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Interviews: AMOL Signing Report - NutiketAiel

Summary:

Entries

44

Date

Jan 10th, 2013

Type

Paraphrased

Location

Dayton, OH

TourCon

AMOL Book Tour

Bookstore

Books & Co.

Reporter

NutiketAiel

Links

17th Shard

  • 1

    NutiketAiel (26 January 2014)

    Well, I was going through some things on my computer and found my old report from this signing. I never did hear back from Peter Ahlstrom after I emailed him, but he's a busy guy I'm sure. I figure, though, that after a year, I'm probably safe to post it. So, here is my report. Much of the information has already gotten out through other signings and sources, but some may still find it interesting, and I think at least one of the answers to my questions about Nalthis towards the end may still hold new information.

    Also, upon re-reading it, I discovered that I sound like a shameless fanboy. Or maybe I am a shameless fanboy. Meh.

  • 2

    NutiketAiel (10 January 2014)

    Hello, fellow Seventeenth Sharders. As promised, I have taken copious notes at Brandon’s Thursday, 1/10/13 signing at Books & Co in Dayton, OH.

    The signing began at 7:00 PM, so I thought I’d be clever by showing up early, driving over right after I got off duty and arriving at about 4:30 PM. I figured I’d be first in line; boy, was I wrong. There were a good 26 people ahead of me, with more arriving all the time. By the time the Memory Keepers and store employees finished giving out line tickets, there were over 300 people there to meet Brandon and Harriet. Of course, that did make me feel a little better about being only #27…

    The actual signing proceeded a little differently than it had the last time I had met Brandon (at his signing in Lexington following the release of Alloy of Law). We all went up in order for a first pass, allowing Brandon and Harriet to simply sign our books. Afterwards, anyone who wanted further personalization was welcome to stay and go up a second time, after Harriet had retired for the evening. Considering how many people left after the first go around, it seems that that was a pretty good idea. It made things run very smoothly. They also took all parents who had small children with them first, so that they could get home with their little ones. This was a nice move, I thought, and to their credit there was not a single complaint from among the 300+ gathered fans about having to wait for these parents (well, not that I could hear, anyway). I had no idea we WoT fans were, as a group, such a considerate bunch, especially after seeing some internet shouting matches over the years about who Demandred was, or who killed Asmodean, or whether there could be a female Dragon.

    Anyway, Brandon and Harriet began with a Q&A session. I did not have a tape recorder with me, unfortunately, and I was far too overawed to be in Brandon and Harriet’s presence to think of using my smartphone for the task, so I took notes. I’m also not a professional stenographer, and don’t know shorthand. So, unless something is in quotations marks, all of these are simple reports of the gist of the question and answer, or paraphrases. Some mild spoilers for A Memory of Light and, in one case, Way of Kings follow.

    Footnote

    The Q&A portion of NutiketAiel's report is omitted in favor of a transcript. To compare versions, follow the source link on this report.
  • 3

    NutiketAiel

    Harriet McDougal

    After the Q&A session, Harriet read the first two paragraphs of Chapter One of A Memory of Light, the "wind" section. She spoke afterward about how she felt that the wind at the beginning of each novel was "very consciously" the breath of life into his characters.

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  • 4

    NutiketAiel

    After the reading, the store held an auction to sell off a signed Memory of Light poster to the highest bidder, with the proceeds going to Project Read, a Dayton-based charity promoting literacy. Unfortunately for me, I was severely outbid (I need a better paying job), and the poster went for $210. Later on in the evening, a Stormlight Archive poster was found and also auctioned off, this time for $220.

    It was then time for the signings. After getting my own books signed, I sat as close to Brandon and Harriet as I could, taking notes as the various fans spoke to them and asked questions. There was far too much to record everything, I think, but I took down some of what I considered to be the more interesting, amusing or informative tidbits and included them below. After the first round of signings, when Harriet had retired and Brandon called us back up for personalization, I informed him that I was taking notes to post for the Seventeenth Shard. I asked his permission to post the conversations that I had overheard, since I wouldn’t put up private talks that were not part of the Q&A without permission. He told me to email the information to his assistant, Peter, before doing so (which I have done, though as noted I never heard back from him), and then gave me permission to sit next to the signing table so that I could hear better and take notes more effectively. That was quite a thrill for me, I must admit, and I even managed to make myself useful when one of the fans asked Brandon to personalize the book with his favorite Mat curse. Brandon couldn’t decide off the top of his head, so he asked me to look up an image of the blood and bloody ashes tee-shirt. You know, the one that has all of Mat’s profanity in one convenient square? I almost failed, actually (stupid smartphone), but was eventually able to get the image for him when he suggested a good search term. Oh, and if anyone was curious, Brandon ended up going with “sheep swallop and bloody buttered onions,” which just so happens to be my favorite Mat curse, too. :-D

