Dana Fraedrich - Short and Sweet

"Independent author, dog lover, and self-professed geek."
That's nearly her entire bio on her website. Other than the fact she's a Virginia native that currently resides in Tennessee, Dana Fraedrich is a mystery. Yes, everything about her is short and sweet. 
It took a little digging, but AURi managed to find a few facts about this young adult fantasy author to support our "short and sweet" theory.

Exhibit A
In a picture feature on Where the Reader Grows we noticed a picture of her standing nearly eye-level with Yoda while Darth towered over her. Short.
Chandra, the interview her described Dana as one of the sweetest people she has met on Instagram. Sweet.  

Exhibit B: Okay, so there's no Exhibit B because we had to keep it short and sweet. But, we are certain that our theory will prove true. 

Dana is no stranger to interviews. So, AURi had to turn up the heat:

AR: We noticed that you play with your hair color. Do you imagine yourself as fantasy characters at times?

DF: Haha, you've figured me out!  I absolutely do.  It especially helps when I'm running - I really believe imagining you have wings makes you run faster - or doing something that requires courage.  I think mentally donning an alter-ego, especially one that can do things normal humans can't, can impart a great deal of confidence.

AR: What's your go-to drink in the morning?

DF: Coffee.  Always coffee.  I make variously flavored lattes with homemade syrups (lavender, orange, ginger and dark chocolate, etc.).  And I don't do anything else until I've made my first cup.  Let me know if you want any of my recipes.

AR: We don't drink coffee, but we'll keep that in mind for others. Haha. The fantasy genre is fueled purely by the unbound imagination. What do you  enjoy most about fantasy?

DF: In fantasy, I'm not limited by our current knowledge and world.  If I want to create a society populated by feline humanoids living on the planet Gatos 9, reachable only through a portal in the local yarn shop, I can do that.  In fantasy writing, you can create anything you like!  I sometimes think it's easier to communicate difficult ideas/arguments through fantasy writing as well because people have preconceived notions and feelings about issues happening in our real world, but if you frame a certain issue inside of story without all the same attached baggage, people might be more receptive to it.

AR: That's an amazing concept. What sets you apart from other fantasy writers and how do your books prove that?

DF: I think everyone's individual experiences are what make their writing unique.  For instance, my dad is an engineer and my mum is a seamstress, so I grew up always hearing them talk about how things are put together whether it was a dress or a machine.  I know that's influenced me as an adult because I'm always curious about systems and how things work and are assembled together.  That's come out most prevalently, I think, in Out of the Shadows, my third book.  Firstly, it's steampunk, which has such a mechanical bent to it to begin with.  In addition, Lenore's father was an engineer, as is her new guardian, Neal, and Lenore wants to follow that same path, so I really get to play with that interest in that series.  I think the same goes for beliefs and viewpoints.  I'm a firm believer that men and women can be good friends without any romantic interest between them.  Ozzie and Taryn from my first two books, Skateboards, Magic and Shamrocks and Heroes, Legends, and Villains exhibit that belief of mine - they are best friends, but they are not and will never be romantically attracted to each other.

AR: Spoiler alert! Haha. There are many fantasy character forms out there so lets play a quick game of 'Who Would You Rather...?' AURi style!
Who would you rather marry, and why? Aragorn or Legolas?

DF: Legolas!  That dude has mad skills!  Plus, he's a full-on elf prince, which means I would probably get at least some membership benefits by being married to him.  I don't know if I would get to go live forever in Valinor, but I like to think I'd be able to live out my days in one of the other elven cities.  Sorry, Aragorn.

AR: Score one for Legolas! Who would you rather be your mentor, and why? Lord Voldemort or Professor Albus Dumbledore?

DF: Dumbledore for sure.  Yeah, Voldemort figured out how to live forever, but at what cost?  Dumbledore matched Voldemort in power and had way more wisdom and kindness to impart.  It was Dumbledore who left behind the greater legacy in the form of so many great wizards and witches making the world a better place, not old snake-face.

AR: But being bad forever could be so fun, right? Maybe not. If they could mate with humans, who would you rather be your parent, and why? A dragon or a daemon?

DF: Dude, a dragon, 100%!  Dragons are, hands down, the coolest!  Even if you only got a few dragon-y abilities, they're all so awesome!  Breathing fire, armor skin, flight, plus who doesn't want some of those badass physical features as well?  The eyes, the scales, the horns, claws, wings...I don't see any downside whatsoever.

AR: Good point. Well that ends our game. However, if literary characters lived among us, (other than Hermione Granger) which one would you love to hang out with first? And why?

DF: Holy cow, this is difficult.  There are so many great characters to choose from!  Hmmmm, well, I think I'd have to go with Alexia Tarabotti from the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger.  She knows all the best people, has a keen fashion sense, and is pretty handy with everyday objects like parasols and hair sticks.  We'd have tea and treacle tart while sharing the latest gossip.

AR: Haha. Sounds like a great time. If you had to choose, which fantasy story would your family fit best in, and why?

DF: I'm considering my whole family here (husband, parents, siblings, and their significant others/children) in answering this question, so I'm gonna have to go with the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage.  The Heaps remind me a lot of my family, so I think we'd all get on very well in The Castle.  We could get drinks together at Sally Mullins' Tea and Ale House, explore all the stalls during the MidWinter Feast, and I would like it if I had magic and could live in the Wizard Tower.  I love that world.  It's absolutely charming, and there are charms for all kinds of things that even non-magical people can use.  There's something for everyone there!

AR: Nice. In your interview with "Where the Reader Grows", you hypothetically talked about casting actors to portray characters found in your book, Out of the Shadows. Would you actually like to pursue that dream?

DF: It's not something I'm actively pursuing at this point, but if a movie studio approached me with an offer, I would be open to hearing them out.  It doesn't cost me anything to listen, after all, and there have been a few books made into movies that turned out well.  I think I'd want veto power like JK Rowling did on the Harry Potter films, though.  I don't think I'd ever be comfortable giving up complete control.

AR: Who could blame you? You sell merchandise that goes along with your books. What does CC Bella have to do to get a pair of those Out of the Shadows leggings?

DF: I'm so glad you asked. :D I sell merchandise related to my books through both RedBubble and Zazzle, but every product is listed and linked through the Merchandise page on my website: http://www.wordsbydana.com/merchandise/ .  Just click on the picture of the item you like to be taken to the place where you can buy it.  I'm always trying to develop more designs and fun things too, so that list of offerings will always be growing.

AR: Or you could hire CC Bella to model some for marketing purposes. Just kidding. Finally, what attracts you to AURi?

DF: I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that AURi supports independent artists of all types.  The struggle to stand out in a world glutted with entertainment (some of it great, some of it cheap and terrible) is a constant, uphill battle.  Indie artists don't have the marketing/promotional budget and staff that the big guys do, which makes it even harder to be noticed.  Indie art and entertainment is no less worthy than that which follows more traditional routes, however, and AURi recognizes that.  Thank you so much for this opportunity.  I had so much fun doing this interview and would encourage all other artists to support what you all at AURi are doing.

You heard the lady. (Sort of. More like read the lady.) And yes, we know. It wasn't so short, but wasn't it sweet? To support Dana Fraedrich, her coffee habit, and artists like her, visit the links below: 

AURi...where you and i come together.


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