Inkpop Blog

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Inside the Mind of Joss Ware

Posted by inkpop on May 12, 2010

Hey inkpoppers! We have a special treat for this week’s “Inside the Mind .” We are featuring an author from our HarperCollins imprint, Avon. Why? Because this author writes about zombies and we’ve noticed you like zombies. Enough said! If you’re interested in reading more, check out Eos’s blog, Out of This Eos.

Joss Ware is the author of the Envy Chronicles, a series of paranormal novels that take place 50 years in the future, after the world came to a mysterious end.  Five men rose from the ashes, and are thrust into this post-apocalyptic world, where zombie-like creatures exist beside humans…

There are a number of vampire books being published right now, but your series feature zombies.  How did you come to write about them?
The setting for my series is different from a lot of what’s out there, too–since the Envy Chronicles are set fifty years after major devastating events destroy the earth and much of civilization.

Thus, zombies seem to fit into a post-apocalyptic world really nicely, in my mind. In an environment where everything has been devastated and destroyed, those scavenging creatures with the rotting flesh seem almost as appropriate there as vampires do in Transylvania! But the zombies are not the main characters of the series…they’re more like the Orcs in The Lord of the Rings–real pains in the butt, but no one ever even gets a name!

If you could name three elements in the Envy Chronicles series that helped your books really stand out, what would those elements be?
The futuristic setting is definitely one of the elements. The world, unlike what most people think of when they think post-apocalyptic, is green and lush and completely overgrown. Almost like an urban jungle. There are elements from our world, but they are often either memories or very limited. What I mean is, in this new world, there is no real infrastructure, no really widespread use of technology, no communication–but all of the knowledge and technology that we have today still can exist.

Another element that makes the series stand out is the over-riding mystery of what happened to destroy the earth–what was behind it–and who are the strange crystal-wearing immortals. Each book gives more and more clues to the mystery and adds another layer to what the reader–and the characters–understand about their world.

And finally, the last element that people really seem to respond to are the characters. The series is built around a group of five men who go caving in Sedona, Arizona, in June of 2010…there is an earthquake and they get knocked out. When they wake up and come out of the cave, they realize that fifty years have passed, and the world has been destroyed. They’ve literally lost everything they’ve ever had or known. The books follow the stories of these five men–and the others they meet along the way–as they learn how to live and love in this horrifying new world.

Do you have an audience in mind when you write? Who do you write for? What do you do to make sure you work appeals to that audience?
In my mind, my audience is one that’s seen lots of action movies, and has read lots of paranormal stories…so what I try to do is to make my books as different from things the audience might be overly familiar with as possible. You know, trying to stay away from the “been there, seen/read that” sort of syndrome.

But at the same time, I’m careful to try and meet their expectations for satisfying resolution, interesting and believable characters, fast pace, and a unique world. To me, there is nothing better than a great story that has familiar elements that are yet done so differently that it feels  unique and fresh.

To appeal to as many people as possible, I try to make my books feel very cross-genre. They fit in many different places, because there are big elements of romance, science fiction, fantasy, mystery and adventure in each one…with none of any of those elements being too heavy.  I also try very hard to do things people don’t expect me to…in fact, in the book I just finished writing, there is a death that I think might upset some people. 😉

Do you read YA? What draws you to certain authors’ work?
I do read some YA when I have the chance to read for pleasure! What draws me is an author’s voice as well as the uniqueness of the author’s world. I can usually pick up a book and know after a page or two whether I’m going to love it or whether it’s just not going to work for me. Interestingly enough, I don’t read much paranormal (either YA or adult) because I write it.

If you had to put a soundtrack to your books, what songs would on it?
I actually made a little playlist for the Envy books. Some of the songs are actually referenced in the books, particularly in Beyond the Night, where one of the characters sings in a club.

Here are some of them:

Supernova by Liz Phair
Night Moves by Bob Seger
(I Want Your) Hands on Me by Sinead O’Connor
Lover, You Should Have Come Over by Jeff Buckley
Hot & Cold by Katy Perry
House of Cards by Radiohead (even though, in light of the zombies, Bodysnatchers might have been a better choice…)
Harder to Breathe by Maroon 5
Babylon by David Gray

Like what Joss had to say? Leave a comment! We’re selecting one random winner to receive a free copy of the newest book in the Envy Chronicle as well a free copy of Gone by HarperTeen author Michael Grant, being featured on Out of This Eos today, and Jocelynn Drake’s Nightwalker!

