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    Goodreads Fantasy Book Discussion Warbreaker Q&A ()
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    Ashley

    Do you spend the most time on your magic systems, or do you find yourself spending equal amounts of time on other aspects of worldbuilding/plot such as religion/culture/language/geography? 

    Brandon Sanderson

    It really depends on the novel. With some I spend a lot of time on areas that in others I don't spend much time on at all. With every book I spend a serious amount of time on the magic system. That's consistent—it's just something I like to do.

    For a given book or series I may spend more time on a given aspect. I'd say the other big aspect that takes a lot of time is characterizing the characters the right way. That takes a lot of work, but I tend to do that during my actual writing period, whereas I spend the planning period focusing on worldbuilding and plot. It's when I actually sit down to write a chapter that I explore who a character is, and so it's really hard to pin down timewise which one I spend more time on. And that varies based on the book.

    Goodreads Fantasy Book Discussion Warbreaker Q&A ()
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    Ashley

    What made you decide to release Warbreaker on your website? Was Tor at all irked by this plan? What about your agent or those who purchased international rights?

    I must say that I've purchased the Mistborn trilogy and Elantris, but that I read Warbreaker on your website.

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's all right. I knew that people would do that. I would hope that those who really enjoyed the book will pick up copies, but you know, I don't mind if they just read it and don't pick up a copy—I mean, it's there for free!

    I like the idea of a free sample, and for a writer I feel that a free sample needs to be an entire novel so that you can get a real feel for how that author writes and tells a story. When I listen to music, I would like to be able to listen to an entire album and say, "Okay, is this an artist that I like?" Before I pay money for it. I want people to be able to do that with my writing. And what that means is if WARBREAKER doesn't sell any copies, but it has tens of thousands of people read it who are then willing to buy and read my next books because they know they like my writing, then WARBREAKER is incredibly successful.

    Was Tor irked? I wouldn't say that; I mean, I got approval from them first. I don't think it's what they would prefer for me to do, but they were certainly willing to let me do it. My agent didn't like the concept at all, and I listened to his counsel, but I'm very interested in the way the internet is acting as a medium for entertainment distribution, and I wanted to experiment with that.

    I think it's been a successful experiment. I think that a lot of people who were interested in me because of THE GATHERING STORM and the Wheel of Time announcement were able to try out my books and read one of them for free and therefore somewhat know who I am as a writer. For good or for ill. If they don't end up liking my writing, I'd rather they not have paid for it—I'd rather they not have to pay for something they don't enjoy. I think I'll end up better off—at the very least they'll think, "Well, I didn't really like his book, but he gave it to me for free," and still have a good impression of me. If they do end up liking my book, I would hope that they go and read other copies of my books. And that would increase demand on the libraries or the bookstores. Either way I think I come out ahead.

    Goodreads Fantasy Book Discussion Warbreaker Q&A ()
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    Elise

    I really loved the character Lightsong, he was my favorite and probably one of the most interesting characters I've ever read about. Did you have anyone in particular in mind when you came up with him? How did go about developing him as a character?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Rupert Everett was sitting in the back of my mind.

    Actually, in order to develop Lightsong's character well, I didn't want to imitate any one voice. That's something we always stay away from. But I had been wanting to work on writing humor in a different way from what I'd previously used. I spent a lot of time watching and analyzing the movie THE THIN MAN, the old comedy/mystery/crime film with an emphasis on very witty characters making wisecracks as they investigate a murder. If you haven't seen it, it's delightful. Along with AN IDEAL HUSBAND and THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, those were my three sources of inspiration. I was trying for a blend of those two styles—and then of course added my own sense of humor.

    Goodreads Fantasy Book Discussion Warbreaker Q&A ()
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    Laurel

    You seem to purposefully invent a system of magic for each book/series you create. I think that Warbreaker was one of the most unique I've ever read. Do you have a reason or story behind this habit?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes—both. Back when I was trying to break in, I spent many years writing books and not getting published. I was under the impression (it's just one of my beliefs) that it would be easier for me to break in doing a lot of different standalone novels, or first books in a series, as opposed to writing all in one series and putting all my eggs in one basket. For that reason, I got a lot of practice finishing one book and starting a new one that was in a new setting in a new world.

