Author Spotlight: Patrick Rothfuss

author spotlight patrick rothfuss paperback parisPictured: Patrick Rothfuss (via AV Club)

Patrick Rothfuss has slowly been gaining popularity in fantasy genre over the past 10 years. Watching his journey from a small time, relatively unknown author, to the successful writer he is today has been incredible, to say the least. As I watch more and more people pick up his novels based off of recommendations, now is the perfect time to learn a little more about one of the best voices that fantasy has to offer.

Who is Patrick Rothfuss?

Rothfuss was born in Madison, Wisconsin. He earned his B.A in English from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, after spending nine years going from major to major. During this time he was working on his series, The Kingkiller Chronicle, which was originally a single book.

In 2002, he entered a chapter of his book disguised as a short story, titled “The Road to Levinshir”, in the Writers of the Future competition, which brought him into contact with publishers. After splitting his ideas into three separate books, The Name of the Wind, The Wise Man’s Fear and The Doors of Stone, he was published by DAW in 2007, with his debut novel, The Name of the Wind.

Since then, Rothfuss has done many things. He runs a blog, wherein he keeps readers up to date with his everyday life, his work on the books, and new announcements. He lives with his girlfriend Sarah and has had two children, who he affectionately calls Oot and Cutie Snoo in order to protect their privacy online. He has appeared on multiple shows on Geek and Sundry, including The Story Board, in which he talked with other fantasy authors about writing; Tabletop, in which he has played games with Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day; and, Critical Role, wherein he has role-played as a guest character in Dungeons and Dragons games.

In addition to Rothfuss’ online presence in the form of his blog and web shows, he can also be found streaming video games and discussions from time to time on Twitch, which began as an incentive during his annual Worldbuilders fundraiser a few years ago.

Last but not least, Rothfuss is actively involved in helping others. In 2008, he started the Worldbuilders organization in order to support charities such as Heifer International. Throughout the year, all proceeds from his online shop, The Tinker’s Packs, go toward Worldbuilders. Furthermore, he holds two yearly fundraisers, one in the summer, and another in the winter, with all proceeds going towards charity.

Where should I start?

To date, Rothfuss has five books out, belonging to two different series.

If you are a fan of epic fantasy, then you want to start with The Kingkiller Chronicle series, which begins with The Name of the Wind. Often described as a grown-up Harry Potter, although I would argue the series is very different and incredibly complex when compared to J.K. Rowling’s beloved series, fans of the fantasy coming-of-age genre will appreciate Rothfuss’ work.

If fantasy is your thing, but you are a little worried about the length of The Name of the Wind (you shouldn’t be!), then The Slow Regard of Silent Things might be for you. Although this short novella features one of the characters from The Kingkiller Chronicle series, you don’t necessarily have to be acquainted with Auri, or Rothfuss’ fantasy series, in order to enjoy Slow Regard. If you are a fan of language and whimsical stories, it’s quite possible that Rothfuss’ novella might be what you are looking for. Be warned, however, that it is not your traditional story.

In the off chance that you are not a big fantasy fan, Rothfuss does have another series that might be of interest if you enjoy cute things and have a bit of a dark sense of humor. The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle are composed of two short graphic novels, The Thing Beneath the Bed and The Dark of Deep Below. Written by Rothfuss and illustrated by Nate Taylor, The Princess and Mr. Whiffle has the irresistible charm of a children’s story while being anything but a children’s story. These cute, yet incredibly dark stories are a joy to read and are reminiscent of old faerie tales.

Why should I pick up his books?

Rothfuss’ writing is unlike anything else I have ever read. It’s concise, yet incredibly beautiful. If you enjoy reading for the sake of language and description, Rothfuss’ writing is for you. There are so many small details that stand out in The Kingkiller series.

It’s full of stories. And songs. I have never been more interested in some of the side stories that appear in Rothfuss’ works, from the love story of Sir Savien and Aloine, to the hidden secrets of the Amyr, and even the kidnapping of the moon. Rothfuss puts such incredible detail into the world-building. So many different worlds exist within the series, which are unveiled as Kvothe travels from the dirty streets of Tarbean, to the acclaimed University, and even to the hidden depths of the Fae. Bits and pieces of different languages are freely given to the reader, with the most interesting and detailed of which being the Ademic hand-talking that is introduced in The Wise Man’s Fear as a means of expressing different emotions and nuances that are absent from language as a whole.

Full of touching moments, unforgettable stories, a varied cast of characters, and stunning quotes, Rothfuss work is incredibly unique and brings something entirely new to the fantasy genre.

Then I heard a voice, a voice like burning silver, like a kiss against my ears. Looking up, my heart lifted and I knew it was my Aloine. Looking up, I saw her and all I could think was, beautiful. Beautiful.

– excerpt from Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind

Is there anything else that I should know?

To start, it is important to be aware of the fact that The Kingkiller Chronicle is not complete. There is not a release date planned for The Doors of Stone. If you are interested in reading the series, keep in mind that it may be a while before the last book in the series is out. As a fan, it is great to admire an author’s work, but remember that authors have lives too. Rothfuss is a perfectionist, and instead of badgering him about the third book in the series, I urge you to think about how busy your own life is. Instead, take the time to appreciate what is out now. Talk about theories, re-read the series, find something else to read in the meantime; The Doors of Stone will come out – it’s just going to take time.

As of right now, there are also adaptations planned for The Kingkiller Chronicle! For those of you who are interested in seeing books come to life, Lionsgate will be working with Rothfuss to produce a television series, movie and video game based on Rothfuss’ works. Not many details have been revealed as of yet, but Lin-Manuel Miranda is the creative producer, which is most definitely a step in the right direction.

You can learn more about Patrick Rothfuss on his personal website, Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, and Goodreads.

Melissa Ratcliff
the authorMelissa Ratcliff
Senior Staff Writer
Reader, Writer & Translator. Cats, books and video games are my life.