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***** MISS EMERSON'S AT HOME *****

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THE LETTER COLUMN


The "At Home" instructions do say that I'll put letters up here; nevertheless, if anyone decides that they've changed their mind, or they don't want their letter posted, just let me know and I'll remove it. Ditto if you don't want your name attached.


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Just saw your web-page revisions, and greeted the news that you will be working on one of my favorite shows this year with a gladsome sound. (I got hooked on EE when it first premiered, and have been unable to give it up since...)

By the way, I am thoroughly tantalized by the descriptions of your Stephen Price stories, but am discouraged by the odds of finding one. Any suggestions? I like to read things in order, which may well be a handicap in this instance.

My best friend has found and lost her copy of "City of Diamond" while mine finally returned to me from the friend in law-school purgatory, leading me to wonder what the current prognosis is on its sequel. Any news on this yet? Also, is there any chance you will ever make an appearance in the Pacific Northwest? It's *much* nicer than southern CA...! :)

Well, that's it for now. Your greatest fan,

Molly


Doris here:

Hi, Molly, nice to virtually see you. So far there are only two Stephen Price stories out there, and the third fragment that's posted off my main page. I've had plans for a novel, Price of Folly, for a while now; notes have been accumulating, as has the army of early 1800s research that's taken over the bottom shelves of my bookcase.

But for the moment, the only Price loose in the universe is in Highwaymen, an anthology edited by Jennifer Roberson -- and that story, I should warn you, is a vignette. (There was a limit on word count. I said to Jennifer, "I have a hero who might do for this theme, but he's not the sort I can tell a story about in 5,000 words. Ten thousand, maybe." "Why don't you make it a vignette?" she suggested, and bought the finished piece with flattering swiftness. Thus leading to several of my friends saying to me, "What's up with this story, Egan? Where's the ending?" "It's a vignette, dammit." What's a vignette? A story that doesn't have an ending...)

There is another Price story in The Horns of Elfland, an anthology edited by Ellen Kushner -- Price is not the viewpoint character here, though. Which made it interesting for me; if Price lives in a universe that's a cross between Robert Louis Stevenson and John Le Carre, here is where it intersects with Jane Austen. But he's not always onstage.

Amazon claims to be able to supply both these stories (though there's a wait on Horns), so that should bring you up to date. I believe the Horns story comes first, chronologically, but the novel, should it ever be finished, would precede both of them.

(By the way, Price has a walk-on role in Andre Norton and Rosemary Edghill's Shadow of Albion, a James Bondian romp through an alternate-universe Napoleonic Europe. Spies will congregate.)

The sequel to City of Diamond is on hold for the time being. It's not out of the game, but I don't want to lead people to expect it when I'm working on several other projects right now. I have another novel in the works, and then there's the Stephen Price one (or two, or three), and there are scripts to think about, too. It's times like this that I think longingly of cloning.


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Having just stumbled across your web-page today, I must add my voice to those you have posted on your letters page. I have just about worn out my copies of your Ivory books with readings upon readings. Your presentation of Theodora's drive for narrative closure and explanations continues to thrill me. The paragraph at the end of Two-Bit Heroes, about the little girl on the side of the road whose future Theo will never know pops into my head whenever I think of beautiful writing, as does the conclusion of Gate of Ivory, especially Theo's explanation of her moral evolution/shift on Ivory, when she asks herself, "Is it a good thing or a bad thing. And the answer is yes."

I have not explored the limits and edges of your website yet, but I do have a question, if you have the time and inclination to answer it (and it is not somewhere already on your site)--which cultures does your Ivoran creation draw from? I am woefully unfamiliar with the many aspects of so many different cultures; I thought I saw China and India, and maybe the Middle East, but I am not sure how it falls down, if you will. Like Theo, I certainly could learn to live in my body more than I do. Here in the land of academia (I am a MFA student) any sort of mental calm seems farther and farther away . . . .

Thank you so much for such lovely and dynamic writing. (If I'd read more works with the thoughtfulness and relevance of yours, I might still read sci-fi today. ah well.)

Best Wishes,
Emma Aprile


Doris here:

Ah, yes, the drive for narrative closure. I keep looking for it in my own life, too.

