The Shadow Drive-by: Jeffrey Ford

Portrait by Gerard Wickham

In the dictionary under the word ‘prolific’ there is a picture of Jeffrey Ford. Under the word ‘ubiquitous’ it just says ‘see prolific’ … not coz they mean the same thing … but they both mean Jeffrey Ford. His awards include those of a World Fantasy persuasion, an Edgar Allan Poe, and a Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire – as well they might. He is also responsible for The Best Title Ever: The Empire of Ice Cream. But I mean, honestly, what do I need to tell you about the man?

He was kind enough to answer my questions, even though I (along with fellow conspirator and trickster goddess Lisa Hannett), messed about with his story in the upcoming Steampunk Reloaded (edited by Team VanderMeer). We have apologised and promised donuts … or danishes by way of votive offering.

1. If I wasn’t a writer, I’d be …
… a crooner, wowing the musical cognoscenti with my smoke laden stylings, belting out standards like I was the love child of Kate Smith and Mel Torme. I’d fuckin own “This Year’s Kisses.” Own it. Do you hear me? (This is to make you glad I’m a writer).

2. Which of your books was the hardest to write? Which the easiest?
The Shadow Year was the hardest, which should have been the easiest since it was largely autobiographical, and The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque was the easiest, which should have been the hardest since it took a ton of research. Go figure.

3. A couple of miscreants come along and mess with your story (let’s blame, oh, say Jeff VanderMeer for it): what do you do?
Realize it’s an inevitable symptom of the Steam Plague.

4. How the hell do you keep writing – and keeping it ‘new’ – after so many books and stories?
I keep writing because I like to. Keeping it ‘new’ is more a question for readers than for me. I just write what I see in my imagination and hope somebody enjoys reading it.

5. Donuts or Danishes?
This is the toughest question of all. I guess, surprise me. Each has winning attributes.

He blogs in a well-built city.

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