Robin Hobb is visiting Waterstones at intu Milton Keynes next week, to promote her new page-turner Assassin's Fate.
Alaskan-raised, she now lives in Washington State and when it comes to modern fantasy fiction, try as you might, you'll not find anyone better at it!
It's safe to say that her visit to the new city is a bit of a scoop.
Join the international best-seller in store from 12.30pm on May 3 as she promotes the conclusion to her successful Fitz and the Fool trilogy.
Ahead of her anticipated visit, Robin talked words with us...
The first book that really took your attention
I read many of the usual books as a child: The Oz books, the Walter Farley Black Stallion books, lots of fairy tales and myths. My father had lovely illustrated fairy tale books from when he was a boy, with illustrations by Edmund Dulac, for example, and I greatly enjoyed those.
East of the Sun and West of the Moon was a favourite. But the book that has stayed with me through the years was an odd little fantasy called The Joyous Story of Astrid. Written by L. Adams Beck. It was peculiar and delightful and unlike anything I’d ever read.
It begins with a baby being abandoned on a writer’s doorstep. The writer lives in a cottage in the forest, and the baby is a Moon Child, who never awakens during the day. L. Adams Beck,I learned decades later, was a pseudonym for Elizabeth Louisa Moresby Beck, a British woman who had travelled extensively in the east and allowed those Asian flavours into her story-telling.
The moment you knew you wanted to be an author
From the time I was very small, I knew I wanted to write stories. I remember trying to write a Halloween story when I was seven. But it wasn’t until I was a teenager that it became a drive. I could not find the sort of books I wanted to read. So, to appease the dragon, I began trying to write them for myself.
A book by someone else you wish you had written
I’ve never wished that I’d written someone else’s book. That would take all the fun out of it. The very best thing is when I have no idea what will happen or who these characters are. The books I love most are the ones that I never could have written. I think that’s what makes me love them so.
How do you take your books - in paper form or digitally?
Paper. Almost always paper. I did buy a Nook, but reading on a screen is just not the same thing. I do not find it as immersive. I like the heft of a book, and knowing how many pages are still to be read. I like how the paragraphs are set out on a page. What font, how much white space was chosen for this book. All of that matters to me.
How quickly did you find success
I served a very long apprenticeship. I began writing as a teen, and began submitting stories for publication when I was 18. I sold a few. A very few. I kept trying and in my late twenties, began to sell a bit more often. And at 30, my first novel was finally published.
Explain the power of a good book
A good book transports the reader. The right book takes me to a different place, perhaps a different time, and allows me to be a person I’ve never been before. A good book allows me to experience a life that isn’t mine, to share thoughts I wouldn’t have had by myself. For me, a good book has a transparency to it. Once I’ve entered it, I no longer sense that I am reading a book. Later, when I recall it, it’s not something I read; it’s something I did.
And tell us your favourite word... and why!
Defenestrate. It means to throw someone out a window. I love that our English language knows that we desperately need such a verb.
What would you say to someone to encourage them to pick up your current page-turner?
It would make my editor very happy! And my publisher even happier! I am sure that every reader wants to spread such joy! And think of the economic benefits of keeping book sellers employed. It’s almost a civic duty, one that I try to make as pleasant as possible for you.
For more details about the Waterstone's visit, call the store direct on 01908 395384.