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Your search for the tag 'how brandon was chosen' yielded 24 results

  • 1

    Interview: Jan 7th, 2013

    Derek Cohen

    My name is Derek Cohen, and I'm from Provo, Utah. My question is for Harriet. After Jim died, of course, you're going through all of these authors, and there's so many authors in the fantasy and even science fiction genres that could have taken the step. But was there an "Aha!" moment, or...what was it that made you say to yourself, "This guy is the one"?

    Harriet McDougal

    The first thing that led me to Brandon was the very beautiful eulogy he wrote for Robert Jordan on his website, and I don't hang out on the net, because I figure I can either do that or have a productive life. [cheers, applause] But a friend who likes to hang out on the net saw the eulogy, printed it out, and said "You need to read this," and I certainly did. And I thought, "This is the spirit that I very much want in the writer who will finish the series."

    At the same time, another writer—a perfectly good writer who has a decent reputation—had had his agent call Robert Jordan's agent. Do you see the difference? But then what really...I had not read Brandon, and I called Tom Doherty—I was originally...I was the original editorial director of Tor, so my relationship with with Tom Doherty goes back to when dinosaurs roamed the earth [laughter]—and I asked him for a book, and he said, "Well, don't take Elantris; that's a first novel. I'll send you Mistborn [The Final Empire]."

    And he did, and I read forty-seven pages of it, and I fell asleep! Which is not... [laughter, applause] Wait! There's a thing you should know about professional editors, or at least this one. I cannot go to sleep while the story's in trouble; I have to keep reading until I see that the story is in good hands. And I was also exhausted. [laughter] So anyway, I woke up, and the story, the planet, the situation—even what they were eating—it was all clear, and I said, "Yeah, he can do it." And Tom Doherty said, "Well, don't you think you should read the whole book? It's an important decision." And I said, "It would be very important if I were hiring him to write a Brandon Sanderson novel, but I'm hiring him to write a Robert Jordan, and he can do it!" So, that's how it came about. [applause]

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  • 2

    Interview: Jan 10th, 2013

    Question

    As a fan of the series, what was your initial reaction when you were first asked to write this?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Dumbfounded stupefaction. I didn't know Harriet was considering me, and when she called—and I could barely speak—in fact, I wrote her an email the next day that said basically, "Dear Harriet, I promise I'm not an idiot; I'm sorry I couldn't talk yesterday." [laughter] So yeah, just complete and utter shock.

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  • 3

    Interview: Nov, 2012

    Szabó Dominik

    In 2007, Robert Jordan's widow selected you to complete the Wheel of Time series. What was your reaction when you heard the news and how did you start the work on the series?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Nobody was more surprised by it than me. I didn't even know I was being considered. Like most fans of the series, I was just shocked and saddened that Jim Rigney (Robert Jordan) wasn't going to be there to finish it himself. About a month after his passing, I woke up one morning and found that I had a voicemail. I listened to it, and it said, "Hello, Brandon Sanderson, this is Harriet McDougal, Robert Jordan's widow. I'd like you to call me back. I've got something I want to talk to you about." It was one of those moments where you are absolutely certain at first that someone is playing a prank on you and then you start to shake nervously at the thought that it might not be a prank.

    When I got hold of her, I found out that she was looking at me as one of the candidates to finish the Wheel of Time. I hadn't applied for this or anything like that. I considered Jim in many ways to be a mentor. I had read a lot of his books when I was trying to decide how to write myself, and he strongly influenced what I produced. I'd never met him, so I didn't know him personally, and that's what dumbfounded me when I got the phone call. I was absolutely stunned. I'm afraid I stammered a bit when I told her I would be honored to be considered; in fact, a while after I got off the phone I sent her an email that started, "Dear Harriet, I promise I'm not an idiot."

    I felt honored and overwhelmed at the same time. While I didn't ask for this, the truth is that I'm extremely excited to be involved. I love this series, and I wanted to see the last book written as much as any other fan. For a writer like me, the next best thing to having Jim write the novel is being able to work on it myself.

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  • 4

    Interview: Jan 4th, 2013

    Petra Mayer

    So tell me about how you chose Brandon Sanderson to finish the series.

    Harriet McDougal

    Brandon Sanderson wrote a very beautiful eulogy for my husband on his web site. And a friend of mine was browsing around on the web, and saw it, printed it out—I'm not really a Luddite, but I'm computer resistant, you might say—and put it in front of me and said, "You really need to read this." And it was just a beautiful eulogy, in which he said he'd been reading Jordan since his middle teens, that Jordan had inspired him to become a fantasy writer. I believe he said that one reason his characters stay in one spot is that he felt he could never do the 'haring across the landscape' kind of fantasy that Robert Jordan did any better than Robert Jordan had done it.

    Anyway, he was very loving towards the series. And I called Tom Doherty—Brandon was being published by Tor and said that one reason he wanted Tor was that it was Robert Jordan's publisher. So I got hold a copy of Mistborn, and spoke to Tom about his sales numbers, too. I was really tired and after I'd read about 47 pages, I fell asleep, which is no fault of the book—it was my exhaustion. When I woke up, the characters, the situation, the conflicts were all clear in my mind. And I thought, "Yeah, this guy can do it." And I called Tom to tell him that was my opinion, and Tom said, "You don't think you ought to read the whole book? It's an important decision." And I said, "Well yes, if I were hiring him to write a Brandon Sanderson novel, but I'm not. I'm hiring him to write a Robert Jordan novel." And we moused around a little bit, trying to think is there anybody that should be considered. And then after a while I called Brandon and said we were developing a short list—I didn't tell him how short the list was—but would he be interested in being on it. And he said he would. And a couple of weeks go by, and then we said, "Okay, you've got it."

