politics?
Almost certainly not. In the sense that he's going to be his opinion and involvement are going to be politically important in the world, ya. But in the sense that he's going to actively, like there's gonna be a lot of conflict around political discussion and manuevering and such, no. Its an adventure series, not a politics series.
So someone has suggested that I talk about something that I've been sort of into recently that kind of cool. I have just a few weeks ago found the choose your own adventure subreddit. r/makeyourchoice, I think is the subreddit. That led me on this whole rabbit whole down to a bunch of choose your own adventure games.
So what they are, they're basically graphics or little games where people offer hypothetical prizes that you can buy with points. So, for instance you have a point budget and certain powers are more expensive than others and then make yourself like a little build and then think about how you would play. So, its fun to do. And what its helped me do, is help me think about what I like in terms of character building. Because one of the things that I appreciate is when characters are making a build. Characters are themed, characters are focused in some way and it helps me feel like one character can't do everything. One character is good at something. So, it really is what traditional classes do. Where its like, you know a rogue is gonna be a sneaky, stabby kind of guy that does traps and the fighter is not gonna be that guy. I've really enjoyed that and its made me think about how I am going to work in my next magic system because I would like there to be some character building, designing element to it. And the choose your own adventure thing has given me sort of a model of what I like about that kind of system, so I've really enjoyed that.
And then I made one particular build that revolved around me making clones and I don't remember which choose your own adventure this was. But, you could make a permanent clone once per day or you could make temporary clones and I shared this with a friend of mine. So, if you make a permanent clone, the cooldown of the clone ability is shared between your clones. I don't remember where I got this. So, I had heard, I had read about this ability on reddit. I don't know that I even ever found the actual choose your own adventure. I think it was just an ability that people described to me and I thought it was cool. It captured my imagination it was like a Naruto clone thing, like I mentioned earlier. And this clone ability, I was telling my friend about it, about how that would be a neat power to have and a friend of mine was just constantly asking me about the logistics of clones and how would I stop the clones from taking over and how would I deal with all these clones and how would I house the clones and I'm like I don't have to do this, they are independent entities, they can house themselves. And I couldn't stop him talking about the clones. So it ended up just being the clone wars.
Do you get the same for an eBook purchase and a Kindle Unlimited purchase?
The Kindle Unlimited purchase varies based on the size of the book, so that's a little bit different. It also changes with time, sometimes. So there is not a solid answer for what I make of a Kindle Unlimited read, but its typically less than what I would make for a sale. But, it costs you nothing so, if you are reading through Kindle Unlimited, Great! That's awesome, I appreciate it.
Are you as funny as your characters in real life?
As funny as a character like Yerin? Yes. As funny as a character like Dross and Eithan? I don't know. You'd have to ask the people around me. That person said yes I am, so I guess you have your answer.
Where did you start with your worldbuilding for Cradle?
I mean, I started from web cultivation novels and worked backwards. So they had a cohesive system based on Daoist mythology and I wasn't using that as a base, so I started from their result that they've developed with a really long, rich history, and I had to kind of be like, "Okay. Well I can't represent that accurately," so I had to do my own. Plus cultivation novels, especially Chinese cultivation novels rely on a lot of cultural understanding that the reader already has, so I knew I wanted to go - I know what effect I want to get, so I worked backwards in terms of going, "Okay, so now I have to set up a cohesive world that creates this magic system."
Are the dragons in the tournament not considered too old?
No, they are not. They are in the tournament because they are not considered too old. They are older than humans would be, but they are not considered too old.
Is there a reason for the omission of Mercy, Pride, and Fury's father?
Fury's father, no, not really. He's just been dead for many generations. So, he's just not around. In terms of the omission of Pride and Mercy's father, frankly, it's because I've tried to write him into every single book since Skysworn and it has not been feasible because it's just not directly related to the plot or anything related to the plot. So, I keep trying to bring it up and it just hasn't worked. So, at this point it's like 'OK, well now it can't be a real big deal or it would have come up before now,' so I'm just gonna continue glossing over it, I guess. But I might give more information about who he is. I mean, I know who he is, it's just, you know, it didn't come up.
