On Thursday, July 19th, I had the pleasure of attending An Evening with Patrick Rothfuss at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati, Ohio…
I have a small confession to make. I had NOT read The Name of the Wind before learning of this event. I had obviously heard of Patrick Rothfuss, but I didn’t really know what the series was about. When I saw that he was coming to the Joseph-Beth Booksellers store in Cincinnati, I decided that I would give the book a go then attend the event if I liked the book. When I picked up The Name of the Wind from the library, I was a little intimidated to discover that it was 720+ pages. Obviously I read it and LOVED it since this is a post about attending the event. If you have not read this series already, I highly recommend it.
Here are a few things I learned at the event…
- Pat deliberately wrote his books so that you would not be able to catch everything with a single reading – they are written so you’d catch something new with every reading.
- When asked how he determines what goes into the novel and what is left out, Pat shared some words of wisdom that a beloved teacher once told him: “To write a novel is to have doubt.” It is not wrong to have these feelings of doubt, and you need a certain amount of doubt. The best part about books is that ever reader has a different experience, but that also means that what works for one reader, another reader will hate. This is why he recommends multiple beta readers.
- When asked about the infamous review of his own 3rd book, Doors of Stone, Pat laughed and said that was what happens when you are screwing around on the internet on too much coffee. Basically it is Patrick responding to the fact that a book that isn’t yet published has over 2,600 ratings on Goodreads. You can read the review here → Patrick’s review of Doors of Stone. Read it! You won’t be disappointed.
- When discussing the fact that it has been 7 years since the release of his last book in the series, Patrick joked that he gains joy and energy from denying people what they want.
- Pat is from Wisconsin! *Side Note: I really wanted to ask him is he is a Green Bay Packers fan (#GoPackGo) BUT I would probably be the only one interested in this detail and I didn’t want to take up a precious question & piss everyone off.
- When it was mentioned that the McElroy brothers had been in the Joseph-Beth Bookseller store the night before, Pat got really excited and said “Let me bring something into your life…” He proceeded to share his love for the My Brother, My Brother and Me Podcast. Pat revealed that he has listened to the entire program 3 times in the past 18 months.
- Despite the fact that music is a big part of The Name of the Wind, Pat cannot play a musical instrument himself.
- Pat’s favorite book of all times is The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. He rereads it every year. He referred to is as the “cornerstone of modern fantasy.” He also admitted that he will never be able to write a book that good.
- You may be surprised to know that Pat has studied 6 different forms of martial arts.
- When Pat was asked why there were no female Masters at University, he responded that he intentionally included institutional sexism, and other sexism, in his books. He wrote sexism not to promote it, but in the hopes that it would stir anger in readers so they would make changes here in the real world.
- When asked if he hears music when he writes the lyrics in the books, Pat laughed and said that he does, but isn’t able to write the music down since he cannot read music.
- When asked what he would have liked to major in in University, Pat responded that he would like to have majored in Naming or Alchemy, but in reality he wouldn’t be able to hack it.
- Patrick objects to the saying that fantasy is “escapist literature” because there is no escaping reality. He said fantasy is more like “retreatist literature”.
- When Pat needs to be reminded of the good, he reads something from Terry Pratchett.
- As far as graphic novels go, Pat recommends Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 by David Petersen.
- If you need an audiobook recommendation, Pat recommends The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal. He listened to this book for 8 hours straight.
- Patrick urged the attendees to support Joseph-Beth Booksellers (the host of this event) because “Amazon doesn’t host book events.”
Patrick Rothfuss was born in Madison, Wisconsin to awesome parents who encouraged him to read and create through reading to him, gentle boosts of self-esteem, and deprivation of cable television. During his formative years, he read extensively and wrote terrible short stories and poetry to teach himself what not to do.
Patrick matriculated at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, initially studying chemical engineering which led to a revelation that chemical engineering is boring. He then spent the next nine years jumping from major to major, taking semesters off, enjoying semesters at part-time, and generally rocking the college student experience before being kindly asked to graduate already. Surprisingly enough, he had enough credits to graduate with an English major, and he did so grudgingly.
Patrick then went to grad school. He’d rather not talk about it.
All this time Patrick was working on “The Book,” as he and his friends lovingly titled it. When he returned to Stevens Point he began teaching half-time while trying to sell The Book to publishers. In the process, he disguised a chapter of The Book as a short story and won the Writers of the Future competition in 2002. This put him into contact with all the right people, and after deciding to split The Book into three installments, DAW agreed to publish it. In March 2007, The Name of the Wind was published to great acclaim, winning the Quill Award and making the New York Times Bestseller list.
All this success was wonderful. Patrick eventually had to stop teaching in order to focus on writing, though he screwed that up by having an adorable baby with his adorable girlfriend. He started a charity fundraiser called Worldbuilders and published a not-for-children children’s book called The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle in July of 2010 through Subterranean Press, which was adorable, and seriously isn’t for children.
After a great deal of work and a few cleared throats and raised eyebrows from his patient editor, Wise Man’s Fear came out in March 2011 to even more acclaim, making #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list. Life continues to rock for him, and he’s working hard on writing the final installment of the series.