Dana Fredsti and I go way back. She wrote about Forest Lawn and her love for zombie movies in Death’s Garden, my first book about cemeteries. She wrote about surfing, ghost hunting, and working at a big cat rescue for Morbid Curiosity magazine. Her amazing and very funny zombie story closes out Tales for the Camp Fire: An Anthology Benefitting Wild Fire Relief.
We’ve read together, traveled to conventions together, take long walks on the beach together, and every so often we meet up to write. You could say that Dana is my role model.
Officially, Dana Fredsti is an ex B-movie actress with a background in theatrical combat (a skill she utilized in Army of Darkness as a sword-fighting Deadite and fight captain). Through seven-plus years of volunteering at EFBC/FCC, Dana’s been kissed by tigers and had her thumb sucked by an ocelot with nursing issues. She’s the author of the Ashley Parker series, touted as Buffy meets The Walking Dead, the dark fantasy series Spawn of Lilith, and the science fiction series Time Shards, which she is co-writing with her husband and fellow author David Fitzgerald. They live in San Francisco with a horde of felines and their dog Pogeen.
Her newest book is Blood Ink:
Having killed her last producer, stuntwoman Lee Striga’s next film shoot takes her to the voodoo-soaked bayous and haunted back alleys of New Orleans, where sinister supernatural figures stalk the streets. In a dark corner of the French Quarter, an arcane tattoo artist is using his clients in rituals that will open an inter-dimensional gateway for a demon god from beyond the stars.
Did something in the real world inspire Blood Ink?
Every book I write is inspired to some degree by real life, whether it be places, people, things, random conversations I happen to overhear (anyone else notice how loud a lot of people are when talking on their phones or with friends in public places?), or things that happen to me. My mom’s death certainly played a big part in the emotions that inform the ending. A trip to New Orleans and the affinity I felt for it, even though we were only there for five days, made it easy to decide to set much of the story there. And my checkered past as a specialty player (sword fighter) and low-budget movie actress are what made me decide to make my protagonist Lee a stuntwoman/actress in the first place.
What is your favorite scene in the book?
Oooh, this is a tough one. I love the final confrontation between Lee and Ashurra (the sorta kinda Lovecraftian horror from beyond the stars) because it actually made me cry when I wrote it. I think it packs a big emotional punch aside from being pretty horrific. But I also really like a scene in the French Quarter when Lee encounters a creepy-ass evil known as Nalusa Faluya (long black being), a flesh-eating critter out of old Choctow legends. I’d run across a short blurb about it when researching online, trying to find the right monster for this particular bit, and I admit I ran with it.
What was your writing process like as you wrote the book?
Oh, wow… it was all over the maps. I was healing up from two hip replacement surgeries and also dealing with a walloping helping of grief from my mother’s passing in 2016, and I wasn’t sure what the hell I was doing. Instead of writing the book linearly, I jumped all over the map, wrote scenes as they occurred to me, and then had to put them all together in a way that made sense. The weirdest thing is I didn’t stress at all during the writing process. I just… figured it’d be done when it was done. I had this unshakable certainty that it would work. And I love the finished novel.
What was the best thing that happened during your promotion of the book?
I sprung for a BookBub deal for Spawn of Lilith (the first book in the series) leading up to the release of Blood Ink, and that’s the best money I’ve ever spent for promotion. Spawn of Lilith was No. 1 on Amazon for Horror, Vampire horror, and… I THINK Urban Fantasy … for three days, so now I can say I’m a #1 Best-Selling Author. I also kinda sorta learned how to do promo on Instagram, putting together some giveaways with items that tied in to the Lilith series. I met three awesome candlemakers, all three of whom created candles to go with the giveaways, and it was fun pushing myself to figure out how to do more by way of creative promotion.
What do you have planned next?
I’m currently working on the third Lilith novel (no official title yet), as well as co-writing the third Time Shards novel with my co-author David Fitzgerald. It’s a little disconcerting jumping back and forth between the two worlds!
I interviewed Dana and David about Time Shards here: https://lorenrhoads.com/2018/02/01/5-questions-with-dana-fredsti-and-david-fitzgerald/
Check out all of Dana’s books on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2xTn23b
Or pick up Blood Ink here: https://amzn.to/30y0pNF
I think Blood Ink stands alone, but don’t miss the first book, Spawn of Lilith: https://amzn.to/30sk8OT
You can sign up for her newsletter here: http://danafredsti.com/