Dave Wolverton: Mormon Author
John David Wolverton, also known by his pen name David Farland, is a New York Times bestselling author of both science fiction and fantasy. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
He was a big fantasy fan during high school and when he couldn’t find any books to read that compared with Lord of the Rings he started making up his own stories and eventually writing. He went to his first writing conference at Brigham Young University when he was nineteen. In a college writing class, his teacher suggested he enter a fiction contest, where he won third prize. He then wrote six short stories, entered them in six contests, and took first place in all of them. One was L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest—the largest science fiction and fantasy writing competition in the world—where he won grand prize for the year of 1987. The award allowed him to study with Orson Scott Card, Algis Budrys, and Ted Powers, and opened doors for publication. Within a few weeks he had a three-novel contract with Bantam Books.
Wolverton’s novels include On My Way to Paradise, Wheatfields Beyond, A Very Strange Trip, In the Company of Angels as well as several series, Serpent Catch, Ravenspell, The Golden Queen, Mummy Chronicles, Nightingale, and The Runelords. His Runelords series is published under his pseudonym. He contributed three short stories to Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show. He also added a volume to the Star Wars series (The Courtship of Princess Leia) and the Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice series (The Rising Force). He has written gamebooks for Star Wars Episode/Adventures and Star Wars Missions.
He wrote a historical fictional book, In the Company of Angels, about the handcart pioneers. The novel won the 2009 Whitney award. His book On the Way to Paradise won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Special Award for Best Novel in the English Language. His young adult fantasy thriller Nightingale won the International Book Award for best Young Adult Novel of the Year (2012), the grand prize at The Hollywood Book Festival, and the Southern California Book Festival for Best Young Adult Novel. It was also a finalist in the Global Ebook Awards.
In addition to writing, Wolverton teaches writing. He taught a writing class at Brigham Young University for several years, and taught successful writers Dan Wells, Brandon Sanderson, Stephenie Meyer, James Dashner, Brandon Mull, and Jessica Day George. He taught writing with the Writers of the Future Contest, as well as judged the contest. He has also taught writing workshops.
He worked for a time as a Hollywood movie producer. In 1998, he started working part-time at Saffire studios, helping create video games. He has created the concept of "lurkers" in the well-known Real-time strategy (RTS) game "Starcraft: Brood War."
Wolverton was born and raised in Oregon during the time the hippie influx to communes was big. When Wolverton was 11 years old, his grandfather, who was in the mafia and believed young Dave wanted to follow in his footsteps, tried to explain the best ways to commit crime.
- “By the time I was 13, I was looking around the world and it … just didn’t make sense,” Farland said. “So, I sat down at the age of 13 and made a list of rules for my life. … I had a lot of almost monastic kinds of rules for a 13-year-old who’s being raised in such a loose society, but I just looked at this society and I said, ‘Well, this is stupid. This is really dangerous, and I’m not going to do this.’ And I’ve always lived by my rules. I’ve never felt like I needed to force them on anybody, but that was really kind of what got me thinking about life.”
His rules included that he would not smoke or do drugs, he would not follow his grandfather into the mob, and he would not have premarital sex. His older brother and sister-in-law introduced him to the Church. He was baptized after reading the Book of Mormon. He also served a full-time mission to Chicago before attending BYU.
He.and his wife are the parents of five children.