90 Second Interview with Patrick Rothfuss

In celebration of the David Gemmell Award short-lists being published, Gollancz is thrilled to be running a series of interviews-in-ninety-seconds with as many short-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 . . .

 If you could have one writerly superpower, what would it be? Can I pick time travel? Then I could go forward in time to where my books are finished, grab a copy, then come back. That would save me a lot of time with my revisions.

If I can’t have time travel, then I’d want to be Spider Man. I know it doesn’t have anything to do with writing, I’d just really love to be Spider Man.


Do you have any writing rituals that help, when you’re putting together an epic fantasy novel? I make lists of all those who have angered and opposed me throughout my life. Sometimes I weep quietly, alone in dark. Also, a big cup of coffee before I sit down to write really helps.


You may bring one mythological creature to life – you may even keep one as a pet – which one would you choose, and why? Can I pick Baba Yaga’s Hut? The one that could walk around on its own on chicken legs? I’d use that as my writing sanctum. Nobody would fucking bother me when I’m in the fucking chicken-leg hut, surrounded by skulls.

If that doesn’t count, I would pick a genie. And then I would wish for a chicken-leg hut. Then I would wish to be Spider Man. Then I would wish for time-travel powers.


How much real-life research do you think it is necessary for an author do to? It is essential to pick up a sword, before you describe a fight scene? I don’t think much is *necessary* but I do think the more real life experience you have, the more grounded in reality your writing will be.


What’s your current favourite TV series, fantasy or otherwise? Firefly. Always Firefly.

Actually. Can I change my answer up above? I’d make that my third wish. I’d wish that Firefly wasn’t cancelled.


If you could offer one piece of advice to an aspiring fantasy author what would it be? Back up your files regularly. Obsessively.


You’ve been shortlisted for the David Gemmell Awards, which is wonderful. While you have the podium, is there another author out there you would suggest readers take a look at? I know this isn’t the smartest thing to do, as he’s on the ballot for this award too, but I can’t recommend Brandon Sanderson highly enough.

When I found out I was shortlisted for this award, I actually wrote a blog about how much I liked Alloy of Law. I think my exact words were,

“Sanderson has now been added to a very short list. Specifically, the list authors I wish to kill so that I might eat their livers and thereby gain their power.”

You can get the rest of the review over on my blog, if you like . . .


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. Voting ends 31 May, so vote now!

If you would like to attend the award ceremony, please contact the DGLA directly! All details can be found here.