Category Archives: Me Interviewing Other Folks

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.

Also posted in Worldbuilders 2009 | By Pat36 Responses

Abercrombie Books, and an Interview



This is a worldbuilders blog.





Over the last couple years, I’ve done a lot of interviews. I’m guessing somewhere between two and three hundred.

While I always enjoy them to some degree or other, I have noticed that a lot of questions tend to be the same. And things tend to be rather formal. Rarely does anyone ask me stupid, fun questions like, “Who would you rather kiss, Samuel Delany or George Martin?”

So when I started collecting books for the fundraiser, I thought I’d try doing some interviews of my own. Just to see what it’s like on the other side of the desk, so to speak.

Joe Abercrombie is the first of these. He’s donated some books (see below) I thought he might be willing to have some fun because he wasn’t upset when I encouraged a roomful of people in Manchester to “mess up his pretty face.”

I’ve talked about his books before on the blog. So I won’t repeat myself here. Instead, let’s get right to it…

Okay. Thanks for agreeing to the interview, Joe. Can I call you Joe?

We’re all friends here. You can call me Mr. Abercrombie.

First let’s get the introductions out of the way. Assume you met someone at a dinner party who had never heard of you. Assume you wanted to impress this person. Also, assume that you are really drunk. Let’s say… five drinks. Drunk enough to brag but not drunk enough to slur. What would you say?

Don’t you know who I am? You’re joking. You do know. You do. You don’t? I’m REALLY awesome. You’ll just have to take my word for it, because I haven’t won any awards. I’ve been passed over for being too edgy/safe/literary/commercial. I personally believe it’s all politically motivated. I was nominated for the John W. Campbell award for best new writer, though, and the David Gemmel Legend Award. The Blade Itself is published or forthcoming in . . . let me see . . . 14 languages, I think? I do particularly well in Germany, like the Hoff. Come back. Come back here! Where are you going?

Let’s start with an easy question, Mr. Abercrombie. If you were a tree, what sort of tree would you be?

An immense, thrusting, unconquerable English oak, starving the pitiful lesser saplings of other fantasy authors that crowd about its mighty trunk of all light and water, spreading its suffocating canopy across the fantasy landscape and making of it a blasted desert.

So which of these other pitiful other authors are you reading right now?

I am reading a book called Wolfsangel by MD Lachlan, a gory savage medieval Norse magical werewolf book. It’s good. Out next year, I believe.

I am also reading a vast selection of bathroom, kitchen, radiator, insulation, wallpaper, furniture, and architectural catalogues.

Are you researching for some sort of bizarre fantasy DIY crossover novel?

Renovating and extending a house, but now that you’ve made that suggestion I may start. I think DIY/fantasy is an underexploited sector of the market.

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

Wow, man, that’s a tough question. I’m totally split between Best Served Cold and Last Argument of Kings. I tell you what, you can have the deciding vote. Which of those two is your favourite book of all time?

Of those, I’d have to say that Best Served Cold is my favorite. I have four of them on my coffee table and they work really well as coasters. Not only is it all title-ironic, but the thickness of the book makes it a great insulator.

I knew you didn’t really want those books for some kind of charity giveaway…

Nah. I’m fixing up my house, too. I just throw all the books into a shredder and stuff the paper in the attic. Speaking as a conneseur of fantasy literature, your book has some serious R value.

You’re relatively new to the publishing world. How has getting your book published changed your life?

To begin with, not very much. Publishing is, as you probably know yourself (and probably like most businesses when you get closely involved with them) a slow, unwieldy, mostly unglamorous, and largely unprofitable business. I’m still waiting to sweep down some marble steps in a white suit with a dirty martini in my hand while crowds of beautiful people applaud me.

For me it was a relatively slow burn – there was a year’s wait between signing a contract and the first book being published, in which I continued pretty much as normal, just a bit more smug. There was a steady ramping up of excitement prior to the first book appearing, then a strange and eerie silence when it actually went out there.

All this time I was still doing my day job as a tv editor and writing in my spare time pretty much as I had been before I got a deal. But each book that came out in the trilogy did better, and dragged along the ones that came before, plus further rights were sold in foreign markets, which meant that I’ve gradually been able to commit more time to the writing without leaving my family to starve.

