Can a Shard tell the difference between itself and its current holder?
Tricky question. Depends on the circumstances. The power as a whole, no. Pieces of it, yes. (Ala Spinozism.)
What would happen if, right after someone died, they were made into a Lifeless, and then Endowment tried to Return that person?
Oooh...now that's a spicy one. Endowment's gift of a superpowered Breath would come down, strike the Lifeless, and all kinds of craziness would occur. You'd end up with a drab god, which would be hilarious.
Do Stephen's aspects exist in the way bonded spren exist (independent Spiritual and Cognitive aspect but tied to a human.)?
Legion does not exist in the cosmere, so Realmatic Theory is not at play in the story.
Did Razon's camera use the same Spiritual gravitational anchors as time bubbles?
Is there any use to being a copper Compounder, from a Feruchemical point of view? I think the same point would also apply to an aluminum Compounder.
Some combinations, like some abilities themselves, aren't really that useful. That said, being able to Compound copper...that could do some things. Aluminum, not so much.
Now that you have finished writing [The Wheel of Time], how does it feel going back to telling your epic story that you have wanted to share with the world and being able to write a story naturally without the outside constraints that came with [The Wheel of Time]?
What if anything has been the biggest challenge getting back into writing Stormlight Archive after working so hard on [The Wheel of Time]?
It feels great, though it's a feeling I've felt before. It was the feeling I had when jumping out of the Mistborn world after finishing all three books and instead doing Warbreaker. For most of the process with [The Wheel of Time], I didn't feel 'constrained' really. It was more a sense of difficulty--it was difficult to do for unique reasons. Matching [Robert Jordan]'s story, making certain to keep characters consistent, that kind of thing.
It is refreshing to move to a new project, but this one presents difficulties of its own. I have to follow up The Way of Kings, which I feel is the best book of my career so far. I poured twenty years of effort into that book. Now, the sequel needs to be equally awesome, which is a real challenge.
Also, I keep wanting to use [Wheel of Time] curses.
Does the world map in The Way of Kings show all of the landmasses of Roshar? Does that make the continent on Roshar a Pangaea-like supercontinent? And as I think about it, are there tectonic plates on Roshar?
It is a supercontinent. I won't say there is NOTHING out there, but (unlike Scadrial) there is not another full continent. Plate tectonics are not a factor on the supercontinent.
Do you have any of the Power Nine, and if so, which ones?
Pearl, Emerald, Ruby, Time Walk, Recall. Four left to go. I try to pick them up at times when it means something--for example, I bought my Ruby in Taiwan during my visit there earlier, and my wife gave me one as a gift...that sort of thing.
What aspect of a new setting do you find to be the most difficult to develop?
Hmmm.... The everyday stuff is actually the hardest. For example, the question about racist jokes. They'd have them in world, but getting everything like this into a novel can be tough--particularly since it has a chance of squeezing out the story if you do too much.
A few months ago, I discovered listening to classic jazz just really got me into the mindset for my current novel, and I think it might be because the story is set in a time similar to the America in the 1920's; do you ever try to match the music with the setting of a specific book or scene? Is there any one artist or style of music that works no matter what?
Yes, indeed I do. I actually listened to era-appropriate music when working on Alloy of Law. In general, a good soundtrack can work no matter what, but for some scenes I need something more powerful. (Szeth's scenes in [The Way of Kings] were usually to Daft Punk.)
If Kasbal hadn't been trying to kill Jasnah, would him and Shallan have gotten together?
It's uncertain. He actually did care for her, but he was an assassin trained to infiltrate and gain the trust of people like Shallan. If he hadn't been trying to kill Jasnah, he would never have had a reason to begin spending time with Shallan. However, I assume your question is if they had somehow started interacting, would they have gotten together. It's possible, but I don't think--in the end--it would have lasted.
Would an Archivist who was sufficiently practiced be able to store memories at different strengths? (Keep a vague recollection of the memory as well as a stored copy which would degrade faster)
I don't think this is outside of reason for one to do, if they wanted to. I'm not sure if they would want to, but it's plausible.
Do you plan a magic system which enables the character to manipulate the four elements with their will? I mean not so bounded, like Allomancy with Pushing or Pulling but shaping/summoning the elements according to the wishes of the person. I ask this, because in the whole fantasy genre I rarely find something like this (except: Arc Magica RPG), so I had to develop it myself at home. But from the authors I know you are the person who has the creativity to do this without doubt.
Maybe, but there are a few problems here. For one, "Four elements" magic has been done over and over in books and video games, so it feels hard to make fresh. And in what you describe, it sounds like the characters would be very powerful, which makes for a challenging story to write.
When will be see the whole Cosmere-concept (Shards, the plans of Hoid) at the level of the books? In the third Mistborn trilogy or earlier? In which books do you plan to finish the "hidden story" which connects all your earlier books?
Third Mistborn Trilogy will certainly include some of this. We shall see if I do any of Hoid's stories before then.
As Dalinar gave his Shardblade to Highprince Sadeas, was his motivation only to free the Brigdemen as "Thank you" for the help? Or did he already plan to build a team from soldiers who are loyal only to him?
He certainly saw the side benefits. However, his primary motive was to make a statement. Not just as a thank you, but as a way of proclaiming to all of the Alethi "What we have been doing is wrong. This wealth is not worth the lives of men."
Most of your heroes are true traditional "heroes", because they want to be useful for the family/society/other, and they often lack selfish, "dirtier" motivations. Will we sometimes see characters, who are not villains but are rather egocentric?
Expanding that, however, I feel that in general, other people are telling stories about "dirtier" characters and doing it well. I don't feel characters who are generally good characters are any less realistic, however--in fact, almost everyone I know is more like Vin or Dalinar. They want to be good people, they TRY to be good people. Fantasy has taken a very dark turn in many ways, and this is fine, but it is not the type of story or characters in which I am interested.
That doesn't mean I won't ever do it. There are some far more borderline characters mixed into some of the series, but they are more the exception than the rule.
According to [Sanderson's Second Law of Magic] your characters have flaws, weaknesses. What is the reason, that in a lot of them (Vin, Elend, Kaladin, Dalinar, Spook, etc) the most significant weakness is the lack of self-confidence?
It's because of mode-shifting. The people you noted have been doing one thing for a long time, and are now forced into something else. The self confidence is a side effect of that. However, I wouldn't say it's the primary character attribute for any of them, however. I think you're blanketing self confidence as a larger issue, when it's the smaller part of something larger for each character.
Vin: Trusting Others
Dalinar: Conflict between the killer he was and the man he wishes to be.
Spook: Self Worth