When fantasy writer extraordinaire Robert Jordan died in 2007, his best-selling Wheel of Time series was left in limbo. His widow and editor, Harriet McDonald, selected novelist Brandon Sanderson to write the two final books using Jordan's extensive notes. Here, Sanderson explains how it feels to step into the shoes of a giant.
In a word, it's been daunting. Imagine stepping into a room and seeing an enormous chalkboard filled with equations, then being told that Einstein wrote them all out before he died. At the very end is a small blank spot, the apex of the entire formula, and a glaring 'equals' sign right before it.
My job has been to sort through all of the notes, the equations, the bits and pieces of shattered glass in an attempt to reconstruct what was going on in the genius's mind during those last months. There are parts that were scratched out, others that ran into dead ends, others where logical leaps were made that aren't explained. There are hints, tidbits and guideposts. In places, the way is clearly marked.
It's been the most challenging, rewarding and reverent literary experience of my life.
Here is just a glimpse into the astounding detail behind Robert Jordan’s notes and materials for the Wheel of Time:
And meet the team—“Team Jordan”—who was with me all the way through The Gathering Storm:
Brandon Sanderson is currently hard at work on book 13 in the Wheel of Time series, Towers of Midnight, and preparing for a national tour to support The Gathering Storm. You can find more information on the series and tour dates here or on Sanderson's own website.