Book Giveaway: Nightingale by David Farland (plus interview)

Welcome to Author David Farland

David Farland is the international bestselling author of nearly fifty books, including such award-winning novels as the science fiction masterpiece On My Way to Paradise (Philip K. Dick Memorial Special Award Winner, Best Novel in English Language) and the historical novel In the Company of Angels (Whitney Award Winner: Best Novel of the Year). He is best known though for his fantasy work, which includes the New York Times bestselling series The Runelords, and his lovable and wacky middle-grade fantasy series Ravenspell.

With Nightingale, Dave makes his first foray into creating his own young adult series. (Dave has written young adult novels for both the Star Wars and Mummy franchises as Dave Wolverton, but this is the first young adult universe that he’s created for himself.)

In addition to writing novels, Dave has also worked in videogames on such international bestselling games as Starcraft: Brood Wars, and Xena: The Talisman of Fate.

More recently, Dave has worked in the film industry as a movie producer and a screenwriter. His screenplay for The Runelords in now in development for a major motion picture.

Throughout his career, Dave has worked extensively helping new writers through his work as coordinating judge of the Writers of the Future, as a creative writing instructor at Brigham Young University, and by teaching writing seminars. Many of his students have gone on to become some of the most successful writers of our time, including such #1 international bestsellers as Brandon Sanderson, Brandon Mull, and Stephenie Meyer.

In 1999, Dave set the Guinness Record for the World’s Largest Book Signing.


Nightingale by David Farland

Grand Prize Winner of the Hollywood Book Festival, placed first in all genres, all categories.

Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Best Young Adult Novel of the Year!

Finalist in the Global Ebook Awards.

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.

In his remarkable young adult fantasy debut, 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

About Nightingale

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. 

What is Nightingale about?

That’s hard to answer without giving spoilers. It’s about a boy named Bron, who dreams only of becoming a great guitarist.

He was abandoned by his mother at birth, then raised in foster homes. Throughout his life he’s been recognized as both “gifted” and “strange,” so much so that he’s rejected by one foster family after another.

But Bron is more determined than broken by all of this. So when he’s ejected from his home at the age of sixteen, he finally gets a chance for a normal life with a woman who teaches guitar at the Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts, in Southern Utah.

His teacher recognizes Bron for what he is—a creature not quite human, something that she calls a “Nightingale”—and suddenly Bron is thrust into a strange and deadly conflict as he begins to unravel the mystery surrounding his birth.

In Nightingale 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.”

As a writer, what did you have the most fun writing about in Nightingale? What would you think the reader will have the most fun reading about?

I had so much fun on so many levels, that I really just “zoned out” on this novel. I started writing about Bron’s mother, and her back-story practically created itself.

When I began to create Bron, his own story was so powerful that I felt stunned. When I was studying criminology, a professor once said that children from raised in social services in most western states were “psycopaths waiting to happen,” due to the inhumane policies adopted by the state.  My own wife was raised in foster care in Utah, and she had a tremendously rough time of it.  So I had some good material to draw on.  I’ve had a couple of people who were raised in foster care tell me that Bron’s tale was “too hard” for them to read.

Then I began to work on Olivia’s first chapter.  She’s an amalgam of some of my favorite teachers and mentors. Really, for me, the characters came alive so quickly that it was just a joy to work with.

Usually, when I create a novel like this, it’s the world that comes alive initially.  But I find myself even now realizing things about “Bron’s people” that didn’t come out in the first nine drafts. Now that the world has taken shape, I feel like it has become a really powerful novel.

So reaching the point where everything gelled was fun for me.

Each reader is different, though. I’m not sure if they’ll love the adventure more, or the sense of wonder, or the budding romance. There’s a sort of manic energy that develops in the novel, and I’m sure that a lot of people will respond to that, or the horror.

I’ve already had people write to me to tell me about their favorite lines and characters, and it seems that each reader finds something different. I look forward to seeing how it all settles out.

Do you think Nightingalewill turn into a major franchise?

I believe that if you write well and promote well, eventually your work will gain an audience. I believe in this novel—and its future—with a passion.

I did have one of the major literary agents want to take it out and sell it in New York, so I could have gone with a huge publisher, but in the long run, that looked like a bad proposition.

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.

Giveaway Details:
1 print copy of Nightingale & iPad enhanced Version
Print copy open to US only, iPad version open to anyone
Ends 10/18/12

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