Q&A with Patrick Ness about his latest novel – The Rest of Us Just Live Here.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here 1. The premise for your latest book is a really refreshing new take on a familiar theme. Can you tell us a bit about how you first got the idea to write The Rest of Us Just Live Here?

The Chosen One plot is so important to YA, and for good reason: it provides an explanation for the incredible loneliness and alienation that teenage life brings. It’s powerful, and I’d never want to lose it. HOWEVER, I started thinking about all those young readers out there who never even think they’d be Katniss or Harry Potter. I wondered what their stories would be like. The answer, of course, is: just as interesting.

2. The “Main Plot” of the book is a hilarious parody of YA clichés. Did you ever find it difficult navigating the fine line between parody and mockery?

Not really because I love YA, for its smarts, its robustness, its great welcoming nature. If you love something, I don’t think you have to worry too much about mocking it in a nasty way. I did it with love, and people have been responding really well! Make no mistake, I’ll defend YA to the death.

3. If you had to pick a favourite “Chosen One” character from a book/film/TV show or graphic novel who would it be and why?

Buffy. Buffy, Buffy, Buffy. The greatest Chosen One there ever was or will be. Powerful but human, serious but funny. Buffy is the greatest YA creation ever. I want all my nieces and nephews to have her as a role model.

4. Why do you think people are so endlessly fascinated by stories about high school teens banding together toPatrick Ness fight a supernatural evil and save the world in time for the Prom?

I’ve always argued that all supernatural AND dystopian plotlines in YA are, in fact, actually about high school. They’re all allegorical to how it feels: that every problem feels like (and is) the end of the world, that your friends are the only ones who understand, etc. I don’t think they’re supernatural at all, really. They’re one tiny step beyond documentary.

5. Would you rather be a hero, a sidekick, a villain or none of the above? What do you think makes someone a true hero?

Eh, it’s hard enough to be a decent human. It’s also heroic enough. My life philosophy is, “Just do your best and try not to be a dick.” Trust me, in this world, that’s bloody heroism, that is.

Grab a copy of Patrick Ness’ new novel The Rest of Us Just Live Here


The Rest of Us Just Live HereThe Rest of Us Just Live Here.
by Patrick Ness

Award-winning writer Patrick Ness’s bold and irreverent novel powerfully asks what if you weren’t the Chosen One? The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you were like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school.

Again. Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life. Even if your best friend might just be the God of mountain lions…An exceptional novel from the author praised by John Green as “an insanely beautiful writer”.

Patrick Ness is the author of the critically acclaimed and best-selling Chaos Walking trilogy, as well as the Carnegie Medal winning A Monster Calls, inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd. Among the numerous awards he has received are the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Booktrust Teenage Prize, and the Costa Children’s Book Award.

Grab a copy of Patrick Ness’ new novel The Rest of Us Just Live Here

VIDEO: Steve Toltz on his brilliant new novel Quicksand

Steve Toltz’s first novel, A Fraction of the Whole, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the 2008 Guardian First Book Award. He chats to Booktopia’s Andrew Cattanach.


by Steve Toltz

The literary event of 2015. Steve Toltz follows his extraordinary debut, the Booker-shortlisted A Fraction of the Whole, with a novel that’s just as edgy, hilarious and compelling: Quicksand, at once unmistakeably Toltzean and unlike anything that’s come before.

‘Why should I let you write about me?’

‘Because you’ll inspire people. To count their blessings.’

Aldo has been so relentlessly unlucky – in business, in love, in life – that the universe seems to have taken against him personally. Even Liam, his best friend, describes him as ‘a well-known parasite and failure’. Aldo has always faced the future with optimism and despair in equal measure, but this last twist of fate may finally have brought him undone.

There’s hope, but not for Aldo.

Liam hasn’t been doing much better himself: a failed writer with a rocky marriage and a dangerous job he never wanted. But something good may come out of Aldo’s lowest point. Liam may finally have found his inspiration. Together, maybe they can turn bad luck into an art form.

What begins as a document of Aldo’s disasters develops into a profound story of love lost, found and betrayed; of freedom and incarceration; of suffering and transcendence; of fate, faith and friendship; of taking risks – in art, work, love and life – and finding inspiration in all the wrong places.

Quicksand is a fearlessly funny, outrageously inventive dark comedy that looks contemporary life unblinkingly in the eye. It confirms Steve Toltz as one of our most original and insightful novelists.

Grab a copy of Quicksand here

VIDEO: Amy Bloom on her new book Lucky Us

Amy Bloom is the author of three collections of stories, Where the God of Love Hangs Out, Come to Me and A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You, and two novels: Away, Love Invents Us, and now, Lucky Us.

Lucky Us

by Amy Bloom

A thrilling and resonant novel from the author of Away, about loyalty, ambition, and the pleasures and perils of family, set in 1940s America.

When Eva’s mother abandons her on Iris’s front porch, the girls don’t seem to have much in common – except, they soon discover, a father. Thrown together with no mothers to care for them and a father who could not be considered a parent, Iris and Eva become one another’s family. Iris wants to be a movie star; Eva is her sidekick. Together, they journey across 1940s America from scandal in Hollywood to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island, stumbling, cheating and loving their way through a landscape of war, betrayals and big dreams.

