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INTERVIEW WITH BRANDON SANDERSON Edit
1 August 2011
SciFi.bg speaks with a world-known writer. The creator of "Mistborn" tells his Bulgaian fans more about himself and his work.
Brandon Sanderson is a fantasy writer of top class. He’s relatively young for his fame – only 36 years old, he’s already known for his "Mistborn" book series. The word of his success reaches Harriet McDougal, the wife and editor of the late Roberd Jordan, author of the "Wheel of Time" book series. His widow choses Sanderson to finish the work of Jordan. In 2009 Sanderson announces that he accepts the challenge and will finish the saga in 3 additional books, but will remain faithful to the plans of the original author. 2 are already on the market and the last book has yet to come.
SciFi.bg spoke with the writer and told him, that he has many fans in Bulgaria. Brandon himself, as a fan of the genre, knows how they feel and decided to please his readers with an interview, where he’d thank them, reveal more about himself and his future projects.
We’re releasing the original text of the interview due to the high interest from Brandon Sanderson’s fans abroad.
What inspired you to become an author and what is your muse?
In the eighth grade, I had an English teacher who pointed me toward Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly. That book changed my life. When I first read it, I was amazed–I had no idea books like that existed. It engaged my imagination like no other book ever had, and it even helped me understand my own mother better, because the main character’s conflicts gave me a perspective on what my mother went through when she chose to focus on her family rather than her career. The book was creative, it was fun, yet it helped me understand life. At that point I started reading every fantasy book I could get my hands on, including Robert Jordan’s first Wheel of Time book, The Eye of the World, when it came out in paperback. I was hooked, and as I read more and more books, my grades went up in school–I went from a low-end average student to someone who got top grades.
It didn’t take reading many fantasy books before I decided writing them was what I wanted to do with my life. I started my first book when I was fifteen. It was horrible, but I just kept writing and writing until I actually got any good.
My ideas come from many different places, and all of my books combine ideas I came up with at different times. For example, I once ran into a fog bank while driving, and thought how it would be interesting to have a book set in a world of constant mist. But MISTBORN didn’t come together until at a different time I thought about a metal-based magic system, and another time was considering how I’d like to see a heist movie like Ocean’s Eleven done as a fantasy novel. I also picture cinematic images like a Mistborn flying through the mist with mistcloak tassels fluttering in the air. Eventually these ideas bouncing around in my head coalesce into interesting combinations, and I start writing.
What kind of literature do you prefer to read in your spare time and what is your favourite book?
Reading fantasy is what got me into writing fantasy, and that’s still what I prefer to read. But I do like novels and nonfiction in some other genres–Les Misérables is one of my favorite books of all time; I think Victor Hugo was a genius. But there are many authors from whom I’ll love one book and not be as blown away by their other novels. Here’s a sampling of single books I think are fantastic: A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge, Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly, Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay, and Sabriel by Garth Nix.
Can you relate to a character from your books?
To some extent, there are many characters from my books who can do things I think would be very cool to be able to do. But most of their personalities aren’t very much like my own. What I like to do all the time is write, and someone who sits in their house writing all day doesn’t make a very interesting character. In that respect, the narrator in the ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS books may be most like me, since he often talks about what it’s like to be a writer. But our experiences don’t match up at all. I see my characters as distinct individuals with their own experiences, hopes, and ways of thinking, all of which are often very different from my own.
Having in mind the success of the "Mistborn" series, can we expect another book with the same characters or in the same world?
The story of Vin and Elend is complete, and I’m very happy with what I was able to do in the end of THE HERO OF AGES. But the Mistborn world still has many tales to offer. There’s a new Mistborn book, THE ALLOY OF LAW, coming out in November, that follows events three hundred years after the original trilogy. It’s a bit different, but I hope readers enjoy it.
Is there a motion picture or TV series in the works based on one of your books/series and if not are you open to the idea of making one?
I think excellent movies or TV series could be made from many of my ideas. Dreamworks Animation optioned my ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS books a couple of years ago, but they eventually decided the project wasn’t right for animation. MISTBORN has been optioned by Paloppa Pictures, and there are several other properties of mine currently being looked at by Hollywood. I don’t know if an adaptation will ever eventually reach the screen, but I would welcome the opportunity for my stories to reach a wider audience.
"The Wheel of Time" fans couldn’t have expected a better author for the last 3 books of the series. Do you plan to finish the prequel trilogy which Robert Jordan (may his soul rest in peace) began with the novel "New Spring" once you are done with "The Wheel of Time"?
Whether the other prequels get written is up to Harriet, Robert Jordan’s widow and editor. Currently it doesn’t look like it is going to happen; we feel that letting A MEMORY OF LIGHT be the final Wheel of Time book that appears will be a sign of respect for Robert Jordan. In the case that Harriet does eventually feel the prequels are necessary, I will write them, but it would not be anytime soon.
How’s the writing of "A Memory of Light" coming along? Can you tell us something more about it?
I’m currently at the 34% mark on the first draft, and I plan to finish the draft before I go on tour in November for the release of THE ALLOY OF LAW. At that point the book will go into the editing stage, which will take several months. Harriet wants to make sure we take enough time polishing this book so it isn’t released with a lot of mistakes, and I agree with this choice. This is the final book; it has to be done right.
At the end of the "The Wheel of Time" series we expect an epic battle. We know that many will die and some will survive. Have you made the decision on who lives and who dies or has Mr. Jordan already made that choice for you? Was it hard to let go of characters that you have read about for the last two decades?
The ending itself was already written by Robert Jordan, and it is a fantastic ending. The notes that Robert Jordan left include a quite extensive list of what happens to each major character, and I’m writing their fates according to his wishes.
It will definitely be hard to know that when the final book comes out, we won’t be seeing any more of these characters who we have come to love since the first book came out. But it would have been much harder if we never got to see the end that Robert Jordan had planned. I’m honored to have had the chance to get inside the characters’ heads for a couple of years, though it’s still a bit sad for me that I don’t get to read a new Wheel of Time book at the same time everyone else does.
How much do you know about Bulgaria? Do you plan on paying us a visit in the future?
I would love to visit Bulgaria in the future. I’ll admit that my knowledge is somewhat lacking. My own studies in college focused on Asia, so I’m quite familiar with Asian languages and societies–I lived in Korea for two years and got a minor in Korean–but I’ve never studied your region of the world and don’t really know much about it at all. But I’m eager to visit. I’ve recently been trying to get to more places, specifically in Europe, and adding new locations to my tour dates. So maybe I’ll eventually be able to make it.
Would you tell something to your Bulgarian fans?
I’m very excited to have books being released in Bulgaria. It is an honor that people are willing to look at my fiction and give me a chance. I really do appreciate all of you out there reading my books and supporting me, and so I thank you very much. Any time you have questions, please feel free to email me through my website. I like to be available.
URL for interview: http://scifi.bg/statii/interview-with-brandon-sanderson/