At what point when you were writing it [Tress] did you know that you were going to release it?
I wasn't sure. I wrote it; I didn't know I was gonna do any others, at this point. All I knew is: I had this really great idea, I wanted to practice Hoid's voice, and I wanted to make a gift for my wife. So I did it, not knowing that there would be any others or anything to it. And not knowing if I would release it in ten years or the next year.
I had an instinct that I would eventually release it, but only if Emily wanted to. This was a gift for her; I told her, "You can keep this forever and never have it be released, if that's what you would like. Or you can have it as one copy that you only lend to your friends that is bound in one single volume." And she didn't want to do any of those. She did want to share it. But I had no idea when I was writing it.
It was Secret Project Four that I'm like, "No, this is something I want to do." That was when I'm thinking, "Maybe I'll do a Kickstarter, or something like that." And Secret Project Four, then, was written for the fans, rather than... One and Three are basically the real gifts to my wife. One and Three are ones that are written specifically because of things she said, for her as a person. Two was written a little more for me, even though I gave it to her as a gift, because it's just like, "I wanna do this goofy thing. It's just a thing I wanna do."
And then Four was written for the fans. Four was, I'm like, "If I'm gonna do a year of Sanderson, I want to have one of the books be a legitimate moving forward of the Cosmere involving some things that they will want to know about," because it's setting up important stuff for later on. I thought a long time about that one. The others were kind of just like, "This is what I feel like writing right now." And that one was, "I want to have a large piece to the puzzle, rather than a small piece to the puzzle." And so Four is for you. And Four is the one that I think is, in that regard, the least general interest. That one, I worry a little bit; it does stand on its own, but it's the only one I worry about, if you haven't read any of my other books, picking up, being like, "What is this?" The rest of them, I feel like you can just pick up and it's a great introduction work. Four, I'm not as certain on.