    And Brandon came east—he lives in Utah, but he came to Charleston—and I picked him up at the airport and brought him back to my house, and said, "Well, I have some soup for your supper." He said, "What I'd really like is the end." The end of the series—(laughs)—the material my husband had left. I said, "Okay. Here. Let me know when you're ready for your soup." So that's how that started.

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  • 5

    Interview: Sep, 2012

    Petra Mayer

    One of the things that I like about the Wheel of Time series is the unbelievably detailed worldbuilding that...I mean, coming into that, it was already eleven books along when you picked it up? My God, what did that feel like? How did you step into those shoes?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, boy. So, the story is, I was a fan of the series—I picked the first one up when I was fifteen, and that was in 1990—and I'd been reading them all along; they are part of what inspired me to become a writer. I eventually broke into publishing myself in 2005, and two years later, Robert Jordan passed away without having finished the end of this series that I'd been following all along. And, like a lot of fans, I was heartbroken. I mean, we'd [inaudible] almost twenty years of following these characters. And one day, I got a call on the phone. I had not applied for this; I didn't know I was being considered. It was his wife. I didn't know her, but she had read my book—she had read my book Mistborn—and she had heard that I was a fan of the series, and had looked into some of the things I'd written, and then she just said, "Would you like to finish it?"

    Now, this is a major best-selling series; I'm a newbie author with a couple of books out. It was like getting hit by a freight train. And there's all this continuity and all these characters....it was a massive undertaking. I was scared out of my wits, to be perfectly honest, but honestly, I almost said no because of that, but there was that piece of me—the fan—that said, "Look, if you say no to this, and someone else comes along, and they do a bad job, it's going to be your fault, Brandon." So my own conscience was like, "I gotta do this. If Robert Jordan can't do it, they're going to have somebody do it. I've gotta do it." So I threw myself into it, and you know, the most interesting thing is, how have I done it? Well, I've had great resources, and part of those are fan resources. What the internet allows us to do with Wikis and things like this is, the fans have gotten together and created these detailed outlines and chronologies and all of these things, which have just been wonderful. You don't expect that, you know, but the fans do a better job than we do, as writers, sometimes, of keeping track of all of these things, so I've relied on their resources.

    I do think I've been able to do some fun things with the series, as a fan, that I've been wanting to do, from reading it since I was a kid, but that's actually a weird things because, as a fan coming on, I had to be careful. You don't always want to do what the inner fan wants you to do; otherwise it just becomes like a sequence of cameos and inside jokes. So I had to be very careful, but there are some things that I've been wanting to have happen, and the notes left a lot of room for me to explore. I did get to have a lot of creative involvement in it; it wasn't just an outline, which has been awesome. You know, if it had been mostly done, they would have been able to hire like a ghostwriter to clean it up, and they didn't have that. They needed an actual writer, and so there are lots of plots I got to construct, and as a fan, that's awesome.

    But he did write the last chapter. He wrote it before he passed away. He was very dedicated to his fans—there's great stories—he was on his deathbed dictating, and I have those dictations where his cousin Wilson is sitting there with a tape recorder just listening to him, and I got all these things passed on to me. It was really an interesting process. I was actually handed about two hundred pages, what would become 2500. Yeah, 2500. It's multiple volumes; it got split into three books. But, got handed two hundred pages, and in these are scenes he wrote, dictations that he did, fragments of scenes he worked on, little comments he made, Q&As with his assistants where it says, "This is what's going to happen, this is going to happen..." I just describe it like, "Imagine there's this beautiful Ming vase, and someone puts it in a paper bag and smashes it up, dumps out half the pieces, hands it to you, and says, 'Alright. Build the vase exactly as it was going to be, as it was before.' " That's kind of been my job on this.

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  • 6

    Interview: Jun 3rd, 2011

    Helen O'Hara

    How long did you have to think about it before taking on Wheel of Time?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I didn't know I was being considered. I got a voicemail, which was nice because I didn't get it cold. It was Robert Jordan's widow asking me to call her. I couldn't get a hold of her for a couple of hours, so I had time to think! I was prepared, so when she asked me, I said yes. I still could barely get the words out. I was so starstruck talking to her and so befuddled that the next day I wrote her an email saying, 'Dear Harriet, I promise I'm not an idiot.' I do remember sitting that night and having... not a panic attack, but the realization that if I mess this up, I am messing up a story beloved by millions. A piece of me started to acknowledge, 'The Wheel of Time is Robert Jordan's, and I cannot do what he would do'. What I am doing shouldn't have to be done; he should be here to write it the way he wants to do it. There's no way to do it right! I'm setting myself up for failure. That almost made me say I shouldn't do this.

    A writer friend called me and said I was crazy. 'Whatever you do right, they'll say Robert Jordan did, and whatever goes wrong you'll get the blame. But I started reading Eye of the World when I was 14, in 1990, and those characters became my high-school buddies, and I'm still in touch with them. If someone else took it and did a poor job with it that would be partially my fault for saying no! I realized that if somebody is going to do this who isn't Robert Jordan, I wanted the shot because I am a fan and I won't screw it up too much.

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  • 7

    Interview: Nov 5th, 2009

    Matthew Peterson

    Well, your Mistborn series did bring attention to you. I mean, that's one of the reasons why you are writing the Wheel of Time series. Robert Jordan wrote the first one in 1990, it's called The Eye of the World. Eleven books later, he passed on, suddenly, and left millions and millions people with their mouths open like, "Well, what's next?" Tell us a little bit about how you jumped on board to complete the Wheel of Time series.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Okay. I got up in the morning one day in October of 2007, fumbled downstairs to my long commute to my couch, picked up my phone to see if anyone had called me. And lo and behold there was a message from someone I didn't know the number of. And so I picked up my phone and I listened to it and was completely dumbfounded and shocked to hear a message from Harriet Rigney, Robert Jordan's widow, asking me if I would call her because there's something she wants to talk to me about. To be perfectly honest, my response was something on the lines of, "Blah, blu, blahb".

