A Fortune-Teller’s Daughter Keziah Frost

My mother wanted me to be a psychic, the way other kids’ parents wanted them to be beauty queens or A-students. She looked for any evidence she could find that I had “the gift.”


The Thorndike Press large print edition of The Reluctant Fortune-Teller comes out on August 1, 2018. In honor of this beautiful version, here is a post on my own fortune-telling childhood.

My mom & me 1958

Readers love to know where novelists’ ideas come from. At book signings, readers ask me how I came up with the idea of writing about fortune telling. Of all the questions I could get, that’s the easiest one.

I didn’t have to do any research about card reading or psychic consultations. I learned all about it during my childhood, from my mother. She considered herself to be a witch.

What did your mother want you to be when you grew up?

My mother wanted me to be a psychic, the way other kids’ parents wanted them to be beauty queens or A-students. She looked for any evidence she could find that I had “the gift.”

For example, whenever we moved into a house–which happened about every two years, she would ask me to predict how long we would be there. I would shrug and say, “Oh, I don’t know. About two years?” I was working from the premise that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Two years later, my impressed mother would declare, “You were right! You predicted we’d be out of here in two years. You must be psychic!”

I never predicted anything that couldn’t be explained by logic, but my mother was never discouraged about my psychic potential. She introduced me to every occult book she could find.

Maybe your mom taught you how to knit or how to drive. My mom taught me how to read cards, palms, and tea leaves. At twelve, I was drawing up astrological natal charts, and at fifteen I was gazing at auras. It was all a lot of fun, and unlike my character Norbert, I wasn’t a bit “reluctant” to tell fortunes. It was a great ice breaker when I got to my college dorm.

All of us, as kids, want to be what our parents hope we will be. But we also know who we are. My mom wanted me to be a psychic, but in my heart, I always knew I was a writer. All along, I saw my yet-to-be-written novels lined up on a bookshelf, somewhere in the future. If my mother were alive today, she would say, “See? You saw it before it happened. That means you are psychic!”



Orange and Yellow Are Practically the Same Thing

My mother’s constant goal was to turn both of us into psychics.

Here is how she did it.

There used to be an ESP game whose purpose was to test and develop your intuition. It contained a deck of cards, and each card had a large, colored dot in the center, either blue, green, yellow, orange or red.

You would practice with it like this.

First, decide who is to be the Sender and who is to be the Receiver. Set up the trifold cardboard between the two of you. The Sender takes a card off the top of the deck and looks at it, but does not let the Receiver see it. Then the Sender and Receiver look into each other’s eyes, and the Sender attempts to psychically transmit the color to the Receiver. All the correct guesses go in one pile, and all the incorrect guesses in the other. As you continue to play the game over time, your ability to send and receive intuitive messages should increase.

My mother and I would spend evenings working at our psychic development at the dining room table. Whenever she would be sending yellow, and I would receive orange, and go to put the card in the “incorrect” pile, she would object.

“No, you got that one right.”

I would say, “No, you said yellow, and I guessed orange.”

Then she would say, “Oh, come on! Yellow and orange are practically the same thing.”

Thus, our intuition grew at a prodigious rate.