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 to 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.
The 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.