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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Dec 18, 2020

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


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 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 and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0