Bestselling author Orson Scott Card told throngs of fans who gathered at the South Branch Library in Bountiful recently about some of the writing techniques that have made him successful.
Card said he was happy to return to Utah, a former home of his, to speak to the fans who gathered at the library during a nationwide tour promoting his new novel "Magic Street."
Some of Card's best-known books include "Ender's Game" and "A Storyteller in Zion."
During his visit, Card took the time to sit and answers some questions for Utah Spirit about his life, writings and how his fans compare to Trekkies.
Spirit: How does it feel to be back in Utah?
Card: It's always fun to come back here. I lived here and went to school here. I made a conscientious decision to raise my children outside the state, but it's nice to come back. It usually takes me about three days to remember why I left the state, but since I'll only be here for two, everything should be fine.
Spirit: It seems as if most of your novels have a moral theme. Is that something you seek to do?
Card: In my historical novels, many of the characters have a religious life. The idea is not to try to convert someone, but if you are going to write about people, you have to write about religion because religion is a part of people. To write characters who have no religious life is a lie.
Spirit: How do you decide what kind of book you will write next?
Card: When I decide what I'm going to write, it has to be something I believe in and care about.
Spirit: How long does it usually take you to write a novel?
Card: It typically takes about six weeks. I don't write a lot of drafts. It is typically written the first time, although I had four different openings for "Ender's Game."
Spirit: That's pretty quick. How do you do it so fast?
Card: I've always written that way. I type about 100 words per minute. When I write, my type comes out like speech.
Spirit: Rumors say that some of your books may be made into films. Any truth to that?
Card: I'm working on about a dozen films. "Lost Boys" was picked up by Universal, then expired. "Ender's Game" may be made into a movie. Maybe "Treasure Box," too.
Spirit: Which movie do you think will be made first?
Card: "Magic Street" may be made first. The entire cast is black. Some people in Hollywood think it can only make about $50 million and no more. I disagree with that.
Spirit: If you could choose any actor to star in one of your movies, who would it be?
Card: There are so many great actors in Hollywood. Sometimes they lack in scriptwriters and directors, but there are always a lot of great actors. Actually, I wrote the character of Yolanda in "Magic Street" with Queen Latifah in mind.
Spirit: You are getting ready to teach classes at Southern Virginia University. How do you feel about that?
Card: I'm going to make the drive from my home in North Carolina to Virginia once a week. I will teach on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
I've taught there before. It will be a challenge to get books done, but I love teaching. It's not as lonely as book writing when it's just you locked in a room by yourself for hours a day.
My methods become better and better as I teach. I'm happy to have the chance to do so. Once you are tagged a s a sci-fi writer, it's hard to get a chance to teach. As a science fiction writer, my professional credentials are actually anti-credentials.
Spirit: What kind of writers would you like your students to become?
Card: I want them to be writers who can develop an idea that is strong enough to carry a book.
Spirit: You seem to have quite a following. Would you compare your fans to Trekkies?
Card: No. These are readers. Nobody gets religious about my books. To be honest with you, I don't have much respect for the "Star Trek" series.
The readers of science fiction literature are very intelligent and highly critical. Nobody is dressing up as my characters.
Spirit: What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a writer?
Card: I was a playwright first. As soon as you hear actors read scripts you can tell automatically if what you wrote is understandable or not. The audience at the play will show you the success of the play by their inattention. I would say write and write and do things quickly. I had to figure some things out on my own.
Spirit: What attracts readers to your books?
Card: Everybody reads for their own reasons. What I care about is what I write about. The more rich and true the story is, the more depth readers will find in it.