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Chaos posted a article in Columns and FeaturesToday we are here with the team from The Black Piper, the creators of the Kaladin album on Kickstarter. It's a fantastic look into the behind-the-scenes process and the backstory of the album, and their plans to come. Joining me today are Sae Sae Norris, Producer and Creative Director; Michael Bahnmiller, Composer and Producer; and Richard Williams, Composer and Coordinator. The Kaladin Kickstarter ends Monday, September 25th. For more information on Kaladin, check out our preview on it. The following has been edited for length and clarity. 17S: How nervous are you now that Kaladin and its Kickstarter is in the wild? How's the reception been so far? Michael Bahnmiller: It's always a little nerve-bending to release something you've put your heart into! With Kaladin, we all had an overpowering sense of optimism about what would happen, but when the campaign was ready and we went to "press the button", the knowledge that thousands of people would now be listening to our music, looking at our profiles, seeing who we were and what we've done - it definitely gave us pause! But I also knew that we have an amazing team and we were prepared! The reception has been overwhelmingly positive! People have been reaching out to us from all across the world to express excitement, not only about the music and the art but also about the concept. We weren't sure if people would get the idea of an original epic fantasy book soundtrack, so it's been thrilling and affirming to have people wondering why this isn't a thing already! Sae Sae Norris: Basically I feel the same way Kaladin is described as feeling during his first bridge run. This has been the HARDEST thing I’ve ever done, but it’s been insanely rewarding both personally and professionally. The film industry is full of vipers and terrible people who exist solely to use you up and throw you out. It’s also full of people who love to create art, and evolve technologically, and think outside of the box, and aren’t jaded, who know that family is more important than work. Time has proven this team to be the latter, which I honestly wasn’t expecting when we first started. I’m amazed at the tenacity, heart, integrity, and sacrifice my team has put in to this project. As its leader, I feel an insane amount of responsibility to make sure this is all worth it. And I can’t do it alone. We can’t do it alone. This Kickstarter has been an incredible crucible and the amount of support we’ve had truly and literally has a physical effect on my well-being. When I’m feeling down or overwhelmed, I look to the Stormlight community because you are my tribe. You guys get it. You know what makes me tick and what inspires me. You feel, and wonder, and create, and jest, and hypothesize and your existence lifts me up. You peeps are my personal bridge crew and I couldn’t be more grateful to the support you’ve given to me and my team. On a more practical note, we’re on track to make our first goal--but we really want to exceed that so we can start writing new music. Most of the Bridge Four sequences had to be left out until Goal 2 because of the budget. Using a 70-piece orchestra is extremely expensive. We’ve taken a lot of care to configure our orchestras (choosing how many of which instrument to hire per session) to maximize the emotional effect of the music they’re playing. We need all the spheres and Stormlight we can muster to really flesh out the album and tell the musical story that we’ve been sitting on. You peeps have been paramount in our success so far, but we need all hands on deck for this last leg of the Kickstarter campaign. 17S: It sure seems like you've been Stormlight fans for a while. The tracks really do evokes the feel of Stormlight and the scenes they are capturing. Could you tell us how the team at Black Piper discovered Stormlight Archive or Brandon Sanderson? SSN: Yay! An origin story question! Have I mentioned how much I personally relate to Kaladin? Because I do. None of us knew each other at the beginning of this project. Well, I didn’t know anyone on the team. I had just wrapped on producing Flight From Shadow, the Wheel of Time fan-film. That shoot destroyed me. Physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally. What was meant to be an homage to two of my brothers (one who died and whose death I blamed myself for, and to my oldest brother, who got me out of my grief by introducing me to the Wheel of Time), ended up being one of the most corrupt shoots of my life. The “bigness” of the project just went to too many people’s heads and it poisoned my team. My friends, my film family, my network. The man I loved, the man who had saved my life that one time and literally carried me into the ER, had stabbed me in the back. And he planned it while I was at the book signing for AMoL, cos he knew I was a Sanderfan and that’s where I’d be. I genuinely considered suicide the night it all fell apart. It was my composer and brother-from-another-mother, Nate Drew (composer for the Hearthstone theme) that kept me alive that terrible night and just let me cry. I was devastated and couldn’t even finish the WoT series. I stopped making films. I stopped writing screenplays and poetry. I stopped writing music. I stopped playing the piano and the cello and singing. I stopped reading. I stopped editing. I stopped teaching. My life turned into one big cremling and my fire was gone. My trust was gone. And I was thoroughly embarrassed that Brandon (who had helped with our marketing cos it coincided with the release of AMoL) and Jason Denzel could have witnessed any sort of drama, cos that’s just not how I do business, and I was (am) a hardcore fan of both of them. (I work with Hollywood A-listers all the time and don’t get nervous; but I get seriously tongue-tied and fan-girly around Brandon, his work means that much to me.) I was approached to produce an Infinity Blade film, which already had half a million dollars of funding in escrow. We