Fury path or techniques
I don't remember the name of his book. I know generally what it is. It's Book of the Dark Sun, Book of the Midnight Sun, Book of the.. something like that.
When is Lindon gonna beat Fury in an extremely close fight?
Good question. Maybe if Fury did what he threatened to do in the last book and slapped on wig and started pushing around some underlords.
Does your Path become irrelevant after you get to know how to use the Way?
No. It does not. So, the magic you learn in your iteration just evolves and changes as you ascend and you learn how to use the Way. And it gets worked into who you are and what you can do.
Ya. So I actually never created a character named Akura Honesty even though that fits the pattern because I just didn't think it sounded good as a name. Kind of like how Akura Justice should really be Akura Just, but that doesn't sound good, so he's Justice. And my reasoning for that is that the language that they are speaking in Cradle isn't technically English. So we can say that that made sense and was the same part of speech and there was a translation error and it just happened to sound cooler.
Is there a salt territory and Will incarnated?
What would be the result if Little Blue and Dross did a fusion dance?
Impossible, and here's why. Dross can't do a fusion dance, because Dross doesn't have fingers. He therefore can't extend his fingers at the proper angle in order to execute a proper fusion dance so....can't happen. Couldn't wear the potara earrings either, because he doesn't have ears so...we're out of luck really.
Will the Song of Fallen Ash ever make another appearance?
Maybe, i dunno. I tend to make up those techniques as they're needed in those cases, like I just make em up in batches and just think of a bunch of cool names. Then often after I do that, I then make up what they actually are, so I will at times design entire paths around just a cool word or name I made up, or a cool technique or whatever, and that is one of them, where I sort of outlined the path roughly just because I thought the name was cool. So yeah, we might see more of it. I'm not sure exactly in what context we would, but yeah, maybe.
Is storm madra an aspect of wind madra?
Storm is just kinda what they call lightning aura. It's just lightning. So there are storm paths, thats aren't necessarily completely lightning aura. They're also wind, and maybe force, or water. So Tiberian Aurelius followed a storm path in the sense that it was mostly lightning, but he also had aura aspects from a lot of other things that you would find in storms. So storm path and storm aura are often used differently, and i know that's confusing and weird, but there are cultures on Cradle that I didn't think it was organic for them to just call it lightning or electricity. I thought it would be more poetic or they would probably say storm.
How did you design Dross?
hmm, so the first thing I did, was i started from what is a primarily mechanical construct, with like a ghost inside it. So I went through Dross' evolution, and I started off that way, and then I thought ok, how do I show Dross' improvement in a certain area, every time he gets improved? So every time I had him become more complex, and then more organic, and then more solid, and I had to do that every time he advanced in his development in Ghostwater. So as I did that, he sort of took shape, 'cos i had to think every time, what's the next step? So I didn't really start off with an image of him as like a purple tentacled Mike Wazowski, but that's kinda what he became, and i'm happy with it, I liked it.
So, some people are asking me about Anagi, I don't know how much I can tell you, I will say we will get some details about that in Wintersteel, but not as many as I'd originally planned. I didn't cut much from Wintersteel. Some of the few things I cut in this book were scenes that were extra background scenes for the villains, or opponents, they're not all villains, but the other people in the Uncrowned tournament. Some of the stuff I cut was backstory for Yan Shoumei. So we had a whole thing with her where we learned about her backstory, we learned about where she came from, we learned about her rivalry with this person named Anagi and who they are and who raised her, all that stuff. Most of that got removed, it wasn't really necessary to the forward progress of the story. It fleshed her out a little bit, but she really didn't need to be fleshed out, but it was fun to write.
Are there any times Lindon or Yerin surprised you?
