Books from Brent Weeks – Plus an Interview

This is a Worldbuilders blog.

Time for another interview folks, this one with Brent Weeks author of the Night Angel Trilogy.

Heya Brent. Let’s say you’re at a party and you meet someone you wanted to impress. What sort of things about your writing career would you casually drop into the conversation to prove that you’re awesome?

Oh, I’d definitely drop the NY Times bestselling author bit, though with a self-deprecatory asterisk.

Yeah. That carries a ridiculous amount of weight. A couple months after I hit the Times, an editor at Penguin asked me, “How do you like your new first name?”

I gave her a dumb look.

She said, “You’re not Pat Rothfuss anymore. Now you’re New-York-Times-bestselling-author-Pat Rothfuss.”

And it was totally true. That’s how everyone introduced me at conventions for almost a year.

What’s your asterisk, by the way?

There are more NY Times lists than people think. There’s a fiction hardcover list, a fiction mass-market paperback list, non-fiction lists, self-help lists, and children’s lists. The list goes to 35, but due to… well, heck, I dunno, the cost of paper? the lists that get printed go only to 20.

I was on the list for 3 weeks, but I topped out at 29. One publisher who I gave a blurb to said, “Oh, we only count authors who hit the printed list as NY Times bestsellers.” Oh. I feel snobbed on.

Thus: Hi, my name is New-York-Times-bestselling-author-but-only-on-the-internet Brent Weeks.

Oh man… you’re only on the extended list? Good lord, why I am I even bothering to talk to you?

I kid, I kid…

If you had to pick your favorite book of all time, what would it be?

The Name of the Wind?

Ahh… That’s why I’m talking to you. You’ve got me all blushy. Seriously though. What would your favorite be?

The monstrous compendium of Calvin & Hobbes.

Good choice. You’re relatively new to the publishing world. How often do you check your amazon sales rank?

Oh, hells, busted. I used to check it all the time. Then I found this service that would do the dirty work for me…free. Check out titlez.com. Then I would check that sucker every couple of days. But I can proudly say that I’ve been Amazon sober for several months–with only a teeny little bit of backsliding.

What’s the most shameful self-promotional thing you’ve ever done?

I joined Twitter? No, wait, I’ve done worse than that. I made some Stormtroopers pose with my books.

How about you?

Oh man. I don’t know if it’s the *most* shameful, but I have a bad habit of sending copies of my book to anyone I think might be remotely interested in it. Bloggers. Webcomic artists. Other authors. Everyone.

When The Name of the Wind was first published, I shotgunned books at least a hundred books out there, desperately hoping someone would read it, like it, and tell their friends.

What’s your revision process like? How many drafts do you go through? What’s the biggest cut you’ve ever made to a manuscript?

I cut the first thirty thousand words of The Way of Shadows. Then, much later, my agent told me to cut ten thousand words from Shadow’s Edge. I went through seven hundred pages with a red pen, hacking out everything that wasn’t necessary, and cut twenty thousand words. (Possibly a hundred pages, depending on spacing.)

I actually like revising. When you finish the first draft, a novel’s such a rough stone, flawed and ugly, with only little glimmers of what it could be. Revising makes it a polished stone, flawed and ugly, with medium-sized glimmers of what it could be.

We sound pretty similar there. I actually cut the first chapter of Name of the Wind before we published it. It was cool worldbuilding, but it slowed the book down too much.

How about this? We take both of our cut beginnings, polish them up, then find a few other authors and start an anthology. How does that sound to you?

Man, I dunno. I mean, you HAVE a reputation to crap on. Me? If I sink any lower, I’ll be the William Shatner of epic fantasy.

No… hold on a minute. I think this is a workable idea. If we got a few other authors who were willing to kick in their discarded chapters, it would be a cool collection that would give a peek into the creative process. It would show some of the behind-the-scenes worldbuilding we do that never makes it into the finished product.

Hell, we could call the anthology Worldbuilders. Then maybe donate some of the money it makes to next year’s fundraiser…

C’mon. Say you’ll do it. Remember: “The good of the many outweighs the good of the few…”

After computer switches and computer crashes… Man, I have no idea where that chunk is. Believe me, I’m all about cashing in for work I’ve already done, and giving proceeds to charity sounds good, too, but even if I found it… there’s polishing a raw gem, and there’s polishing poo. No matter how long you do the latter, it ain’t gonna shine.

Maybe it isn’t as bad as I remember. If I find it, I’ll let you know.

I’ll hold you to that. I like this idea….

What’s the most hurtful thing someone has ever said in a review of your book?

It wasn’t a review, but on a forum, someone posted a topic of “Brent Weeks raped Robert Jordan.” That was pretty cool, especially because RJ was pretty much a hero of mine.

Will you tell me yours?

