Burton Barr Library hosts book signing with the author of the Inheritance Cycle series

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Christopher Paolini, 28-year-old author of the Inheritance Cycle, signed books at the Burton Barr Central Library in downtown Phoenix. (Preston Sotelo/DD)

Running onstage to a roar of applause, Christopher Paolini, 28, greeted his fans with all the flair of a rock star. Paolini, author of the best-selling Inheritance Cycle visited the Burton Barr Central Library in Downtown Phoenix on Saturday as part of a nationwide book tour to promote his latest book, Inheritance.

The event was organized by Changing Hands, a local, independent bookstore in Tempe. Changing Hands issued free tickets to the event and gave customers who purchased a copy of Inheritance through the store priority in getting books signed by Paolini.

The crowd that came to see Paolini filled the second floor of the library and featured fans young and old alike. Paolini spoke to his fans about beginning his writing career, starting from when he visited the library on his own for the first time as a child and became entranced by a series of mystery novels.

“It was like a switch was flipped on my head,” Paolini said.

He spoke of his life as a home-schooled child and how it led to his early graduation from high school. In the ensuing boredom, he said he filled his time by doing what he loved the most: writing.

“I tried to have fun while writing (my first book) because I figured that if I had fun, the readers would have fun as well,” he said.

Paolini began to write his first book, Eragon, when he was 15 years old. He confessed to the crowd that his first manuscript of the book was “horrible.” Paolini revealed that he initially had a different name for the protagonist. “In the first draft of Eragon, Eragon wasn’t named Eragon. He was named Kevin,” Paolini said. “Now if your name is Kevin, it’s a great name, but I don’t think the books would have been half as popular if they were about the adventures of the great Dragon Rider Kevin.”

Paolini also talked about how it was a particular period of boredom that spurred him to fill his time doing what he loved. He encouraged his audience to find what it was that they loved to do in their spare time and make a career out of it.

He also expressed his gratitude to all those who had come to show their support and love for his books and the characters he created.

Paolini also read excerpts from each of his four books, citing the sentence “Die puny human!” as his absolute favorite in the entire series. “Only in fantasy can you write lines like that,” he said.

Paolini also spoke about his next projects and announced that he was at work on a fifth book that would continue the story of Eragon, the young dragon rider who is the protagonist of Paolini’s books. “I left backdoors in all my books that could be used as material for new stories,” Paolini said.

Paolini also responded to a fan question about a possible reboot of the Eragon movie that would be more true to the books. Paolini hinted that the official announcement would be soon, but for now he could say no more. He ended his time on stage with the same energy and enthusiasm as before, with a cartwheel along the length of the stage.

Haley Starr, 18, had driven from Ash Fork, Ariz., with her mother to meet Paolini. “I loved getting to ask Paolini my questions,” she said. “I’ll be faithful (to the series) to the very end.”

Contact the reporter psotelo@asu.edu