Characters don't surprise me, how do I put this, this is a hard thing to explain, but there's a generally common saying that characters have done something on their own, or they've run off and they've surprised you, or oh man the characters did something I didn't expect. I don't really understand that, because I made up the characters, they do what I tell them to.
What I do understand is that the better I get to know them the more they do something that I didn't necessarily plot out ahead of time, and that's what people mean, so I do understand that experience. But what they never do is they never do something that is completely out of line with the story I'm telling, they never surprise me in that way, so they always stay within certain bounds.
So it's just that I get to know the characters really well, and they grow and change and my understanding of them grows and changes and I get very familiar with them. So they change and they do things that I can now predict that maybe i didn't think about ahead of time.
If Urg'naut was set loose on a dying Iteration, would he be able to destroy it as thoroughly as Ozriel?
Probably, yeah. If he was put into an Iteration that was dying, would be be able to just obliterate everything, yeah probably. That would be within his powers. But the problem is, you can't control him, so you couldn't even consistently get him to do that. So even if you could move him around and put him in different Iterations, what he would be doing is constantly working toward a goal, eliminating the Abidan and their organisation and other living Iterations. He also is less interested in destroying already dying Iterations, because they're already dying, they're good, he approves, they're on their way! So that would be the difference.
Which character in Cradle has been the most difficult to write?
Most difficult. Hmm. (RoR2 discussion. Will is optimistic that he can repeat his previous actions which lead to death, except this time there will be no death.) Which character in Cradle is the most difficult to write? I don't know. That's a hard question to answer. I guess Yerin, because she's in so much of the books, and her dialogue requires extra attention, and she also has an emotional journey that parallels Lindon's, so there fore it's hard to keep writing her, and that's not really... I don't know that's the spirit of the question. So, she's not that hard, because I know the character well and I've been writing her for a long time. I don't know.
I don't who is the most difficult; I know the most difficult thing for me to write, and that is anything where the characters are expressing genuine emotion. Any genuine scenes where the characters are emotionally interacting and they are really having these heart to heart moments. It's very difficult because it requires a lot more thought and focus and design and knowledge of the characters. It's got to come across as organic and things the characters would actually say, and you are also trying to evoke some kind of emotion in the reader. Now, it's not always the emotion that the character is experiencing. You are not always truing to get the reader to feel sad if the character is feeling sad. But you are always trying to make it feel like the characters genuinely do feel sad which is difficult. So that is the hardest thing to write.
You can choose any object we have seen in any book you have written to bring into the real world. What object do you choose?
Ok, let's see. Any object I have written. I don't know. So, my criteria for answering that question is I would think of something that I would think that if I brought it in the real world, it would make the world more magical. It would give the world magic powers. So it depends on how it happens. I just want the world to be cooler. So I would look for an object in the books that would let me, oh, that's the answer. That's actually it. So it would be a world seed. Which what a world seed is, which I of course didn't go into detail in Uncrowned, but what seed is, is it is effectively, I mean, it's literally that. It's the seed of an Iteration. But more than that, it is an Iteration, it's leftover material from the creation of the original Iterations. So it can be used to do almost anything. So it's effectively like a blank check for modifying reality. Except when you use, you are kind of creating a new, you are overwriting your current reality, like your writing a new effect onto reality. So you can't just be like "Ah! Now everybody in Cradle likes me." It doesn't work that way. But you can change some of the fundamental rules of reality, so I could make a world or add a magic system. So that would be neat. The exact mechanics of how that works, will of course be forthcoming in a published work.
I feel like I've lost my characters voices in the middle of writing my book, should I start over, try something new, or push through?
Always, the answer to that question is push through. Always push through to the end of the book. What you need to do is get to the end of the book. You don't know what book you're writing until you finish it. So, you've got to get to the end of the book and then you've got a story to work with. Until you finish the book you don't know if your voices really are inconsistent. Maybe they're not, maybe you just feel that way. Maybe you don't feel like you can write your characters anymore, but you actually are. You don't know that. Finish the draft, always, always always, finish the draft.
