Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference: Dave Wolverton aka David Farland

As part of our continuing series of 2010 Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference (www.foryoungreaders.com) faculty interviews with interviewer Carol Lynch Williams. Here is a sneak peek at Dave Wolverton, fantasy book faculty.

Carol Lynch Williams: So you’re writing a a screenplay, huh? How did this come to be, Dave?

Dave Wolverton: Several years ago when I was working as a producer in Hollywood, I apparently met another producer who, subsequent to our meeting, picked up my Runelords books and became a fan.  She’s now become a major player in Hollywood, and when someone said that they were looking for a big fantasy writer who could handle writing a fantasy adventure similar in size and scope to Lord of the Rings, she recommended me for the job.  It so happened that I have been working on a thriller novel about a young producer making his first big motion picture in China.  The movie was supposed to be a fantasy adventure set 5,000 years in China’s past, and it just so happened that this offer basically fit into my bizarre research needs, since it too is set in China’s distant past. Obviously, it seems that the stars are aligned.

CLW: Why did you decide to use a pseudonym?

DW: My real name, Wolverton, is a perfectly good name for a writer except that it ha one tragic flaw: it puts my books on the very bottom of the shelves in the store.  So I began to look for a good pseudonym, something that would put me higher up on the bookshelves.  I realized that I wanted something that started with an F-A, and it so happened that if I go back five generations on my matriarchal lines, I have to have a Farland.  So it seems that my stars are aligned.

CLW: If you had to be one of your characters, who would you be and how would you introduce yourself?

DW: I would most certainly be Gaborn Val Orden, and you would address me as “Your Royal Highess” in public settings, or “milord” if we were speaking casually.  When we parted, you might offer a kind sentiment such as “May your stars align.”

CLW: What will students learn in your class this year?

DW: I like to talk to authors about how to enlarge their audiences so that they can move their books high up on the bestseller lists.  Beyond that, I’ll talk about how to work with editors and agents; how to begin a writing career, and I try to tailor additional comments to each individual writer’s needs.

You’ve done a huge amount in your career, Dave. What are the top three things that have happened to you?

DW: I suppose that one of the biggest coups came when I won the Writers of The Future contest, which led to my first three-novel contract within a week.
Later, I wrote a proposal as a favor for a friend at a videogame company, which led to me working as the co-leader of the design team for StarCraft’s Brood War within a day. That game became the #1 bestselling game in the world the next year.
It’s hard to decide which thing is my “third” top thing, since so much has happened, but I think that given how much I enjoy teaching, I take a lot of delight in seeing my former students take off and have great careers of their own.  This includes such people as Stephanie Meyer, Brandon Sanderson, Brandon Mull, Jessica Day George, Dan Wells, and dozens of other New York Times bestselling authors.

Dave Wolverton, aka David Farland will lead the breakout sessions “Four Keys to Writing a Blockbuster Novel” on Tuesday, June 15, 3 p.m. and “From Book to Screenplay” on Friday, June 18, 4 p.m.

2010 Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference: Introduction, Kristyn Crow, Sara Zarr, Brandon Mull, Kevin Hawkes, Emily Wing Smith, Bonny Becker, Mike Knudson, Alane Ferguson, Cheri Pray Earl and Rick Walton

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