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Skyward Houston signing ()
#2 Copy


Did you always envision the way that Legion ended?

Brandon Sanderson

No, I did not. That is one I worked out-- I didn't have an ending in mind for Legion when I started. So when I sat down and said, "What ending am I going to write?" This is the one that evolved out of that, but that one was more-- I outlined the story, but it was more of a discovery written ending.


It was fascinating. I loved it, but I was really surprised.

Brandon Sanderson

It is perhaps one of the oddest things I've done.

Subterranean Press Interview ()
#5 Copy

Gwenda Bond

You've talked a bit elsewhere about how this is some of the most personal storytelling you've done. What do you think you've discovered or uncovered through exploring mental health and the mind through the story of Stephen Leeds? 

Brandon Sanderson

I am often quite certain I know (in general) what a reader's reaction will be when I release a story.  That's part of my job—to create something that produces an emotional response. Art is the act of inspiring emotion. Once in a while, however, I do something for the emotion it inspires in me, with less regard for how I think it will be received. Of course, usually these two are one and the same—the emotion it gives me will be the emotion most readers will feel.

This story is different. It is partially about mental health, yes, but it's also about the voice of a storyteller finding balance between all the voices crying for his attention.  It's about the unwritten stories.

You see, as a young writer, I never worried if I'd have time to get to all the stories I wanted to tell. I was far more focused on whether or not I'd even have a career. I wrote assuming that if a story didn't work now, I'd eventually find a place for it. But as I've grown older, the realities of aging have begun to whisper to me that I need to stay focused—that if I want to complete my life's work, some other stories will simply have to be abandoned. That has been a hard realization. I don't know if anyone else will see that meaning in this story, or how this even relates—but it is certainly part of Lies of the Beholder for me. That's the part I say is very personal, but which means it's more difficult to gauge how readers will respond—because so much of this is a very individual story.  

Orem Signing ()
#6 Copy


What's the most personal thing you've ever written?

Brandon Sanderson

Probably the third Legion story. Which is an odd answer, not as many people have read that, but that's the one I would give. If you ever get to that one, and you get to the third one, you may understand why.

Subterranean Press Interview ()
#7 Copy

Gwenda Bond

Lies of the Beholder finds Stephen Leeds in a more precarious place—psychologically and otherwise—than we've ever seen him. What are the challenges of writing a character like this with so many aspects? Was this a difficult story to write?

Brandon Sanderson

This was a very difficult story to write, but not because of all the aspects. They've always made the story easier, not harder. Being able to take an individual's personality and split it into various themes and ideas...well, that was fun, and helped me understand him a great deal.

The challenge of this story was finding myself wanting to explore the more philosophical and conceptual side of what it means to be Stephen Leeds—and why I related to him specifically as a character. I had to decide if I wanted this ending to be like the other two novellas—pretty straightforward detective mysteries—or if I'd let myself go off into something more conceptual.

In the end, I went more conceptual, which I felt was appropriate to ending this series. However, it does mean this story was a challenge in that I was dealing with some heady themes while trying to do justice to the actual mystery. I'm not 100% sure if those two ever ended up balancing right, but I do think this was the correct way to go with the ending.

Oathbringer release party ()
#10 Copy


Why do you decide to do more series like Apocalypse Guard or the Secret Project [Skyward] when you still have so many more unfinished sequels?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a good question. No, it is totally legit. *laughter* So, I did finish Legion. I did that. So, those who are looking for that, that will come out next year. Why do I do it this way? Well, most of the time, it's because I try a book, and it doesn't work. Rithmatist fans probably know, I tried to write Rithmatist 2, I built an outline, I started writing it, and the book didn't work. I wasn't-- the outline was wrong on that one. I got, like, three chapters in, and I'm like, "Nope. This book is broken." And it was mostly due to my lack of research into the proper things to do the book the right way. And because Rithmatist and Alcatraz, which you'll get Alcatraz 6 eventually, those are the two that are looming most; those are side projects. Those are things that I do for fun. They have to slot in between my main projects, if that makes any sense. Like, I have to do them when there's time from other projects. So, for instance, I couldn't go to Random House and say, "I'm gonna do Rithmatist 2 sequel," because Rithmatist is not their series. It belongs to Tor. So, if I wanna do more with Random House, I have to do something that works for them. And that's kind of the long and short of it.