    For me, a new setting/world means a new magic system. Magic is part of what draws me to fantasy, being able to play with the ideas behind it. It's what engages me; it's what excites me. And so part of the real fun of starting a news series is developing a new magic system. In a way that's kind of like the little twinkie or whatever that I'd hang in front of myself in order to get me excited about a new series. I'd be just coming down off a writing high at the end of a book, and I'd still be excited about the old series, its characters and world. Creating a new world is a lot of work, but there's an excitement to it as well. I'd focus on that and say, "Look, I get to create a new magic system, let's see what I can play around with for this book." So because I got used to doing that, that became my modus operandi, my method of working. That still excites me. Oftentimes it's the opportunity to create a new magic system that gets me excited about writing a new book.

    Goodreads Fantasy Book Discussion Warbreaker Q&A ()
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    Jeanne

    You write such wonderful, believable female heroines, who are your role models and influences?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Writing believable female heroines—I should probably back up and point out that I wasn't always good at this. In fact, in the first few books I wrote before ELANTRIS I was terrible at it. That disconcerted me because it was something I wanted to make a strength in my writing. This is partially due to the fact that so many of my favorite fantasy novels growing up, when I first discovered fantasy, were from female writers with really strong female protagonists. So there was a piece of my mind that said having strong female protagonists is a big part of fantasy. I don't know how common that viewpoint is, but because those were the people whose books I read—writers like Anne McCaffrey, Melanie Rawn, and Barbara Hambly—I wanted to be able to do that in my own fiction. Even beyond that you want every character you write to be believable, and it's been a habitual problem of men writing women and women writing men that we just can't quite get it right, so I knew it was going to be something I'd have to work hard at.

    I took inspiration from women I know, starting with my mother, who graduated top of her class in accounting in an era where she was the only woman in her accounting program. She has always been a strong influence on me. I also have two younger sisters who were a lot of help, but there were several friends in particular who gave me direct assistance. Annie Gorringe (who was a good friend when I was an undergraduate—and still is) and Janci Patterson were people I sat down to interview and talk to in my quest to be able to write female characters who didn't suck. I would say specifically that Sarene from ELANTRIS has a lot of Annie in her, and Vin from MISTBORN has a lot of Janci in her. In WARBREAKER, Siri and Vivenna don't really have specific influences but are the result of so much time working at writing female characters that it's something I'm now comfortable with. (Their personalities arose out of what I wanted to do with their story, which was my take on the classic tale of sisters whose roles get reversed.) It's very gratifying to hear that readers like my female characters and that the time I spent learning to write them has paid off.

    Goodreads WoK Fantasy Book Club Q&A ()
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    Vladimir

    I really want to know, Brandon how do you get these ideas about so diverse and innovative magic systems?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It just happens. I don't know. It's a blend of who I am--my science background, what I like in fiction, mixed with the way my mind works, what stories I seek to tell. I can't say specifically where I get the ideas, because they're all different. It's just part of my makeup.

    Goodreads WoK Fantasy Book Club Q&A ()
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    Jet

    The Stormlight archive is a very big book. Do you have plans of including a glossary that's more expansive than the ars arcanum?

    Brandon Sanderson

    If I do make a glossary, it will probably be on my website. Perhaps I'll be able to slip in a longer glossary into future books. The problem is that the first book is already so long, as you said. I just don't have the pages for it now. As the series expands, maybe.The thing is, I've always partially liked a glossary and partially not liked them, because as series get longer and longer, you have to make decisions about what to include and what not to include. Using the glossary in the backs of the Wheel of Time books is somewhat bittersweet because it only covers around one percent of the things you'd want to be in there. So in some ways it's become irrelevant, because most of the things you'll want to look up are not going to be there. It seems like it served its purpose best in the early to middle books, but now if you really want to know you've got to go to Encyclopaedia WoT or a similar site. So maybe we'll just do an online glossary or send people to one of the fan-created wikis.

