Dark Dreams
A Talk With Zombie Queen Shana Festa

Devan Sagliani | 31 Jul 2015 19:30
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What is the plot of Time of Death: Induction? Break it down for readers.

It's a simple equation, really. Snarky female lead plus dog times zombies equals Time of Death. My main character is wildly inappropriate, a total klutz, but somehow manages to survive the zombie outbreak despite running into one FUBAR situation after another. I have no problem killing people, despite how integral to the storyline they may be.

Don't be mistaken, though. While readers may laugh until they need a change of pants, there is no shortage of good old-fashioned carnage.

Romero says the new crop of "fast" zombies like the ones in World War Z aren't really zombies. Where do you stand on the fast versus slow debate?

I prefer my zombies slow. My zombies are your run of the mill Romero shamblers. Dumb and easily bested when alone, but determined and like a spreading plague when en masse. The constant drive and hunger. I wrote what I love, and I think the book is that much better for it.

What do you listen to when you write?

Godsmack, Disturbed, System of a Down, Rob Zombie (yes, really). I'm a fan of loud, fast, unintelligible, music.

What makes your work different than other writers in the genre?

Location, location, location! Anyone can go to a mall and wait for the inevitable horde to sweep through and devastate the area. It was important to me that my settings have flare. A houseboat, a laundromat, even a fortified Target. I like to think the sparkle is in unique setting.

Also, my characters take on a life of their own. I've written a strong female lead who has a snarky personality, and provides comedy at the most inappropriate of times. She's also compassionate and fiercely loyal. And most of all, this character loves her dog-sometimes more than people.

What's the craziest thing(s) you can share about your training as a nurse?

Go read the first chapter of Time of Death: Induction. You can read it in the free preview on Amazon. That's an honest-to-God real life experience. And one that my friends and I continue to shudder over today!

How do you get past writer's block?

I'm open to suggestions at this point!

Do you think you'll ever write in a different genre? If you did what would you write?

I'm currently mulling around an urban fantasy story. Before zombies, I was an avid reader of UF. Authors like Karen Marie Moning, Charlaine Harris, Kim Harrison and Jennifer Armintrout. I thoroughly enjoy the genre and think I could add something very special into the mix.

What advice would you give up and coming writers?

Most people will just say "keep writing" or something to that effect. My advice is to LEARN EVERYTHING. Don't assume a publisher will do any marketing for you. Learn the standards; how to format a manuscript, how to convert one, what makes a good cover image, how to upload a book for publication. If you don't know the correct way to do things, you'll never know if the person you've hired to handle the logistics will be doing it right. The only person that truly cares about your success is yourself. It's a cold, harsh, truth-but a truth nonetheless.

With the advances in technology and publishing many authors are finding new success taking on the duty of publishing on their own. What drove you to go this route after being accepted by a publisher?

If you're ready to publish a book and want a publisher, make sure you identify why you want a publisher. I've seen the world of an author from both sides of the fence. I paid the price for not doing my due diligence before publishing under a company. For me, I only wanted a publisher because I wanted someone to market my books so I could focus on writing. Unfortunately, nowadays, there is little to no marketing done from a publisher and I had to find this out the hard way. Now, self-published, if no marketing is done I have no one to resent but myself.

That's not to say all publishers are evil. Permuted Press, who originally published the first two books in my Time of Death series is staffed by some fantastic people. My expectations going into things were unrealistic and I have a huge amount of respect for the company. They did right by me and provided a more than fair exit strategy for me and my books.

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