I mean, I will get around to things like Warbreaker and Elantris sequels. *cheers* But the thing about those is, those are sequels to the worlds, not necessarily sequels to the characters. I won't promise you that the same characters will appear in them. Some of them will. But it's the idea that those are standalone books that I plan to do more in the world, and the time isn't right in the cosmere to do those. For something like Rithmatist, that's more pressing, because I'm like "that promises a sequel with the same characters". But I have to find out how to write it first. And, for various reasons, a Rithmatist sequel is really tricky to pull off. So, that's kinda the answer to it. Sometimes, I also just need a break to do whatever my mind wants to do. It's not a very satisfying answer, but it is the way my brain works. But you can know that if it's, like, one of the main line things that I've got contracts for, that I won't be doing that to you on. So, Stormlight will be pretty regular, Mistborn will be pretty regular. But some of the side projects, it's just when it's right it's right.

State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
#12 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Updates on Secondary Projects


The third Stephen Leeds/Legion story (which is roughly the same length as the second one) is finished! Titled Lies of the Beholder, this is the story that delves into Stephen's backstory, his interactions with Sandra, and the nature of his aspects. Good stuff! It's done, and it's weird. But good weird.

Right now, the goal is to collect all three Legion stories and release them in hardcover sometime around September 2018. That means there probably won't be a standalone release of Lies of the Beholder until a year or so later, like we plan with EdgedancerHowever, for those who like cohesion on their bookshelves, I've mandated that Subterranean Press be allowed to do a leatherbound like they did with the first two. So you can have books that match. This should happen right around the release of the collection.

In the UK, there should be a small-format version of the story on its own rather than a collection. (Again, for matching purposes. In the US, the small-format hardcovers have been published by my own company, Dragonsteel, as we waited for enough stories to do a collection.) We should eventually do a small-format Dragonsteel edition for people who really want one of those to match, but I'd suggest that the best way to support the stories is to buy the collection. And if you haven't ever tried them out, you'll be able to get them all at once!

This marks the end of the Stephen Leeds stories, though we're in talks for another television deal—so maybe that will happen.

Status: Series finished! Publication in late 2018.

State of the Sanderson 2015 ()
#13 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Tertiary Book Projects


I owe people another (and final) Legion novella, and I plan to do this as well. Novellas aren't as big a commitment as novels, obviously—that's part of why I do them. But I don't know when I'll squeeze this in, with all the things I'm doing right now. It could happen literally at any time—but I don't expect it in 2017, to be honest.

Status: On Short Hiatus

State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
#14 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Projected Schedule

My projected publication schedule looking forward swaps The Apocalypse Guard out for Skyward and moves the Legion collection into the place of Wax and Wayne 4, reflecting what I actually wrote this year. (Note, these are always very speculative. And Peter is probably already worried about Stormlight 4.)

September 2018: Stephen Leeds/Legion Collection

November 2018: Skyward

Fall 2019: Wax and Wayne 4

Sometime 2019: Skyward 2

Sometime 2020: Stormlight 4

Sometime 2020: Skyward 3

State of the Sanderson 2016 ()
#15 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

Tertiary Projects


The new Marvel television show is unrelated, but it being out killed our chances of a television show based on these books. I do want to do a third story, but might save it for another short story collection (with all of the non-cosmere works like this, Perfect State, etc.)

I really wanted Legion to be a television show, even before I started writing the first story. So we might rebrand them, calling them simply Leeds, and try another run through Hollywood with the new titles. If so, another novella would certainly help us get attention there. We'll see.

Status: Probably not this year, but still on my radar.