    Matthew Peterson

    [laughs]

    Brandon Sanderson

    I mean I couldn't even talk. Well, turns out that I was well known at TOR as a big fan of the series. I had written, when Robert Jordan had passed away, a eulogy for him, that kind of explained how he had been such a big influence on my life and upon how I had decided to become a writer and why I even chose my publisher. And so that eulogy had ended up on Harriet's desk and she had read it and then called Tom Doherty the publisher, and asked him, "Is this one of your guys?" He's like, "Yeah, this guy's a good writer. You should look into his work; he's a possibility." And so that's how I got brought on. I've described it like being hit by a freight train that I wasn't expecting.

    That’s the first I had heard of it. It was out of no where. At least as far as I was expecting it. So at that point, she requested some copies of the Mistborn books and she called me. Her initial call was a call to ask me if I'm interested before she did the work to search through my books and decide if she wanted to choose me. And so that initial phone call, when I finally got a hold of her. . . It was actually pretty hard to get a hold of her. She had left the house and I was just kind of running around in circles like a chicken with his head cut off because I didn't know what was going on and I was very tongue tied. And I eventually got a hold of her and she just said, "I want to see if you're interested before I do the work of reading one of your books and deciding." Well, to be perfectly honest, my response was something along the lines of "Blah ble blahh . . ."

    Matthew Peterson

    [laughs]

    Brandon Sanderson

    I mean, I couldn't even talk. I wrote her an email the next day that I sent care of Tom Doherty, that really essentially said, "Dear Harriet, I promise I'm not an idiot, even though I sounded like one."

    Matthew Peterson

    [laughs]

    Brandon Sanderson

    But she then sat down and read Mistborn, and it was about a month later. She read Mistborn. She considered some other people. She called me up and said, "Yes, I would like you to do this. Are you still interested?" And of course I was. It is one of those things that just happens unexpectedly.

    Matthew Peterson

    Just an amazing thing.

    Brandon Sanderson

    And it changes your life.

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  • 8

    Interview: 2008

    Rebecca Cressman

    Okay we've got to close our interview, but I've got to ask you about this. You were invited to do something which I would think would be very daunting, in that the Wheel of Time Series has been one of, well, the best selling fantasy series of all time. And the author passed away before completing the twelfth book and you received a phone call. How did you feel when you received a call saying, "Mr. Sanderson, we would like you to complete the novel."

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was completely dumbfounding. This was not something I applied for or asked for. I was a big fan of the series. I have been, pretty much, since I got into reading. The first book was released just a few months after I started reading fantasy for the first time, and I've been following it for almost twenty years now. When Mr. Jordan passed away, I, like most of the fans, was just... it was terrible, it was a tragedy. He was just an amazing writer. And then to be asked to work on this, to have the opportunity. It's bittersweet in a lot of ways, because I wish he were here to write it. But if he can't be here to write it then, since I've loved the books for so long, the next best thing is being able to write it myself. But when I first got that call I couldn't believe it, I couldn't think that it was real. I mean, I didn't even know how they had gotten my name, or who had suggested me or anything like that.

    Rebecca Cressman

    Well, I don’t want to use the term fantasy, but it almost was a fantasy, wasn't it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, it really was. Yeah, dream come true in a lot of ways, though I wish it could have happened under better circumstances.

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  • 9

    Interview: Feb 6th, 2013

    Question

    Harriet, will you speak to how you came to choose Brandon to finish the series, and Brandon, how it was to be selected?

    Harriet McDougal

    Well, I don't know that this isn't all over the Web, so most of you probably already know the story....

    Freelancer

    In the interest of space, I agree, and the details of this can be found among Brandon's own blog entries on www.brandonsanderson.com, an interview on tor.com, and other places. I feel Compelled, however, to provide a verbatim transcript of a piece of her commentary.

    Harriet McDougal

    (After having read Mistborn and feeling that Brandon was the right fit for the work) And then, in a very unprofessional way, I called information for Provo, Utah, and asked for Brandon Sanderson's phone number. And I got it!. So a woman picked up the phone, and I said "Hello, is this Brandon Sanderson's number?", she said "Yes it is". And I said "Well, I'm the widow of Robert Jordan, and I'm calling to ask whether Brandon Sanderson would like to be considered on the short list we're compiling", and it was a short list (holding up a single finger) "to finish Robert Jordan's fantasy series." She said, "I have no idea what you're talking about." And guess what? Provo, Utah has at least two Brandon Sandersons. So then I remembered that I was a publishing professional, called Tor, and said "what is Brandon's number?"

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  • 10

    Interview: Feb 7th, 2013

    Question

    Will you share the story of the day you got the phone call from Harriet about completing the series?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Here, Brandon reviewed the story, remarking that he was more nervous than on his wedding day.

    Harriet McDougal

    Harriet added that she told Brandon that he was on her short list, but didn't reveal at the time that it really was a list with just one name. She said that she knew that he was a good writer but she didn't know just how superb he was going to be. He was "a great choice" to finish the series.

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  • 11

    Interview: Feb 19th, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    BWS then went into the story of his response to RJ's passing, describing what he wrote about RJ on his blog and what RJ meant to BWS (despite not knowing the man personally).

    Harriet McDougal

    HM continued from her perspective. She informed the audience about how she came to read BWS' eulogy of RJ. It was the way he wrote and what he wrote that led her to initially believe that BWS would be the ideal type of person and writer to finish WoT. She also told the story about how she attempted to first contact BWS and wound up calling the other Brandon Sanderson in Provo, Utah.

