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Interview with NY Times bestselling 'Mistborn' author Brandon Sanderson

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Wikipedia gives a helpful summary of Brandon's impressive writing career. "Sanderson published his first novel, Elantris, through Tor Books on April 21, 2005, to generally positive reviews. This was followed in 2006 by The Final Empire, the first book in his Mistborn fantasy trilogy, where “allomancers”, people who have the ability to ‘burn’ various metals and alloys after ingesting them can enhance senses and allow control over powerful supernatural forces. He followed up in 2007 with a sequel, The Well of Ascension.

Sanderson then released the children's novel Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians, about a boy named Alcatraz who has a unique gift: he’s very good at breaking things. He also has a group of evil librarians who are bent on taking over the world. In 2008 The Hero of Ages was published, and an Alcatraz sequel named Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones.

In 2009 Tor Books released Warbreaker, originally published on Sanderson’s website while writing the novel from 2006 to 2009. The same year a third Alcatraz book followed, titled Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia.

After Robert Jordan’s death in September 2007, Sanderson was selected by Harriet McDougal (Jordan’s widow) to complete the final book in Jordan’s epic fantasy series The Wheel of Time. McDougal asked him to complete the series after being deeply impressed by his first Mistborn novel. Tor Books made the announcement on December 7, 2007. After reviewing what needed to be done to wrap up the series, Sanderson and Tor announced on March 30, 2009 there would be a final three books instead of just one. The first of these, The Gathering Storm, was published October 27, 2009, and reached the number one spot on the New York Times bestseller list for hardcover fiction.

In 2010 Sanderson released the first novel in a planned ten-book series called The Stormlight Archive, titled The Way of Kings. It reached number seven on the New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list. Towers of Midnight, the second-to-last Wheel of Time book, was released just over a year after The Gathering Storm on November 2, 2010, also debuting at number one on the bestseller list. The fourth Alcatraz novel, Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens, was released a month later on December 1.

In October 2011, he released a novella ebook, Infinity Blade: Awakening, based on the action role-playing iOS video game Infinity Blade developed by Chair Entertainment and Epic Games. A stand alone sequel to the Mistborn trilogy, Mistborn: The Alloy of Law, was released in November 2011, where it debuted at #7 on the bestseller list.

On August 31, 2012, Sanderson released a science fiction novella entitled Legion. Another short work, The Emperor's Soul, was published in October 2012. A few months later, on January 8, 2013, A Memory of Light was published, the final book in The Wheel of Time series. On May 14, 2013 Sanderson published the first in a new young adult series, titled The Rithmatist. Another YA book series began with the publication of Steelheart on September 24, 2013."

I had the pleasure of meeting Brandon at a Mysterious Galaxy Books book signing. I am a huge fan of his Mistborn series. Brandon’s answers below are a transcription from audio he recorded specifically for this interview.

Tell us about your writing process.

I am an outliner. I like to have books with explosive endings, and to manage this—for me—I need to know what is going to happen in the story. I generally plot my books backward, starting my outline with the ending, then I work my way forward. When I write, I go the other direction.

Henry: Well, your technique works, even if it flips the Cheshire Cat's advice on its head. Keep it up, sir!

"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don't much care where," said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat. -- Alice in Wonderland

Click to read the complete interview at Henry Herz's blog on fantasy and science fiction books for kids.

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