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ITW Patrick Rothfuss (VO)

ITW Patrick Rothfuss (VO)

Actusf : Who are your literary influences, which authors ?
Patrick Rothfuss : I don't know about "literary" influences. What makes something liteary? I read a lot, far too many books to start naming them. Starting around 5th grade I read about a novel a day. Two if they were short. Once I got into college I read more of what you'd probably consider classics. I read Chaucer and Homer and Shakespeare and Cervantes.
But a lot of times I think I was more influenced by the books I didn't like. The books that irritated me. I'd read a novel and think, "I never want to do that to my readers."
Actusf : How did you come up with such an idea as The Name of the Wind ?
Patrick Rothfuss : I read a lot when I was growing up. Most of that was fantasy and science fiction. The problem is, after a few years of reading a novel a day, you start to notice that a lot of fantasy is pretty much the same. I started to get tired of the standard tolkien-esque fantasy. Even more, I started to get irritated with all the standard fantasy clichés.
So when I started out to write this novel, I wanted it to be something different. Not just another Tolkien rip-off. So I made a list of all the things I didn't want my book to do. No Hobbits. No prophecy.  No evil sorcerer trying to destroy the world. No elves with bows and dwarves with axes. No quest to stop the unspeakable evil.
Actusf : Why did you choose fantasy as a vehicle for your first novel ?
Patrick Rothfuss : Fantasy is what I read. It's what I love. Why would I write anything else?
Actusf : How do you figure Kvothe What kind of character is he ?
Patrick Rothfuss : If he were a simple character I could describe in 50 words I wouldn't need to write a whole book about his life….

Actusf :  It often comes up that authors put a part of themselves in the characters they present. Could you define for us which part of Kvothe is directly taken from yourself ?
Patrick Rothfuss : I think people want to believe authors put themselves into their characters. In some cases it's probably true, but it's not as simple as that. If that were the case, writers could only write one character, or versions of the same character. Think how boring that would be…
Once, back when the novel first came out, one of my friends said to me. "Kvothe is pretty much like you."
"A little bit," I said. "But do you know who's really like me?"
"Who?" She asked.
"Simmon," I said.
She thought about it for a second. "I can see that."
I nodded. "But the truth is, you know who's really like me?" I paused. "Elodin." 
She laughed. "That's true," she said. "I've seen you teach."
"But actually," I said. "You know who's *Really* like me? Mannet."
She nodded. "I guess that makes sense too…"
Then we had a good laugh, because those characters really don't have much in common with each other at all. She knew me, so it was easy for her to see me in the characters. But that doesn't mean they're based off me, it just means she was eager to see it.
The fact is, I wrote the book, so my fingerprints are all over it. Some similarities will undoubtably show up. But Kvothe isn't really like me. We're both clever and we let our mouths get us into trouble sometimes. But that's about it.

Actusf : How did you work on this first volume ? Did you write an outline or did you start an extensive research to create you rown universe as many fantasy writers do ?
Patrick Rothfuss : I don't outline. It just doesn't work for me. I did do a lot of worldbuilding as I worked on the story though. I've created a lot of the world that never shows up in the book.
Actusf : Kvothe is an interesting character .He is talented in his field and bound to become a héro and yet very human. How did you compose this character ? Did you structure it somewhere else, in your outline for instance, or did his personnality just emerge and rule ?
Patrick Rothfuss : It was a pretty organic process.
Actusf : Don’t you fear that his kindness, his generosity will become a hindrance later ? That he wont be that interesting as a character, for lack of personnal torment ?
Patrick Rothfuss : Why would kindness make someone less interesting? Fantasy is chock full of tormented, revenge-driven, borderline sociopaths. It's been done to death. It's boring.
Actusf : In the first volume, he is in collège. Since Harry Potter, hard not to think of a school for wizards without the name J.K.ROWING popping up in your mind. How did you work around that ?
Patrick Rothfuss : It wasn't hard at all. I started writing my book way back in 1994, years before Harry Potter was published in 1997. I didn't actually read any of them until 2001 when I'd already finished the first several drafts of my trilogy.
A few people have made compairisons between my books and hers. But only a few people, and even then the compairisons usually say, "The Name of the Wind is like Harry Potter for grown ups." The books really aren't very similar at all.
Actusf : At what can you tell the French readership about the sequel ?
Patrick Rothfuss : I don't believe in spoilers. But I think it's safe to say that Kvothe grows up a bit in the second book. There's a big difference between the story of a young boy and the story of a young man. He travels more, and experiences more of the world. He gets into more trouble too.
Actusf : What are your plans for the future ? What are you working on ?
Patrick Rothfuss : Most of my time is spent revising book two. But I have a few little side projects. I wrote a picture book with a friend of mine called "The Adventures of The Princess and Mr. Whiffle.
It was a lot of fun, and I'm unreasonably proud of it. It looks like a children's book on the surface, but it's really not.

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