I think it might have been the Amazon reviewer who said all my female characters were whores or June Cleaver clones. That stung a bit.

If you could punch one literary figure in the face, who would it be?

Hold it, you never said you were going to ask about Twilight. Bollocks to Team Edward. Come here, you shiny pansy! Oh, um… I mean, not gonna go there.

Author D. H. Lawrence confessed that he enjoyed climbing mulberry trees while naked. Do you have any little rituals that help you write?

He did that first? Ah, man… You’re telling me I have to come up with a new zany writer quirk for people to share about me?

I’m afraid so. You don’t want people starting a forum thread titled: Brent Weeks raped DH Lawrence.

Seriously though. No little quirks about your writing process? No little superstitions or foibles?

I have these three balls, labeled 1000, 1500, and 2000. I juggle them in increasingly difficult patterns until I drop one. Whichever one I drop is the number of words I have to write that day.

I also make up lies to tell on the internet.

I recently made a joke about “transition putty” on my blog. That being, of course, what we writers buy at Home Depot to smooth out our rough transitions.

If you could have some sort of handyman tool like that, something like Plot Spackle or a Character Level. What would it be?

So you’re the guy who’s buying up all the transition putty? They keep telling me it’s back ordered!

I do love !Vivify! brand Character Resurrection Screws. I had this guy who kept falling off my plot by dying, and a few of those suckers put him right back in place. I also have six–nope, nope–seven Plot Hole Shovels. I might need more…

Thanks again for agreeing to the interview. And for all the lovely swag you’ve donated to the fundraiser. You’re a champ.

* * *

As you’ll see below, Brent really went above and beyond in his donation, sending along a bunch of different signed versions of his Night Angel Trilogy. Ready for them all? Here we go….

  • Two boxed sets of the Night Angel trilogy. Signed by the Author.

  • Two sets of The Way of Shadows, Shadow’s Edge and Beyond the Shadows. Signed by the Author.

  • Two hardcover collections of the Entire Night Angel trilogy. Signed by the Author.


  • An ARC of The Way of Shadows. Signed by the Author.

  • Two sets of the audio books The Way of Shadows and Shadow’s Edge. Signed by the Author.


As you can see, Brent Weeks is one of those fancy lads who have already finished their trilogy. Three books, no waiting. Unlike some slackers out there…

A lot of folks have been raving about his books, but I’ll just stick to Terry Brooks when he says: “I was mesmerized from start to finish. Unforgettable characters, a plot that kept me guessing, non-stop action and the kind of in-depth storytelling that makes me admire a writer’s work.”

Remember folks, the fundraiser is over on January 15th. Until then, for every 10 dollars you donate to Heifer International, you get a chance to win these books and hundreds of others like them.

I’m matching 50% of all donations made. So the money you kick in goes farther if you donate before the 15th. So why not head over to my page at Team Heifer and chip in. Trust me. You’ll feel great afterward.

Or, if you want to go back to the main page for Worldbuilders to read the details and see all the cool prizes, you can click HERE.

With thanks to our sponsor, Subterranean Press.

This entry was posted in Me Interviewing Other Folks, Worldbuilders 2009By Pat36 Responses

36 Comments

  1. Kris Wirick
    Posted January 8, 2010 at 6:48 AM | Permalink

    Pat, aside from you there are very few authors who i deem one of my favorites.. Martin is one, Butcher is another.. after reading his trilogy and that interview with Mr Weeks, it has solidified his place in the top five.. (dont worry, youre still number 1 :D)

    Thanks again for hosting this event. Its bringing together so many authors and fans for something.. life changing. maybe not for us (though this is rather a big deal now isnt it?) but for the people it will help.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted January 8, 2010 at 7:09 AM | Permalink

    Wow, I do believe I’m becoming a little over zealous in checking your blog when there aren’t already 100 other comments. Anyways, thanks for the interviews, they’re great. I have not yet read Weeks’ novels, but this interview makes me hope I’ll win them!

  3. Anonymous
    Posted January 8, 2010 at 7:16 AM | Permalink

    I just had to say ‘wow’ on the auctions, I reallly didn’t think the golden ticket would grab over 5 grand ad it’s still got a few days left. There goes my willingness to barter first dibs on book two and three.

  4. Carly
    Posted January 8, 2010 at 8:39 AM | Permalink

    Pat, thank you so much for sharing that interview with Brent Weeks.
    I do enjoy his writing, and am thrilled to see his generosity to your chosen cause.

  5. Malcuy
    Posted January 8, 2010 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

    I think Brent Weeks is a fabulous writer, and after reading this a fabulous person. The only book of his I’ve ever read is Way of the Shadows, but it had the Iain M Banks effect on me – it stirred up the dark parts of my imagination and I couldn’t sleep for a week. Regretfully, I’ve had to sign off further reading with him until I can either cope, or have some reassurance that it isn’t quite so grim.