    A very proud moment, for me; I helped my favorite writer look up fictional profanity. ;-)

    Anyway, here are some tidbits from Brandon’s conversations with his fans (sometimes with a preface about the question, other times just with Brandon’s quote; there are a few potential spoilers in here for A Memory of Light, one MAJOR spoiler for A Memory of Light and to a much lesser extent Mistborn, Warbreaker and Legion):

  • 5

    NutiketAiel

    Brandon Sanderson

    I heard a little girl and a little boy both separately ask about when Alcatraz 5 was coming out (a topic near and dear to my heart, too). Brandon explained that he had bought the rights to the series back as of January 1st, and said that it "might be the breather book after Second Stormlight."

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  • 6

    NutiketAiel

    Brandon Sanderson

    When asked about his favorite Forsaken, he said "My favorite Forsaken is probably Demandred." He went on to say that his second favorite was Lanfear, and that "I was happy to bring Lanfear back into the forefront of the series."

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  • 7

    NutiketAiel

    When asked about his prodigious writing pace:

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I don’t write any faster than any other writer, I just spend much less time not writing."

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  • 8

    NutiketAiel

    I didn't overhear the question that led to this answer, and I can't decide whether that's a good or bad thing:

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I have been asked to sign some body parts that I was not comfortable signing… I declined those opportunities."

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  • 9

    NutiketAiel

    When asked one of the things that he liked about Robert Jordan's writing:

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I really liked how he used mythology."

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  • 10

    NutiketAiel

    Brandon Sanderson

    When asked about future books following on Alloy of Law, he said that his next major project after Stormlight 2 would be the next Alloy of Law book.

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  • 11

    NutiketAiel

    Brandon Sanderson

    I didn’t hear the question that led up to this answer, but my ears perked up when I heard Brandon say the word "Feruchemical." He said that the spiritual Feruchemical powers are "very interesting," and that in future books "mostly I’m going to play around with the different types of twinborn."

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  • 12

    NutiketAiel

    Brandon Sanderson

    The frontrunners for baby names are Gideon and Oliver. Not sure of the spellings there. :-)

    Footnote

    The tour had to be split in half because Brandon's wife was due to give birth not long after the book was to be released. They went with Oliver.

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  • 13

    Brandon Sanderson

    "Dalinar is the first character I ever wrote."

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  • 14

    NutiketAiel

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I've ignored the UK for 2 years and they're getting rowdy… as rowdy as Brits get, which is not that rowdy."
  • 15

    Footnote

    The next question is omitted because it was reported in more detail here.
  • 16

    NutiketAiel

    When asked whether he gets tired on tours:

    Brandon Sanderson

    "It gets a little wearying on day 28, but we're only on day 5, so it’s fine. Day 4?"
  • 17

    Brandon Sanderson

    "More of everything is on the way. I can't stop writing!"

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  • 18

    NutiketAiel

    Brandon Sanderson

    When a fan of Warbreaker asked about the versatility of the Royal Locks, he replied that "they could go to non-natural colors." However, he pointed out that this would require a greater understanding of the power.

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  • 19

    NutiketAiel

    Brandon Sanderson

    By this point, Harriet had retired for the evening and Brandon announced that he was ready to "take requests." I believe he was referring to personalizations, but one fan asked him to breakdance. Much to my dismay, Brandon announced "I cannot breakdance."
  • 20

    NutiketAiel

    Brandon Sanderson

    One fan asked about the exact locations of the Inquisitor spikes. Brandon replied that a hemalurgic table with a list of spike locations, including the Inquisitor spikes, would be forthcoming.

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  • 21

    NutiketAiel

    When asked by a fan about the third Mistborn trilogy:

    Brandon Sanderson

    "The third Mistborn trilogy is going to involve a lot of tying things together." "Allomancy has built into it faster than light travel." The fan mentioned the speed bubbles after that, but Brandon replied noncommittally.