    Brandon Sanderson

    BWS next told the audience about the time he first read RJ's notes. BWS informed us that there were about 200 pages of notes on the last book. Roughly 100 pages of these notes comprised dictations of scenes/paragraphs. The other 100 pages were from Q&As among RJ, Alan and Maria.

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  • 12

    Interview: Feb 18th, 2013

    Indy Week

    Did you know Robert Jordan personally?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I did not know him. I saw him once at a convention, and he was my favorite author growing up. When he passed away, I wrote a eulogy for him on my website, and by then I'd sold a book and I mentioned just how important he'd been to me, and to my development as a writer. Harriet read that, and she found it touching, so she read my book, and then called me and asked me if I'd be willing to finish the series.

    Indy Week

    What was your initial reaction to being asked?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It was complete dumbfoundedness. I could barely speak. I remember being on the phone and not even being able to go "Yeah," because it came so unexpectedly for me.

    Indy Week

    The closest experience I can imagine is that Mark Wahlberg movie Rock Star, where he gets to take over as lead for his favorite hair metal band.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it's—it's just one of those surreal things that—it just can't happen, right? This doesn't really happen to people! And yet, it did.

    And yet, in saying yes, you realize, this wonderful thing I'm saying yes to, that I'm going to be part of, wouldn't have happened if my favorite author hadn't passed away. That tempers the excitement. I mean, I wish Robert Jordan had been here to write these books, not me.

    I had a wonderful time being involved, but I would rather have not been involved, if that makes any sense. It's a weird mix of emotions.

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  • 13

    Interview: Jan 24th, 2013

    Krista Holmes Hanby

    When Jordan died of a rare blood disease in 2007, he left copious notes for concluding his renowned Wheel of Time series to Harriet McDougal Rigney, his wife and editor. Rigney searched for an author to finish her husband’s work and chose Sanderson after reading a heartfelt eulogy to Jordan from Sanderson's blog as well as his first Mistborn book.

    Harriet McDougal

    "The beautiful eulogy he wrote made me see the necessity of checking out his stuff," says Rigney. “Brandon's world—his characters and their situation—were all very clear to me. I saw that he could do it."

    Brandon Sanderson

    "Robert Jordan had this beautiful way of looking through someone's eyes, that when you were reading their viewpoint, you felt like you knew them," Sanderson says. "As an early writer, I would study that and say, 'How is he doing this?'"

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  • 14

    Interview: Feb 19th, 2013

    Rob B

    Harriet joined in the storytelling when it came to the point where Brandon was offered the gig to finish writing the series.

    Harriet McDougal

    Harriet also told of how she realized Brandon would be "The Guy" (or as I've sometimes thought, the proverbial Rand al'Thor tapped on the shoulder by the creator to take up the tale). She also relayed her conversation with Tom Doherty, after being handed a printout of Brandon's eulogy for Robert Jordan. Doherty was concerned that maybe Harriet didn't connect with Brandon's writing because Harriet fell asleep after reading a small portion of Mistborn: The Final Empire. Harriet said because she didn't want to (a) correct everything in the book due to her editor's mindset or (b) throw the book across the room in frustration, she felt comfortable with the story he was telling. She also told Doherty, "Besides, I'm not hiring him to write a Mistborn novel, I'm hiring him to write a Wheel of Time novel."

    Harriet mentioned that when she called information for Provo, Utah, she was given Brandon Sanderson's phone number, but the person with whom she spoke on the phone had no idea about what she was talking. As it turned out, another Brandon Sanderson lives in Provo, UT but he's a professional wrestler. When she called Brandon after getting his number from Tor, she told him he was on the short list and held up one finger for the audience. Brandon, after thinking about it, said yes. Again, he didn't let Joshua do any negotiating, Brandon simply said yes.

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  • 15

    Interview: Feb 22nd, 2013

    Question

    How did Harriet decide on Brandon, what specific works?

    Harriet McDougal

    The first work was the eulogy for RJ that Brandon posted on his website. A friend was staying with after Jordan's death, and she put a printout of this in front of me and said, "I think you need to read this." And I certainly did and I thought, golly, this is exactly the attitude and the heart of a writer that I would like to see finish the series. This would just be wonderful. And then I called the publisher of Tor, I've worked with him, I was the original Editorial Director at Tor, and I've worked with the publisher for some, umm, more years than you all have been alive. Although perhaps if we added you all together . . .

    Anyway, I know him well and I said, "Tom, tell me about this guy, Brandon Sanderson." And he's a publisher, so he said, "Well, his sales numbers . . .", I mean, he had two books out at this point, Elantris and the first Mistborn, he's a publisher, so he's rattling off numbers, which were not at all what I was interested in. I said, "Well, can you send me one of the books?" He said, "Okay."

    It's conventional wisdom in the industry that a first novel has training wheels, if you really want to see what a writer can do, read the second novel. So he sent me Mistborn. And I read 47 pages. Remember I've been doing this for many years. And I fell asleep. (Laughter) Not Brandon's fault. But when I woke up, everything in the world was clear. His world . . . and that's a challenge, to get that stuff done in so few pages. The world was clear, the characters, the conflict, what they ate . . . He can do this thing.

    So I called Tom, and told him what I thought and he said, "You haven't read the whole book yet, have you?" Cause he's also worked with me for more years than you've been alive. And I said, "Well, no." And he said, "Shouldn’t you finish it? It's a very important decision." And I said, "If I were hiring him to write a Sanderson novel, of course. But I'm not. I'm hiring him to write a Jordan." So that's, that's . . . And then I did, what is it, right brain things or left brain, I always get them mixed-up. But the sensible things. Asked advice of some, an editor in New York who I trust, and his, the British publisher of the series, and like that. And sort of stewed around about it for, gosh, six weeks, a month, yep.

