One of the most compelling aspects of homeshare is the stories it creates — stories of unexpected connections across generations, of cultural interchange and shared understanding, of support and friendship and love.

In view of all this, you might argue that it’s surprising it’s taken so long for a writer to use a homeshare arrangement as the basis for a novel. Happily, that oversight has been rectified by Adelaide-born, Hong Kong-raised writer Melanie Cheng, who has set her debut novel Room for a Stranger in a home shared by 75-year-old Meg and young biomedical student Andy.

Melanie Cheng (courtesy Text Publishing)

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald‘s Thuy On at the Sydney Writers’ Festival, Cheng explained that she became aware of homeshare after seeing a report on the ABC about a real-life homeshare match: “I liked the idea of two people whose paths wouldn’t necessarily ever cross being thrust together into the intimate and claustrophobic space of a family home.”

On’s interview with Cheng is fascinating reading — you can check it out here. Room for a Stranger will be published this month by Text Publishing.