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  • 22

    NutiketAiel

    When asked about his own personality:

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I score about halfway between everything." Brandon pointed out that, when he had taken various personality tests, he had always scored at or around 50 on right/left brain tests, extrovert/introvert scales and the like. "I kind of shift between the two."

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  • 23

    NutiketAiel

    When a fan complimented him on the accuracy regarding horses in the Wheel of Time:

    Brandon Sanderson

    "Mostly that's Robert Jordan, he was much better at that than I am. I've taken some crash courses."

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  • 24

    NutiketAiel

    Brandon Sanderson

    When asked about the Wheel of Time MUD game, he replied that he had never played it. Brandon explained that during the era when MUDs were really big, he didn’t have an internet connection. He did point out that he was part of the Wheel of Time discussions on Usenet.

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  • 25

    NutiketAiel

    Brandon Sanderson

    When asked what his favorite Wheel of Time book was, Brandon said it was Book 4.

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  • 26

    NutiketAiel

    Brandon Sanderson

    When asked about Aviendha’s second trip through the pillars in Rhuidean, Brandon said that he pitched that sequence. He related that Team Jordan was initially reluctant, but once he actually wrote a draft of the scene, they loved it. He said that he is most proud of that chapter.

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  • 27

    NutiketAiel

    One fan asked Brandon to compare Kaladin with Galad, Gawyn and Lan.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon said that Kaladin shares things with both [Gawyn and Lan]. Lan overcame his troubled past, whereas Kaladin hasn't yet. Brandon hopes that Kaladin does better than Gawyn, who was overcome by his past and let it crush him. In reference to all three, he said "I would hope that Kaladin would appreciate the comparison."

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  • 28

    NutiketAiel

    One fan thanked Brandon for all the advice he offered to aspiring writers, to which Brandon replied in part:

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I got lots of good help when I was starting out, and I want to do something for others as well."

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  • 29

    NutiketAiel

    One fan asked for something about the "two sentences" that Robert Jordan left about the planned outrigger novels.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon said that the sentences would be released at some point, but did say that one of them was about “what Perrin's doing."

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  • 30

    NutiketAiel

    Brandon Sanderson

    When asked his favorite female Wheel of Time Character, Brandon said that it was Aviendha.

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  • 31

    NutiketAiel

    MAJOR SPOILER for A Memory of Light in the next one. Be warned:

    One fan asked Brandon about a particular incident in the epilogue of A Memory of Light, when Rand lit his pipe by thought.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon related that there were two kinds of notes that Robert Jordan had left—one set of notes to himself, to remind himself of various things, the other notes intended to help someone else complete the series. The epilogue, however, as has repeatedly been pointed out, did not need anyone to complete it—Robert Jordan had written it [almost] in its entirety. So, there was no explanation about how Rand accomplished this. Brandon did relate his own theory about the incident to the inquiring fan, however: "Certain people are touching the Pattern, and certain touches leave certain kind of marks."

    NutiketAiel

    For me, this was one of the highlights of the entire evening. The Great Brandon Sanderson himself, who has seen all of Robert Jordan’s notes and writings, and spent years working with Harriet and Team Jordan to complete the series… when it comes to this one thing, he has to come up with theories just like the rest of us fans. It made me feel really close to Brandon, in that moment.

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  • 32

    NutiketAiel

    When working on a personalization for a fan:

    Brandon Sanderson

    "My Old Tongue is rusty."

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  • 33

    NutiketAiel

    One fan asked him about his process when writing an emotional scene, when he will leave the writing and go walk on his porch:

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I'm… trying to escape from the words and get to the images."

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  • 34

    NutiketAiel

    When asked about his favorite fruit:

    Brandon Sanderson

    "Pomegranate, followed quickly by a mandarin orange."

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  • 35

    NutiketAiel

    When asked about how much time a day he spends writing:

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I take off between five and eight to spend time with my family." "If I'm not doing anything else, I'm working on my books."

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  • 36

    NutiketAiel

    When asked about his own contributions to the Wheel of Time, Brandon related a request he had made of Harriet.

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I wanted an Asha'man of my own… Androl had been in the books, but there was no personality with him, just a name." "I took him wherever I wanted to go." He clarified that Androl was not an author surrogate, or a way of inserting himself into the books, but that he was a character that Brandon could develop and write as he pleased.

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  • 37

    NutiketAiel

    One fan asked if the Wheel of Time RPG had any impact on the development of the powers in the series:

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I have never read the role-playing game."

