Christopher Paolini: pow-leeni (literally means 'little Paul')
Christopher Paolini was born on November 17, 1983 in Southern California, and was raised (and still lives) in the Paradise Valley area of Montana. He was home-schooled by his parents, Kenneth Paolini and Talita Hodgkinson, through an accredited correspondence course at American School, Chicago, Illinois from which he graduated with his high school diploma at 15 years of age. He has one sister,
He says "I wouldn't have changed it. Something a lot of people don't realize is that in order to write a book, you have to have time. When I graduated from high school, I had time to just write. I think I had a wonderful childhoodmy parents put a lot of work into my sister and me, and it's all turned out for the best so far."
He began work on his debut novel Eragon (the first in what was initially intended to be a three volume series), when he was 15. When it was finished the family had the book printed by an on-demand printing company that they were connected with. Paolini toured over 135 schools and libraries to promote the book all while dressed in (according to a New York Times article) a "medieval costume of red shirt, billowy black pants, lace-up boots and a jaunty black cap". He also drew the maps for the first edition and created the cover art which features Saphira's eye.
Eragon slowly started to gain a cult following, but Paolini's big break came when he gave a speech at Carl Hiaasen's step-son's school. Hiaasen read the book and enjoyed it so much that he told his publisher, Knopf, about it. Knopf, (part of Random House) made an offer to Paolini for rights to the trilogy, which was accepted, and a hardcover edition of Eragon was published in August 2003. The original first editions are now collector's items.
Eragon debuted at #3 on the New York Times bestseller list, and quickly moved to #1 on the children's bestseller lists nationally, with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at #2.
In 2003 the 19 year old Paolini did a 16-city US tour; in early 2004 he toured Britain for the UK release of the book, then back to the USA for more tours.
At the time Paolini said "I'm still trying to get used to itbut I'm not sure if I really want to get used to it, because there's no guarantee it will last. It's been an extraordinary experience. Readers have fallen in love with the book, thousands of people are reading itI really can't ask for more as an author."
When asked if the Harry Potter books influenced him he says "I actually didn't read the Potter books until the fourth one came out, and by then I had already written Eragon," he recalls. "Of course, once I started, I devoured them. What Rowling has done is really wonderful."
He says that the top three authors who influenced him were Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. LeGuin and Raymond Feist (with Feist's novel Magician making a particularly strong impact).
Eldest was published in August 2005, and a movie based on Eragon was released in late 2006.
Alfred A Knopf Books for Young Readers published Brisingr, Book 3 of Paolini's Inheritance Series (following Eragon and Eldest) in both the UK and USA on Sept 20, 2008 (see press release below). The first US printing was of 2.5 million copies - the largest initial run ever for a Random House Children's Book. Brisinger is an old Norse word for fire pronounced BRIS-ing-gr. At that time there were more than 50 foreign-language licenses for Eragon alone, and together, Eragon and Eldest had sold more than twelve million copies worldwide.
The fourth and final book in the series, Inheritance, was published in Fall 2011.
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This biography was last updated on 04/03/2012.
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Two Essays by Christopher Paolini
Paolinis abiding love of fantasy and science fiction inspired him to begin
writing his debut novel, Eragon, when he graduated from high school at
15. Now 19, he lives with his family in Paradise Valley, Montana, where he is at
work on Eldest, the next volume in the Inheritance trilogy.
Writing is the heart and soul of my being. It is the means through which I bring my stories to life.
Eragon is the first novel in the Inheritance trilogy. I started this book when I was fifteen, after several failed attempts composing other stories. It has been an incredible learning experience, and not only in writing. The greatest lesson it taught me was that clear writing is a direct result of clear thinking. Without one you cannot have the other.
Eragon is an archetypal hero story, filled with exciting action, dangerous villains, and fantastic locations. There are dragons and elves, sword fights and unexpected revelations, and of course, a beautiful maiden who's more than capable of taking care of herself.
Within the pages of this book is a whole land, Alagaësia, for you explore. You may take fancy to Tronjheim, the city-mountain the dwarves have ...
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