These days I’ve more or less given up on the editing and I’m lucky enough to be able to write full time, so I guess you could say that my life is totally changed since I was first published, but it’s been a slow metamorphosis rather than an overnight transformation.

I wanted to ask about the film editing. You’ve done work for people like Barry White and Coldplay. Was it a cool gig? or were you the film equivalent of a code monkey – all of the work, none of the glory?

As you’re probably well aware, editors in the book world often do a lot of the work for a fraction of the glory, and tend to serve as scapegoats for the wrath of readers. If people like a book – well written. If they hate it – badly edited. And the odd thing is that it’s virtually impossible to tell from the finished product how good the editing is, as you’ve no idea what state it started in.

Editing in the TV world is not entirely dissimilar, and usually the aim of editing is to be entirely invisible so the audience is caught up in what they’re watching. So the general public will rarely notice good editing, only bad.

Plus in TV you’re part of a big team – directors, producers, executives, cameramen, and many more, all with important roles to play, and where directors and cameramen are always going to spend time on location, editors will typically work after the event, locked away with flickering screens in a darkened room, for hours on their own, struggling to shape the metaphorical silk purse from the sow’s ear. So the glory is minimal. Having said that, it’s a cool gig in that the work is pretty varied and creative, the pay is pretty good, and the freelance lifestyle gives you plenty of time off. If it hadn’t been for that free time between jobs I might never have started writing.

How often do you check your amazon sales rank?

At one point it was getting a bit silly, so now I have to strictly limit myself to five times an hour. This has become a great deal easier since I discovered Sales Rank Express, a web application that allows you to check all your sales ranks simultaneously. Or those of everyone at your imprint, for that matter.

How many copies of your own books do you currently own?

Hard to say, since most of my books are packed up in boxes, but since I get sent several dozen of any new UK release and half a dozen of each foreign language edition, plus extra books whenever anything’s reprinted, a lot more than is decent or functional. I’m currently looking at about fifteen UK and US Best Served Colds, a box full of new Blade Itself Mass Market Paperbacks, A box of Swedish Blade Itselves (Itselfs?) where they split the book in two therefore doubling the number I got sent, a stack of Russian ones, a Czech Before They are Hanged, and my Mum’s old copy of Beowulf. I didn’t write that last one, of course.

It’s a strong possibility that there are more of my books inside my house than outside it.

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

I am a venomously ambitious sociopath incapable of the feelings of shame or guilt.

Assume for a moment that you’re me. (I’m from the American Midwest, so I have an abundance of shame and guilt.) Can you remember anything you’ve done that would make me blush with shame?

I can’t remember anything particularly egregious, but in general as a writer you’ve got to do anything and everything you can to persuade people to read your books, especially when you’re starting out. There are no points given for lights under bushels, and if you don’t seem to be excited about your own work, how can you expect anyone else to be excited about reading it? But I can tell there’s some story you’re itching to tell. Come on now. Don’t be shy. That beard isn’t real, is it? I knew it.

It’s real. But it’s not really promotional. I use it to strike fear into the hearts of my enemies. And it makes it easier to dress up as Animal from the Muppets.

Speaking of, how do you feel about Muppets?

I feel some feelings of fuzzy nostalgia, but it’s not a subject particularly close to my heart. I was more into Thundercats.

I’m curious because soon after reading your trilogy, I watched Labyrinth. In the special features, Jim Henson said, “When I go see a film, when I leave the theater, I like a few things: I like to be happier than I was when I went in, I like a film to leave me with a up feeling and I like picture to have a sense of substance.” What is your personal philosophy about your books? How do you want people to feel when they leave the theatre, so to speak?

Nice question, and a tough one to answer. First off I’d like them to feel they’ve been entertained – thrilled, amused, tantalized, titillated, surprised, or some combination of the above.