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  • 38

    NutiketAiel

    The Cosmere—How?:

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I don't know if it's something I can answer, simply because I don't know how." He went on to relate his feelings when reading Asimov's Foundation, and how cool it would have been if Asimov had known from the beginning that he was going to be tying all these things in, and the subtle hints he could have left in the earlier stories.

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  • 39

    NutiketAiel

    How did you keep Legion straight?

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I cheated a little bit in Legion and based each personality off an actor." He pointed out that his favorite personality was JC, who was based on [Adam] Baldwin from Firefly. He also related that Ivy was based on Gwyneth Paltrow. The fan commented that he envisioned Brandon having a folder on each personality, which Brandon confirmed.

    When asked how he approaches writing a novella as opposed to an epic, Brandon reiterated that he was an "architect" style writer, and viewed novella writing as an opportunity to practice his pre-writing skills and his "discovery writing."

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  • 40

    NutiketAiel

    Brandon Sanderson

    When asked about the Wheel of Time prequels, Brandon reiterated that there was about a "one billionth of one percent chance" of them ever being written. He said that the first prequel would have been about Tam going to war, and would have been in parallel with the story of Rand’s biological parents. The second would have been the further adventures of Moiraine and Lan, including their encounter with the Green Man.

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  • 41

    NutiketAiel

    One fan asked Brandon to rank Mat’s combat ability compared to other characters in the series.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Brandon described Mat as "good" and "above the curve." However, compared to Lan, Mat was "completely out-classed." Brandon confirmed that Lan is at the top in terms of combat ability, but added that, at his height, Tam was "pretty darn good" and could have taken Mat. However, Brandon cautioned that all this was not factoring Mat’s luck. Mat's combat abilities vary a great deal, depending on whether he was "ticked off," what the stakes of the battle were and whether he was in "awesome Mat mode."

    Regarding the battles in the end of the series, Brandon said that some of the researchers working with them studied historical battles and fed him movements for authenticity.

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  • 42

    NutiketAiel

    Much to my delight, at the end of the evening, as everyone was packing up, Brandon thanked me for coming and for my enthusiasm. He said that he was always gratified to see a Seventeenth Sharder, and appreciated what we do. I have to say, I have rarely felt so honored as when he said that to me, especially since I barely consider myself to be a Seventeenth Sharder. After all, this report is the first thing I’ve really done for the 17th Shard. I thanked him profusely, and did mention that I had not gotten a chance to ask him any questions about the Cosmere. Brandon magnanimously allowed me to ask a few quick questions while the Memory Keepers and store employees were packing up. So, here they are:
  • 43

    NutiketAiel

    "If a native of Sel or another Shardworld travelled to Nalthis, would they be a drab?"

    Brandon almost answered quickly, but then got a thoughtful look and paused to consider with a "hmm." After a moment, he replied:

    Brandon Sanderson

    "No, they would not be a drab. But, no one would be able to take their breath."

    NutiketAiel

    "If such a person died on Nalthis, could they Return?"

    Brandon Sanderson

    "No, they cannot Return."

    NutiketAiel

    "If such a person received breath, could they use BioChroma?"

    Brandon Sanderson

    "Yes."

    NutiketAiel

    I was probably grinning like a looby at this point, but I didn't care. Brandon complimented me on my questions, saying that I had asked some good ones and that nobody had gotten so much information out of him in a while. I don't know whether he meant it, or was just trying to give me some confidence and make me feel good about myself as an amateur realmatic theorist (very, very amateur), but either way it made me feel like a million bucks.

    Brandon’s good at that. I’m consistently amazed by his positive attitude, and just how much attention he lavishes on his fans.

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  • 44

    NutiketAiel

    So, that’s my report. I hope you all found it interesting and, perhaps, a little useful. It certainly gave me a lot to think about. I was thoroughly honored to have met Harriet, and so pleased to be able to see and speak to Brandon again. I hope I get the opportunity to take notes again at his next signing. You know, I started this report by lamenting the lack of an audio recording of the proceedings… but I think that taking and transcribing these notes was actually more fun for me. I guess I feel more… invested in the process this way? I don’t know. Either way, if I get the opportunity to do this again, I think I’ll do the same thing I did this time.

    But maybe do some hand and wrist exercises first. Writer’s cramp!!

    —Jim Schofield