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In this episode Mark interviews David Farland, a New York Times bestselling and multi-award-winning author, who has written for major franchises such as Star Wars and The Mummy, and mentored dozens who have gone on to staggering literary success, including Brandon Mull, Brandon Sanderson, and Stephenie Meyer.
Prior to the interview, Mark shares a personal update, comments from recent episodes, and a word from this episode’s sponsor.
You can learn more about how you can get your work distributed to retailers and library systems around the world at starkreflections.ca/Findaway.
In their conversation, Mark and David talk about:
- How David started writing when he was 17 years old, but didn’t get serious about it until the age of about 25/26
- Deciding he wanted to win a short story contest, and how that led to winning the Grand Prize at Writers of the Future and how that led to a traditional publishing offer which led to a bestseller (On My Way To Paradise) which also won the Philip K. Dick Special Memorial Award
- His role as the Coordinating Judge of The Writers and Illustrators of the Future writing contest
- Why David spends so much time helping to prop up and support beginning writers
- Different game-related stories David has been involved in, including a new game-related story David has coming out in 24 different languages
- The problem with writers who don’t see things in the long term and in the global market
- The way that Hollywood options work for writers and the money that can be earned on movies that never get made (such as Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series)
- The fact that Philip K Dick’s short stories usually have about 100 options in place at any given time (Dick’s stories have been made into movies such as “Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, Screamers, Paycheck, A Scanner Darkly, and The Man in the High Castle)
- Why David created the Apex Writer’s Group – the importance of authors educating and inspiring each other
- Some of the sensations that David was behind, including Stephanie Meyer, Brandon Sanderson, James Dashner, Dan Wells, and even the push of Rowling’s Harry Potter novels
- The origin of the pseudonym David Farland
- And more…
After the interview, Mark reflects on the concept of casting a wide net and keeping that net out there, via an example David had shared of an author who gave up, and then years later her books hit it big.
Links of Interest:
- David Farland’s Website
- My Story Doctor (Website for Writers)
- Apex Writer’s Group
- Writers & Illustrators of the Future
- Superstars Writing Seminars
- Episode 167 – Author, Author, Give Me The News with Laura Hayden
- Episode 166 – Wording Around with KathyMac
- Episode 164 – Reflections on The Creative Penn Podcast
- Kobo Writing Life NaNoWriMo Promo (use coupon code NANO2020)
- Mark’s Tavern (Opening Theme Song – Cheers Parody)
- Mark’s Tavern – Pilot Episode (Cheers Parody)
- Ghost Stories from the Winking Judge (Video)
- Spirits Untapped: The Winking Judge
- Obsessions: An Anthology of Original Fiction
- Rude Awakenings from Sleeping Rough
- Mark’s Canadian Werewolf Series
- This Time Around (Book 0)
- A Canadian Werewolf in New York (Book 1)
- Stowe Away (Book 1.5)
- Fear and Longing in Los Angeles (Book 2)
- Findaway Voices
- Wide for the Win Submission Form
- Patreon for Stark Reflections
David Farland is an award-winning, international bestselling author with over 50 novels in print. He has won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Special Award for “Best Novel in the English Language” for his science fiction novel On My Way to Paradise, the Whitney Award for “Best Novel of the Year” for his historical novel In the Company of Angels, and many more awards for his work. He is best known for his New York Times bestselling fantasy series The Runelords.
Farland has written for major franchises such as Star Wars and The Mummy. He has worked in Hollywood greenlighting movies and doctoring scripts. He has been a movie producer, and he has even lived in China working as a screenwriter for a major fantasy film franchise.
As a writing instructor, Farland has mentored dozens who have gone on to staggering literary success, including such #1 New York Times Bestsellers as Brandon Mull (Fablehaven), Brandon Sanderson (Wheel of Time), and Stephenie Meyer (Twilight).
Farland judges L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future, one of the largest worldwide writing competitions for new fantasy and science fiction authors. The contest has helped discover and launch many authors into professional careers, with nearly 100 new science fiction and fantasy books released in just the last year. In the video game industry, he has been both a designer and a scripter and was the co-leader on the design team for StarCraft: Brood War. He set the Guinness World Record for the largest single-author, single-book signing.