    Goodreads WoK Fantasy Book Club Q&A ()
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    Jay

    Do Szeth and Kaladin both belong to the same order of knights radiant?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Szeth isn't actually in an order of Knights Radiant. Something different is happening with Szeth that people have already begun to guess. And Kaladin isn't yet a Knight Radiant, but the powers he uses are those of the Windrunners, one of the orders of the Knights Radiant. Szeth is using the same power set. So your phrasing is accurate to that extent.

    Goodreads WoK Fantasy Book Club Q&A ()
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    Gary

    The Way of Kings is certainly a great first book of a series. It does, however, leave one hungry for more. What's the best guess on when for #2? And does it have a name?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'll try to write it so it can be published in late 2012, but it really depends on how long it takes to write A MEMORY OF LIGHT, since I won't start until after that is finished. As for the title, if it ends up being a Dalinar book it will be titled HIGHPRINCE OF WAR, but if it ends up a Shallan book it will have a different title.

    Footnote: The second book, Words of Radiance featured Shallan as the central character. The Third, Dalinar's focus, is titled Oathbringer 
    Sources: Goodreads
    Goodreads WoK Fantasy Book Club Q&A ()
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    T.T

    Barring the Almighty, did we seen a Shardholder (like Sazed) in this book?"

    Brandon Sanderson

    I think "Shardholder" would get confusing alongside "Shardbearer." Basically, in the Cosmere's terms, when someone holds a Shard of Adonalsium, I call that person a Shard of Adonalsium. They are imbued with the power of that Shard, but they also become the Shard. Fans can use whatever terminology they wish, but this is how I term it.You did at least see the direct effects of two of the Shards of Adonalsium, but I won't say whether or not you actually saw a Shard of Adonalsium.

    Goodreads WoK Fantasy Book Club Q&A ()
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    Flip

    You have quite the world you have created. I look at the map and see a lot of different locations. How many of the named locations are actually going to be used? ... Anyway, I am always curious as to how much of one's world that has been built actually gets used.

    Brandon Sanderson

    You'll have to read and see what happens. I will say this: When I build a map, I don't consider it to be a to-do list. In fact, it makes a world feel unrealistic to me when every single place on the map ends up getting visited. So it's not a to-do list, but many of those locations are very important.

    Goodreads WoK Fantasy Book Club Q&A ()
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    Dustin

    I felt the illustrations added a lot to the book physically and to the story. Will there be more in book two and so on if you have your way or was it a one book experiment?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm glad you like what the illustrations added to the book and the story. I plan future volumes to have more of them.

    Goodreads WoK Fantasy Book Club Q&A ()
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    Dustin

    Your sidekick characters (Nightblood, TenSoon in WoA and Syl) are always interesting, sometimes more so than side characters. Is this planned out or does it just happen? Do you control their lines more than other characters? (I really liked Syl's personality if that wasn't clear.)

    Brandon Sanderson

    Thank you. That is partially intentional. One of the aspects of writing characters like them is that if we're not going to get viewpoints from them, their personality has to be strong enough to manifest externally. Which tends to have an effect, if it's not done well--or sometimes even if it is done well--of making them feel one-sided. In some ways I play this up; for instance Nightblood really is one-sided because of the way his personality works, the way he was crafted. He's a construct, and he has a main focus.So with someone like Syl, I really wanted to bring out a lot of personality in her dialogue so that we could characterize her without having any of the internal thoughts and monologue and emotions that I sometimes instill in other characters. But Syl also was meant to be a vibrant splash of color in Kaladin's sometimes dreary viewpoints. Because of that, I really needed her to just pop off the page. So it was done intentionally.

