Sep 9 2010 11:31am

Mr. Sanderson goes to Raleigh

Pretend for a moment that I didn’t just see Brandon Sanderson for three days at Dragon*Con. Pretend for a moment that I’m not some sort of creepy stalker (along with a half-dozen or so other attendees who were at Dragon*Con) who decided to follow him to Raleigh. No, instead, picture a quaint little bookstore in Raleigh, Quail Ridge Books to be precise, and a civil group of Sanderson fans waiting patiently for the author to appear and read to them. Fortunately for us, he did.

But, let us go back in time a bit. Sanderson fans and Quail Ridge Books started a Facebook movement about a year ago, pleading, demanding, and begging for Brandon to do a signing for The Way of Kings in Raleigh. The idea seemed to take, but I can’t say I’m surprised. Quail Ridge has been host to Robert Jordan himself, as well as David Drake and Orson Scott Card from Tor, and also Terry Brooks from Del Ray. Combine this with the Death Star beam intensity of the “Triangle Area” of North Carolina, and it appears you get an author signing.

Although, it might have been a small part intimidation. Brandon himself told of how the Facebook movement became more and more insistent until his publicist called him and said “Brandon, I think they are going to storm the Tor offices if we don’t send you down there.” This led Brandon to the idea of including three stops on his signing tour that were not very often visited, and thus St. Louis and Orlando, which both likewise started Facebook movements after seeing how successful Raleigh’s was turning out, were added to the tour as well.

And from the crowd at Quail Ridge Books, it was easy to see that Raleigh was very sincere in wanting Brandon there and wanting him back besides. The below picture was taken some twenty minutes before the signing, and the store continued to readily fill. You can’t even see the two banks of chairs on either side of the main one. It was very much standing room only.

Brandon was somewhat chagrined, though, as it turned out there was a decent showing in the audience that had been at Dragon*Con. Not that he wasn’t happy to see us; he was impressed at the turnout himself. No, see, he had planned on repeating his reading from Dragon*Con, where he was able to read out the opening scenes of Towers of Midnight. As he wanted to give us something different, he instead grabbed the display copy of The Way of Kings that was sitting in front of him and started to tell the story of how it has three “cleverly disguised” prologues, defended himself by saying it was still half the length of Robert Jordan’s longest, then read from “Prologue Three” which is labeled “Chapter One.” Alas, he only got through about half of the chapter before he was out of time in the reading portion, but it was still fun listening. I refrained from reading along, as Brandon admitted that he was of the habit to not always exactly say the words on the page as he reads. He’s the author, he reasoned, and could change the way it was written if he wanted to.

After the reading was a short Q&A, where miraculously no one asked Wheel of Time questions in specific, despite the large number of Wheel of Time fans present. Brandon answered each of the questions at length, asides included, and then broke off the questions so he could get to the signing, although he assured us that he would gladly chat with each of us some while signing. And if you are curious, my questions to him both in the Q&A and as he signed my book were about the differences in the editorial process between The Way of Kings and Elantris (I bet ya’ll thought I was going to say Wheel of Time, ha!) His answer was more or less that his pages still bled, but not quite as significantly now as with his first book.

I am remiss that I don’t know entirely how the evening ended. Brandon started signing books around 8:30, and while there were only somewhere between eighty and one hundred people present, he still had a good clip of people left to sign when my book was reached by 10:00. As I had a two hour drive ahead of me to get back to my cave on the coast, and I was still running on some pretty heavy sleep debt from Dragon*Con, I made my farewells and got home.

Brandon had said on his Facebook that Raleigh should be sure to prove he was right to include the “not often visited” stop so that Tor would be willing to possibly send him again, and I think they more than delivered. Raleigh and Quail Ridge books, bravo. You screamed to the sky, and the sky listened.

Aside for anyone wondering: Yes, I am going to do a small series of posts about what went down at Dragon*Con. It isn’t completely like Vegas, some things get out. Just be patient, eh?

Richard Fife is a writer, blogger, totally not a Brandon Sanderson stalker, honest. You can read more of his ramblings and some of his short fiction on Also, you can follow him on twitter @RichardFife.

Z Camelopardalis
1. Z Camelopardalis
I was glad to read that Quail Ridge Books put some effort into the signing event. I was at the signing in St. Louis, at B&N, and was an eentsy bit torqed at the store. It was pretty poorly set up and disappointing in many ways. Brandon himself was kind and accomodating and made up as much as possible for the thoughtlessness of the store.
I've been to other signings done by independent bookstores, and they were MUCH better organized.
So, thank you Quail Ridge Books, for letting St. Louis ride on your coattails for this tour. And maybe next time we can do a better job hosting.
Z Camelopardalis
2. HonorGod
It was a pleasure meeting you at the signing, and getting a chance to chat while we waited in line together. I'm glad to see that you had a safe trip home.
Z Camelopardalis
4. ka243
Hi Richard, Thanks for the writeup. It sounds like a lot of fun. Hopefully Brandon will be able to stop in Paris, France on his way to the Les Utopiales convention in Nantes, France this November.

Did anyone take notes on the questions that were asked and the responses like during the gatering storm tour?

Reposting because it didn't seem to work last time, if this is a double post please delete.
Richard Fife
5. R.Fife
@ka243 I know I didn't, but mainly because my voice recorder is the devil and I am trying to not use it again if I can avoid it. The questions I remember involved his writing process mostly, though, such as asking how he came up with his names and how he created his characters.

