Yesterday I found out about an event called “Authorpalooza” which I guess is a bi-yearly thing in Utah or something like that. Anyway, it’s an event where about 30-40 local authors get together in a Barnes and Noble store and sign books, talk to fans and etc. I learned that Brandon Sanderson was going to be there so I decided I had to go.
Due to the fact that the previous Way of Kings book signing was so packed with people, I didn’t get to meet Brandon Sanderson or get my autographed book personalized. So I got my copy of The Way of Kings and drove about 40 minutes south of Salt Lake City to Orem, Utah (near BYU) to get my book personalized.
I expected the store to be PACKED and while it was full, the Barnes and Noble people had the authors disbursed at good points in the store so there was no “herd of cattle” bottleneck. All in all, this event was immensely more enjoyable than the one in West Jordan where they had a cluster problem. I wasn’t aware of the fact that Brandon Sanderson did a reading at 1:00. If I had known that I would have made it down there sooner, but I didn’t, so I missed the reading part.
Anyway, I wandered around the store a bit before I got in line. I’m surprised by how many local authors there are! It was quite incredible! There were probably between 20-30 there that I saw and I wouldn’t doubt that there were more because the store was huge and I really only wandered through half of it. I decided, spur of the moment, to pick up a copy of The Gathering Storm to get signed as well. I did notice that John Brown, the author of Servant of a Dark God was there but I didn’t actually talk to him. I had met him before at another book store and had a chance to chat him up then so I figured I should let other people have the same opportunity.
The line for Sanderson wasn’t that long. He was really nice, a lot of people brought their kids with them and he was great with the young and old alike. Each group of people got to ask him questions and he was great about not rushing anyone, or blasting through answers or acting like he was being really put out. A lot of the younger kids and teenagers asked him for advice on becoming authors. He told one kid that he spends 8 hours a day writing. I couldn’t imagine that. It blew my mind! I guess his personable nature impressed me because I know he’s been on a tour and I can only imagine how exhausting that must get for authors who do signing after signing. He acted like it was his only signing ever I really was amazed by how courteous he was and how he didn’t rush anyone, ever. He gave everyone their own amount of time and attention. It was cool.
I got sandwiched in line between an army guy who was telling me about all the places all over the world he took his copy of The Gathering Storm and how he felt reading it helped him through some difficult situations; and another guy whose wife was bursting-at-the-seams pregnant who actually made it to the midnight release party for The Way of Kings and waited 5 hours in line for his autograph at that event. Between the three of us we had some amazingly nerdy conversations which was just an absolute blast for me. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person on the planet who actually reads so talking to others who are fans of the speculative fiction genre can be a lot of fun for me, and amazingly refreshing.
Anyway, I had a question all figured out to ask Brandon Sanderson and it was a question I was really curious about but I got up there, shook his hand and completely forgot it (why? Because I’m cool like that). He was in the middle of singing The Gathering Storm when I blurted out: “Isn’t it hard for you to take over someone else’s story? Is it difficult to write someone else’s vision?” It wasn’t the question I planned to ask him, but it worked.
He kind of sat back and got all thoughtful for a few seconds and then answered. He said that at times he actually feels like it’s easier to write the Wheel of Time books because Jordan had so many good notes and he has some amazing assistants to help him with the timeline and characterization whereas with his own books he has to create it all from scratch, which can be more difficult. He did say that sometimes he has to do a lot of research when he’s writing from a character perspective in the Wheel of Time books and to do that he usually has to read several perspectives from that character in other Wheel of Time books to make sure he got the right mannerisms and habits and etc. He said he finds the timeline of events difficult and sometimes he can be a bit off. He was telling the guy in front of me that he wrote one scene with Mat in the Wheel of Time books that was about two months off (or something along those lines) and he is lucky enough to have an assistant who is really on the ball with sequence of events who is fixing it (or has fixed it) for him. It sounds like the Wheel of Time books require a lot of collaboration to get them right, which is understandable but it was rather surprising for me to hear just how much collaboration they really do take. Sanderson did say that writing these books has really taught him a lot and while they can be difficult at times, they have really helped him learn a lot. I can only imagine…
I didn’t want to take too much time because there was a line and the army guy behind me was about pee-his-pants excited to meet Brandon Sanderson, and after listening to him talk about his time in South Korea and the Middle East I figured he deserved his moment in the sun so I got out of the way without asking more questions. It was really cool for me to meet him and I was amazingly impressed with how personable he was and how much time he took with each person. It was really cool and I’m really glad I went.
Here’s the pictures of my books:
Oh, and I also got an “epic bookmark for an epic book” which is just about the biggest freaking bookmark I’ve ever seen in my life. Like 4 inches wide and slightly longer than the books themselves.