I did draw on a number of sources to create Ivoran society; for instance, some of the customs surrounding women were from anecdotes an anthropologist I know used to tell of her time in the Mideast; and readers familiar with the Chinese classic The Water-Margin Book (known best here in the West from Pearl Buck's wonderful translation, All Men Are Brothers) will recognize the outlaw life of Two-Bit Heroes. The noble houses described in Guilt-Edged Ivory owe something to that other Chinese classic, The Dream of the Red Chamber (I recommend Hawkes's translation, The Story of the Stone); and the book as a whole took some inspiration from Dashiell Hammett (and from the traditional genre of the British houseparty mystery -- strange how all these sources come together).

And of course, a great deal of it I just made up. That's the beauty of creating your own society.

Thank you for your kind words.


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Doris again:

Many of the first round of letters inquired about whether there would be a sequel to City of Diamond. I still get those; but I think you'll see in this later batch a, shall we say, pattern.


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Hi! It all began several years ago, when a good friend said to me.. "I have this book I think you might like.." Needless to say, he never got "The Gate of Ivory" back. The rest you might say, is history. We even ran an Ivorian RPG campaign, for which I created an Ivorian Tarot deck, (I believe it now lives in New Mexico, if it lives at all). And I re-read the Ivory trilogy, for about the twentieth? time, a few weeks ago. I sighed sadly, because there were no more. I lamented to friends ... alas, where has Ms. Egan gone? If only, if only...

Then, this evening, I received good news. She has not disappeared... She only changed her name! Hurray! I don't know why I couldn't find you before, but I have now! I just visited your site. It was great fun, (love the racoons!) I have made a mental note to RUN to the nearest bookstore First Thing tomorrow to pick up "City of Diamond".... Well, I've taken enough of your time. Have a great weekend! And good luck with all future endeavors... the fans are out there, waiting for more!

Angela


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I am a devoted fan of Ms. Egan's Ivory books and I am dying to hear more about Theodora, Ran and Co. Does she have plans to write any further adventures? Please don't leave me and the many others I've introduced to the series dangling like this!

Many thanks!

Gladys Akbari


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Hi: I've just stumbled onto your web page. The racoons caused me to almost wet my pants laughing. I've got racoon problems in my back yard at present. Someone was nice enough to give me your three Ivory novels for x-mas. It took exactly 2 days for me to devour them. So now for the question that you're probably sick of: is there a fourth novel coming any time soon (or any time at all for that matter)?

Melinda.


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Dear Ms. Egan/Emerson, I am very disapointed to here about the possiblity that there may be no more ivory novels. Ever since I discovred them several years ago, Ivory has been a constant retreat in times of literary disaster. The series has accompanied me on many of my worldly travels, and will continue to do so for years to come. I realize that a busy schedule does not always allow travel to all the worlds in ones mind, but please consider that there are those of us in the world who would love to hear about Ran and Theodora's fated offspring and Streth's plans for world take over (Kylla can't have a affair with him can she??). I am currently writing from a cafe in michigan, my e-mail address is green@sojourn.com and can generally, on a good day be reached there.

thank you!

Jessamy Green-Husted


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Hello,

I've always wondered what had happened to Doris Egan, the author of one of my favorite series, the Ivory books. Always when I'm in a bookstore (at least a couple of times a week) I check through the E's looking and hoping that another Ivory book might appear. Alas, this was not to be... And I'd wait and hope to see if not Ivory, than something other by the esteemed D. Egan... but time after time my searching eye discovered naught and I would continue my search through the rest of the SF and Fantasy section.

Happy day!!! As luck would have it, I some months ago joined the Liad email list. A list devoted to the books by Steven Miller and Sharon Lee, and actually run and actively participated in by Themselves -- yet another set of authors whose new works I've pined for. And, it being no more than whim and wistfulness, and the fact I'd picked up an extra copy of THE GATE OF IVORY at a used book store (to give to a deserving person) which was sitting on my computer desk --- I asked the list, what news.... what news has any of that teller of tales, that spinner of story, that paragon of the written word, Doris Egan...

And Lo!!! Sharon Lee said that Doris Egan was Jane Emerson, and had books by that name. I at once popped into a bookstore and cried for an author search...

And on the Liad list when I got home, someone posted they had just finished rereading their set of Ivory books and did I know about your website....

Oooooooo! And I did the dance of joy, alarming my seven cats and one boyfriend. So here is my letter and a mention of my quest for more Doris Egan. I want more Ivory. Please. Pretty, pretty please. They are a joy to read. So I read them. At least once a year since the first came out. I only do that with a few very favorite series-- the Liad Novels, the Anita Blake novels (by Laurell K. Hamilton) -- I have other favorites, but they don't get reread as often... too many things to do, so little time... sigh. But I always have time in the year for Ivory.

