Friday, December 13, 2013

World of Ash by Shauna Granger Review and Interview

World of Ash
By Shauna Granger

Genre: Dystopian
Published Dec 2013
Pages: 263
Buy a copy of  World of Ash 

World of Ash  Summary:  "There are two inherent truths in the world: life as we know it is over, and monsters are real.

The Pestas came in the night, spreading their pox, a deadly plague that decimated the population. Kat, one of the unlucky few who survived, is determined to get to her last living relative and find shelter from the pox that continues to devastate the world. When it mutates and becomes airborne, Kat is desperate to avoid people because staying alone might be her only chance to stay alive.

That is, until she meets Dylan. Dylan, with his easy smile and dark, curly hair, has nowhere to go and no one to live for. He convinces Kat there can be safety in numbers, that they can watch out for each other. So the unlikely couple set off together through the barren wasteland to find a new life – if they can survive the roaming Pestas, bands of wild, gun-toting children, and piles of burning, pox-ridden bodies."

Review:  I really enjoyed this book. World of Ash can really make you wonder what life would be like after an apocalyptic plague wipes out a large portion of the population. And what the plague/pox doesn't kill, the military certainly will in order to 'protect' and control the situation.

This is the situation young Kat finds herself in. Her home, L.A., was recently decimated, her family gone and she is alone on the road, traveling by foot toward Washington. This deadly disease is not only deadly but has a magical element it all. It is spread be these creatures called Pestas. The first scene I read that had one of these Pesta's I was holding my breath right along with Kat! Creepy! Scientists have no cure so Kat feels her best chance is to follow her mother's

Most people she comes across are angry,violent or scared and often Dangerous. Lucky for Kat she does come across two companions during her travels. A dog named and a young man named Dylan. Together they set off. Blue is a sweet, protective dog that is so lovable. Dylan is naive but caring and has some good knowledge about cars that helps. Kat is great one minute and annoying the next. She used to be very materialistic with her fancy nails, spa treatments, $300 hair styles, etc. That lifestyle is so far from mine it can be a bit hard to relate to her at times. But she is tough and has learned a lot from the situation so I also give her a lot of credit where it is due.

Biggest disappointment for me was we really don't learn much about the Pesta's. Kat says the are magical. Everyone knows about them. But how they work, where they came from, etc is still very unknown. The magic element simply seems to be they came from nowhere and infect you with the slightest touch. I hope there will be  more info in another book that will answer more about there part in the story and continue Kat's journey.When the next book comes out, I will be quick to buy a copy!

Interview with Shauna Granger!!!

Q:  What was your favorite scene to write for World of Ash?

There were quite a few scenes that I really enjoyed writing, each for their own reasons. But I
have to say there is one scene where Kat and Dylan are talking about things they miss the most
about their old lives and Kat has a break through where she’s not missing her hair care products
or lotions. She’s missing the chance to grow up. She misses chances. And she breaks down. It
was a deeply emotional moment in this book for me because I was able to connect with my main
character on a level I didn’t expect.

I loved the conversation about chances in the book.  Very moving scene.

Q:  From all the books you have written, can you tell us your favorite character that you created?

This is a tough one. Before, I was always very quick to say Steven, the Fire Elemental from my
Elemental Series. And while he still has a very special place in my heart, I think I’ve enjoyed
creating the animals the most. In Spirit, the last book my Elemental Series, I created Balor, a
faerie hound, and in World of Ash I created Blue, an Australian Shepard. I know it sounds a little
silly, but the worlds I create tend to be rife with struggle and deaths, but these two dogs brought
light and life and humor to these worlds. They make the darkness bearable.

Dogs often do.  We just took in an unplanned rescue dog this summer but he has brought such joy to our lives.

Q:  World or Ash is quite different from your Elemental Series. Where did the idea come from? And how did you feel about writing in a different genre?

I don’t really know where the idea came from, to be honest with you. When I finished writing
the last Elemental book, I actually wrote a whole other book, an adult Urban Fantasy during
NaNoWriMo last year, but all through the end of that book I kept seeing this image of Kat.
She was standing in this dingy, almost destroyed bathroom, her hair greasy and hanging lank
around her face, holding a pair of rusted scissors. I couldn’t get that image out of my head. So,
in February, I sat down to write it to get it out of my head and I ended up writing chapter one in
one sitting. I knew I had to write this book so I broke out my legal pad and started outlining and
taking copious notes on epidemics, plagues and mythology.

It was very strange writing this different genre. At first, the plague that decimated the world
wasn’t magical, there weren’t these creatures spreading the pox, and when I was done, I hated it.
I hated that my book didn’t have magic in it. I knew I didn’t want to write a Zombie book, but
this wasn’t the book I wanted to write either. Luckily, thanks to Scandinavian folklore, I found
the perfect vehicle to transform the plague and my book as a whole.

I think I now need to go look up some Scandinavian lore J

Q:  What is your writing process? Daily? How long, where, longhand vs computer, etc. Any habits when you write such as music, favorite drink/snack, lighting, etc?

