Friday, August 31, 2012

Author Interview: Brandon Sanderson previews Steelheart

For my spotlight on upcoming dystopian/post apocalyptic fiction series, I interview authors with novels coming out in the genre in 2012/13. These are exclusive first looks at exciting new works. Enjoy!

Today I have MISTBORN Author Brandon Sanderson here to talk about STEELHEART his new YA due from Delacorte (Random House) in August 2013.

The summary:

There are no heroes.

Every single person who manifested powers—we call them Epics—turned out to be evil.

Here, in the city once known as Chicago, an extraordinarily powerful Epic declared himself Emperor. Steelheart has the strength of ten men and can control the elements. It is said no bullet can harm him, no sword can split his skin, no explosion can burn him. He is invincible.

It has been ten years. We live our lives as best we can. Nobody fights back . . . nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans who spend their lives studying powerful Epics, finding their weaknesses, then assassinating them.

My name is David Charleston. I'm not one of the Reckoners, but I intend to join them. I have something they need. Something precious, something incredible. Not an object, but an experience. I know his secret.

I've seen Steelheart bleed.

The interview:

Why do you think people are drawn to "dark" stories?
One of the reasons that we read is for the sense of catharsis we get from seeing something go terribly wrong and watching people deal with it. It's just one of our basic needs where stories are concerned. From the beginning we have liked dark stories, starting with the oldest fairy tales and even earlier. They do serve a cautionary role, but there's also a fascination to them. What would we do if we were in those terrible circumstances? What will these characters do? In some ways dark stories are optimistic, because we get to see people struggling to deal with terrible situations and then hopefully coming out for the better.

What fictional character from another book would your main character chose as his/her best friend and why?
I think I would say Peter Parker. In Steelheart, David lives in a world where people gain super powers but only evil people have them. It would be one of his dreams to find people who were super-powered, yet were also good. Plus David's kind of a nerd in his own way—he's a nerd about super powers. He doesn't consider himself one, but he's studied super powers for most of his life to try to figure out how they work and how to defeat them. So I think he and Peter Parker would get along well.

What are your top 5 Dystopian lit recs and why?
These are in no particular order. 1984 has to be on the list; it was the first big dystopian book that I read, and it has shaped this genre, in a way. I would put up there The Giver as well, which most people count as dystopian; it's kind of an interesting blend of dystopian and other sub genres, but I enjoy it. Among more recent fiction, I would say Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, and The Maze Runner by James Dashner, for something very recent. Finally, another good classic—probably my favorite of all time is Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut.

What's on the top of your to-do list before the world ends?
Finish all these darn books I want to write. I have around two dozen that need to get done before the world ends, so I'd better get cracking.

How does your novel stand out from others in the genre?
That's an excellent question. This is a somewhat crowded genre recently. Of course, dystopian fiction has always been popular in the SF/fantasy field, but lately it's had quite a boom. I am the only one that I know of doing a superhero apocalypse. I wrote the book because one day I was driving down the road and someone cut me off in traffic, and I thought, "It's a good thing I'm not a supervillain, because I would totally blow up your car." The what-if for me on that was—what if someone could just blow up your car if you cut them off in traffic? How would that change the world? What would we do if people started getting super powers and just started taking whatever they wanted? Would we be able to stop them? What would happen if the government just declared them forces of nature, acts of God, something that can't be changed. It was an interesting enough premise that I wrote a book based around it, and that's where Steelheart came from. It's a premise that I haven't seen done before.

Thank you Brandon!

Follow Brandon on Twitter @BrandSanderson


roro said...

i never heard of Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut. checking it out. gr8 interview

Christina said...


I am so excited for this! I love Sanderson's books, I love superheroes (even ones that aren't so much heroes), and I love dystopian novels. Ummm, can I have this RIGHT NOW?

Also, I read Harrison Bergeron in the anthology Brave New Worlds, and it was great!

melissa @ 1lbr said...

Wow, I hadn't heard about this one. I'll have to give it a try, when it finally comes out :)

LC Piper said...

Don't worry, Brandon will make it amazing.