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2012-04-30: I had the great pleasure of speaking with Harriet McDougal Rigney about her life. She's an amazing talent and person and it will take you less than an hour to agree.
2012-04-24: Some thoughts I had during JordanCon4 and the upcoming conclusion of "The Wheel of Time."
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Now I stroll back into my workshop and find that a little bit of dust has gathered. Out of necessity, the Stormlight Archive has been neglected. I am pleased I made the choice to work on A Memory of Light instead of Stormlight 2. However, it is time to pick up that story again and make this series all of the awesome things I've dreamed of it being for some twenty years.
The stories of Mat, Rand, Egwene, and Perrin are now done. Returning to the stories of Kaladin, Shallan, Jasnah, and Dalinar will be my next major project. You'll also see me doing revisions on both The Rithmatist and Steelheart this fall—as I've made arrangements for both to be published next year or the year after. You'll probably hear more about them in the days to come. And yes, I WILL be doing a sequel to The Alloy of Law.
No, I'm always looking for something that strikes me. And I'm looking for things that haven't been done before. Things that will make nice conflict, that walk the line between science and superstition.
That's what I love, that it's all super scientific but it also has magic.
If you will Google Sanderson's First Law, and Sanderson's Second Law, I have two essays that I wrote about how I do magic. They're both on my website, but Google will find them easier than trying to find them on my website.
Did you ever read Master of 5 magics?
I did. That's old school.
Yeah, not great stories, but wonderful magic.
Yep. Great magic. That's what I felt about them too.
When will the next Mistborn (Alloy of Law era) come out?
It will probably come out after the next Way of Kings. Next Way of Kings is next Christmas, the next Alloy of Law era book is probably the following Spring or something like that.
Are you planning two more or three more?
I will do as many of those as strikes me. The Alloy of Law books are a deviation from the main world plotline.So it's just for fun. I'm not going to commit to how many I'll do or not do. Just whatever's working.
Yes, there will be more with those characters; I really enjoyed doing that one, and so I will be doing more. There is the trilogy before, of course, which is more epic fantasy, and this is a little bit more a detective novel, but yeah, I plan to do some more.
Do you have any idea when that next one will be?
I really can't say because there is so much that I've got going on. Finishing the last Wheel of Time is really a big priority to me right now, and then the second Stormlight Archive is a very big priority also. And so, I will do the second Alloy of Law book—I've given it the title Shadows of Self; I've got some plotting and things done for it—but I can't promise a time.
Okay, thank you. That was one of my other questions that Zach sent in was, The Way of Kings. That's the one you just mentioned, you're doing the second book? Because I'm listening to the Mistborn trilogy right now; I just started on The Final Empire, and I'm loving that. Again, through Audible. I'm through the first third of it, and I'm having a good time. But that was Zach's second question.
When is the second book going to be out?
I will be starting that as soon as the Wheel of Time book is done to my satisfaction. That's looking like maybe July, and then I will write the second book, as long as it takes. A book like that doesn't come fast. The way I'm a faster writer: I'm imagining eight months to ten months for the initial draft, and then it will depend on how long it takes to revise based on my editor's feedback and how long Tor feels they want to wait. I am guessing next fall.
Okay. Zach says, the year that he read that book, by far, it was the best book he had read that year.
Oh, well I appreciate hearing that.
He's a big fan. When I told him that—they're all at Balticon, and I'm here at BayCon, and when they found out you were going to be here, he just went all fanboy on us.
...but I noticed towards the end you started creating overtones of a much larger story, and I was curious how you are going to follow up on that.
I will do more books without Alloy of Law, with Wax and Wayne. I originally—I may have said this in the forward to Alloy of Law—I pitched the Mistborn series a three-book, as three sets of trilogies, past-present-future, and I do still intend to do that, but I am going to pick up some of the things that I did in Alloy of Law and keep going with those same characters for a little longer, the main reason being I really like how Alloy of Law balances Stormlight Archive. I love big epics, but I also love fast-paced kind of actiony books as well, and being able to do a little bit of both of that fulfills both sort of itches, scratches them both, and so I like having Alloy-of-Law-style books come out alongside larger epics.
