CHRISTOPHER PAOLINI was born on November 17, 1983 in Southern California. Aside from a few years in Anchorage, Alaska, he spent his entire life in Paradise Valley, Montana, where he still lives with his parents and younger sister, Angela. They have two pets, Otis, a black and white cat, and Annie, a frisky cocker/Australian shepherd mix.
Tall, jagged Beartooth Mountains rise on one side of the Paradise Valley. Snowcapped most of the year, they inspired the fantastic scenery in Eragon. A few years ago, Paolini hiked to the top of one peak and could see the Grand Teton mountain range, 100 miles to the south.
Paolini was homeschooled by his parents. He often wrote short stories and poems in an attempt to put his thoughts into words. He made frequent trips to the library and read widely. Some of his favorite books were Bruce Coville's Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher, Frank Herbert's Dune, Raymond E. Feist's Magician, and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials, as well as books by Anne McCaffrey, Jane Yolen, Brian Jacques, E. R. Eddison, David Eddings, and Ursula Le Guin.
Paolini grew up listening to a variety of music, but classical music fired his imagination and helped him write. He often listened to Mahler, Beethoven, and Wagner while writing Eragon. The final battle of Eragon was written while listening to "Carmina Burana," by Carl Orff.
The story of Eragon began as the daydreams of a teen. Paolini's love for the magic of stories led him to craft a novel that he would enjoy reading. The project began as a hobby; he never intended to be published. He took a month to plot out the entire trilogy, then sat on the sofa and began writing in a notebook. When he reached sixty pages, he gained enough confidence to transfer his work to his Macintosh computer, where most of Eragon was written, although he sometimes found that the story flowed better when he wrote by hand. All the characters in Eragon are from Paolini's imagination except Angela the herbalist, who is loosely based on his sister.
It took him a year to write the first draft of Eragon. He took a second year to revise the book and then gave it to his parents to read. The family decided to self-publish the book and so a third year was spent with another round of edits, designing a cover, typesetting the manuscript, and creating marketing materials. During this time Paolini drew the map for Eragon, as well as the dragon eye that appears inside the hardcover edition. Finally, the manuscript was sent to press, and the first books arrived.