Patrick Rothfuss Interview: The 2013 Fantasy Pin-Up Calendar


moyer-calendar20132013 is quickly approaching! Do you have your calendar yet?

No? Good. Because I have just the one for you!

Pre-orders are being accepted for the 2013 Fantasy Pin-Up Calendar. Patrick Rothfuss, who is no stranger to awesomeness, decided to gather together some writers you’ve probably heard of—if you haven’t, you might need to go to a bookstore—and had artist Lee Moyer paint characters from some of the best fantasy series of all time.

The result? A gorgeous pin-up calendar for 2013!

While that is great for fantasy fans and their walls, that’s not the best part though. All proceeds from sales of the calendar go toward Worldbuilders, the charity run by Rothfuss that benefits Heifer International!

In short, this is a win-win situation for fantasy fans and the world.

Curious about this project, I asked Patrick a few questions. They are ahead! When you finish reading, I hope you buy your 2013 calendar!


Shawn Speakman: Patrick, you are very involved in the fantasy community outside of your bestselling work with the Kingkiller Chronicle. Talk a bit about Worldbuilders and how it came to be?

Patrick Rothfuss: “Talk a bit?” You know better than to ask something like that. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to talk just a bit in my whole life….

It started back in 2008. The Name of the Wind had been out for about a year and I announced a photo contest on my blog. I told folks if they took pictures of themselves with my book, I’d post them online and give out prizes.

I was just goofing around, really. I thought I’d get a dozen pictures or so, give away some signed books to the 3-4 good ones, and call it a day. I was fully prepared to fake some pictures so that I wouldn’t look like a loser if nobody actually participated.

But I got hundreds of pictures. Hundreds and hundreds. People from all over the world sent stuff in. They dressed up. They got naked. They climbed onto rooftops, broke the law, and did puppetshows.

If you’re curious, here’s the recap of the contest with a lot of the pictures:

It was kinda terrifying, in all honesty. I didn’t have any idea how many people read by blog. It was my first evidence of how enthusiastic my fans could be.

Eventually it occurred to me that I could point that enthusiasm toward something other than stroking my own ego. So November 2008, I told people if they donated to Heifer International on my team page, I’d match them dollar for dollar for a month.

I thought we might get as high as 5000 dollars by the end of the month. But we hit that in three days. Other authors spread the word, dontated books and prizes. A lot of people came together on the spur of the moment to support the cause. We hit, $55,000 before the end of things. Completely bankrupted me. It was great.

We’ve done the fundraiser every year since then. Every year it’s gotten bigger and better. Every year I’m amazed at how generous everyone is.

Speakman: You have given a great deal back to world since the bestselling success of THE NAME OF THE WIND and THE WISE MAN’S FEAR. I admire that a great deal. Why do you have this overwhelming drive for philanthropy? What shaped that world view?

Rothfuss: I had really good parents. They brought me up right.

Plus, I was pretty poor for a long time. Not *poor* poor. But college student poor. I lived for most of my adult life living on student wages, then after I got my MA and started teaching, I lived on teacher’s wages, which isn’t much better.

Because of that, I don’t really have a lot of expensive tastes. What else am I really going to do with my money? Buy a little red sports car? Wear a lot of jewelry? Build a castle?

Well… I might do the last one. Maybe. Eventually. But that doesn’t mean I can’t run Worldbuilders too.

Speakman: How did the the 2013 Fantasy Pin-Up Calendar come together with artist Lee Moyer?

Rothfuss: I just stumbled into it, really. I met Lee at a convention in 2011, friend of a friend. At dinner he showed off the art for a calendar he’d been trying to sell for a couple of years. They were literary pinups based on the work of folks like Twain and Dickens.

moyer-twain moyer-dickens

The pictures were fun and clever and charming, so I said, “Hell, if nobody else wants to publish it, I will. And the profits can go to Worldbuilders….”

And eventually that’s exactly what happened. This year Lee and I decided to team up again, but this time, with some of the big names of the fantasy world.

Speakman: From the pin-ups we’ve been given access to, I am in love with the Jacqueline Carey piece. It is sexy-stunning. Are you allowed to have a favorite? If so, what month is it?

Rothfuss: Carey’s piece did turn out just marvelously. So did N.K Jemison’s, and I loved reading her write-up about it on her blog.

But in terms of downright fun and sexy. I’d probably have to go with Gaiman’s or Martin’s. They’re both great. Very different and very great.

Speakman: Final pitch, O’ Magically Bearded One! Why should we buy this calendar?

Rothfuss: I’m honestly not a big fan of pitching things. I’m a firm believer of letting the product speak for iteself. That’s why we’re letting people see the pictures ahead of time. If you like the authors involved, like the art, and would like to help out a good cause… Well, I’m guessing you’ll buy a callendar. You don’t need me to tell you why you want one. You’ll either want it, or you wont….

Similarly, if you don’t like the art, don’t care for fantasy, or if you have some sort of pathological fear of calendars, nothing I’m going to say is going to change your mind.

Honestly? I’m not a big fan of overt marketing. I’d much rather just put things out there for people to see. I’m just putting it out there for people to see. If people think this is cool, I’m hoping they’ll tell their friends.

Speakman: What other cool ass things do you have planned for Worldbuilders in the future?

Rothfuss: I’d like to do an anthology. Maybe a collection of songs set in my world, or based on my world. I think that would be a lot of fun….

What I’d love more than anything is for Worldbuilders to continue to grow and become entangled in all the different corners of the geek community.

We’re getting closer to this goal every year. Authors have been donating books from the beginning. Publishers have been following closely behind them. This year we’re starting to attract some corporate sponsors too, which is really nice.

Fans have been chipping in more and more in these last few years too, sending books and collectables of their own. Crafty folks make things and donate them to the fundraiser: jewelry, Jayne hats, pottery stines…. Some lovely people have offered to donate varying percentages of the money they make from their Etsy stores or books they’re publishing.

It keeps getting cooler and cooler. It’s better every year.

To purchase the 2013 Fantasy Pin-Up Calendar and give to a very good cause, click HERE!

2013 is right around the corner!

Be prepared!

Cersei Lannister | Art by Lee Moyer

Cersei Lannister | Art by Lee Moyer