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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Author Spotlight: Dana Fraedrich

Hey hey everyone!!  Have you met Dana yet?  No? Well here's your chance!  She's one of the sweetest people I've met on Instagram and has published not one, not two, but THREE books!  I have a copy of Out of the Shadows in my hands that I will be reading and reviewing later in the year, but I couldn't wait to put a little spotlight on this cutie.  Look below for synopses on her books, a Q&A I had with her AND an upcoming word prompt challenge for the month of April on Bookstagram! 🙌  She's been one busy bee! 

Dana Fraedrich is an independent author, dog lover, and self-professed geek.  Even from a young age, she enjoyed writing down the stories that she imagined in her mind.  Born and raised in Virginia, she earned her BFA from Roanoke College and is now carving out her own happily ever after in Nashville, TN with her husband and two dogs.  Dana is always writing; more books are on the way!

Books by Dana:

Out of the Shadows

When the Allens rescue Lenore from certain torment, she's offered a new life, a life that can save her from the underworld of crime in which she's forced to live. The universe is keeping score, however, and Lenore isn't the only one caught in this web of debt. Can she truly escape her past when it comes to find her or will she be drawn back into the darkness?

Homeless, orphaned, living in secret as a thief--Lenore Crowley just wants to survive, but the city of Springhaven has no sympathy for cases such as hers. She chose her path, and the consequences are hers alone. Being caught would mean certain death; her odds of survival are beginning to look bleak. When she meets the Allens, she's offered a new life. In a world where debts and oaths carry very real weight, however, this second chance comes at a price. Lives entangle, and Lenore soon find that her secrets aren't so secret. Someone is looking for her, someone who knows who she really is. One wrong move and everything around her might fall.

Fans of Gail Carriger, Garth Nix, and Marie Brennan will delight as this new world unfolds for them.  A multi-layered realm of history, subterfuge, colorful characters, potential, and lost magic and technology promises to entrance readers of all ages.

Skateboards, Magic, and Shamrocks
“No. It’s okay. I’ve read about this,” Ozzie replied excitedly. “We must have fallen into a rip in the space-time continuum and gotten dropped here into an alternate universe.”

“That’s fiction, you idiot!” Taryn hissed. “Science fiction. Stuff like that doesn’t happen in real life. We are obviously still dreaming or hallucinating or something.”

Taryn is just a normal high school student living a normal life. That is until she is thrown into a fantastical other-world with her former best friend, Ozzie. Taryn and Ozzie must then figure out a way to get back home, all while trying not to get killed or to kill each other in the process.

Heroes, Legends, and Villains
“So if you could choose to meet any character here, who would it be?” Ozzie asked.
“Any character?” Taryn asked curiously.
“I honestly don’t know. Kind of changes the game now that we potentially could, doesn’t it? What’s that saying? Don’t meet your heroes.”
Having survived their adventures in Leleplar, Taryn and Ozzie have moved on with their lives...for the most part. Life back in their own world has not come without its own share of problems, however. Just as Ozzie is trying to figure out which path to take in life, he and Taryn are dropped back into an unbelievable other-world. This time, though, their friend Smitty has been dragged along for the ride. How will they react when they encounter characters from literature in our own world? How will those characters react to them?

Where you can stalk her:
Amazon Author Page:
Instagram: @danafraedrich (
Tumblr:    @danafraedrich (
Twitter:    @danafraedrich  (

Now let's get into the nitty gritty of the Q&A so you can learn more about her 😁

What does your writing process look like?
I used to just write whenever I felt like it, whenever I was struck with some kind of inspiration.  Then I did NaNoWriMo, which taught me so much about being disciplined with my writing--mainly how to keep writing even when I had no ideas.  Now I'm just really bullheaded about writing.  I recently quit my normal 9 to 5 job and have given myself a writing-work schedule to follow.  When it's time to write, I sit down and start typing.  No more excuses!