made FFS on $12k, most of it out of pocket. I could have made IB look like freaking Avatar and done it in my sleep for half a million dollars. I said no. Twice. I would not do another Brandon Sanderson project. It hurt too much. So, a year later, Nate [Drew] recommends I give some producing advice to two composers who wanted to make an album. Cue a couple of Mormons meeting up in a Starbucks: a recent music grad with an ambitious dream, a final year grad savant that was severely under-appreciated, and a producer who had given up on everything. Funnily enough, I wrote about this meeting in my journal and ended up using that journal as my Black Piper notebook. I had misgivings about getting back in the game but was so inspired when I heard their music. Something inside of my stirred, but it wasn’t enough. I told them their idea was cool but it was too vague and their music needed to tell a story. I blew them off for awhile after that, expecting them to take the hint and give up before they got hurt. Then I get this email from Mike. “Hey Sae Sae, I found the PERFECT story to compose to! It’s called The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson (have you heard of him?). It’s epic and spiritual, and everything we need to do! So I wrote to him and he said to contact his agent! What do I do?” I think I had a literal heart attack when I read that. I just read that email over and over again, cradling myself and saying “Oh no!” Not Brandon. Of all the stories in the UNIVERSE Mike could have chosen and it was THAT one. I bought the book, the first book I’d read since that night. I read it in three days and emailed Brandon’s agent the second I was done with it. This was MY story to tell. And the universe kept shoving me in to Brandon’s work. I still don’t know why, but maybe it was time I listened. I knew it would be expensive. I knew they’d say no. But I figured, if I got a solid no from Brandon’s agent, Mike would get off my back. They liked our pitch. They wanted to talk. Every time someone had the opportunity to say no to us in a way that would axe the project, they ended up saying yes. I broke down the book and wrote a treatment, the first writing I’d done in years. We wrote some songs. I got to direct, something I didn’t think I’d ever get to do again. Mike, Richard, and Phil went to Prague and recorded what we wrote. I grew sixteen more ulcers. We were committed now. These were personal funds and now it was on me to make sure these kids could feed their families and didn’t get destroyed by the dark side of the industry. I vowed I would not let that happen to my team. Never again. Then I got a seizure/stroke thingy and became paralysed on the right side of my body. We had to halt the project for a little over a year. DMG wanted the rights to the cosmere. They had more money than we did and we hadn’t yet inked the deal with Dragonsteel. Stuck in a wheelchair, with nothing, my hope started to fade. It was over. I knew my team would take what I had given them and boot me, just like before. I told them that I was no good and to leave and try to succeed without me. They didn’t. They supported me, and worked with my damage. They said they needed me, and I realized that I needed them, and I needed this. DMG got the film rights but they said we could do our album anyway. That’s unheard of. (Seriously, peeps. Studios are not that gracious.) We were running out of money. Investors started coming out of nowhere and managed to give us just the amount of money we needed, when we needed it. At every turn, we thought this project would fail, but we put our heads down and our hearts in and we wouldn’t let it. And here we are. It’s been one battle after another but more and more people come in and help us. They love the music, and the artwork, and the rewards. Our intense commitment to treating this like a true Hollywood project has been paying off. This is what we do, because we have to do it. We don’t know if we’ll reach our destination. But that’s not what it’s about, is it? This project gave my life meaning and purpose again. It reignited the spark of creativity that I thought I had lost. It proved that not everyone becomes corrupt when money and studios and names get attached. I found a fandom that I can enjoy. It feels like home. Brandon is like Dalinar. His words are important and they have united us all. If we don’t make our Kickstarter goal, I honestly don’t know what I’ll do. But I know I won’t do nothing, not again. It would be the biggest forward fail of my life. But if we do succeed, and we can only do it with everyone else’s help, we will take this project and make like Fleet and just keep running. 17S: What's been the biggest challenge on making Kaladin? SSN: I pretty much answered that from a personal point of view, at least. Logistically, I’d say our biggest hurdle has been the money. We have the team, we have the vision, we have the street cred, we have the inspiration. This whole experience would have been a whole lot smoother if we’d had the seed money to properly get this thing past development all at once, instead of in micro-chunks. As it was, all our funds came in increments, and took a LOT of effort and luck to get. We’ve calculated into our budget what we’d need to set aside from our profits to make a second album without all the bumps and hurdles. Hopefully, we’ll make it that far. We’re really planning on a long-term business. The first project is always the hardest. We have a lot to prove, despite our contacts and experience. We’re basically starting a new genre, and being the trend setters is really difficult to do, especially in an industry where the big money bets on what they know already works. So far, we’ve erred on the side of being over-prepared, but this is new territory for us. No one has done a book soundtrack like we’re doing it. And now we know why: it’s freaky expensive. We’re hoping that our formula for the book soundtrack is the one that will crack the code and open up the genre. 