Sunday, June 19, 2011

Author Spotlight: Jo Treggiari author of Ashes, Ashes

I was born in London, England but grew up in Canada, Roccasinibalda, Italy and California.

I used to work in the music industry and eventually owned my own indie record label. The first CD we ever put out was by a gangsta rap group. We also did alt rock and punk.

I have trained as a boxer. I could have been a contender. (Not really).

I started writing stories for my little sister when I was about 8. Often I would rework fairytales so that the princesses had a little more grit. Then I would write them out on white paper, roll them up and tie with a red ribbon. Later on in high school I penned personalized naughty limericks by request. I love dogs, crows, and octopi. I blog. And I enjoy baking desserts.

Books: The Misadventures of Feltus Ovalton, Ashes, Ashes

First off, I want thank you for stopping by The Crazy Bookworm!

Well thank you for having me!

Tell us 3 things about yourself.

I’m almost 6 feet tall. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 12. I’m pretty good in a street fight.

What was your inspiration for Ashes, Ashes?

I wondered what it would be like to live in a world where all our technology counted for nothing. Where people faced devastating loss and terrifying climactic change, and had to struggle to survive on a daily basis. And I wondered if some people would try to build something better, and other people would cling to the way things used to be. And I thought a lot about different kinds of bravery, and the difficulty of making the right choices. And then I decided to make a 16-year old girl my hero and have her face her fears.

What came first: The characters or the idea for the book?

Lucy, my main character, really came first. She seemed so real to me always. I could picture her in my head and know how she would react to situations and what she would say. And then New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina happened, and the Indian Tsunami in 2004 which almost killed one of my dearest friends, and I started thinking about how small and fragile we are in comparison to the elements and the climate.

What was the best/hardest part of writing Ashes, Ashes?

The best part was figuring out my main and secondary characters. I love writing out backgrounds and identifying personality traits so I can really imagine them as real people. I also wanted the Manhattan I re-imagined to ring true, so I studied lots of maps, and made sketches so that it made sense geographically.

The hardest part was keeping the action and suspense high without it becoming too intense. I wanted the story to be a page-turner but I also wanted there to be moments of introspection and reflection. Short interludes where the reader could catch their breath, and places where I could develop my characters.

What is 'A Day in the life of Jo Treggiari' like?

I always go to bed later than I should and wake up earlier than I would like. I have 2 kids who are 4 and 8 so there’s their whole daily routine to keep on top of. After I get them to school, I take my dog for a 5 mile walk and then come back home to write. I try to write for about 4 hours a day, and a minimum of 1000 words, but this is subject to change. When I’m really working on a book I might sit at my computer for 8 hours or more. Other than writing, I read a lot, spend time with my kids, husband and friends, bake bread, make cakes, and watch lots of movies.

If you could invite 5 people to dinner (dead or alive, fact or fiction) who would you invite?

Malcolm X, J.K. Rowling, Jesus, Suzanne Collins, and the warrior queen, Boudicca.

A science experiment has gone all wrong, and now a super breed of 'The Undead' are taking over. What would your survival tactics be?

I’d steal a large boat (preferably stocked with chocolate, wine and olive oil) and find a rocky but lush island with steep cliffs that was surrounded by very deep water and ravenous great white sharks. I’d bring my family and friends with me. I’d also make sure I had plenty of knives, swords, machetes, bows and arrows and spears. And matches.

2011 has been a fantastic year for reading so far! What books are on your 'To read' pile?

Blood Red Road- Moira Young
20 Years Later- E.J. Newman
Legend- Marie Lu
Doc- Mary Doria Russell
A Web of Air- Philip Reeve
The Monstrumologist- Rick Yancey
The Name of the Star- Maureen Johnson

Thank you, Jo! It is a pleasure having you!

Thank you!

Those were some great survival tactics! What would you do?

Enter to win a copy of Ashes, Ashes HERE! Open to Canadian residents only. Contest ends June 27th.
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