What is the most difficult part of your writing process? Your writing Kryptonite?
Setting a scene is usually the last thing I think about when I'm writing, and I'm especially bad about landscapes and most room descriptions.  I like to dive right in with action and dialogue and then completely forget to write what's physically around the characters.  Doing NaNoWriMo helped me with this a little bit because descriptions using the five senses are a great way to knock out your word count, but it's still something I have to be really intentional about.  Even just thinking about it now feels frustrating because I know how big a weakness this is for me.

How many hours a day do you write?
Ideally, I try to spend six hours a day writing.  That's what I've scheduled for myself anyway, but sometimes other responsibilities take longer than I would like, so it's probably only about four or five hours on average.

Do you have any strange writing habits?
I talk to rubber ducks.  A while back, I ran across a post on social media that talked about a problem solving tactic wherein you explain the issue you're having to a rubber duck and then talk through it with your duck.  A comment on the post suggested more ducks for more complicated problems.  I shared this idea with my husband, who then proceeded to order forty-eight mini rubber ducks for me in support of my writing.  I now have the Quacker Council arranged across my desk, always ready to hear me out when I run into a story issue.

What is your least favorite part of the writing / publishing process? Favorite part?
Being an independent author, all of the marketing and social media and networking is on me, and I have zero marketing experience.  To be honest, I don't really know what I'm doing.  I just keep throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks.  I don't hate it, but it's the least enjoyable part for me.  As for what I like the best: writing.  Oh, that I could just write all day long and my books went out and sold themselves.  I often write scenes with my characters that never end up being used just to test what that situation would be like, to find out what would happen.  The process of discovery that happens when you write is fascinating to me.  You know, you have your scene all planned out, so you start writing.  Suddenly, how things should actually go is so clear, and you veer off into that other direction.  I'm still amazed and excited when that happens.

Is there one particular subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
I doubt I would ever do historical fiction.  For those that do, I have all the respect in the world.  Historical fiction requires so much research and accuracy, and there's cultural context to consider, notable figures of the day and their influence.  So many factors to consider!  I just don't think it would ever be my cup of tea.

Is there a type of scene that's harder for you to write than others?
I think action scenes are really tricky.  Like, is this maneuver even physically possible?  Would that really work?  I mean, I know we take some creative license when we write (sometimes a lot of creative license), but I (mostly) try to keep action scenes within the realm of possibility.  There have been times where I've acted out scenes in the middle of the room or asked my husband or friends to help me test an idea to see if it actually makes sense.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
Hurts, definitely.  I think we can only improve when we're aware of our shortcomings, and a big ego gets in the way of seeing those clearly.  I think having a big ego also affects what you expect from other people and how you treat them, never in a positive way.  Always stay humble, question yourself and your actions, and keep people in your life who have and will continue to call you on your crap.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
I think the earliest example of this came from when we were really little and my parents would read bedtime stories to us.  I distinctly remember how different the way my mum read to us was from the way my dad did.  There was nothing wrong with either, but they were just different.  The voices they did for the characters were unique, the inflections and emphasis on words were their own.  I think that's when storytelling became something important to me.

How many unpublished/half-finished books do you have?
Oh my gosh, I don't even know.  I don't think it's fair to say I have a lot of half-finished works, as most of them are no more than beginnings or snippets of a bigger idea that have been added to over the years.  I do have one unpublished first draft for a new series that I really love, but it's not time yet to release it.  I just started the Broken Gears series, and I'm in the middle of the Skateboards, Magic, and Shamrocks series, so that first draft is going to have to wait it's turn.

How long does it usually take you to write a book?
I'm not really sure.  Since I just quit my regular 9 to 5 job to focus on my writing career, I'm hoping it will now only take me a few months.  My first two books were just pieced together over time.  Out of the Shadows, however, was a serious effort.  I got the first draft written in about eight or nine months.

If you could cast the characters of Out of the Shadows for a movie, who would play your characters?
Oh, this is such a fun question!  I don't know very many actors' names, though.  I'm usually the person going, "Oh!  That's the guy who played in that one episode of Doctor Who!"  I think Cobie Smulders would make a perfect Mina, and I like the idea of Ksenia Solo playing Lenore and Elizabeth Olsen playing Camilla.  I don't think these next choices are as good (especially due to the age difference between the actors and some of the characters), but it's the best I could think of with my limited knowledge of celebrities: Neal played by Anthony Mackie, Nicholas Hoult as Rook, Rahul Kohli as Eamon, and John Boyega as Dmitri.  I'm open to other suggestions.  Hit me up on social media to let me know who you'd choose instead.

