debut novel

David Farland Discoveries: Feather and the Moon Well, by David Farland

This week marks the release of a novel by new author Shean Pao called The Feather and the Moon Well. Her novel was released by Kevin J. Anderson’s Wordfire Press, and is the first title in the “David Farland Discovery” program.

So what is a “David Farland Discovery”? For many years I’ve been teaching new authors and discovering talented new writers. As the lead judge in the world’s largest speculative fiction writing contest, I’ve found dozens of them. But I’ve also discovered new authors when teaching writing classes in college, at various conferences, and of course through my own writing seminars and workshops.

Some of those writers have gone on to become international bestsellers. For example, many years ago, while writing little Star Wars books for Scholastic, I was asked by my editors to look at some books and help pick one to push big for the coming year. The managing editor sent a couple of boxes of books for my purview, and after considering them all, I chose a little book calledHarry Potter. I was informed that the marketing department didn’t like the book. They thought that it was too long and too complex for its intended audience, but I spent a good long time on the phone explaining why I thought that it had all of the hallmarks of a blockbuster, and Scholastic went ahead and decided to make it a lead novel. It did pretty well.

A couple of years later, while teaching at Brigham Young University, I had a young student ask “How do I become the bestselling young adult writer of all time?” So we sat down and talked about how to combine romance and wonder in a novel, and took the first steps in brainstorming what became the international bestseller Twilight.

There have been many other authors that I’ve worked with. For example, one of my students, Brandon Sanderson, began writing the novel Elantris while in my writing class at BYU in 1999. I helped him find an agent and then began taking him on book-signing tours. He’s now deservedly a #1 New York Times bestseller. My friend James Dashner was writing middle-grade books about young men on sports teams when we met, so we discussed how he could broaden his audience by moving into speculative fiction. Since then, his Maze Runner series has turned into an international hit.

Over the years, I’ve helped hundreds of new writers get their first publications as short story writers or novelists.

But every once in a while I run across someone with a special gift, and I’ve wished that I could do a bit more to publish them. Such was the case with Shean Pao. Now, Shean has an odd name. She’s of Irish background but is married to a Chinese husband, so she writes Celtic high fantasy in the vein of Patricia McKillip. As I saw samples of her work, I recognized that I had a powerful wordsmith with a great gift for characterization, and I wanted to find a way to push her toward publication.

That happens sometimes. I’ll spot an author’s gifts. For example, while grading Stephenie Meyer’s papers in college, I recall thinking that she had a tremendous gift of voice. With J.K. Rowling, I recognized within three chapters that she had a world-class talent for audience analysis. Brandon Sanderson showed his genius at plotting in the first few pages of Elantris. With Shean, I saw a gift for creating complex characters that aren’t quite likeable, yet I somehow fell in love with them anyway.

So what makes a David Farland discovery? I have to spot your gift and be convinced that you’re a potential star, first off. And of course it helps if you’re a real workhorse—someone who writes consistently but also writes beautifully.

I do have my favorite genres. I love fantasy and science fiction for adults and children, but I’m also a huge fan of thrillers. I seem to be cursed with rather popular tastes. I loved John Grisham from the moment that I first began to read him, the same with Dan Brown. Right now I’m excited by the words of Jonathan Maberry.

At the moment, I’m not accepting submissions for the David Farland Discovery Program, but will be opening it up in about three months—as soon as I finish up a couple of big projects. In the meantime, you might be interested in checking out The Feather and the Moon Well.

I am so excited to announce that my book,

The Feather and the Moon Well

is now available in e-book format for pre-sale
at the following • KoboBarnes & Noble


David Farland has chosen The Feather and the Moon Well as the first novel to launch his David Farland Discovery Program. As a writing instructor, he has mentored dozens of New York Times bestselling authors, including Brandon Sanderson (Wheel of Time), Brandon Mull (Fablehaven), James Dashner (The Maze Runner), and Stephenie Meyer (Twilight).

In THE FEATHER AND THE MOON WELL, Shean Pao draws upon traditional tales of the fairy realm for inspiration, but creates a world that is uniquely her own. The resulting tale is richly drawn and completely seductive. This is a story that bears reading again and again.” —New York Times bestselling fantasy author David Farland.

What an honor and privilege it is, to not only be associated with such a talented writer, but to be supported and encouraged by David as well. WordFire Press will be publishing The Feather and the Moon Well in conjunction with David Farland’s Discovery Program.

The Feather and the Moon Well is available for pre-sale at, Barnes and Noble and Kobo. It will be officially available March 28, 2016.

And now, a little about the book:

We Must Live By The Choices We Make—
What If Helping Someone Evil
Could Free You From An Eternal Prison?

Cover for the Feather and the Moon Well

Legend tells of a sorceress, living within a white tower outside of the great city of Ethcabar, who owns a vast hoard of strange and curious items. If you bring her something precious to add to her Collection, she may grant your wish… or curse you.

But no one knows that the Willow Woman also possesses a Moon Well – an item of immense power. One of its many abilities grants her to see into the future, and thus alter its course.

When she sees an item within the Moon Well, a great flaming feather of incredible beauty that has the ability to free her from her tower-prison, she discovers she will have to create an evil spell for a Nepha-Lord to get it. However, the devastation to the surrounding countryside, its people, and the certainty of her own misery might be too high of a price to pay.

Barbarus is a slave who wishes to be free of his Master, a Nepha-Lord of the sixth hell. He is sent on a journey to gather a rare item for the Willow Woman’s spell. The spell his Master desires will bind a Core-Demon to the Nepha Lord’s will, and give him terrible power. Barbarus discovers he has choices, and desires of his own. His growing friendship with Anarra, will either bring him release of servitude, or certain death.

Neither Barbarus nor his master know the Willow Woman is hiding secrets of a different kind, and the use of these powers is forbidden by her own people. Will she lose the love of the one man she has come to accept? Will she risk love, friendship and the terrible war she sees within the Moon Well to obtain The Feather?

A story of selfishness, friendship, betrayal, and hope. The Feather and the Moon Well is a magical tale built within the fringe of Irish Mythology. It is the first novel by Shean Pao in the epic series, In the Brilliance of Sun.

WordFire Press Cover reveal for A David Farland Discovery!

My publisher at WordFire Press was kind enough to send this over.
The full cover wrap for The Feather and the Moon Well.
I love the design and colors. The wood spine gives it an almost 3-d effect.

And the official A David Farland Discovery logo is making it all seem very real.
My husband designed the logo, which was quite an honor! I think he did an outstanding job.

We are moving forward. Publication date will be March, 28, 2016.

(I discovered this was not hooked up to my mailing list – please let me know if you receive this via email- Thanks!)

(The white square on the back is where they will insert the ISBN number and bar code).

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