Called the "American J R R Tolkien" by Time magazine, fantasy writer George R.R. Martin says he really writes about the human heart.
His Song of Ice and Fire – better-known as Game of Thrones in its TV incarnation – is his take on fantasy, combining his imagined world of Westeros with the sex, violence and gritty realism of real history.
He talked to CBC News about how he manages the demands for "instant gratification" among fans and why Tyrion is the character he would most like to have dinner with.
The New Jersey-raised writer says he sometimes turns to his Swedish fan site to keep track of the history of each of his numerous characters in the world he's created.
In an interview with CBC’s Q cultural affairs show, he talks about discovering J.R.R. Tolkien as a young reader and the agony of waiting for a second book in the Lord of the Rings series.
Now his own fans have devoured his fifth book, A Dance with Dragons, and are anxiously awaiting the next installment, The Winds of Winter. While they wait, the second season of Game of Thrones will debut April 1.