Name Michael Frost
Where are you from
From Chicago, Illinois; born and bred, but a recent expiate to Virginia on the East Coast of the U.S.
A little about yourself `ie your education Family life etc
I’m the only boy stuck between two sets of twins of an interracial marriage. It was hard coming up when it came to the neighborhood we moved to in the early 70’s; predominant and rather racist Irish Catholic neighborhood on the far southwest side of the city. There were some black families there, but interracial? Yeah, people had a problem with that. This could be a whole story in and of itself, so I will leave it with it might have been hard, but as a family we endured.
Educationally wise I, like my sisters, was public school educated in our early and High School years, but we were smart cookies so we were in Magnet Schools all through them. Later on I earned degrees in Multiband Radio Communications, Electronics and Astrophysics; writing was something I simply did.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Well I just finished a rather long manuscript that grasped me and wouldn’t let me go. I averaged 14 hours a day pounding away at the keyboard with usual coffee in and coffee out breaks, as well as walks around my property for a smoke so to clear my head. There are too many voices in there.
It topped out just over 115k words and is currently sitting to simmer for a while. I always had the mentality to never start editing as soon as a piece is completed, no. Let it sit for a bit and come back to it with fresh eyes, then you find everything doesn’t flow, what sentences has you thinking ‘Hmm?’; basically you find your fuck-ups.
I put a title on it the day before my recent birthday: Chimera. I am not sure it will stay as the standing title or not, but it is what it is for now.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started when I was 11 years old and knew I was relatively hooked then. I was really into Tolkien and his world, and I wanted to be like him in many ways; the creator of worlds. My father was a published author through the 60’s and 70’s, so in many ways I wanted to please him by following suit. He was not a novelist but instead a poet and he did not like the fantasy genre. This was long before I started writing horror of course; that beast was still in its gestation phase.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Ooh, first consider myself a writer? That’s a tough one.
I suppose I ‘thought’ as if a writer when I completed my very first book at 16 years which happened to be fantasy and not horror. I guess when I typed THE END on the 343rd page I thought, ‘You did it! You actually stuck with it and finished!’ but that was me bullshitting myself. I wrote and I wrote a lot, yes, but I didn’t FEEL it yet; that level of maturity didn’t come until the horror simply woke up in me one day in 1992 and slowly began to whisper.
Sure I can say I called myself a ‘WRITER’ when I sold my first short story a few years later after a mountain fall of rejection letters, but no. It was that day, February 12, 1992, that I knew I was.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Well I guess this question is the best place to expand on the prior question, sort of. As I said I wrote my first book as a teen whilst I was enamored with wizards and dragons, but this Michael, the one that plagues the night shadows with my incisive strokes of the tips of my ten started his true book afterwards.
What inspired? To be very honest to this day I have no idea despite the countless times I’ve been asked this by others and myself. I had experienced my very first taste of writer’s block as I stumbled around aimlessly attempting to write sequels to my fantasy book, yet toying with horror because it was, well, cool.
My parents had insisted that I moved my IBM Selectric typewriter to the basement because of the droning hum and slamming key strikes and returns. I still used my good old manual big black Royal typewriter my father had gotten me from a resale shop, but I had the mentality that if I was to be a writer I had to be modern.
Anyway, as I sat there frustrated, smoking cigarette after cigarette [yeah, I was a young starter] nothing came. That’s when I wrote just one line, one damned line that came out of nowhere which I sat staring at it for hours. I will share it:
“The wound—which would slowly develop into a horrible, malignant disease if one might call it that—happened on the day of July 7, 1967, with a group of kids playing guns.”
That was it! That’s all she had for me and the whispering stopped as quickly as it began, and so day after day for more than a week, I would return to my writing area in the basement and simply stare at that line. I had not known it then yet, but that’s when the ‘Michael’ woke up in me, and after that week I began to write the book Staad.
The odd thing about that book, it took me more than 20 years to finish it despite writing countless stories, novelettes, novellas, poems and books in between.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I like both 1st and 3rd person if that helps?
