Risingshadow has had the honour of interviewing Dana Fredsti.

Dana Fredsti is a US-based author of Murder for Hire: The Peruvian Pigeon and co-author of What Women Really Want in Bed. She blogs frequently and has made podcast and radio appearances. She has also appeared in various zombie/horror movies projects, and worked on Sam Raimi’s Army of Darkness as an armourer's assistant, sword-fighting captain, and sword-fighting Deadite.

Dana Fredsti has also written the Ashley Parker zombie series.

Click here to visit the author's official website.

AN INTERVIEW WITH DANA FREDSTI

- Could you tell us something about yourself in your own words?

To quote my bio (which I wrote in my own words so I think it counts!):  Dana Fredsti is ex B-movie actress with a background in theatrical sword-fighting. Through seven plus years of volunteering at the Exotic Feline Breeding Facility/Feline Conservation Center (www.cathouse-fcc.org) in Rosamond, California, Dana’s had a full-grown leopard sit on her feet, been kissed by tigers, held baby jaguars and had her thumb sucked by an ocelot with nursing issues. She’s addicted to bad movies and any book or film, good or bad, which include zombies.

Stepping outside of the bio, I live in San Francisco with my fiance, a small horde of cats and one very tolerant dog. I will also share the fact I'm a couple of cats over crazy cat lady status (if we're going by the Crazy Cat Lady Action Figure cat count), but I recognize the fact that I have reached my limit, both for the good of our house and the good of our cats, so this is a good thing.  Right?

I've attended ComicCon since 1976 or thereabouts, and am wistfully nostalgic for the days when it was a tiny little convention in a small hotel and the big event was the Star Trek Blooper reel.  These days one must use a machete to wade through the crowds.  Unfortunately con security frowns on the use of machetes.

- How did you become a writer? Have you always wanted to write novels and stories?

I started writing when I was old enough to string very simple words together in equally simple sentences.  I wrote an epic story, The End of the Sun, when I was… er… five?  It was three sentences long, one syllable words, but by thunder, it had a beginning, middle and end.  *ahem*:  "One day the sun came out.  The next day the sun did not come out.  It was the end of the sun."  I like to think I've improved since then, but yes, I've always loved writing and it used to be what I did to escape from reality when i was unhappy or just bored.

- What are your favourite authors and novels?

That is SO like asking someone which one of their kids (or cats) is their favorite!  I've got so very many… and whenever I'm asked a question like this I feel guilty if I don't list Every Single One.  So I'm just going to pretend that you asked "What are SOME of your favourite authors and novels" because it takes the pressure off.  In no particular order: Stephen King (favorites are The Shining, Dead Zone, The Stand, It, Salem's Lot); Barbara Hambly (pretty much everything she writes, but mainly The Darwath Trilogy); Jonathan Maberry (the Rot and Ruin series); F. Paul Wilson, Joe McKinney, Charles deLint, Juliet Blackwell….oh, and the Harry Potter books.  I could re-read those every other year…. Most of my favorite books are ones I've read more than once.

- Are there any authors or novels that you'd especially like to recommend to your readers?

I think the list above is a good start!

- You've written three zombie novels (Plague Town, Plague Nation and Plague World). What inspired you to write them? Have any zombie novels or stories been a source of inspiration to you?

I've been a fan of zombie movies since I first saw the original Dawn of the Dead (my very first date movie, doncha know) and they became my favorite monster.  I actually wrote two zombie stories years ago: A Man's Gotta Eat What a Man's Gotta Eat, originally published in an urban noir anthology and now out as an e-book by Titan; and You'll Never Be Lunch in This Town Again, which was in John Skipp's Mondo Zombie anthology.  So when I was asked by editor Lori Perkins if I wanted to create and write a series she envisioned as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but with zombies -- and different," I was thrilled because, y'know… zombies!

As far as inspiration from other novels or stories, the Book of the Dead anthologies, World War Z (the book, NOT the movie), and Dead City by Joe McKinney.  These were among the first really high quality zombie fiction to come out, and WWZ showed that not only could zombies be mainstream, but best sellers too! And the first Book of the Dead inspired me to write my two short stories mentioned above because I SO wanted to be in the next one!  And I love Maberry's Rot and Ruin series and find them inspiring because of how skillfully and realistically he has the characters evolve in the course of the series.

- Your third zombie novel, Plague World, will be published soon by Titan Books. What can readers and fans of the series expect from it?

I pretty much wrap up all the dangling plot points from the first two books (no Han in Carbonite ending for this book!), and I happily spread the zombie plague world wide at the same time. I'm also really really mean to my characters this time around, especially Ashley.  One of the critiques I received on the first two books that I took very seriously was that Ash, while tough and capable, never really suffered beyond the the initial attack that turned her into a wild card. That changes in Plague World.  Also, Ash's voice is decidedly snarky and there's a lot of humor amidst the gore. It's her way of dealing with the situation without going crazy.

- How would you describe the protagonist of your zombie series to readers who haven't read the series yet? What kind of a protagonist is she?

Ashley starts out as a 29 year old divorcee trying to go back to college, pick up her life and fit in with kids five-10 years younger than she is, so she's fairly immature when the zombie crap hits the fan. She adapts quickly to the situation, and part of the fun of writing the series has been rounding out her character more with each book.  She's strong, has a sense of humor, and a strong sense of right/wrong which sometimes is at war with what has to be done (or not done) to survive.

- Will you write more zombie novels in the near future?

I have another Ashley book outlined, so I certainly hope so!

- What would you say to a reader who's thinking of reading your zombie novels?

Um… thank you?  That, and I'd also give a 'must have sense of humor' warning because some people like their zombie novels dripping with gore and VERY very serious.  Mine are drippy, but as mentioned above, Ash's narrative voice has a lot of dark humor.

- What are you currently working on?

I'm writing a story for Jonathan Maberry's V-Wars anthology (the fourth in the series), working on the novelization of a screenplay I co-wrote (horror/dark fantasy), working on outlines for more Ashley books, and a few other odds and ends.

- Is there anything you'd like to add?

Just a thank you for taking the time to interview me!

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