Shean Pao

IMG_3418I had such an amazing time at the Salt Lake City Comic Con where I met the staff of Word Fire Press. I can’t beIMG_3390gin to thank everyone for all of their help with the launch of my new book, The Feather and the Moon Well. Everyone was incredibly nice and very professional. What a great team! Quincy, Michelle and Daniel, you were especially amazing!

I met my publisher, and NYT best selling author Kevin J. Anderson and many other accomplished writers. It was fairly mind blowing. Brandon Sanderson even dropped by!

IMG_3450I had the total honor of being next to NYT best selling author David Farland, and Christopher Paolini, NYT best selling author of Eragon. At one point Christopher had a book signing of what looked like 200 fans! If you have ever had the pleasure of meeting Christopher, you will discover what an amazing person he is—and a super nice guy! I read Eragon several years ago, and like everyone else, delighted in the books and the movie. I wanted to bring mine for Christopher to sign but it is a huge compilation of the whole story, and weighs about eight pounds. Not something I could haul on the plane.

I have so much to say I don’t even know where to start. Pictured to the left is Becky and her friend. She is the first person to buy my book. Thanks Becky!IMG_3395_2

But I think one of the most wonderful events happened on Saturday, the last day of the Convention. I had two different people approach me to say they had purchased my book on Thursday. They both said they had started reading The Feather and the Moon Well and enjoyed it so much they had to come back to let me know! I think the joy of that experience will carry me through the entire year!

Here are some of the great people that bought my book. I’ve posted a lot more on my facebook page.

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IMG_3454I was also honored to spend time in the booth with D. J. Butler. He is the acquisitions manager for WFP but he’s also an author. I’ve started reading his book, City of the Saints, which is a really great. I’m also beginning to see glimpses of a really great mind. You know, those people who seem to think at light speed and leave you in the dust? That’s D.J. Butler. Go check out his book. You can buy it here on Amazon. Dave kept me in stitches by reinventing my name, as well as the synopsis of my book. Here’s a review of ‘Feather’ which isn’t quite on the mark – LOL and cracks me up. Thanks Dave, FanX was a lot of fun and I look forward to repeating it at Emerald City Comic Con.

I also met wonderful, award winning writer Scott William Taylor, who already posted on his blog about me and the David Farland Discovery program. Read that here.

So many fun things are happening, and I will try to keep them all listed either here or on my FB page. David FarlanIMG_3464d, my editor, mentor and just a truly awesome guy wrote this amazing post about The David Farland Discovery Program. 

So next week – April 7-10 I will be heading to Seattle, my home town, for the Emerald City Comic Con for another great adventure. I hope to see you there!

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.

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