Well met, my friends!
About two and a half weeks ago, Patrick Rothfuss announced on his blog that he wouldn’t just be in Brighton, but that he would also do signings and Q&A sessions in Oxford and London.
The Brighton event had been announced at least half a year in advance, but this new itinerary was on short notice. There was an upcoming deadline at work, which would thankfully finish right before those dates. Since I figured I could use a few days off after what looked to be a stressful work week, I decided on a whim to go and bought a plane ticket one week before the event.
On Mondy the 4th of November, I went to “An evening with Patrick Rothfuss” in Oxford together with my friend Laura. This was a long Q&A session, interleaved with him reading portions of his former columns that he wrote over a decade ago. Most of the time he doesn’t just answer a question, but comes up with a long and amusing tale. I tried to think what would provide the best opportunity for such a story among the questions that I had and asked him how he found his beta readers. The serious part of the answer was that back in the days he asked family and friends, as one would expect. Nowadays of course there is no shortage of people volunteering. Eventually he did make some jokes about picking people that are unlikely to forget his manuscript on the train, but I guess you had to be there.
Afterwards he made the time to sign people’s copies of “The Name of the Wind” and “The Wise Man’s Fear”. As you can see in the picture, I am beaming when I sat down.
This is because A) I was happy to meet Patrick Rothfuss again and B) I had a big imposition for him: as I sat down, I said “So I’ve started this youtube channel…” Unfortunately he already knew what was coming and immediately started shaking his head. I did ask him whether I could hog five minutes of his time on the day after for a brief interview, but his day was already pretty planned out with travel, other interviews and then the signing and Q&A in London. I figured as much and didn’t press the issue. Back home, my friends thought that I should have been a bit more tenacious and that I should have mentioned that I specifically flew in to see him.
I don’t know, I feel that if roles were reversed, I wouldn’t have agreed to an interview either, simply for the reason that he doesn’t know whether I’m reputable. For instance, in both Oxford and London (and also at the 2009 Q&A in London) he stressed that he would prefer if people didn’t film the sessions, as he doesn’t want his words to be taken out of context. I actually filmed him for about a minute in 2009, before he announced that. I haven’t made that video available to anyone, but I did give him a memory stick with the photos and the video from 2009. It’s really low quality, mostly due to bad lighting and I’ll leave it to him to post it or to hang on to it. I also put the videos of my youtube channel on the stick – on the off chance that he gave me a “maybe” regarding the interview request, I wanted him to see what my channel was about without having to go online. Thus, Patrick Rothfuss is now one of only two people in the world, who has the HD version of my videos…
Anyway, I shall ask him again at some point in the future via more official channels, once my style is a bit more proven and I have a few more subscribers.
I particularly liked that at both events, nobody asked the dreaded book three question. The signing in London was a dual event together with Scott Lynch, who is standing next to him in the picture.
It was so busy that the venue Forbidden Planet had already sold out all the books and more or less turned me away. Instead, I made my way to the Q&A venue at the Phoenix artist club. One of the things that wasn’t a question and that came out completely wrong was my remark on him doing things differently in the future. I wanted to convey that it was great to see him in such a nice venue as the Phoenix to answer questions, but instead it came across as more of a demand. However, he announced on facebook that his signing sessions in Spain drew massive amounts of people: In Madrid apparently about a thousand people showed up and it took nine hours to sign books. Given that, I understand that he needs to change his public appearances and that perhaps these smaller events are unlikely to happen in the future. We shall see. In any case, it was great to see Patrick Rothfuss in Europe again after those four years.
Pursue your dreams and see you next time,