David Farland has been hailed as “The wizard of storytelling” and his work has been called “compelling,” “engrossing,” “powerful,” “profound,” and “ultimately life-changing.”
The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of www.incompetech.com and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
Below is an automated transcription of the interview segment of this episode.
(The transcription has not been human-verified)
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: Hey, Dave, welcome to the circle reflections podcast.
David Farland: Well, thank you. It’s nice to be here.
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: I am so thrilled to have you on my podcast. I realized even though I had interviewed you before for other podcasts, I’ve never actually had you on mine. Uh, officially as a guest, uh, other than short tidbits, we’d done together at superstars.
So yeah, your you’ve been riding for a long, long time. Can, can you just give my listeners a bit of a background as to where it all started for, for Dave as a writer?
David Farland: Well, I started, gosh, um, I started writing when I was 17. It wasn’t until I got into college and I was a pre-medical microbiology major. And I decided that I wanted to be a writer and I got serious about it, uh, at about the age of 25, 26.
Um, and when I was 27, I won, uh, I decided I wanted to win a short story contest. And so I entered several of them and I won them all. Um, and, uh, the writers of the future contest. And that was a big international contest. And we had the award ceremony on top of the, uh, world trade center. And, uh, I won the grand prize there and I had eight different publishers that approached me and asked if they could see my first book.
And so within the next two weeks, I. Had a, uh, novel proposal out to my, uh, to a new agent. Um, and um, that book went on and became a best seller. Um, and that kind of got my career up and going.
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: What, uh, what, which novel was that?
David Farland: That was that first, hold on my way to paradise. Um, based upon the short story that I won the writers of the future,
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: really?
You expanded upon the short story.
David Farland: Yeah. Yeah. I just turned that into the first couple of chapters and kept on going.
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: Wow. Uh, so you won writers of the future on top of the world trade center.
David Farland: I want right as a feature on top of the world trade center, and
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: then there was a big publisher there that
David Farland: yeah, we had, uh, we had several of them that came in.
Um, what, what had happened was that, um, Uh, a couple of people had, uh, read the story, a couple of judges from writers of the future, and they called their agents and editors and said, Hey, you gotta, you gotta pay attention to this guy. We’ve got this guy coming to the, to the world trade center. And so I, I literally had, and I, I didn’t know it, but, but that was Robert Silverberg.
Uh, and I’ll just address. And a couple of other authors had done the same thing. And so when we. When we had the, uh, award ceremony, I had a very receptive audience, I guess, is about the easiest way to put it. I had several publishers that came up, um, and, uh, and it was really, uh, a matter of choosing which ones to go with.
Yeah. Uh, I had, uh, I went to an agent, uh, that I had picked, I picked her out of the phone book, Virginia kid, and called her. And, uh, she says, well, I haven’t taken a new client in 12 years, but, um, yeah, send it to me. And, uh, so, uh, so she became my agent and, uh, She S she asked me to select, you know, the top three, because she didn’t want to get into a big fist fight.
And she thought it would put too much pressure on me to have a, uh, an auction at such a tender age. Um, but, uh, anyway, so we went and did a little bit of an auction and we, we, uh, Just went for, uh, three different publishers and the deals all came in, you know, very close to the same, but, uh, she wanted to go with Bantam spectra at the time, which, uh, had better distribution than the other publishers.
And so, um, so we went with Batam. Uh, and they up their offer a little bit and things like that. And that was very, very quick and easy to do. Uh, and then I wrote a, I wrote the book based upon, on my way to paradise. Got great reviews. Um, one the Philip K Dick award for one of the best novels of the year for the, the Philip K Dick Memorial special award, I should give the full name.
Um, and, um, And basically that, uh, helped me launch the book. I, I came out, uh, I think I came out to number four on the science fiction bestseller list and went up to number two the next month and, uh, just kind of kept building steam. Um, and so I did really well on my sales and, and turned into a bestseller and that kind of set the tone for my career.
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: Wow. Uh, I wanna, I I’m, I’m kind of skipping ahead, but you mentioned, uh, getting that start through writers of the future. And I do know that you are at the center of new writers coming in because there are all of the judges, but I think you’re playing a role at like the initial curation role of together.
