First-time novelist Patrick Rothfuss offers self-aware heroic fantasy in The Name of the Wind, the first volume in a trilogy (which is already completely written) about the life and legend of Kvothe, master magician, musician, thief, assassin and hero.

You're an English professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. How did you find the time to write your trilogy?

I actually started the book back when I was a student. I made time to write by being a bad student. It took me nine years to finally get my degree. Most of that time I was dirt poor, working three jobs and writing my trilogy.

How easy was it to get an agent and how long did it take to place the book with a publisher?

I had an awful time getting an agent. Apparently, I can write a half-million word fantasy epic, but a decent one-page query letter is beyond me. Eventually, I won the Writers of the Future contest and met Kevin Anderson at its workshop. He introduced me to my current agent, Matt Bialer. I couldn't be happier with him.

Who do you read?

Terry Pratchett. He doesn't get enough credit for the superbly believable world he's created. It's internally consistent, well constructed, and his characters behave realistically. I fell in love with Neil Gaiman after reading his Sandman series and Neverwhere. Peter S. Beagle, too. I despair of ever being able to write a book as good as The Last Unicorn. It's perfect. It's like a poem, like a pearl. Tim Powers; he writes an extraordinarily tight story. Damn. This is like asking a child what his favorite kind of candy is. I have so many.

Do you know what the publishing schedule will be?

The next two books will come out in one-year intervals. I'm able to do this because when I started writing, I had no idea how long a book was. I just kept blazing a trail until I came to the end of Kvothe's story. When I finally finished, I looked back and realized I had a trilogy's worth of material.

Will there be more books after the trilogy?

Absolutely. Growing up, I always hated it when an author created a world and characters for you to fall in love with, then walked away from it. My world is bigger than this single story. There are places on the map yet to be explored. Characters who only make brief cameos in this trilogy will have larger roles in the works to come. Honestly, I think I could write stories in this world forever.