At what level is a gun useless, Truegold or Highgold?
A gun would be useful against any -well not any Gold, because some Golds could just be immune to that. But a gun would be useful at Gold level.
Forgive this one if this question was already answered in the books, but what was the price for Talos' sword in the Traveler's Gate Trilogy?
I do not remember at all. I have no clue. So I'm going to go ahead and say 50 dollars.
Which rank would a Traveler's Gate Incarnation be on Cradle?
That depends on which Incarnation it is. The Valinhall Incarnation is Underlord/Overlord, but it's all physical powers and such. An actual Underlord or Overlord would be a lot more flexible and be able to do a lot more things.
How disappointed are you that Nintendo inadvertently created Bowsette before you could reveal what form Orthos would take?
This is a common misconception. People think that I intended for Orthos to become a female character and become one of Lindon's love interests. This is actually not true. I still have and always from the beginning intended Orthos's daughter to become Lindon's love interest and she was going to wear a crown and therefore take on the appearance of Princess Peach. Until Nintendo did that and I had to scrap it, oh well.
Are Abidan presence personalities specialized for their job? For example, Suriel's is robotic to balance her empathy with utilitarian calculations during triage.
Yes, so Abidan Presence's personalities are absolutely specialized for their jobs. Their personalities are kind of, in Suriel's case, her robotic presence is a choice on her part, she has made it have less of a personality.
Are we gonna see more magic systems from other Iterations?
At some point, either in Cradle, the next few books, or in my next series when I write something with a different magic system.
Who or what was your inspiration for our lord and savior Orthos?
All right. So, this goes a little deeper into what I was saying before about the original draft of Cradle. So don't read too much into what I'm about to say, because this is long ago, in a story far, far, away. So this bears little resemblance to current Cradle.
(Will builds a hut. He implores us not to judge his hut.)
So, back in the day, the version of the main character of this was someone who was going to have both void powers and Abidan powers; they were going to have chaos powers and order powers.
(A cow wanders by. Will is briefly intimidated by the cow, but soon realizes the coexistence is possible and lets the cow be.)
And they were going to have an animal companion/contractee/whatever, as their, as representatives or contractors or whatever for each of those powers. And so the dragon was going to represent the chaos/destruction powers, and the water fairy that ended up turning into Little Blue was going to represent the order powers. So, I had the image of a dragon named Oerthon, and originally the dragon turned into a sword, and the sword was a yellow sword that was hooked and made of bone, yellow bone, and the handle was like black leather, and the dragon would turn into this weapon, and the fairy would turn into a silvery blue spear. So there were a number of things then that ended up getting in the way of that, but that was the original plan. So it was dragon, a black dragon named Oerthon. And he wasn't super big, yeah, I know, that was one of things that got, someone said "Thanks Brandon," yeah that was one of the things that was written that got in the way of this, because this was a long time ago. This started in 2005, 2006, 2007, so this was years before Stormlight Archive, and spoiler alert, that happens in Stormlight Archive. So this all ended up completely abandoning those plans once that happened. So that was rough for me. But it was ok. I had mostly abandoned that track anyway by that point.
(Will again implores we not judge his building skills, this time regarding his roof.)
So, that was Oerthon, the black dragon. So, when I got into actually writing Cradle, I had to come up with an animal companion for Lindon that would give him his contracted Blackflame powers. And, you know, by default it was going to be a dragon, but it's like, you expect it to be a dragon. So I was thinking what would be a different animal? Basically anything but a dragon. So we were going through, and we were thinking, I was talking to my friend, and we were just brainstorming animals. We were just going, OK, what other animal could it be? So we ended up, he suggested turtle. And he was like, what about a turtle? And I was like, yeah, I thought of a turtle, but it's like, I don't know. It felt a little too memey. It's a little too much like OK, you picked the funny animal. And I was like, eh, I don't know. I don't know how I feel about a turtle. So we through it, and we kept coming back to turtle. And we kept coming back to turtle because I just liked it, and he liked it, and we both liked it, and of course as we were thinking about it, a dragon-turtle is like a thing. We didn't make that up. That's a mythical existence in the genre we're writing in. So, we were just immediately like, it's got to be a dragon-turtle. It's got to happen.
