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Monsters of Men Q&A with Patrick Ness

Monsters of Men Q&A with Patrick Ness

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Published by Candlewick Press
Monsters of Men Q&A with Patrick Ness
Monsters of Men Q&A with Patrick Ness

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Published by: Candlewick Press on Jun 24, 2013
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01/06/2014

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Monsters o Men
bringselements o war and terrorismto stunning lie, only slightlybuered by the sci-f setting.Which came frst, the decisionto explore these themes or thedecision to have the story take place in an alternate world?
The story always comes frst. I think i you start outthinking about themes, then you’re risking writing abook that preaches, and who wants to read that? Ialways encourage young writers to trust themselvesand try to get attuned to what a story is trying to tellthem. I the story really,
really
wants to be written,chances are it’s already going to contain all thoseimportant themes you want to write about. Evenbetter, it’ll be in the orm o a cracking story, andthereore no preachiness! All I ocused on in
 Monsterso Men
was the story wanting to be told, and I triedto stay as true to it as possible. And since war themesconcern me, then that’s naturally going to be part o the story I tell, I hope.
One o the most dramatic themes o 
Monsters o Men
 and the Chaos Walking series as a whole is the impacto choices. Do the two statements below, delivered byBradley and Mistress Coyle respectively, complementor contradict each other?
“Choicesmaybeunbelievablyhard,butthey’reneverimpossible.”“Leadersmustsometimesmakemonstrousdecisions.”
They both complement
 and
contradict eachother. Bradley is absolutely right on the one hand,but then a couple sentences later he admits thathe doesn’t know what he would have done i he’dbeen aced with the same choice he was just talkingabout. And Mistress Coyle is also absolutely rightin saying that leaders must make difcult evenmonstrous decisions. That’s what makes themleaders. But does knowing that act ever make themchoose monstrously when they may not have neededto? For me, it’s really about making choices with youreyes open. You’re going to get them wrong sometimes,o course, but when you do, it’s important to learnrom them and, even more importantly, accept theconsequences and not try to pretend it was out o  your hands.
 Another important theme seems to be the possibilityo redemption or dierent souls. The Mayor, Todd,Viola, and 1017 are all in need o dierent types o redemption. Do the varying degrees o redemptionthey actually fnd (or don’t) relate more to their innatecharacter, or to the choices they make?
 Yes, defnitely. This is a big one or me. I have tobelieve that the possibility o redemption exists oreveryone,
everyone,
or what is humanity good or?And I defnitely think it comes down to choices. I it came down to character, you’d have to believe thatindividuals are inherently good or inherently evil,which I think lets us o the hook when it comesto the hard work o being good. Circumstance andupbringing play a part, o course, but every humanhas the capacity or good or evil, and it’s only choicesthat make us one or the other. Davy in
The Ask and the Answer 
is the best example. We eventually saw exactly 
 why
he was making the bad choices hedid, but then ultimately he ound a way to makebetter ones through the inuence o Todd. Whichis why his death was such a tragedy. Anyone can beredeemed. But frst, they have to want it, and second,they have to know that it’s possible.
Patrick NessQ & A
Media Contact: Tracy Miracle, Senior Publicist • 617-588-4404 • tracy.miracle@candlewick.com

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