Definitely daily. I write Monday through Friday with a word goal in mind. I tend to write
anywhere from 2,000 words a day to as many as 5,000 if things are really cooking. I used to be a
pantser (writing by the seat of my pants with no structure to refer to), but now I’m an outliner. It
really helps me keep on track and know where I’m going, even if I take side trips along the way.
I do have my preferences – I like to write in the morning, with a cup of coffee and my  appropriate playlist for the book. But I treat writing like a job, if I can’t have all these perfect things, I still write because I have to. This is my job, I have to get my work done no matter what.

Are the names of the characters in your novels important?

When I was a young, inexperienced writer, I used to spend hours, combing through name
websites, looking up meanings and trying to apply those to my characters. I don’t really do that
anymore. Sometimes the names just pop into my head I know that’s the name and sometimes I
think of the first letter and look up names that way and just pick one that stands out to me.

I did apply important middle names to two of my characters in the Elemental Series. Shay’s
middle name was Brigit, named after the Celtic Triple Goddess and Steven’s was Ignacio, a nod
to his fire abilities.

Can you tell up more about the Pestes in World of Ash?

Without giving too much away, the Pestas originated from a Scandinavian Folklore tale I found.
They were believed to be the source of the Black Death. Norway and Denmark lost so much of
their populations to the Black Death that they created a creature of legend that spreads sickness
and death. I loved the idea of this and used it in World of Ash. If I tell you more, I’ll spoil some
surprises I have in store for the next installments.

I anticipate learning more! 

Are there any scenes or characters that you were going to have in the book that you later removed? Can you tell us a bit about it?

Originally I had planned the book to be completely magic/folklore/mythology free. So the plague
that swept the world was an outbreak of genetically altered smallpox. I had this whole thing
planned about a guy who worked for WHO that secreted out a vial of the stuff to kill his wife and
her lover. All of that hit the chopping block pretty fast.

What was the first scene wrote for World of Ash? The last? Or did you write the book in order?

I wrote the book mostly in order, however, like I said before, I added the Pestas after the fact so
there was much editing when it came to that. There is one scene where Kat has a very close call
with one of the creatures that I added after finishing the whole novel. I’m glad I added it though,
it was one of the creepiest scenes, in my opinion.

Yes, yes it was!

Q;  If this book was turned into a movie who would you want to play Kat and Dylan?

This was a really easy question for me with my last series, but this time around, I am having the
hardest time thinking of the appropriate actors.

Maybe I’ll let readers nominate who they’d like to see.

So, everyone, if you have read this be sure to comment on who who think would be a great Kat.

Q:  What advice would you give to your younger self when you first started to write?

Back up your work. Constantly. Daily. You can never do this enough. And in more than one
place. When I was in the middle of writing Fire, I took a break because it was a very difficult
(emotionally) book to write and I hadn’t remembered to back up my work in about 30,000 words
and my hard drive died. I spend a lot of money to get back most of those lost words, but still lost
between 10-15,000 words. It was horrifying and gut-wrenching. BACK UP YOUR WORK.


 And Just for fun…

Q:What is your favorite time of the year?

Winter, Chistmastime. I love Halloween and Samhain, but there’s nothing quite like December
and January for me. I just love it.

If you could meet and have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you dine with and where would you go?

Can I be lame and say Professor Snape? I’d love to share a couple of bottles of Butter Beer at the
Leaky Cauldron or The Three Broomsticks with him.

Nothing lame about it.  J

Q:  If you found yourself thrust into a book, what book would be the best book to be in and what would be the worst? Why?

Best: Harry Potter (Any of them). Why: C’mon, really, do I need to explain?

Worst: Lord of the Flies or Animal Farm or The Jungle. Why: Read ‘em, you’ll get it.

Q:  What is your favorite holiday and what do you do to celebrate it?

Tie between Halloween/Samhain and Christmas/Winter Solstice. I’ve come a long way as an
adult to claim my roots and remember what these holidays are really about. We celebrate with
fires, food and gifts.

Also, with Halloween, I’ve adopted Neil Gaiman’s All Hallows Read. This year was especially
successful, you can see what I mean at my blog here:

Very Cool!

Q:  If you could have any special ability (super power, magical ability, etc) in the world, what would you have and why?

Apparition. I knew this even before J.K. Rowling coined the name. I love the idea of turning on
the spot and reappearing in Paris, London, Dublin, the Cliffs of Moher!

Q:  If you could travel in time (future or past) for 1 week, where would you go and why?

Forward. I’d find out the winning lotto numbers. I know, that’s not very deep, but, well,



Q:  If you could wish one thing to come true this year, what would it be?

I can’t answer this one. I have a couple of things in the works that might be life changing that I
can’t talk about yet. But suffice it to say, I hope one of those things come through.

Well, best of luck to you and thanks for joining us! 


  1. World of ash, I just love the whole premise of this book. Apocalypse, survival and finding love. I liked your review and want to read the book. Thank you

  2. Marnie G (Derrick Todd)July 1, 2015 at 8:37 PM

    This book sounds like it is right up my alley. This is going on my "To Read" list.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.