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By Chris (2007-12-30)
Good to know, or is it? Aaah, you know it makes no sense. When people send you books to sign (normally your own books, I'd imagine) you now encourage them to send you a little present. This guy sent you a load of swag: but what's been the weirdest thing you've received so far?
A: I haven't had anything that's just been-above-the-board weird yet. Like a jar full of severed doll heads, or But there have been a lot of cool things. Someone sent me a quarter that had a bullet hole in it. That's pretty cool. I got a cool children's book about a Cowboy and an Octopus. (Called Cowboy and Octopus) and I really enjoyed that, too. A particularly cool group of fans actually made me a cloak full of little pockets, just like in the book. It was really surprisingly thoughtful....
It's about time I asked you some authory-type questions!
A: Fair enough. Hit me.
Though this may sound a bit insulting (it's not!) – if you could change one thing about The Name of the Wind now that's it's in print, what would it be?
A: Hmmm... a few typos slipped in. I'd love to go back and fix them. It's impossible to catch all the little mistakes, but it's still embarrassing. I'd like to weed out as many as possible.
Concerning the infamous "Fabio" artwork...
I'm actually rather fond of it. What say you?
A: The artwork is fantastic. Donato does such incredible painting. That said, a lot of people felt that that cover was too "romance-ish" for their taste. That's the only problem I had with it. You never want to hear that people are avoiding your book based solely on a dislike of the cover.
But on the flip side, I've had a bunch of people say that the cover drew them in and made them pick up the book in the first place. Also, Kvothe is pretty hot on there. You can't deny that...
Indeed, not. Now, Kvothe, main character of your books, has red hair. For centuries, in our world, red hair has been associated with magic, deities, the arcane, etc. In Britain however, while it had this, an element of something still remains today. While most have forgotten the reasons, children can be bullied over having red hair, insulted, etc. which is plainly ridiculous. I was wondering whether anything of that sort is experienced in America, or whether it's a peculiarly English phenomenon and why you chose red hair for Kvothe?
A: I imagine that you guys have that as a cultural holdover from the Celts, who pretty much kicked the hell out of everyone in pre-history Europe. They were right in your neighbourhood. You're probably carrying around a race-memory grudge from several thousand years ago because some red-haired maniac knocked you down and ate your lunch. Metaphorically speaking of course.
There are only faint echoes of that other something here in the US. We have the little-used expression "I'm going to beat you like a redheaded stepchild." But over here in the US, red hair is mostly mythic. Plus sexy. Plus exotic.
Ahem. How have your pupils and fellow teachers reacted to your author-dom and The Name of the Wind, itself? It would be kinda awesome if one of them quoted Kvothe back at you ... or something...!
A: Most of my fellow teachers are only dimly aware that I exist. Which is how I like it for the most part. If I stay under the radar I have comfortable anonymity and relative freedom in how I run my classes. Those that do know me don't seem to be aware how well the book as been doing, the awards and nominations. *Shrug* I can't blame them. Generally speaking nothing gets noticed by literature scholars until the author's been dead for twenty years. I'd rather be alive than famous.
Most of the student don't know that I've written a book either. It's only been out for less than a year over here, so that's not terribly surprising. But in every class I have two or three students who mention it to me. And a lot of my former students have stopped by to congratulate me and get copies signed. That's a nice feeling. Any time a former student stops by your office carrying anything other than a knife, it's a nice feeling.