Interview with Dana Fredsti, Author, ‘Plague Town’

 

Dana Fredsti is the author of Plague Town, an action-packed zombie horror novel:

In the small university town of Redwood Grove, people are succumbing to a lethal strain of flu. They are dying—but not for long.
Ashley Parker and her boyfriend are attacked by these shambling, rotting creatures that crave human flesh. Their lives will never be the same again.

When she awakes Ashley discovers that she is a “wild card”—immune to the virus—and is recruited by a shadowy paramilitary organization that offers her the chance to fight back. Fatally attracted to her gorgeous instructor, and bonding with her fellow wild cards, Ashley begins to discover skills she never knew she had.

As the town falls to ever-growing numbers of the infected, Ashley and her team fight to contain the outbreak—but will they be enough?

Questions for Dana Fredsti:

First off, I’m a huge zombie fan. I love the movies, the books, pretty much everything zombie. What are some of your favorites?

Dang me . That is a really long list. So I’ll just give you a sampler, like one of those appetizer platters you get at T.J. Fridays. But with fewer calories:

Dawn of the Dead (original and first 10 minutes of remake)
Night of the Living Dead (original and remake, but NOT the 30th Anniversary edition, which is evil… EEEEEEEvil!!!)
Shaun of the Dead
Zombie Land
The Dead (So. GOOD!)
Rec
28 Days Later (infected, zombies, whatever. It works!)
Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things (the worst fashion crimes ever committed in a zombie movie)
Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue
Hell of the Living Dead
Zombie Flesh Eaters
Return of the Living Dead
Gates of Hell
Day of the Dead (original!!)
La Horde

Okay, now books:

Patient Zero, Dust and Decay, Rot & Ruin – Jonathan Maberry
Dead City, Flesh Eaters, Apocalypse of the Dead – Joe McKinney
The Autumn series – David Moody
World War Z – Max Brooks
Books of the Dead and Mondo Zombie – John Skipp (edtitor)
Zombie Apocalypse -Stephen James (editor)
The Hungry – Steven Booth & Harrry Shannon
Zombie Combat Manual – Roger Ma
Everything You Want to Know About Zombies – Matt Mogk
The Dead –Mark Rodgers

And just so many more… Those are the ones I can remember without getting up and looking at my bookshelves!

You got around the “bitten and you’re infected” thing by introducing a character who is a “wild card”. Can you tell me more about wild cards and why you went with this decision, creatively speaking?

Well, part of the decision to create wild cards was to create the whole mythos of someone who could fight zombies more effectively than your average human, hence the nod to Buffy and the vampire slayage thing. but I didn’t just want it to be Ashley who had this ability and immunity because, while I did want the nod to Buffy, I also wanted it to be original. So.. I decided to give a very small percentage of the population an immunity to the zombie virus. More people would probably have it if they hadn’t been so horribly mauled in their initial contact with the carnivorous living dead.

Tell me about Ashley Parker. What was she like before the plague? What about afterwards?

Before the plague Ashley is an almost thirty-something woman going back to college after divorcing her jerky husband (whom she married first year in college) and trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life. She’s not a wimp, but she’s at loose ends, waiting for life to tell her what to do. Afterwards she discovers just how strong she really is when she’s enlisted into a very elite and secretive squad of people immune to the zombie virus and therefore ideally suited to try and stop this current outbreak. She discovers a strength of character she never knew she had and she runs with it.

What would you do in Ashley’s place? Could you be as tough? Do you see yourself as a survivor?

I really would like to believe I’d handle myself even half as well as Ashley. . I would do my best to survive just to take care of those people and animals I cared about. And you don’t want to screw with me when it comes to taking care of my cats. I’m a very pragmatic, strong person, but I’m also a sucker for friends/family/pets. I would totally go back for the cats. But I would also cap my boyfriend/sister/mother/best friend in the head if they shambled towards me with nasty gray skin, stinky dead breath and rotting flesh. Bang bang, you are dead. That “bang bang” was a deliberate double tap, btw.

Sometimes guys see a female protagonist and assume the book is for women. Is your book solely written for women? Will men enjoy it?

My book is definitely not written just for women. I have been a zombie lover (strictly platonic!) for years, way before zombies were popular. So I get what is it is that makes both men and women love to read books and watch movies about ’em. I have characters in Plague Town that I hope will reach out and grab people’s inner geek and pull them into the story, be they male or female. I’ve already had people tell me that my gore level was definitely way beyond urban fantasy or paranormal romance levels. So, you sick fellahs who love gore and goo, enjoy!

Will we see a sequel? What’s next?

I am working on Plague Nation, the second book in the series, and that will be followed by Plague World. I have many deliciously horrible things planned for my wild cards and the world in general.