As someone progresses as a Traveller of Valinhall, does the "quality" of their steel ever increase, and with it the strength, or does it remain the same as the day they earned it?
You're able I guess, to channel more of it as you go on, so you draw more of the steel, as Simon demonstrates in the books. So you can channel more of it, and you can also control the amount you draw a little more, but no, what the steel actually does remains constant. So you don't upgrade to better steel or whatever.
Are you familiar with Attack on Titan?
If so: the Blackflame Empire is suddenly invaded by the Titans, including the Colossal and Armored Titans. Assuming they can't call in backup, how well do they do?
Extremely well. They just annihilate the Titans, the Titans have no chance to resist. The Titan's run in fear. The Titan's build walled cities against the Sacred Artists to keep them out. The Titan's live everyday in fear that their loved ones will be destroyed by the people who can throw fire and eliminate matter. Yeah, I feel the Titan's wouldn't be any threat to the Blackflame City at all, I feel like they would keep them as pets, that there would be no threat. At all.
How powerful is a monarch butterfly?
It's a Monarch.
This was your longest book. What results would inspire you to write even longer?
Even if this book completely slams all the results of my previous books, just destroys them and it sells more books than I have ever sold in my entire life, that probably would not change my length policy. It probably wouldn't change it. For instance, the book after Wintersteel, is almost certainly not going to be that long, because it's a more focused story. It doesn't need to be. So, Wintersteel doing really well would not change my mind on that. That wouldn't be something that, that's not really the criteria I use to determine the length of the book. But, the process of writing the book is going to be influenced by Wintersteel. So if the response to Wintersteel is good, I'll use a similar process to write my future books.
When Ziel showed Lindon the Tablet on pure madra in Ghostwater after lecturing him, was that always his intention, or was that only after Lindon explained he was advancing to protect his home from a great disaster?
I don't understand that question exactly. When Ziel showed Lindon the table on pure madra in Ghostwater, was that always his intention? I don't understand it. I think the question means did Ziel intend to help Lindon, or was he persuaded to help Lindon when he heard that Lindon had a good cause. And the answer is, he was persuaded by Lindon, finding out that he, starting to know Lindon as a person a little bit, and then when he did, he was like all right, I'll help you. He did not intend to help at the beginning. So I hope that answers your question.
If Kelsa had gotten the same opportunities as Lindon, would she have risen even more quickly?
No. No she would not have. So she, while being more talented, and a genuinely cool person, is not as resolved or determined as Lindon would be, and would not have set out to save Sacred Valley. If she had that knowledge and the exact same opportunities that Lindon did she would have stayed in Sacred Valley and tried to persuade everyone else to leave. So, that is how she would have solved that problem; she would not have gone out and advanced. If she did do exactly what Lindon did, she would have stuck with the things he has stuck with and would have advanced differently. And perhaps more efficiently, but it wouldn't have gotten her as far as Lindon has gotten.
Would a mind/force path function like telekinesis?
Could be. Yeah, you could do that. But a force path sort of does that anyway.
Have you ever been recognized out in the wild?
Yes. So, one thing that happened, which was kind of funny, this is the first thing that pops into my mind; I have actually been recognized a few places, which is weird because I don't appear in person that often, so it's odd to be recognized. Like, why did you know what I look like? I guess because I do streams like this basically. So, one particular story I had, this is not much of a story really, I was in a DnD group with a friend of mine, who invited a friend of his. The friend of his asked what I did and said I was a writer. And he asked what I write. And I told him and he was like holy crap, I love that series. So it was just Cradle, and it was neat. So, that's the end of that story. It wasn't super dramatic; it was just cool. Because he had already read it.
