I'll just point out that the title was not directly spoken to me, as Joe Abercrombie was actually sitting in front of me. But these were the first words I heard uttered by Peter V. Brett, American fantasy author and after hearing him talk last night, all round general DUDE. It is somewhat shameful to admit, but I have not read his books yet, but the first one is sitting in my bookcase, all manner of signed, awaiting its turn in my neat little stack of books I have to read.
Now for some time-honoured context.
My dearest friend Oracle is a huge fan of Peter V. Brett. In fact, we reasoned she was the biggest fan in the room last night. So when I discovered that he was going to be in Bath doing a book signing, I had to tell her. She had to get tickets. And thus, by the curious quirk of temporal mechanics, the uninitiated found himself sitting next to the biggest (self-confessed) fangirl in the room. I'd like to clarify, absolutely nothing wrong with that. And then, when the aforementioned Mr Brett walks into the room, it just so happens that British fantasy author Joe Abercrombie is in the building too. And takes the seat in front of me. Fun fact, this is the second time I've been at an author talk/signing event with Joe Abercrombie in the audience. The first time was when the GRRM Reaper himself, George R.R. Martin was in Bath nearly a year ago. Since I titled the blog post following that event with a direct quotation from the GRRM Reaper, this blog comes with the words of Peter V. Brett.
As I have admitted to my shame, I've not yet read his work. And he was coming out of the tail end of a cold, so intermittent coughing precluded the notion of a dramatic reading from his latest book, The Daylight War. Which is actually no big deal, because he jumped straight into the Q&A session and...he's a very interesting guy and what he had to say about his books and his writing processes hooked me enough that I am exceptionally confident that I will enjoy his first book, The Painted Man. Which is, as aforementioned, patiently waiting on my book shelf.
The biggest thing for me, though, is not the effect he had on me, but the effect I learned he had on my friend's life. Which I won't go into, but it is incredible. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Peter Brett, but last night was her night. I had mine when I met George R.R. Martin and in the same night met Thief, who I continue to foolishly blunder about with and make a complete ass of myself. And she hasn't gotten rid of me yet. Must be doing something right.
So he had this profound impact on my friend and when she tentatively revealed this...I don't think I've seen a man looked more touched in my life. It is one of those moments that will forever be etched into my mind. Let's face it, a part of every writer dreams of being able to make a difference to someone's life, to know that their writing, their characters have empowered someone or helped them through something. It's strange. Something doesn't have to happen to you to have a profound impact. Watching my friend meet her hero and the deep and touching moment that followed...that one's staying with me for a good long while.
Now I mentioned that Peter Brett is a general, all round DUDE. Allow me to elaborate on this point. I said that he was coming down from a cold. He admitted this, he apologised for the lack of a reading and let's face it, he was persevering with a book tour regardless of a physical ailment. That's dudish factor number one. Number two came from what I can only describe as a rather belligerent, self-entitled member of the audience who hadn't read his books at all and seemed to only be there because it was a book reading and thus a society event worthy of his time. And while this man pretty demanded a reading from Peter Brett, he held his own, kept his cool and politely explained that a reading wasn't something that could come under the heading of "winging it". Since he didn't have one prepared and had the highlighted cough, he declined. Now I'm in the service industry. I deal with far, far too many people like this self-entitled gentleman. So I can relate to and respect how he kept his cool and stood his ground. And kept very good humour about it. Add this to the deep and profound impact he had on my friend, it all equals an absolute DUDE who, even without have read his writing, I respect and think is utterly brilliant.
So there we have it. If we take nothing else from this, take this - Peter V. Brett is a dude. On that basis alone, go out and buy The Painted Man. Read it. Enjoy it. Buy the other two books in the Demon Cycle series. It's what I'm going to do. Right after I plough through my ever-growing pile of books to read...