David Farland: I’m the, uh, I’m the coordinating judge. And so when the stories come in, um, I used to be the first reader until just, uh, last year. And then we, we got to carry English as the new first reader, just because it got to be such a big job. The contest keeps growing. It’s now the largest contest in the world. I think, uh, in writing contests, I’ve, I’ve checked in, uh, In India and England and a number of other countries and can’t find any bigger.
So I think we might be, but, uh, if not the biggest, we’re one of the biggest, um, in any case, uh, yeah, so then, uh, I choose which ones stories will be the finalist and pass them onto the judges. And then the judges choose which ones will be the prize winners. If we have problems, uh, for example, if we’ve got a tie for, let’s say first place or second or third place, then I’m the tie breaker.
Um, and so I can’t have seen the stories before, so I don’t take stories from my students as far as I know. Uh, well, every once in a while, I mean, anybody can enter. Uh, anywhere in the world. So every once in awhile, uh, serious writers who happened to be, my students will, will end up winning, but they’re all judged blind.
So I have no way of knowing, uh, who wrote stories or anything like that, or what your age or gender or, uh, ethnicity or what language you speak natively happens to be. We had a winner from, um, Oh, gosh. Where was she from? Uh, let a winner from one of the, uh, Eastern block countries here just recently wrote a beautiful story.
And, uh, and I wouldn’t have guessed that she wasn’t a native English speaker. Wow.
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: Well, I have, I have my own writers, the future story, Sharon. I don’t know if you know, uh, I have to. I have to go grab it because for some reason I’m drawing a weird blank with, uh, where is it here? Um, this is, uh, Steven caught a witch.
Had submitted a story to me when I was supposed to be editing an anthology of Canadian science fiction. And, uh, we were having issues with the publisher. So I was in, I pulled the book from the publisher because of issues with it never happening and people not getting paid and was looking for another publisher.
And I, I remember seeing him in person at Baca Phoenix books at a book event and went, Stephen, glad you’re here. Send this somewhere else. This is a brilliant story. And it was the winning story about, you know, playing music off the rings of Saturn, um, with, with that one. And, and I was so thrilled that he took that story.
He submitted it to writers in the future, and I’m sure you’re familiar with, with what happens
David Farland: then. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, we, we, uh, I love it when, uh, when one of our past winners, you know, uh, points someone our direction, you know, I’ve, I’ve done it a number of times too. I, I had a neighbor across the street who was an illustrator and, um, So I talked to him and said, go, go win this contest.
And, uh, it was, it was as simple as that. So, uh, I try to put as much great new talent as I can towards the contest, because we do have contests for writers and for illustrators. And so we’ve got some fantastic artwork coming in from okay.
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: Why? I mean, why would you dedicate so much time to helping prop up beginning writers?
David Farland: You know, um, it started out as a hobby, um, and, uh, you know, I’ve, I’ve done a lot of different kinds of things. I was a, uh, I was a prison guard at one point in my life and the missionary and studied medicine and, you know, um, and, and I find that, um, I just really enjoy helping other people. Uh, and I don’t care what capacity is in.
I’ll help you change your tire if you need me to, you know, but, uh, but I think that there’s something built in my DNA that says, yeah, you’ve, you’ve, you’ve got to. You do that. And I think that one of the best things that I can do is, is to help through training. And so I spend enough a lot of time, uh, helping train other people.
Um, my wife often asks, you know, are you a writer or a teacher? And the answer is yes. Uh, because. Um, I, I keep wanting to teach, you know, and I know that, uh, even from a young age, I, I thought very strongly about going into education, uh, on a permanent basis.
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: Wow. Well, um, I have to say on behalf of writers out there, I really appreciate that you do that, um, through writers of the future, through, uh, superstars writing seminars, um, through the apex writers workshop, which I know we’re gonna talk about Newmont to ask you about soon, but I want to go back and, you know, publicly say thank you because I was working on a novel set in, uh, Los Angeles.
Uh, where I have a character working on a movie set and having gone to your lectures and, and, and, and, and learn so much from you about. The way that writers can license their IP, not just to a publisher or self-publishing or books, but for games as well as for Hollywood, because I know you have experience there.
