Brandon Sanderson: Mormon Author

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Brandon Sanderson, Mormon author

Brandon Sanderson is a best-selling epic fantasy author and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After the death of Robert Jordan, the original author of The Wheel of Time series, Jordan's widow chose Sanderson in 2007 to finish off the series after reading his other work. In 2009, the novel The Gathering Storm reached No. 1 on the New York Times best seller list, and Towers of Midnight did the same in 2010 — both books are part of Jordan's "Wheel of Time" series. [1] The final book in the series, A Memory of Light, was released in early 2013 and also hit the number one spot. This work helped Sanderson rise in popularity. "Fans love the intricacy of his worlds; the casts of thousands that fill his pages; his layered, complex magic systems; and his plots, which twist and weave and leave you a little breathless."[2]

Sanderson was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1975 and moved to Provo, Utah, at 18 to go to school. Not having much interest in standard reading fare for youth, Sanderson discovered epic fantasy as a teenager and devoured such books by talented authors. Sanderson started at Brigham Young University in 1994 as a bio-chemistry major, where he later earned a bachelor's degree. He served a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ in Seoul, Korea, from 1995 to 1997. After his mission, he changed his major from chemistry to English. Later, he also earned a master's degree in creative writing from BYU. During his school years, Sanderson took a job as a hotel clerk to pay for his education. The job allowed him to write when he wasn't busy, and he wrote seven novels during this period. He claims to have quite a collection of rejection slips from publishers.

"It was in 2003, while Brandon was in the middle of a graduate program at BYU, that he got a call from an editor at Tor who wanted to buy one of Brandon's books. Brandon had submitted the manuscript a year and a half earlier, and had almost given up on hearing anything, so he was surprised and delighted to receive the offer. In May of 2005 Brandon held his first published novel, Elantris, in his hands. Two volumes followed in the series, The Emperor's Soul and The Hope of Elantris. Tor also published Brandon's Mistborn trilogy (Era One: The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, The Hero of Ages).

In 2009, Sanderson published Warbreaker, a book he published on his website a chapter at a time. This novel was available as a free download from his website or printed from Tor Books as part of a Creative Commons license.

He also wrote a young adult novel, The Rithmatist, the Legion series (Legion, Legion: Skin Deep), and the Infinity Blade series (Awakening and Redemption).

In 2011, Sanderson continued his Mistborn series with a sequel called the Wax and Wayne trilogy, or Era Two, with The Alloy of Law, Shadows of Self, The Bands of Mourning and a fourth volume, The Lost Metal. The Mistborn series is expected to include four eras. Mistborn: The Final Empire, was named by both Time and Forbes as one of the best fantasy novels of all time, and it was included in NPR’s top-100 list of readers’ favorite science fiction and fantasy books.

He also wrote a novella, Secret History and two short stories, "The Eleventh Metal" and "Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania." His Reckoners series, which began with the 2013 release of Steelheart; Firefight, Mitosis (a mini-story), and Calamity followed soon afterward.

Sanderson has an epic fantasy series called The Stormlight Archive, which included four books and two novellas. The first volume, The Way of Kings, reached number seven on the New York Times bestseller list the year it was released (2013). Following released volumes include Words of Radiance, Edgedancer, and Oathbringer, which topped the New York Times Best Seller list the month it was released (November 2017). Book four is Rhythm of War.

He expanded into the children’s market when Scholastic published Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians, a middle-grade novel, in October 2007. Included in the popular series are The Scrivener's Bones, The Knights of Crystallia, The Shattered Lens, and The Dark Talent.

His Skyward YA series includes three books and three novellas.

In October 2016, DMG bought the rights to his Cosmere novels, which is considered one of the largest literary deals of the year.[3] "The Cosmere comprises the bulk of Sanderson’s writings, with DMG likening it to acquiring a comic book universe rather than a single book franchise. The books are a mixture of sci-fi and fantasy, and they unfold in a number of different worlds and time periods, but are unified by an intricate system of magic that drives the plots."[4]

Sanderson's novels have been on the New York Times Best Seller list 15 times, with his book Oathbringer debuting in the No. 1 spot.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, he secretly wrote four novels and started a Kickstarter fundraiser, allowing readers to purchase the books and receive copies throughout 2023. The goal was to reach $1 million from backers, but the campaign did that and then some—raising nearly $42 million, it more than doubled the previous record holder for the most successful Kickstarter campaign in history.[5] Three of the novels are set in his Cosmere, and one is not. The effort attracted widespread media attention due to its sheer size and groundbreaking nature within the publishing industry.

Sanderson participates in a weekly writing podcast, called Writing Excuses, with authors Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, and web cartoonist Howard Tayler.

Sanderson founded and operates Dragonsteel Entertainment LLC. The company owns the copyright on many of Brandon's books and it has self-published some of his stories in both electronic and print formats. It also operates his merchandise store, which rebranded as Dragonsteel Books in 2021. It also produces the Writing Excuses and Intentionally Blank podcasts.

Sanderson teaches a class at BYU on fantasy writing once a year. In 2006 he married Emily Bushman, who works part-time as his business manager. She is the COO of Dragonsteel. They have three children. Together they established the nonprofit Lightweaver Foundation, which promotes literacy and helps provide food, water, shelter, and clothing to those in need both locally and worldwide.

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