Friday, May 11, 2012

Brandon Sanderson Interview

Have I mentioned before how much I really enjoy Brandon Sanderson's books? Even if I have, I'm going to mention it again. I really enjoy Brandon Sanderson's books.

He writes fantasy novels, but they're wholly original fantasy books--no dwarfs, dragons, elves, or orcs. Not that those types of books are bad, I just think they're stereotypical. And with the exception of Tolkien, I've never been interested in reading them. Sanderson's books on the other hand are packed full of action, his characters are very well developed, his dialogue is witty and humorous, and there's always a system of magic present that blows me away with its originality.  

His books are New York Times bestsellers and what is probably the biggest testament to his writing abilities . . . he was selected to finish Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series following the author's death. One day I need to read those.

Here's a brief interview with the author.

The first time I went to one of your book signings, it was for your second book Mistborn and I was able to walk right up to the table and get my book signed. I think it took about two minutes total. The last time I made it to one of your signings it was for The Way of Kings, and it was a zoo at the bookstore. How much of the increase in your popularity do you attribute to your opportunity to finish Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series and how much is because your own books have increased in popularity?

First of all, thank you for coming to one of my signings in the early days where I had to try to convince people to come over and let me tell them about my books! I really appreciate people like you who stopped by. As for your question, it's honestly hard to separate which sales come from my Wheel of Time involvement and which sales come from my other books.

However, I did get two huge boosts in sales. When the announcement was made that I would be finishing The Wheel of Time, all of my books jumped up to having 'first week' sales again. Most entertainment mediums follow the same slope. Huge first week sales, then a tapering off on a steady curve. (Sleeper hits and new books by first time authors don't follow this.)

When The Gathering Storm came out, I got another big boost, which was again a kind of 'First week' sales thing--though in that case, the bigger boost came around Christmas. It seemed that people bought Gathering Storm, read it, thought about it, then asked for one of my books for Christmas.

In the long run, it's going to be very hard--as I said--to separate how many readers tried me out because of the Wheel of Time. As books take on lives of their own (as Mistborn did) they gain a readership through word of mouth. However, how much of that 'taking on a life of its own' happened because of the initial WoT boosts?

I've read interviews with you where you've mentioned the numerous books that you have yet to write. By the sound of it, the next twenty years of your writing career sound mapped out already. Is that the way you see it?

I have more ideas than I could ever find the time to write about and I'll always have random side projects here and there that aren't necessarily planned, to keep me fresh, but for the most part, I have my future books planned out. I wrote a blog post about it awhile back that explains things in more detail (a few things have changed since I wrote it, but not too much.) Here is a link if you haven't seen it.

Do you devote all of your writing time to the current book you're working on? If not, how much time do spend on books that won't be coming out for years to come either outlining, world-building, or even writing them?

Because I'm trying hard to finish The wheel of Time right now, all of my writing time is spent on that. However, at other times I might be writing one book, revising another book and brainstorm a third. As a writer I'm essentially always writing or thinking about writing pretty much all of the time.

I first heard about Patrick Rothfuss's Kingkiller Chronicles series from one of your blog posts and absolutely love it. Are there other writers or books that you think are flying under the radar that you'd recommend?

Some of my favorite authors are Anne Mcaffery (If you haven’t read her books I don’t know why you’re reading mine. You need to go and read her’s immediately!) I like Guy Gavriel Kay’s works quite a bit. Tigana is a wonderful work. Melanie Rawn is a great author, I especially like her epic fantasy, I haven’t read her urban fantasy but Dragon Prince is one of my favorite books of all time. And Terry Pratchett (start with the books in the middle of his career, not the beginning because his books get better and better as he goes along.)

On your website, the completion status for the next book in the Stormlight series has been stuck on 0% for too long in my opinion. When do plan to get it written? And is there any hopes that Michael Whelan will do the cover?

I plan to jump right into the next book in the Stormlight Archive series as soon as I finish up with The Wheel of Time. I feel extremely honored that Michael Whelan came out of semi-retirement to do the first cover so I can't rightly expect him to paint the next one but we'll just have to see what happens. It was a dream come true to have him do the cover of one of my books.

Thanks so much for your time.


  1. Nice interview. Short, sweet and very interesting. It gives me inspiration and encouragement for my own writing. Thanks

  2. How'd you get him to do this?

  3. It was remarkably easy - I emailed him. I asked if he'd be willing to answer a few questions and let me post the responses and he agreed. So I sent them and he responded remarkably quickly. I've done the same thing with the other interviews on here. But there have also been some authors who never responded to me. Apparently Stephen King has better things to do or something.