Today we are very excited to share a special interview with author Jo Allen Ash (The Thrice-Gifted Child).
Read on to learn more about Jo Allen Ash, her book, and a giveaway!
Meet the Author: Jo Allen Ash
Jo Allen Ash is the pen name Robin Maderich has chosen for her young adult titles. She has begun referring to this alter ego on a first name basis, as Jo. “It’s rather fun, as if she’s somehow separate from who I am. Doing so leaves me free to contemplate new tales in wildly imaginative ways, uninhibited by self-doubt. This is how I write as Jo.”
As Jo Allen Ash, Ms. Maderich has penned a young adult series of dystopian sci-fi/fantasy filled with complex and compelling characters (“according to someone other than me, someone who reviews books for a living,” says Maderich/Ash). In The Shadows We Make Jo Allen Ash has burrowed down into dark themes, such as addiction, hopelessness and loss, which are countered by the strength and quality and unexpected sweetness of forged friendships. Book Two, The Thrice-Gifted Child, continues where The Shadows We Make leaves off, with the same cast of characters and a few more besides. Both The Shadows We Make and The Thrice-Gifted Child are available now. Book Three, The Sleeping Myth, is due out in July 2023.
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About the Book: The Thrice-Gifted Child
Grace Irese, sixteen-year-old desert warrior, Duncan Oaks, teenage con-artist, along with a young mystic and a doctor’s thieving son, have survived an escape from the juvenile facility on the prison planet, Emerald, against impossible odds, forming profound and unexpected friendships in the process. After rescuing Duncan’s extraordinarily gifted sister from the tyrannical warlord who had condemned Grace and Duncan to their lifelong sentences, they find neither survival nor friendship makes them immune to the new dangers facing them in The Wilds. A province devastated by an ancient war where the inhabitants are reputed to be fierce, violent and intolerant, Grace nevertheless believes the answers she desperately needs can be found there. The others are hoping only for a place to rest and regroup, safe from the violent man and his soldiers who are hunting them down. But as grandmother-quoting Duncan likes to say, “out of the frying pan, into the fire”—an adage that will prove more prophetic than any of them realize.
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YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
My favorite character is Grace, because I love a kick-butt female protagonist. She’s got a chip on her shoulder but her heart is in the right place, always. She’s been trained as a warrior from an early age and there are certain mindsets associated with that which make her take on more responsibility than is really hers to bear. She learns to adapt to the situations and to the friendships she never expected. (However, I am also pretty fond of Duncan.)
YABC: What came first the concept, landscape, characters, or something else?
I’d say the concept came first, if we’re talking about the series when it began. This isn’t always the case when I write. When writing historical, usually an event sparks the germ for the story, followed by the overall concept and then the characters. Writing contemporary, the characters spike first. However, with the first book in the Shadow Journey series (The Shadows We Make), the sci-fi/fantasy mashup concept came first, followed by the worlds and then the characters and story. The background for The Shadows We Make is touched on in the Author’s Note at the front of the book. When writing The Shadows We Make, I wasn’t sure the story would continue on as a series. By the time I reached the end, I knew it had to. The second book, The Thrice-Gifted Child, was birthed from the storyline but fully inspired by the characters. The Sleeping Myth (Book Three) will be out in July.
YABC: If you could only write one genre for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Since YA isn’t technically a genre but a category of readership (although, given more time, I’d beg to differ in lengthy discourse), I’d have to say fantasy written for young adults, which I would insist, if pressed, includes time-travel, anything with magic, sci-fi/fantasy mashups, dystopian (because yes, we really do hope that type of bleak society would never be real), etc.
YABC: How do you keep your ‘voice’ true to the age category you are writing within?
I keep the voice true by not writing contemporary YA. I have no idea what kids do with their time these days, how they speak with one another, what goes on in their heads, and would probably make a fool of myself if I attempted to charge into the present-day world of teens. However, there are aspects to being young that never change: insecurity, sadness, optimism, frustration with adults and their world, trust in friendships, a willingness to try, an unwillingness to try, hope, faith in something or someone. I don’t write “down” to a younger audience, either. They deserve to be treated like the young adults they are, not babied, no assumptions they might not understand a word because it’s considered “adult”—I read what would be viewed as adult novels from a very early age, and if I didn’t understand a word, I broke out a dictionary. Nowadays, teenagers can look it up on their phone if they don’t quite get the meaning. However, I will not write as though I assume they won’t, because very likely they do. I also write YA in the first person, which I believe gives the reader a more heartfelt insight into the characters. I remember the universal elements present in those teenage years and how it felt, despite my own years lived between then and now. I do believe that comes out in my writing.
YABC: What can readers expect to find in your books?
In-depth world-building (without lengthy descriptive passages—a writer must allow the reader the freedom of imagination and not spoon feed them every single detail). Relatable characters, no matter the setting. Somewhat heavy emotional themes and a plot to keep them interested as well as pacing to keep them turning pages. I love when a reader says to me, “I was up all night. I just couldn’t stop reading this book!”
YABC: What is your favorite snack when writing?
My favorite snack while writing is a nice cup of hot chocolate, no matter what the season. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, you’ll find me with a cup of cocoa while I work. Occasionally, a couple of shortbread cookies go well with that.
YABC: If you were able to meet them, would you be friends with your main character?
Goodness, yes. I’d hope to be, anyway. Given the age difference and the fact I’m not at all cool, I can’t be sure such a friendship would be successful. However, bearing in mind Grace’s personality and mine, I think we’d get along just fine. We’re both stubborn, a force to be reckoned with, not entirely feminine, and willing to take chances. The stubborn part could be a bit problematic I suppose…
YABC: What fandom would you write for if you had time?
Harry Potter. I’m sorry (well, not really sorry) but I love those books, that world, the characters. I wouldn’t necessarily write about the characters we all know and love, but rather, I would stick a brand new one in there.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
Book Three of the series (The Sleeping Myth) will be out in July. I am working on Book Four. After that, I think I will dive into another YA novel I’ve begun (unless Book Five in the Shadow Journey series decides it needs to be written). I have a plan to start, at some point, my second illustrated children’s book. I also will be releasing the next book in the Connor Falls Christmas series during the 2023 holiday season. I write those books under my actual name, Robin Maderich.
YABC: What is your favorite holiday or tradition and why?
After my prior answer, need you ask? 😊 I look forward to Christmas all year long and always have. I love the anticipation. I love picking out special gifts for people. I love decorating the house. I love the music. I love the special feeling the holiday engenders, of hope and festivity and charity. Don’t think me too odd, but I will often break out the Christmas mug for hot chocolate and listen to Christmas music or watch a particularly favorite DVD at random times during the year. Doing so makes me happy.
Title: The Thrice-Gifted Child
Author: Jo Allen Ash
Release Date: January 24, 2023
Publisher: Potter Street Books
Genre: YA Dystopian Sci-fi/Fantasy
Age Range: 13+
6 thoughts on “Author Chat With Jo Allen Ash (The Thrice-Gifted Child), Plus Giveaway! ~ US/CAN Only!”
This would be a great addition to my library!
This looks really good!
Cover is awesome! Sounds like a great read! Ty for sharing
these look amazing
The cover is okay. The synopsis sounds exciting.