Tomorrow I will meet Robin Hobb.
Not only is she a giant in the world of fantasy literature, she is also one of my favorite authors. Most of you reading this may not have heard of her, and I’ve taken that into account. If you’re in that group, you can read the following paragraph and find out who, exactly, Robin Hobb, is. If you’re already aware, you can skip to the subsequent paragraph.
Robin Hobb has been around awhile and has centered her own pillar-strengthened foundation well within the fantasy corner of speculative fiction. She’s worked hard (and, in fact, talks about it HERE), and has come a long way to earn her seat upon the pantheon of well-rounded and honored fantasy authors. Akin to some weird magic-weaving pretty-prose writing witch, she usually writes in 3s – creating trilogies out of all of her tales. She has also employed a nome de plume, Megan Lindholm, in writing several of her books.
After I graduated in 2000, I was so happy to be able to just go to a bookstore and finally (after the seemingly endless streams of dull academic reading, studying, tests, and essays) be able to read whatever I wanted. I knew I loved fantasy, but I hadn’t read much since before starting school and wasn’t really big on who some of the big names where. All I really wanted was a good story, and as far as I was concerned that day, whatever I picked was a shot in the dark. I’ll try this one, I thought. That book was Assassin’s Apprentice, and if you know anything about this trilogy, you know that I read the next two as soon as I finished.
I’ve read works by many other authors since then, of course, but it certainly does not mean that I’ve strayed from her work. You have to expand, read all you can from all that’s out there. Her writing is solid and entrancing. Just running my eyes across one of her pages, I feel as though I’m there. Robin Hobb, though in name isn’t often listed with the more popular authors in fantasy, continues to be a solid voice in fantasy literature, and to be able to meet her will be a fine opportunity.
On her professional site, under the FAQ section, she answers a question about becoming a professional writer. Her answer is one I admire.
The first thing you have to do is write. There is no easy shortcut about that. Having a great agent or your cousin being best friends with an editor won’t change that. First, you have to write the book (or story) beginning to end. Then you have to make it the best story you can possibly create. I’ve always preferred to work alone, not sharing my work with anyone until it goes off to an editor. That’s my quirk. Many professionals attribute a lot of their success to workshops and writers’ clubs. For more information about these, search online or ask your local library or bookstore for information.
The second thing you have to do to be a writer is to keep on writing. Don’t listen to people who tell you that very few people get published and you won’t be one of them. Don’t listen to your friend who says you are better that Tolkien and don’t have to try any more. Keep writing, keep faith in the idea that you have unique stories to tell, and tell them. I meet far too many people who are going to be writers ‘someday.’ When they are out of high school, when they’ve finished college, after the wedding, when the kids are older, after I retire . . . That is such a trap You will never have any more free time than you do right now. So, whether you are 12 or 70, you should sit down today and start being a writer if that is what you want to do. You might have to write on a notebook while your kids are playing on the swings or write in your car on your coffee break. That’s okay. I think we’ve all ‘been there, done that.’ It all starts with the writing. ~ R. H.
If you haven’t read any of the works from Robin Hobb, you’re cutting yourself short of a full fantasy education. De rigueur in my book. Her work is proven delightful quality, it is established, solid fiction, and sets her up as one of the rare fantasy giants of our time.