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Interviews: The China Post: American fantasy author talks about Chinese influence in his best-sellers

Summary:

Entries

10

Date

Feb 6th, 2012

Type

Verbatim

Location

Taipei, TW

Links

The China Post

  • 1

    The China Post

    New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, who was in Taiwan on a promotional tour, said he has drawn ideas for his fantasy novels from Chinese culture and has collected ingredients for his stories during his travels.

  • 2

    The China Post

    The culture and magic in his works, such as the epic fantasy The Way of Kings were inspired by Chinese numerology and the Confucian social order, Sanderson said in a recent interview with CNA.

    Brandon Sanderson

    "The concept of the relationships between leaders and followers, fathers and children were fascinating to me," said the 36-year-old American author who lived for three years in South Korea, where Confucianism is observed.

    "It created a core order for a very organized culture," he said.

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  • 3

    The China Post

    The Way of Kings, released in 2010 and the first in a scheduled 10-novel series titled "The Stormlight Archive," follows the story of three individuals from different strata of a society through a medieval feudal world thrashed by violent storms.

    The author said he also drew heavily on the concept of numerology in Chinese culture to create his magic, because numbers in Chinese have diverse meanings.

    Brandon Sanderson

    "In English a one is a one but in Chinese each number and character has multiple meanings, so the idea of numerology as a superstition and almost as a science was very fascinating for me," said Sanderson, known for the complexity of his magic systems.

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  • 4

    The China Post

    Calligraphy has also made it into Sanderson's novel.

    At the end of The Way of Kings, one of the characters paints a calligraphic symbol on the ground then burns it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    "You paint it and set it on fire, and that is a prayer in this world," Sanderson said. "That is something I drew from the Chinese culture."

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  • 5

    The China Post

    Sanderson said he was surprised to find his books so well-received in Taiwan.

    On the day of its release in Taiwan on Feb. 1, the Chinese version of The Way of Kings shot to number three on the bestseller list of books.com.tw, a major local online bookstore.

  • 6

    The China Post

    On every visit abroad, Sanderson said, he takes notes and tries to write down a story that inspired him, to be used as a "seed" for later stories.

    Brandon Sanderson

    For example, an exhibit of necklaces and armors made out of coins that he saw nine years ago in the Middle East inspired him to create "coin armors" for the characters in his new book A Memory of Light, which is scheduled to be launched in fall this year.

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  • 7

    The China Post

    A Memory of Light is the 14th and final book in Robert Jordan's fantasy series The Wheel of Time, which has sold over 44 million copies worldwide. The last three books in the series were written by Sanderson after Jordan's death.

    The 12th book, The Gathering Storm, by Sanderson, beat Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol to top the New York Times hardcover fiction list in November 2009.

  • 8

    The China Post

    Sanderson said many people regard fantasy novels as "not-good literature," or "escapism" but fantasy challenges human beings to "dream bigger, dream better."

    Brandon Sanderson

    "Fantasy is mental weightlifting for your imagination, to help you think better and think beyond what you would normally see," he said. "I like to view my job as bringing joy to people and hopefully encouraging them to dream bigger."

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  • 9

    The China Post

    The writer said his satisfaction comes from knowing that his books are reaching "not just niche readers" but people who may not have read a lot of fantasy but are trying out the genre.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is "extremely satisfying" to know that they have been translated into other languages, he said.

    The China Post

    His novels have been praised for their impressive characters, plausible worlds and well thought out rule-based magic systems.

    Brandon Sanderson

    "The fact that readers are enjoying it says to me that they like a little bit of wonder, a little bit of imagination, but they also like it to make sense."

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  • 10

    The China Post

    The author, who also writes video game adaptations, expressed interest in working with local moviemakers and the gaming industry, saying that he sees films and games as another storytelling medium.

    Sanderson helped write a video game called "Infinity Blade" that was released last year. Another game based on his bestselling Mistborn Trilogy is scheduled for release in 2013.

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