In celebration of the David Gemmell Award long-lists being published, Gollancz is thrilled to be running a series of interviews-in-sixty-seconds with as many long-listed authors as we can get our hands on. Today we’re delighted to have a few words from Patrick Rothfuss, author of the Sunday Times bestselling novels The Name of the Wind, and The Wise Man’s Fear, which is nominated for Best Fantasy Novel 2011 . . . and keep an eye out for the next instalment of Kvothe’s story in due course! We caught up with him, and took a moment to ask a few questions . . .
Congratulations on being long-listed for the David Gemmell Awards! Can you tell us, in a few words, why any readers who are new to your work should rush out and read it?
I can’t think of why anyone should rush. It’s not like there’s only one copy of my book out there and you’re going to miss your chance if you don’t hurry. You could probably just saunter casually out and read it instead. That would be a lot less stressful, I imagine . . .
Who was your first favourite author?
C.S. Lewis. The Narnia Chronicles were my first chapter books. I’m a little too old for them now, but back then, they were the best thing ever.
Who would you cite as your influences?
My biggest and earliest one was probably Tolkien. I had a read-along record of The Hobbit when I was a kid. I can probably recite the whole thing from memory.
Do you think authors have a responsibility to do more than tell an entertaining story?
Yes. Absolutely. Stories influence how people think. It pisses me off to see books reinforcing unhealthy stereotypes about race and gender. Telling a story full like that is like pouring poison into a person’s ear.
Is there a storytelling tradition you see your work as part of?
If I had to pick, I’d probably think of myself as a folklorist of some sort. Or something halfway between Shaharazad and Jung. I like stories that touch on those big archetypes that underlie human experience.
If your novel were to be arrested for a crime of passion, what crime would it be and why (society may not be to blame!)?
Public indecency. Trust me. It’s a crime of passion if you do it right . . .
Patrick Rothfuss had the good fortune to be born in Wisconsin in 1973, where the long winters and lack of cable television encouraged a love of reading and writing. After abandoning his chosen field of chemical engineering, Rothfuss became an itinerant student, wandering through clinical psychology, philosophy, medieval history, theatre, and sociology. Nine years later, he was forced by university policy to finally complete his undergraduate degree in English. When not reading and writing, he teaches fencing and dabbles with alchemy in his basement. You can learn more about him and his novels on his website, or by friending him on Facebook.
You can vote for The Wise Man’s Fear, or any of the novels long-listed for the Legend Award for Best Novel, here. You can also vote for Laura Brett’s iconic artwork, as the Best Art of the year, here.