Not all of the showdowns strike that eerie note, however, and the fact that the story is told from David’s perspective helps balance out the more intense sequences because his voice is one of good intentions and innocent determination, not to mention many delightfully lousy metaphors.
“Steelheart” contains near-nonstop action, which works well for the plot and makes sense because Sanderson, who lives in Utah, drew inspiration from some of his favorite action movies while writing “Steelheart.”
“For me, an action movie is often about one really intense character who’s trying to fulfill something, mixed with this sort of breakneck pacing,” he said.
“I wanted to write something that just had that awesome boom-boom-boom pacing. Some of my favorites are things like ‘The Dark Knight.’ I love ‘The Dark Knight.’ I love the emotion and the power of it.”
When he writes for adults, Sanderson said, his approach is different from the one he takes when he is writing for teens.
“When I write epic fantasy for adults, one of the things I’m trying to do is do this sense of immersion. I want to do a lot of complicated world-building and make a world that as you read, it feels very real,” he said.
“When I’m writing a teen novel like this my focus was on character voice. Now, granted, I want to do great characters no matter what I do, but whatever book you write, you kind of end up trying to focus on different things, and for me it was really the voice of David, the protagonist.”
The character David’s use of off-kilter metaphors became a part of that, and it proved to be more difficult to write than Sanderson had anticipated.
“Those things were so hard to write,” he said. “I put myself in this position where I had to come up with these awful yet fun metaphors. It was dreadful. It’s amusing how much more difficult it was to write bad metaphors, essentially. I’m not even sure what the process really was other than banging my head against the wall. And trying, you know.”
Sanderson said his current projects are writing “Firefight,” the sequel to “Steelheart,” and revising “Words of Radiance,” the sequel to “The Way of Kings” in his the Stormlight Archive series.
Sanderson recently accomplished one of his greatest goals: to win a Hugo Award. And he didn’t just win one. On Sept. 1, at Worldcon in San Antonio, he won two of them.
“It was amazing. It’s a highlight of my life. For those who aren’t into science fiction and fantasy this is kind of like our Academy Awards. And growing up, a lot of my favorite books, like ‘Ender’s Game,’ were Hugo Award winners,” Sanderson said.
His Hugo Awards were for Best Novella for “The Emperor’s Soul” and for Best Related Work for his seventh season of “Writing Excuses” podcasts.
“It means a lot to me,” he said. “It’s an award that I’ve always trusted and respected, and so the chance to actually have my name on one of those statues is pretty much incomparable.”
If writing were an Epic ability, the Reckoners would have Sanderson at the top of their hit list; he’d be far too powerful to let alone.
If you go ...
What: "Steelheart" book launch and Brandon Sanderson book signing
When: Tuesday, Sept. 24, 5 p.m.
Where: Barnes and Noble, University Crossings Plaza, 330 E. 1300 South, Orem
What: Brandon Sanderson book signing
When: Wednesday, Sept. 25,
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