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

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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

Three Authors Offer Advice for Writers: Patrick Ness, Lauren Kate and Natasha Solomons

On March 1, 2010 I posted the first of the Ten Terrifying Questions interviews. Since that date I have posted over 200 interviews with authors ranging from mega selling global stars like Jackie Collins and Lee Child to brilliant, relatively unknown debut authors such as Favel Parret and  Rebecca James.

I have long thought the advice offered to aspiring writers in answer to question ten deserved a vehicle of its own. Well, here it is. Every Friday evening (or Saturday morning if I forget. Ahem) I shall post the advice of three very different writers…

Q. What advice do you give aspiring writers?


PATRICK NESS

‘1.  Call yourself a writer when people ask what you do (it’s important)

2.  Find time to write every day.

These are both far, far harder than you think they are, but they’re the most important things you’ll do.

Fear and panic in the air
I want to be free
From desolation and despair
And I feel like everything I sew
Is being swept away
When I refuse to let you go

(Lyrics by Muse)’

Read the full interview here

Click here to buy A Monster Calls from Booktopia Australia’s No.1 Online Bookshop


LAUREN KATE

“Live curiously. Make the whole world your muse. Never let yourself get bored—instead: eavesdrop, ask questions, try to learn as much as you can about as many things and as many people as you can.

If you live your whole life like a curious person, you’ll never be at a loss for things to write about.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy Fallen in Love from Booktopia Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop


NATASHA SOLOMONS

“If the thought of doing anything else can make you happy, do that. Writing is a difficult career. In fact it’s more an affliction or an addiction than a job. If you read this, know the odds are against you and you don’t care – you’ve got to write anyway, then the chances are that you’re a writer.”

Read the full interview here…

Click here to buy The Novel in the Viola from Booktopia Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop


For more advice from published writers go here

Great Trailer for A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness who was inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd

Review by Toni Whitmont:

You are only young once, but doesn’t it go on for a long time, more years than you can bear.

This is not the way my day was supposed to start, waking a couple of hours before dawn and then reading compulsively until I reached sobbing stage at the final few pages of Patrick Ness’ stunning new book. As it was, I had been up late having started, and then devoured, this visceral, original tale of love and loss, or rather the fear or loss.

A Monster Calls reminds us of what the very finest of young adult fiction can be. Its story is both imaginative and grounded, ranging from fantasy to reality. It proceeds with both inevitability and unpredictability. It is both dark and redemptive.

The experience of reading this book is augmented by its presentation. A finely produced hardback with beautiful end papers and dust jacket, the book is liberally peppered with stunning illustrations from pen and ink illustrations from Jim Kay. The illustrations are as integral to the story as the words. There is much to linger over, but I must confess that the tug of the words compelled me to keep turning those pages. Think Monster Blood Tattoo, The Invention of Hugo Cabret and the now sadly unavailable adaptation of Frankenstein by Margrete Lamond and Drähos Zak. To get an idea of what I mean, go here to see some internal page spreads.

That Patrick Ness should write another gripping tale should be no surprise. This much lauded author for Continue reading

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness from an idea by Siobhan Dowd, illustrated by Jim Kay

You are only young once, but doesn’t it go on for a long time, more years than you can bear.

This is not the way my day was supposed to start, waking a couple of hours before dawn and then reading compulsively until I reached sobbing stage at the final few pages of Patrick Ness’ stunning new book. As it was, I had been up late having started, and then devoured, this visceral, original tale of love and loss, or rather the fear or loss.

A Monster Calls reminds us of what the very finest of young adult fiction can be. Its story is both imaginative and grounded, ranging from fantasy to reality. It proceeds with both inevitability and unpredictability. It is both dark and redemptive.

The experience of reading this book is augmented by its presentation. A finely produced hardback with beautiful end papers and dust jacket, the book is liberally peppered with stunning illustrations from pen and ink illustrations from Jim Kay. The illustrations are as integral to the story as the words. There is much to linger over, but I must confess that the tug of the words compelled me to keep turning those pages. Think Monster Blood Tattoo, The Invention of Hugo Cabret and the now sadly unavailable adaptation of Frankenstein by Margrete Lamond and Drähos Zak. To get an idea of what I mean, go here to see some internal page spreads.

That Patrick Ness should write another gripping tale should be no surprise. This much lauded author for Continue reading

I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore – more Chaos Walking than Anna Karenina

Here at Booktopia we like to think that we cover all the bases. When I wander through our warehouse, there is everything from Sixty Years a Brickmaker (I kid you not) to Beowulf: A Verse Translation. And I do admit, that between now and Christmas, we will probably pick up more orders for Life by Keith Richards, than Luca and the Fire of Life, by Salman Rushdie although over the next fifty years, I am not so sure. I say all this because I have just read Booktopia Book Guru’s paean for Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and a more empassioned advocate of literature that stands the test of time you will not find.

It is with great trepidation therefore, that I embark on this piece. I am Number Four is not Anna Karenina. It is not Beowulf. It is however a rip-roaring read that will happily entertain anyone over the age of fourteen and keep them from other less worthy pursuits, such as endless texting, getting a body piercing or whatever else passes for popular culture. In fact, I am being flippant, because not being a serial texter, nor piercer myself, I was very content to spend a day in the company of Pittacus Lore and I am well and truly above the age of fourteen.

