Next Monday: The Walking Dead begins with Season one, Episode one, a review of the show and comic!
Interview with Dana Fredsti!
Guys and gals!! I have to say, Dana is freaking awesome. I mean if you can’t tell by her website, just think, this gal plays with swords, loves big cats and writes about freaking zombies!!! I swear she’s my soul mate! Or one of the many I’ve found while blogging 😀 If you haven’t read Plague Town and you’re into zombies, go get it! OR read the interview and then join in on the giveaway!!! MORE zombies for 2013!! YAY!
And next week I’ll have the review for Plague Town as well as the first episode and first comic review for The Walking Dead! But for now… back to the fabulous Dana Fredsti!
Hey Dana! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this zombie interview with My Seryniti!
And thank you so much for having me as your guest!
The Book Stuff:
Tell us a little about Plague Town and your upcoming Plague Nation.
Well, Plague Town’s log line is “Buffy meets The Walking Dead,” and I think that’s a pretty accurate broad description. It was actually pitched to me as a project by Lori Perkins, an agent and editor, who wanted “Buffy. But with zombies. And different.” I ran with it. My heroine, Ashley, was originally nineteen, but when the series was picked up by Titan, the decision was made to make it more accessible to a wider audience by aging Ashley about ten years. One pithy reviewer called her “a would-be cougar,” which cracked me up. But I digress!
Plague Town takes place within a hundred mile radius around the Northern California town of Redwood Grove and “Big Red” College and follows Ashley Parker, a Liberal Arts major going back to school after being dumped by her college professor husband for a younger model, at the start of a zombie outbreak. She’s bitten and discovers she’s one of a very small percentage of people who are immune to the virus and is, in fact, a “wild card.” This also gives her enhanced senses, agility, strength, and sarcasm. J She and a few other wild cards, along with a centuries old “dark ops” organization dedicated to studying and preventing zombie outbreaks, have to prevent the outbreak from spreading further than the quarantine zone. Gory hijinks ensue. Plague Nation follows the same characters (them that lives, that is, she said ominously) as things progress.
Does the Ashley Parker Series reflect your view on zombies?
As in my preference for slow zombies? Well, yes… and no. I have a couple of my own twists on the class Romero zombie. One of them is revealed in Plague Town and another kind of sort of revealed in Plague Nation, with plans for more detail and yet another twist in Plague World. But there will always be the central core of classic slow moving zombies who do NOT crave brains other than as part of the overall crunchy, chewy, gooey goodness that are living human snacks.
Does this series start at Patient Zero and move through the epidemic?
It does indeed. As the names of the three books imply (Plague Town, Plague Nation, Plague World), the spread increases with each book. Plague Galaxy COULD be next!
From Plague Town and the upcoming Plague Nation: What are your favorite quotes?
Er… uh… um… argh. I’ll give you one from Plague Nation ’cause it’s fresh in my mind.
Three zombies stumbled out from the shelves stacked high with cases of hard liquor, beer, and wine, two ex-Licker Up employees and a woman in blood stained jeans and a T-shirt proclaiming “I’m a Princess”, the words outlined in rhinestones.
No, you’re a zombie, I thought, giving her a permanent frontal lobotomy. Does it make me a bad person to admit I enjoyed it?
As far as Plague Town, here’s a modified quote that sums up my philosophy and plays an important part in the book itself:
“If you want to live, don’t go back for the cat. But if you want to live with yourself … go back for the cat.” –Ashley Parker, Plague Town
Without any spoilers, what can we look forward to with Plague Nation?
I definitely up the stakes for the characters and for the readers. I gleefully infect towns and cities nationwide. We find out more about Nathan and Simone’s history. The sport of parkour makes an appearance. And..zombies in Golden Gate Park! Booyah!
I read you have trained with weapons! What weapon did you start out with?
My very first weapon if we go past childhood bouts with sticks and such, was a short sword about 16 inches long and three and a half inches wide. I learned my very first stage combat at a Ren Faire in San Diego with that short sword and performed my first fight (also staged) in public an hour after meeting my instructor/partner and learning the moves. I was, as they say, a natural at this. Considering my lack of athleticism in other areas, this came as a surprise. Martial arts, theatrical combat and fencing. Go figure.
What kind did you use and what is your favorite?
I trained in broadsword, rapier, dagger, knife, small sword, quarterstaff and hand-to-hand. My favorite was and still remains rapier/dagger combo. I saw the Three Musketeers (the Richard Lester version) when I was 13 and that pretty much cemented my love for those weapons and the Florentine style of fighting. The most esoteric weapon I used was a pair of castanets in a castanets/versus small sword fight set to music from the opera Carmen. J
How did you get involved in watching out for big cats?