17S: What was it like recording with the City of Prague Orchestra? How much rehearsal do they do before it's recorded? I'd love to know more of that process. Richard Williams: They basically have no rehearsal time, they are recording it live sight-reading. Recording with an orchestra is a much more interesting experience when you hear live instruments instead of the computerized mockups. I think it’s common as a composer to have a bunch of questions about your orchestration or to not be sure about if things are going to sound okay, but when you let the orchestra play it, more often then not, that goes away, and you’re just able to sit back and enjoy the beautiful creation. I must admit we had so much on our minds since it was our first time there that there wasn’t a lot of sitting back and enjoying, but we were working and making sure the music sounded as good as possible. The string players there are really amazing! I was amazed at how fast they were able to play my very fast and difficult music. I can’t believe how good they can sightread! 17S: Being realistic, how many tracks will be in the album if you only meet the first goal of 110,000? SSN: If we only reach our minimum goal of $110k, then there will be 14 songs on the finished album. [Take a look at 17th Shard's preview for a look into most of these tracks] The Most Important Words a Man Can Say Stormblessed Sylphrena’s theme Honor Chasm Alethi Codes of War Chasm Kata Highstorm Hearthstone Wandersail Three Glyphs (Wind, Protection, Beloved) The Tower Thath (Justice) Shallan’s Lullaby: a bonus track to give Shallan some love and let you all know what kind of sound and feeling to expect from her album, should we be lucky enough to make it. Tarah: a bonus track devoted to the mysterious Tarah, who is only mentioned once in TWoK and once in WoR! Sae Sae’s only original track on the album, and a piano solo to boot. (If we can afford an orchestra later, we’ll add it) 17S: The Kickstarter, and the album, focuses on Kaladin and his struggles in The Way of Kings, but there was also the Shallan's Lullaby track. Are there any other Words of Radiance-inspired tracks? MB: No. This album is all about Kaladin! We had just found Shallan's Lullaby by Alex Crandall on YouTube and thought it would be awesome to record and include it! So, it became a bonus track, and I'm so glad we found it! SSN: Creatively, we are ready to go on a Shallan album! I’ve got the treatment, and the sample track lists, and am so excited to do it! But, due to the budget we were only able to tell Kaladin’s story on this album. Ideally, we’d like to end up giving each character their own album (if we can get permission, that is); Kaladin has his; Shallan will have hers and will include both her story in TWOK and WoR; Dalinar will have his, which shall include his story in WoR and OB, and so on. To clarify, we do not have any other Cosmere albums lined up with Dragonsteel. Basically, if this album is a success, then we’ll be in a position to possibly negotiate further Cosmere albums. Please help us get this campaign successful so we can blow your socks off with our next album! Shallan’s album will sound totally different from Kaladin’s, a little more like Danny Elfmann, Max Richter, and James Newton Howard. A lot more feminine, but powerful, and very dark and whimsical. I really hope we get the chance to do a Shallan album properly! 17S: Will you use (or have you already used) rare instruments to make the music sound more unique, as Roshar is a unique world? MB: We've used some more unique synth sounds in the tracks. Synths are computer generated (or computer processed) sounds that we layer together with the live orchestral sounds. We are also planning on using a custom made set of bamboo flutes for Wandersail. We are using "electric cello" recorded by the amazing Tina Guo for the Thath track, if you can count that as "rare"! SSN: We’ve got the use of a sitar, and we’re literally creating a flute for Hoid to play during Wandersail because there honestly isn’t one in existence that can do what he describes in the book. But we’re patterning that after a Chinese design (a dizi is what I think we decided to go with), with a few flairs. Our synths are massively processed. The horns that you hear playing in Alethi Codes of War are processed into synths to create the crashing lightning of the Highstorm song, and represents the use of Stormlight. I really can’t wait to record the Parshendi and bring them in to the orchestrated music! Their use of breath, rhythm, male and female overarching each other, yet still somehow in unison, and all in a language that Kristina A. Bischoff created…yeah, I really can’t wait to do the Parshendi vocals. 17S: I saw you had to get the permission from DMG Entertainment [the people who own the film rights] to do this. Has there been any talk to use any of this soundtrack for stuff they produce? Have you had any discussions with them about it? MB: DMG has been very gracious to allow us to do this! Regarding using our music for their production, there hasn't been any talk of it, but typically film needs to be scored very specifically. It actually has much different considerations from what standalone music has. For example, the battle scenes will likely have a different pacing from what the Kaladin album has, they may be faster or last longer. Certain moments will happen at different times, and there are also a lot of nuances that a picture has. The director also brings to the table a vision for the aesthetics and the music. He or she may envision something moving and touching played over a particular battle scene, where what we have is epic percussion! Of course, we'd certainly be beyond thrilled to be considered to compose for something they produce, but as of yet, there has been no discussion! 