I am Number Four is about to be everywhere. A September release, it is firmly in the Chaos Walking camp. Fans of Patrick Ness can breath a sigh of relief. At last there is somewhere to go after Monsters of Men. Hunger Games fans will also be more than satisfied with this one. But don’t be put off by the young adult comparisons. I am Number Four held me absolutely in its thrall from start to finish.

We have a booktrailer, extract and much fuller description here. Suffice to say here that this is a pretty scary, fantasy thriller about nine survivors from another planet hiding out on earth, in isolation from each other. They are slowly being picked off by aliens who make pretty credible human impersonators. Three are dead and our hero, fifteen year old John Smith is next on their list, if only they can find him. The publicity blurb on this one says it is a one-sit read, and I quite agree. I can’t wait for the next book in the series. It really is excellent, pacey stuff – for when you are not in the mood for our Anna.

Its Chaos Walking as Monsters of Men Patrick Ness answers Ten Terrifying Questions

All over the world, Patrick Ness fans are waiting for May 1

the release date for the eagerly anticipated finale to Patrick’s

Chaos Walking series,

Monsters of Men

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What better time to put

Ten Terrifying Questions

to wunderkind author, Patrick Ness.

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1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Virginia, lived in Hawaii as a small child, but mostly schooled in the state of Washington in the northwest of the US.  College at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, so I’m pretty much a westerner, which does influence my writing.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

At twelve I wanted to be a plastic surgeon for no other reason than I had a terrible crush on a plastic surgeon on television.  At eighteen, a film-maker, I even applied (and got accepted to) film school at USC, mainly because I didn’t think writing was a possible career.  I did change my mind soon after and stuck to writing.  At thirty, well, who says I’m already thirty?  Let’s just say that at thirty, I have/had the best job in the world already, why would I want to do anything different?

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

That I’d never, and I mean never, have short hair.  Now I’ve got barely more than a crew cut and know to never say never about any kind of fashion.  The one thing you deny the most is the thing you’ll always do five years later.

4. What were three works of art – book, painting, piece of music – that you can now say had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey, because of how all his books, but especially this one, suggest a huge imagined world that the story is only a tiny slice of.  I love when books do that, and I try to do that in mine.  Map of the Problematique by Muse, which is the theme song to The Knife of Never Letting Go, because it had exactly the energy I wanted to put down on the page and I thought, “If I can capture that…”  And probably Middlemarch by George Eliot, which is a novel that just contains the whole world inside.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

Easy:  you’re the god of everything in a novel.  I think all writers are essentially power-hungry and want to be in complete control.  Seriously, though, it suits my temperament; I love working for myself.  Plus, it’s the most rewarding artistic avenue I’ve found, the one that gives me the most freedom.  Really, though, it’s because I can’t sing for toffee.

6. Please tell us about your latest novel.

Monsters of Men is the final volume of the Chaos Walking trilogy (following The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer).  In it, Todd and Viola find themselves at the crux of a very unexpected war.  Things don’t go (at all) how you’d expect, and it’s got an absolutely killer ending.  I can’t wait until it comes out to hear what readers think.

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

I’m really happy with whatever they find.  I’d never want to impose on them, just take a little bit of their time and tell them a story about things that concern me.  If they agree, great, if they don’t, that’s fine, too.  it’s the conversation that’s important.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

Probably Peter Carey again, for marching so much to his own drummer.  I’m also quite possibly Nicola Barker’s biggest fan.  These are people who it really feels like they write because they have to, and that’s the best way, I think.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

My goals are all private, actually.  I like keeping them quiet.  Loud, shouty goals are too much Continue reading

Confessions of Hopeless Book Nerd: Chaos Walking or Meeting Patrick Ness 101

Please Give a Warm Welcome to our Guest, Amelia Vahtrick – Blogger, Bookseller and Editor of Booktopia’s 6 – 12 Buzz. Over to You Amelia!

I am a big book nerd. I work in books. I decorate my house in books (not so much out of an aesthetic desire, simply because there are SO many of them and they’ve got to go somewhere), and I probably don’t have to tell you that meeting favourite authors has got to be THE biggest perk of my job.

Last month, I was lucky enough to meet the author of the fantastic series Chaos Walking – the incredibly charming Patrick Ness.

If you have no idea what I am talking about then get thee to Booktopia because Chaos Walking is a series not to be missed. Whenever I’ve tried to review this book in the past, all that seems to come out is gushy, and not really a proper review that ends in something like “Just trust me, read it. It will keep you up until four in the morning it is that gut-wrenchingly good”.

Book one, The Knife of Never Letting Go, opens in Prentisstown – a town populated entirely by men. All the men have a disease called ‘Noise’ – a condition which means their thoughts are constantly projected out, and their minds in turn are bombarded by the Noise of other men. Todd Hewitt (our hero) finds a pocket of absolute silence in the swamp near his house. A discovery which prompts all hell to Continue reading

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