    But my reaction alone should tell you how enthralling and brilliantly written that book was.

    -A-

    PS, husband’s logon because I stole his PC :)

  6. Sigrinn
    Posted January 8, 2010 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

    Worldbuilder’s Anthology sounds great!

  7. zarkia
    Posted January 8, 2010 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

    Character resurrection screws – that really made me laugh. But they worked a charm in the plot. I love Brent’s books and enjoyed reading his interview.
    Thanks for posting it, Pat.

  8. Simone
    Posted January 8, 2010 at 12:15 PM | Permalink

    All I can say is… wow. Golden ticket up to 16,000… wow. Too bad eBay will take half of that in fees =[

  9. brightbane
    Posted January 8, 2010 at 1:41 PM | Permalink

    These interviews are so much better than the boring ones they usually do. It really shows the character of the writers. Thanks for these wonderful glimpses of how writers actually are!

    ps. That Worldbuilders book sounds pretty interesting.

  10. Anonymous
    Posted January 8, 2010 at 2:11 PM | Permalink

    I hope Brent finds that cut work – after all, mythbusters proved you can polish poo!

  11. Vulpes Fulva
    Posted January 8, 2010 at 2:30 PM | Permalink

    Another great interview and another set of books to add to my must-read list.

  12. Tom P.
    Posted January 8, 2010 at 4:16 PM | Permalink

    I loved this exchange! Brilliant! Thanks.

  13. TheGloop
    Posted January 8, 2010 at 4:50 PM | Permalink

    Man I love both you guys so much! Night Angel trilogy was wicked cool and of course my signed first edition of Name of the Wind sits in honor on my alter of awesome. Any chance you two could team up and punch that smug asshole Joe Abercrombie in the face? Would that be a valid favor to ask if I win the auction?

    Joanne

  14. fiction
    Posted January 8, 2010 at 5:12 PM | Permalink

    I remember reading all three of his books the same day they hit the shelves, wasn’t it about a week between each next book release?

    If only all authors had that ability.

    Does brent week have any more books in the pipeline or has his idea’s guy run out of plots.

  15. Anonymous
    Posted January 8, 2010 at 5:12 PM | Permalink

    Actually on mythbusters they successfully polished poo so it’s worth a try

  16. Brent Weeks
    Posted January 8, 2010 at 5:29 PM | Permalink

    Pat, thanks for the fun interview. Great work you’re doing here. Now get that next book out, wouldja?

    Malcuy, the rest isn’t so dark. Honest.

    TheGloop, I prefer spanking him. In witty repartee, in sales… oh!

    Fiction, it was a month, and no, the idea guy’s busy. Being stuck in the desert with 3 books and no publisher was a blessing in disguise. Once you get published, there’s SO MUCH extra stuff to do. Ask Pat. But I do have a book in the pipeline. If I edit fast, should be out in August. If not, more like February. I’m trying, I swear.

    And if I find that poo… I WILL try to polish it. Fair ’nuff? Eww…

  17. Black Badger
    Posted January 8, 2010 at 5:58 PM | Permalink

    Hey Brent, thanks for doing the interview and for the donations. We all love Pat’s work and now I’ve been convinced to pick up your novels (or hopefully win them along with my Golden Ticket, haha!). This blog is one of my favorite sites on the ol’ interwebs precisely because of folks like you dropping by and chatting with “Rothfuss the really slow at publishing”. Makes the wait all the more bearable. Cheers to you both.

  18. Bombie
    Posted January 8, 2010 at 6:05 PM | Permalink

    For those of you interested, here’s a no-holds-barred grudge match between Joe Abercrombie and Brent Weeks (spanking in witty repartee) at the Borders Book Blog: http://bordersblog.com/scifi/tag/joe-abercrombie/page/2/

    The more recent ones are on top, so best to start at the bottom. It’s really entertaining. Enjoy!

  19. Anonymous
    Posted January 8, 2010 at 10:01 PM | Permalink

    I luvz the Night Angel trilogy!
    Kylar rocks

  20. Alexis
    Posted January 8, 2010 at 10:13 PM | Permalink

    Pat,
    I want to donate, but I thought you were doing something to assure you were not going broke this year. Right now I’m seeing $50k, or which as I understand it $10k or $5k will be covered by the sponsor. How is that working?
    -Alexis

  21. Izola
    Posted January 8, 2010 at 11:29 PM | Permalink

    “Izola the World Builder” has international best selling sequel written all over it.

    Lets wrap this fundraiser up right by donating one last time!

  22. TheGloop
    Posted January 8, 2010 at 11:57 PM | Permalink

    Brent – Nice! You and Joe are like the NPH/ John Barrowman of the fantasy world. But, ya know, not gay. As far as I know.