    Goodreads WoK Fantasy Book Club Q&A ()
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    Josep

    Just a nagging question: What happened to Gaz? After some character development he just vanishes in chapter 59 without further explanation. Will he be back on the next books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm planning for you to find out what happened to Gaz. There are sufficient clues that you can guess. But it is not explicitly stated, and I'm not going to say it's as obvious as Robert Jordan implied Asmodean's killer is. I was tempted to spell it out explicitly, but there wasn't a good place for it. I will probably answer it eventually, maybe in the next book, but until then you are free to theorize.

    Goodreads WoK Fantasy Book Club Q&A ()
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    Bahador

    I really like the dialogs between Jasnah and Shallan, covering atheism, god, blind faith, etc.

    Are you going to expand on these philosophical topics? Will it play a larger part in the plot?

    I really enjoyed these moments and hope to see more of them

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm glad you liked them. These questions are very important to Shallan and Jasnah and to an extent other characters such as Dalinar, so you will indeed see much more of this. I wouldn't include it if it weren't very important to the characters. And what's important to the characters has a strong influence on what's important to the plot.If what happens at the end of Part Five with Dalinar is to be believed, then there is a very interesting theological conundrum to this world. Something claiming to be God claims also that it has been killed. Which then in some ways leaves someone who is atheist right, and yet at the same time wrong. When Jasnah and Dalinar meet, you can expect some discussion of what it means to be atheist if there was a God and God is now dead. Or will she say that obviously wasn't God? Those circles of thought are very fascinating to me and to the characters.

    Goodreads WoK Fantasy Book Club Q&A ()
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    SeekingPlumb

    Question. When writing TWoK, did you write the story lines individually & then weave them together (e.g. Place the chapters as desired.), after the fact? Or did you write the book generally in the order that we see the end result?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I wrote the parts by viewpoint. Meaning that for Part One, I wrote Kaladin straight through and then Shallan straight through. And then I switched for Part Two and wrote Dalinar and Kaladin, and then I switched back. So I did write the storylines individually by viewpoint, but in sections by part.

    Goodreads WoK Fantasy Book Club Q&A ()
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    Louise

    Have you already decided whether it's Shallan or Dalinar for the book 2 central plot? What about the tentative title?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I keep going back and forth. I'll probably have to sit down and completely write out both of their backstories--their flashback sequences--and after finishing that see which one best fits the theme and the plot of the novel, the story I'm trying to tell. So it's going to take a while to decide that, and it would require enough of my focus that I really need to do A MEMORY OF LIGHT first. So we'll know more after A MEMORY OF LIGHT is finished and I begin writing out their sequences

    Footnote: Shallan was the central character for Volume 2 of the Stormlight Archive, Words of Radiance
    Sources: Goodreads
    Goodreads WoK Fantasy Book Club Q&A ()
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    Louise

    Did spren lose their memories and personalities because of the loss of their attached radiants? But retain a basic attraction to things associated with the radiants they bonded to previously?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Not all types of spren bonded to Radiants. You will find out more about this in the future. However, if you're speaking specifically of spren that were bonded to Radiants, then yes, you're on the right track.

    Goodreads WoK Fantasy Book Club Q&A ()
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    Louise

    Which one will you focused more in the future, the Heralds or Radiants? Will you dig deeper into each of Heralds story and some of Radiants?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I feel that I should probably RAFO this one. We are going to delve into the Radiants as orders a lot. But the Radiants as individuals? Depends on what you mean. Kaladin is well on the path toward becoming one of them, though he's not one yet, as Teft is quick to point out. So if you mean focusing on actual Knights Radiant, we'll have to see if anyone actually manages to become one.The Heralds are integral to the entire story, which is why the Prelude focuses on them. Since someone showed up at the end of the book claiming to be one of them, I think you can obviously expect some attention to be drawn there. Who each of the Heralds are and what their natures were is important.