Do you read your reviews?  Do you respond to them, good or bad?  Any advice on how to deal with the bad?
I do.  I think feedback is important, but I don't generally respond to reviews.  I'm not sure the review section of Amazon or Goodreads or what have you is the right place to do that.  Rather, I'll respond to comments on social media or my GoodReads Ask the Author section.  And for anyone out there who's reading this, please don't be afraid to question me, my writing, choices, or to provide negative feedback.  I think open and honest dialogue is really important.

If you didn't like writing books, what would you do for a living?
I'd probably do something with food.  I really love cooking and then eating what I cook.  My husband and a few of my friends have Celiac disease, so I've spent a lot of time and energy creating gluten-free versions of their favorite foods.  I'd probably do something that fits in with those recipes and innovations.

What's the best money you ever spent as a writer?
I feel a bit like a hypocrite for saying this because I spent years scoffing at the idea of specialized writing software.  I got Scrivener on massive discount a few months back, though, and I've never looked back.  The features packed into this program are so simple and yet absolutely ingenious.  I immediately latched onto the research section, and the synopsis cards are really brilliant for remembering what the heck happens in this or that chapter.  It's really brilliant and way less expensive than I expected such a specialized piece of software to be.  I think you can get a copy for about $50.

Have you ever gotten reader's block?  How did you get out of it?
I read a book once that I absolutely hated.  It killed my desire to read because it had me in such a funk, so I went back into familiar territory and started gorging myself on some really awesome fanart and fanfiction, mostly Dragon Age (my most favorite video game series of all time) and Harry Potter with a dash of Disney thrown in.  Revisiting beloved characters and places and adventures was the perfect medicine for getting over a bad book relationship.

Do you google yourself?
Not really.  If I do, it's to see which of my public profiles come up first.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Oh, I'm not sure how to answer this one because there are a couple of things I identify really strongly with.  I think if I had to choose just one, it would have to be a dragon.  Loud, expressive, can fly...yeah, I'd have that.  Plus, there's such a rich lore behind them, and there are a lot of different looks/types to choose from.  Perfect. :-)

What are you working on now? What is your next project?
Right now I'm working on a sequel to Out of the Shadows.  There are some things Out of the Shadows left *ahem* shall we say...unresolved.  A number of people are have been asking me if/when the next one is coming out, so I'm trying to get that done as soon as I can.

What literary character is most like you?
Hermione Granger, I think.  She and I are both a bit of a know it all, we look for answers in books, and we aren't afraid to speak up.  At least, I like to hope I'm like her.  She's pretty freakin' awesome.

What authors have inspired you?
Robin Mckinley must be mentioned here first.  She's been my favorite author for a long time, and it was her story that inspired me to take the leap to pursue a career as an author.  When I was twenty-seven, I read that she published her first book around that same age.  I already had a couple of different first drafts completed by then, and I thought to myself, "If I don't go for this, I'm going to regret it forever."  Chris Wooding and Seanan McGuire are who I look to when I need inspiration for darker story elements, and JK Rowling is, to my mind, the master of world building.  There are so many amazing authors that have inspired me over the years, though--Angie Sage, Tolkien, CS Lewis, Gail Carriger.  I think each one of them gives their readers a different gift.

What's one piece of advice you have received that has always resonated with you?

Keep writing and write what you love.  Unfortunately, I don't remember where I first heard this advice, but I think it's so important.  Your stories will never be told unless you write them, and even then they may never sell, so write what makes you happy and fulfilled.

Enjoy Bookstagram challenges?  Want one to make you think and bring out your writing prowess?  Look no further!  Dana brings to you her #danaf7wordstory challenge for the month of April! Put on your writing hats and join in!  Just use the word prompt and create a story using 7 words - be creative - there's no wrong answers here.  See you on the flips side ya'll! 

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