Dana Fredsti is the author of the awesome, zombilicious, Plague Town and the equally awesome Plague Nation. She also writes mysery, so yeah, she’s a busy lady. Luckily, she agreed to catch up with me about the new book, where the series is headed, and more!
Dana, welcome back to the blog! I’m so excited about Plague Nation, the 2nd novel in your Ashley Parker series. Will you tell us a bit about it, and what we can expect from Ashley and her intrepid group of zombie killers?
First of all, thank you so much for having me back as your guest and also for your enthusiasm for Ashley and her gang.
Plague Nation pretty much starts off where Plague Town leaves off, right after the discovery that Dr. Albert’s vaccine for Walker’s Flu is responsible for this current incarnation of the zombie outbreak. The wild cards are still in the midst of clearing out the last of the zombies in the quarantine area in and around Redwood Grove. There’s a saboteur in their midst, bad things happen, zombie hijinks ensue. Yeah, I’m taking the easy way out because everything else I wrote screamed SPOILER!!! I’ll also add that the stakes have been upped substantially, both for Ashley and the wild cards on very personal levels, and also for the world as we know it (insert ominous music here).
How do you think Ashley has changed since Plague Town?
While she still has her snarky and irreverent sense of humor, I think she’s gotten a bit more serious in alignment with the rising seriousness the situation. And I think she behaves more like the 29 year old that she is rather than a college student. In Plague Town she was a bit immature at times, probably from hanging out with students five or so years younger. She is still fiercely loyal and willing to fight to the death for those she cares about, and she is still relatively lacking in angst for someone dropped into the middle of a zombocalypse.
What do you enjoy most about writing this series?
Everything. Seriously, it’s just a lot of fun. Getting the chance to write about zombies combined with humor, gore, pop culture, and lots of action… it makes me happy. And I have to confess that I took great glee in Plague Nation unleashing the outbreak on various places around the country. Perhaps TOO much glee….
And the feedback from readers… I love it. I’ve gotten fan mail for the first time in my life and every single one makes me feel like I’ve been awarded a medal. Readers have no idea how much it means to some of us when they take the time to let us know they’ve enjoyed our work. So if you’re a reader and all shy about telling your favorite authors how much you like their writing, odds are REALLY good you’ll make said authors happy if you DO tell them. And any writer who, no matter what stage they’re at in their career, who doesn’t appreciate I deserves a good smack on the side of the head.
Yes, I digress. Don’t judge me!
What other character, besides Ashley, do you particularly enjoy writing scenes for?
I pretty much enjoy writing for all my characters; the good, bad, and zombified, but I admit to having tons of fun with some flashbacks with Nathan and Simone. I’ve also introduced a few new characters, all of whom were really fun to write for in their unique ways.
Read any good books lately?
Oh jeez louise… I read every day. Even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time, a day does not go by where I don’t manage to squeeze in time for reading. I could give you a list a mile long, but instead I will just stick with the two books I most recently finished: Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire (I also have the sequel Midnight Blue Light Special), which is absolutely hilarious and action-packed, and Hour of the Rat by Lisa Brackmann, which is equally funny and action-packed in a totally different way. I love books with strong heroines and strong, unique narrative voices, and both of these books delivered both in spades.
I know you love horror movies…seen any lately that you really enjoyed?
Most recently, Cabin in the Woods (although it could also be described as a black comedy) and Warm Bodies (which could also be described as a fairytale romance). As far as pure horror, I haven’t seen anything new recently, but I’ve rewatched The Grudge, La Horde, Quarantine/Rec, The Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and assorted other favorites and enjoy them every time.
What’s next for you (and Ashley)?
Well, “next” is finishing Plague World, which (as the title sort of broadly hints at) takes the zombie outbreak on a global scale. Ashley and the wild cards have to deal with traitors in their midst, stage a rescue mission in order to recover the two people needed to help find a possible cure, and even MORE zombie hijinks ensue. More details will be provided when I’m finished writing the book, of course. In other words… I’m still making it up as I go along! But I fully intend to destroy many places around the world with great glee!
About PLAGUE NATION:
The undead have been defeated in Redwood Grove, CA, but reports of similar outbreaks are coming in. What seemed to be an isolated event is turning into a pandemic. The last thing Ashley Parker wanted when she went to college was to join the military, but she is one of a select few who are immune to the virus. Gifted with enhanced speed, strength, and senses, she’s recruited by a shadowy international organization that’s existed for centuries, its sole purpose to combat the zombie threat.
Dark secrets begin to emerge, and when an unknown enemy strikes, Ashley and the other zombie hunters—known as “wild cards”—embark on a desperate mission to reach San Francisco. If they fail, the plague will sweep the nation unchecked. And the person she cares for most may die. Or worse.