TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Joss: Probably that I have a really hard time writing anything solid until after 6 pm each day. I can do it, but it's not always pretty and it's much easier once I hit those evening hours. I think it's because before I sold my first book, I was writing in the evening after I got home from work, put the kids to bed, and got everything settled for the night...and that's the way I must have trained my brain to work.
So, even though all three of my kids are in school all day, most of my good, solid writing is done after they get home from school. Which is why I have to leave the house to go to a cafe and write. Sigh. If only....!
TQ: Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?
Joss: I don't read a lot of paranormal writers, simply because I like to keep my mind fresh and uninfluenced by other approaches to the genre(s) I write in. I read JD Robb, Susan E Phillips, Julie James, Kylie Brant, Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels, Julia Quinn, and Loretta Chase--along with lots of historical mysteries.
Jeaniene Frost and Nalini Singh are two paranormal authors who've gotten me to peek out of my self-imposed moratorium on reading paranormals though. ;-)
I'm also just getting familiar with Jaime Rush and Tracey O'Hara, both of whom have lots of buzz surrounding their paranormal releases this week too!
TQ: Are you a plotter or a panster?
Joss: Unequivocally a pantser. Without a doubt. And I hate that!! If I could plot, I'd probably have less gray hair. :-) (Which, by the way, I cover with a fabulous cherry-cola dye.)
TQ: What inspired you to write the Envy Chronicles?
Joss: I was sitting across the table at Olive Garden one day with a good friend of mine, talking about our writing projects, and she said, "Why don't you write a post-apocalyptic romance?"
My first reaction was, "No way!" I mean, how could you have people fall in love and put a believable romance – the most uplifting, positive, happy-ever-after kind of story – in the midst of the mass destruction of the earth and its human race?
But then I got to mulling about it, and once things start to perk, it's hard for me to let go. I started thinking about all the thrillers I'd read and action movies I'd seen where the Bad Guys are trying to destroy the world. They have some great scheme that will annihilate the human race and put them in control, giving them power over all.
Of course, the heroes of the tale always manage to thwart their plots in the end ... but what if, one time, they didn't?
What if the Bad Guys succeeded in their quest for power?
That was how the idea started. And then I realized, I didn't want to set the story too close to the time of the great devastation. It would simply be too depressing, so I knew I wanted the world to have begun to rebound and settle into place. But, yet, I wanted there to be characters who knew and understood what the world had been like before the Change, as I called it. Characters who would make a difference and be saviors to humankind.
I wanted to write about men who lose everything they've ever had or known about themselves and their world, and who have to start all over again ... and the women who help them find their place in this new, stark world.
The result is an action-adventure romance series set in a devastated world that feels a bit like I Am Legend, with the essence of LOST and a paranormal component reminiscent of HEROES.
TQ: What sort of research did you do to create your post-apocalyptic world?
Joss: I watched programs like Life After People and Population: Zero to get an idea of what would last and what wouldn't, if the human race was killed off or otherwise decimated. I also read the book The World Without Us to supplement that.
I also did a lot of research about how things are made...in my post-apocalyptic/dystopian world, there isn't mass production of anything....so I had to make sure that whatever they had was able to be produced on a one-off basis. But in my mind, everything was originally produced one at a time, by whoever invented it.
I use the late 19th century as a sort of barometer to determine what's possible for people to have on a regular basis...if they had it then, before the Industrial Revolution, they can definitely have it after the world's been destroyed.
In addition, the fun thing, too, is that there are pockets of people with knowledge from our time who can help to rebuild parts of society. The book I just finished writing (the fifth book to be released in September) has a guy who's growing penicillin because he's found old books about pharmaceuticals.
TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in the Envy Chronicles?
Joss: Hmmm...that's a great question. One of the scenes I had the most fun writing was a scene where my characters are being chased through an old shopping mall by a bunch of zombies. They're running through old, empty stores, looking for an escape...and at the same time, noticing what could possibly be scavenged or used. It was fun to write about, fun to think about.
TQ: How many books are planned for the Envy Chronicles? Will there be any short stories or novellas set in the Envy Chronicles' world?
Joss: I'm just about to start writing the sixth book in the series, and I'm not sure if that will be the last one or if I'll flesh it out more. I had originally planned on six books, but there are definitely spin-off characters that I could write about....especially a particular bounty hunter. ;-)
TQ: What's next?
Joss: NIGHT BETRAYED, the fourth book, is out this week...and then in September is the fifth book, NIGHT FORBIDDEN. The sixth book should be out in 2012 sometime.