17S: Which is the track you're most excited to hear with the full orchestra? For me, it's probably "Highstorm." I can't wait to hear the final version of that. SSN: Man, that’s a tough one. I’d say I want to hear Highstorm, Alethi Codes of War, and Honor Chasm. The sheer bossness of Highstorm and its arrhythmic timing, the fun Celtic syncopated jig of Alethi Codes of War, and the heart-wrenching music of Honor Chasm that stops way too early... Do I have to pick one? MB: I'd have to say Sylphrena! Philip Klein, who wrote the track, is one of my favorite composers and a good friend, and I just love this track. Just the mockup version of it takes me back to feeling like a child again, and he does it with such deftness that I forget where I am or that I'm not 6 years old and carefree. I can't wait to hear it all put together and mixed by the wonderful Casey Stone! RW: For me, it’ll probably be The Tower. That song was written literally in 10 hours in one day. It was the day before we were to fly out to Europe. And I love the addition of the drums and choir that will be added, so I’m excited to hear the full version when its done! Highstorm is probably a close second. That was the song that I was amazed at how the string players could sightread such a piece. 17S: What are each of your favorite tracks and why? MB: Well, Sylphrena, for sure! And Alethi Codes of War by Caleb Blood is just so fun I wish I'd written it! Oh, and Shallan's Lullaby just has the coolest arrangement - written by Alex Crandall and arranged/orchestrated by Sandy Schnieders. And Hearthst--- OK, you probably only wanted one track, didn't you? RW: Hmm, besides The Tower, and Highstorm, I like Sylphrena’s Theme and 16 Seconds Pre-Death. Sylphrena’s theme has some really cool chords in it that really remind me of that Hollywood sound, and the song it self has an epicness that is in a different style than many of the other epic action songs on the album. So it’s nice to hear another angle in that way. I like 16 Seconds because it’s unnerving and intensely ominous at the same time. I like the chord progressions that happen in the song as well. It reminds me a bit of old classical influences how things morph with the chords. And I like the unnerving groans that happen towards the beginning. That adds to the ominous feeling that surmounts. SSN: I honestly go through phases with the album. For awhile, I’ll be feeling it with Highstorm. It was so much fun to pull out of Richard the idea I had in my head. He was the perfect one to write the song. Then I’ll be feeling it with Alethi Codes of War (okay, this might be a favorite simply because it’s got the Celtic feeling and I’m a sucker for that). Then I get the feels with Hearthstone, which is satisfying to listen to because it really took a LOT of takes to get this just right. I wish you peeps could hear it with the male humming in the background. Sandra thinks we should go with a tenor, to represent Tien; and I think we should go with a bass, to represent Lirin working by himself. Either way, whatever we end up with, I know it’s going to hit us all right in the feels! Thanks for joining us! Check out the Kaladin Kickstarter over here to back this project.
Back in September Brandon went to Salt Lake City Comic-Con, and 17th Shard went as well. Josh and Mi'ch were able to get recordings of over 12 hours worth of signings. Unfortunately for copyright reasons we couldn't share the audio publicly but finally the transcription is done. It's a Koloss Head-Munching Day miracle! I would like to apologize for this taking so long and I hope the rest of you are as excited as I am! Special thanks again to Josh and Mi'ch for making this possible. Also thank you to Windrunner for proofing everything. There's some very cool stuff in here, so let's get started! Q: I heard once that Robert Jordan had like 10GB of just pure text… B: Yeah, now most of that was the sort of stuff that ends up in the glossaries... Most of it you wouldn’t want to read, ‘cause most of it is very boring stuff. They’re putting a lot of that into an encyclopedia that will be coming out next fall, they just released the date on that. Not this November but next November. Q: My one question is how do you make it so writing isn’t work, because if I’m writing for work I don’t write as well. How do you get in the mind set? B: You know for me, taking a walk before hand, listening to some awesome music, and just imagining why this scene is going to be awesome and the emotional impact of it really helps. But at the same time writing is always going to be a little bit work and there is no getting around that. I mean, it’s hard sometimes and so-- I don’t know. For me I’ve enjoyed it more as it has become work and I can devote more time to it and things like that. But… Try that. Q: Just get in the mood… B: Listen to music and put myself in that scene, what it feels like, what it sounds like, smells like. Just put myself here and think about what is going to make it incredible and I’ll get really excited about writing it. Excitement translates I think at least for me onto the page. Q: What were these Szeth things for... B:Those were little plastic things you snap out and he stand up. So he’s a little figure to have at your cubicle or something like that. Q: I just saw you post about leaving them in places on twitter… B: We will be doing things like that for other books as well so keep an eye out for that. Q: I actually have a weird question. From the Mistborn series it says there are 16 allomantic metals but then you go into Alloy of Law and the 16 are listed there, minus the atium and another one, so are there really 18 metals? B: Well, you see those two were not really metals. Those were pieces, fragments, of a god. Q: I thought that might be it but the symbols are the same above them from-- the atium symbol is the same as-- B: No, it’s a different symbol, it might be reversed though. Q: So was The Emperor’s Soul before Elantris? B: It’s after. Q: So are you going to write a book that explains what happened to the empire then? B: You will find out more about it eventually, yes. But it’s not my main project right now. We’ll see how it happens eventually. Q-f: Is Dalinar clean shaven or does he wear a beard? B: It depends on the day, and the time. Dalinar is clean-shaven through