Blog Interview with the Amazing Jo Treggiari

Recently, I emailed the amazing Jo Treggiari (the author of ‘Ashes, Ashes’ and ‘Love You Like Suicide’) about a blog interview with her.

My results were fruitful. (Thank you so much, Miss Treggiari!)

Here is what she told me:

Q: Who is your favorite author?
A: So hard to pick just one. I’m a big fan of Kate Atkinson(not YA), A.S. King, Melina Marchetta, Jaclyn Moriarty, Kenneth Oppel, Laini Tayor, Catherine Fisher.
Q: What is your favorite book/series?
A: Kate Atkinson has a series based around a private investigator called Jackson Brodie, which I love. The first one is Case Histories. I guess that if I was forced to pick one book it would be….Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta… but beloved books are like dear old friends to me. I re-read my favourite ones over and over at different times in my life, in different moods. It’s hard to narrow it down to one; it would be hard to narrow it down to one hundred!
Q:When did you start writing and why?
A: I started writing when I seven or eight. I was a voracious reader with a very active imagination. I think I had stories inside me that I just had to get out.
Q: Did you want to be a writer as a child?
A: Writing was something I always did but I never thought of it as a job. I still try not to because it is so much more than a job; it’s a sanctuary. I think I probably wanted to be an administrative assistant more than anything because they had staplers and all those cool stamps and ink pads. That, or a detective.
Q: What advice do you have for up-and-coming writers?
A: Write because you love it, or have something to say. Write because it helps you make sense of the world and your world. Don’t write for a pay check but if you are lucky enough to eke out some kind of career, perseverance and a desire and willingness to hone your craft are absolutely necessary.
Q: Did you intend to write post-apocalyptic fiction?
A: No, none of the other books I’ve written fall into that genre. I’m never sure where my ideas come from. Somewhere out there. That was the story that came to me and excited my imagination and that was the story I wrote. It’s funny (and lucky) how sometimes you write the right story at the right time (Ashes, Ashes came out just when The Hunger Games was beginning to cause a fervour) but trends are never a good reason to write a book. They’re unpredictable and (usually) short-lived.
Q: What is one of your pet peeves that happens during writing?
A: I don’t really have any pet peeves unless you count those days when the words just flow, almost without effort. I know how rare those days are and I’d much rather have regular, steady plodding days than get my expectations up and have one glorious, magical day followed by a dozen frustrated,  hair-tearing-out days. 🙂
Q: How do you cure writer’s block?
A: I don’t really get writer’s block because I recognize that most days you have to sit down in  front of the computer and just work away and get the words down. I usually aim for at least 1000 words per day. Sometimes they are not very good words and sometimes they take a long time to find but I get them down and I keep going and when I get to the end, I go back and fix them. Most of my writing is in revision. First drafts are horrible and unfit to be seen.
Q: Do you think that the writing process as well as publishing has changed your life? Drastically or not?
A: The writing process is something that has been with me for as long as I can remember. I have always tried to make sense of my life by writing down my feelings. It’s how I communicate and work through things. Being published changed my life insofar as it enabled me to be paid for doing what I love. Even if I wasn’t published I would still write but I think that working with editors has helped me to improve my writing immensely.
Q: Do you think that love triangles are turning commonplace? If so, what is your opinion on love triangles?
A: It does seem that a lot of teen books contain a love triangle. I can understand why because many girls would love to be the object of two boys’s attentions. However when anything, a story element, a particular thread, is repeated ad nauseum it loses its punch. I think that if it’s integral to the story and works with the plot, a love triangle is fine but personally I’m a little tired of them. I played with it a little in Ashes, Ashes though I turned it around and had a male character torn between two girls, and nothing was exactly what it seemed to be.
Q: Would you ever write a story that documents your life? Not a memoir exactly but a fictionalized story of how you grew up?
A: I think a little bit of my life and a lot of me goes into everything I write because  I want the characters to ring true. I want the emotions to be as honest and human as possible and the best way to achieve that is to draw from my own experiences. I have written a fictional narrative novella, Love You Like Suicide (published by Fierce Ink Press) which is largely autobiographical, and a novel, Fierce (also drawn from my life), is being submitted to publishers by my agent in the next month or two.
Q: Would you ever set a book in the town you grew up in?
A: I have set books in made-up places based on towns I’ve lived in- New York, Oakland and Santa Cruz, California- but nothing so far set in Ottawa, Canada which is where I spent most of my childhood. The fantasy author Charles de Lint set a lot of his books in Ottawa so maybe I feel like that’s been done already.
Jo Treggiari, thank you so much. You are an amazing author! I really appreciate this.
Here is a bit about her that I got off Goodreads:
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.
Here is her Goodreads account:
And her blog:
I hope you do read her book ‘Ashes, Ashes’! I do remember liking that book a lot. There is a suspected sequel to ‘Ashes, Ashes’, but, on Goodreads, there is no release  date. Yet.
That might change. Hopefully. I will ask the author herself!
I hope you enjoyed her interview!

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