    Pat – Seriously, though, could a Golden Ticket win me a youtube video of you and Brent co-punching aforementioned face?

    #completelyawesomethingsthatcouldhappen

  23. Zafri Mollon
    Posted January 9, 2010 at 12:21 AM | Permalink

    lol @ “Any chance you two could team up and punch that smug asshole Joe Abercrombie in the face?”

    I bet Joe would just be happy that it helped charity so much.

    I’m also amazed and happy at how well the golden ticket is doing!!!

    Thanks for the interview, and the worldbuilders anthology sounds great. I’m always interested when Brandon sanderson posts discarded chapters online… so this would seem to work too!

  24. Skyjam
    Posted January 9, 2010 at 12:27 AM | Permalink

    Cool interview. Big fan of each of you.
    To anyone who cares to answer: What does ARC mean? I assume it’s an acronym. I’ve seen it several times on this blog. Thnx! :D

  25. Pat
    Posted January 9, 2010 at 1:38 AM | Permalink

    ARC = Advanced Reading Copy.

  26. ChrisW
    Posted January 10, 2010 at 12:54 AM | Permalink

    Would just like to point out the thread title was not “Brent Weeks Raped Robert Jordan” which is kinda sick but rather “Brent Weeks Raped “The Wheel of Time”!”.

  27. Sol
    Posted January 10, 2010 at 1:54 AM | Permalink

    And here I thought the only Brent Weeks quotes I’d repeat were in his trilogy. Glad you chose to interview him, he’s one of my fav authors and a pretty cool guy.

  28. The Moon in Autumn
    Posted January 10, 2010 at 4:25 AM | Permalink

    Malcuy/A – Actually, book 2 is darker, and parts of book 3 are darker still, but the ending is so breathtakingly brilliantly pulled together that finishing the series will help you cope. It also helps to read it while basking in sunlight where no one can see you cry into the box of tissues you have with you. :)

  29. cooper
    Posted January 10, 2010 at 7:39 PM | Permalink

    O MY GOD! i was hoping to every deity i could think of that Brent would donate some books. One of my favorite trilogies of all time. I was even more impressed at the fact that he seems pretty witty. I think i might go place a little bid.

    thanks again!

  30. Pat
    Posted January 11, 2010 at 2:13 AM | Permalink

    Alexis: I am having to match more than I initially though. But I have trouble feeling bad about it, it’s for a good cause.

    I’m hoping that before too long I might be able get a few more people to chip in money on my side of things, money to help worldbuilders match donations so I don’t have to do it all myself. But I’m not sure when or if that’s going to happen…

  31. wbpraw
    Posted January 11, 2010 at 2:54 AM | Permalink

    I would pay BIG BUCKS for The Wise Man’s Fear.

  32. Kevin Murphy
    Posted January 11, 2010 at 8:03 AM | Permalink

    Week’s trilogy had so much potential, but it was ultimately a let down. I hope he writes more, because he obviously has talent, but that series was a waste of good characters.

  33. Anonymous
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 7:21 PM | Permalink

    Brent’s books popped up often in association with my amazon searches for Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, etc., but it took me a while to finally get them. After reading them, I can’t beleive I waited so long. They were probably the first books since Name of the Wind that I shoved in my brother’s face (my fantasy geek buddy), and said “whatever you are reading, stop and read this, NOW”. Awesome. Great interview too ;)

  34. Eric
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 9:47 PM | Permalink

    Pat,

    I changed my mind. We need to fling poo at whoever called your female characters whores. This time I’m being sincere.

    We could also do a drive by flinging of the person who mocked Brent.

    My only dissapointment in life is that my favorite authors can’t put out a new 700 page, fully edited book a week. Is that too much to ask?

    Just another fan,
    Eric

  35. Becky B
    Posted January 14, 2010 at 8:57 PM | Permalink

    Pat, I’m with Eric. Your female characters aren’t whores. As one of your female readers, I’d like to say that I appreciate the women you’ve written. Denna is kind of a nutjob sometimes, but I really have a soft spot in my heart for Fela. Keep it up, you’re doing a great job.

  36. Brian
    Posted January 19, 2010 at 3:58 PM | Permalink

    Ok, this interview? Awesome. Two of my favorite actors in one place, speaking to each other, both partaking in a very noble cause.

    Before I even knew of this forum, I had the pleasure of reading both the Night Angel Trilogy and Name of the Wind.. said books occupy the top tier of my bookshelf. :D

    Very awesome thing you guys are doing here, too. Can’t wait for your next projects either, gents. Best of luck and thanks for all the awesome.

    –Brent; are you on Facebook? I just “fan’ed” Pat. :)

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