most of the books you have seen. Q-f: That’s what I thought but he [man with the woman asking the question] thought not. Q-m: The audiobook reader just gives me an impression of a wizened person with a well-kept beard. B: Let’s see if I’ve got… if I’ve got enough internet… Q-m: I get the impression that Sadeas has a creepy mustache from the audiobook as well. B:Beards are not in fashion in Alethkar right now. Q: Which is why Kaladin shaves it off. B: Let’s see, Way of Kings, I’ve got the artwork I used as-- [shows secret canon drawing] So there is the concept art we used for Dalinar. Q: The magic in The Emperor’s Soul, is that the only magic you’ve written that there is a spiritual part to it in your magic trio? B: Umm… All of them have some little dabbling in it, it is the most related to the Spiritual Realm-- Of the ones I have shown, certainly it is the most related. Q: How many of the Mistborn do you plan on writing still? B: Mistborn, when I pitched it to my editor, I pitched it as a spectrum running from an epic fantasy series eventually arriving at a space opera, with Allomancers on spaceships. So we have several hundred more years of history. So right now I’m doing a few more Wax and Wayne books, the Alloy of Law era. Then we will jump forward, I’ve got a modern trilogy that’s going to be like 1980’s level technology. And then maybe near-future and then full-blown science fiction space opera. Q: I had a question about White Sand, we both read the draft of it, it’s going to graphic novel. What’s your involvement with that? Are you kind of passing over the draft? B: We passed the book to the writer, the writer is sending us scripts, and we are commenting on them and things like that. There are a few big changes I’ve made to the story, that it needed, and things like that. But we are letting the script writer write the scripts and then we are reading them over. Q: What were the allomantic metals based on? B: The allomantic metals were based on two main concepts, magic that feels one step science one step superstition so I was reading things like alchemy and I wanted something that was one half chemistry, one half alchemy. The idea of eating the metals and metabolizing them was really interesting to me because it’s kind of almost scientific but not really. That mixed with me wanting to have a thieving crew have different powers that would help different members of a crew and I built the powers to match people like Ham and Breeze. Q: In Warbreaker how did you come up with the idea of using colors for magic? B: You know it’s the goofiest story. A lot of them have really awesome stories and this one is just goofy. In this one I had written Elantris and written Mistborn and they are both kind of dark and my editor said to me, I kid you not, “Your next book needs some color to it” and I said “Oh I’ll do a color-based magic system then”. And that’s where it came from. Q: I just started Part 3 and I actually went over to your booth to ask them because I was confused. There are different symbols for the allomantic metals but I only recognize one of them here. Why are there different symbols you don’t know about at the begining of different parts? B: Part of it is they don’t know all the metals yet, in the books, and so that’s a hint. Part of it is because that their writing system is more than 16 letters and so there are symbols that do not represent a metal, necessarily, or an allomantic metal so they can-- They write with them as well. It is both a writing system and each symbol is a metal. Q: I love that book [The Rithmatist], the world, I’m looking forward to those… B: The sequel is going to be very fun, it’s called “The Aztlanian”, it’s taking place in South America. Q: Where in South America? B: Well, I’ve rebuilt South America so it’s kind of weird. The Aztek empire, which is the main name the Northerners have for it, they call it something else. The problem is I shrunk the planet, so I had to smash South America and Central America a little bit into each other so the islands that they are is it South America? Central America? What is it? Q: So is it Spanish-speaking? Or… B: No, the Spaniards got fought off, they actually speak Nahautl. Q: No Portuguese or Spanish? It’s all… B: There are a couple Portuguese/Spanish islands but-- They grabbed a few of them but the main empire speaks Nahuatl. Q: My background is twenty years of military, and as I’ve been reading your Way of Kings, I’ve found that your insight into what it like to be a member of the service, all the mental trials including post-traumatic stress disorder is all very well thought-out and I’m curious how you came across that knowledge. B: Lots of interviews and lots of reading on forums. People who post their hearts and souls on-- if you find the right forums, where people are among like-minded individuals, you can watch like a fly-on-the-wall and see what people are saying and how they are feeling. Because I strive for authenticity, that’s what I-- whenever someone is feeling I want it to be authentic, and the more far removed from my own experience the better it is, if that makes sense to me, to get it into my books. So I try very hard for that. Q: In fact I’m going to be suggesting to the Veterans’ Administration to use the series for treatment for PTSD. There are literally some things in there I’ve never seen anyone actually understand or get before. Some of my military friends have just been in absolute tears after reading your book. B: That is an honor to hear. Q (different from above): Did you do the same thing with Kaladin’s depression? B: Yes I did but that one is a little closer to home, [several people in Brandon's life have depression]. Q: I have depression as well, it’s pretty inspiring to me B: I had never seen a hero who had depression and I was like “I need to do a real, legitimate that it’s not about their depression, they just have it” Does that make sense? Like whenever I read a book it is all about them having depression. And I’m like “No, your life is not about you having