Jeaniene Frost: Writing Paranormal With a Bite!

Few authors ever achieve mega-stardom from just one series, yet Jeaniene Frost has not only done that but stands alongside such big names in the paranormal world as J.R. Ward and Charlene Harris on that lofty platform.  So it was a bit intimidating to sit down and visit with her the first time.  How surprising it was to discover this gifted author was actually quite shy and nervous about being interviewed!  Once we settled in, however, Jeaniene was an absolute delight to chat with.  She is open, honest, frank yet kind and amazingly gracious!  Read on and you’ll find just why Ms. Frost has become one of our all-time favorites!

InD: First off, tell me about the spelling of your name!
My parents named me after my aunt, and her name was spelled this way. Her parents have long since passed away, so we’ll never know their reasons for that spelling. People often say to me, “Is that your real name or is that a pen name?” I am like, “If I were picking a pen name, I would have picked something easier for readers to spell, not one with far too many vowels!”
InD: You live in Florida. Did you grow up there?
Kind of. I spent years 10 through 36 in Southern Florida, and then I spent a brief five-year period in North Carolina, then moved back to Florida, but to the northern part.
InD: Where did you live before the age of 10?
I spent my childhood in Ohio. I grew up in a very small town, in a rural area. I went back there when I was 30, and they said the population had swelled to 10,000. When we lived there, the population was probably 2000, so it was little.
InD: Was that a good thing?
Yes and no. Of course, when you are a kid, you don't look at things the same way. We’d go play outside in the yard and all over the neighborhood. All of the neighbors knew each other, so all the kids would run around everywhere. There were wooded areas nearby, and we would just go play in the woods and no one thought anything of it, so it was fun for that. One of our neighbors had a cherry orchard and let us go cherry picking. Another one had a cornfield where we went and shucked corn. They let us keep a certain amount, and it was a fun thing to do as a kid.
In the first book I wrote, "Half Way to the Grave," my heroine lived in rural Ohio and her family owned a cherry farm, so I drew from what I knew when I started writing.
InD: What prompted the move to Florida when you were 10?
We had to move to Boca Raton for my dad’s work.
InD: And how was it, going from Ohio to Boca Raton, Florida?
Culture shock, massive culture shock! You go from shucking corn and playing outside in the woods to where no one did that. The girls went to the mall and the beach and were all made up and wearing designer clothes. I did not fit in, and it was really, really not fun. It was like putting a bright target on me saying “Bully me.”
InD: I can just imagine how awful that would be.
A lot of my friends were boys because they would play outside. My mother's best friend had three sons, so I spent a lot of time playing outside with them. We would go fishing and go in the woods... those things I was used to doing that the girls I met in Boca Raton would not do.
InD: As time went on, did it settle down and get better?
No, I tried to assimilate. My middle school years were pretty miserable, and I got really sick of not having any friends and being picked on. So, by the time I was a freshman in high school, I was trying to mimic those other girls. You know, the whole makeup and clothes and worrying about everything superficial, trying to fit in. I gave myself a raging case of bulimia, too. It was really rough because I wanted to be what they were. To me, they were thin and pretty and looked happy, so I thought that I had to become thin and pretty in order to be happy, too. Even today, I think girls are under a lot of pressure trying to fit in to what society tells them they should be. I fell victim to that, like a lot of people. I now joke that it took me all of my 20s to get over my teens.

Read the entire interview in the Dec/Jan 2019-20 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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