“I wanted to write fantasy with strong female characters who weren’t good girls,” says Dana J. Wright, author of Feed Me. “I was fed up with stories centered on virgins, or almost virgins, who met bad boys and then basically kowtowed to whatever the males wanted.”
“I will probably always write stories that star bad girls, who, in my eyes, aren’t bad as much as fighting for freedom. Freedom to live their lives, and won’t allow anyone/thing to get in their way.”
In Feed Me, Leda Malcolm is a woman who has suffered much abuse, both mental and sexual. Her low sense of self-worth and pain spiral out of control and she tries to end her life. But at that moment, something wholly unexpected occurs, opening up a new life and realms she never knew existed. The book is primarily a fantasy novel blending a modern urban setting with legends, mythology and alien worlds. It starts out quite grounded in reality but grows ever more fantastical as Leda gains more power and insight. You can learn more about the book in our review here.
In this recent Q&A, Wright further discussed her work.
Q: Feed Me is the first book you have released in your intended Inamorata Series. Do you have a story arc in mind for the entire series? For example, is there a back story that will slowly reveal itself over its course? Will the series follow Leda throughout, or will each book follow a different character’s story?
A: Currently, there are six books planned for the series, and I’ve started writing them all. The second book, Love Me, is being edited and I hope to have it live around the holidays. The series will focus on Leda and her struggles to heal from past abuse and past lives. There is a back story that will be revealed in layers — major plot twists. Some of the minor characters in Feed Me will end up playing major roles in her life. Additionally, as a descendent of the rape of Medusa, Leda will discover both allies and enemies on her Titan side and will struggle to keep her Baphomet, Titan and human families happy, which will take a major toll.
Q: Your book is rich with mythological characters and references that span several pantheons and eras. Why did you choose to include such a broad spectrum, instead of focusing on one set of deities?
A: Initially, I wanted to rewrite the stories of female deities who’ve been vilified throughout the course of human history, which is the connecting thread — the loss of feminine influence and how it causes an imbalance in society. (For example, I’m planning a spinoff specifically for Medusa, in which she and Athena are partners and not enemies.) To accomplish this, I had to include myriad pantheons since each one has subdued and/or replaced the importance of the goddess. It also helped add variety to Leda’s story. She’ll travel to different realms, and each one will call into question what it means to be a woman.
Q: This is your first novel. What did you find most challenging about writing it?
A: The greatest challenge was getting thoughts on paper succinctly, while ensuring the characters weren’t one-dimensional. I would be typing like crazy, certain I was rocking the story. Then, I’d go back and reread and think, “this is awful!” I also struggled with the sex scenes, specifically how much to include. A major chunk of Leda’s story is how Medusa’s rape impacted her own life. The Dark Goddess, Lilith, made controversial decisions concerning Leda’s upbringing that were motivated purely by Medusa’s rape — not wanting her to suffer the same fate. Additionally, sex plays a major role in women’s creative power, and the series delves into why certain institutions steal women’s sovereignty over their bodies.
Q: Who are some of your favorite authors, and which ones do feel have influenced you most and how?
A: For fantasy, I enjoy Sarah J. Maas, K.F. Breene, Caroline Peckham, and Susanne Valenti. I want to support women authors and am influenced by those unafraid to tackle the dark side of the female psyche. Stories centered on strong female anti-heroes are my favorite.
Q: What are you hoping readers will take away from your book?
A: I want to bring the goddess into prominence. I also hope that readers who’ve survived abuse, rape, and/or sexual harassment will find strength in Leda’s story — maybe recognize a part of themselves in her struggles and successes.
Feed Me is available for purchase.