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Google Interview

Google Interview published on 1 Comment on Google Interview

I have spent the last day listening to and reading interviews with Jim Butcher, and I have to admit that some of them are frustrating in the repetition of standard questions. But I should have known that Google would have something special – not only did the interviewer push beyond the stock questions, but she obviously read and was delighted by The Aeronaut’s Windlass. She is savvy about promotion, and she kept her questions about TAW. She was great!

GOOGLE: “What book are you reading right now?”

Jim Butcher: “I just got done reading Tribal Bigfoot by David Paulides for my nonfiction which is a book that compiles Bigfoot sightings and encounters in connection with Native Americans. And I’m reading the first Powder Mage book by Brian McClellan.”

GOOGLE: “Does the nonfiction book have anything to do with Dresden?”

JB: “No, I’ve just been fascinated by Bigfoot since I was a small child, I used to have nightmares about him.”

GOOGLE AUDIENCE MEMBER I FELL IN LOVE WITH: “I’ve read all the Dresden Files, and I’ve recommended them to friends, and I say: “But the first two… they seem a little… like he didn’t know where he was going”. And then Summer Knight happens, about book three or four, and it seems to just gel and all of a sudden there’s this major arc. Is that a correct assessment, or is that incorrect? At what point did you have that big arc that you’re building now? And I hope I’m not offending you.”

JB: “Oh, not at all. Okay. When I first wrote the first Dresden Files book, I turned in the first couple of chapters and my teacher told me I did it. It was publishable. Then she told me I needed to plan out the rest of it. She meant the rest of the book—I took it to mean the rest of the series. […] As I’ve continued writing, I’ve learned to trust the readers a whole lot more. When I first started setting up the story, I was only dropping one or two little hints and a couple little things that were going to continue into the long haul and otherwise trying to focus on Harry’s immediate surroundings, basically. And then I realized – oh, wait a minute, readers are much better at putting all these things together than I thought. So I started incorporating more and more, more subplots, more characters, more hints to the future, and more pay off from the past. I’m basically writing for people like me, for nerds. Nerds are smart, they can work this stuff out. As I learned to trust the audience more, the books got better.”

GOOGLE AUDIENCE: “I love the Dresden Files, the arc, the payoffs. Normally I would never ask this, but it’s driving me nuts. Every time a new Dresden File comes out, I reread the entire series and take notes. In Proven Guilty, when Harry’s driving back, he gets hit by a drive-by, and there’s some hints, and that never gets resolved in that book and I haven’t seen a resolution since. Is that – will that—“

JB: “YEEEEEEEEEAH, THAT’S WEIRD, RIGHT? There’s a lot of little stuff like that that’s been seeded through, actually, and will get answered eventually but hasn’t been yet. And that’s cool. It’ll be more fun later.”

GOOGLE AUDIENCE: “Back to the role-playing thing. We as readers love to see characters level up. But I’ve seen many authors that level up too much. The campaign goes Monty Hall and it ceases to be fun, almost. In your books, thankfully, you don’t seem to have an issue with that. Is it hard not to write yourself in a corner that way, though?”

JB: “No, because I know what the end is. The reason why series get too long, and people get too powerful, they get handed the dagger of Cain or whatever and it just keeps going and going… the story was supposed to end before that, but they didn’t end it. Stories aren’t stories unless they have an ending to them. I don’t believe in a neverending story. It’s easy to keep Harry in check in terms of where he’s getting at as he gets more buff and more contacts. It’s because I know what he’s going to be fighting, you know, like in the next book or down the line. I can kind of gauge – oh, he needs to be about this far here, so that he is never the super overpowered guy who just smashes things. It’s all about pacing and where we’re going to wind up.”

GOOGLE AUDIENCE: “Silly Dresden Files question. I remember in Cold Days the shenanigans regarding the origin of Demonreach. And can we expect more time shenanigans in future books?”

JB: “More time shenanigans? SIR, one of the Laws of Magic states that you cannot mess with time like that! OF COURSE, there will be more time shenanigans! I only established the seven Laws of Magic so I could have Dresden methodically break them one by one!”

Book Talk: Brandon Sanderson at Powell’s in Beaverton on 10/10/2015

Book Talk: Brandon Sanderson at Powell’s in Beaverton on 10/10/2015 published on

Saturday I had the great privilege to see Brandon Sanderson at Powell’s in Beaverton. He has a long history with Powell’s, which is a bookstore he loves a great deal, and so we see him on a regular basis, but it’s always awesome to see him again. I thought it was pretty awesome that during the tour for a Mistborn book he wore an ‘Iron Man’ shirt. I guess that makes him a Lurcher:-)

As he has gotten more and more popular Brandon has gotten more and more interesting to see in person. If you ever get the chance, you should go see him. Before he does his Q and A or reading, he always does a cool little talk that is relevant or interesting. I missed the first few minutes of recording, but he talked about an invitation he had received to go to Sharjah in the UAE, and the amazing fans he met there. The recording kicks in where he starts talking about the Korean ruler Sejong the Great, and his foresight in commissioning the Korean written language Hangul.

Part two kicks in when Brandon does his Q and A, and he covers some cool ground with these questions. Part three is just him going over what to expect during the signing process, which is pretty cool, since he has to sign books for over 400 people at events at Powell’s. If you’re going to see Brandon at an event, this is cool to watch.

The reading is part four, and it is no spoiler to say is from the Dalinar flashback sequence in Stormlight three, is embargoed at Brandon’s request until November 1st.

I also provided a (spoiler-free) review of Shadows of Self, available HERE.

Brandon Sanderson at Powell’s Cedar Hills on 10/10/2015 (Part 1 of 4)

Brandon Sanderson at Powell’s Cedar Hills on 10/10/2015 (Part 2 of 4)

Brandon Sanderson at Powell’s Cedar Hills on 10/10/2015 (Part 3 of 4)

Brandon Sanderson at Powell’s Cedar Hills on 10/10/2015 (Part 4 of 4)

embargoed until 11/1 at the author’s request.

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