Brandon Sanderson was born in December of 1975 in Lincoln, Nebraska. As a child Brandon enjoyed reading, but he lost interest in the types of titles often suggested for him, and by junior high he never cracked a book if he could help it. This all changed in 8th grade when an astute teacher, Mrs. Reader, gave Brandon Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly. Brandon thoroughly enjoyed this book, and went in search of anything similar. He discovered such authors as David Eddings, Melanie Rawn, Robert Jordan, Anne McCaffrey, and Orson Scott Card. Brandon continued to be an avid reader through junior high and high school. He liked epic fantasy so much that he even tried his hand at writing some. His first attempts, he says, were dreadful.
In 1994 Brandon enrolled at Brigham Young University as a Biochemistry major. From 1995-1997 he took time away from his studies to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Brandon often says that it was during this time in Seoul, Korea that he realized that he didn't miss chemistry one bit, but he did miss writing. Upon his return to BYU Brandon became an English major, much to the dismay of his mother, who had always hoped he would become a doctor.
Brandon began writing in earnest, taking a job as the night desk clerk at a hotel because they allowed him to write while at work. During this era he went to school full time during the day, worked nights to pay for his schooling, and wrote as much as he could. He says it made for a rather dismal social life, but he finished seven novels during his undergraduate years. Brandon submitted many manuscripts for publication...and accumulated quite a pile of rejection letters. In spite of this he continued to be a dedicated writer.
Volunteering for The Leading Edge, BYU's Sci Fi/Fantasy magazine, was a wonderful experience for Brandon. He read lots of submissions, formed some lifelong friendships, and even served as Editor in Chief during his senior year.
Brandon learned much about the business side of being a writer by taking a class from David Farland, author of the popular Runelords series. One piece of advice Dave gave Brandon was to attend conventions, such as WorldCon and World Fantasy, in order to connect with industry professionals. Brandon and a small group of friends who were also aspiring writers began to do so. He eventually met both his current agent and one of his editors at conventions.
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. Tor also published Brandon's Mistborn trilogy, and has plans to release other Sanderson titles in the future.
In 2004 after graduating with his Master's degree in creative writing from Brigham Young University, Brandon was asked to teach the class he had taken as an undergraduate student from Dave Farland. In spite of his busy schedule, Brandon continues to teach this one section of creative writing focused on science fiction and fantasy because he enjoys helping aspiring writers. It also gets him out of the house, he says.
In July of 2006 Brandon married Emily Bushman. Emily and Brandon ran in many of the same circles at BYU during their student days, since Emily majored in English as well. They never met, however, until a mutual friend set them up on a date in 2005. Emily had spent seven years as a teacher, but chose to quit with the birth of their son Joel in October of 2007. Emily now works from home part time as Brandon's business manager.
Brandon's repertoire expanded into the children's market when Scholastic published Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians, a middle-grade novel, in October of 2007. Nancy Pearl gave this book a very favorable review on National Public Radio, which pleased Sanderson fans. Since the release of Alcatraz Brandon has enjoyed visiting schools and interacting with younger readers.
In December of 2007 Brandon was chosen by Harriet Rigney to complete A Memory of Light, book twelve in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. Brandon is now hard at work on this epic project.
If you're interested in advice on getting published for the first time in the sf/f field, or if you simply want to congratulate Brandon, hop over to his forums.
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