So I will be—to answer the questions that are coming—next is the last Wheel of Time book, and pretty much everything I have is devoted to that book. I'm hoping to have revisions of that done by the end of June, and then can start on Stormlight 2 which is what I will do next. The Wheel of Time book is coming out in January. I had really hoped to have it out in November, but it proved unrealistic, and I'm too optimistic on these things sometimes, and Harriet wisely counseled that we need to slow down a bit and spend some more time on the revisions, which we are doing. The Stormlight book, if I'm really on the ball, will be next November-ish—not this one but a year from that—and then I would follow it really closely with another Alloy of Law book.
I do plan to write a sequel to The Alloy of Law between books in the Stormlight series, and will probably write more of those after that. The second major Mistborn trilogy is something I will write after book five of the Stormlight Archive.
If I'm not mistaken, you have great plans with this universe and you intend to write more trilogies set in this world. Would you tell us about this conception in some detail?
Sure. I originally pitched the Mistborn series to my editor as a sequence of three trilogies. Past, present, and future—epic fantasy, urban fantasy, and science fiction; all with the running thread of the magic system.
Since I just started coming out with the Stormlight Archive, I want to commit myself to that and don't want to dig into the second Mistborn trilogy for quite a while. Yet I want to prep people for the idea that Mistborn is going to be around for a while, and they are going to be seeing more books. I didn't want it to just come out of nowhere at them in ten years or whenever I get to it. So I decided to do some interim stories.
One of the things I'd been playing with was the idea of what happened between the epic fantasy and the urban fantasy trilogies. We have some very interesting things happening in the world, where you've got a cradle of mankind created (by design) to be very lush, very easy to live in, so a great big city could grow up there relatively quickly; civilization could build itself back up over the course of just a couple of generations. Yet there would be very little motivation to leave that area at first, which I felt would mean that you'd end up with this really great frontier boundary. The dichotomy between the two—the frontier and the quite advanced (all things considered) city in the cradle of humanity—was very interesting to me. So I started playing around with where things would lead.
To worldbuild the urban fantasy trilogy coming up, I need to know everything that happened in the intervening centuries. Some stories popped up in there that I knew would happen, that would be referenced in the second trilogy. So I thought, why don't I tell some of these stories, to cement them in my mind and to keep the series going.
I started writing The Alloy of Law not really knowing how long it would be—knowing the history and everything that happened, but not knowing how much of it I wanted to do in prose form. Things just clicked as they sometimes do, and I ended up turning it into a novel.
Another frequently asked question that I will get a bunch of times in line, so I will answer now: I am working on the second Stormlight book. (applause) Tor thinks it's coming out this fall; I'm hoping to meet their expectations. (laughter) If not, it will be the following spring. A sequel to Alloy of Law would be the next thing I would work on. (applause) Yeah, it's funny how these things happen. One of my favorite stories about Robert Jordan and the series is, you know...I started reading these books in 1990, right? How many people picked it up in 1990, when Great Hunt wasn't out yet? That's...the few the proud, right? 23 years?
How many times did you reread it?
Yes, and you would reread it every time a new book would come out, right? That's what I did. Until you...at one point, I reread the whole series, and by the time I got done, the next new book was out, and I'm like, "Whoa, this takes a long time!" (laughter) And...there's a lot of questions I had as a fan that I have now been able to get answers to.
