Exclusive Interview with Fantasy Author, Brandon Sanderson!

November 12, 2013 Interviews 0

A few weeks ago, I was contemplating the book releases of the week and I decided, let’s just get them all. One of them was Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart. When I got the book, I did a little research on Brandon and found out that he is the author of many, many books and I’m embarrassed to admit that it took some time for me to discover this.

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I read Steelheart and I absolutely loved it. It blew my mind, because it was such a new concept. Superheroes who use their abilities to gain power, and use it against those who don’t have powers. Its incredible. I’m excited to dive into his other novels, which have more of a fantasy feel than this book does. But we all know that’s a good thing for me.

Brandon is most notable for his Mistborn series, but also has about a dozen other fantasy books just ready for my perusal.

I am honored and SO excited to share this interview with you! Brandon was just around the country for his book tour, promoting Steelheart, and I’m so grateful he took the time out of his busy schedule to sit down and talk about books and writing, and all of that with us.

So enjoy!

Sara: What can you tell us about your new book and what can we expect from it? 

Brandon: Steelheart may not be what you expect to see from me because I’ve primarily released epic fantasy so far. As a writer, one of my main goals is to always be trying new things to advance my writing skill and to make sure that you have a varied experience reading my books. If you’ve enjoyed my books, particularly ones likeMistborn, and you pick up this, you’ll find lots of things to love. But you’ll also find some new things. Steelheart is an action-adventure thrill ride. I wrote it to be exciting, fast-paced, and fun. It is my experiment with dabbling more in science fiction than fantasy, and dealing with some of the current tropes in action movies, particularly some of the superhero tropes. In the end, however, it is very much a Brandon Sanderson novel.

The hardest part about doing a sequel is this: yes, it’s new, but it’s also familiar, and there’s a part of me that says, “I don’t want to do that. I want to do something completely different.” However, it’s important to have the discipline to say, “No, you promised your readers that you were going to finish this!” Beyond that, there are certain themes, characters, and stories that you can only explore by doing something that’s more long-form, like a series. As a reader, I prefer to read series, but as a writer sometimes it’s hard to make myself do the familiar instead of something brand-new.

Sara: What book is easier to write: the first book, or the second book? Why? 

Brandon: Here’s something about the way I work. New projects excite me. In fact, I’m often dangling the new project in front of myself as an incentive to finish my current project, saying, “When you get this book done, and it’s done right and it’s awesome, you get to go do something new.” It’s part of what I like about my job, always being able to do something new. It keeps me productive as a writer.

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The hardest part about doing a sequel is this: yes, it’s new, but it’s also familiar, and there’s a part of me that says, “I don’t want to do that. I want to do something completely different.” However, it’s important to have the discipline to say, “No, you promised your readers that you were going to finish this!” Beyond that, there are certain themes, characters, and stories that you can only explore by doing something that’s more long-form, like a series. As a reader, I prefer to read series, but as a writer sometimes it’s hard to make myself do the familiar instead of something brand-new.

Sara: What advice do you give to aspiring novelists? 

Brandon: Practice. Don’t worry about anything other than finding time to write–then spend that time on your stories. Publishing shouldn’t worry you; nothing should. Just practice.

Sara: Where does your inspiration come from? 

Brandon: Any given book for me has more than one inception point, which makes it hard for me to discuss where the ideas come from. Books come from a lot of cool ideas bouncing around in my head until some of them stick together.

Sara: Did you always want to be a writer, or did you have other career aspirations? 

Brandon: No, I haven’t always wanted to write. Unlike a lot of writers, I was not born as a novelist, and I wasn’t writing as a kid. I actually didn’t like books until I was a teenager. My eighth grade teacher, Mrs. Reader, gave me a fantasy novel, and it was in fantasy novels in which I discovered myself and came to love the idea of storytelling. That’s when I decided I wanted to be a writer. I was fifteen, but I had no idea how to write. I just jumped into it and started practicing. I think that’s the best way for someone to become a writer–you’re a writer if you write. If you sit down and say, “I’m going to be a writer!” and you start writing, working on your fiction, you’re a writer! If you want to break into publishing, the best thing to do is to practice your craft.

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Sara: What are some of your favorite activities outside of writing? 

Brandon: Most of my free time right now is consumed by playing with my three little boys, ages five, three, and less than a year. They are a handful, but also a delight. When I have a spare moment, my nerd obsession is the card game Magic: The Gathering.

Sara: What are some books, or who are some authors, that you enjoy reading? 

Brandon: Terry Pratchett is brilliant, and I buy everything that he writes. If you haven’t read him, you really need to do yourself a favor and pick him up. I also have to mention Guy Gavriel Kay. He’s one of the great writers of the genre, and he’s amazing. His writing is beautiful, interesting, fun, and exciting, but also lyrical.

Sara: Bonus question, I ask all of my interviewees: who is your fictional crushes? 

Brandon: Wow. Probably I would have to go back to being a high schooler, which is the last time I would feel that the word “crush” applied to what I felt, and I would say Sioned from Melanie Rawn’s Dragon Prince. I was totally into that woman. She was awesome.

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I hope you all enjoyed this interview with Brandon Sanderson. Do not forget to check out my review of Steelheart, and don’t forget to check out Brandon’s website to learn more about him, and his epic fantasy books. He is definitely an author you should be checking out and I hope this interview made you curious about Brandon and his books!

Thank you Brandon for doing this interview!

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