Can you talk a little bit about, you know, writers, opening their minds to the possibility of, you know, selling their right. Cause you’ve, you’ve, you’ve sold to games as well, right?
David Farland: Yeah. Yeah. In fact, I just wrote a short story for a Bing company called pub G, uh, which has one of the biggest, uh, game companies in the world.
They, they were the top selling game in 2017 and 2018. And, uh, they’ve got about 400 million players per month who come on 600 million players total. So. So I’ve got a story that will be coming out then six parts over six weeks that will be, uh, played put out in 24 different languages, uh, given away for free, uh, to a huge audience.
Um, I helped create a game called StarCraft brood Wars, which is, uh, still played in the world championship of video game tournaments, uh, in the final round. Uh, and so, uh, you know, if you happen to be living on the Pacific rim, everybody knows what that game is and, and that kind of thing. But you know, the idea here is that storytelling, whether it’s in the form of a short story or an Epic novel, Or in a, a movie or a television series or video game, it doesn’t really matter.
It’s all storytelling. Okay. Um, in fact, I, I studied to be a painter at one point, and even painting the storytelling. You know, you tell a story in the, in the illustration and the painting that you’re, that you’re putting together. And so, um, uh, I just, I just try to tell writers, God, don’t, don’t lock yourself in, you know, if, if you think that you’re just going to be writing a novel, you’re probably, uh, short-selling yourself, you know, you should go ahead and look at it from the point of view of, Hey, I’m a writer.
I can do any of this. And, uh, and that’s how you make a living. When, when we write a story, We are creating an intellectual property, which we then sell globally, uh, in different forms. I can sell it as a novel, as a series of novels, uh, audio books. I can sell it to video games, movies, TV series, and, and so you want to learn how to do all of that?
You know, it’s just, um, it’ll, it’ll add a little bit of extra time to your, uh, to your learning cycle, but it’ll have huge payoffs.
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: What’s, uh, what are some of the misperceptions that you constantly have to help writers understand about, about those other properties? Well,
David Farland: I think there’s a lot of misconceptions all through this.
You know, the big misconception is that you can’t make a living as a writer. And I find that people who don’t know how to make a living as a writer, can’t, you know, uh, if you, if you, if you don’t know where the money is, you aren’t gonna find it. You know, it it’s, it’s a, it’s like an Easter eggs or out there, you know, for example, when I, when I put a book out.
And I sent it out to my agent. My agent sends it out to 20 different countries around the world. If the book takes off and one or two or three of those countries, The chances are, are up to tremendously that, uh, this book will go big in, in maybe half a dozen, maybe all of them. And you never know which property, uh, which country you’re in your book will go big in.
I have a lady that I, I used to know writing group with her. She quit writing because her books weren’t selling. And she was writing little vampire novels. Her book became the number one bestselling book in Romania. She made millions of dollars in Romania after she quit writing. Uh, and later on, when Twilight became popular.
Uh, suddenly 15 years later, her books pop up in hardcover here in the United States and she makes millions more on them after he gave up. And that’s the problem with writers is we don’t see things in the longterm. We don’t see the global market. And so, um, uh, and we, don’t also say, you know, a lot of people don’t see the possibilities of turning things into TV series and movie series and stuff like that.
You know, I’ve, I’ve got a. A property that I’ve got three studios that are going to be meeting on it next week, trying to decide what to do with it. You know, the fact that I’ve got three studios trying to decide whether it’s a movies series or a TV series, or, you know, that’s really great. They might just decide that they should walk away from it.
But, um, but you know, as you get. That kind of excitement going, chances are good that something’s going to come out of it.
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: Wow. That is amazing. Cause I think, I mean, it’s a dream for so many writers to have a property, like people wanting the property in such a way, but a lot of that happens where there’s, um, um, offers are made or, um, uh, what do you call it?
Where, where they’re reserving the right to make something, but they don’t end up getting made like one in a hundred gets made or something like
David Farland: that. Yeah. Uh, we, we get options on them, uh, and we sell options and, you know, you can sell an option on a book and the movie doesn’t get made. You still get paid money for the option.
You know, what, what they’re buying is they’re buying the right to buy the book. They can say, they can say, yeah, we don’t want anybody else making this movie. We want to make it. So we’re going to pay you say $50,000 this year to not have, let anybody else make that movie to just kind of hold it on the shelf.
