Brandon Sanderson has written five fantasy novels from Tor Books: Elantris, the Mistborn trilogy and Warbreaker, as well as a middle-grade fantasy series beginning with Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians from Scholastic Press. After Robert Jordan died in 2007, Brandon was chosen to complete his groundbreaking fantasy epic The Wheel of Time. The Gathering Storm will be released on October 27, and two final volumes will follow.
On your nightstand now:
An unpublished young adult book by Janci Patterson called Skipped. Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan--right now I'm digging back into the Wheel of Time and need to refamiliarize myself with the world. Dan Wells's tentatively titled Full of Holes. It's the third in the horror trilogy that starts with I Am Not a Serial Killer. And The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
Favorite book when you were a child:
The Three Investigators books created by Robert Arthur. I fell in love with these in the third grade, and I enjoyed them much more than the "meaningful" (boring) books people tried to get me to read for the next five years.
Your top five authors:
In no particular order: Robert Jordan, Terry Pratchett, Victor Hugo, Dan Wells. It's hard to pick a fifth--it really depends on my mood, who I've been reading a lot of recently. There are many authors from whom I'll love one book and not be as blown away by their other novels. Here's a sampling of single books I think are fantastic: A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge, Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly, Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay and Sabriel by Garth Nix.
Book you've faked reading:
To Kill a Mockingbird in junior high. We were assigned two chapters a night, and the teacher would get up every day and talk about what happened in those two chapters. I realized I didn't have to read the book because we'd spend an hour talking about it every day. So I got an A on the test but never read it.
Book you're an evangelist for:
Dan Wells's books. I Am Not a Serial Killer is out now in the U.K. and will be released in the U.S. in March 2010. It's difficult to tie this book down. On one hand, it's a character study that inspects the mind of a teenage sociopath. On the other, it's an old-fashioned murder mystery with a supernatural edge. Neither of those concepts conveys the wit of the prose or the brilliance of the story's great dilemma. Which is more alien? The monster with the heart of a man or the man with the heart of a monster?
Some books are exciting. Some books are intriguing. Some are exhilarating, others moving and still others deeply disturbing. I've rarely found a book that fit all of these descriptions at once, and never have I read one that mixes each emotion together as thoroughly as I Am Not a Serial Killer. Regardless of your age or your genre preferences, you will find the book both profound and enthralling.
Book you've bought for the cover:
About a billion books with Michael Whelan covers. Any time a book came out with a Michael Whelan cover, I just let that sell me on it. I have almost always been pleased. Very rarely have I been disappointed.
Book that changed your life:
Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly. I mentioned above that after the third grade people kept giving me books that bored me out of my skull--realistic fiction--and by the eighth grade I was basically not reading. Then I had an English teacher who told me I couldn't do a report on a Three Investigators book and instead pointed me toward Dragonsbane.
When I first read it, I was amazed--I had no idea books like that existed. It engaged my imagination like no other book ever had. At that point I started reading every fantasy book I could get my hands on, including Robert Jordan's first Wheel of Time book, The Eye of the World, when it came out in paperback. I was hooked, and as I read more and more books, my grades went up in school--I went from a low-end average student to someone who got top grades.
It didn't take reading many fantasy books before I decided writing them was what I wanted to do with my life. I started my first book when I was 15. It was horrible, but I just kept writing and writing until I actually got any good. I've been a writer full-time since 2004, but it would never have happened if not for Mrs. Reeder handing me Dragonsbane.
Favorite line from a book:
When I'm reading along in a book I will often think, "This is a great passage," but that's not the kind of thing that sticks with me--my memory doesn't work that way. I don't even remember lines from my own books.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
It would be nice to be able to read the entire Harry Potter series without knowing about any of the hype--to just read them with no baggage attached. It would be very interesting to approach them books as if I had just discovered them--as a series by this obscure author who no one had ever heard of--and see how that changed the experience.