    Goodreads WoK Fantasy Book Club Q&A ()
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    Amanda

    Will Kaladin (or Shallan, or any of the other characters) be going to visit the various places Kaladin saw in his dream, and if so, for extended periods of time or just short trips? I think the interludes are wonderful ways of showing other parts of the world, if I may also comment.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm glad you liked the interludes. One of the reasons to include them is to show parts of the world that I won't be getting to for a while, but this is an epic, and there will be characters traveling to various places you've seen. Maybe not all of them, but some places will be visited. Some for extended periods, some for shorter periods.

    Goodreads WoK Fantasy Book Club Q&A ()
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    Meleah

    The inside cover is beautiful. Do you plan to do something similar with every book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    We asked for colored endpages. At first Tor was hesitant; they're very expensive. We kind of begged a bit, then showed them these cool pages and talked about how great the book would be with them, and eventually Tor decided that they would go with it. One of the aspects of doing colored endpages like that is that generally you have to use the same endpages for the entire series, to offset the printing cost. So those same endpages will be in every hardcover of the series. There will be different interior art, however.

    Goodreads WoK Fantasy Book Club Q&A ()
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    Jon

    Did I miss the explanation for why women have a safe hand and why they must keep it covered?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, you haven't missed it. People have asked about this. There will be more explanation in-world as it comes along, but it's for much the same reason that in some cultures in our world you don't show people the bottoms of your feet, and in other cultures showing the top of your head is offensive. It's part of what has grown out of the Vorin culture, and there are reasons for it. One of them has to do with a famous book written by an artist who claimed that true feminine pursuits and arts were those that could be performed with one hand, while masculine arts were those performed with two hands, in a way associating delicacy with women and brute force with men. Some people in Roshar disagree with this idea, but the custom has grown out of that foundational work on masculine and feminine arts. That's where that came from. One aspect of this is that women began to paint one-handed and do things one-handed in upper, higher society. You'll notice that the lower classes don't pay a lot of attention to it—they'll just wear a glove.As a student of human nature and of anthropology, it fascinates me how some cultures create one thing as being taboo whereas in another culture, the same thing can be very much not taboo. It's just what we do as people.There's more to it than that, but that will stand for now.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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    Clippership14

    I'm really curious where the inspiration for Elantris came from. I really enjoyed that book. =)

    Brandon Sanderson

    As with all of my books, there wasn't one single inspiration, but a number of them. A few of them here were: Chinese and its writing system, and how it relates to Japanese and Korean. The difference between teaching others of your faith in order to help them, as opposed to teaching them in order to aggrandize yourself. What it would be like to live in a leper colony. A king made into a beggar. A woman who, like a friend of mine, felt she was too tall and too smart for men to find her attractive. Magical servants that didn't look like any I'd read about before. And the thought of telling a story about someone who was basically a good, normal person—without a deep, dark past or terrible hidden flaw—who got trust into the worst situation I could imagine.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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    Melhay

    Of the people that were sick for the 16 days in comparison to just the one day, it is mentioned that they would be able to burn more precious metals (atium). Could it also be possible they are/were Mistborn—with the ability to burn all 16 metals?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, what was going on here was a clue established and set by Leras before he died. He wanted something to indicate—should he be unable to inform mankind—that what was happening wasn't natural, but instead something intentional. He worried that men wouldn't be able to realize they were being made into Allomancers.

    And so, the mist was set to do something very specific, as has to do with the interaction between the human soul, Allomancy, and the sixteen metals.

    Each of the 'Shardworlds' I've written in (Mistborn, ElantrisWarbreakerWay of Kings) exists with the same cosmology. All things exist on three realms—the spiritual, the cognitive, and the physical. What's going on here is an interaction between the three realms. I don't want to bore you with my made up philosophy, but I do have a cohesive metaphysical reasoning for how my worlds and magic works. And there is a single plane of existence—called Shadesmar, the Cognative Realm—which connects them all.

