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Brandon Sanderson
Photo of Brandon Sanderson by Nazrilof

Get to know the author himself

Brandon Sanderson was born in Nebraska in 1975. Since then he has written, amongst others, The Mistborn books and begun the internationally bestselling Stormlight Archive. He was also chosen by Robert Jordan's family to complete Jordan's Wheel of Time Sequence. He lives in Utah.

One on one with Brandon Sanderson

Typewriter, laptop, or pen & paper?

Laptop, using Microsoft word 2010. I don’t want to pull a Ray bradbury and get stuck in the same thing for all my life (he famously started on a typewriter, and stayed on one.) It’s kind of a science fiction writer cliché at this point to never upgrade your writing method, despite developments in software. However, it works for me. So here we are.

Where is your favourite place to write?

I don’t really have an office or writing spot right now. I’m building an addition to our house, which will have one, but for most of my life I’ve just written wherever. Often, in an easy chair by the fireplace.

What word or expression do you most overuse?

I was famously bad at over-using the word “Maladroitly” in my first books.

Expand to read the full Q&A

What’s your all-time favourite adjective?

Don’t know that I’ve ever picked a favorite.

If your book(s) were to become a movie, who would you like to see star in it?

I don’t “cast” my books, actually. I get this question periodically, and it flummoxes me--because I’m not a casting director. My experience is that a good team will be able to cast someone unexpected in a role, but who plays it very well. So I just figure I’ll leave it to them.

When did you realize you wanted to become an author?

I was fifteen, and had just become a fantasy reader the year before. (With the book Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly starting me off.) I immersed myself in the genre, came to love it, and then just kind of started writing.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

“Believe in” is an odd way to put it. If it exists for people, it’s real, and not really subject to my belief in it. Of course it’s real. The moment someone says “I have writer’s Block” it becomes real--the fact that it often has an easy solution (that of just pressing forward, writing anyway, and learning to work even when a specific muse isn’t striking you) doesn’t take away how frustrating it is for people.

For me, the way past it is--as I’ve said--to push forward. To write the scene anyway, even if I feel blocked. Almost always, the scene turns out bad--but in the process of writing it, my brain starts to work on what exactly I’m doing wrong. The next day, once I toss the scene and try again, it almost always works.

Do you listen to music while you write? What’s on your playlist?

https://open.spotify.com/user/mistborn1/playlist/3rtnFXYtZU5V2vXThMrAgE

Whom would you want to write your life story?

Myself, if given the chance.

What do all writers have in common?

Other than the obvious things, I’d say nothing. The only rule I’ve discovered on how to be a writer is that nobody does it the same way.

How do you start your day?

I tend to work late, until about 4.00am, then get up late. First thing is probably checking my email.

How do you fit reading into your day?

About fifteen minutes before going to bed, or via audiobook when I have a huge stack of things to sign.

When and where do you escape to get some time to yourself?

I don’t have that problem, as working until the wee hours every day gives me plenty of time to myself.

What are you reading right now?

A book by an unpublished writer that I’m not certain if I should mention yet.

How do you usually end your day?

In bed, with my tablet, doing a little reading.

What book has had the biggest influence on your life?

Dragonsbane, by Barbara Hambly--mentioned above as the book that got me into fantasy.

What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?

Uh...I’m not sure there’s anything here. It’s all pretty obvious.

Where is your reading happy place?

I don’t have a specific place.

What was your favourite book as a child?

I loved the Three Investigators books when I was in second and third grade.

Which natural gift would you most like to possess?

Languages.

What’s your favorite drink? Last supper? Dessert? TV show?

Big cup of Ice Water. Won’t ever have to choose that one, hopefully. Is popcorn a dessert? Lately, Stranger Things.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t stress what people think of your writing; worry only about practicing and writing for yourself.

If you could revisit yourself at any age, what age would you choose?

Now that I’m a father, I’d love to see myself at the age of my children. Maybe at age 5.

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