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Firefight Houston signing ()
#3 Copy

Questioner

How do you write a sequel first?

Brandon Sanderson

So, it makes a lot of sense to me. ...I'd written about a quarter of the next Mistborn novel while I was doing revisions for A Memory of Light. I'd send off A Memory of Light, I'd have, like, a month until Harriet got back, so I wrote a little bit of this. It'd come back, I'd stop, I would do the revision, and then I'd go back and have about a month so I'd work on this. The problem is, picking up a book mid-stride, that I had worked on years ago, because then I put it aside and I wrote other things, I wrote Words of Radiance. Coming back to it was really hard. You can imagine that starting mid-stride something that was half-done, might actually be harder than starting something new. When I finished Alloy of Law originally, I plotted a trilogy of books to follow it. Alloy of Law was more freeform; the trilogy, I did my normal build-a-trilogy. So, I had the second book all outlined, I could jump into this a lot easier, there's a break between books two and three, so the characters have reset a little bit, not gone backward, but, you know. Anyway, it was so much easier to go write that book, to get myself back in the world and the mood, then jump back and finish the book before. So that's why you're getting two Mistborn books, rather than one in the next few months.

Which was really fun, by the way, to send to my editor and my publisher and my agent. None of them knew. I sent them an email, I'm like, "Great! The book's done!" And attached were two books. *laughter* And then I went to bed, because I was doing this at, like, 5:00 AM. So, I went to bed, and I got up to a flurry of emails. "Um, Brandon? Do you know? What'd you just do? Where'd that other book come from?"

Shadows of Self London UK signing ()
#5 Copy

Questioner

What's the most cosmere-icly-significant in Shadows of Self?  

Brandon Sanderson

In the latest book Shadows of Self? Shadows of Self is not terribly cosmere-significant, the next book has a lot more.  

Questioner

So the middle series?  

Brandon Sanderson

No, no, no, The Bands of Mourning, the actual next one has some relevant stuff. Oh, what's the most relevant in this? The fact that Hoid is eavesdropping--

Questioner

On the carriage?

Brandon Sanderson

In the carriage. That's pretty cosmere relevant, but there's not a ton in this one. I wanted this one to stay really focused on Wax. You'll see some more worldhoppers in the next one and stuff, so keep your eyes open. They're hard to miss, honestly, in the next one.

State of the Sanderson 2014 ()
#7 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

What I spent 2014 doing

January–March 2014: Firefight

Though I had hoped to have Firefight (The Reckoners 2) done long before January, the touring last year made that impossible. It snuck over into 2014, which is why you’re getting the book in January 2015 instead of the originally scheduled fall of this year. In March, I also did the Words of Radiance tour, which really cut into my writing time.

April 2014: Legion: Skin Deep

In April, once all the chaos was done, I took the time to finish up Legion: Skin Deep (sequel to Legion from a few years back), which I’d been working on during plane flights the year before. If you haven’t checked these two novellas out, you might want to consider it! They’re very fun, though the second book is not yet out in the UK and associated territories such as Australia and New Zealand. (Note that in those territories, Legion 1 and The Emperor’s Soul were released together in a very handsome paperback.)

We will eventually have regular hardcover copies of Legion 2 available. That will probably come sometime in the first half of next year. Our contract with Subterranean Press, who produced the very attractive limited edition hardcovers of Legion 2, says that we’ll wait until their edition sells out before we release a competing one.

May 2014: The Aztlanian (Rithmatist 2)

Next, I dove into research for a sequel to The Rithmatist. This is going to be a tough book to write, as it takes place in a fantastical version of Central and South America, and deals with things from Aztec (Mexica) mythology. (In The Rithmatist, a lot of the geography is shifted around in bizarre ways.)

Dealing with another group’s culture in this way is rife with opportunities for stuffing my foot in my mouth, and so I wanted to be very careful and respectful. This meant spending time devoted exclusively to doing extensive research. I didn’t actually get any writing on the book done, though I read some very excellent history books.