    You will never need to know any of this to read and enjoy my books, but there is an overarching story behind all of them, going on in the background. Adonalsium, Hoid, the origin of Ati, Leras, the Dor, and the Voice (from Warbreaker) are all tied up in this.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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    Melhay

    Also, We just took for granted that Sazed is with Tindwyl now. Is that so?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, here's the thing. What Sazed is right now is something of a god in the classic Greek sense—a superpowered human being, elevated to a new stage of existence. Not GOD of all time and space. In a like manner, there are things that Sazed does not have power over. For instance, he couldn't bring Vin and Elend back.

    Where Tindwyl exists is beyond space and time, in a place Sazed hasn't learned to touch yet. He might yet. If you want to add in your heads him working through that, feel free. But as it stands at the end of the book, he isn't yet with Tindwyl. (He is, however, with Kelsier—who refused to "Go toward the light" so to speak, and has been hanging around making trouble ever since he died. You can find hints of him in Mistborn 3 at the right moments.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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    Melhay

    In Mistborn #3 Hero of Ages: It isn't mentioned where all the Steel Inquisitors, Kandra, and Koloss went in the end. Do you feel that they were removed from the world and Sazed took all the lost souls to his better place?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Marsh survived. (He'll show up in the Mistborn sequel series.) The Kandra were restored, and have taken a vow to live only in animal bodies. There will never be any more of them, but they are functionally immortal. So you'll see them again. The Koloss who were in the cavern at the time survived, and were changed to become a race that breeds true, rather than Hemalurgic monsters. More below.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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    Melhay

    In Mistborn: There was mention of a man named Adonalsium. We were wondering if this man may have been Preservation, who "died" before Vin took over. Is that who he was or was he someone else?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The man who died before Vin took over was named Leras. (I've occasionally written it as Laras. I've said the names in my head for years, but I'm only now writing them down as people ask me on forums.) Leras, like Ati (aka Ruin), were NOT Adonalsium. (Sorry about the typo on that one in Mistborn 3. I wrote it down on the manuscript, and it didn't get put in quite right. We'll get it fixed.)

    Adonalsium was something or someone else. You will find out more. There are clues in Warbreaker and The Way of Kings.

    Words of Radiance Los Angeles signing ()
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    Dawnshard

    So I asked Brandon at the LA signing if he could tell us about a shard that we don't know anything about (including the survival shard) and he said that there was a shard that isn't on a planet. Now I think this means that the shard is either on an asteroid, or a star. It could also be floating in space or on a moon and influencing from a distance. I will repeat it is not any shard we already know about.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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    Nadine

    In a recent (May 2009) interview you stated the following:

    I found this on a blog posted July 2008. Does it have any relationship to reality?

    Q: What do you have planned after you finish Wheel of Time? A: My next series will be The Way of Kings, which is the start of a big epic for me. I've plotted it as ten books. Fantasy writers, we get into this business because we love the big epics. We grow up reading Brooks and Jordan, and we get to the point where we say, "I want to do this myself."

    This should tie you up for a good ten years after you finish The Wheel of Time. Does it mean that you are not going to write anymore one- or three-volume epic fantasy novels?

    Can you give us some hints as to what The Way of Kings will be about?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I've told Tor that I want to release Kings on a schedule of two books, followed by one book in another setting, then two more Kings. The series of Kings has been named The Stormlight Archive. (The Way of Kings is the name of the first volume.)

    So I should be doing plenty of shorter series in between. We'll see how busy this all keeps me. I think I'd go crazy if I weren't allowed to do new worlds every now and again.

    But, then, Kings turned out very, very well. (The first book is complete as of yesterday.) What is it about? Well...I'm struggling to find words to explain it. I could easily give a one or two line pitch on my previous books, but the scope of what I'm trying with this novel is such that it defies my attempts to pin it down.

    It happens in a world where hurricane-like storms crash over the land every few days. All of plant life and animal life has had to evolve to deal with this. Plants, for instance, have shells they can withdraw into before a storm. Even trees pull in their leaves and branches. There is no soil, just endless fields of rock.

