An Interview with Jim Butcher
The Reading Cafe is thrilled to have the fantastic Jim Butcher as our guest today. Jim is here today to discuss his highly anticipated new release Cold Days, which will be released next Tuesday, November 27th. Cold Days is Jim’s 14th novel in his fabulous The Dresden Files.
Without further ado, let’s talk to Jim.
Hi Jim. Thank you taking the time to answer our questions. THE READING CAFÉ and its’ members are looking forward to our interview with you. Since we have posted your bio, we will skip the usual question of telling us about yourself.
TRC: With Cold Days about to be released on November 27th, and being the 14th book in your popular Dresden Files series, can you tell us how you came up with the idea of Harry Dresden, a Wizard PI, and the entire world building of this series?
Jim: The Dresden Files started life as a class project in my Writing a Genre Fiction Novel class. In point of fact, it was my attempt to prove to my writing teacher how wrong she was about all this structured, story-craft nonsense she was trying to teach me about. You see, I knew about these things because I had a bachelor’s degree in English Literature with an emphasis in Creative Writing–whereas she merely had a master’s in journalism (and had published forty novels). So to prove her wrong, I set out to do absolutely everything she said exactly the way she said it–to be her good little writing monkey and show her exactly what horrible things resulted from such a restrictive, cookie-cutter approach to writing would create
And I wrote the first book of the Dresden Files.
Which showed her. Hah.
TRC: Though fans want this series to go on forever, you have discussed ending this series somewhere near 25 books, ending with an epic trilogy. Is this still your plan, what timeframe are we talking about, and how will you feel when this series comes to end?
Jim: That is still my plan. Stories don’t go on forever. They have a beginning, they have a middle, and they have an end. The Dresden Files is a great big story, but it’s a story, and I’ve had an ending in mind since the first book. Which is a really great thing because it means that I know where things are going. I can plant things early that pay off in the future. I can control the tension and the pace to best effect. Having an end is /good/ for a story. Having an indefinitely ongoing tale… to me, it’s like comparing a single performance of an Ode To Joy to a nine-hour round of “One Million Bottles of Beer on the Wall.” 🙂
TRC: Cold Days is to be released in a few days…November 27th. Can you please tell us the premise of this story?
Jim: Harry Dresden, having been mostly dead all day, wakes up to find out that he hasn’t managed to weasel out of his bargain with Queen Mab after all. Now he’s stuck being the Huntsman to her Maleficent, a role known as the Winter Knight. And she has a fairly simple first job in mind for him–Hi, Harry, nice to see you on your feet again, now be a good Knight and go murder an immortal and be sure to make it stick. No problem, right? And that’s just the first part of a day that gets catastrophically worse as it goes on. The consequences of Dresden’s choices are arising to haunt him–and they’re not just things that have happened to /him/. His friends have been impacted too. So how do you keep faith with the mother of all wicked faeries (who will /kill/ you if you don’t), and with your friends (who might /die/ if you don’t), /and/ do the impossible, all while trying to hang on to your conscience, your identity–your soul?
Apparently, it’s helpful to shoot your mouth off a lot.
TRC: Besides working on your next Dresden Files book, are you working on anything new? Do you have any thoughts as to what you would like to write after the Dresden Files ends, and would it be Fantasy or Paranormal?
Jim: I like having a non-Dresden project to do in between Dresden Files books. Harry’s a great guy, but having him live in your head full time induces a lot of random twitching, and it’s nice to evict him for a while so that I can torment all new imaginary people. Currently, my alternate group of imaginary people exist in a quasi-Victorian steampunk series of novels currently called “The Cinder Spires.” It’s sort of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen meets Sherlock meets Hornblower, and it’s been ridiculously fun to write. I hope to have it finished by the end of the year, so that I can plunge into the new Dresden fresh in 2013.
I mean, you know. Assuming the Mayan apocalypse fizzles.
TRC: With two writers in the family, how do you and Shannon handle the pressures of a deadline, especially if the timing is the same for both of you?
Jim: We manipulate time.
Shannon does her most productive work in the morning and early afternoon. I do /my/ best work between midnight and dawn. So when the writing pressure is on, my usual day is to wake up noonish, or a few hours after, right about when she’s finishing her work for the day. We spend the rest of the afternoon handling errands or whatever, hang out together in the evening, and then once she goes to bed, I get to work. Neither of us interferes with the other’s work at all, because we’re busy being asleep, and we still get to hang out together.
I do feel bad for our dog, though. He’s determined to be snuggling the feet of whoever is writing. It is apparently his sacred duty. So after a deadline-pressure week or two, there’s a lot of little snores drifting up from our feet while we work.
Thanks again Jim for being with us today. We have enjoyed having you here, and we wish you good luck with Cold Days. We look forward to having you come back and visit us again in the future.
If you want to learn more about Jim, you can find him at the following links:
REMINDER: Like Jim’s covers? We have an interview with the Cover Model on Sunday November 25, 2012-John Paul Pfeiffer aka Harry Dresden! Drop by and check out John Paul’s interview.