I’ve always loved felines, large and small, and spent a lot of time at the San Diego Zoo in front of the various exotic feline enclosures. In my thirties I was looking for a change in career choices and wanted to find something to do with animals, and found EFBC/FCC (Exotic Feline Breeding Facility/Feline Conservation Center) on line with the help of a friend, and saw that they were looking for volunteers. I went there with a friend and fell in love. When I was living in the L.A. area, I volunteered there once a week, sometimes twice. It was an amazing experience and if you are in that area, it’s open to the public six days a week, and they are always looking for volunteers. You clean cages, do food prep, feed the cats, give tours… Sigh. I miss it. 2011 is the first year I’ve not been able to make it down for their Twilight Tours. Normally I emcee those events, but… this was a bad and busy year. Anyway, check out the website! www.cathouse-fcc.org.
I absolutely love the fact that you enjoy B movies!! Which is your fave?
Ooh, that’s like asking me which cat is my favorite! Just off the top of my head, my favorite B movie would have to be Zombie, directed by Lucio Fulci. I mean… zombie versus shark! And I love anything with that wacky over-emotive genius Billy Drago in it. Oh yeah, and Female Mercenaries on Zombie Island is about as bad as it gets. We’re talking a shot of a tin foil meteor hitting the earth for a special effect…
Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what’s on your playlist?
Music is an essential part of my writing process. I always have a specific soundtrack or score for each individual project. For Plague Town, for instance, it was mainly the score to Twilight by Carter Burwell, supplement by the scores to Blood Diamond and District Nine. For Plague Nation, Tron: Legacy score by Daft Punks, as well as score to Omega Man and The Dead. For my murder mystery (my first published novel) Murder for Hire, it was the score to Witches of Eastwick. I don’t listen to a lot of music with words ’cause the words tend to distract me. Although I have been known to play movies in the background, depending on my mood. I tortured my boyfriend with every zombie movie under the sun while writing Plague Town.
I also love a good wine! What are your favs?
Well, some of my favorite wineries are Witch Creek, Brutocao, D’art, and Tobin James. I love pretty much any and all varietals, depending on what I’m eating or in the mood for. I love bubbly. I could drink champagne every day. Love a good rich zinfandel, like Tobin James’ Fat Boy. I love interesting blends too. I am an equal opportunity wine taster!
The Serious Stuff:
Do you think a zombiepocalypse is possible?
Well, if it is you should refer to it as the zombocalypse for brevity’s sake. J And I think something like the rage virus in the 28 Days/Weeks Later movies is more feasible. I think one of the fun things about creating zombie survival scenarios and planning for it is that the likelihood of the dead coming back to life is… unlikely. It’s just more fun and safer, if you will, than planning for a post-nuclear holocaust situation.
If there were an outbreak, what would be your first reaction?
After my initial “Well, crap, I lost THAT bet,” I’d be checking to see how much wine, toilet paper, water, and pet food we had on hand.
You can only choose a weapon currently in your house. What would you choose?
Cutlass with nice sharp edge with a crowbar to back it up. J
Would you venture away from your home or fortify and hunker down?
Due to the fact we have cats and a dog and it would be difficult to get them all safely out of the house, I would fortify and hunker down. The houses in San Francisco in our neighborhood are fairly defensible, with enclosed backyards and only one real window on the first floor. The front door has a gated entryway with a steel gate that locks very securely. I would just hope I was up on my wine club shipments.
Fast or slow zombies?
Slow, as long as they’re not goofy like the ones, say, in Survival of the Dead. I do think the fast ones can be scary in an “Oh shit, we are so screwed” kind of way, but I’ve always liked the slow, inexorable onslaught of the slow ones. Walking Dead does it really well, as did the South African movie The Dead.
Favorite weapon of choice?
Rapier and dagger, although not particularly practical for dealing with zombies. My heroine uses a katana, but keep in mind those puppies need to be sharpened on a regular basis. The skills used with sword fighting and martial arts can definitely translate favorably with any hand held weapon, though. Crowbars are nice! I also love to shoot, but I would not want to just have a gun.
Would you kill for it in the zombie apocalypse?
If the person who wouldn’t let me have it was an asshole, yes. If they were just fellow winos like me, probably not. I would more likely kill to obtain food for my cats.
Favorite zombie book and movie? Why?
Well, favorite movie has to be the original Dawn of the Dead. That was my first date movie and I am just very fond of it. I like the fact that it takes four characters and develops them, rather than gives you a bunch of characters who never really change during the course of the film. And yes, I know the blue makeup is dated, but back in the day (and yes, I saw it on opening night when it first came out at the theater) it was creepy and effective, and the scene where Peter and Roger discover the basement room where the tenants of an apartment have placed their dead remains one of my favorite disturbing scenes in horror movies ever.
Favorite book … it changes from day to day. So today I’ll say World War Z. Tomorrow it could be Patient Zero or Dead City or Feed. J I am just loving the fact I now have so many titles and styles to choose from!
And now for the GIVEAWAY!!!
Paperback copy of Plague Town!!
We’re going to make this an easy giveaway! Just comment below and let Dana know why you love to hate, or hate to love zombies!