Holy cow, it’s December already! I’m taking a moment to freak out… Alright, freaking completed (or, rather, put on hold). Please welcome this month’s Featured Author, Brent Weeks!
Brent Weeks was born and raised in Montana. After getting his paper keys from Hillsdale College, Brent had brief stints walking the earth like Caine from Kung Fu, tending bar, and corrupting the youth. (Not at the same time.) He started writing on bar napkins, then on lesson plans, then full time. Eventually, someone paid him for it. Brent lives in Oregon with his wife, Kristi. He doesn’t own cats or wear a ponytail.
drey: Hi Brent! Welcome to drey’s library, and thank you for taking the time to visit us this month!
Who is Brent Weeks? Please introduce yourself in about ten sentences.
BW: I’m that writer who’s remarkably… normal. I’m also remarkably sane for having chosen an insane life. I’m an epic fantasy writer who is fortunate enough to live his dream and good enough — or surrounded by clever enough marketing folks — that I have hit The New York Times Bestseller List a few times. I’m a guy caught right in the teeth of a paradox: I write books that I like to think couldn’t be written by anyone but me, and at the same time, I’m averse to sharing too much of my biography because I fear it will interfere with readers accepting and understanding my work as it is. That is, when you read my book, I want you to be wholly absorbed in that world, not thinking about me at all.
drey: Hmm. I don’t think you’re going to have any problems with that last point there, Brent. Your fans are going to be absorbed in that world, then thinking about you — as in, where’s the next one?
When did you first realize you were meant to be a writer? Was it a gradual realization, or a “big bang” event?
BW: I think I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a writer. Actually deciding to pursue it with a full knowledge of how improbable it is to ever get published, much less make a living at it, was something I didn’t embrace until after I took a short story class at Oxford University as a 19-year-old and realized I might have some small talent for this thing.
drey: What was your first novel about (& I’m talking about the one you wrote at 13 – based on your FAQs)? What happened to it?
BW: Naturally enough, it was about a young boy. It’s about a magic sword and a young boy entrusted with it who has no idea just how very special he is. Other than that, the mists of time have been kind and have covered over most of the details!
drey: Who and/or what inspires your writing? How do you get from idea to pages?
BW: A big question indeed, and one which would probably get a different answer every time you asked me. An important inspiration for my most recent series, The Lightbringer Series, has been that cultural touchstone that has become basically palimpsest: the character of Odysseus as seen through four different lenses: Homer’s, Virgil’s, Dante’s, and Tennyson’s. Did that sound pretentious? Yeah, to me too. Dammit.
drey: Why write fantasy, as opposed to any other genre?
BW: Because the truth is too big to be constrained by reality.
drey: Tell us about The Blinding Knife (which I can’t wait to read!).
BW: The Blinding Knife is a story of guns, magic, and swords set in a faux-1600-Mediterranean-Sea-basin world. It’s also the story of a father who picks a favorite son, and how two brothers are torn apart by that. It’s about a civil war in which loyalties conflict and intersect and ultimately, I hope, it’s about integrity and redemption. Throw in some pirates and gods, and I think you’ve got a good read!
drey: What do you indulge in, when not writing?
BW: I read, of course, but mostly non-fiction these days. I’m currently finishing up a really good but depressing book on race and slavery in the Middle East, and a surprisingly dull tome about the historical assassins. I’m also an avid gamer. I’ve been dabbling in role-playing games recently (Pathfinder and one I’m playtesting, so I can’t talk about). And I love Xbox games. I just finished “Hitman”, which should be not at all surprising to those who know the Night Angel series!
drey: Why would you finish a dull tome? Sound like so much (not) fun…
Smackdown: Your favorite characters face off in the ring. Who are they, who wins, and why?
BW: Grima Wormtongue from The Lord of the Rings faces off with Harry Potter. Harry obviously has more magical power and thus, would destroy Grima, but Grima plays on his pity and Harry puts down his wand long enough for Grima to slip a knife into his ribs. Since Harry’s friends aren’t around to save him this time, Grima wins. Cue trumpets.
drey: Poor Harry! What a sorry end to the wizard…
What’s your favorite accompaniment to chocolate?
BW: More chocolate?
drey: Dude! That so does not answer the question!
What’s up next for you?
BW: More chocolate? Thanks for bringing up chocolate. Must. Have. Chocolate!
drey: Aargh! I’ve created a monster (ha ha!)… Be back in a bit — have to hunt down some chocolate…
Ok, I’m back. Let’s finish up with a quick Proust-lite:
- What is your idea of earthly happiness?
A great single malt in one hand, my wife snuggling me on the other, and not complaining about the smell of the great single malt, chocolate in the other hand, and a video game controller in the other hand, with my wife saying, “Come on, honey, please, one more round?”, and a great book in my other hand. Oh, and my iPhone in my spare hand. I like to multi-task my pleasures.
- What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
- Who is/are your favorite hero/heroine(s) in fiction?
Odysseus, whom I do not actually count as the same character as Ulysses from those later writers. Virgil was a slanderer.
- What is/are your favorite hero/heroine(s) in real life?
I really love the hero of that movie, Gandhi II. I think it’s based on a real guy, right?
- What sound do you love?
The sighs of my adoring fans.
- What sound do you hate?
The sound of an adoring fan asking, “When’s the next book coming out?”
- The quality you admire most in a man?
A manly aroma.
- The quality you admire most in a woman?
Tolerance for my snarkiness.
- If not a writer, you would be a … total miserable abject failure. Or a lawyer. Same thing, really.
- What is your favorite swear word?
Thank you for swinging by, Brent! I hope you enjoy your visit – I’m pretty sure we will! And now, keep reading for a fabulous giveaway!!
You lucky, lucky ducks! Brent has an AWESOME giveaway for you! I know you want details, so… The prizes are *drumroll please* 5 paperback copies of his first Lightbringer book, The Black Prism, and one hardcover copy of the second, The Blinding Knife! Even better, this one’s open INTERNATIONALLY! Yeah!
To enter, just fill out the form below before December 29th! Good luck!