depression, your life-- that is part of your life but--” So it was very important to me that I get that one right. Q: I just, yeah I just find your book so inspiring so I just really appreciate you doing all this for us. Q: Hemalurgy, does the person having the metal shoved through them have to die? B: It has to rip off a piece of their soul. That normally results in death. Q: Because I’m thinking you’re going a bit into the future, surgery, precise things like that… B: It’s plausible but-- I mean it would leave the person like-- it’s ripping off a piece of their soul. But the same thing happens when you give up your Breath. So you’re giving up a piece of your soul. There are-- It’s plausible you could take off pieces of a soul without killing the person. Q: And all the different powers kind of run off the same type of power? Like Breath is the same as Stormlight. B: Yeees, they have their own different sort of layers to them. It depends on the Shard that is there and things like that but yes there are little differences but it is more like the differences between alternating current and direct current, they’re both electricity. So if you know how to use them. Q: ‘Cause Szeth’s not going to be getting any new Breaths on Roshar so I was thinking about that. Q: I do have one question, A Memory of Light couldn’t be better, except for the Padan Fain thing. B: Yeah, the Padan Fain thing is that I have a little bit of regret on that one. That’s the one thing-- You see he didn’t leave anything about Fain at all. Just completely blank. That was worrisome to me. The only thing he said was “Padan Fain cannot be Gollum” actually, he wrote that in the notes. So I was left with trying to figure out what to do and in the end I feel it just ended up feeling tacked on because there were so many other things *I* was interested in doing and Padan Fain I had never really enjoyed as a character that much. You are seeing my biases come through on that. Looking back at it I’m like “I really should have done something more with him”. That’s the big one that I feel I would change, if I could change something. Q: Cause it’s kind of a threat that goes away… B: The other one is I would’ve liked for the viewpoint chapters from Demandred to be in the book instead of separated out and put in that charity anthology, but I didn’t have any say in that one. Q: How did you come up with Shardblades? B: Here’s the thing, I’ve seen a lot of fantasy art-- I love fantasy books, right-- and people often depict these enormous swords, which are completely impractical. So one of my pitches for Stormlight was “I want a world where they had to have weapons like they depict in this fantasy art” and I retrofitted it, what would they need these to actually fight? So that was the pitch for myself on Shardblades. And I was also annoyed that the coolest magic swords were in a science fiction story, Star Wars, I want cool magic swords that are not in a science fiction story. Q: How did you come up with the idea for the cosmere? Because I just think it is the greatest idea ever and the more I learn about it the less I realize I know. B: It was partially me wanting to do a big fantasy epic that also had room for standalones, I wanted to do both and so the idea of the hidden epic behind the scenes was really appealing for me ‘cause it let me do everything I wanted to do. Q: What differentiates a minor Shardworld like First of the Sun? B: The amount of Investiture, and whether there is actually a Shard in presence. Q: I’m assuming there is not one there? B: There is not one there. Q: So it’s like a Splintered one from something else? B: No what you’ll find is that the worlds were all created with a level of-- a little bit of sort of ambient magic. What you’ll find in worlds like that is things like, Shadows for Silence and things like this, the magic, it’s not necessarily “people with magic” it’s you can interact with nature... Q: So there is inherent investiture... B: There is inherent investiture in every world created but you are going to see-- You aren’t going to find Mistborn on a world like that but what you might find is a way there are magic aspects to the setting. Spren could exist on a world like that but they would be like the minor spren, you wouldn’t find Syl, but you would find something like lifespren. Q: Do you have other minor Shardworlds? B: Yeah I have a bunch of them, and which ones are worth telling a story in will depend on when I get around to it whether they’re worth it. Q: Who is Wit? B: He is a character who has been in all of the books so far and is somehow getting between all of the different planets these are taking place on and is somehow surviving the fact that these books are hundreds of years apart. Q: I have a good idea that he’s a Mistborn. B: Well he did steal a bead of lerasium. Q: And he has extra breath because he said it was easier with perfect pitch B: He did indeed say that didn’t he… I will eventually write a book series that is about him, but it is a ways off. Q: Stormlight, I know it heals wounds and stuff like that but can it heal illnesses like colds? B: Yes it can. Q: So if Kaladin suddenly contracted brain cancer... B: It’s plausible-- it depends, see what it does is it takes your body and makes it align with your spirit, and partially through the filter of how you view yourself. So if you view yourself as sickly, then you won’t. Q: Who is your favorite character you've written, if you had to pick one? B: That’s a hard question, I can’t pick a favorite character. Dalinar is what I normally say, just because I’ve been working on him the longest. Honestly, I don't know. It’s whoever I’m working on at the time. Q: Dalinar is a good character, I like Kaladin a lot too. B: Kaladin has really worked out well. It’s interesting because Kaladin-- the first time I wrote The Way of Kings, in 2002, did not work and I had to rip him out and try a completely different personality and things for him. So it’s cool to see it finally working. Q: So there is one part in Alcatraz where