Posted in books, fantasy, Portland, Publishing, writing

Patrick Rothfuss Sings!

Yes, it’s true.

But first, I totally underestimated how many people were fanatical enough to drive out to Beaverton last night to see Patrick Rothfuss in person. One person raised his hand when Patrick asked who had driven more than 3 hours to get there, while many hands went up for one – two hours. :

  • They had 350 copies of his book on hand to sell. By the time I arrived just before 7:00 (after driving around the parking lot like a rat in a maze for ten minutes trying to find parking, and seriously this should have been my first clue) they were already sold out. All gone. They were even referring us to other bookstores in the area that might have a few copies if we wanted to pop over, buy one, and come back to get it signed. Yes, that means I did not get a copy. boooohooo! Very sad.
  • It was standing room only. People were spilling out into the adjoining mall. I found a spot WAAAAAYYY in the back of the bookstore. At least I could see him, others crammed into the book aisles could not.

It was not a good spot that I found. Granted I could actually see him, but one of the dudes standing near me apparently did not believe in using deodorant. Oh, it was bad. Nasty people.

And I forgot my camera, so no photos. I stupidly ran home after work instead of going straight to Powells, but I wasn’t wild about the idea of taking the train home after the signing. In my haste to hit the road I didn’t even think of the camera, sorry about that.

But yes, Patrick did sing! Someone asked him a question, and before he could answer, someone else called out suggesting he sing the answer. So instead, he lead us all in “You Are My Sunshine, My Only Sunshine,” and sang the second verse solo. Not too shabby, either, totally in key and didn’t go flat. 🙂 Then the audience joined in for the final chorus. That had to be a first for a book signing.

He requested no video, but photos were fine. Video makes him very self-conscious and he worries that some innocent quip will land on YouTube out of context and follow him for years. Not a wholly unfounded fear, I’m sure. But he did regale us with several anecdotes about Neil Gaiman whom he described as gracious, gentle and charming, and later with stories about his son which probably went into more detail about his family habits than he intended and he stood there covering his face with his hands in embarrassment when he finished while we all had a good laugh (it had to do with him teasing his toddler about nursing… too much to go into and you’d have to see his facial expressions and body movements to get the full effect).

One thing he reiterated when people started asking the usual questions about writing advice was that you just have to PBIC and do the work. And revisions are our friend. He revised (majorly) “The Name of the Wind” so many times, the original draft bears little resemblance to the finished product. Some characters that people love and adore didn’t even exist until the next to last revision (the girl next to me gasped audibly when he said that, but she talked so much during his visit, I had to bite my tongue to keep from telling her, “Sweetie, we’re here to listen to Patrick, not you.” Everytime someone asked a question about the book, she had a comment. She has no idea how close she came to getting bitch-slapped). It seems the second book which just came out, “Wise Man’s Fear” didn’t take quite so long to write (the first one he said was begun fifteen years ago), so he’s apparently learned a lot along the way. He also has no patience with people who claim their characters “just took over and I couldn’t do anything with them.” He called ‘bullshit’ on that. He can be pretty blunt, I like that.

He said that he spends very little time reading blogs online, even those of people like Neil Gaiman. He is a Joss Whedon geek, so if Joss wants to do a tv show of “The Kingkiller Chronicles”… he’d take Joss over HBO it sounded like. AND someone asked if there would ever be a RPG based on the books. His response was “Oh yeah” but not until after the third book is published because there’s stuff in there that would be in the game, that obviously no one has had a chance to read yet. And he’s seriously down on spoilers! Big time against spoilers. He admitted he once spit on a friend who dropped a spoiler about the final season of “Angel.” (We all laughed of course, and he chided us for laughing at bad behavior like that). He’s a pistol, no mistake.

Anyway, it’s probably just as well I didn’t have a book to have him sign. I’m sure the signing went on for two or three hours with all those people there, and there’s no way I could have hung around that long. Bummer, but what can you do? It wouldn’t surprise me if they had to extend the store hours last night to give him time to finish up.

Oh, and he likes the little soaps you get in hotels. 🙂 (I don’t think that means he wants you to round them up and send them to him, so don’t).


Writer of vampire stories and science fiction. First novel, "Revenants Abroad", available now at Amazon. If you like a vampire you can go out drinking with and still respect yourself in the morning, I think you'd like Andrej.

10 thoughts on “Patrick Rothfuss Sings!

  1. Oh we were standing in the back. Never seen anything like it for a book signing, you’d think he was some huge international rock star! LOL

    I’m just sorry I didn’t think to grab the camera, he was so funny making faces and stuff while telling his stories. Oh well, maybe if he comes back someday I can get some pics.


  2. what a great experience! I wonder if the bookstore realized so many people were going to show up? Rothfuss does have quite the cult following.

    and btw, I’m reading Wise Man’s Fear right now. 😉


    1. Hi Redhead,

      I’d say Powells was caught off-guard as well, since they ran out of books! Patrick only read the prologue to WMF, since he is so anti-spoiler. He didn’t want to wreck anything for the hordes since the book has only been out a couple days now. 🙂 He offered to read some poetry and older stuff of his, but it was at that point the song was suggested. It was pretty funny.


    1. You could have won for “Longest Distance Traveled”! LOL I’m hoping they will get more signed editions in later. Patrick didn’t even realize until he was ready to start doing the signings that all the pre-signed books were gone. I think it surprised everyone. I hope the turnout will convince him to come back here for the next one, and then I’ll be ready! 🙂


  3. It was mighty impressive, but we geeks apparently turn out for our heroes 😉 He talked about a signing at a university that had people backing up in the stairwells, sounded like they were all but hanging from the rafters. He really is a very good public speaker, which I’m sure adds to the allure. Many authors are not. I overheard one guy talking about how dull another of his favorite authors was, nearly put him to sleep.


  4. Too bad you didn’t get one of the books, but it sounds like a fun signing! 🙂

    And how loyal and dedicated fans who were willing to drive for hours to meet him.

    Sounds like a cool evening! Let us know what you think of the book after you have read it.


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