I honestly don’t look at it as much of a Western. The part that is in a Western setting, the prologue, is actually the last thing I wrote, feeling I needed a better introduction. Originally the story just started in the city.
I view it as a clash between these two concepts, the city and the frontier. Mistborn as a series has always been city-based, urban. I intend to keep it that way, mostly. The story here as I saw it was of the man who had been living out on the frontier for a long time who comes back and has to integrate into society. Which is another theme of the Mistborn books—just as in the original trilogy Vin had to go from the streets to upper society, I wondered what it would be like to deal with a character who had lived among the two-faced society of city politics and more or less rejected it, who gets pulled back against his will. So I would say it’s less a Western and more a clash between that more simple, rugged lifestyle and the city lifestyle.
I’ve said that what I love about fantasy is that it can do anything any other genre can do, plus have that added sense of wonder. So I’ve wanted to explore different types of what fantasy can achieve. The steampunk movement is awesome for doing this. I don’t actually consider this book to be steampunk, because the Victorian feel and steam technology aren’t there, but it certainly is a cousin to what is happening in steampunk.
At its core really what I’ve done is write a detective novel. A buddy detective novel set in an early 1900s industrial age equivalent in a fantasy world, where the epic fantasy that I wrote as a trilogy has become the mythology for this new world. That concept excited me. What made me do it? The idea that I could, and that I hadn’t really seen it done before. That’s what fantasy is all about.