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Interviews: Brandon Sanderson on UNFETTERED





Oct 10th, 2012








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    Brandon Sanderson

    Hi all, this is Brandon Sanderson, fresh off of finishing the last book of The Wheel of Time, A Memory of Light, and I'm here to introduce the story collection Unfettered to you. Shawn Speakman is putting together—actually asked all of us to do something like this, to talk about how we got involved in the project—he first approached me when I was on tour—it was probably I guess for Alloy of Law—and he explained that he was having...he had a lot of medical bills—Shawn has had some health troubles lately—and he's a good friend of a lot of us in the community, and he was looking to put together an anthology to maybe help to defray some of these costs, at the suggestion of Terry Brooks. And he just asked if I'd be interested; he said, "Really, it could be anything." That's why he's calling it "Unfettered", is because he didn't want to put any restrictions; in fact, he said it could be deleted scenes, it could be any sort of material relating to anything we wanted to do. He sounded most interested in something relating to one of my worlds that I've already written in, but he really said it could be anything.

    Well, I wasn't sure I'd be able to be involved, because A Memory of Light has was taking quite a bit of my time. It's quite the big project, and finding any time at all to work on anything else was really difficult. At the same time, however, there's a sequence of viewpoints in A Memory of Light—and I'm not at liberty yet to say who it is, but it's a character that you will know—that I was working on that were somewhat more daring than some of the viewpoints I've done. I wanted to try and give some deeper backstory to someone, and at the end of the day, showing the scenes to Harriet, we all liked them, but they didn't fit in the book. Harriet felt that they were too distracting, because of the new, sort things I was adding, the things I was fleshing out. This is something that sometimes you want to avoid in storytelling, where you're near the end of the climax, introducing new concepts to kind of distract and derail.

    She felt that these scenes were doing that, and so after some discussion, we decided that they should be cut. And I always kind of felt sad, because while I agree that they were distracting, I really felt that they were strong and that they added a lot to the character, and give a lot of extra motivation—a lot of extra poignancy to some of the things going on in A Memory of Light—and so I began to think maybe this would be the place for them. I approached Harriet, and she said she thought that was a good idea.

    So what we'll be doing, it's a story called "River of Souls" but it's actually a sequence of deleted scenes. They are a complete arc for a certain character; they are meant to be read companionly to A Memory of Light. It's not going to make a whole lot of sense if you haven't read at least the rest of the Wheel of Time, but I find them very exciting; I think you'll really like them, and I think this is a good place for them because they won't be distracting from the rest of the story.

    So, "River of Souls" is going to be part of the Unfettered anthology which has lots of wonderful other people in it—in fact I'm honored to have a story in there, to be alongside some of the names that are in this anthology—and I really wish Shawn the best. He's been a wonderful help to me in my career, and to a lot of the writers out there, so I hope you guys enjoy reading Unfettered, and look forward to reading "River of Souls", and once A Memory of Light is out, I'll be able to talk a little bit more about this character, why these scenes were important, and what's going on there.


    Peter added a clarification to this on Dragonmount.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    It was actually Harriet's suggestion that this go in the anthology. When we talked to her about Unfettered around the time of JordanCon, we asked her about including a completely different and much shorter deleted scene. She said no to that but suggested this sequence instead.