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An evening with Patrick Ness

Brenda St John Brown

I hopped on the train last night to go and see Patrick Ness in Liverpool, who was there promoting his new book The Rest of Us Just Live Here. He was so great, you guys! (And his JustGiving campaign, which I wrote about last week, has raised nearly a million dollars for Save the Children and is still open for donations!) He read a passage from the book -- which I now have in my possession and started reading on the return train journey -- and talked a lot about why he wrote this story, in this way.

I loved when he said one of his measures of the success of a book is whether it's authentic and to what it extent it evokes emotion. This really resonated with the writer in me. He's also funny and self-deprecating -- and he has an American accent, which I didn't expect. I knew he was born in the US, but everyone refers to him as a UK author because he lives in London and I didn't expect someone who sounded like me, but with a lower voice.

I took The Boy and a neighbor boy, who were also suitably impressed, and not only to be out too late on a school night. All three of us read Ness's books on the train home, which was pretty cool. (Although I will say I'm not sure his latest is suited for the 10-year-old. It's definitely more upper YA and even though The Boy can read it, he'll miss a lot of the nuances, I think. Instead, I'm going to steer him towards A Monster Calls.)

I'm not sure where else Ness is going on his book tour, but if he's in a city near you, it's a great way to spend an evening.