The folks at io9.com have just posted a very nice interview with George R. R. Martin. Here's a teaser:
What I'm trying to get at is you've had these characters and places for 22 years, and that's a long time to live with a particular set of characters. So you haven't lost interest in any of those characters during that time?
You know, not really — because I haven't finished the story I want to tell. The story I set out to tell in 1991 is still not done. I think if I finally finish these seven books, or however many it takes, I will be tired of them. I will not necessarily be open to returning to tell more stories about the ones who survived. There you run into a Sherlock Holmes, Reichenbach Falls sort of thing, where "I'm sick of Sherlock Holmes, I never want to write any more stories about him." But I haven't even — but as many books as it is, as many words as it is, it's still one story. One story that's not finished yet. I want to finish telling that story. And then I'll worry about that. Now, I do get distracted by other stories. I'm prone to fall in love with ideas and fall in love with characters. So sometimes I'll be writing something else, working on something else. And it's a moment of infatuation. "Oh, boy, I wish I could —" But it's not a rejection of Ice and Fire so much as it's a brief period of love for a new idea, where suddenly it's in my head and I really want to write about these other people that I've just thought of. "Oh boy, that's interesting." I've given many interviews, and I've given my standard schtick about [dividing writers into] gardeners and architects, and how they approach material. I'm very much a gardener. And I don't know where this stuff comes from. I'm not a spiritual guy, I don't believe it comes from a muse. I'm not sure of all this left-brain, right-brain stuff, maybe it's something like that. It's coming from my mind, obviously, but it's not necessarily coming from my conscious, practical mind. It's like these ideas, these characters kind of bubble up inside me and one day they're not there and the next day they are there. They're alive and they're whispering in my head and all that stuff, and I want to write about those things. That's one the things, that to the extent that any writer's saying that a Muse [is inspiring] this, and I know it irritates my fans, some of my fans anyway, that I still work on Wild Cards or I still do other things. But I love it, man. I love doing different things.