Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Robin Hobb - author event

We've had rather a break from local Waterstones events, with holidays and family things clashing so it was lovely to be back there last night - especially as the author was fantasy writer Robin Hobb whose work includes the Farseer, Liveship Traders, Tawny Man, Rain Wild Chronicles and Soldier Son series. 

Robin is over here from Washington state, USA  on a book tour of the UK, an appearance at Brighton World Fantasy Convention and then on for a quick visit to Sweden. Last night she was mainly talking about her new novella, The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince, which comprises two short stories set in the Farseer world but long before the events of the novels. It is a story which she said she'd had in mind for ten years, and made a number of attempts at, trying to find the right narrator or 'voice'. As she prefers writing in the first person, like a teller of stories to people huddled round the campfire or blazing hearth, getting this 'voice' right is all important. Before reading the opening to one of the stories, Robin gave thanks to the illustrator Jackie Morris who has designed many covers for her in the past but this time provided art-work appearing throughout the Wilful Princess.. and advised us all to check out Jackie's website for more wonderful art.

After the reading, the audience were invited to ask questions - ranging from ones about daily writing routines, to the magic systems and ecology of the worlds she creates, her influences (Tolkein), what she's reading (if she has the time), are any of her books likely to appear on screen and if so who would she cast (a young David Bowie as the Fool) - but I'm not going to share all her answers. Two things that interested me were her comment that despite the wishes of her readers, she feels compelled to only allow the characters to behave in ways that seem, well, within character and her 'go-back' file; if the plot calls for a person to be, say, hiding in a garden but discovered by his sneezing at flowers, she makes a note to go back and insert a flower-allergy for him earlier in the book (I've often wondered how writers managed this sort of thing).

a rapidly emptying table of books for sale
The end of the evening was, as is usual, a book signing and while many new books were sold, the snake of readers that went round three walls of the room included many people hugging treasured copies of books that they brought with them for Robin to sign as well as many new copies.

Another excellent evening from Waterstones Nottingham - but check your local book shop for events near you.
 



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