I also failed to get every question at the ToM reading at Dragon*Con, but I remember one in particular (because I asked it), and it will be in my "Dragon*Con report of WoT Goodness" (working title).
Rikka Cordin
6. Rikka
I saw you there but didn't say hi (don't participate enough on here to warrant remembering, methinks) but I know I left at about 10:25pm as Brandon was talking with the man (a guy named Howard, I believe?) who found the Great Hunt code in the RDU airport 15 mins after Brandon left.

The line was down to about 25ish people and Brandon was (jokingly) complaining that the one time he didn't have an early flight the next morning, no one brought their MTG decks. I apologized and asked him to write "Next time, remember your Magic cards" in my book. XD Hopefully if he comes back to Raleigh, I will.

linking isn't working for me but here are some pics:

and I know you can't really see it but in the deck holder next to Brandon, the first card is the alpha edition Time Walk which he told us he bought for himself for finishing the ToM draft on time. What a present :D
Z Camelopardalis
7. wctracy
(copied over from the Way of Kings writeup as this wasn't up yet)
Hey R.Fife-- Great writeup and great to talk to you yesterday in line for the signing. I'm glad Raleigh got a chance to host a great author like Sanderson.
Reading books like this are like eating an entire box of my favorite cookies, with no side effects! Glad you had a safe trip home.
- The guy in the Lego shirt (Bill)
Kristen Cook
8. Clover4
Please help a sister!

When is Brandon coming to Orlando? Did I miss it? Can't find anything on his website or Facebook. I wasn't able to go to any Cons but if I can go see Brandon, that will make up for a lot!
Thanks Ya'll
Richard Fife
9. R.Fife
@Clover4 Ouch, He was there on Friday, just before Dragon*Con. He flew from St. Louis to Orlando, then to D*Con, then to Raleigh. He's in Chicago tonight. I don't think his Towers of Midnight schedule has been decided yet, so maybe he'll swing a little closer to you for that. Aside from that, I'd think JordanCon or DragonCon are the closet times.

Tracy@7 It was fun talking to you too, and to everyone in fact. I'm a huge extrovert, so I always love chatting up anyone who will lend me an ear. Come on down to JordanCon next April, and we can hang out some more (with Brandon even)

And Rikka @6 D'oh! I would have totally known who you were. I met Rand Al'Todd and a few others at D*Con, and as I said above, always a pleasure to chat people up. In your photo of the reading, that's me in the green shirt and khakis in the front row! So close!
Z Camelopardalis
10. SPC
The Orlando turnout was pretty decent - there were probably three times as many people as chairs, and I got my book signed about 10 (from the line starting about 8) but was near the end of the line. I was just so tickled that he came to Florida. Usually the only authors we see are the ones who live here (not that I have anything against them).
Z Camelopardalis
11. Nicole504
I was there!! It was a great night - and the questions people asked were excellent, as were Brandon's in depth answers which were fascinating. This was my first book signing event ever and I'm so thankful to all those who lobbied for the Raleigh stop! My only regret is that as a "newbie" to all this I had my TGS book on top of my TWOK book, so that one got personalized, and I would have preferred to have it the other way around. I'll know better next time. Thanks again!
Z Camelopardalis
12. LexieSedai
I was so sad to have missed this! It sounds as if it was really awesome, though. Unfortunately the dreaded Con*Crud kept me at home :p Hopefully he will come again!
Edward Shumpert Jr
13. Sandtigrr
I have to say that this was a great thing to see. The store was packed! They had first edition prints of TWOK so I was able to get mine personalized "Strength before Weakness" --Thanks Brandon! Brandon was a big time trooper and you could tell that he was doing what he loved. Many of the questions asked were about his writing tactics and strategies which really opened my eyes to the possibilities. There were so many great fans that I ended up spending most of the wait for the line to die down talking with some great people about the many amazing books out there. Once the line died down (well after 9pm) a new friend and I jumped in for our signing. The owner/workers at Quail Ridge really did a great job at the signing. Even tho the signing ran significantly over the scheduled time there was never a single complaint and everyone was very friendly. The next time Brandon comes to Raleigh I will definitely be there. It was an experience not to be missed.
Richard Fife
14. R.Fife
Just an FYI, Quail Ridge has informed me the signing was actually around 150 people. Not a bad turn out, I think.
john mullen
15. johntheirishmongol
I was at the Orlando signing, pretty much the end o fthe line and got out about 1030, no way to get a good estimate. I just waited til the line was about finished to join. It had been a long time since my last signing so I wasnt sure what to expect. We seldom get good writers in Orlando, or at least I never see the announcements. And it's usually at a major chain, since I don't think we have any big independents except maybe Scificity.
Theresa Gray
16. Terez27
@Fife - we recorded the DCon Q&A and we'll be transcribing it soon, though there's nothing earthshaking in it besides the ______ in the Blight (which I assume is the one question you were talking about, though I could be wrong). We posted a transcript of that one on Theoryland already; being lazy about the rest.
Samuel Montgomery-Blinn
18. montsamu
Great coverage and article, but you didn't mention a fun thing: the host from Quail Ridge introduced not Brandon Sanderson, but instead she "introduced the introducer" -- Tor author and new Raleigh resident Kij Johnson. Kij gave a great introduction for Mr. Sanderson, parts funny, parts interesting, and parts heartfelt ribbing on waiting for the next books.

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