he notices that Bastille has red hair and goes “No that’s important I can’t tell you until later” Is there any significance to that? B: Yeah, her dad has red hair so it’s a clue that she’s the princess because she’s the daughter of the king and she dyes her hair because she doesn’t want anyone to know. Q: Where do you come up with your leaders, because they’re phenomenal B: It takes a lot of reading and thinking and coming up with who the character is. I don’t know how do any of the characters-- they just kind of come, but there is a lot of hanging out on forums where people are talking about leadership positions in the military so I can kind of get a view on how they’re thinking. Sun Tzu was very helpful as well. Q: What’s your inspiration? B: It really depends on the book. If you want to know the inspiration for the Mistborn books, you can google Sanderson’s First Law. It’s an essay I wrote about how I came up with the magic system. That’ll help you see where some of the ideas came from and how I take them and use them. Q: What about The Stormlight Archive? B: Stormlight, the original inspiration was the storm of Jupiter. The big storm that rotates around Jupiter, and I wanted to do something that had a perpetual storm like that. Q: So I’ve been told there is one character who is in each of the series. B: Yes there is. Q: Is that Wit by chance? B: It is. Q: Does he show up in some of the others? B: Yes, in this [TFE] he shows up briefly, Kelsier meets with a blind beggar at one point who is introduced by the name Hoid and that is the name Wit uses through most of the books. If you read Warbreaker he’s in that one, there is a storyteller who uses dust and sand. He’s in most of them WoK is where you see him the most he's not in the other ones nearly as much but he’s mentioned by name in most of them. Q: What is your favorite color? B: Maroon Q: My brother and I disagreed, at the very end of WoR, the sword that-- Is it the same as in Warbreaker? B: Yes it is, in fact Vasher is in the book. Q: Is that Vasher?!? [Presumably referring to Nale] B: No, look for somebody making color metaphors and when they are waking up they feel like they can sense other people’s presence and things like that. There is one character who is Vasher. He doesn’t go by that name anymore. Q: Do you have a definite number of how many worldjumpers there are? B: There are not a set number, I know all the main ones though. Q: But you are not going to [audio obscured] B: You’ll know them all better by the time you have read more books. Q: So at the end of Words of Radiance, was that Nightblood? B: It is Nightblood! Vasher is in there too if you look for him. Q: Are they going to be in the next…? B: You will see a lot more of Nightblood, you’ll see a little bit more of Vasher. Q: Miles Hundredlives, is he possessed by a svrakiss from Elantris? B: *long pause* That’s a RAFO, you are onto something… I wouldn’t say possessed, but influenced by something is definitely a possibility. You are not 100% on. Q: How does Nightblood work on Roshar? B: Well Nightblood feeds on Investiture, which is the general life-force/magic-force in the cosmere and so he can feed on basically any source of magical energy. Q: And do other magics work on other worlds? B: I’ve been describing it lately more like you see DC current and AC current, where they’re similar things but slightly different. It is possible to make magics work on other planets, some it’s easier than others. Q: I’m not sure if it was duralumin or something but the Feruchemical ability to store connection, is that how Hoid worldhops? It stores Connection to another world? B: It’s a good question, it doesn’t have anything to do with worldhopping *but* what it does do is once you have worldhopped you can change your Connection to which planet you are on, which helps you with magic systems. Q: So do Inquisitors, when they use Allomancy, have to actually ingest the metals? B: They actually do. So what is happening is Hemalurgy rips off a piece of one person’s soul and spikes it somebody else and so it is basically taking off the piece of someone’s soul that makes them an Allomancer and adding it to someone else instead and so then they act as an Allomancer just as it would happen. Q: So Stormlight and Breath are both just different manifestations of Investiture. B: That’s correct. Q: So Nightblood and Shardblades are both kind of powered by Investiture? B: Yes, in fact you can call Nightblood kind of a miss-made, evil Shardblade… more miss-made than evil but yes. Q: But a Shardblade wouldn’t shear through Nightblood. B: Yes a Shardblade would not shear through Nightblood. In fact a wrote Way of Kings first and then I wrote Warbreaker and Way of Kings came out after Warbreaker but in my mind Warbreaker is a prequel to Way of Kings, where I was telling Vasher’s backstory. Q: Oh really, so the Warbreaker we know takes place after Way of Kings? B: No, it takes place before, it’s a prequel meaning I wrote WoK and then I went back in time and told Vasher’s backstory but Warbreaker ended up coming out first because Way of Kings wasn’t ready yet. Q: Dragonsteel, where in the universe is that going to take place? B: It’s actually first. Q: Oh really? So it’s like a prequel to everything B: Yes, to the cosmere. Q: So is it going to do the breaking of the Shards? B: Yep. Q: Is Odium mad about Sazed having two Shards? B: Yes, and scared. Q: Can Shallan be my best friend? B: You’ll have to ask her, just somehow get to the planet and you can hang out. Q: Okay, tell me how to do that? B: Well… you’ve got to get one of the magics or find one of the Perpendiculars-- the Perpendicularities… Q: So I’m reading AoL right now, do you have a date for the sequel? B: Yeah November next year. Q: Is that one going to be a trilogy as well? Or just two books? B: It’s probably four. Q: Oh four, okay, wow. B: But it depends, that’s what I’ve plotted right now. But it depends on how long it takes me to write The Stormlight Archive, because I want to do them in between Stormlight Archive