I also write as Colleen Gleason and have historical vampire romances coming out in 2011 as well. ;-)
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Joss: Thank you so much for having me!
Beyond the Night
Envy Chronicles 1
When Dr. Elliott Drake wakes from a mysterious fifty-year sleep, the world as he knew it is gone. Cities are now desolate, and civilization is controlled by deadly immortals. Stranger still is Elliott's extraordinary new "gift"—he has the power to heal, but it comes with fatal consequences.
A woman with a past . . .
Jade barely escaped the immortals and is now hell-bent on revenge. She trusts no one . . . until Elliott. His piercing gaze and tempting touch shatter her defenses, but the handsome doctor seems to have dangerous secrets of his own. Is it safe to trust him with her heart?
If they are to survive in this dark new world, Jade and Elliott must work together to fight the forces that take them beyond danger.
Embrace the Night Eternal
Envy Chronicles 2
From the raging fires, five men emerge with extraordinary new powers. They must learn how to survive this dark, ravaged world . . . but they cannot do it alone.
Simon Japp will never forget his violent past. But when civilization is all but destroyed, he sees his chance for redemption. Blessed with a strange "gift," he's determined to help the resistance against the Strangers, the mysterious force that stalks them at every turn. He can't afford to get distracted, even by the stunning, soft-spoken woman fighting by his side . . . Sage Corrigan has learned to be careful where she places her trust. But she sees something good in Simon, even if he can't see it in himself. Posing as lovers to infiltrate a group key to their fight, they find that their staged affection soon develops into a desire that will leave them fighting for their lives in the night eternal . . .
Abandon the Night
Envy Chronicles 3
Quentin Fielding had everything. Money. Power. Women. But now that civilization is all but annihilated, Quent wants only one thing: revenge. Harnessing a strange new "gift," he embarks on a deadly mission to find the man responsible for the chaos and destruction, the man he should have killed years ago: his father. Only one thing stands in his way—a mysterious, arrow-wielding beauty . . .
Zoë Kapoor is on her own quest for vengeance, searching for the monstrous fiends who murdered her family. Soon she and Quent join together, journeying through the ruins of the world they once knew as a desperate desire builds between them. Drawing closer to an enemy they never imagined, Zoë and Quent must abandon all fear, abandon all regret, abandon the night . . .
Envy Chronicles 4
The world that remains is in peril.
And five extraordinary survivors are humankind's last, best hope.
The Change that devastated the earth did not destroy Theo Waxnicki. It made him something more than human—eternally young, eternally beautiful . . . but not immortal. When he dies on a mission against the Strangers, he is lost to the darkness . . . until a miracle lady brings him back.
Born during the apocalyptic storms and earthquakes that left the world in ruins, Selena has dedicated her life to easing the pain of others. But Theo is the first in her care to survive. Responding to Selena's tender touch, Theo starts to live again, to feel and desire again. But joined in a world of terrors, the secrets they can never share make them targets. And love could be the ultimate betrayal.
Which is why These Happy Golden Years was always her favorite Laura Ingalls Wilder book.
In fact, her first literary crush was Jim Frayne from the Trixie Belden series (she always thought Ned Nickerson was too boring), and ever since then she's had a fondness for tortured male heroes in both the books she reads and the ones she writes.
While Joss has written everything from medieval romances (unpublished) to female action/adventure novels (unpublished) to contemporary paranormal romances (also unpublished), she never thought about writing a series set in the future.
And then one day, while sitting at Olive Garden, a friend said to her, "Why don't you write a post-apocalyptic romance?"
And she thought about it, and the next thing she knew, Joss had the kernel of an idea that soon exploded into something she was really excited about. Then her agent got excited about it, and then an editor at HarperCollins ... and the rest is history.
After working for years in sales and marketing, owning her own business, and working briefly for an international import/export company, Joss is now blessed to do what she loves and writes full-time.
She lives in Michigan with her husband, children and two big dogs. She's currently working on her next project and still hopes that someday, those other unpublished works might find a home.
Joss loves to hear from readers and tries very hard to respond to every contact in a timely manner.
What: One commenter will win Mass Market Paperbacks of the first 3 Envy Chronicles books: Beyond the Night, Embrace the Night Eternal, and Abandon the Night.
How: Leave a comment telling The Qwillery what you would like to find in a shopping mall if you were scavenging for things in a post-apocalyptic world? Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.
You may receive additional entries by:
1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.
2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.
3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.
There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.
Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you in case you are a winner. If The Qwillery can't contact you, you can't win!
Who & When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, February 2, 2011. Void where prohibited by law.