So if there is any hope of another Ivory novel. PLEASE let me know. I've run across some of you other fiction, not knowing it was you, and loved it :) -- In the Horns of Elfland, your short was one that I really liked. I shall have to find that other short that was related to it.

I hope to see much more of your work (Ivory or no) and am all joy to have found one of my favorite writers again.

Yours with thanks,
Mooncat

sigh... I really miss Ran and Theodora!


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Hi Jane, How wonderful to find an address to 'write' to you. I have loved your Ivory books for years. I, after having tried to find more of your work, gave up and now just cast loving glances at the three books I do have as they sit on my shelf. I won't nag at you to write more, appreciating what you already have is important but it is nice to be able to tell you how much enjoyment I have had from them over the many times I have read and reread them. If, one day you do write more as Doris Egan, I, along with many others, my daughter included, will be delighted. I will try your other books as Jane Emerson now that I know about them.

I hope all is well with you,

Yours

Rose Brunette.


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Greetings,

It's funny, I just finished re-reading The Gate of Ivory for the umpteenth time and I wondered, hmm...i wonder if there's any info about Doris Egan on the web. My webferret found your page right away! You have a Geocities site too, I see. Its nice to be able thank you for your wonderfull story. I have Guilt-edged Ivory too but have been trying to find the middle book for the past few years before reading it...*sigh*...I see now that it is out of print. I hope DAW re-issues it soon.

I am a graphic artist with a very SF slant to my work, please feel free to visit my Geocities Gallery of my work...I would hope to return some of the pleasure I recieve from reading your novel.

Warmest Regards, James Maier ( aka Carbon111)
http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Studios/7411/
http://www.fortunecity.com/tattooine/apollo/86/index.html

[NOTE from Doris: James's site is a treasure trove. I've been using one of his pictures as my Windows wallpaper for weeks now.]


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Jane/Doris here:


All these requests for more Ivory books, seven years after they were published, have taken me a little by surprise. (A happy surprise, I hasten to add.)

As some of you know, I've talked a little here about what my plans would be for a fourth Ivory book. They're easy books to write -- quite a pleasure, in fact. But the truth is, DAW is not presently interested in going on with the Ivory series; and other publishers are usually not eager to take on series that a previous publisher began. And for the next couple of years, I'm going to have my hands full. Aside from the looming threat of the Cities books, there are at least two other novels I really want to write; and then there are the TV scripts. I love having projects ahead of me, and I really love making a living at something I'd show up to do anyway (er, let's keep that between us). But things are going to be busy for a while.

I'd like to think there'll be another Ivory book or two, one day, just the same. Meanwhile, the adventures continue.


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Previous Letters:

Hello. I read CITY OF DIAMOND almost a year ago and loved it. The story can't just end. I've heard that there might be a sequel (CITY OF OPAL?) and wondered if and when it would be available. Please keep writing - it's a great pleasure to discover an author who can create a whole new world for readers to enjoy.

Thank you for hours of entertainment.

Nicole Pinder

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Hi!

I was pleasantly surprised when I found your page on the web. Really everything and everyone is on the web these days. Just wanted to say hello and that I've been following your books since '92. I've been sorry to see no more new books on Ivory since the third book ended on a bit of a cliffhanger. Do you think we'll ever see a fourth book?

Please let me compliment you on your writing and your characters, both have lent pleasure to my existence.

Sincerely,
s.tan

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I just finished reading City of Diamond a few days ago....what a delightful novel it was. The first thing I did was check out a couple of local bookstores to see if I could find anything else by Jane Emerson...and no such luck. Or anything on/about Jane Emerson, also no such luck. Then I decided to check out the Web, and discovered your Web site. Wonderful, now I have a list of books to look out for, and "two" authors to look out for! (Why the pen name(s)?)

I'm afraid I don't have an E-Mail address yet (I'm using my Grandsons AOL account to send this to you), so there is really no way to answer this directly to me, but I'm sure it's a question a lot of your readers would like to know the answer to...will there be additional novels following City of Diamond? Such a delightful universe would be wasted on only a single work.

On the review quote...I wouldn't have said Heinlein and Heyer, instead I would say James Blish and Dumas. Blish because of his Cities in Space novels and Dumas, well, because of the action, play between the characters, the wheels within wheels plotting.

Thank you again for the delightful read, looking foward to other of your books. (Nice Web page setup too...)

Dwain Kaiser




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Home
© Doris Egan
September 28, 1997
Updated: June 13, 1999