Monday, June 20, 2011

ASHES, ASHES Plague and Pestilence Blog Tour + Giveaway!

I am excited to share an interview with Jo Treggiari today. Her dystopian, ASHES, ASHES takes place in a world that eerily is similar to what we live in now, such as tsunamis and plague breakouts, just on a smaller scale. This is really what drew me into the book, seeing how easily the world could change. One aspect of the book that I was hoping would go into more depth (due to the conspiracy theorist in me) was the scientists actions. As people's actions are quite different when put into a life-or-death situation, I often wondered if they were evil or just desperate when reading the book.

I hope you enjoy the interview! Thanks to Scholastic Canada, one lucky commenter will win a copy of ASHES, ASHES . This is open to Canadian residents only and ends at June 27th 11:50 PM EST. Winner will be drawn using, please leave your email so that I may contact you should you win!

 If you were stuck in a dire situation and could only salvage three things, what would they be?

Bird Flu, SARS and today's erratic weather came to mind as I was reading ASHES, ASHES. How did this story idea come to you?

All those things came to my mind as well. We live in scary times and I guess since I have young children, every tragedy I read about or hear about affects me deeply. I don’t know if there are worse environmental disasters than there used to be (an aspect of global warming) or the media is just more intense about every storm that devastates a region, but it sometimes feels as if something cataclysmic happens every week and that we are completely unprepared. There was the tsunami in 2004, which affected me personally- one of my best friends almost died in it- and then that was followed by Hurricane Katrina, and then Haiti, and I guess I just started wondering if it was the beginning of the end for the human race. We can build weapons and skyscrapers but we are totally at the mercy of the weather.

The plague affected the world, why did you choose NY state as the setting?

I lived in NY for almost 10 years. I guess it’s sort of weird that I took a place I love and re-imagined it as a devastated wasteland. I suppose it was the contrast between the reality of a concrete and steel Manhattan and the ruin I depict in my book. Also NYC is such a symbol of human ingenuity and power, so to literally and figuratively bring that tumbling down made for a really interesting place to set a book.

I'm curious as to why you picked that title S'ans for those who survived the disease but are were left horribly scarred and insane. I often found myself saying 'sanes' and 'sans' in french translates to 'without'.

Oh, I like the French ‘sans’- that sort of works well with the S’ans’ status in society. They are ostracized much like lepers would be.

It’s actually a contraction of “Sitalans”, a word I adapted from the Hindu small pox Goddess Sitala Matan. People who were afflicted with small pox would pray to her.

I also thought it could be slang referring to sanatoriums which might have housed plague victims in the early days of the disease. And of course it makes you think of ‘insane’ as well which plays into people’s fears about the S’ans.

Lucy pretty much lost everything to the plague. Do you think you could have survived alone as long as she did?

I think I’d probably need a dog for companionship. I’m also not sure if I could survive losing my entire family to the plague but the human will to survive is incredibly strong. I do have some survival skills and could probably build a shelter. I’m not so sure about chopping animals’ heads off but I do know how to tie a snare for trapping, although currently I am a vegetarian.

Lucy carried a backpack with her, containing useful & cherished items. If you could only carry three things, what would they be?

A knife. A tinder box or magnifying glass for starting fires. A photo of my kids.

What are you working on now (please say book two!)?

I just finished a novel which follows 2 punk rock girls and their crazy adventures over the course of a day and night in 1983 California. And I’m working on an urban fantasy- coming of age tale with great white sharks. I am also working on another book set in the Ashes, Ashes world.

About the book:
A thrilling tale of adventure, romance, and one girl's unyielding courage through the darkest of nightmares.

Epidemics, floods, droughts--for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she's rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can't continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet, a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There's something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her.

About the author:
I was born in London, England but grew up in Canada, Roccasinibalda, Italy and California.Somehow I found myself on the beautiful south shore of Nova Scotia, where I now live.
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 and octopi.I blog. And I enjoy baking desserts. I am a tattooed person.
My first book, a middle-grade fantasy THE CURIOUS MISADVENTURES OF FELTUS OVALTON, came out in 2006. I am thrilled to be working now with Scholastic, Inc. My post-apocalyptic adventure YA, ASHES,ASHES will be published summer 2011.
I've just finished a punk rock YA- FIERCE and am working on an urban fantasy, BRINY DEEP.

Places to find Jo:
Jo Treggiari on Facebook
Jo Treggiari on Twitter

Chapter One of Ashes, Ashes Audiobook on Youtube
Interview with Jo Treggiari on YouTube


  1. I'm not in Canada, but I wanted to comment anyways. :)

    Great interview. I have this one on my want list as it sounds very interesting. :) Thank you!

  2. Sounds like an interesting book and great interview too :-)

    As for the question, I think I'd have to bring along a lighter, my daughter, and a multi-tool (flashlight, knife, screwdriver combo thingie).

  3. Love the interview! If I could only salvage three things, they'd probably be: A Swiss army knife, Water purifying tables, and a backpack to store any items I find while wandering around in the future.

  4. Forgot my email: Megannflowers(@)