Dana is our March guest on Read.Write.Repeat! She is a kickass author of Steampunk Fantasy and all sorts of wonderful imaginings. You don’t want to miss what she has to say during the episode, which will air March 18th. Read more about Dana here or check out a teaser of her novel, Into the Fire here.
The Proust-ish Questionnaire
Q. If not yourself, which fictional character would you be?
A. Oooh, there are so many good choices. Definitely someone with magic. It’s a toss-up between three of my favorite ladies from Harry Potter: Hermione, Ginny, or Luna. Ginny’s a badass (even George was afraid of her bat-bogey hex), and Luna’s so sweet but fierce, and Hermione is such a boss in every way. I’m gonna have to go with Ginny I think, though, because she also has access to dragons via her brother, Charlie, and she’s a Quidditch player. What more could I ask for?!
Q. Who are your favorite heroine and hero from fiction?
A. You guys, these are such hard questions! Haha, okay, favorite hero is probably Taran from the Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander. I know the whole farm boy-turned-hero is kind of an overdone trope, but I like the way he has no idea what he’s doing and actually fails a bit and takes a long time to figure out what he wants from life. I think a lot of characters who fit into that archetype are really flat and, frankly, a little annoying or even offensive, but Taran is really complex and sweet. I think more hero characters should be like him. As for heroines, gosh, I have a lot to choose from on my shelves. All things considered, I think the winner is Isabella from the A Natural History of Dragons series by Marie Brennan. I mean, there’s so much I love about these books, but Isabella is so in charge of herself and her own affairs, and she’s completely unashamed of her curiosity and passions. I love the way she looks at everything through the eyes of an explorer. Even with the stuff that doesn’t sit quite right with her sensibilities, she doesn’t judge or get all high and mighty about those things but instead tries to learn more about them. And she chases dragons!
Q. If you could have dinner with any three authors, dead or alive, whom would you dine with?
A. Easy! Jane Austen, JK Rowling, and Robin McKinley. Rowling for obvious reasons; she is an absolute queen! And I adore McKinley’s books. I imagine it would be lovely and sweet to sit down and talk about writing with her. And Jane because I would love to talk with her about her time and tell her how her beautiful writing has stood the test of time. It couldn’t have been easy being a writer back in her day, and I would want her to know what a legend she is. In case anyone is wondering, yes, I would be tempted to have Poe and Shakespeare along too, but I don’t think they’d actually be very pleasant company in real life.
Q. Do you have a current or “forever” favorite book?
A. I think Uprooted by Naomi Novik will be near the top of my list for all time. This book rocked me. The ending wasn’t at all what I expected, and yet, when I got there, I was so pleased about it. The main character is really strong, but not in the way most people perceive strength, and I love the underlying message that everyone needs to find their own ways to do life based on their own strengths and backgrounds and circumstances. It’s so good! I can’t recommend it enough.
Q. Which fictional character would you want to befriend?
A. I want to be friends with Alexia Tarabotti! She’s the main character from Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series. I want to have tea with her and visit all her vampire and werewolf friends, and we can go shopping together and eat tarts and did I mention tea? She’s such a fun character, and I feel like we’d get on like a house on fire.
Q. What villain from fiction do you love to hate?
A. Love to hate, hmmm… I think that would have to be Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter series. She is such a awful human being! She’s everything that makes the world terrible. Give me a villain who admits to their villainy or greed or prejudice or whatever any day, but she’s such a fake! She’s that politician who stands on a platform of family values but has secret affairs and won’t fund organizations who provide care and/or opportunities for disadvantaged children. She’s the teacher who marks you down because you disagree with her interpretation of a certain literary work and dared to make a quality argument as to why. She’s the boss who talks big about being fair to everyone but just doesn’t like you and undermines your career in any way she can. Umbridge is petty and cruel and happily wields any power she has while pretending to be a good person who cares about what’s best for everyone. Wow, that got rant-y. Haha, sorry about that.
Q. Tell us about the books in your life that have fed your soul, brought you solace, pleasure, or joy, or eased your mind.
A. Deerskin by Robin McKinley is what I turn to when I need a reminder that it’s okay to not be okay. We all have struggles and have been broken in one way or another, and to never completely heal isn’t something to be ashamed of. I also smile every time I think of Northanger Abbey. I’m sad I waited so long to read this book. One of the funniest bits in it is the way John Thorpe never shuts up about his dang horses! It reminds me that people never really change. And Frankenstein! Nevermind that Mary Shelley was a teenager when she pretty much invented the science fiction genre, the book is so sad and gorgeous and does such an amazing job of examining human behavior in different situations and questions our place in the universe and wonders if we really should do something just because we can. Gah! I love that book!
Q. If you could exist in any story world, which would you choose, and why?
A. As much as I love the world of Harry Potter, I think I’d actually choose the world of Septimus Heap. In that world, magic is a part of everyone’s daily life. Anyone can learn it, but some people are just more naturally inclined towards it than others. Even the most non-magical of folk can buy charms to turn anything into chocolate or make your pens write in rainbow colors and all kinds of stuff. Plus, The Castle seems like a awesome city to live in!
More from Dana:
- Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies
- Guano, Steampunk Visualization, and Writing Inspiration with Author Dana Fraedrich
- Bouncing Back When You Mess Up
- Treacherous Hope
Don’t forget to check out Raven’s Cry, a dark retelling of Swan Lake set in the steampunk fantasy universe of Broken Gears!
Calandra is happiest when she’s surrounded by quiet, joined only by a book and a cup of tea, never around people and their insufferable need to make small talk. When Nicodemus, a magus with immense power, joins the royal court of Invarnis, Calandra’s life will change forever. As a terrible curse pursues her through the centuries, Calandra will have to overcome captivity, war, and loss.
In this standalone installment, set in Dana Fraedrich’s Broken Gears universe, readers will join Calandra in her battle for freedom, hope, and healing.
Releasing May 1st. Pre-order here.