And, and there are certain movies. That are kind of famous for that. For example, Isaac Asimov’s foundation series, you know, it was optioned in 1963 and it keeps making money year after year being optioned by major. Studios who then discover that, gosh, you can’t really make a good visual movie out of this, out of this intellectual feast, you know?
Uh, we’re, we’re appealing to different things. And so, um, yeah, that’ll probably never make any money, but it’s made millions of dollars already. Uh, just on option money. Wow.
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: Uh, and I know for example, uh, from the indie author space, Hugh Howey, uh, wool Ridley, Scott option wool Ridley Scott also option the Martian, the Martian got made obviously.
And will, I’m not sure where that stands now. I haven’t chatted with, uh, with you in a while, but, um, but there’s usually a renewal clause every three to five years or something like that.
David Farland: Right. Yeah. Yeah. And, uh, and so every three to five years, you it’s, it’ll, it’ll get renewed. You know, you can have an option that sells for a week.
Uh, you know, I’ve, I’ve told people, yeah. Okay. You can go out and you can talk to so-and-so and, uh, and we’ll have an option for a week. And then at that end of that time, if you don’t have a deal, uh, you know, then I can go out and sell it elsewhere. So options can last, you know, pack. You could have one for a day, I suppose, but, um, I usually like to give them a week because you know, that’s enough time for them to hang themselves, you know?
Um, but you know, some authors make a lot of money. For example, Philip K Dick has written a thousand short stories. My agent handles his stuff. He’s always got options for Phillip K Dick. And usually he has more than a hundred going at a time. And so, okay. Dick is making a lot of money. Uh, on movie options every year, even though maybe his books aren’t selling, you know, gangbusters at this point.
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: But, uh, and, and talk about a genius, short story writer too. Um, uh, absolutely. Uh, so and so many amazing films based on his short fiction. Um, how does, how does that work? So you said your agent, uh, represents the filled kid X estate, uh, or, or properties, um, Do you, when, if, if, if you’re interacting with Hollywood, is it the same agent or is it a different agent or is this that your agent happens to know both worlds?
David Farland: Well, my agent has a little bit, I think any literary agent will in time have to develop some sort of ability to handle those, uh, those, uh, contracts, because what happens is you put a book out there, movie producers read it, maybe their daughter reads it, or the mom reads it or something like that. The movie producer then contacts the rights holder.
Okay. And, uh, and they usually go through the literary agent. You can have agents in Hollywood, you know, there are, uh, there are Hollywood agents who represent novels and you could possibly go that way. Uh, and you could even go, uh, instead of, uh, A literary agent, you could go to a rights manager is what they’re called.
And they usually only have maybe half a dozen or a dozen different clients. And, uh, and they, they work really hard to sell your works in particular. Um, So you can, you can go with your typical literary agent. Uh, my literary agent for example, has a Hollywood attorney that he works with so that if there are questions about a contract, then he can talk to the Hollywood attorney.
Um, Or if I need to, um, I’ve even hired my Hollywood attorney to look over contracts, you know, but they charge like $2,000 an hour. So you don’t want to hire them on a regular basis unless you’ve just got money to burn, you know? Um, so yeah. Wow.
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: Wow. So, so many things to get into, but I am curious to find out because, um, uh, you, you run these online.
I mean, you have a lot of online resources for writers, but I’m really intrigued to dig into the apex writers group and what that is and how, I mean, we can take advantage of that. Virtual world.
David Farland: Well, you know, I, I got the idea last year. I just felt like a lot of writers that I know who are good writers are kind of stagnating.
And I, I started looking at though when I realized that they, the thing that they lacked was they didn’t have good writing groups. You know? Um, if you look at JRR Tolkien, you know, he had the inklings. And if you looked at, uh, what was going on with, uh, uh, Ernest Hemingway, you know, he was writing to other authors who were of his caliber, who all also won Nobel prizes.
And, uh, and so it’s, it’s writing groups. It’s. Authors educating each other, I think is really helpful. And so I wanted to create a way where authors could a inspire each other, get into writing groups, do brainstorming together, do writing sprints together, that kind of thing. And then I also wanted to educate them.
