The Orem Barnes & Noble hosted their annual Authorpalooza event Sept. 18 highlighting local writers, headlining fantasy author Brandon Sanderson.

Those familiar with the fantasy genre may know of Sanderson from his popular Mistborn trilogy, or as the author chosen to finish the late Robert Jordan’s Wheel 0f Time series. But those unfamiliar with his work may be pleasantly surprised to find that his stories are not what you would normally expect from your average fantasy novel.

Have you ever felt like you were reading the same basic storyline over and over again, but in a different book, with different names? For example: hero sets out on a quest to save the kingdom, rescues the damsel in distress, and they fall in love and live happily ever after. We’ve all heard it. It’s classic. It’s familiar.

It gets old after a while.

Sanderson understands this. In fact, breaking this stereotype is part of what inspires his writing.

“I’m very familiar with the fantasy genre,” Sanderson said. “I’ve read it since I was very young, and I love it. But having read it as much as I have, I see several common themes that tend to come out, and when I write my books they are often reactions to these common themes; taking the genre in different directions, trying to respond to the themes in interesting ways. … What you assume when you pick up the book is not necessarily true. … I don’t want it to be stereotypical.”

Challenging expectations is one thing that sets Sanderson apart. For example, in his Mistborn books, the story takes place in a world where the “hero” failed. The bad guy won and has ruled the world ever since.

The change comes when a group of thieves decide they can’t wait on some fabled hero to save the world anymore and plan to use their own unique set of talents to rob the Dark Lord blind and use his money to bribe his armies away and take over the kingdom.

Like Sanderson said, not what you would usually expect.

His work doesn’t leave him a lot of spare time, but that doesn’t stop him from being involved in helping other young writers. Sanderson teaches a creative writing class at BYU and is always willing to help and answer questions for students and aspiring authors. He even mentioned that he would be interested in someday teaching a class at UVU, where his brother now attends.

To learn more about Sanderson or read some of his work, go to where you can download a free copy of one of his popular stand-alone novels, Warbreaker.

And who knows? If he gets enough requests, he might even start that class at UVU.