Entertainment is the number one priority as far as I’m concerned. I’d like them to feel they’ve met some vivid, interesting, unusual characters, and that those people will stick with them for some time to come. And I suppose ideally I’d want them to be left with some questions about fantasy in general, about the role that simple stories of good and evil with happy endings play for us. But deeper points are optional – you have to accept that most people aren’t going to take away everything you try to put into a book, and may even take away messages you never intended.

Above all, of course, I’d like people to shut my book with a burning need to pick up the next one…

I ask because… well… Your books are *dark*. I mean, I pride myself on writing some fairly gritty fantasy. Uncaring universe. People abuse their power. Bad things happen to good people. All that. But your stuff… it’s a whole different level. I don’t know if there are good people in your world. Everyone’s just a different flavor of bastard. Many of them are endearing bastards, but still… I guess that’s what I’m curious about. Are you purposely trying to portray a world that is unremittingly grim? Are you attempting to do the opposite of leaving the reader with that “up feeling” Henson mentioned?

Yeah, interesting question. It wasn’t ever my intention to present something darker-than-thou, if you like, to do something punishingly cynical and depressing. I guess what I was mostly trying to do was present something that ran counter to the classic epic fantasy I’d read as a kid, and since a lot of that was quite sanitized, morally simple and optimistic, I have ended up with something quite grim. But then epic fantasy often flirts with very dark issues – with war, corruption, treachery, torture, buckets of violence – and the protagonists somehow come through the metaphorical filth with their armour all shiny.

I wanted to present a greyer, more complicated world with greyer, more complicated characters. As well as looking at the damage both physical and emotional that combat with edged weapons might really cause. As with anything, responses vary. Some readers find it unpalatably, or perhaps unconvincingly, dark and cynical, others find it relatively mild. I’ve even been taken to task for my cowardly happy endings, so, you know, one man’s meat and all that…

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

Reactions of extreme distaste and hatred I actually quite enjoy, because they’re at least strong reactions, and there’s a good chance one person will love a book for the exact reason another despises it. Accusations of tedium or mediocrity I find most wounding.

Do you have a particular piece of grammar that you screw up regularly?

My spelling sucks when typing at speed. When reading sections back I find I have typed ‘of’ instead of ‘off’, ‘there’ instead of ‘their’ (or the other way round), and ‘to’ instead of ‘too’ with alarming frequency. I am also involved in an ongoing battle with my editor over my use of the word ‘behind’. She insists on frequently adding ‘him’, ‘her’ or, ‘them’ afterward. I refuse, arguing the qualification is implicit in the context. But in general I don’t think grammar should be taken too seriously. It’s like manners. They are guidelines, not laws, and can be easily circumvented if you do it with charm.

If you could pick one person from all of history to punch, who would it be?

I once broke my hand punching a pile of paper in a rage. True story. I would therefore elect to punch a small person with a nice, soft face. Napoleon, maybe?

Judging by that answer, can I assume that your delightfully gritty fight scenes are not based on any personal experience?

I held a sword for the first time not very long ago, and it was quite a scary experience. You could feel how easy it would be to kill someone with it. I was slightly worried I would accidentally kill someone by moving my arm around quite gently. Makes you feel like a big man, though.

Alexandre Dumas wrote his nonfiction on rose-colored paper, his fiction on blue, and his poetry on yellow. Do you have any little rituals that help you write?

Of late I have attempted to impose discipline onto my process, by working in two two hour blocks each day, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon, in which I only write, do not use the internet, and ignore all distractions. The rest of the day I am free to do whatever I like, replacing the old system of working at an incredibly low and inefficient level all the time, and feeling guilty whenever I wasn’t writing while only actually really writing for about five minutes each day. The first day I tried it I wrote about four thousand words, responded to about a hundred emails, cleaned half the house and went to the gym, and I thought my life was changed. But it seems I am finding it harder and harder to commit to those magic two hour periods. Something always gets in the way.

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?

Once you’ve applied the transition putty and given it good time to set, can I also suggest an orbital segue sander. I find one of those with a really fine paper can make your transitions so smooth you won’t even realize there their. I mean they’re there.

