Brandon Sanderson, the “young fantasy master” (as his publisher’s promotional material dubs him), was until quite recently somewhat of a major nobody.

Just a short time later, he’s taken the reins of the most epic of epic fantasies, the Wheel of Time series; released a trilogy and a stand-alone novel; and has even started on a massive series of his own, The Way of Kings.

You might say he’s a bit of a workaholic. “It’s been a lot of long hours,” says Sanderson.

In 2002, at the age of 27, he had written 13 unpublished novels.

“I had been feeling a little discouraged for some time about my writing career,” Sanderson explains. “No one was buying my books; I worried that I’d just never be able to make it.”

But he persevered. “I just decided I was going to write the biggest, baddest, coolest book I could come up with,” he says. “That’s when a Tor editor called me and said, ‘Hey, I want to buy this book.’”

Apparently, some epic fantasies do come true.

On The Wheel of Time
Sanderson credits being selected to finish the Wheel of Time series with helping to lift him above relative obscurity. “It completely changed the course of my life and my career,”?he says. “Working on ‘WoT’ forced me to stretch as an author. ... It was marvelous and fantastic and horribly hard at the same time.”

On epic fantasy
• “What we do in epic fantasies is we create a world, trying to give a real sense of immersion. But characters come first. And if it isn’t a good story, no amount of excellent world-building is going to make it worth reading, in my opinion.”

• “I feel that fantasy done right can do all the great things that other genres can do. ... But it has to be on top of, rather than instead of.”

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