Q&A: Jeaniene Frost

Posted by Goodreads on February 13, 2017
Jeaniene Frost thinks the hero of her Night Prince series would hate her in real life. "Seriously, Vlad would set me on fire out of sheer boredom within half an hour," she says.

The good news: Vlad's a fictional vampire who will never get his fangs on—or his firepower near—the bestselling writer. The bad news: This month the explosive finale to the Night Prince series arrives, forcing readers to close the coffin forever on the tempestuous vampire and his new bride, Leila.

In Into the Fire a deadly spell threatens to tear Leila away from Vlad. With magic forbidden to vampires, the two lovers desperately search for help, turning to an unlikely guide in their quest to save their marriage and their lives. Meanwhile an ancient enemy bides his time in the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment to strike….

Frost answers your questions about which authors she'd invite over for dinner, how she fell for paranormal early on (crosses keep the vampires away, she told her pastor when she was five), and why she jokingly thinks some of you need to get your minds out of the gutter.

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Anne: I have the most fun reading scenes with Vlad—he makes me laugh so hard! What scene from any of your books has been the most fun to write?

Jeaniene Frost: It's impossible for me to choose a favorite scene out of all my books, so I'll narrow it down to the Night Prince series. Even then, if you asked me the same question again in a week, I'd probably have a different answer. What can I say? Authors are fickle creatures! However, I had long been looking forward to telling readers the real reason why Vlad hated being called "Dracula." When I finally got to write the scene with that explanation at the end of Bound by Flames, I was literally giggling as I typed. So much fun for me!

Oh, I'll also have to give an "honorable mention" to a scene in my second Night Huntress novel. It's when my heroine, Cat, finds out that the hero, Bones, tricked her into not wearing any underwear while she hunted vampires. That was another scene I snickered all the way through while writing.

Lissa: Do you base any of your characters off of real people in your life—for physical appearance or personality trait inspiration?

JF: I might have based some short-lived side characters off of former annoying coworkers, but admitting that could get me into trouble. So nope, I never did it! [wink] In all seriousness, though, no. While I might base a mild personality quirk off of someone I know in real life (Cat's uncle Don had a habit of pulling on his eyebrow, which I took from a friend), part of the fun is stretching the limits of my imagination by writing about people I don't know. Again, a quirk or two might pop up, but that's about it.

Besides, with how often my characters kill people, if I did base them on people I actually knew, I'd be running with a really, really rough bunch! LOL.

Coleen: I'm such a big fan of your books! How did you first become infatuated with paranormal stories?

JF: I've loved them since before I can even remember. For example, I don't remember my first day at Sunday school, but it was often recounted to me and other family members because of what happened when I met the pastor. According to my parents, after I was introduced to him, the pastor pointed to the cross on the wall and asked me if I knew what it stood for. My parents expected me to say "Jesus" or something similar, but at all of five years old, I said, "Yes, that's what keeps the vampires away!" My parents were mortified, but the pastor thought it was hilarious. Looking back, so do I. So I guess you could say that I've been hooked on paranormal stories almost my whole life.

Tracy: If you could spend the day with one of your characters, who would you choose and what would the two of you do?

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JF: This is a really hard one! I am emotionally attached to all my characters. So villains aside, I really would want to spend a day with all of them, if it were possible. But since I know you're not going to let me say "all of them," I'll pick Bones, the hero from my Night Huntress books. And no, I'm not picking him for the reasons some of you might think. (Minds out of the gutters, people!)

Seriously, Vlad would set me on fire out of sheer boredom within half an hour; Cat would really mean to show up, but she'd miss our visit because nothing happens according to plan in her life; Ian wouldn't show up because he'd be too busy getting laid; I'd love to chat with Leila, but I'd probably forget that her whole body is electrified and thus zap the hell out of myself by giving her a hug, so…Bones it is. He has too much of a soft spot for women to be a "no-show" like Ian; he wouldn't light me on fire if I were boring (and I am) like Vlad; he has no dangerous electrical currents to worry about like Leila; and unlike Cat, he accomplishes his goals the first time, so he wouldn't miss the appointment.

What would I like to do with Bones? Ask him a zillion questions. Bones is over two centuries old, so I'd love to pick his brain about history, vampires, ghouls, ghosts, and paranormal abilities. Also, I would love to be taken for a ride flying. That would be the coolest thing ever.

Darenisha: I love your books and hope you continue to write many more! How did it feel when you published your first book?