And so I gave them access to all of my writing courses so that they can, uh, study a writing course together, get three or four people and say, Hey, let’s do writing and chatting pros or something like that. And then I wanted to bring in better resources. So. I’m bringing in, um, the people from Hollywood, for example, we’re doing Hollywood month this month.
Uh, so tomorrow I’m going to be having a producer and director who will be talking Spanky award. And then, uh, then come Tuesday, I’ve got the head of Lionsgate entertainment, uh, for their, for their, uh, uh, Uh, television division. Um, so he’s going to talk about how you make a TV series and, uh, and so I really want to get top people from around the world and, and do that, and then kind of create a brain trust.
Um, I’m trying to get as many well-educated people in the field as possible into this group so that Hey. If you’ve got a problem and you, for example, needs an expert on a rights management. You know, we have Mark here who can answer your questions and, um, and, uh, help each other out. So the idea here is that, um, I really wanted to create.
The world’s best writing group. Put it, put it that way. I don’t think small. Okay. Um, so that’s what, that’s what apex is. And then do it for a manageable price, you know, uh, we’re charging $300 a year. Uh, there are other people who are doing something similar, but they’re charging like five times as much, or even almost 10 times as much in some cases.
And I’m like, yeah, for what. What I’m giving, I’m trying to create a bargain. You know, I want people looking at it and say, this is the best investment I ever made. That’s that’s the goal.
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: And I imagine that there’s gotta be some criteria and I mean, you have to apply to get in, how does it, how does a writer find out more about that or
David Farland: no, I started doing that and, uh, and I found that really only serious people are trying to get in any way.
Uh, so right now I’m just like, okay, if they’re serious enough that they’re willing to, that they’re investing time and money into their career, then I figured they’re probably good. And so far that has held true. I haven’t. I haven’t seen any bums in there, um, hanging around, you know, um, I, I suppose it could become a problem later on, but right now it’s not.
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: And I suspect you, you have a bit of a track record for recognizing young writers that go on to success. I’m not, not to, not to name drop, but there are a couple of your proteges that have moved on to superstardom. Could you, can you mention a few of those?
David Farland: I I went years ago. Uh, for example, I was asked, I was asked by Scholastic to help them choose a book to push big.
I chose the book Harry Potter and created the marketing campaign that made it the best selling book of all time, um, in English at least. Um, and, uh, so, and then I had Stephanie Meyer in my writing class. Uh, we, we sat down together and had a. Meeting where we talked about how you would create the best selling young adult novel of all time.
And Twilight grew out of that Brandon Sanderson, who just made $7 million on his latest Kickstarter for his, uh, uh, for his collectible, uh, book, the 10 year anniversary for the way of Kings, uh, was in my very first writing class at BYU. So I’ve, I’ve done that. You know, quite, quite a bit, I’ve got about a hundred different writers.
Who’ve have been on the New York times bestseller list at this point. So I just keep on doing it. I enjoy doing it. It doesn’t hurt me as a writer to have that competition, you know, um, when somebody like rolling comes in and, and, uh, creates, uh, 40 million new readers in the United States. Um, quite frankly, that just helps all of us, you know, a rising tide floats all boats.
So, uh, they were, we do good when that happens.
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: Oh, fantastic. Now I want to wrap this back to your, your writing specifically, and you use two different names, uh, for writing. So you’ve got Dave Wolverton and you’ve got David Farland. How did those, uh, originate.
David Farland: Well, you know, I was, um, I was on my third novel and I got a really nice review that said, Oh, go look down on the bottom shelf of the bookstores where David Farland or Dave Wolverton, his books are, are likely to be found.
And I, I remembered that I had read, uh, uh, A survey that had been done by Campbell soups a few years earlier. And they found that 92% of all people wouldn’t stoop over to pick up their favorite can of soup off the bottom shelf. And I thought I’ve got to get off the bottom shelf. And so, uh, so I, I called my publisher and I said, I want to change my name.
And, uh, then they were like, what two? And I was like, anything that puts me at eye level. And I went to 10 different bookstores and, uh, look to see where I would be and FFA to F E. Uh, it looks like a really good spot. And I started trying to think of names that started with that. And, um, it turned out I had a girl that really liked me in college whose last name was Farland and I thought that’s kind of perfect.
