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Quick question, years ago 2011 or '12 I was in Draper, Utah for training (army). There was a trainer there named skarstead (spelling maybe different ). He said he was in a writing group with you and you named Skar (Stormlight Archive) after him. Is this true?
That would be Ethan. He's still in my writing group, and Skar is indeed based on him. Ethan is one of my best friends, to this day, and a hell of a person.
Are any of the characters in your books strongly influenced by people you know in real life? Would you be able to share a few if so?
Sure! Most are cameos. Many people in Bridge Four are based on friends/family members. Skar, Peet, Drehy, Bisig, Yake, and a few others are friends or family.
Sarene was loosely based on a friend of mine from college.
Would you be willing to confirm if Skar is a proto-Radiant (on the same level as The Lopen?)
It is implied by his statement of "We protect those who cannot protect themselves", which is obviously an affirmation of the oath, if not an outright swearing of it. I could see it being either/or. He's a good man that did what he thought the order, and he himself, wanted or he just became a Radiant on the same level as Kaladin during the Battle of the Tower.
Thanks for your time. I understand if you can't/won't answer that at this time. It's simply a curiosity, so I get it if you're a bit too busy to answer. :p
By the end of Book Three, I'd put Skar very close to (though not quite at the level of) Lopen along the way toward full Radiant-hood.