Interview: Nate Taylor Talks Patrick Rothfuss


rothfuss-deepbelowEvery great writer has a great editor behind the curtain.

Sometimes, a great writer has a fantastic artist chained in the depths of the darkest dungeon imaginable, servitude all the artist knows.

That might be taking it a bit far but given the work they do together, it might not be that far off. Artist Nate Taylor and bestselling author Patrick Rothfuss have been friends a long time. They met in college through a mutual friend. They clicked immediately. Nate has entered that inner circle of Pat’s most trusted people, a beta reader for the books in the Kingkiller Chronicle and given the responsibility of creating artwork and cartoons for Pat’s various endeavors online and elsewhere.

But a few years ago, their friendship became more professional—and took, arguably, a dark turn. Pat hired Nate to be the artist on his not-for-children children’s book. Titled The Adventures of the Princess & Mr. Whiffle, it is the story of a princess who is anything but she seems. Nate and Pat worked together, designing the characters, and every page bears their touch. It quickly gained a cult following among Pat’s legion of fans.

The book was so successful that Pat and Nate had to do a sequel. The Dark of Deep Below is that Princess & Mr. Whiffle sequel!

Here is an interview with Nate where he talks about Pat, the new book, and other things!


Shawn Speakman: THE DARK OF DEEP BELOW, the second Adventures of the Princess & Mr. Whiffle not-for-children’s book, is now available. You are the artist on it. Talk about the tale and what challenges you and writer Patrick Rothfuss encountered while working together over the course of the entire project?

photo-natetaylorNate Taylor: I think the biggest hurdle was that we were doing a completely different kind of story this time. The last book was all about lulling the reader into a false sense of cuteness, then tearing their eyes out. This time, Pat decided to tell a more emotionally rich tale. It’s less about a surprise twist (though it does have that), and more about the relationship between a little girl and the baby brother she’s struggling to understand.

Naturally, there was the issue that this book is about two and a half times longer than the last one. I thought I’d be able to hammer out three pages a day and be done with it in about two months, but it actually took more like six months. If you got the version of the book with the sketchbook in the back, you can see that a lot of time was put into the goblins. Then there were page revisions, minor tweaks, and we completely changed one of the endings and moved it to an earlier place in the book. Fortunately, working with Pat is terrifically gratifying as an artist, and I even picked up some storytelling tips in the process.

Shawn Speakman: You have been friends with Pat for many years now, having even read the earliest versions of THE NAME OF THE WIND, THE WISE MAN’S FEAR, and the third book. How did you meet? And is it strange having a friend become so successful to eventually hire you for your own creative talents?

Nate Taylor: First, I haven’t read the third book. I’ve only read the last page. Spoiler alert: Chronicler has wooden teeth.

We met at WSU because my friend, Pat Johnson, was in the same grad program as Rothfuss. He told me one day, “There’s a cool guy in my program who’s a writer. I think you’d like him.” After roleplaying in his Four Corners world and listening to him recount the story of the Princess in the marzipan castle, I knew I needed to illustrate the things he was describing. That was sort of my MO then; a friend talks about a cool idea, and I draw it for fun. I didn’t expect it to become my career, but I’m certainly glad it did.

Shawn Speakman: Only read the last page? Riiiight. Don’t believe you!

You contribute as much time and energy as you can to Worldbuilders, Pat’s ever-growing charity that donates money to Heifer International. Why is that important to you? (feel free to talk about the sketching you are doing via The Signed Page if you want)

Nate Taylor: Pat has found an organization that doesn’t just give people what they need, but teaches them how to sustain themselves, and that raises the quality of life of everyone around them. That’s stupendously world-altering stuff! Heifer International is making the world better in real tangible ways, and Pat created a charity fundraiser that lets normal folks like us be a part of that effort. This year, I’m donating my time to make specially remarqued editions of the Dark of Deep Below for sale on the Signed Page, and the proceeds from those sales are going to Worldbuilders.


The new book with the original Donato The Name of the Wind painting sketch.

Shawn Speakman: Will there be another Princess/Whiffle book? A trilogy of gruesome mayhem maybe!?

Nate Taylor: Wouldn’t that be great? We’ll have to wait and see.

Shawn Speakman: Is that up to Pat and his availability? He does have a book to complete, right?

Nate Taylor: Right. Pat and I have talked about a few projects, but apparently there’s some big important book people are excited about, and that takes precedence.

Shawn Speakman: What projects are you currently working on? Or are those hush hush?

Nate Taylor: Comic books are my next projects, one of which I’m doing with Pat to go along with Torment: Tides of Numenera. Then I’ve got a story for my own illustrated book, a webcomic slot on my website that is in desperate need of attention, random commissions that come up, and I owe my Mom some pictures for a children’s book. I also have to do pieces to take advantage of every opportunity to get my art in front of people who hire artists, and I’m always always working on my craft to become better, faster, stronger.

To learn more about The Dark of Deep Below by Patrick Rothfuss & Nate Taylor, visit the Subterranean Press website HERE! Or if you are in the market for a double-signed copy, visit The Signed Page.

Visit Nate at!

speakman-shawnShawn Speakman is the author of The Dark Thorn, an urban/epic fantasy hybrid novel bestselling author Terry Brooks calls, “a fine tale by a talented writer.”

He is also editor and contributor of Unfettered, a fantasy anthology featuring some of the best writers in the genre. When Shawn isn’t lying for a living, he runs The Signed Page and Grim Oak Press.