ABC talks to: Patrick Rothfuss

We are HUGE fans of Patrick Rothfuss here at ABC. We still talk about the day he came for a visit, a couple of years ago, and we recommend his first book Name of The Wind to everyone who asks us for a good fantasy novel.

His next book The Wise Man’s Fear is in stores now, and we’re so excited! It contintues the story of Kvothe, the hero of Name of The Wind, a young man who grows to be the most notorious magician his world has ever seen.

ABC Amsterdam’s Tiemen wrote to Mr. Rothfuss and asked if he could interview him for Do You Read Me? He very kindly obliged and Tiemen was thrilled. 🙂

Part two of the Kingkiller Chronicle, The Wise Man’s Fear is finally finished. How does that feel? Does it feel very different from when you finished the first part The Name of the Wind?

It feels good. But it does feel different than when I finished The Name of the Wind. The first book I worked on for years as my hobby. It was fun, and getting it published was, in some ways, the fulfilment of a dream.

But writing The Wise Man’s Fear was work. I needed to write this book to prove that I could be a professional writer, not just a hobbyist. Now that it’s finished, I feel a greater sense of pride. I’ve proven that I can do it twice.

You have been busy working on The Wise Man’s Fear longer than expected. You wrote on your blog that the main reason for the delay was that you wanted to turn the book from good into awesome. How do you make something that is good into something that is awesome?

Revision. Lots and lots of revision. Then more revision. They you get feedback from people on the book, and use it to do more revision.

Do you listen to music when you write and if so, what music do you listen to?

Nope. It takes up too much headspace. I need all of my brain to write.

A lot of people are very happy that book two is coming out, how long do you think it will take before people start sending you e-mails asking when book three will be finished?

People have already started asking. Everyone thinks it’s a clever joke, “When’s book three going to be done?” I suppose it is clever for them, they just thought of it. But I’ve already heard it 30 times….

You recently became a father. The pictures of your son on your blog are ridiculously cute. Has being a father influenced your writing?


It’s made it harder to find the time, and harder to get out of the house. Oot is absolutely adorable, and he loves his daddy. It’s hard to leave to go work when he wants nothing in the world more than to play with me…

And while we’re on the subject of parenthood, did your parents read to you as a kid?

Oh yes. My mom read to me a lot…

You also wrote a sort of children’s book, The Adventure of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle. This is probably one of the more disturbing books I have recently read. I really loved it. How did you come up with an idea that is so disturbing that you actually had to put a warning sticker on the cover?

Oh come now. It’s a little twisted, but it’s not that disturbing. It’s not like it’s The Ring or anything…

As for how I came up with the idea, for the book, I wrote about that on my blog

You have spent a lot of time polishing and rewriting to tell the story of Kvothe to the best of your ability. When the trilogy is complete do you think there will still be parts you would like to rewrite in any of your books?

Oh sure. There’s always things I’d like to go back and fix. Mostly they’re little things. Maybe someday I’ll do the “Author’s preferred edition.” Or something like that.

I read that you started working on the world of Kvothe in the early 90’s. That is a long time. Has there ever been a time that you thought of giving up and locking it up in a drawer?

Yeah. There were a few dark moments. And there were times when I took a long break from writing the book. But I still loved it, and thought it was a good story. I always knew I’d come back to it…

You are now a relatively famous author. Are you afraid you might be tempted to the dark side? For example, doing a Kanye West at the Hugo Awards?

Heh. While it’s true that I might have certain megalomaniacal tendancies, I pride myself in not actually being a dick. So no, I don’t see that happening in the near future.

There is a formula for creating Star Wars and Porn Star names. How do you come up with the names in your books?

I don’t have a formula, I’m afraid. Some of the names I construct very carefully. Others I steal from old languages. Some of them I go hunting for…

Without exception I have had not met one person who did not like your first book. But they are probably out there, somewhere. Do you read negative reviews of your books?

Yeah. I try not to, but sometimes I do.

Which one was the funniest?

One guy said in his review that he hoped a dog would bite me in the nuts.

Almost a standard question in interviews with writers is the ‘best advice for new writers’ question. So, what would be the worst advice a inexperienced writer could get?

Quit school and focus on writing your book.

A lot of writers have blogs these days. Do you think it almost has become mandatory for a successful writer to blog?

Oh no. Absolutely not. Gaiman was a rockstar and a brilliant author long before he started blogging. King doesn’t have a blog. Joss Whedon doesn’t have a blog. Most of the solid talent out there in the publishing world doesn’t have a blog.

If you want to be a successful writer, you need to be able to write good books. Other things can help, of course. It doesn’t hurt if you’re pretty. It doesn’t hurt if you’re articulate, or if you have a good radio voice. It doesn’t hurt if you can write an interesting blog. But it’s not necessesary.

In Europe you also have a very large group of fans. Will you be coming to Europe anytime soon? Pretty please?

I’ll be back before too long. I had a great time on my last visit. But I don’t want to make the trip without Sarah and Oot.

The last question is on a subject of a very intense discussion among the ABC warehouse crew. In the event of a worldwide zombie apocalypse, what would be your choice of weapon and transportation?

Transportation/weapon: the portal gun.

Weapon/transportation: Iron Man’s suit.