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Interviews: Austin Teen Book Festival Interview





Jul 19th, 2013




Austin, TX


Austin Teen Book Festival


Austin Teen Book Festival

  • 1

    Austin Teen Book Festival

    Welcome Brandon Sanderson to #ATBF13! Some of you high fantasy readers will recognize his name immediately from the Mistborn and Wheel of Time series. Sanderson has written many books and Steelheart will be part of a brand new series!

    *Sanderson's questions below were transcribed from audio he recorded.

  • 2

    Austin Teen Book Festival

    Did you own Thriller by Michael Jackson in the 80s?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I did own Thriller, I can proudly say. Great album. I have a very distinct memory of my brother Jordan and I in the old house we had. I was younger than ten, and we were sitting at the kitchen table staring at a cassette player and listening to "Beat It". I remember the two of us just being in awe of this cool music. Mom walked in, tried to figure out what the lyrics were, and said, "What is this?" She was used to us listening to kids' music, and suddenly we'd discovered Michael Jackson! She was just kind of flabbergasted that her boys were growing up and discovering pop music. My brother went on to get the Thriller video for his birthday that year.


  • 3

    Austin Teen Book Festival

    What's the hardest thing about writing a sequel?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Here's something about the way I work. New projects excite me. In fact, I'm often dangling the new project in front of myself as incentive to finish my current project, saying, "When you get this book done, and it's done right and it's awesome, you get to go do something new." It's part of what I like about my job, always being able to do something new. It keeps me productive as a writer.

    The hardest part about doing a sequel is this: yes, it's new, but it's also familiar, and there's a part of me that says, "I don't want to do that. I want to do something completely different." However, it's important to have the discipline to say, "No, you promised your readers that you were going to finish this!" Beyond that, there are certain themes, characters, and stories that you can only explore by doing something that's more long-form, like a series. As a reader, I prefer to read series, but as a writer sometimes it's hard to make myself do the familiar instead of something brand-new.


  • 4

    Austin Teen Book Festival

    What character of yours would be a great addition to Game of Thrones?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ha! I don't know if I hate any of my characters enough to do that to them! What interesting questions you have! I think Kelsier from Mistborn would probably fit in the best. Not a lot of people pick up on this, but Kelsier is actually a psychopath. He likes to kill people. He takes pleasure and joy in it. He only lets this side of himself out once in a while, but there are points in the book where he takes down a nobleman, and he's just gleeful about the ability and the chance to do it.

    In the Mistborn world, he's a hero because the people Kelsier is killing are oppressors. Part of the fun of writing him was the idea that in another story, if things had gone differently, he'd be the villain. But in this story, Kelsier is the hero, and it's because he's able to channel his being a psychopath into a noble cause, but still, there's a danger behind Kelsier's eyes that might let him survive in Westeros better than a lot of my other characters.


  • 5

    Austin Teen Book Festival

    Have you ever seen the Texas Chainsaw Massacre? Thoughts?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I haven't seen it. I'm sorry. My friend Dan Wells is much more of a horror movie buff than I am. That's a gap in my experience, I understand, but I was spending all that time reading fantasy novels instead of watching classic horror movies.


  • 6

    Austin Teen Book Festival

    For more information about Brandon Sanderson and his books, check out his website.

    About Steelheart: Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics.

    But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.

    Nobody fights the Epics... nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

    And David wants in. He wants Steelheart—the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father. For years, like the Reckoners, David's been studying, and planning—and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

    He's seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

    Join us September 28th at the Austin Convention Center to meet Brandon Sanderson and have your books signed! Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more news soon!