Interview with Dana Fraedrich

When did you first start writing?
I think I've always written since I could spell at least to some extent. I always played out little scenes and characters in my mind when I was daydreaming. I still do when I've got a new idea rolling around in there. I was about seven or eight when I got an American Girl doll. With the doll came a little book in which you were meant to write your doll's story, so I did that. And I think I was thirteen when I actually sat down at a computer and started to write something for myself. I haven't stopped since then.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I think it was in second grade around Halloween. We had to write a story to go along with a haunted house picture. I wrote a story about a girl who was dared to go into the house and met a vampire. The vampire turned out to be nice, and I learned the difference between the words hoovered and hovered.
What is your writing process?
I can't write in a straight line. If I think of a scene that might potentially happen between some of my characters, I write it down and then link up the scenes later on. If you were to read an unfinished piece of mine, there would be bits from all along the storyline, some of which that might never make it into the final edits.
How do you approach cover design?
I'm really picky about other people's book covers, so there are a lot of things I don't want for my own. I hate movie covers on books. I also don't like seeing the characters on the book; I want my imagination to tell me what they look like. I also want book covers (along with sizes) to be consistent. Therefore, I try to design my book covers with elements from the story that are intriguing but don't give too much away. There's usually some symbolism in my cover art as well, but that varies from book to book. I will always try to make my cover designs for books in the same series consistent with one another as well.
Who are your favorite authors?
I think Robin McKinley would have to be put down as number one. She sets such beautiful scenes with her words; her gift for imagery is astounding. She also has such fantastic, clever, strong, and kind heroines in her books, which I think is important. She's a cornerstone of the YA fantasy-fiction genre.

After her would come J. K. Rowling. Rowling has a true gift for world-building, and there's such a strong thread of love, loyalty, and integrity in her Harry Potter series. I have so much respect for her as an author.

There's a special place in my heart for C. S. Lewis as well. I think his writing shows a real sense of people. I think there's a depth to his work that is often overlooked.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Barring the time I spend at the job that pays the bills, I play a lot of video games--fantasy RPGs--and spend a lot of time with my husband. I don't read as often as I should, but that's third on the list.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read a lot of YA fantasy. I know there are people out there who would kind of pooh-pooh that and say young adult books are rubbish, but there are actually a lot of complicated themes and complex storylines in a lot of YA fiction. Whatever I'm reading, though, it needs to make me laugh. If there's not something to balance out whatever awful or harrowing things are happening to the characters, I can't stick with it. I dislike books that cause me to finish them feeling depressed about things.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I think a lot of things contributed to this. When I was first getting serious about publishing my work, I had already lived in Nashville for a couple of years. There are a lot of independent artists in Nashville, whether that's visual, writing, music, and I think I was heavily influenced by them. I was also frustrated by the lack of responses I was getting from publishers. A straight "no" would have been better than the silence I was hearing. I'm not someone who deals well with waiting on other people, so I decided to take matters into my own hands.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I know I'd read other things before this, but I remember the "Miss Piggle Wiggle" series being one of the first books that really made me think. They were just cute little stories about misbehaved children learning to behave better via Miss Piggle Wiggle's potions and schemes. It was just one of those stories that taught me about how my actions affect other people.

I think the book that had the biggest impact on me as a kid was "The Giver" by Lois Lowery. It was emotionally transformative. This book taught me that the world can be a cruel place and that sometimes you have to be brave and make tough choices.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
This is really difficult, as I've enjoyed so many. In no particular order...
1) "The Legend of Holly Claus" by Brittney Ryan - This book is not complex. It's not an epic journey into the human condition or realism. This book makes me happy, and I think everyone needs at least one book that does that for them. It's sweet and full of love and hope and adventure and courage. I really try to read it once a year, usually around Christmas.
2) "Beauty" by Robin McKinley - "Beauty and the Beast" has always been my favorite fairytale, and Robin McKinley has rewritten it with such complexity and depth. She paints such beautiful pictures with her words and weaves together such wonderful characters. She also writes fantastic heroines, which I love.
3) "Deerskin" by Robin McKinley - Once again, Robin McKinley has taken a simply fairytale and done such a stunning job in the retelling. "Deerskin" has some darker aspects than "Beauty", but that's one of the reasons I like it. Life is never all sunshine and roses, but McKinley handles those aspects with care and dignity.
4) The "Harry Potter" series by J. K. Rowling - Rowling is spectacular at world-building! She's considered every detail in her writing of this series. I also love the thread of love, loyalty, and integrity that she's woven into these books.
5) The "Ketty Jay" series by Chris Wooding - These books are gritty, funny, exciting, and surprisingly emotional. Exhibit A showing why books are better than movies. I love the steampunk aspect, I love the main character and the fact that he's such a reckless and reluctant hero, and I love the mismash of other well thought out characters that surround him.
Published 2015-09-17.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Heroes, Legends, and Villains
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 121,150. Language: English. Published: November 1, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
What if there was a world where literary characters from our universe came to life? How would you react? Taryn and Ozzie, plus their friend Smitty this time, are faced with that very question. How will those characters react to them?
Skateboards, Magic, and Shamrocks
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 86,720. Language: English. Published: July 9, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
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.