Brandon Sanderson speaks to crowd at Provo City Library

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Bestselling author and BYU alumnus Brandon Sanderson speaks to a crowd at the Provo City Library on Wednesday, Feb. 1. (Ryan Turner)

New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson spoke Wednesday, Feb. 1 at one of the biggest Authorlink events Provo City Library has seen.

Tickets for the event sold out the day they became available online, and on Wednesday night more than 415 fans crowded into the library’s ballroom to hear Sanderson.

Sanderson spoke to the audience on various topics, including advice to beginning writers.

“You aren’t going to sell many books at first, but don’t panic — it’s a slow burn,” Sanderson said.

Sanderson talked about his memory of checking the number of sales of his first book, “Elantris,” a week after it was published.

“I thought, ‘How’s it going to be? Am I going to be rich and famous?’” Sanderson said. “And it said, ‘400 copies sold,’ and you could hear a little whine going in the back of my mouth.”

Some fans said they read “Elantris” and became Sanderson fans before he was a popular author.

“My wife was trying to figure out what to get me for Christmas, and she went to a bookstore,” event attendee James Eagar said. “Brandon Sanderson was an unknown author at the time, and he was sitting there promoting Elantris, and he totally grabbed her and was like, ‘Hey, are you looking for a book?’”

Eagar said his wife ended up getting “Elantris” for him for Christmas, and he enjoyed it so much that he has now read every single one of Sanderson’s books.

“I sent him an email about it last year about the story, and he actually sent a really nice email back,” Eagar said.

Eagar and other fans talked about Sanderson’s approachability and friendliness despite his status as a national bestselling author.

“I do like how accessible he is, despite being so prolific,” said Sanderson fan Jeanine Bean. “He’s pretty well known, but he still makes himself available to his audience and to writers in the community, which I really appreciate.”

Brandon Sanderson signs books for fans. Sanderson spent more than three hours signing books after his speech. (Ryan Turner)
Brandon Sanderson signs books for fans. Sanderson spent more than three hours signing books after his speech. (Ryan Turner)

At the end of the event, Sanderson spent more than three hours signing books and chatting with fans.

“A lot of the time as a writer, you just sit in your room by yourself and so it’s really fulfilling to actually get out and talk to the people,” Sanderson said in an interview with The Universe.

Despite the long hours of repetitious book signings, Sanderson kept a pleasant attitude.

“These are the people who support me; they make it possible for me to do what I love,” Sanderson said. “Without them, there’s nothing, so the opportunity to thank them, the opportunity to get out and meet the people for whom I’m writing is a very special experience.”

Chris Westover waited until past 11 p.m. to get his complete Sanderson collection of hardback books signed.

“I absolutely love the unique world created by Brandon, and I found at the end of each book I want to be reading more and more,” Westover said.

Westover said he loves the consistency and organization of Sanderson’s fantasy worlds, and described reading Sanderson’s books as “falling into the book and enjoying yourself.”

Brandon Sanderson answers questions from the audience at the Provo City Library. (Ryan Turner)
Brandon Sanderson answers questions from the audience at the Provo City Library. (Ryan Turner)

During a Q&A session with the audience, Sanderson answered questions about topics from time travel to his personal connections with his books.

“My books are like my children,” Sanderson said in response to a question about his favorite book out of his own collection. “I like them all equally, but I may like them all for different reasons.”

Another audience member asked Sanderson if he gets attached to his characters.

“I get emotionally attached to all of my characters,” Sanderson answered. “That does not prevent me from killing them.”

Sanderson ended his Q&A session by encouraging young writers.

“Maybe you’ll sell millions of copies at a young age, maybe you won’t, but who cares?” Sanderson said. “You’re writing your stories, you’re enjoying writing your stories, and that’s the whole point.”

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