Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Questions from fourth graders.

Recently, a fourth grade class wrote me a bunch of letters, asking me questions.

Now I've done a lot of interviews to date. But a lot of these questions were refreshingly new. Also they were easy to answer, which is always a treat. "What is your favorite color?" is way easier to deal with than, "What do you feel about the current state of the fantasy genre?"

So if you're curious, here they are.

How many books have you written?

I only have one book that you can buy in the store right now. But I have two other novels that are mostly written, and I'm working on fixing them up right now.

I also have a picture book that I've written. Right now I'm working with an artist who is drawing the pictures for it.

Is it hard to be an author?

Sometimes. It's fun having a book published. That's the easy part. People can buy it and read it. People ask you questions about it. That's nice.

But there's a lot of work that comes before your book gets into bookstores. I spent years working on my book before it was ready to get printed. My friends would call and ask I wanted to go to the movies, or play poker, or get dinner. I'd have to say, "No, I'm working on my book."

A lot of times they wouldn't want to take no for an answer. They'd say, "You can work on your book later." But if I kept putting it off, it never would have gotten done. It's a job, just like anything else. And that means that a lot of times I had to miss fun things to get my work done. That's when being an author is hard.

Where do you get your ideas?

Sometimes I get them from things I learned in school. I spent a lot of time in college and I learned a lot of cool things there. Mostly though, I just make things up in my head.

What is your favorite...


I really like sushi. But Mexican food is a close second place.


The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle.




Neil Gaiman.

Are you married?

Nope. But I have a girlfriend. Her name is Sarah.

Do you have a middle name?

Yup. It's James.

Do you have pets?

Nope. I used to have a dog when I was growing up though. He was a big shaggy yellow dog named Pup. I also had dwarf hamster when I was in college. His name was Crazy.

Will there be a movie of your book?

Maybe. Right now we're talking to movie people and trying to get them interested. It takes a lot of different people with a lot of different skills to make a movie. You need a director, screenwriters, actors, producers. Right now we're trying to put together a team of people who would like to make the movie, but it's pretty complicated.

How do I become an author and get a book published?

The best way to get started is to practice writing. Write some stories or start a book. If it isn't very good at first, don't get discouraged. Nobody is that good when they just start out.

It's like when you're learning to ride a bike or Rollerblade. Everybody falls down when they're just starting out. It's embarrassing, and it hurts, but it's the only way to learn. That's how you get better with writing, too. You keep working on it and get a lot of practice.

How old were you when you wrote your first book?

I was about 15 when I started working on my first book back in high school. It had some good bits in it, but I never finished it. I made a bunch of mistakes writing it.

But it was really helpful to me in the long run. Since I made those mistakes in that first book, I knew how to avoid them in my second book.

What is your favorite TV show?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer. My second favorite is Firefly.

That's all for now, folks.



posted by Pat at


Blogger Incubus Jax said...

We had a Patrick Rothfuss day at my school when I was in the fourth grade too. It was tons of fun.

Wait a minute...

June 24, 2008 9:39 PM  
Blogger Joseph said...

I was hoping one of those 4th graders would as a question about book 2 that you would actually answer.

June 24, 2008 10:07 PM  
OpenID littlejigman said...

Kids can be pretty spiffy...
Some more feedback for you Pat from a kid I know...

So, my daughter, who's twelve and has read NOTW twice now, lists you as one of her very favorite authors (she's got great taste--Buffy's her favorite show ever too)...anywho...she had an assignment in class--part of a "who am i" sort of assignment. One of the questions that she was asked to answer was "If I had 24 hours to live, I would..." Her answer: "I would donate all my saved money to Perfect Pals [a cat shelter herabouts] and then read Name of the Wind one more time."

That's pretty high praise.

June 24, 2008 10:17 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I appreciated how you wrote so directly and clearly, even more so than usual. Nice, for fourth graders. And it was a good answer about the writing being hard, I'm always trying to get across to my kids that even work that seems fun is actually work. My favorite answer was the one about the movie prospects. It does sound complicated to arrange that whole deal. Ugh.

June 24, 2008 11:37 PM  
Blogger marky said...

This post has been removed by the author.

June 25, 2008 2:57 AM  
Blogger marky said...

Lucky little blighters! The only people we got visiting our school were priests and policemen.
It's great that you’re giving something back and hopefully you've just inspired a new generation of quality writers. Well played.

June 25, 2008 2:59 AM  
Anonymous Kalligenia said...

You'd be amazed at what knowing a person's favorite color or food tells you about them. I'm surprised not to see the what 3 things would you take with you to a desert island question!

June 25, 2008 8:47 AM  
Blogger Mary J. said...

Erm, Pat? You didn't list your favorite color...

Anyway, this was great- I can't wait to get home and have Scott read it. He is really looking forward to your visit to Indy. We have been trying to read your book together but he really wants an audio version. (He says I'm good but I'm no Jim Dale)

Hard to be a sushi lover in the Midwest, isn't it?

June 25, 2008 9:30 AM  
Anonymous Ryan said...

Overall, Angel is my favorite of the Joss shows.
Then Buffy (last 2 seasons were not up to snuff).
Then Firefly (cut way too short!)

June 26, 2008 8:18 AM  
OpenID suziko said...

My order, too, would be

But they're all brilliant, really. Though I must admit that I'm currently rewatching Angel, and if I were rewatching Buffy right now, I might order them differently.

Don't know if you read the AV Club ever (it's affiliated with the Onion), but one of their writers is watching Buffy (for the first time) and reviewing the episodes. He just finished Season 1. I highly recommend it to any Buffy fan:


June 27, 2008 4:42 PM  
OpenID suziko said...

p.s. The AV Club was where I first found out about you, in this stellar review of NOTW:


June 27, 2008 4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Buffy The Vampire Slayer is my favorite as well, oh how I miss it.

September 15, 2009 2:42 PM  

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