I would have a description jackhammer. Dialogue and action come relatively naturally to me but I am sick and tired of the back-breaking effort of digging up all my descriptive passages by hand. I could also use the descripto-hammer to noisily smash up the descriptions of other authors and mix the bits into a kind of low-grade descriptive aggregate. I could then wedge it between sections of dialogue I am otherwise too lazy to link together properly, and I doubt anyone would notice the poor construction quality of my books until they all collapsed in an earthquake, by which time I would have sunk the profits in a hedge fund and be living it up in Bora Bora. Also, enormous power-tools make you feel almost as big a man as swords do.

An ending measure would be useful too, since I could then get a categorical reading on whether the endings of my books are shit or good. Readers don’t seem to be able to give me a consistent measurement on that…

Thanks again, Mr. Abercrombie. I really appreciate you taking the time to chat. Not to mention chipping in some lovely books for the fundraiser. ‘

Least I could do. Pleasure talking to you and best of luck with the fundraising.

* * *

In order to help out with Worldbuilders, Mr. Abercrombie has been nice enough to donate the following lovely books.

  • Three copies of the first edition UK printing of Joe Abercrombie’s Best Served Cold. Signed by the author.

  • Three copies of the first edition USA printing of Joe Abercrombie’s Best Served Cold. Signed by the author.



Remember folks, for every 10 dollars you donate to Heifer International, you get a chance to win these books and many, many more. So head over to my page at Team Heifer and chip in.

If you want details about what books are being given away, and how the whole fundraiser works, you can go to the main page for the Worldbuilders fundraiser HERE.

Auctions coming soon. Stay tuned.

With special thanks to our sponsor, Subterranean Press.

(Oh Subterranean Press, how I love you…)

Also posted in Subterranean Press, the longest fucking blog ever, Worldbuilders 2009 | By Pat38 Responses

Interviewing Felicia

Over the last year, I’ve given a lot of interviews. I haven’t counted, but I’m guessing there have been somewhere between thirty and forty.

Generally speaking, I enjoy them. I have a strong oracular element in my personality, which means that when people ask me questions, I feel moved, compelled even, to answer them.

But that’s only half the story. I’m also a big asker of questions. I have a vast curiosity about all manner of things.

Combine this with my profound geekery, and you can understand why, when I got the opportunity to interview the fabulous and talented Felicia Day, I jumped at the chance.

Behold the result….

————

So tell us a little bit about yourself….

I’m a professional actor (meaning I pay the bills solely with acting work, cross fingers) and I’ve lived in Los Angeles for almost 8 years now. I moved here after going to the University of Texas at Austin and getting Mathematics and Violin degrees. Natural progression to acting, don’t you think?

I consider myself a “Jennifer of all trades” meaning I do a LOT of things PRETTY well. It’s not a good long-term plan, but it’s my personality.

Okay, I’ll take the bait. If you started as a mathematician and violinist, what prompted you to make the transition into acting?

I got a bad tendentious in my left pinky during college which caused me a lot of pain when I played. I had to get cortisone shots in the joint to keep playing. (It actually hurts when I play too much Guitar Hero now, LOL). That, combined with the narrow reality of a professional classical musician’s career choices, made me decide to focus on the other thing that brought me joy after college: Acting!

I also feel obliged to mention for all my fellow geeks out there, that one of your acting gigs was in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Felicia here played Vi in season seven.

So what have you been up to lately?

Recently my focus has been on creating web content. I’m the creator of the web series called “The Guild,” which is about a group of online gamers.


It’s awesome on toast, and I’m not the only one who thinks so, as it recently won a bunch of fabulous awards, too. How did you get involved in working on that?

I created the show as a half-hour television pilot after I shook a two year addiction to World of Warcraft. People read the script, thought it was funny, but thought it was too “niche” for TV because it’s about a group of online gamers. My friend and producing partner Kim Evey had just had fabulous success with her own YouTube videos, so after reading my script, she suggested we do it for the internet. We shot the first two episodes with our producer, Jane Selle Morgan, on our own dime, and after that we’ve been wholly supported by viewer donations through Paypal! It’s pretty cool. Like PBS for online web series.


Hold on. You actually quit WOW? You don’t play at all anymore?