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Oh for that one the title is the name of the main character who happens to be the rather brutal antagonist. I thought it sucked then as I still do now, but it’s the only thing it can be called.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. Although I write fiction I have always said that there’s more fact in fiction than non. There has to be. Anyone can take a reference book such as an encyclopedia at face value because we assume that all the facts involved has been checked and rechecked. We read, we nod and we go about our happy lives knowing that black and white we’ve been told the truth, but fiction? It is our jobs to not only make the reader chance that all the bullshit we put down can happen, but we have to make them BELIEVE it. So in order to that, I have always followed current world events whether politics, the state of society, global impactors, etc., and in my writing I often attempt to educate my readers without taking them to school. Oh there’s satire of course, which I am fond of, but much akin to how a children’s author may teach a child morals in the whimsy stories, I do the same.
Most important lesson though: You never open the closet door…you never look under the bed…you never fall asleep in an unfamiliar place and you never get into a strangers car. Out of all of these I must add, you most certainly never—EVER—run into the woods.
Those things will get you super dead.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic ?
That particular book? Nearly-mostly-somewhat-kinda all of it. This is horror after all. Other storied follow realism very closely, others are Twilight Zone.
In summary, all one must do is observe your fellow Man. I have often said: “A horror writer does not need to draw from inner demons, no; we feed off the monsters which fester in the souls of our fellow Man.”
About that realistic.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
All of the above, as well as those things others in my life tell and or show me of themselves. I always do my best to write what I know and only expand on the details if any research is required so I don’t seem like a complete buffoon.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
Life outside writing I would have to say books like The Good Earth, Red Badge of Courage, The Art of War and 1984 to say a few plus a whole slew of Shakespeare (A Midsummer Night’s Dream being one of my favorites; it’s fun to read).
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Not a one. I actually don’t read much believe it or not, mostly because I am always writing and it is easy to pick up on other people’s styles. I spent a long time finding my voice so I prefer to keep it as my own. I only read horror nowadays if I am asked by another writer of the genre, or I know them. It has been many years since I’ve read King.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Oh there are many, way too many to list here to be realistic. I could say nearly half my Twitter followers whom all have an interesting voice and my respect. To name a few pertinent to the question, authors like K.J. Simmill, Heather Herman, Kya Aliana are some ‘New’ writers if you are considering publishing dates (and how long I have been acquainted with them), but they’ve been long time writers whom I respect dearly.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Well now that Chimera has been drafted, I turn my attention to editing a few prior stories which has simmered long enough. Once I am sick of the editing, or simply out of whim, another story will emerge for me to set upon. There has been an idea rolling around that popped up when doing laundry one day. Let’s see how that one turns out.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Well since I never had much in the line of family support, let us just say it was Hope.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
For me it has been since late fall of 2012. I hung up my engineering spurs and set out to focus 100% on my writing. It’s the only thing I wanted to do since childhood.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Yes. I would have killed off a couple characters that really annoyed me as a writer that for some reason made it out alive.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Outside that of Tolkien and my father? No, not really. I think the other catalyst, maybe even the primmer, was that no one else I knew wrote, so it was mind domain to play in and I didn’t have to share the ball if you get what I mean.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Of the most current? No; that would betray the story and I don’t think it will like that very much, but I will share a few intros of ones coming in 2016 if that suffices? I will give you several, you can decide which you care to share, or all if it fancies you.
“Just beyond the wind-whipped tussles of fluffy matured pussy willows white, seeds blow into the spaces aloft soft winds withing; seeking places to root and grow unto that which festers within the farmhouse, and finding no forgiveness for what they become.”
– Sowing Seeds, a Novel
“Black places the razor just to the right of a flickering candle set on the nightstand as he hummed Canon softly, thoughtlessly; regarding the small dollops of glistening blood pooled to its surface with little attention. Just as the murmuring mess of a person splayed on the bed beside him still had life, so too did these droplets, and albeit they did not possess all the characteristics to be considered alive, soon nor shall his victim.”
– Murder Black, a Novel
“So much time has passed…
I sit in languor by this small fire through the continuous cold which should not be here, and within the lax flames of the small fire before me, I see their faces; mocking me.
