Monday, October 29, 2012

Writing the Eternal Classic: Nightingale Blog Tour

Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Best Young Adult Novel of the Year! & Finalist in the Global Ebook Awards!

In his remarkable young adult fantasy debut, Nightingale, David Farland shows why critics have called his work "compelling," "engrossing," "powerful," "profound," and "ultimately life-changing." 

"Superb worldbuilding, strong characters, and Dave's characteristic excellent prose. --Brandon Sanderson, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

"A wonderful tale of a young man trying to find his humanity, even though he's not quite human. One of Farland's very best!" --#1 International Bestseller Kevin J. Anderson.

I am thrilled and grateful to be a part of his tour. So sit back, focus your eyes, and take a peek into the story, its creation, and the man himself. Eek!!

 Some people sing at night to drive back the darkness.  Others sing to summon it. . . .

Bron Jones was abandoned at birth. Thrown into foster care, he was rejected by one family after another, until he met Olivia, a gifted and devoted high school teacher who recognized him for what he really was--what her people call a "nightingale."

But Bron isn't ready to learn the truth. There are secrets that have been hidden from mankind for hundreds of thousands of years, secrets that should remain hidden. Some things are too dangerous to know. Bron's secret may be the most dangerous of all.

I understand that before you ever started to write Nightingale, you set out to write a book that would be considered a classic forty years from now. Did you achieve your goal?
I hope so. We’ll know forty years from now, when the people who read it today look back and say, “You know, one of my favorite books of all time was Nightingale.”
The truth is that great works aren’t recognized immediately. If you look back at the reviews for Dune, no one at the time raved about it and called it the greatest work of science fiction ever. That happened twenty years later. The same is true of Lord of the Rings. It sold poorly at first, with a print run of only 1000 copies in hardcover here in America. It took about seven years before it really started to sell, once it got into paperback. 

In the book, you talk about a lot of interesting types of people—“Memory Merchants,” “Draghouls” and “Dream Assassins.” You have a wealth of extraordinary ideas for this book. Where did they come from?
I often feel that too many books lack imagination. The novels aren’t “novel.”

When I read, I like to be wowed, to be transported by a story that takes me to another world, fills me with a sense of wonder. So I wanted to create something very robust for this book, a whole new world, in a way.
As a child, I lived in the woods in Oregon, and I loved to read about mammoths, and bigfoot, and all kinds of oddities. I remember thinking when I was eight, “Wouldn’t it be neat if there were really Neanderthals still alive? I mean, imagine it: a tribe of Neanderthals living in the remote wilderness of Siberia, or high in the mountains of Tibet!”

Of course, we know that Neanderthals and humans lived side-by-side for hundreds of thousands of years, and recently we’ve found evidence that at least two other groups of humanoids lived with them at the same time. So the questions became, “What if there are some other kind of humanoid creatures already among us?” “What if they are more powerful than us?” “

After that, I began to think about what kinds of abilities such people might have, and the story just took off.

The character of Bron in this book, how did you create him?
To some degree, when a writer creates a character, that character is always a piece of himself.

Most teens go through a period where they feel like outsiders. When I was Bron’s age, I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere at all. I had my artistic tendencies—my painting, sculpting, and the novel manuscript hidden under my bed.

But I felt so . . . emotionally distant from the world. I used to watch people and think to myself, “You know, those humans have some interesting habits. . . .”

So that’s the genesis of Bron, I think, my own feeling as if I were outside of humanity, looking in.

You’ve had a lot of success writing for adults, why write for young adults?
I’ve always believed that great stories are for everyone—toddlers, teens, grandparents.

My very first award-winning story was told from the point of view of a young teen, and for some reason I keep feeling that I want to get back to my roots. Besides, on one level, I’m not an adult. I’m a teenager trapped in an aging, rotting body. Even though I’m maturing and aging physically, I haven’t grown old emotionally. Our minds trick us into thinking we’re eternally young.

Beyond that, many of the best novels of our time are written for teens. I loved Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, and many others. Even classics like Lord of the Rings and Dune were written with teens in mind. So I think I’ve always wanted to sort of “join the literary conversation.”