Well, up until a month or so I did. I actually re-upped my account to see if I could play a normal amount of time (and to do some “research” for the show, haha). I had to quit cold turkey in the beginning though, it was consuming my life. I would move any WOW related tasks to the front of the queue, over career and family even. It got bad. Thankfully, my experience playing now is much more casual. I’ve only logged on a few times in a the whole month and it was easy to log off again after a few hours, keeping it short and sweet and playing with friends. Cross fingers I can sustain that!

In addition to playing the female lead in The Guild (Codex) you also write the script. Is this your first experience with screenwriting? Is it something that you’re interested in pursuing more of in the future?

I have 4 or 5 scripts written… halfway. The Guild was the first one I actually finished and rewrote and polished. It took an amazing amount of sheer will to get it on the page because I haven’t been writing since I was a kid like most accomplished writers. I absolutely admire writers more because of the whole process. I can’t believe YOU got through so many HUNDRED pages with your book! Phenomenal!!


Well… I didn’t write the whole book straight through, you know. I stopped around page 450 to get a sandwich and use the bathroom.

How do you go about your own writing?

The key for me was letting myself write badly at first in order to have something to rewrite and make better later on. I constantly have to beat down a perfectionist voice in my head. It holds me back in a lot of areas. Thankfully, the success (and fun) of writing the Guild has encouraged me to start writing other things and pursuing writing more seriously. I have several projects in the works now for TV and film. Getting them done is my main goal this summer!


Ooooh. I’m all tantalized. Can you tell us anything about your other projects?

They’re still in the development stages, but one is a half-hour comedy, and the other is my ATTEMPT to add more fantasy into the hour-long genre. We’ll see if it works!

One of the hardest parts of being a writer is actually trying to sell the book. A lot of authors spend years racking up rejections. Is the auditioning process similar to that?

Ooooh yes. It’s even worse (well, from my perspective!) After you send in your book and get rejected, at least you get your book back and can take it other places. As an actor, you go in and do your interpretation of a role, and when you’re rejected, they give it to someone else. It’s not a judgment that you’re necessarily bad, you just aren’t what they’re looking for, but it’s hard not to take it personally. The mechanics of the actor’s audition process is grueling, and I never ever will get to the point where I’m not anxious and nervous when I go in to read for a part.

Though it fills me with shame, I constantly check my Amazon Sales rank to see how well my book is selling. Most authors admit to doing the same thing. Is there anything similar that actors do?

Of course! Ratings are a #1 topic of conversation with anyone in the industry! Personally, I check my hits on YouTube a lot, especially the first few days after we post a video. The immediate feedback of the internet is pretty gratifying (and horrific depending on the comments : ) ) I have Google Alerts set up on my name and the show name and other phrases to constantly update me on what the web is saying about me/the show. After a while you get a much thicker skin, haha.

What sorts of things have people said over the years? Can you give us an example of something that’s really gotten under your skin?

I really hate the racist comments against my cast members, I remove all those comments immediately. It’s surprising how many they actually are, especially after we get featured on the front page of YouTube.

I also am irritated when people make fun of us for only putting out an episode a month, implying we’re lazy or something. It touches on the part of me that is frustrated we don’t have the budget or means to do them any quicker, but also shows that a lot of people don’t understand what it takes to make a 5 minute short that looks much better than the average video. We don’t just have one guy holding the camera, we have a real crew, who are all professionals, and who are working for free or near free. Hopefully for the next season that will not be an issue, as we’re talking with several people who are interested in financing the show.

What’s the weirdest fan moment you’ve ever had?

Well, I actually interact with fans on an everyday basis because I’m so wedded to the internet, so fan communication is actually a two way street with me and I generally ask fans for more stuff than they do of me! But the best experience I’ve had recently is when I visited Austin, and my brother and Dad and I went to Bed Bath and Beyond together to get a bath mat of all things, and a guy who worked there came up and asked me if I was Codex. Right in front of my Dad, which was so cool because not only did I create that character myself from scratch, my Dad got to see the reality that what I’m doing is “known”. It was a great feeling.


You recently got to work with Joss Whedon on “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.” What can you tell us about that?