My memories have faded with so many rainstorms now gone…the flooding waters from both swept down a poisoned river-run, and by no human strength that I could’ve possibly mustered, enabled me to brave the currents to save a single one. Only painful hauntings fill the void where the endearing ones once lived; their carcasses have gone to soot and blow as endless dust devils to punish me eternally amongst their vortices for the one true sin I ever committed: I survived.”
– Where the Wildlings Dwell, a Graphic Novella
“I can still see her when she used to radiate upon the moor; her hair used to dance in the breezes and glisten in the moonlight like blued onyx, black. This is how I still hold my Ileana and forever will, however those times has abandoned us both since the day she changed so ever darkly.
Now she is but a haggard shadow wandering the woods; pleading to the trees to end her life for neither of us has the strength to do it.”
– The Fall of Ileana Dubois, a Novella
“If your hear her, sees you…
By time you smell her, she’s so very close…
To see her means you’re one breath from death, and death has always found those whom have.”
– Bane of the Black Witch, a Novella
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I don’t take part of outlines in any way. Hated them in English classes in High School and hate them now. I know they are a necessary aid to many writers, but to me they are the bane of creativity so when I write I simply sit down and write. Sure I take notes, character description key points as they develop, etc., but in all aspects I simply just write. Sometimes stories get away from me and I have to backtrack a bit before they really get out into open waters where the sharks await.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Terry Pratchett hands down. He created worlds within worlds seemingly without effort and still managed to bottle the edge. He was also a master of slipping in humor when you least expected it.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Within the last three years I have travelled more in regards to writing than I did 5 years prior in both military and as an engineer. It has slowed, thankfully.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Typing ‘THE END’…it is always a very sad moment.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Well, I think the most I learned from writing any particular book long before current events would be in the book titled, Eleanor’s Creek. Although I knew how fanaticism festers in nearly every aspect of life, crossing cultures, and so on, in that book I delved into that of small town theology; how regardless of how seemingly balanced and Holy, one person can turn it into something dark. In the case of Eleanor’s Creek that darkness festered into a caliginous fluid that ran through those who bore witness. Coming away from it I felt soiled and saddened for Eleanor, and although just a character, I hurt for her.
Some in the end I learned dearly that empathy can even be extended to a young woman who only existed in text, but can be seen in the eyes of any real woman you see.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
If your writing hurts the soul, your soul, then torture it mercilessly. Make it suffer, make it whimper and then make it scream! Only then you know it is REAL.
Also, never ever apologize for what you write; you betray not only the story, but your integrity as a writer as well. Those who cower to the scrutiny of their peers have no business writing at all, for if your fears guide your words then your words are meaningless; spoken from the gleaming lips of a charlatan and are as worthless as a false-truth.
They are a lie.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you more than I can ever express for reading my works, and being patient with certain levels of crassness which pops out from time to time. Most importantly, I love each and every one of you, sincerely, for without you—in the end—there is no me.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
First one I remember that I actually can cite a line from childhood is Dr. Seuss’s ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book! It’s the letter F.
“Big F, little f,
Four fluffy feathers on a Fiffer-feffer-feff.”
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I can find laughter in nearly anything from kitten videos to hearing a good joke. Cry? Sad movies, spilling a whole container of coffee grounds to the kitchen floor, memories of my parents now passed. Also when missing my daughter who’s on the other side of the country finishing up at Uni. I am very proud of her.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
Dr. Carl Sagan. He was a brilliant man and I would love to just sit and talk about the cosmos.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
“What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?” simply because it would be funny.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I love photography and I make my own wine of various varieties. I also truly enjoy fishing whether I catch anything or not. It’s therapeutic for the soul and philosophical at the same time. It is much akin to warfare really; there are no winners, no losers, only casualties.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Nothing current. Outside of watching documentaries, conspiracy shows and other YouTube whatnots, I re-watch series (X-Files, EUREKA!, Star Trek [multiple series], Twilight Zone [original], Tales from the Crypt, Poirot, Midsummer Murders, Agatha Christie, Monk…) You get the idea.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Anything seafood and stuffed manicotti for my eats; vermillion blue for my color and when it comes to music, I am partial to classical for my deep thinking, but all genres if it has a nice beat and a catchy tune.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I would still be an engineer of one level or the other, that or have gone back to school to learn something new.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?