    And then I called, and got, and thought, Provo, Utah, that must be about as big as a minute. I was wrong. I thought, I'll just call information, so I did, and got the number for Brandon Sanderson. And a woman answered the phone. And I said, "Hello, is this Mrs. Sanderson?" And she said, "Yes." And I said, I rattled off, "Hello, I'm Robert Jordan's widow. I'd like to talk to him about finishing Jordan's series, the Wheel of Time." And she said, "I have no idea what you are talking about." And it turns out that Provo, Utah, far from being a tiny place, has two Brandon Sandersons. {Laughter) So with the next try, I got him. I got his voicemail, actually. Anyway, that's pretty much the story.

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  • 16

    Interview: Feb 13th, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    But in 2007, Robert Jordan passed away. And I had never met him. I had been able to see him once at a convention, but I had never met him. All this time I viewed him as a mentor, but I didn't know him. We had sent him my first book. He got all sorts of ARCs, though. Harriet later found it. Everyone sends their book to Robert Jordan, right? And you know, when you get your first book . . . I just sent him a book because, you know, of course you're going to send your idol a book. But I never expected him to read it, and it was perfectly all right. But we did send him a book, we did dig it out later.

    And I was terrified for what would happen to the series, as everyone was. But I trusted Tor. I trusted Robert Jordan, and I assumed that the series was in good hands, even though I had read many interviews where he said if he passed away the series would not be finished, and that he would have his notes bulldozed. And in 2007, about a month or so maybe—maybe less than that—after he passed away, I got a phone call. And I'm actually going to let Harriet tell her story now of where that all came from.

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  • 17

    Interview: Feb 13th, 2013

    Harriet McDougal

    The week after my husband's funeral, a friend was staying with me. She'd come down for the service, and she, as so many people are, was both a fan of fantasy and heavily into the net. And she put a printout in front of me—the basic sort of semi-Luddite—and said, you need to read this. And it was the eulogy that Brandon had written and posted on his website. And I read it and thought, gosh, that's just beautiful. And it's also the feeling for my husband's work that I would love to see in whoever takes over to finish the series, because in his last weeks and months, my husband had made it very clear to me that he did want the series finished. I draw a distinction—he had a horror of sharecropping, the endless work of other writers in a world that someone has created. He really had a horror of that, so that's not going to happen. But he really did want the series finished.

    He began one Saturday night. His cousin—a cousin named Wilson Grooms, who was as close to him as a brother—was visiting. And I had a friend there, thank God, who'd once been a court reporter. And I was scrabbling round in the kitchen making food or something, and Jim . . . who’s read the book? Who's not read the book?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The last one? Who hasn't finished the last one?

    Harriet McDougal

    Well, okay.

    Brandon Sanderson

    No spoilers, then.

    Harriet McDougal

    Well, okay. My husband, called Jim, began to talk and he said, there's a blank in the blank that nobody knows about, not even Harriet. And he was off and running. And the court reporter was there, fortunately, because I was trying to take notes, and instead I was just staring at him in rapture, kind of. And Wilson went out at midnight and bought a tape recorder, and that was the start of a real outpouring of what he wanted in the rest of the series. That's how I knew he wanted it finished. Otherwise, he'd have kept his mouth shut. Which was not very much in his nature.

    [laughter]

    Tags

  • 18

    Interview: Feb 13th, 2013

    Harriet McDougal

    So anyway, that was the beginning, and I really was quite sure. But I do have remnants of common sense, and I called the British publisher and said, do you have any suggestions? And I called an editor in New York whose opinion I trust and said, do you have any suggestions? Anybody better out there? And that went on for a number of weeks while I stewed on this decision a bit.

    And then I called Brandon Sanderson. And I didn't do the professional thing and say, hey Tor, give me his number. I thought Provo, Utah, that's got to be . . . that big. I called information, and I got a woman who answered the phone. I said, is this Brandon Sanderson's house? She said, yes it is. And I said well, my name's Harriet McDougal, and I'm the widow of Robert Jordan, and I'd like to talk to him about finishing the series that my husband wrote. And she said, I have no idea what you're talking about. [laughter] It was the other Brandon Sanderson.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He's a wrestler. [laughter] That's all I know about him. Google mixed us up. Bing mixed us up. [laughter]

    Harriet McDougal

    So anyway, then I called New York, got the right number, and called Brandon.

    Brandon Sanderson

    And so I got up in the morning . . . Now, I keep an artist's schedule. That's a nice way of saying that I sleep in till noon. I work from about . . . I do a lot of my writing from about ten until four a.m., and then I sleep until about noon, and then I get up. And then I work from about noon until five, doing mostly during that time email and things like that. But anyway, so I get up, and every day when I get up, the first thing that I do is I check my voicemail. I used to—now I let people call my assistant. Voicemail annoys me. I'll answer it if it's Harriet.

    But I listened to my voicemail, and there was a voicemail that said, 'Hello Brandon, this is Harriet McDougal. I would like you to call me back. There's something I'd like to talk to you about.' And she said . . .oh, 'Robert Jordan's widow', but I already knew who Harriet McDougal was. And so, I just got this voicemail, I'm like, what . . . what? Now, you’ve got to remember, it's not like I applied for this or anything.

    Harriet McDougal

    No.

    Brandon Sanderson

    I did not. And it's not like I had any clue. I honestly assumed that it was taken care of, and it was just a fan wanting to read what came out, just like everyone else. And so I called Harriet back, and she didn't answer. She was out having a massage.

    Harriet McDougal

    Yeah.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So I called my editor, and he didn't answer. But he never answers, so it's okay. But then I called my agent, who always answers, and he didn't answer. And so I wandered upstairs to my wife and I—this is one of those distinct memories that get kind of burned in your brain—and I walked into the bedroom, and she was folding clothes or something, and I said, Robert Jordan's widow just called me. And my wife is like, what?