I can tell you that it’s going to be make a lot of people want to sing after hearing the music. Joss and his brothers Zack and Jed and Jed’s fiance Maurissa wrote the show together to go on the internet in three parts. Joss had seen The Guild and had been percolating the idea of an internet musical for a while, and he said that watching the Guild was a part of the inspiration to get it done; that and the strike.


Hold on. You inspired Joss Whedon?

He said it was a PART of what spurred the work on Dr. Horrible. Don’t make it seem like I’m claiming too much credit for it!! I worked with him on Buffy a few years ago and was crazy lucky enough for him to hire me for the part of Penny. I can’t tell you what a fabulous experience it was working on it, the script and songs are fantastic! For someone in Joss‘ position to do something this experimental is great because not only is it going to be a huge success, it’s going to make people look at internet content in a new way. I can’t wait for it to be released!


Do you have a date for that?

I believe he said it will be released on the internet before Comicon.


Okay. I have to ask. Is Joss Whedon as cool as I think he is?

Yes, he’s worthy of every kind of crush you could develop, I hate to say it. He’s one of the most creative people I’ve ever met and he has a good and true heart. A real gentleman and a pleasure to be around.


Oh good. I have such a crush. I’m one tiny step away from setting up a little shrine in my house. It’s only through a supreme effort of will that I’ve kept myself from doing something extreme to get him a copy of my book. I don’t want to be that guy….

Let’s say the impossible happens and The Name of the Wind gets made into a movie. We both agree it would be dreamy if Joss Whedon wrote or directed it, but what would your ideal cast be if you got your pick?

OMG that’s hard, I’d have to read it again to refresh (the paperback is by my bed just for that purpose actually, haha!!)

Kvothe = Damien Lewis or a young version of him. (Life cop show, Band of Brothers) Jesse Tyler Ferguson also came to mind? (The Class)

Bast = the guy from American Beauty, Wes Bentley (What happened to him?)

Denna = Kiera Knightly or Natalie Portman definitely. Or the girl from Serenity: Morena Baccarin?

Oooh. Good picks. I hadn’t ever thought of Morena Baccarin as Denna….

Would you have any interest in playing a part yourself?

My dream role would be Auri. I like playing damaged goods, haha.

So you live in LA, where everyone is beautiful. What happens when you take a trip to somewhere like Wisconsin. Is it traumatic looking at us regular folks?

That’s funny! It is true that LA is filled with freakily beautiful people. I feel a lot prettier when I go out of town because the bar is set SOO high here! In LA I’m considered for the “plain” or “homely” characters mostly, I get called in for every one of those roles. They end up being more fun to play in the end, so I definitely don’t mind. But going back to Austin and dressing up and getting head turns, that’s pretty fun too, haha!

What’s the worst part of the whole actor gig?

Auditioning. It’s the most important part of the career, but you don’t know that going into it. You have to consider auditioning the sole (unpaid) function of an acting career. When you actually get hired, that’s the exception. And it’s the thing that keeps you going, of course: Those moments when you’re on set and working. There’s nothing like it!


Any advice for aspiring actors and actresses out there?

Don’t expect someone to pick you up off the street and make you a star: That’s like winning the lottery. Make your own work. It will fill your hours with fulfillment and also lead to things you’d never expect.


Like with The Guild?

Yes! Like me with “The Guild”!

———–

In a gesture of inspiring largess, Felicia has said that she’s willing to give away 10 autographed photos to folks out there that would like one. Well, eleven pictures, if you’re counting mine….

If you’d like to be part of the random drawing for one of those pictures, why don’t you send me an e-mail at paperback.contest {swirly at symbol} gmail.com with your mailing address. We’ll leave the drawing open until… say… May 12th.

Lastly, today marks the end of the paperback photo contest. I have to say that the response has been beyond anything I could have reasonably expected. There have been so many submissions that it’s going to take me at least a week just to sort them out, judge the best of them, and award some prizes.

That means if you spaced out and forgot to send your entry in, you can probably sneak it in tomorrow and I’ll pretend to be too busy sorting to notice….

Later all,

pat

Also posted in Felicia Day, Interviews, Joss Whedon, the craft of writing | By Pat17 Responses
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