There was another one; my dad was looking to hire somebody, and interviewed the guy, and the guys said he read a lot. My dad said "What do you read?" And he said "I read scifi/fantasy, and I am actually in the middle of a series now by a guy who has your last name." Our last name is pretty unusual. W-I-G-H-T. And he said, "Oh really? What series is that?" And it was the Cradle series. So that was pretty neat. And of course he ended up hiring the guy, because obviously the dude has impeccable taste.
It's kind of weird how people recognize you since you're dead.
I'm not dead anymore. I came back to life. That's how I'm doing this stream.
Have you ever thought about doing a Sci FI series, what would it look like?
No, I have not. Here's why. I believe every story is better with magic. So if I did a sci-fi series, it would be a magic series set in space. I've considered doing that. Like I said early, I have considered doing magic terraforming. That's basically a fantasy sci-fi. So, if I did do a sci-fi series, it would look a lot like Red Rising. And Pierce Brown already did that better than me.
How do you feel going back now and reading Traveler's Gate?
Terrible. Thank you for asking. I always feel bad reading my old stuff. Just don't like it. So when I read Traveler's Gate I am constantly just cringing and embarrassed. But that's true when I read almost any of my old stuff. So that's pretty normal.
Do you feel like you would have worked the series differently if you had all the experience you have now?
Yes. Absolutely. Even as I finished the Traveler's Gate trilogy I wanted to redo House of Blades. I wanted to immediately go back and just rewrite the whole book. But I didn't. Because that's a, I don't think that's right. Because if I did that, I could do that with any book. Like, I could write it, then afterwards I'm a better writer. Then I could write it again. And even though it's kind of special because it's my first book, I didn't want to be rewriting House of Blades every five years. I didn't want to be rewriting House of Blades every five years, so I just sort of didn't.
So, I think there is some really good ideas in Traveler's Gate, I'm emotionally attached to Traveler's Gate, but when I read it, and when I read it out loud for the audio books I was so embarrassed. I'm just a better writer now.
What inspired the liquid madra test in Sacred Valley?
What inspired it? Like for me writing it? Or for the people in universe who came up with it? For me writing it, I don't know, I want to say it was the water glass test from Hunter Hunter. Which is, as I mentioned earlier, just a really cool magic system.
(Bedrock! But no appearance from the Flintstones. Sad times.)
So, I want to say it was the water glass test, but it actually wasn't. So that's how you test your nan in Hunter Hunter. So people always assume that is the inspiration, and I wish I could say that it was, because that's a really cool device, but it actually wasn't it. I was just like, OK, what's a thing that they could do to test this belief that they have? And s therefore, it had to be formless. then it had to take a certain form. So I was just like, yeah it would be cool, but I also wanted it to be simple, strait forward, digestible. The kind of thing you would make up when you didn't really know what you were talking about. And I was like, yeah. Water in a bowl.
What's next? You have mentioned Traveler's Blade a few times, but are you more excited at the concept of moving on to some new creative adventure?
Alright, so me, just a little about me, how I always am, how I always, always, always, am, is I always, always, always,
(Will debates killing a cow vs. killing pigs. He kills the pigs. Bacon for everybody!)
I always, always, always want to move on to the next thing. Always do. I really am constantly everyday thinking about what the next thing is I can do. What's a new idea? I always have new ideas. I always have new ideas I'm passionate about. It changes constantly. I just really like doing new things. It's just fun. I like making up new concepts. That is the really fun part to me. So, when people talk about Traveler's Blade, that is fun. That's fun to me. I have nothing against doing it. It's just, it's not as fun as doing something new. And that's kind of what's hard about sticking with a series as long as I've stuck with Cradle. While I like Cradle, and I really enjoy writing Cradle, and I don't want to stop Cradle, it is still not a new thing. So I don't want to say I get bored of it; I don't really. I come up with new stuff, so I wouldn't keep writing it if I was actually bored. But I want to write something new, right? I want to do something else. Stretch myself, challenge myself. Use new ideas. It's just fun.