(As an aside, if anyone out there is an expert in the Aztec/Mexica culture—particularly if you yourself are a Native American—I’d love to have your help on this book.)

At the end of the month, I decided I needed to do way more research than a month afforded, so I put the book off for now. I still intend to write it, but I need more time to do it right.

June 2014: Alcatraz

Having spent a month with no writing, I wanted to jump into something fun and quick to refresh me before moving on to my next book. So, I dug out my outline for the Alcatraz series and at long last did a rough draft of the fifth book. These are fast, fast books to write—as I improvise them—but they are very slow to edit.

I finished the book, and am pleased with it, but I have no firm date yet for when I’ll be publishing it. Tor is rereleasing the series starting next year with new covers and extensive interior art. I believe these launch starting about a year from now. (If you want them before then, your best bet for getting them is the UK omnibus of the first four.)

I’ll want to release the fifth one once the series has been rereleased, so maybe summer 2016. If you’ve never read these, they are very different from my other work. They’re bizarre and sarcastic comedies that are self-referential and offer commentary on fantasy as a genre along the way. Those who love them absolutely love them. Those who don’t tend to find them insulting. That dichotomy alone is part of what endears them to me.

July–December 2014: Mistborn

The last half of the year was dedicated to Shadows of Self, the new Mistborn novel. And I have a confession to make.

I also wrote the sequel.

Now, before you start wagging your finger at me for being a robot, there was a really good reason I did what I did. You see, I was having real trouble getting back into Shadows of Self. I had written the first third of it in 2012 between revisions of A Memory of Light. (I was feeling Wheel of Time overload.) However, it can be very hard for me to get back into a book or series after a long time away from it. (This is another issue with the Rithmatist sequel.)

So, jumping into Shadows of Self was slow going, and I found it much easier to go write the sequel to refresh myself on the world and characters. That done, I was able to move back to Shadows of Self and finish it up.

So a week or two back, I turned in two new Wax and Wayne Mistborn novels. They’re titled Shadows of Self and Bands of Mourning, and Tor decided to publish them in quick succession: the first in October 2015, the second in January 2016. So, if you have read the original trilogy but haven’t tried The Alloy of Law yet, you might want to give it a look! From the beginning, I’ve planned Mistborn to be a continuum series, showing off Allomancy in different time periods. I think you’ll find the Wax and Wayne books to be fun, quick reads—and they introduce some very, very big things coming in the Mistborn world.

There will be one more Wax and Wayne (early 1900s-era) Mistborn book. Back after I finished The Alloy of Law, I sat down and plotted out a trilogy with the same characters. The Alloy of Law was more of a happy, improvised accident. The follow-up trilogy is meant to be more intentional. So in the end, we’ll have four total. (The final one is tentatively called The Lost Metal.) From there, I might jump to the second “big” trilogy, which is 1980s tech. Or I might dally a little more in something 1940s-era instead. We’ll see.

Amusingly, doing these two Mistborn books together totaled only about half as much writing as a Stormlight book. Perhaps you can see why it takes even me quite a long time to finish Stormlight novels. (And it’s why you might want to lay off Pat Rothfuss a little. I believe The Wise Man’s Fear was even longer than Words of Radiance.)

Tor did their announcement about these books earlier today. You may now commence wisecracks about me secretly writing extra novels when nobody is looking.

Arcanum Unbounded release party ()
#8 Copy

Viridian (paraphrased)

I asked why Hoid gave the memory coin to Wax, what his motivation was (since it seemed to cast a more positive light on someone Hoid does not like)

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Brandon said he did it to correct a lie that was being perpetuated.

Viridian (paraphrased)

I said that I was still suspicious of Hoid...

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

...to which he said I should be, as those two (Hoid and Kelsier) do not get along. He said that the memory uncovered a truth that Kelsier did not want to be known.