We are at it again! Kicking off the year with a brand-new campaign: Full Steam Ahead!

This one is unique in that A Cast of Crows, one of the collections being funded, has been created in conjunction with a first-year steampunk event called Tell-Tale Steampunk Festival, in Hunt Valley, MD. Excerpts from all of the stories in the book will be used for an interactive scavenger hunt at the festival. We hope you’ll check out both the Kickstarter and the convention. Many of the authors will be in attendance, some of them coming from as far away as New Mexico!

The other two books funding through the campaign are Grimm Machinations – the sequel to Gaslight & Grimm, bringing you even more steampunk faerie tales; and Grease Monkeys: The Heart and Soul of Dieselpunk, our first foray into dieselpunk.

Over the course of the campaign, we will be featuring these spotlights so you can get to know our authors—and the projects—better.

eSpec Books interviews Dana Fraedrich, contributor to Forgotten Lore Volume One: A Cast of Crows, edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail.

eSB: This collection is unique in that it is a key part of the upcoming Tell-Tall Steampunk Festival, a first-year event kicking off with a Poe theme. What challenges did this present when choosing what to write?
DF: I think one of the biggest challenges was finding and choosing something that, one, works with my writing vibe—I don’t really write horror, so The Cask of Amontillado probably wouldn’t have been a good choice (though I do like that story). And two, I wanted to choose something that was recognizable but maybe not be as well known as some of Poe’s more popular works. The Gold Bug, I think, sits in a happy middle ground when it comes to popularity. Plus, I’ve been listening to a lot of sea shanties lately and really wanted to do a seaside treasure hunt.

eSB: As an author, what drew you to participate in a collection of Poe-inspired steampunk?
DF: Steampunk is very much my happy place. That’s the bulk of what I write. And, being honest, I’m trash for Poe, so this project was kind of a perfect mix. Plus, with the new Tell-Tale Steampunk Festival starting up, I was excited to take part in the big getting-off-the-ground bash.

eSB: Did you base your story on your own previous literary setting, or did you embrace the Poe connection? Or hey, did you do both?
Dana Fraedrich BG RCDF: I did a bit of both. When I was approached about participating in the collection, I mentioned that I already happened to have a book out, Raven’s Cry, in which a woman is cursed to live as a raven by day. So the groundwork and character was all already there. And, being the huge Poe fan that I am, in addition to basing my story on “The Gold Bug,” I also threw in a black cat (wink wink), plus a few other Poe-ish Easter eggs that readers can catch.

eSB: Are there any interesting details that you incorporated in your story to harken to the historic aspect of the genre? Are you the kind of ’punk who reveals in the period-appropriate technobabble, or do you dig deep into the research to include period-accurate touches?
DF: My Broken Gears world—within which my story’s main character, Calandra, lives—is one of my own creation. And while it’s followed a completely different history than our own, I’ve followed a similar path of human innovation. In Raven’s Cry, which spans several hundred years, you can see the way culture and technology evolve, as well as how society adapts when its main power source disappears. I find these cycles fascinating. A good example is how the ancient Romans had aqueducts and indoor plumbing and construction techniques that we weren’t able to match until the 20th century. And so I use these real-world advances and collapses as frameworks to base my Broken Gears world technology on.

eSB: What is it about steampunk that you like most as an author? And what do you like about it as a reader, (presuming the answer isn’t the same)?
DF: I love both the constraints and the freedom of steampunk. As far as constraints go, of course, you need those steampunky elements in there, and the tech is by far my favorite thing to play with. The potential of steampunk gadgetry is vast, and so you can really play with possibilities. But just like in real life, just because you can do something, does that mean you should? And those questions, as well as subverting traditional gender roles, ideas, and expectations, is always fun and interesting to play with.

eSB: What other events are you doing this year—steampunk or otherwise?
DF: Oh, I do a lot of steampunk events every year. I’ll generally consider any event I can drive to. As of this writing, I’m in for both the Atlanta and Chicago Steampunk Expositions, and I’ve applied for Cogs and Corsets. I’m hoping I’ll get to return to TeslaCon, of course, and I’ll be at Big River Steampunk Festival, just to name a few.

Dana Fraedrich BG OOTSeSB: Could you tell us about one of your most amusing experiences promoting your books?
DF: In my book, Out of the Shadows, Lenore is given an outfit that she hates. It’s described as, “…a black and pink beribboned travesty…” Well, I found an outfit at a festival that is the real-life version. And I will occasionally wear it at events. It’s actually pretty cute, but it does give me a laugh to talk about when people are at my table.

eSB: What are some of your other works readers can look for?
DF: If you like dark fairytale retellings, I definitely recommend Raven’s Cry, which I mentioned earlier. For a queer cozy mystery romance, I have Falcon’s Favor, which is chock full of foodie goodness and tea and warm, squishy vibes. Those two are both standalone books in my Broken Gears universe. And for some good ol’ steampunk adventure, start with Out of the Shadows, the first in Lenore’s three-part storyline (I told y’all I’m trash for Poe).

Dana Fraedrich 1Dana Fraedrich is a dog lover, self-professed geek, and author of the steampunk fantasy series Broken Gears, which includes the Amazon bestseller, Out of the Shadows. Dana’s books are full of secrets and colorful characters that examine the many shades of grey that paint the world. When she isn’t busy writing or attending book shows and author conferences, she can be found playing video games and frolicking among the Bookstagram community (the bookish corner of Instagram).

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!

Learn more about Dana Fraedrich here:

Website  *  GoodReads  * Amazon Author Page

Follow Dana Fraedrich on social media: 

Facebook  *  Twitter  *  TikTok  *  Instagram

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