    Because, when we got married, we exchanged books. She had to read the Wheel of Time, and I had to read Robin McKinley—Robin McKinley's book is like that. But she was well versed in the Wheel of Time. She'd actually read Eye of the World before we got married, so that was a point in her favor early in the dating process. She hadn't read the whole series, which she has done now. And she said, so what did Robert Jordan's widow want? And I said, I don't know, I can't get a hold of her!

    And so my wife . . . she said she's never seen me that nervous. And she really hasn't. I'm not the nervous type. I'm very comfortable with lots of different situations. I'm just kind of a go with the flow sort of guy. If you get my wife up here, she says that on that day, I was more nervous than on my wedding day—she says that jealously.

    [laughter]

    But I had months to get ready for the wedding. This was out of nowhere, right? It just came out of nowhere. And I finally got smart, and I called up Tor. And I got a hold of Patrick Nielsen Hayden, who is one of the editors there. And I said, Patrick, Robert Jordan's widow just called me. And Patrick said—I remember this distinctly, too—oh yeah, that's probably what you think it is. [laughter] I'll have her call you back. And I'm like, what do I think it is, Patrick? He wouldn't say a word. He would not say a word. He knew Harriet very well and knew that he did not want to be breaking any news. And so, Harriet called me back, and she said, well, I was just wondering if you would be interested . . . we're compiling a short list.

    Harriet McDougal

    Yes, a short list. [laughter] But, that's not what I said. We're compiling a short list.

    Brandon Sanderson

    A short list of people we're considering, and I'm wondering if you would be interested in finishing the Wheel of Time. And I said, aaahhhhhhh. [laughter] I always say this, and everyone laughs, but really it's true. I don't know if Harriet remembers it, but I could not speak. I had to write her an email the next day in which I said, I promise I can form coherent sentences. I was completely unable to reply to her. I did get out a 'yes'.

    Harriet McDougal

    Yes.

    Brandon Sanderson

    But that was about it. I was just stuttering and things. And then that night, it hit me. That night I couldn't sleep, as one might imagine, and I came to the realization—a couple of realizations. The first one being, holy cow, if I screw this up . . . [laughter] It's going to be the worst disaster of my life. Both personally, because I love these books, and because I know there's like ten million fans who will all find out where I live and then they will . . .

    Harriet McDougal

    And they'll write things that begin, Sanderson who . . .

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. And I thought if I screw this up, and it kind of went further than that with me thinking, how can I not screw this up? Because the only person who could write this the right way is Robert Jordan, and anyone who tries to write the book is going to screw it up to an extent, because it won't be one hundred percent his vision, the way it was supposed to be.

    And I still believe that. I think we got really close. I think we made fantastic books. I think we did a wonderful job. I'm very proud of my work, but at the same time I acknowledge it's not quite what he would have done. There's no way for me to do what he would have done.

    And so I debated calling and saying no, because I thought, nobody can do this. It is impossible to do this work. And something stopped me. Kind of the third realization of the night, which was: What would happen if I said no, and they went and they hired somebody who didn't love the series? What would happen? And there are a lot of writers out there who are better than I am. I will be up front with that. I know many a writer who were much better writers than I, but none of them had read the Wheel of Time. Maya Angelou hasn't read the Wheel of Time, you know. And . . . what would happen if one of them took over the Wheel of Time, and then wrote it beautifully, but didn't get the characters right? And didn't do the book the right way? It would be my fault. Because I said no, and I could have done it.

    And I came to the realization that if Robert Jordan couldn't write the books, as a writer myself, yes I wanted to do it, because I really felt that I would screw it up the least. I felt—maybe some of you have felt something like this—like, I'm going to do it myself. And I had these moments of, yes I will do this, and I will do this myself. And I will make sure that everyone who's out there like me, terrified of what's going to happen, that they get the book, and it's the right book—that it's still the Wheel of Time.

    And so, that's when I wrote that email to Harriet the next day and I said, yes I want to do this. And I was very straightforward that time—no hemming and hawing this time—I really want to do this. I think I can do it, not as well as Robert Jordan, but better than anyone else out there. Because, if you take Wheel of Time fandom—and there are bigger Wheel of Time fans than me—but if you take all of Wheel of Time fandom, and you take pretty good fantasy writers, and you make a Venn diagram, I'm right there in the middle.

    And so I said yes. And then Harriet said, well I need a little more time to consider, which is justified. And I went on book tour, completely nervous for an entire month, not able to tell people that I had been offered the chance to work on the Wheel of Time . . . maybe.

    After this nerve wracking book tour, which—yeah, one of those tours. I was very early in my career—that was one of those tours where I would go to bookstores, and sometimes nobody would be there. And they would have not have ordered in the books, because they’re like, who are you again? And things like this. I got back, and Harriet called me and said, yes I would like you to do this.

    In a few weeks, we had all contract negotiations done. Contract negotiations went like this. My agent—who I do love by the way—even though I . . . His job is to offer me the business side, right? Because I'm an artist. My agent said, okay we'll do some negotiations, and this is our bargaining ground, and this . . . And I'm like, no, no, no, no. We just say yes. [laughter] And he's like, well we could try to push for this, and I'm like no, no, no, no. We say yes. And so he had to call back right after the offer and say, we say yes. The shortest negotiation of my entire life. I had contracts in hand like lightning speed. When we got the offer on my first book, offer came in April. We had contracts in November. Offer on this came on Monday, and I think we had contracts on Thursday, or something like that. And within a week, I was flying to Charleston.