For instance, I went to Tom Doherty—Tom Doherty is the publisher at Tor; he started the company, and I don't know if you guys know, Harriet was the first person he hired, as editorial director; she was in charge of editorial, and Harriet edited a lot of wonderful books. One of the books she edited is Ender's Game, if you're familiar with that. (applause) And she did also discover Robert Jordan, and then she married him. (laughter) I've always noted that's a great way to make sure your editorial advice gets taken, right? (laughter)
And so I went to Tom, and I said, "Tom, really...how many books was it?" When you hear this talk of, "Oh, we expect it to be this long," "We expect it to be this long..." And Tom sat me down and said, "Okay, let me tell you Brandon. Robert Jordan came in, and he had this pitch for me, and he gave me this big, long description of this awesome book. He said in the first book...the first book ends with our hero taking a sword that's not a sword from a stone that's not a stone. That's where the first book ends. And from there, we have two more books; it's a trilogy." This is what Tom Doherty said, exactly. And then Tom said, "Jim,"—Robert Jordan's real name was Jim Rigney—"Jim, I know how you are. Why don't we sign you for six books?" (laughter) And Jim said, "Well, I don't need six books. This is a trilogy." And Tom said, "Well, if you think you don't need that, we can do something else. You know, let's just sign you for six books in the series." Tom looked me right in the eyes, and he said, "Brandon, I thought I was so smart." (laughter) "I thought I was buying that whole series for sure." And here we are on book fourteen.
And so, yeah; this has been quite the experience; quite the ride, quite the journey of 23 years, and it's been amazing to be part of it.
I'm really intrigued by both of those premises. Where do you keep getting all these ideas from? I really admire your ingenuity.
Also, and I'm not sure if you can/will answer this, but will we see another book with Waxillium Ladrian? His story doesn't appear to end with The Alloy of Law. And will his story be directly related to the next Mistborn trilogy? This has been eating away at me since finishing that book.
Wax's story was indeed directly related to the second trilogy, but I was intrigued enough with his time period that I find myself wanting to do more with him. I probably will.
BOOKS YOU WILL SEE SOON: (The books that are done.)
The Rithmatist (once named Scribbler): Summer 2013
Steelheart: Fall 2013 or spring 2014.
BOOKS YOU WILL SEE SOMEWHAT SOON: (Working on right now.)
Stormlight 2: Hopefully Fall 2013.
Shadows of Self (New Wax and Wayne): 2014
Alcatraz 5: I own the rights again now, and hope to write this book sometime in the near future.
Stormlight 3: Goal is to write this soon after Stormlight 2
Steelheart and Rithmatist Sequels: I will probably try to do one of each of these between Stormlight 2 and 3.
Elantris 2: I'd still love to do a sequel for 2015, the 10th anniversary of the book's release.
Warbreaker 2: Long ways off.
Dark One: Unlikely any time soon.
The King's Necromancer: Unlikely any time soon.
I Hate Dragons: Unlikely any time soon.
Death By Pizza: Turned out mediocre. Won't be released anytime soon.
The Silence Divine: Will be written someday.
White Sand: Will be written someday.
Mistborn modern trilogy: Will be written during the gap between Stormlight 5 and 6.
The Liar of Partinel Didn't turn out well. Scraped.
Dragonsteel: Won't be written until Stormlight is done.
Not a lot of changes from back then, except that Steelheart got finished and Rithmatist got a release date for certain.
Would you ever expand on The Alloy of Law? I loved the ending, it made me want even more.
Speaking of Alloy of Law... To me it felt paced like a good movie. I feel like it would make a super fun movie. Just wanted to say that.
Keep being awesome!
Ooh! I can answer this one. The sequel to Alloy of Law is called Shadows of Self. As far as I know, there hasn't been a date specified on when it'll come out since it's unwritten, but the best fan guess is sometime in 2014.
I agree on the movie thing. It's like Lethal Weapon with allomancers.
As the other person wrote, I will be doing more. Thanks for reading!
When is the timeline for the sequel to Alloy of Law?
Sequel for Alloy of Law? Probably not next year but the year after. I’m pretty dominated by finishing the second Stormlight book right now. So once I do that, then things will open up a little bit more for what I might do. I do actually have half a sequel for Alloy of Law written but I don’t have time to finish it right now.