Grab a copy of Lucky Us here

VIDEO: Stephanie Bishop on her breathtaking new novel The Other Side of the World

A stunning emerging Australian writer, Stephanie Bishop’s first novel was The Singing, for which she was named one of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Australian Novelists. The Singing was also highly commended for the Kathleen Mitchell Award. This, her second novel, was recently shortlisted for the 2014 Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award under the title Dream England. She chats with Booktopia’s John Purcell.

The Other Side of the World

by Stephanie Bishop

A story of melancholy beauty that proves the only thing harder than losing home is trying to find it again.

Cambridge, 1963.

Charlotte is struggling. With motherhood, with the changes marriage and parenthood bring, with losing the time and the energy to paint. Her husband, Henry, wants things to be as they were and can’t face the thought of another English winter.

A brochure slipped through the letterbox slot brings him the answer: ‘Australia brings out the best in you’.

Despite wanting to stay in the place that she knows, Charlotte is too worn out to fight. Before she has a chance to realise what it will mean, she is travelling to the other side of the world. Arriving in Perth, the southern sun shines a harsh light on both Henry and Charlotte and slowly reveals that their new life is not the answer either was hoping for. Charlotte is left wondering if there is anywhere she belongs and how far she’ll go to find her way home . . .

Grab a copy of The Other Side of the World here

VIDEO: Kate Mayes on her beautiful new kids book Daddy Cuddle

Kate Mayes is the author of Daddy Cuddle, and Count My Kisses, Little One and Stew a Cockatoo: My Aussie Cookbook under the name Ruthie May. She chats to Booktopia’s John Purcell.

Daddy Cuddle

by Kate Mayes, Sara Acton (Illustrator)

An undeniably adorable new picture book for dads everywhere, from bestselling author Kate Mayes and award-winning illustrator Sara Acton.

‘Daddy up?’

It’s early in the morning and one little rabbit is wide awake …

From bestselling author Kate Mayes and award-winning illustrator Sara Acton comes this gorgeous tale of an early riser who just wants to play!

Grab a copy of Daddy Cuddle here

VIDEO: Kooshyar Karimi on his incredible new book Leila’s Secret

Kooshyar Karimi is an Iranian Jew who fled his native country after years of living a double life; as a doctor performing secret and illegal operations and as a spy for his country’s secret police. He talks to Caroline Baum about his acclaimed new book Leila’s Secret.

leila-s-secretLeila’s Secret

by Kooshyar Karimi

In fundamentalist Iran, new life sometimes means certain death. When Leila comes to see Doctor Karimi, both are in danger.

Born in a slum to a Muslim father and a Jewish mother, Kooshyar Karimi has transformed himself into a successful doctor, an award-winning writer, and an adoring father. His could be a comfortable life but his conscience won’t permit it: he is incapable of turning away the unmarried women who beg him to save their lives by ending the pregnancies that, if discovered, would see them stoned to death.

One of those women is 22-year-old Leila. Beautiful, intelligent, passionate, she yearns to go to university but her strictly traditional family forbids it. Returning home from the library one day – among the few trips she’s allowed out of the house – she meets a handsome shopkeeper, and her fate is sealed. Kooshyar has rescued countless women, but Leila seeks his help for a different reason, one that will haunt him for years afterwards and inspire an impossible quest from faraway Australia.

Spellbinding and heartbreaking. Leila’s Secret shows us everyday life for women in a country where it can be a crime to fall in love. But for all its tragedy, this unforgettable book is paradoxically uplifting, told from the heart of Kooshyar’s immense sympathy, in the hope that each of us – and the stories we tell – can make a difference.

Grab a copy of Leila’s Secret here

VIDEO: Lauren Sams on the inspiration behind her new book She’s Having Her Baby

Lauren Sams began her career at Cosmopolitan before moving to Girlfriend as deputy editor. She’s now back at Cosmo as Associate Editor and Managing Editor of Cosmopolitan Bride. She writes for Elle, Marie Claire and Sunday Style, and her work regularly appears on dailylife.com.au. She chats to Elizabeth Earl about her new novel She’s Having Her Baby.

she-s-having-her-babyShe’s Having Her Baby

by Lauren Sams

Georgie Henderson doesn’t want to have kids, but her best friend, Nina Doherty, has wanted to have a baby for as long as she can remember. Sadly, Nina’s uterus refuses to cooperate. One drunken evening, Nina asks Georgie for the ultimate favour: would she carry a baby for her? Georgie says yes . . . and spends the next nine months discovering what she’s got herself into.

With intense bacon-and-egg roll cravings, a foundering friendship and distant memories of what her feet look like, Georgie also tries to keep it all together in her dream job as the editor of Jolie, a magazine whose readership is shrinking as fast as Georgie’s waist is expanding.

She’s Having Her Baby is an entertaining story about pregnancy, dating and modern parenting, and – ultimately – the indomitable power of female friendship.

Grab a copy of She’s Having Her Baby here



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 15,869 other followers

%d bloggers like this: