Q: For anyone not familiar with your work, can you tell us the type of books you write and your most prolific series?
A: I’m a fantasy novelist who is best known for the Dresden Files, a series of books about Harry Dresden, Professional Wizard.
Q: When you decide you wanted to be a writer?
A: I first considered the possibility when I was 18, but it took me until I was 19 to decide to go for it.
Q: What preparation did you take that led you down the path?
A: Oh God, none whatsoever. I just started writing my first novel. It was awful. I mean, genuinely, truly awful. So were the next several novels. But at some point, I decided that I needed to learn something about how to do it, and stumbled across the Professional Writing department at the University of Oklahoma. Everything I really needed to know about writing novels, I learned from Deborah Chester, herself a novelist, in a class titled “Writing a Genre Fiction Novel.” The first book of the Dresden Files was a class project written over one semester.
Q: What was the first novel that you completed? How did you feel once it was done?
A: That very first one was entitled “The Fall of Dark.” OMG, bad book. Bad, bad book. Epic fantasy novel that had wizards and a farmboy and warriors and a balrog and scads of monsters and which ended with Cthulu breaking free of his prison and /that/ was where the series really got started, with the adventurers blowing it and turning loose their world’s Apocalypse.
Q: What is the part of the writing process that you most enjoy?
A: The same part all writers most enjoy. Typing THE END when you finish one.
Q: What interested you the most in attending Wyrd Con IV?
A: Are you kidding, it’s a con! I love showing up at cons and meeting people. Someone has conned them into thinking I’m not just a garden variety nerd, and people are nice to me and laugh at my jokes.
Q: I have heard that you have LARPed in the past. What was the first LARP experience you participated in?
A: And present and future. As I write this, I’ve got documents open in other windows in which I’m helping to work on a new rules set for my current game. I love boffer weapon fighting and building characters, and costumes, and weapon props, so I try to get out and larp whenever I can. I started playing in IFGS in Norman Oklahoma in the fall of 1990, and was one of those guys who LARPed every weekend, driving from state to state to get into more games.
Q: What interests you most about interactive storytelling?
A: Hitting people with nerf swords! And sometimes imaginary lightning bolts!
Q: How do you think you may incorporate interactive storytelling into your own literary projects?
A: Oh, it all goes into the life experience, doesn’t it. Writers have to draw everything they do from their life experience. I’ve never served in the military, but I /have/ crouched shivering in the bushes as the sun came up, watching the frost turn to dew, gripping my foam sword and waiting for a gang of opponents to get close enough to spring an ambush. It isn’t the same experience as an actual fight (which tend to be really quick, confusing, and undignified), but it’s a place to start building the experience for the reader.
Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers, of any genre?
A: Write, write, write. Read, read, read. Don’t give up.
Q: If you were to create any character for yourself, that you would then play in a game, what type of character would it be?
A: I started off playing a lot of lightning quick backstab rogues, and then hardcore in-your-face, two-weapon fighters. But that was 20 years and 40 pounds ago. These days, I play a lot more underhanded, devious wizards, stalwart shield fighters, and background support-type characters who let the younger guys be all speedy unless there’s a dire need for me to come out of the bullpen.
Beyond that, I have the attention span of a goldfish for characters. I like playing lots and lots of different personalities, and I’m making new costumes and new characters every other month.
Want to meet Jim Butcher at this year’s Wyrd Con? There are just 3 more days to be a part of the Kickstarter campaign, and some great perks are left, including a “Get it all” perk that allows you to have lunch with Jim!