YA Wednesday: Brandon Sanderson and James Dashner

Steelheart200 EyeOfMinds200Brandon Sanderson and James Dashner are no strangers to best seller lists, and both have big things happening right now, including the release of their fantastic new books.  We loved them both-- Sanderson's Steelheart  was a September Best of the Month pick and Dashner's The Eye of Minds is on the list for October

Both novels are the first in a new series, and Sanderson's, first foray into writing young adult novels.  Steelheart is an amazing, futuristic, action packed story with comic book style heroes and villains, though it isn't a comic or graphic novel.  I wasn't sure this was a book for me, but I was totally wrong, and loved it.  I'm already a huge fan of Dashner's Maze Runner series so was super excited to read The Eye of Minds, the first book of his new Mortality Doctrine series.  Once again Dashner has created a world that you can't help but get immersed in--this time the hyper-techno world of a virtual reality game that has a very real killer.   

YA authors tend to be a close knit bunch, so it did not surprise me to learn that Sanderson and Dashner are not only colleagues but friends.  The photo here is a shot of them at this year's Comic-con where they sat down for us to have a chat about their new books:

Sanderson_Dashner_ComiconJames Dashner: Brandon, you’re perhaps best known for your adult books—Mistborn, The Way of Kings, and particularly for finishing Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series. However, recently you’ve undertaken several projects for younger readers. Why is that? How does it feel to be entering into the world of YA fiction? How does it differ from writing for an adult audience? How do you possibly think you can compete with your friend, James Dashner?

Brandon Sanderson: I've known this guy James Dashner for so long, and he was such an inspiration to me, and I thought, if this joker can do it, then I can too! The sci-fi/fantasy genre is what made a reader out of me, and it has a long history of crossing the line between YA and adult fiction. For example, you mentioned The Wheel of Time. In the early books, the main protagonists are all teenagers. Are these books YA? The publishers don't classify them that way. They’re shelved with the adult fantasy books. Books like that have influenced me in that some of the stories I tell fit into the mold that society says will package well as YA books. Other stories I tell—that are a thousand pages long—don’t seem to fit that mold. But I don’t sit down and say, “I’m writing for a teen audience now. I need to change my entire style.” Instead, I say, “This project and the way I’m writing it feels like it would work well for a teen audience.”

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