Oct 4, 2011

Author Interview: Patrick Ness

I am so delighted to be a part of this blog tour. I feel very unworthy (did you see some of the other blogs participating? Check out my sidebar.)(and Educating Alice's post last week was amazing. Read it here.). But, the real reason that I felt unworthy is because I got to deal with Patrick Ness.


His Chaos Walking trilogy is one of my all time favorites. I am a huge fangirl. But, he is totally generous and nice and so amazing about dealing with bloggers. I am even a bigger fan now.

Here's my interview:

Is there a book you remember reading that made you think that writing is something you'd like to do?
Not one in particular, I don't think. But I do remember reading a lot of books while really young and disagreeing with how the story went and wondering why I wasn't satisfied. A story was set in stone, after all, wasn't it? If the author said that's how it was, then that was how it was, right? At some point, I made that vital leap where I thought, you know, if I wrote this, I'd do it this way instead. I wonder if a lot of writers do that? Start thinking, hmm, if I could just do this my way...

Is there a book that you wish you'd have thought of first, or that you wish you'd written?
Oh, that's a slippery slope; all it does is make you think about what you didn't do, instead of what you did, and I think writers have enough sabotage going through their brains without despairing over what they hadn't written. Having said that, the last line of Toni Morrison's Sula, which is the description of a grief that builds throughout the book, is a line so good, I'd have given my left arm to have come up with it. As it is, I'm just glad that it exists in the world.

If you had an idea and outline for a book and for some reason couldn't finish it, which author would you want to finish it for you?
I didn't really have an outline for A Monster Calls and that's kind of the thing that made it okay for me to write. I could take Siobhan's idea and grow it naturally into its final shape (just like she would have done had she been able to finish it; though, inevitably, hers would have been a very different final shape and it's truly a shame we'll never see it). I think if you get to outline stage, the book is already written to a certain degree and may not be allowed to play and grow and change, like any story must do to live. So if I'd left behind just an idea, the ideal situation would be having a whole bunch of different people have a look at it, and see where their imaginations took them in all those different directions. That'd probably be the best result of all, and probably the most interesting to read.

What did you think when you saw the cover?
Jim's illustrations are amazing, just unbelievably good. And I'd never really seen anything like them in this kind of book. In a world where you've got people (some with a strange and irritating glee) proclaiming the death of the printed book, it felt kind of like, "No, this is actually what the printed book can do, look at this cover, look at the feeling of the pages, look at the whole physical experience." I don't have a problem with ebooks, but they're a valuable addition to reading physical books, not a replacement of them.

Since you are an American living in England have you adopted an English accent? I find myself doing that sometimes when I watch too much BBCAmerica.
I can't hear it, but other people swear they can. It's unavoidable. At least it's real, not like that weird mid-Atlantic thing Madonna sometimes does. What's up with that?

Are you working on anything new?
I am, but it's secret secret. All first drafts need to grow in complete privacy. But I'm working. We'll see how it goes.

Thanks so much Patrick! Best of luck to you with A Monster Calls and all your future endeavors. I will be along for the ride!


  1. Holy crap!! This was TOTALLY AWESOME, Jana!!! :-)

  2. I've not ready any of Patrick Ness but I'm very interested now! Great interview, Jana. The cover is completely creepy.

  3. Shannon: He is so awesome. Have you read the Chaos Walking series? It is so good!

    Peaceful: This is a great book to start with. He is fantastic!

  4. OMGosh how did you get this???? So jealous!!!!!!

    Great great interview! I wonder what he's working on now?? Can't wait to hear about it.

    I was lucky enough to meet him last fall. He was very kind and gracious.