I was fortunate enough to be able to catch up with best-selling fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss for a short interview at the World Fantasy Convention in Toronto, Canada. Mr. Rothfuss is a relative newcomer to the world of speculative fiction, having published his first book, The Name of the Wind, in 2007. It is the first of a planned trilogy following a young performer named Kvothe in his quest to discover the truth behind the murder of his parents. It is told in a format in which an older Kvothe (calling himself ‘Kote’) recounts the now-legendary events of his life to a Chronicler of history. The reader is left to wonder how many of the extraordinary events described are exaggerations, and wherein the truth lies.
The Name of the Wind swiftly began gaining Rothfuss critical and popular acclaim in the field, rising to #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List as well as receiving the Quill Award and a mention in the Publisher’s Weekly Best Books of the Year List. The sequel The Wise Man’s Fear was released in 2011 and also debuted at the top of the NYT Best Seller List. He is currently working on the final book of the trilogy, tentatively titled The Doors of Stone, and is a college lecturer at the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point.
OPEN THE FRIDGE: Hello Patrick, thank you for joining me for this interview! Let’s start with an easy question… How would you describe The Kingkiller Chronicles to our readers who may be unfamiliar with it?
PATRICK ROTHFUSS: Oh… I don’t. I never try to describe my own books. At best you sound like a hopeless narcissist, and at worst it’s just a big mess. I in particular suck at summarizing or trying to pitch my own books, to the point where it’s comical. I never do it if there’s any way I can dodge out of it because it’s not even comically bad, it’s just BAD.
OTF: (laughs) There’s something to be said for comedy…
PR: No, no… it’s like, you know how there are some movies that are so bad they’re good? This isn’t one of those times. Feel free to quote me on that. I’ll trust you to describe the book if you want to do that. You can’t be any worse at it than I am.
OTF: Fair enough. Moving on… It’s common to see music and/or poetry in fantasy novels, but music plays a particularly significant role in The Kingkiller Chronicles. Did making your main character, Kvothe, a musician present any unexpected challenges to you?
PR: Not necessarily. Whenever you’re creating a rounded-out character some things are gonna be tricky. Creating a character at all is a tricky situation… but making him a musician was a treat all the way across. If anything it’s trickier making somebody a magician, or a wizard, because at least you can do research into music. You can get some hands-on experience with music, you can listen to music. So no, it wasn’t particularly tricky for me at all.
Hit the jump for the full interview with this acclaimed, best-selling author!