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  • 19

    Interview: Feb 13th, 2013

    Brandon Sanderson

    And I . . . I tell this story a lot, but it's a fun story. I flew in. Harriet herself picked me up at the airport. I had been really nervous to meet Harriet—like, you know, really nervous. I knew Harriet . . . like, she was one of the big editors in the field, and authors have this kind of—even, you know, published authors—are sometimes kind of scared of editors, right? And Harriet . . . I don't know if you guys know . . . I mean, she edited Ender's Game, okay? She edited—and discovered—Robert Jordan, and she's behind the two biggest books in fantasy and science fiction of the last 30 years—Ender's Game and Eye of the World. So I was really nervous.

    And so I'm like . . . and then I meet her, and as you can tell, she's like this wonderful, just so nice, awesome person. It was such a relief. I'm like, oh good. I actually called Emily that night and I'm like, ahh, I didn't need to be worried. Like, take your favorite grandmother and mix her with a southern gentlewoman and you have Harriet.

    Harriet McDougal

    I've hidden the whips.

    [laughter]

    Brandon Sanderson

    And she drove me to the house there in Charleston, which is this wonderful house, built in the 1700s, right?

    Harriet McDougal

    Barely. 1798.

    Brandon Sanderson

    And we walk in the door, and Harriet had been cooking dinner, and it was a bean soup. I still remember all these things where she said, well I put some soup on, and I can warm it up, and would you like to have some food? And I said, I would like the ending, please.

    [laughter] [applause]

    Because I didn't know . . . You know, I just signed the contracts without knowing. You know, you guys work for Microsoft, NDA stuff, you got to say yes first, and then you get the NDA, and then you get to be a part of it.

    And so, I knew that there was an ending, because Robert Jordan had talked about writing the ending. I knew, and Harriet had confirmed, the ending had been written. And so I walked in, and it was like ten o'clock at night. But I got that ending, and I sat down in the front room—sitting room—and I read what you now have as primarily the epilogue of A Memory of Light. Almost all the epilogue was in there.

    Also contained in there were several big important scenes from the prologue, which we split among the three prologues. There were a couple of the really cool scenes in there. There was the Tower of Ghenjei. There was a place where Egwene gets a special visitor, and—I think it's called A Cup of Tea—that scene, but really it was the ending that I wanted to read.

    Harriet McDougal

    And there's the blank in the blank.

    Brandon Sanderson

    There's the blank in the blank, yes, which is in the prologue of A Memory of Light—one of the prologue sequences. And I read all of this and read his ending, which you now have in your hands.

    And Harriet afterwards—she said, well what do you think? And I said, it was satisfying. That was my word for it. It was the right ending. I felt a huge sense of relief. In a lot of ways, there wasn't a lot there. There were 200 pages, and so it wasn't huge. But at the same time, it was a huge relief to me, because the ending had been done, and it had been done right. And my job, then, was not so impossible, because all I had to do was get from well-written book to well-written ending without screwing it up too much.

    And having that ending in hand is really what has made this possible, and made me able to work on these books in a way that I really feel conformed to Robert Jordan's vision for them, because I knew where he was going. And I tend to work from an ending—that's how I write my books, is I always have the ending in mind first. And so, that is the story of how you came to get A Memory of Light. And it has been an awesome and daunting and horrifying and extremely hard and wonderful experience all in one.

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  • 20

    Interview: Mar, 2009

    Nathan Morris

    Could you tell us a little bit about The Wheel of Time?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Sure. The Wheel of Time is a very important series to me as well as to a lot of my generation of fantasy readers. The first book was published in 1990, and it's called The Eye of the World. It was one of those books that, in my opinion, took the genre in new directions. It built on what had been done before, but it did new and important things with the storytelling. It became the preeminent epic of my time. When I was a student in high school, The Wheel of Time became the best-selling fantasy series and one of my personal favorites, if not my number one favorite. While he was working on the final book of the series, which all of us had been waiting for, for almost twenty years, the author, Robert Jordan, passed away in 2007 from a very rare blood disease. It was one of those tragedies that you can't even describe, and a lot of us didn't know how to react. We knew that he was sick. He'd talked about it. He even mentioned it on his blog, but he always spoke so optimistically about it that we were all sure he was going to beat it. So when he passed away, it was a shock. Like every other fan, one of my first thoughts, besides my concern for his family, was, "Boy, I hope that whoever they give the last book to doesn't screw it up." It was probably a little selfish of us to think this, but we'd been following the series for so long. Lo and behold, about a month later, I woke up one morning and found that I had a voicemail. I listened to it, and it said, "Hello, Brandon Sanderson, this is Harriet McDougal, Robert Jordan's widow. I'd like you to call me back. I've got something I want to talk to you about." It was one of those moments where you are absolutely certain at first that someone is playing a prank on you and then you start to shake nervously at the thought that it might not be a prank.

    When I got a hold of her, I found out that she was looking at me as one of the candidates to finish The Wheel of Time. I hadn't applied for this or anything like that. These books are a really, really big deal. They are the biggest books that the publisher has, and I was absolutely stunned. It turns out that a number of people had recommended me to her, but she wanted to make sure I was interested first. She then went and read Mistborn before calling me back and asking me if I would do it. This isn't the sort of opportunity that you pass up; you just don't.

    I considered Robert Jordan in many ways to be a mentor. I had read a lot of his books when I was trying to decide how to write myself, and he strongly influenced what I produced. I'd never met him, so I didn't know him personally, and that's what dumbfounded me when I got the phone call. After I accepted the offer, Harriet, Robert's two assistants Alan and Maria (who have all been involved with The Wheel of Time for a very long time), and I started working on compiling the book. As to be expected, we found big holes in the writing that are now my job to fill—hundreds of thousands of words' worth of things that still need to be written. We've got notes. We've got materials. We've got dictations. We've got all sorts of things. But it's a big, big project.

