Literaturschock: You wrote "Eragon" at the age of 15. What was your motivation to write a book when you was such a young boy?

Christopher Paolini: I live in a rural area, am an avid reader, have always loved to tell stories, and enjoy taking on big projects. I was homeschooled, so when I graduated from high school at fifteen, I needed something to do before going off to college. I decided to try writing a novel, one that I would enjoy reading. I had no intention of getting it published; it was simply a challenge to myself. I poured my heart and soul into the story without thought about what other people might think.

I drew inspiration from good literature, music that sends tingles up my spine, great movies, and nature—the soaring Beartooth Mountains that edge the valley where I live, and the Yellowstone River that rushes by my home. This natural beauty helped me envision my fantasy world; at times, I could almost see the dragon Saphira flying over the sharp, snowcapped mountain peaks that I see from my window.

Literaturschock: Did your family play a decisive role in this time? If yes, to what extent?

Christopher Paolini: My life and schooling at home, in a country farmhouse, gave me freedoms the majority of today's teens don't have. I didn't have to contend with peer pressure to conform to social fads. I could be myself. It allowed me to work at my own pace and graduate early. And without the frantic schedule kept by many teens, I had time to think, to daydream about adventures, to create the world of Alagaesia. If I had attended public school, I have no doubt Eragon would not exist.

Once I wrote Eragon, my family helped me edit, publish, and promote my book, which brought it to the attention of a wide audience. This support was a continuation of my parents’ homeschooling philosophy, to nurture my interests, and through those interests help me learn and mature.

Literaturschock: Eragon has a good, strong character - in the meantime Murtagh is the son of a charakterless person. Which person do you like most?

Christopher Paolini: Murtagh is more practical than Eragon, which can be useful in dire situations. But Eragon is the hero of my story. He and Saphira are my favorite characters.

Literaturschock: Are there any persons in the Real life, who was a role model for a ERAGON-Character?

Christopher Paolini: When I began writing, Eragon was me. Therefore, I could imagine how he felt, which made writing him easier. As the story progressed, Eragon fought Urgals, flew on dragonback, and experienced things I never will. He developed an identity apart from me, which is a good thing.

Angela the herbalist is inspired by my sister Angela, who knows the Latin names of all our local plants and who actually had a humorous argument with her uncle about whether toads are really frogs. Other characters are from my imagination. I try to understand their motives, so as to write them with greater empathy.

Literaturschock: What do you think, the Gedwey Ignasia lookes like?

Christopher Paolini: The mark on Eragon’s hand looks like a silvery-white circular scar. It means that he has been touched by and bonded with a dragon.

Literaturschock: Which books was your favourites before you wrote ERAGON?

Christopher Paolini: Our house is filled with books. My parents read to my sister and me daily, when we were little. Trips to the town public library were a weekly ritual when I was growing up. As soon as we learned to read, we would bring home stacks of library books and read them on our own.

I read a huge amount of folklore while growing up, which ranged from the Brothers Grimm to Beowulf and the Aeneid. One book I really loved was Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher, by Bruce Coville—it directly inspired Eragon. I also enjoyed the work of David Eddings, Andre Norton, Brian Jacques, Jane Yolen, Anne McCaffrey, Raymond E. Feist, E.R. Eddison, J.R.R. Tolkien, Mervyn Peake, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Frank Herbert. All of these have shaped and influenced my writing.

Literaturschock: Would you like to be a dragon rider?

Christopher Paolini: On one hand, of course! Who wouldn’t want to soar above the mountains on dragonback! On the other hand, feeding a dragon would be a problem. And I’m glad that I live in a world with modern medicine and natural laws that aren’t subject to the whim of magicians.

Literaturschock: Which subject do you like most at school?

Christopher Paolini: I’m no longer in school, although I do read widely and listen to college courses on tape and CD . One of my favorite activities in school was reading, also writing poems and short stories.

Literaturschock: What are your hobbys?

Christopher Paolini: My hobbies include practicing yoga, weightlifting, drawing and painting, whittling, making knives and chainmail, reading, watching movies, and hiking. The Beartooth Mountains pierce the sky on one side of the Paradise Valley, where I live, so I always have a great view when I walk. Lately, however, I've been working night and day to complete Eldest, Book II of the Inheritance trilogy. I'm writing the final chapter now.

Literaturschock: What do you think are you going to do in 10 years?

Christopher Paolini: Once the trilogy is completed, I plan to take a break and catch up on some reading, then launch into one of the numerous other stories I've outlined.

Literaturschock: Whould you be so kind and tell us more about the new book?

Christopher Paolini: Eldest will continue the adventures of Eragon and Saphira in the land of Alagaesia. Readers will learn more about Eragon's cousin Roran, and discover secrets of the elves and dwarves. Eldest will be published in the United States in the fall of 2005.

Literaturschock: Thank you very much for your time, Mr Paolini! Many greetings from Germany!

Das Interview wurde von Maria Scherrer für Literaturschock geführt

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