books. Q: For the space Mistborn are we going to have more elements? B: The base 16 are basically it. But the interactions between them and things. And there is one more metal, there is harmonium, so you will hear about that later on. Q: In The Wheel of Time at the end when they start to use Gateways to spy on the other battlefields, was that your idea or Robert Jordan’s idea? B: I had for years wanted them to use Gateways for things like that, because I’m kind of a magic system guy, right and it’s like I’m writing these books now, they are going to use Gateways smart. Q: Aether of Night, aethers also show up in Liar of Partinel… B: yeah, that was... Q: Was that cannibalized… B: That was a cannibalization, it’s an attempt at repurposing and I didn’t like it so it probably won’t go forward that way but it was an attempt because it worked so well to mash Allomancy and Feruchemy into the same system and I didn’t like how it went but… Q: Is the level of burning a continuous distribution, can I burn 0.1 level of steel all the way up to flaring? Or is it just I burn or I flare? B: The more skilled you are, the more you have the ability to moderate that. For most people it is burn or flare. But you can kind of burn up to a flare, does that make sense? Going below is really hard. Q: Can you push a flare? B: yes Q: I asked a question at the panel, I asked if the person you refuse to say who he is, I was trying to talk about Taln B: Oh! Q: Not Hoid B: So what about Taln? Q: Is there anything you’ll tell us about him? B: What do you want to know? Ask me a specific question. Q: Is he Rosharan? B: Is he Rosharan? Taln is Rosharan. Q: [audio obscured] B: Define Rosharan, how about that? Q: Native to Roshar. B: That I have to RAFO Q: Are the Heralds… B: The Heralds are from the same place that Taln is from. Q: What’s lerasium? B: That is the bead of metal that Elend finds at the end of Book 2, that Vin finds and gives to Elend. Q: Oh so there were only two and the Lord Ruler kind of left it there? B: There actually were a bunch of them, and the first Mistborn came from people who ate that. The Lord Ruler took one for himself and he left others there to use if he needed them. Q: Is there anything in the works right now roleplaying-wise for any of your other works? B: Not yet, the response to the Mistborn rpg has been good so I do think we’ll do something eventually but right now we just want to support that. It takes a lot of effort to keep one of these supported, because they make it but we have to read everything and talk about continuity and stuff. Maybe eventually. Q: Is there any reference material for doing cosplay? B: It depends on the costume that you want to make. We have lots for Stormlight Archive, less for other books. So if you want reference material for Stormlight costumes you can write us and we’ll send you the concept art we are using. Q: What are the other books in The Stormlight Archive going to be about? B: Well each one is going to cover a flashback sequence for one of the characters and each one will focus on a different order of the Knights Radiant. And that’s not always the same, like the flashbacks for the first one were Kaladin and it was also Windrunners, but we won’t always have them be the exact same Q: How much involvement does the other planet in the same system as Roshar have with Roshar? B: *long pause* Your question has a fundamental flaw to it. Q: And that is? B: That there are multiple planets that have an influence on Roshar. Q: I thought there were multiple planets in the system that B: There are, but you said “the other”, there are more than one so the phrase, "the other" doesn’t make sense. Q: How much influence do the other planets have? B: A great deal. Q: How many different kinds of magic does Hoid know how to use? I know you can’t tell me exactly but is it hundreds or like dozens? B: It depends on your definition of types of magic, in some ways you could say they are all one. He knows multiple varieties, but not hundreds. Q: I assume I’m going to learn a lot more about this in Stormlight 3 but Nightblood, is he more dangerous or less dangerous now that he-- obviously he needs Investiture that is why [???] any investiture? B: I’d say more dangerous, a little bit easier to get the Stormlight. Q: I assumed I’d learn a lot more about him… B: You will, and he’s pretty dangerous, but he is also less dangerous because other people have Shardblades, if that makes sense. Q: Have we seen a physical personification of Odium like how Vin was… B: You have not. Q: And does he control the Voidbringers through the spren in the same way that the Inquisitors were controlled by Ruin? B: There are definitely-- In fact what you have just seen with Eshonai shares an awful lot with what happened in Mistborn. Q: Will we ever find out the when, how, and why Vasher and Nightblood moved to Roshar? B: Yes, but I don’t know when it will happen. I will get around to it. theravenchilde: I have one question from Feather, she’s one of the mods on 17s, and she’s dying to know what Renarin’s eye color is, probably so she can write poetry about him. B: Right, right, right, right, right. Send me an email, I can’t say because it might be different in the wiki. theravenchilde: And I was trying to figure out how jazz could possibly develop on Scadrial in Alloy of Law. B: How what? Q: How Jazz could develop on Scadrial. B: Jazz? Okay. theravenchilde: [audio obscured] Would it be appropriate to compare the Steel Ministry to the Catholic Church? Not so much in doctrine but... B: Sure, that would be appropriate. I mean when I’m writing Alloy of Law era they are only hitting big band stuff. theravenchilde: That’s what I figured. B: Their music would lag behind ours. theravenchilde: ‘Cause big band stufff started around the 1920’s B: There not even quite there yet. In the second or the third… anyway one of the Alloy books Wax hears someone and they’ve added to a band brass and he’s like “that’s not right” he’s expecting violin concertos or a pianoforte and he’s hearing brass.