Christopher Paolini (born November 17, 1983 in Southern California) is an American novelist. He is best known as the author of the Inheritance Cycle, which consists of the books Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, and a currently untitled fourth book. He lives in Paradise Valley, Montana, where he wrote his first book.
Christopher Paolini was raised in the Paradise Valley, Montana area. His family members include his parents, Kenneth Paolini and Talita Hodgkinson, and his sister, Angela Paolini. Home schooled for the duration of his education, Paolini graduated from high school at the age of 15 through a set of accredited correspondence courses from American School of Correspondence in Lansing, Illinois. Following graduation, he started his work on what would become the novel Eragon the first of a series, set in the mythical land of Alagaėsia.
In 2002, Eragon was published by Paolini International LLC, Paolini's parents' company. To promote the book, Paolini toured over 135 schools and libraries, discussing reading and writing, all the while dressed in "a medieval costume of red shirt, billowy black pants, lace-up boots, and a jaunty black cap." Paolini created the cover art for the first edition of Eragon, which featured Saphira's eye. He also drew the maps on the inside covers of his books.
In Summer 2002, the stepson of author Carl Hiaasen found Eragon in a bookstore and loved it, and Hiaasen brought it to the attention of his publisher, Alfred A. Knopf. Knopf subsequently made an offer to publish Eragon and the rest of the Inheritance cycle. The second edition of Eragon was published by Knopf in August 2003. At the age of nineteen, Paolini became a New York Times bestselling author. Eragon has since been adapted into a film of the same name.
Paolini's essay "It All Began with Books" was included in the April 2005 anthology Guys Write for Guys Read.
Eldest, the sequel to Eragon, was released August 23, 2005. The third book in the cycle, Brisingr, was released on September 20, 2008. Although the Inheritance Cycle was planned as a trilogy, the details for Brisingr had to be expanded to include a fourth book, that has yet to be titled.
To date, the Inheritance Cycle has sold more than 20 million copies.
Paolini's literary inspirations include the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, E. R. Eddison and the author of the epic poem Beowulf. Paolini said that Eragon was "specifically inspired" by the work of Bruce Coville. Other literary influences include David Eddings, Andre Norton, Brian Jacques, Anne McCaffrey, Raymond E. Feist, Mervyn Peake, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Frank Herbert. Other favorite authors include Jane Yolen, Philip Pullman, and Garth Nix.
Nature influences much of Paolini's writing. In an interview with Philip Pullman and Tamora Pierce, Paolini said that Paradise Valley, Montana is "one of the main sources" of his inspiration.
In the book Eldest, Paolini described his Elves as vegetarians. When asked about his own diet, Paolini answered, "No, I am not vegetarian, although I lean in that direction."
In the acknowledgments of Brisingr, Paolini acknowledged the influence of Leon and Hiroko Kapp's The Craft of the Japanese Sword for his description of the forging of Eragon's sword. Additionally, Paolini admitted he is a Doctor Who fan, which inspired his reference to the "lonely god" (the epithet given to the Doctor by the Face of Boe in the episode "New Earth").