Which Akura is your favorite?
Fury. He's the best.
If Cradle is the "top source" of Abidan recruits, does it give the most recruits, the best recruits, or both?
So, Cradle is not the top source of Abidan recruits. Cradle is the fir.. well, I guess it is technically. So, it's the one where it's the easiest to ascend. Right? So it's the one where the magic system most easily translates to ascending, because if you continue to follow the magic system, you eventually ascend. Not every magic system has ascension built into it. This one does. So that is why Cradle is such a great source of Abidan recruits.
What I meant to say a minute ago is that it is not the source of the best recruits. So, people have asked "Are Cradle workers the strongest?" No they are not. There are iterations with a higher power level than Cradle.
I'm going to talk about Hunter Hunter for a second. So, some people believe that a hard magic system is inherently better, and a magic system that doesn't have, that is soft, so it doesn't have clear cut rules is inherently worse, and that's just not true. There are a lot of series with great soft magic systems. But Hunter Hunter in my opinion has such an elaborate set of rules, that it works best as a hard magic system. So, when it's following it's own rules, because you have such a cool set of rules, and there are so many awesome things that are possible within it, that while you are working within those constraints, it's the most interesting. Then when you're not, I'm like, but you had this awesome set of rules. Use those. But I also really like
(Interruption for hat change. What did Will really like? We may never know.)
What kind of writing schedule do you keep? Do you keep to a 9-5 or do you brainstorm when inspired?
Neither. I touched on this a little bit earlier, but I don't do everyday 9-5, I just don't do that well. I don't do that with anything. I don't really keep a schedule very well. I just kind of don't. I guess that's the temporal version of getting lost. So what I do instead, is I do blocks of time. I do days, or even weeks at a time, where I just do nothing but write. And that helps me more. I can concentrate more easily.
Would you ever consider another media for your stories? Graphic novel, animation, live action? Who would you cast as Urzaia?
So, this is going to be heretical to some people, but there is nothing sacred about books to me. I love books. I read books. I got in trouble a lot as a kid for reading too many books. But, it's stories. It's all about stories. So it doesn't matter to me what medium those stories are in. It's all about the story. So to me, if it's a video game, if it's a graphic novel, it's a whatever, I am cool with it. I made that joke recently about Wintersteel being available in aerosol format, but if that was an actual way of consuming stories, I would be inhaling stories all the time. So, the medium of the story is not important to me.
Who would I cast as Urzaia? Travis Baldree. Just a striking physical resemblance.
If you had the chance to write a short story or novel in another author's universe, which world would you choose?
I would choose not to do that. Because that's very intimidating to me. I don't feel like I could do a good job. So it hard for me to... If they are writing in that universe, by all means, they keep doing it. There was, I think it was Jim Butcher, who said when he found out Brandon Sanderson, it may have been someone else, don't quote me on this, that when he found out Brandon Sanderson was doing Wheel of Time, was like, "Wow, good luck to him. I would never do that." That sounds super intimidating. And yup. If I had a chance to write in someone else's, like for instance Jim Butcher, since that is who we are talking about, if I had a chance to write a Dresden novel, would I? No. No. Absolutely not. I love Dresden, love the character, love the novels, I could never do that justice, it's so very much Jim Butcher's voice. No way I can do it. I'm just not good enough. I feel that about pretty much anything I would be passionate enough to write in. I just couldn't do it justice.
If you lived on Cradle how quickly would you die?
That depends, if I am able to get to the various emergency kits I have left in my name all around Cradle, I live for quite some time, perhaps forever.