Here it is! As promised A Dribble of Ink recently conducted an interview with this year’s “It” author, Patrick Rothfuss. By the time Pat and I concluded the interview we realized just how long things had became and decided that everyone would be better served if we split the interview into two shorter, more palatable chunks.
Patrick Rothfuss is one of Fantasy’s newest authors, but that has not stopped his first novel, The Name of the Wind from garnering a lot of favourable reviews and a whole beehive full of buzz. And, if you read my review you’d know that the buzz was well deserved. The Name of the Wind, the story of a young orphan named Kvothe, is an easy contendor for not only Fantasy Debut of the Year, but also for Fantasy Book of the year!
So, without further adieu, we have the first half of the interview!
Q: Pat, let’s start this off with the really important stuff:
Q: Favourite Member of the Beatles?
A: Lennon. He might have been crazy. But he’s my kind of crazy.
Q: Favourite Meal: Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner?
A: Isn’t dinner the same thing as lunch? Are you trying to trick me with these?
Q: Favourite Cher song?
A: I honestly can’t think of one. You say that name and my mind is immediately overwhelmed with the image of her strutting around on a battleship wearing a thong. Was that a video, or some deeply submerged nightmare? Boy, I hope it was a video….
Q: Favourite TV show you love to hate?
A: I don’t actually have cable. I watch TV, but only shows that I buy on DVD. As a result my TV rage factor is pretty low right now.
I do have a real distaste for those extreme makeover shows. I once caught a roommate watching one and proceeded to rant for almost 15 solid minutes about how, in watching that bullshit, she was actively contributing to the destruction of all civilization.
Q: Favourite Ice Cream Flavour?
A: Blue moon.
Q: Favourite Pizza Topping?
A: Singularly â€“ Pepperoni. In tandem â€“ pineapple, bacon, sauerkraut, and olive. Trust me. It’s good. It’s like a tasty civil war right in your mouth.
Q: Favourite Book?
A:The Last Unicorn. Read it. Live it. Love it.
Q: Favourite Winter Olympic Sport?
A: Luge. I would be hard pressed to explain what the actual sport is. I just like the word Luge.
Q: Favourite Fantasy-Book-Review-Blog-Run-by-a-Guy-Named-Aidan?
Q: Alright, now that we’ve got the must-ask questions out of the way we can move on to the more pedantic questions. “The Name of the Wind” is being hailed by many as the Fantasy Debut of the year. How do you keep yourself grounded while listening to accusations such as this?
A: Hmmm. I’ll answer this question like I answer most questions. With a little story.
The day the book finally hit the shelves I got a call from my publisher telling me they’d decided to increase the print run. That’s awesome news, as more books means more sales. Ten minutes later, I got an e-mail from a reviewer. She told me that The Name of the Wind was the best book she’d read in years.
Next I drive onto campus, and what do I find? The perfect parking spot waiting for me right by the door to my building. Not only that, but I could see from my car that there were 40 minutes left on the meter.
It was like the universe was smiling on me. Right about then I was pretty sure that I was the sum of all creation. I was like Optimus Prime, the tenth avatar of Krishna, and Steve Tyler all rolled into one, great sticky gob of awesome.
Then I tried to parallel park. I pulled in… crooked. I pulled out and tried again… turned too sharp and my tire hit the curb. Again. And again. And again. I had to take five different runs at parallel parking before I got it right. Best of all, because it was right by the building my students and fellow teachers were walking by and watching while this was going on.
That’s how I keep my feet on the ground. It’s hard for me to take myself too seriously when I’m constantly experiencing firsthand what an incredible gimp I can be.
Q: There have been many other authors to begin their career with a lot of praise… only to wind up in the bargain bin down the road. How do you plan to avoid a similar fate?
A: Through sheer force of will? By destroying all those who oppose me? I give up. Do you have and tips on how to avoid fate?
Seriously though. Now that I understand how publishing schedules work, I can understand why many authors have the sophomore slump. A year is a long time to wait for a sequel, but it’s a short, short time to WRITE a sequel.
Luckily for everyone concerned, I’ve already written my entire trilogy. So my books probably won’t start to suck until after those three are in print.
Q: The Name of the Wind is a big book, and I’m sure the two books comprising the rest of the trilogy are the same. It’s clear you spent a lot of time preparing the story and the novels before taking it out to publishers and agents. How would you say that having a large trilogy already finished affected your ability to get a publishing deal?
A: Hmmm. Yes. But probably not in the way you’re thinking. It didn’t make me more appealing to publishers, if that’s what you’re asking.
While fantasy is generally pretty cool with big books in series, that doesn’t mean that publishers are excited about the thought of a 250,000 word novel. It costs a lot to print a book that big. Plus, who wants to buy a whole trilogy from an absolutely unknown author? Not a lot of people were excited about that.
Think of it this way. You’re a publisher, you buy a book from a newbie author and it doesn’t sell. Irritating and financially sucky. But if you buy three books…. you’ve kinda tripled your risk. It’s important to remember that Tad Williams, George Martin, and Robert Jordan didn’t start their careers writing the big fantasy series. They started with smaller stuff.
Q: Here’s a chance to both toot your own horn and bring yourself back down to earth a little. Where do you feel your strengths and weaknesses lie as a writer?
A: That’s a hell of a question. If I talk about what I’m good at, I seem like I’m a conceited egomaniac. Then when I answer the other half it’s like I’m giving a negative review of my own book.
Can we just skip this question and assume I’m modest and my book is awesome?
If that isn’t the most perfect question to finish off the first part of the interview I don’t know what is! Check back in just a couple of days for the concluding half where Patrick will tell you just why his book is so awesome!
EDIT: Part Two of the interview can now be found HERE!