And I, I had a, uh, and actually I had a great, great, great, great, great grandmother. Whose last name was, was McFarland. And I thought, well, somebody, somebody was named Farland and the family back there. So, um, so I just decided that Farland sounds like a great name, especially for a fantasy author
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: Harland.
David Farland: It had some virtues it’s easy to spell.
To pronounce it short so that, uh, it gets printed big on a book. And, um, and, uh, and I think it has good resonance within the genre. So, uh, so I chose Barland as a, as a pen name. Um, but I think if you’re writing for, and especially since I was going to be writing a big fantasy, I’d been writing science fiction.
And I love a lot of different genres, but I’d always wanted to write fantasy. And I had written 10 science fiction novels in a row, and I really wanted to go write a big fat fantasy and kind of break out a little bit.
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: Cool. So do you do, are the books now as they’re getting reprinted and republished, is it Dave Farlan writing?
Is Dave Wolverton writing as Dave Farland or no,
David Farland: David Farland yep.
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: Consistently now across the board
David Farland: consistently. Yeah. And in fact, I’ve, I’ve pretty much, um, they’re pretty much abandoning, uh, the Wolverton name. Um, But he got, but
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: he got you that first big hit.
David Farland: Yeah, exactly. It’s like, it confuses people. I get a lot of, they get a lot of letters.
I’ve gotten them as late as you know, a couple of weeks ago, somebody wrote and said, you know, years ago I used to have a favorite author named Dave Wolverton. And then he just disappeared. And, and, uh, so I got this new author named David Farland and I just found out they’re both the same person, you know, like yeah.
And I’m like, okay. Uh, that seemed to me to be an argument to go ahead and merge the names now. Okay.
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: Cool. Well then I know for sure to, to use, uh, uh, David Farland on the, as him pushing the episode of this podcast,
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: works good. So where can people find out more about David Farland or about the apex writing series?
And again, you have these, uh, daily email prompts and things that are still available. People can sign up for free work and they get all this. Yeah.
David Farland: Okay. So if you go to www. My story, doctor.com. And if you go there, you can sign up for my free writing tips. I’ve got a book, 400 pages of my favorite writing tips.
I’ve been doing them for 13 years now. Uh, and uh, I send them out a couple of times a week. I’ll send out writing tips. Uh, and that’s a great place to go to just get some free swag and, uh, and that kind of thing. Um, you can also find out about apex there and I’m just getting ready to put out a new class called three 18 R that’s the class that I taught to Stephanie Meyer and Brandon Sanderson and Dan Wells and, and a number of other people who became
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: multiple, which was one of your students too.
David Farland: Yeah. Uh, yeah, that, uh, Dan Wells, um, gosh, I could, I could go on, I’ve got a list of about a hundred of them who’ve gone on to the summit claim. Um, but the, uh, the idea was that, you know, I thought God, I had so much fun teaching those and the students did so well. So I started to put this together and, uh, quite frankly, I, I just had the.
Call up my, um, web, uh, site provider and upgrade my website because I was crashing because too many people are trying to get into the class. Um, so anyway, um, but yeah, so we’re going to, I’m going to go ahead and I’m going to teach it online. And, and just teach it on Saturdays. Uh, and, and I love teaching online because I have people all over the world who say, Oh man, I would die to get into your class.
So I’ve got a bunch of people in Australia and Japan and China, you know, who were saying, okay, we want to take this class, you know, can you, can you, can you teach one in the evening? And I’m like, sure. I can teach them in the evening. It doesn’t, it doesn’t matter as long as I’m still awake. So I’m going to, I’m going to go ahead and have one in the morning and one on the evening.
And, uh, and then people can come in and audit the class and auditing the class means you don’t have to do the assignments and take the quizzes and all of that stuff, but you can just come in and watch, you know, and so we’ve got, uh, people will be able to audit the classes too. Wow.
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: Well, David, thank you so much for sharing so many insights and wisdom and obviously, uh, access to some fantastic resources and thank you for, for being such a mentor to so many of us.David Farland: Well, thank you. I really appreciate it. It’s good talking to you
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