Dana Fredsti is the only horror author I know who’s also a Deadite. Dana was a sword-wielding embodiment of evil in Army of Darkness and her talent for mayhem has clearly served her well with her latest novel. You’ve already seen her my review of Plague Nation and her guest post so to round off Plague Nation Day, here’s my interview with her.
Zombies are massively popular right now. Why do you think that is?
Dana: Well, after the popularity of World War Z, Shaun of the Dead, 28 Days Later, and now Walking Dead, they’re in the public eye, they’re making money, and filmmakers and writers are taking advantage of it. We’re getting a glut of zombie related material, some of it good, some of it great, some of it the stuff that Bad Movie Nights are made of… but really for the first time that I can remember, zombies are the popular kids in school.
Also, you have fear of the “other” (whatever that means to each individual) as a popular theory as to their scariness. I also think that considering all the real apocalypse or even long term disaster aftermath scenarios we face, zombies are a “safe” scare. You can run and hide from zombies, or shoot ’em in the head. You can’t run from a nuclear bomb or even an earthquake or tsunami. For me, there’s just something incredibly creepy about something that looks like your loved ones or neighbors, but there’s nothing human behind the eyes… and they only see you as a meal.
How did you differentiate your zombies from the pack, or perhaps, horde?
Dana: Well, I do have the your basic slow Romero zombies in there, and am content to let them be the Classic Zombie Model… but I also have a few variations, including people who are “half-dead” and can keep their humanity… as long as they eat human flesh. I figure that’s a conundrum right there as eating human flesh does not exactly fit into anyone’s idea of “humanity.” I also have a new one coming out in Plague World, but I don’t want to give any spoilers.
What sort of spine is there for the series? What’s the overall theme?
Dana: Erm… not sure what you mean by “spine” so I will move onto overall theme. I have no idea. I didn’t set out to write a series with an overall theme. I set out to write a series that was entertaining and (hopefully) with characters the readers care about and invest in enough to keep reading. There are good guys, bad guys, dead guys, and wise guys in my books. I’ll leave it to the readers to decide what the overall theme might be because I suspect it’s as subjective as poetry for the most part. Everyone will have their own opinion and interpretation. For me personally, I think it’s about keeping one’s humanity (and sense of humor) in the midst of extreme circumstances.
Do you write to series or plan individual books?
Dana: Depends on the genre and the book. I’ve written a few books planned as stand-alones, mostly the erotic romances, but my murder mystery Murder for Hire, and the Ashley Parker books were always planned with sequels in mind. There will be at least one more Ashley Parker book after Plague Nation.
How has the series changed as it’s been written?
Dana: Well, the original version had Ashley as a nineteen year old, and was also definitely geared slightly more to the paranormal romance readership. Then the series was bought by Titan Books and I had more leeway to for zombie gore and to decide when/if sex worked in context of the story. Unlike some folks, i do think there’s room for romance/sex during a zombocalypse, but it’s important to pick the right time/place. Not in a cemetery while on the run from zombies. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Fulci…. It’s also faster paced as my Titan DEO (Dark Editorial Overlord) is one for cutting the fat. Other than that, it’s what I envisioned.
What led you to set the books in the Bay area?
Dana: Familiarity. I like setting books in places I live or have lived or have visited because I like to have that authenticity for the descriptions. It makes the writing process much easier. And even then, I spend a lot of time looking at Google Street View or going to the places I want to use as settings. Plague Town was set in a fictional Northern California town, but I used descriptions from places I’d been and it was fun having readers decided with absolute certainty that I’d set it in Arcata or Stanford. Plague World is going to have a large portion of the action in San Diego, btw, which is where I grew up. I spent a few days visiting to research settings. A lot of time at the Cabrillo Monument. The global spread of the plague will be shown via interludes.
Has anything been cut that you regret?
Dana:I get very attached to lines and scenes, but I have to say that even if I bitched and moaned about cuts at the time, none of them stick in my memory. So I guess
my words weren’t as deathless and important as I thought at the time. 🙂
How has your own experience influenced the action scenes?
Dana: It’s easier to write what one knows firsthand, so my theatrical combat and martial arts training came in really handy when writing the action sequences. And what I couldn’t visualize, I tried out on my very patient boyfriend.
Deadite or zombie? Which wins?
Dana:Well, it depends on what the contest is, I guess! Deadites can talk (although only in Sam or Ted Raimi’s voices…) whereas zombies can only moan. Unless they’re in the remake of Dawn of the Dead and then they can suddenly snarl like pissed off pumas. Deadites can also swordfight. So… if you’re asking which I’d rather be, definitely a Deadite. But if you’re asking which I think is a scarier monster, definitely zombies!
Thanks, Dana. Her novels, Plague Town and Plague Nation are available from Titan now and are huge fun.
This article was posted as part of the Plague Nation blog tour, celebrating the release of Dana Fredsti’s new novel. For the opportunity to win a copy of the book, simply tweet:
Find out more about the book and the tour at: www.titanbooks.com/plaguenation