Monday, August 13, 2018

Jo Treggiari Author Interview

Photo Credit: Madeleine Kendall

Jo Treggiari was born in London, England, and raised in Canada. She spent many years in Oakland, California and New York, where she trained as a boxer, wrote for a punk magazine, and owned a gangster rap/indie rock record label. Her novel Ashes, Ashes, a YA post-apocalyptic adventure published by Scholastic Press, was a multiple award nominee and bestseller. Her acclaimed novella Love You Like Suicide, appeared in the Fierce Ink Press anthology Becoming Fierce: Teen Stories IRL and as a limited edition of the long-running zine Cometbus. Her most recent YA is Blood Will Out, a psych-thriller, published by Penguin Teen (2018). She has a second yet-to-be-named thriller coming from Penguin in the summer of 2019.

Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Penguin Teen (June 5, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0735262950
ISBN-13: 978-0735262959

What inspired you to pen your first novel? 
Short answer? Blissful optimism. I thought ‘hey, I have an idea for a book’. And somehow, even though, I had a 6-month old at the time I managed to finish writing it. What helped me immensely was that I was regularly attending a writing group led by an amazing mentor/teacher and they kept me on track. 

Tell us your latest news. 
Hmm, I’m assuming you mean of the literary variety? Well, Blood Will Out was just published so I am still busy promoting that. And having so much fun by the way! I’m in the middle of edits for another YA thriller being published by Penguin Teen Canada next year, and I’m working on something new. Of course I am!

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way? 
Life! Everything I see, feel, read, eat, smell, and directly or indirectly experience. I think of myself as a big sponge on legs. All those little moments go into the chasm that is my curious mind. Real-life people inspire me all the time. And I’m influenced by all the amazing writers out there who make me aspire to be better and work harder. 

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you? 
In light of certain scenes in Blood Will Out, that I’ve been a vegetarian since I was eleven. Or maybe that I worked in the music industry for overt twenty years, and owned a successful rap label. 

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel? 
I’m hoping they’ll be thinking ‘oh my goodness, I am so scared but I can’t stop reading because I HAVE TO FIND OUT WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN!!!’

Did you learn anything from writing BLOOD WILL OUT and what was it? 
I learned that I am a big wimp and that I can scare myself silly. I learned that writing a mystery from two points of view is very, very hard.

What part of Ari did you enjoy writing the most? 
I like the metamorphosis she undergoes in the book. The way she changes from being a slightly naïve homebody to someone determined to survive no matter what. she learns to trust in her own strength.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters? 
I guess it’s that I was able to really get inside the head of someone who resembles me not at all. That while not forgetting that I was writing what most people would rightly consider a monster, I was still able to find some spark of humanity in them.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? 
I’ve been lucky enough to have a few writer mentors: Eva Ibbotson and Charles de Lint are two of them. I’d love to be mentored by A.S. King. She writes the most wonderful and surprising books. 

How many books have you written? 
 Four published, one to come next year, one in progress, but many more quietly moldering in boxes.

Most horrifying dream you have ever had? 
Before kids, I would have said zombies. But now, it’s any dream where something bad happens to one of my kids.

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep? 
I think about whatever I’ve accomplished during the day. Sometimes it’s something really small but I like to recap. 

What is your favorite restaurant in town and why? 
My favorite restaurant is actually this hybrid coffee house/chill hangout/lunch and dinner place plus pastries and the best coffee anywhere. It’s called No. 9. (9 is of course the perfect number.)

If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had “no regrets” what would it be? 
This is one of those questions I find really hard because I’ve had friends die and of course I would want to save them. And I try to live with no regrets but if I HAD TO, I’d say that I would go back and tell my teenage self that everything was going to be all right and to dream BIG.

How would you like to spend a Sunday morning? 
I dream about sleeping in and lounging in bed eating chocolate croissants, but the truth is I like to get up and at ‘em as soon as the sun comes up. A nice big cup of coffee, and long hike by the ocean with my dogs, and then maybe some reading, writing or board games with my kids is a great way to spend the day.

What was your favorite childhood television program? 
Sesame Street all the way. I still like to watch it if I’m feeling down. There are many lessons in humanity and compassion encapsulated on that show.

1) A lot of research went into this book. I had to find out about guns, butchering, police investigations, concussions, PTSD, cisterns, climbing, hearts, fire temperatures, and splitting mauls. None of these are my favorite things.

2) It is very hard to catch a serial killer. Their methods are random and more about opportunity than anything else. Plus, most of us have such a hard time even imagining it that we are somewhat blind. I read about this thing called linkage blindness which means that police departments don’t share information outside their jurisdictions, which contributes to the difficulties in investigatio. 

3) It’s easier to climb barefoot than with shoes on.

4) While I was researching serial killers, I dropped my notes (which were super horrific) outside my daughter’s elementary school. I found them on the sidewalk the next day.

5) Pigs are amazing animals.

6) Writing this book gave me serious nightmares. I don’t think I could have written it without having a really loving and supportive network of family and friends.

7) The manuscript had many titles before Blood Will Out (something one of the characters says). Some of them were Hindsight, The Hollow, Needs Must and Shafted—this last one was a joke.

8) I love maps and I always end up drawing them in my books. They help situate me in the story. I drew maps of the town of Dempsey Hollow and all the surrounding areas.

9) Speaking of, the name for my book town, Dempsey Hollow, comes from Stars Hollow (where the Gilmore Girls lived). That’s the kind of small, all-American town I was envisioning while I wrote the book.

10) I’m not really a horror fan. I was before I had kids but since then, not so much. Especially not in movies and that goes double for Japanese horror. After I saw Ringu, I was scared for over two years.

The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas), Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe (Preston Norton), Sing Unburied Sing (Jesmyn Ward), Odd One Out (Nic Stone), Akata Witch (Nnedi Okorafor), The Fifth Season (N.K. Jemisin), Scion of the Fox (S.M. Beiko), The 57 Bus (Dashka Slater), Beware the Girl (Teresa Toten) and The Poet X (Elizabeth Acevedo.)

Ari Sullivan is alive—for now.

She wakes at the bottom of a cistern, confused, injured and alone, with only the shadowy recollection of a low-pitched voice and a gloved hand. No one can hear her screams. And the person who put her there is coming back. The killer is planning a gruesome masterpiece, a fairytale tableau of innocence and blood, meticulously designed.

Until now, Ari was happy to spend her days pining for handsome, recent-arrival Stroud Bellows, fantasizing about their two-point-four-kids-future together. Safe in her small hometown of Dempsey Hollow. But now her community has turned very dangerous—and Ari may not be the only intended victim.

You can purchase Blood Will Out at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you JO TREGGIARI for making this giveaway possible.
2 winners will receive a Copy of BLOOD WILL OUT By Jo Treggiari. 
AUGUST 15th WEDNESDAY RhythmicBookTrovert REVIEW
AUGUST 16th THURSDAY Movies, Shows, & Books EXCERPT
AUGUST 17th FRIDAY A Dream Within A Dream REVIEW

AUGUST 20th MONDAY Chapter by Chapter REVIEW 
AUGUST 21st TUESDAY Here's to Happy Endings REVIEW


  1. "Have you ever been really really freaked out by something on the internet? If so, what?" If I do certain pretty normal searches, I don't want to see something horrifying--that's all I can say!

  2. Yes - if you go into some corners of the net you can come across forum posts that really make you worry about the person's state of mind. There are some things that are seriously creepy to see / read online.