Multi-million selling author Christopher Paolini charmed an audience of fans at Liberty Hall yesterday in a talk on his latest book as part of the Dublin Writers festival.
The book, Inheritance, is part of the Inheritance cycle, which has now spawned four books selling over 25 million copies worldwide, and a Hollywood blockbuster film.
Speaking to an audience of about 100 enthusiastic fans, Paolini described the writing for his last book, Inheritance, as the hardest of his career. “Definitely the hardest writing I did was in the last book. It was a combination of the length of the book and the way I had to end the story, in a way that would please fans.”
Inheritance represents the culmination of the story of Eragon, a farm boy who finds a dragon egg, meaning that he is one of the Dragon Riders fated to take on the evil king Galbatorix. Paolini wrote the first draft of his first novel, Eragon, at 15. Eragon has since spent 121 weeks in the New York Times Best-Seller list and been made into a blockbuster film.
Few could have foreseen that Eragon would take off in the way that it did. Paolini attributes the success of the book in part to a resurgence in interest in fantasy around the time Eragon was published, due in part to the Lord of the Rings films, saying that he “couldn’t have published at a better time.”
Paolini also mentioned how he knew the ending to the Inheritance cycle years ago, when he had just started writing Eragon. “When I sit down to write and don’t know the ending, I immediately get writer’s block. I would compare it to music. It’s very difficult to compose a piece of music while playing it.”
When asked what he thought of the Hollywood film, after some good-natured laughter from the crowd, Paolini stated with a wiry smile that “the film is a different interpretation of the book. The film reflects the director’s and studio’s take. I would definitely be open to a reboot, so everyone should write in!”
He also revealed how it was originally planned that he would have had a small cameo in the Eragon film. “I was actually going to be in the film for one scene in the final battle, and get my head chopped off by Eragon! I think it would have been interesting to have been killed by my own character.”
Besides talking about his film influences, which ranged from Brazil to Blazing Saddles to Terminator 2, Paolini recalled that the last time he had been in Ireland, to do an interview with Dustin the Turkey. Laughing, he recalled “I was sitting there, being shouted at by a large puppet of a turkey, and I thought to myself – I’ve made it.”
Talk then turned to what he would do now after finishing the Inheritance cycle. Leaning forward eagerly, Paolini said “I have about 20-30 different novels planned in my head, all of different genres. I think my next book will probably be sci-fi.”
At the end of the talk, Paolini finished by briefly touching on how important books are to him, saying “I still remember reading the first book I ever checked out from the library. It was like a switch went off in my head. To me, reading is the closest thing we have to magic in the real world.”
Paolini’s fourth book, Inheritance, is out now. The Dublin Writer’s Festival will continue until June 10, with authors still to be featured including Mark Haddon, best known for his novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, and writer and journalist Mario Vargas Llosa, who won the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature.
Pic credit: BookPeople