Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dana Fredsti Talks Zombies and Plague World

Today we talk with author Dana Fredsti, author of the Plague Town series - Plague Town, Plague Nation  and the new Plague World (Ashley Parker Novel).

About the book:

The thrilling conclusion of the zombie apocalypse begun in PLAGUE TOWN and continued in PLAGUE NATION! The zombie plague has gone airborne, and the conspiracy that began it all reaches the boiling point.

Interview with Dana Fredsti: (Read on for an excerpt!)

What inspired the story?

Plague World is the third in a trilogy so the inspiration really was just the need and desire to finish up the story and character arcs started in Plague Town.  As far as specific inspiration for parts of the story and setting, I really love setting things in places I’ve visited and there’s something just unhealthily fun about destroying, say, a neighborhood in one’s home town (or place of birth or wherever!). For Plague World, I take out my current neighborhood in the Outer Sunset district of San Francisco, and demolished Balboa Park and Cabrillo Point in San Diego. 

How do you feel when a series ends - or isn't it?

This is the first series I’ve written and writing a trilogy wasn’t easy because while each book had the characters accomplish something specific, it took all three books to tie together all the loose ends and plot points I left dangling in the first two books.  So finishing Plague World felt great because I feel I accomplished what I set out to do.  That being said, there is still plenty of room for new stories and adventures in Ashley’s world and I hope to write some standalone novels in the series.  No more “Han in Carbonite” endings, though. 

 What's different in this book?

Plague World is slightly darker than the previous two. The humor is still there, along with the pop cultural references because that’s Ashley’s “voice”, but Ashley gets her ass kicked emotionally and physically this time around.  The last two books she pretty much comes through unscathed and does most of the ass-kicking, and while she still does plenty of it in Plague World,  I really do put her through a lot because it served both the story and her character growth.

What was the best part of writing it?

Finishing it.  This book was the toughest I’ve ever written, both because I really wanted to fulfill the expectations of my readers and tie off all dangling plot threads, and I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to do that going into the book, and… well, let’s just say real life sometimes brings you a lot of challenges and I had quite a few of them last year. In a way, my personal challenges made it easier to do what I had to do to make the story work, but they made actually sitting down to write nearly impossible at times. 

What do you plan next - will these characters appear elsewhere?
 There’s talk of more Ashley Parker books (I’ve got the next one outlined, yay me!);, I’ve got a YA fantasy series I’m outlining, and several horror/ ark urban fantasy projects as well as developing a very cool series with my boyfriend, who is also a writer.  And I’m really excited to be writing a story for V-Wars #4.

Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Christine! 
Synopsis:  from the Amazon website, except without a sort of kind of inaccurate spoiler that’s there…   

Like the rest of the city, the streets below were clogged with unmoving vehicles, some of them smashed in an interlocking metal mess, and others abandoned all helter-skelter. Two Muni streetcars had become jammed at opposite ends of Taravel in the block between 40th and 41st. Cars had sheared into them, creating a roadblock at either end while leaving a sizable clear space in the middle—large enough for our whirlybird to set down.
“Why are we landing?” Griff sat up from his seat in the back.
“I have an errand to run,” I said coolly, ignoring the churning in my gut as the helicopter swooped in to land.
“What errand?” Lil asked. She hadn’t been in on it either, for obvious reasons.
“Simone needs some… er… stuff for Gabriel’s antiserum.”
Stuff. Yeah. That’s the ticket.
“We didn’t want the bad guys to know. We’ll meet you at a rendezvous point up the road.”
Someday I’d get a vocabulary worthy of the situations I now found myself in. Even so, it worked. Lil nodded, and Griff shut up, at least for the moment. He kept on staring at me suspiciously, though, right up to the moment the pilot set the helicopter down.
Whatever, I didn’t care what he thought.
Once we hit ground and stabilized, I scrambled for the door, determined not to spew. My stomach thought about it for a brief moment, but thankfully everything stayed put. Tony leaped out after me, hefting Thor’s Wee Hammer. Nathan and JT followed swiftly. I saw Lil staring at me in confusion through one of the windows, so I gave her a reassuring wave and blew a kiss.
She grinned and waved back.
Zombies appeared from both ends of the street and began stumbling toward the helicopter, drawn by the noise. I heard cries for help from a building across the street and my heart dropped. I looked up to see a middle-aged man leaning out of a second-story window, waving frantically. Zombies in the street below immediately zeroed in on him, moving toward the entrance to the building and fresh meat. The man’s eyes widened and he vanished inside, hopefully to fortify the front door of his apartment.
Sorry, dude. 
And I really was. I wanted to charge in and save the day, the Mighty Mouse of zombie killing. But… I couldn’t. Instead I dashed over to the entrance of the Walgreen’s, along with Nathan, Tony, and JT.
The helicopter, in the meantime took off again, ascending to just above the grasping hands of the hungry crowd gathering below. Our ride headed off to its next destination and it was up to the four of us to accomplish our respective goals and meet them there.
Nathan looked at us. “You all clear on the plan?”
“I go get the supplies,” I said.
“And I back her up.” Tony gave Thor’s Wee Hammer a swing.
JT grinned. “I create a distraction and lead as many zombies away from here as I can so you three have a semi-clear shot to the beach when you’re finished.”
“Excellent.” Nathan nodded approvingly. “I’ll clear whatever stragglers don’t follow JT.” He clapped a hand on JT’s shoulder. “We’ll see you at the Great Highway and Vicente when you’re finished.”
“That you will,” JT said. He grinned at me. “I’ll race you.”
Then, with a whoop and a holler and no sign of fear whatsoever, he took off at a run, east on Taravel, using any and every available surface to keep his momentum going and avoid the clutching hands of hungry undead pedestrians.
“He really is crazy,” I observed, watching in bemused admiration as he leapt without pause up a brick wall and onto the roof of a residential garage. He stopped there, hunkering down on the edge, and gave another ear-splitting rebel yell to attract the attention of the neighborhood zombies.
“Come on dowwwwn,” he hollered gleefully. “Get your share of the tastiest piece of ass in San Francisco!” He turned and twerked with a dexterity that would have made Miley Cyrus jealous. And the crowd loved it, judging from the increased volume of moans and the outstretched hands.
Ever the showman, JT turned to one side in a classic “The Thinker” pose, flexing his biceps.
“Is there a vet around here,” he yelled, “because these pythons are sick!”
“Dude needs help,” Tony agreed.
“Or not,” I commented as JT bounded across the length of the garage rooftop, where he nimbly scaled a balcony and hoisted himself up a trellis to gain access to the second story of the house. He vanished from our eyesight shortly after that, his war whoops still clearly audible.
I really hoped he’d be okay.  He was on the lighter side of nuts, for sure, but he was risking his life even more than the rest of us because one scratch or bite, and he’d be screwed. I couldn’t remember the exact percentage of people immune to the zombie pathogen, but the odds of becoming a wild card were only slightly more favorable than winning the lottery. 
There was a muffled pop as Nathan put a round in the skull of an Asian teenage boy who hadn’t been entranced by JT’s award-worthy performance. It reminded me that we needed to get our asses in gear.
Minus the twerking.

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