    According to the mythology of the world, mankind used to live in The Tranquiline Halls. Heaven. Well, a group of evil spirits known as the Voidbringers assaulted and captured heaven, casting out God and men. Men took root on Roshar, the world of storms, but the Voidbringers chased them there, trying to push them off of Roshar and into Damnation.

    The voidbringers came against man a hundred by a hundred times, trying to destroy them or push them away. To help them cope, the Almighty gave men powerful suits of armor and mystical weapons, known as Shardblades. Led by ten angelic Heralds and ten orders of knights known as Radiants, men resisted the Voidbringers ten thousand times, finally winning and finding peace.

    Or so the legends say. Today, the only remnants of those supposed battles are the Shardblades, the possession of which makes a man nearly invincible on the battlefield. The entire world, essentially, is at war with itself—and has been for centuries since the Radiants turned against mankind. Kings strive to win more Shardblades, each secretly wishing to be the one who will finally unite all of mankind under a single throne.

    That's the backstory. Probably too much of it. (Sorry.) The book follows a young spearman forced into the army of a Shardbearer, led to war against an enemy he doesn't understand and doesn't really want to fight. It will deal with the truth of what happened deep in mankind's past. Why did the Radiants turn against mankind, and what happened to the magic they used to wield?

    I've been working on this book for ten years now. Rather than making it easier to describe and explain, that has made it more daunting. I'm sure I'll get better at it as I revise and as people ask me more often. ;)

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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    carmen22

    Were books a natural part of your childhood?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Unlike a lot of writers, I wasn't a big reader when I was younger. I came to it late, when I was in eighth grade. Until then, none of the books (mostly ones about boys with pet dogs) that people had given me worked. And then I discovered fantasy. From then on, you never found me without a book. Often two or three.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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    carmen22

    Which of your books is your favorite?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Tough call. Right now, Warbreaker is the best written—though The Gathering Storm is better, I think. I think that The Way of Kings will be awesome too. But you didn't ask for the best, you asked for my favorite. In that case, I'd probably have to say Elantris, as it was my first.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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    carmen22

    And last but definitely not least, you seem to have left the New World of Mistborn open for a book maybe featuring Spook in the future, any thoughts?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I did leave it open. But that's partially because I feel that part of any good book is the indication that the characters continue to live, the world continues to turn. I want readers to be free to imagine futures for the characters and more stories in the world.

    For Mistborn, I'm not planning—right now—to do any Spook books. I do have plans to do another trilogy set in the world, though it would take place hundreds of years later, once technology has caught up to what it should be. Essentially, think guns, cars, skyscrapers—and Allomancers.

    Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
    #10800 Copy

    carmen22

     How did you ever keep the unique power systems all straight and use them so well for your readers to understand?

    The powers, to me, were just so fascinating, well developed, and unique on so many levels! I think with a lesser artist than yourself the powers might have been too much to take in, but I found them quite easy to follow and understand. Just amazing! You seriously are one of my favorite authors. I'll be in line for all of your books!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Thanks! It took a lot of practice. Keeping them straight for myself isn't so difficult—it's like keeping characters straight. The more I've written, the easier it's become.

    What is more difficult is keeping it all straight for the readers. This can be tough. One of the challenges with fantasy is what we call the Learning Curve. It can be very daunting to pick up a book and find not only new characters, but an entirely new world, new physics, and a lot of new words and names.

    I generally try to introduce this all at a gentle curve. In some books, like Warbreaker, starting with the magic system worked. But in Mistborn, I felt that it was complex enough—and the setting complex enough—that I needed to ease into the magic, and so I did it bit by bit, with Vin.

    In all things, practice makes perfect. I have a whole pile of unpublished novels where I didn't do nearly as good a job of this. Even still, I think I have much to learn. In the end of Mistborn One and Warbreaker both I think I leave a little too much confusion about the capabilities of the magic.