June 20, 2011

The ASHES, ASHES Plague and Pestilence Blog Tour

I'm so excited to be a stop on The Plague and Pestilence Blog Tour!!

Ashes, Ashes
Ashes Ashes by Jo Treggiari
Published by Scholastic Canada June 1st 2011
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.

My Q & A with the wonderful Jo Treggiari
Huge thank you's to Scholastic for arranging the tour and to Jo for stopping by!
1. I found the beginning chapters with Lucy on her own very emotional, her desperation to survive and the memories of what was, made me want to weep for her. How did Lucy’s character, who she is, and her ideals come to you?

I got the idea for portraying a major city (in this case NYC) which had been ravaged by climactic change first. That happened very naturally. I lived there and it was interesting to replace all that concrete and steel with destruction, move the roads around, knock down buildings, and turn the Hudson River into a sea. Once I had that picture in my head, I saw a teen girl there. All alone, looking out at the water. I think all writers put themselves into their characters. Sometimes the best of themselves, sometimes the worst, or a mix of both. Lucy is not perfect (like me!) but she is strong within herself. She has a sense of what matters to her, and a streak of independence and stubbornness. Once I had her figured out, it was almost like she let me know how she felt about the situations I was putting her into. She felt real to me, and I had to stay true to her.

2. Some of society’s worst fears are realized in Ashes, Ashes. The fact that they are all plausible makes the story even scarier... out of the perils happening in Lucy’s world- which one would you/do you fear the most?

    The Sweepers and Dr. Lessing scare me the most. I don’t want to give anything anyway, but inflexibility, human obsession and a belief that might is right, can be terrifying things.
As far as the natural disasters go, the tsunami scares me the most. I almost lost a very dear friend in the Indian tsunami disaster in 2004. Just watching the news footage gave me nightmares.

3. Dystopian story lines are becoming more and more popular, what do you think draws readers to them?

    The human spirit is always at the heart of any dystopian and I think that is very attractive to us. Just that spark of rebellion or individuality in the midst of rigid social order or restriction. As far as post-apocalyptic fiction goes, I think survivors are always interesting. They have lived through something that is unimaginable.

4. Feeling the need to let all the trivial everyday stuff slide away is one of the many things I got from reading Ashes, Ashes. Did you intend that message when you were writing?

    Not really an intended message but I think that we do get wrapped up in trivial stuff sometimes (not that that is bad necessarily. I wouldn’t want life to be all serious. We must have chocolate and escapist movies!) and forget what is really important, which to me comes down to friends and family, and trying to be kind to each other. If you’re not sure where your next meal is coming from, you might not care so much about your manicure or the fact that some other girl is flirting with your crush.

5. If your shelter was about to be flooded and you could only grab three items what would they be and why?

    Matches, a sharp knife and a blanket. (This is assuming that I have neither children or dogs, right?!). The ability to make a fire is crucial; a knife can be used as a tool and also a weapon; and I could make the blanket into a tent or a sleeping roll or hang it as a screen or wear it as a poncho.

6. Anything else you’d like readers to know? Events or signings coming up?

   I’m not sure where your readers are located but if any are in Nova Scotia I’m doing signings and readings at Woozles and Chapters/Bayers Lake on June 18th as part of the Atlantic Author Day. Oh and later on in the summer, I’ll be at the Halifax Word on the Street literary festival. I’ll post all details of those and other events on my website: http://www.jotreggiari.com/

                        Check out the other stops for The ASHES, ASHES Plague and Pestilence Blog Tour

Give Away
I have 1 copy of Ashes Ashes for one lucky winner!
Canada only pls.
Leave an email address and a comment with your answer to the discussion question to enter!
Give away ends June 22/11


You have 5 minutes to leave your house and head for safety (your family is already safe) what do you take with you? You only have time to grab 4 items....


  1. Cool! As the date for the Word on the Street Festival gets closer, feel free to get in touch with us via Facebook or Twitter and we'd be happy to help get the word out if you plan on doing signings in Halifax. Sorry we missed the chance to help out when you were here a few days ago!


  2. I am so looking forward to reading this! It just arrived at the library, I got it processed and ready to go and put it in my to sign out pile. One of my teen readers came in at lunch...it seemed only right that I let her be the first reader. But...will admit I had a moment where I didn't want to be a sharin' librarian! Cheers and congrats on the release, enjoy the tour and thanks for the 'view!

  3. Hmm, well I'm going to assume that my cats are part of my family, because they would be the first things I would look for. Besides that I would probably grab my external harddrive (has everything on it!), my eReader, my teddy bear from when I was little, anddd... maybe my diplomas? Tough question!

    Thanks for the giveaway. =)


  4. That's such a tough question!

    I'd grab my dog, my laptop, my Mom's wedding album, and my panda stuffed animal. I think. I would probably just grab a blanket.

    My email is the (dot) zealous (dot) reader (at) gmail (dot) com

  5. I really liked your questions! What I really liked about the events in Ashes, Ashes and the post-apocalyptic world Jo's created is that it's a future that seems plausible for us in an entirely scary way. Plagues and extremely crazy weather/climate changes... who's to say that won't happen to us one day? I thought Lucy was a great, strong heroine as well!

  6. Hm. Not in a particular order but probably:

    1) Laptop
    2) My entire bookshelf - is that cheating? Ha.
    3) Pillow (yes, I am serious)
    4) Special photo album

    Thanks! :)


  7. Thanks for the kind offer, Jordy. The Word on the Street thing is huge I think, and happening in September on the Halifax waterfront. Loads of writers and fun events.
    Thanks Library Gal, Deb and Liz/Midnight Bloom for all the support and for saying such nice things about the book.