As part of World Book Day on March 7th I was invited to interview Award-winning Author Patrick Ness about writing and his books in general. It was a great chance to find out more about the writing process of Patrick and I want to thank the guys at WBD and Patrick for taking the time to answer these questions:
1. A physical book is a reassuring weight, and you spoke passionately in defence of libraries in your Carnegie Medal acceptance speech. Given the vast growth of digital media, and the increasing ethereal nature of the world in which we live, do you believe that there will always be an “Either/Or” situation, rather than just “One or the other”
No idea, and I don’t think anyone else knows either (and if they say they do, doubt them). We’ll see. Paper books have so far been nicely resistant to disappearing, which is what I’d like, if there were both. Either way, people will still want to hear stories and will still read books.
2. You have written books aimed at both adults and teens, how is writing for teenagers different and what do you enjoy about writing for this age group?
I don’t really see much difference, just which version of me I’m writing the book for: the teenage me or the adult me. Otherwise, it’s the same commitment and investment in both. If the story says it needs to be for teens, I just shrug my shoulders, say “Great” and get on with it.
3. Do you have a favourite character from your own books? If so, who?
I tend to like the minor characters best, like Wilf. Yeah, I’d say Wilf. I wrote a new short story with him that’s coming out in the reissued version of Monsters of Men. Really fun going back to visit him again.
4. What inspires you to write, are there specific events that happen which begin your writing thought process or do you get an image in your mind of what/who it is you want to write about?
No, ideas come from anywhere and everywhere – which is why they can be so difficult! I usually just respond to something emotionally and then I let it stir and stew and grow for a good long while to see if it’s got enough to it to make a novel.
5. You are a very prominent name in the YA book industry and many aspiring writers look up to you; do you have any words of wisdom for those aspiring writers?
My advice is always the same: write a book you’d want to read yourself. You’d be amazed at how many people don’t! They write a book they think publishers will want or a book that’ll be trendy. But no one was looking for the first Harry Potter or Twilight or Hunger Games. They came out of nowhere, by writers who just wanted to tell a story. I think it’s your best chance for success.