21 Responses to “Inside the Mind of Joss Ware”

  1. i was just over the avon blog… i really like this cross-over idea! 🙂 i actually have all three of joss’s envy chronicles series sitting on my shelf. they came highly recommended but i have yet to read them. this interview is really making me want to get to them ASAP. thanks!

  2. Cathy M said

    I am a huge paranormal fan and love the storyline for this series. Haven’t had a chance to read any of the books yet, but will definitely add these titles to my wish list.


  3. Angie D said

    This sounds like a very interesting book. 50 years into the future and zombies. I love the soundtrack Joss would choose:)
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  4. danita said

    Do you have plans to focus on the other post apocalyptic towns near Envy?

  5. Christy H. said

    I also just came over from the avon blog ~ and, I agree . . . your cross-over idea is great! I’m learning about some authors that are new to me.
    Joss’s ENVY CHRONICLES sound like some great reads.
    I’d love to be entered to receive a free copy of the newest book in this series as well a free copy of Gone by HarperTeen author Michael Grant

  6. Spav said

    I’ve read the first book of the Envy Chronicles and I loved it. I can’t wait to read the rest of them!

  7. Shae said

    I read the 1st three books and cannot wait for the 4th to come out! How many will there be in the series?

    I too am enjoying the cross-over!

  8. Joss Ware said

    Hi there! Thanks for stopping by!

    @Danita Funny you should ask…the fourth book, NIGHT BETRAYED takes place almost completely away from Envy (which, for those of you who don’t know, is actually N.V., which stands for New Vegas. Yes, the story is set in a very different Las Vegas than we know today!).

    @Spav Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed BEYOND THE NIGHT!

    @Michelle Awesome! Thanks for adding them to your stack!

    @Shae I’m not sure how many there will be in the series, but I just finished book 4 and will soon start to work on books 5 and 6.

  9. Joss Ware said

    @Angie D Thanks for your compliments on the soundtrack. I actually quote from one of the songs (the one by Jeff Buckley) in the frontispiece of the book:

    “Sometimes a man just awakes to find…he has no one.”

  10. Donna S said

    The cross-over is a great idea and a fun way to find other books. All 3 sound great and I am looking forward to the chance to read them.

  11. Wynter said

    This author has always been one of my favorites.
    I love the way that she uses characters with unique circumstances, and just the way that she writes in general. I can’t wait to read the next installment. She always leave me wanting more!!!

  12. Joss Ware said

    @Wynter Thank you!! And thanks for coming by. 🙂

  13. FzngWizbee said

    Sounds very interesting. I’d love to be entered in the giveaway!:)

  14. Christina Harrison said

    You should definately read these books, don’t just let them sit there in your good intentions pile. I loved that I haven’t read anything this fresh in a long time. It’s not one of those books where you can say I saw that coming. You never know what’s going to be thrown at you on the next page.

  15. Little Lamb Lost said

    I love it when an author takes an assumption and puts it on it’s ear. Post-apocalyptic as a lush, green, over-grown situation…you got me.

  16. I haven’t read this series yet but it sounds pretty interesting – I love it when authors include soundtracks in with books – I wish there was a button you could push on the books so you could listen along while you read 😉

  17. Shannon said

    What a great concept of introducing us to other authors & books by doing this cross-over event. I’m here because of the Avon blog & I love the soundtrack of your books…many of those are some of my favorite songs!

  18. Shannon said

    Ah, man I was comment number 13 😦 I hope that doesn’t hold up & mean I’m unlucky.

  19. tamibates said

    so m books i havnt heard but sounds good

    i poste on the cross over blogs”

    i actually starting readin YA to make sure it was ok for my teens, but now i like it myself and whenim buying my kid a book, i make sure to get the one, im wanting to read <LOL

  20. Julie said

    I love the idea of a post-apocalyptic romance! There’s so much that seems the same, but has to be different in order to make the story believable. Thanks for this chance to win! 🙂

  21. […] Joss Ware, author of Embrace the Night Eternal, at Inkpop […]

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