JF: Thank you! I was shocked and overjoyed when I got the email from my agent saying that a publisher wanted to buy my books. I was at my day job at the time, and I must have screamed while reading it because my boss came running in to see if the computer had blown up or something. I pointed at the email on the computer screen and said, "Tell me if that says what I think it says." I had wanted to be an author since I was a little girl, and to have it finally happen was overwhelming.

Swarnaparni: In your opinion, what is the most important element of a story besides an interesting plot?

JF: Characterization. To me, that's even more important than an interesting plot. Look at Seinfeld, a self-described "show about nothing." It was enormously popular because people were hooked on the characters. No matter how scintillating a plot is, if I'm not emotionally connected to the characters, I'm signing off—and that goes for TV shows and movies, too. So while I work really hard on trying to come up with interesting plots, I try harder to make my characters "real" to readers.

Jette: What kind of books do you read when you want to relax?

JF: I started writing paranormal romance because I loved to read it, and that hasn't changed. I also enjoy urban fantasy, historical romance, thrillers, horror, and the occasional nonfiction. Really, what I pick up depends on my mood, and as I've mentioned before, I'm fickle. So it varies from week to week. Right now I'm reading and loving the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs.

Darlene: During the editing process, what's been the hardest cut you've had to make? What made it so difficult?

JF: I cut an entire book once! That was hard, let me tell you. I took things in a really dark direction that was difficult to write—and apparently even more difficult to read. Every single one of my trusted friends/associates who read it said some variation on, "This is way too dark. You need to rethink this." So I scrapped it. It also didn't make it into the Outtakes from the Grave collection, which is a deleted scenes/alternate versions companion anthology to my Night Huntress series. I know that cutting the book was the right choice. Just because I took the time to write a story doesn't mean the story should ever see the light of day.

Bytchfemme: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

JF: So many things! Seriously, I wrote a thousand-word essay on this before, but I'll keep it short now. First, I would say that there is no "one size fits all" method of writing. I didn't write for years because I'd been told I had to have a detailed outline, complete with notes on every upcoming chapter—plus character storyboards and a whole lot more before I could even start a book. On my best day I am not that organized by half. It's just not me, and it took a long time before I realized it wasn't a lot of other writers, either. Yes, some authors plot extensively. Some don't. Neither are "right." At the end of the day you should stick with whatever method puts words on the page that you're happy with.

Second, I would warn my younger self not to fall for scams. I got burned twice by believing that I had to pay agents or editors to read my submissions. Not true! There are a lot of hustlers who prey on writers' dreams, but if someone is asking for money up front, it's a scam. Legitimate agents make their money after they sell your work, not before. Legitimate publishers pay you, not the other way around. So if a "publisher" requires you to pay for your own submissions, marketing, book covers, edits, printing, etc., then they're not legitimate. They're a vanity press, and you're wasting your money.

Angela: If you could have dinner with any three authors (alive or dead), who would you choose and why?

JF: William Shakespeare, who is my favorite "classics" author; Edgar Allan Poe, who wrote such deliciously dark and demented stories; and Emily Dickinson, who was such a recluse. If not for Emily's sister finding and sharing her beautiful poetry after Emily's death, all of it would have been lost to the world. I wish I could ask Emily why she shut herself away and hid her work—and then I'd try to talk her out of both.

Comments Showing 1-7 of 7 (7 new)

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message 1: by Christia (new)

Christia I definitely had a giggle when Cat discovered Bones tricked her into not wearing panties, that cheeky bugger ;)

Kat valentine ( Katsbookcornerreads) Great q&a !!! Loved it!!

message 3: by Kimo (new)

Kimo Fantastic q&a! Thank you!

message 4: by Susan (new)

Susan I love all of JF's vampire novels, but I keep hoping she will write another Cat & Bones novel. Their finale, Up From the Grave, still has me shaking my head.

message 5: by Nisha (new)

Nisha Reads I absolutely love all of her books. I can not wait for the final installment of "The Night Prince" Series and Oh My Gosh!!! She answered my question. I feel like a kid in a candy store for the first time.

message 6: by Rene' (new)

Rene' Hurt I love this series.

message 7: by My (new)

My This was neat! I love hearing/reading about anything and everything new from my favorite authors and series. It was also awesome to find out that JF is currently reading another one of my favorite authors/series, the Mercy Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs. Oh and Darenisha I know exactly how you feel, JF read one of my questions on her live broadcast q&a on 2/17....YAY!!!

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