I was given the chance to pose some questions to Jackson Ford, author of The Frost Files, to link up to the launch of book four, A Sh*tload Of Crazy Powers (which is out now. Go get it)
Buckle up, buttercup. We’re going in.
Long time fan of your books back from the pre-Jackson Ford days (I still have the signed copy of Tracer knocking about somewhere).
YES KING. You’ve had my back from literally day one. Appreciate you.
Rumour has it that book #4 in The Frost Files is out soon (well, it’s out now for real) which means I’m running out of space on my shelves. Zero respect for my TBR pile, man.
No fucks given.
This is my unsurprised face.
I’ve been following you for a while (not in a weird stalker-y way, honest), and have some questions. Pour us both a whisky, and let’s get started.
I got some good ass Welsh whiskey recently. Didn’t even realise they made whiskey, but their single malt game is solid. Cheers.
Are you having as much fun writing The Frost Files as it appears you are from reading them? Because they’re an absolute blast to read.
They are a huge amount of fun to write. I adore the world, and I feel like readers do too. One of the nicest things anyone ever said to me was that a Frost Files book was like coming home, or meeting up with an old friend. I liked that a lot.
Can I just take a moment to let you know how much I (and other readers) appreciate you doing a ‘Story So Far’ for the books? I read a lot of stuff, and it can be a year or more between me reading books in a series, so I often spend the first few chapters going ‘who are these people and why do they not like each other very much?’, so having a short snappy ‘previous, on The Frost Files’ is super awesome. Was this your idea, or something your publisher said “hey, do this thing or else?”
This was my idea. I really try to lean into the fact that each FF book can be read on its own, even if you haven’t read any of the others. But since there are now six bazillion words of the series out there, I wanted to give new readers a place to catch up on key events.
Teagan Frost is a great cook. You’ve said that her favourite food is banh mi sandwiches (and grilled cheese, paella, pizza, smashburgers, popcorn, fried chicken, the list goes on). Are you a good cook? If you were having me and some of your buddies over for food, what’s on the menu?
I’m an enthusiastic but only moderately talented cook. That said, there are some things I do really freaking well. Roast chicken, roast potatoes. But my party piece is chilli con carne, which I cook with my homemade chilli sauce. That’s what we’re eating. You bring the beer.
It’s a deal. I might even bring some of the good whisky.
The Frost Files famously all have the word Sh*t in the titles. Did you always plan to do that, or was it a case of the first book (The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind, great book, go get it etc) had a great title, then book 2 came along and you were casting about for something to call it and thought hey, I wonder how many books I could do this for? Were there any other options for titles for the first book?
Anna Jackson and Tim Holman at Orbit suggested it. I loved the title immediately, and we just went from there. Honestly, it can go for as long as we want it to…we can be endlessly creative with curse words. I’m actually rubbish with titles. My working title for the first book was WIRE AND GLASS, which…sucked. Anna and Tim’s idea was much better.
Supplemental question – do you have an idea of how many books are in the series? There’s definitely a story arc going on, but do you have an end point in mind?
No spoilers here. Wait and see!
China Shop are looking for a new recruit, and they’ve come knocking at your door. What would you bring to the team? They’ve already got Reggie the hacker, Africa the wheelman, and of course Teagan with her wicked snark and telekinesis.
Fuuuuuuck that’s a good question. I have no idea why they would ever want my help. I have zero useful real world skills.
I’ve been developing a super-secret gizmo that will take you and a friend anywhere on earth, but only to one place, and only for 24 hours after which point you wake up back in your own house. Where are you going?
I just came back from my first vacation in two years. We went to Panama. There’s a spot in Bocas Del Toro that is just a bunch of cabins built right over the Caribbean sea. You can jump off your deck into the water. So yeah, we’re going back there.
My other gizmo will give you $10m in cash, but you can never write another book. Take the money or not?
I WANT to take the money, but the stories that rattle around my head would drive me insane if I didn’t let them out.
I love the newsletter you put out each week (signup here for awesomeness), and am always intrigued to see where you go with it. What’s your process there? Do you have a pile of post-its with ideas on, or just wake up at 3am going OMG I’m going to talk about *THAT* this week?
It’s a mix of both. I have a list of topics to tackle, but I’m always flexible. If there’s something that grabs me, I go for it. Really, I just try not to be boring. I’ve gotten into the regularity of writing it every week, and I want to make it worth the reader’s time to click on it. I was a newspaper columnist in the UK for nearly a decade, so I’m good at coming up with ideas on the fly.
I know writers get asked the same questions all the time. Where do you get your ideas, what’s your writing process like, etc etc. You must get bored of being asked. So, what’s the one question that you wish an interviewer would ask you?
I really, really wish someone would ask me about the music that influences the Frost Files. It’s a series with deep roots in rap, metal, electronica…obviously classic LA gangsta rap (Dre, Snoop, Xzibit, Kendrick, NWA) but also artists like Disturbed, Van Canto, Lindsey Stirling, Luke Howard. It couldn’t be a surface level question. I’d want to go really in depth with it, really talk about how music can help create and alter a scene, especially in terms of rhythm and climax. Sadly, there’s not a ton of crossover between, say, rap fans and Frost Files readers.
[makes notes for the next interview – ask Jackson about music & stuff]
Quickfire question round:
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Hot sunny day at the beach, or quiet wander through the old town? Beach
Analogue or digital? Digital. I grew up on CDs, not vinyl.
Riley Hale vs Teagan Frost? What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?
Jackson, it’s been a pleasure having you come visit the blog. Best of luck with the Frost Files (not that you need it).
I’m off to go jump into A Sh*tload Of Crazy Powers right now. Huge thanks to Jackson Ford (go find him on twitter @realjacksonford) and to Nazia Khatun at Orbit for the book to review, and for setting up this Q&A.
Teagan Frost has enough sh*t to deal with, between her job as a telekinetic government operative and a certain pair of siblings who have returned from the dead to wreak havoc with their powers. But little does she know, things are about to get even more crazy . . .
Teagan might have survived the flash flood of the century, but now she’s trapped in a hotel by a bunch of gun-toting maniacs. And to make matters worse, her powers have mysteriously disappeared. Faced with certain death at every turn, Teagan will need to use every resource she has to stop a plot that could destroy Los Angeles – maybe even the entire world.