Nightingale has already received high praise, and I’ve heard that there is a movie offer before it was even released. Do you think a film will be made?
Yes, the novel is under option, and the producer is very involved in setting up promotion for the enhanced version of the book.

You see, in order to get a movie made, you need to establish an audience. A lot of books get optioned as soon as they’re released and then the producers hold on to the rights for a couple of years to see if the sales take off. It’s sort of like investing in stock to a startup company.

I think that Nightingale will find a huge audience, but ultimately that decision comes down to the readers. If enough people like the book, if they tell their friends about it and convince them to read it too, then the book gets noticed. It builds.

At a certain point, the decision becomes a no-brainer for the filmmakers. In fact, at some point the studios begin fighting over who “gets” to make the movie.

Will there be a sequel to Nightingale?
There will be four books in the series. The next one is called Dream Assassin. I'm not allowed to reveal what happens in it, but I can’t wait to get to work on it! 

At the end of the day, when a reader closes the book on Nightingale, what do you want them to take away?
As an author, when someone finishes one of my books, I want the reader to feel fulfilled for having read it. I want them to understand our world more completely, to feel . . . elevated, giddy, excited If it's not too much to hope for, I'd like the story to stay in their mind, affect them for months or even years to come, and even change their lives for the better.

I think, ideally, that's what every writer ultimately wants—to contribute something good to the world consciousness. Have you ever read a book and wanted to tell the world about it?  That’s how I’d like my readers to feel.  I’d like them to want to go out and celebrate for having read a fun, engrossing, powerful book.

The Author: David Farland has written and edited fifty published books. These include novels for adults, young adults, anthologies, middle-grade readers, and picture books. He often teaches writing workshops, and has trained a number of people who went on to become international bestselling authors--people like Brandon Sanderson in fantasy, Brandon Mull in middle-grade fiction, and Stephenie Meyer in young adult fiction.

As part of his dedication to helping other writers, David writes the David Farland's Daily Kick in the Pants, an email bulletin for writers or those who would be writers. Many authors rave about how it has helped them. Out of devotion, he provides the Daily Kick free. You can register to receive it at

Ooh, one Splat: Due to the impending hurricane stammering up the east coast, there is a possibility I may be out of internet service for a few days. If I don't post tomorrow, that's the reason! So think of me with the kiddos home from school, with flashlights and playing cards.


  1. Awesome interview. David's book sounds great. And it was interesting learning more about a book being optioned for a movie.

    Good luck with the storm Sherrie.

  2. David, hope you get to see your book become a movie!

  3. This book sounds fascinating. Great interview, Sheri, and best of luck with Nightingale, David!

  4. "I haven’t grown old emotionally." Yep, that pretty much summed up why most of us write YA or kidlit. :D

    (pssst Sheri, did you not get the updated cover???? It's awesome!)

  5. Insightful interview. I definitely have to check out David Farland's books, and his Daily Kick!

    Stay safe and dry from Sandy! I pre-scheduled my posts this week just in case we lose power. I'm hoping by the time it reaches Philadelphia it won't be as bad as they're predicting. Well, I'll know tonight...

  6. The does sound so imaginative! I hadn't heard of it before.

  7. Sounds VERY cool. I know a lot of my writer friends and I've discussed writing classics and what makes a classic many times. It's the dream, yes? Here's wishing David all the best with Nightengale! It sounds amazing~

  8. First, hope you and your family are safe, Sheri! I guess I visited back east at the right time. The weather behaved itself.

    Loved the interview and am always intrigued by writers who capture those young emotions they remember during their growing up years.

    It's great to be back from vacation and catching up on what's happening in this world of writing.

  9. Very interesting interview! I'll put this one on my TBR list. See if it makes my list of "classics." :D Thanks for posting! :D

  10. Nice interview! David's book sounds interesting.

    Stay safe, Sheri! :/ Flashlight and playing cards sound like a good plan. Hope you have lots of brownies baked. ;)

  11. This is an awesome read and Dave is an incredible teacher in the craft of writing.

  12. Great interview! David sounds awesome and so does the book.


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