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  • 21

    Interview: 2011

    Reddit 2011 (WoT) (Verbatim)

    CreeDorofl (February 2011)

    Do you ever think "I hope this author finishes the next book before he dies" then feel guilty and selfish afterwards?

    I'm looking at you, George RR Martin. I mean, he's only 62 it turns out, I thought he was older, but anyway. His first books of that series were only 2 years apart, then it took 5 to come out with a feast for crows, and it's been six years since then. At this rate, if it's released this year, he will be wrapping up the series at 74. And it's turning out longer than expected.

    Not just him though, I remember thinking "Will Robert B. Parker ever do something major with Spenser, or the new guy?" and then he dropped dead.

    TTChopper

    I was incredibly saddened when Robert Jordan didn't get to finish his series before he passed away. Even though the series gets some hate here on reddit, it has been something I've enjoyed reading over the years.

    Currently, I am really hoping Terry Pratchett can keep churning out the books.. hearing about his Alzheimer's makes me scared that the world will be robbed of his talent prematurely.

    CreeDorofl

    man I didn't even know about robert jordan. I got through like 5 books then the thrill was kind of gone. That's a shame he didn't finish the series. On the other hand, it was up to like ten books, I think the guy needed a new editor or something. I can't imagine anything staying interesting for that long.

    TTChopper

    He spent the last year or more of his life in a hospital bed explaining how the story ends to his wife, Brandon Sanderson (the guy who is now finishing the series) and a tape recorder so that the story could be finished after he died.

    That's dedication to your craft and your characters.

    And tens of thousands of fans breathed a sigh of relief at the same time that they mourned his passing.

    mrgreen4242

    Actually, I don't think Brandon was brought into it until after Jordan died. He wrote a bunch of the final (three) books, dictated some, created outlines, and told his wife (who was also one of his editors) a lot of it.

    But, ya, pretty dedicated.

    TTChopper

    Yeah, you are right. I was under the impression that Jordan actually chose Sanderson to finish it.

    Still, I'm now looking forward to when the final book is published and I can put that series to bed once and for all.

    Brandon Sanderson ()

    Yes, I wasn't brought on until after. (Robert Jordan's wife Harriet chose me, after he asked her to pick someone. She worked as an editor in New York for many years, so he knew this was something he could lay at her feet.)

    The part about the tape recorder on the death bead is right, however.

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  • 22

    Interview: Apr 22nd, 2014

    Brandon Sanderson

    I sit here thinking that something has CHANGED. Something is missing. Some hated you, Mr. Jordan, claiming you represented all that is terrible about popular fantasy. Others revered you as the only one who got it RIGHT.

    Personally, I simply feel indebted to you. You showed me what it was to have vision and scope in a fantasy series—you showed me what could be done. I still believe that without your success, many younger authors like myself would never have had a chance at publishing their dreams.

    You go quietly, but leave us trembling.

    Brandon Sanderson
    September 19, 2007

    Frannie Jackson

    So concludes Sanderson's eulogy on his blog to Robert Jordan, the world-renowned author of The Wheel of Time series. Jordan had passed away a day earlier, ending his battle with cardiac amyloidosis that began in the spring of 2006. As the fantasy world mourned Jordan, fans also questioned the fate of his popular series.

    Though Jordan had written some scenes and outlined sections of the final tome in The Wheel of Time series, the book remained unwritten at the time of his death. Fans knew Harriet McDougal, Jordan's widow and editor of the series, would pick an author to complete the last book, but her choice was anyone’s guess.

    Soon after Jordan's death, a friend of McDougal handed her a printed copy of Sanderson's eulogy for Jordan.

    Harriet McDougal

    "Brandon's eulogy was really beautiful and very loving," McDougal says in a Tor Books interview clip. "And I thought, 'Gosh, this guy, he knows what the series is all about.'"

    Frannie Jackson

    Having never heard of Sanderson before then, McDougal decided to read one of his books. Soon afterward, she called him and asked if he'd like to finish the series.

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I felt honored and overwhelmed at the same time," Sanderson says. "While I didn't ask for this, the truth is that I'm extremely excited to have been involved... For a writer like me, the next best thing to having [Robert Jordan] write the novel was being able to work on it myself."

    Frannie Jackson

    Sanderson only had three novels in print, Elantris and two titles from his Mistborn trilogy, when McDougal contacted him. Though they were selling well, his titles had yet to establish him as a master of the genre.

    Brandon Sanderson

    "I sat there thinking, 'I'm setting myself up to fail. No matter how good a job I do, it's not going to be Robert Jordan's book. Why am I saying yes?'" Sanderson says. "The thing that made the distinction for me was when I realized if I said no and someone messed it up, I would be responsible... My job was not to save The Wheel of Time, to fix The Wheel of Time or anything like that. My job was not to screw it up."

    Frannie Jackson

    Far from screwing it up, Sanderson expanded Jordan's plan for the final book, authoring three, #1 New York Times bestselling novels to conclude the series. Jordan fans quickly embraced Sanderson, who is committed to making convention appearances and attending book signings for The Wheel of Time for years to come. At JordanCon, where his panels overflowed with eager listeners, cosplayers dressed up as characters from both The Wheel of Time and Sanderson's original novels, revealing how the two fandoms have grown to overlap for many readers.

    But it's Sanderson’s respect for Jordan that has most endeared him to The Wheel of Time community. In a 2012 blog post written the day after he finished working on the series, Sanderson wrote:

    Brandon Sanderson

    Robert Jordan was a great man, and was the single greatest influence on my development as a writer. What I have done these last five years has been an attempt—a sometimes flawed but always earnest attempt—to show my appreciation. This entire genre owes him an enormous debt. My debt to him, and to Harriet, is greatest of all.

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