Frost Devereaux (born November 26, 1973) is an American novelist, best known for a series of young adult novels published under the title Intergalactic High using the pseudonym Claire McGuffin. Devereaux gained notoriety in 2004 for marrying investment broker Francis Maguire, the brother of gay-rights activist Frances Maguire, whom Devereaux divorced three years earlier.
Frost Devereaux was born in Midway, Iowa to local fertilizer company worker Marlene Devereaux and professional gambler Jack Bentley--originally from Allentown, Pennsylvania. The marriage between Devereaux's parents was decidedly unhappy, with Bentley living in a barn on the family farm.1
Devereaux's life was dramatically changed on the morning of September 23, 1978 on a trip with his mother to Iowa City. Devereaux's mother was involved in a traffic accident on the highway that resulted in her death. As for Devereaux, the right side of his face suffered third-degree burns when the car (a Ford Pinto) caught fire. Devereaux's father was not in the car at the time, but soon abandoned his injured son, leaving him in the custody of an aunt.
In kindergarten Devereaux met and befriended Francis and Frances Maguire. The trio remained friends through elementary school and into junior high. An affair with an older man led to Frances Maguire's exile to a private school in Cape Cod, while Devereaux and Francis Maguire attended the Kent Yearling Academy for Boys in Yearling, New York.
After graduating from Yearling Academy, Devereaux attended Northeast Iowa State University. He was expelled from the university after his junior year following the death of his roommate, Peter Pratchett. Pratchett committed suicide after being diagnosed with the AIDS virus and expelled from the university. In the wake of this, Devereaux--believed by the university to be Pratchett's lover--was also expelled. The incident led to a riot on campus incited by Frances Maguire and her gay-rights group Gays and Lesbians Everywhere! or GALE.2
Following his expulsion from Northeast Iowa State University, Devereaux completed a bachelor's degree in comparitive literature from the University of Iowa, where Devereaux published his first piece: a short story titled Antiques in The Iowa Review. Upon graduation, Devereaux accepted an invitation to the Walden Ranch artist's retreat in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.
Devereaux spent three years at the Walden Ranch, until reuniting with Frances Maguire. They were married in 1998 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The couple moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, where Maguire took up recruiting for GALE's southeast chapter. After three years of marriage, the couple divorced in early 2001. The divorce papers cited "irreconcilable differences" but in later interviews Devereaux admitted the marriage dissolved after he discovered Maguire having an affair with a female coworker.3
Maguire moved to San Francisco to head GALE's North American operations while Devereaux continued to occupy the couple's Scottsdale home until 2002, when he was persuaded by Maguire's brother to move to New York City.
Not long after arriving in Manhattan, Devereaux underwent cosmetic surgery to repair the scars on the right side of his face. The surgery was successful, though Devereaux spent months recuperating in a Cape Cod home owned by Francis Maguire. During this convalesence and subsequent move back to Manhattan, Devereaux and Francis Maguire became lovers.
In the winter of 2004, the town of Yearling, New York announced it would begin providing marriage licenses to same-sex couples starting February 14, 2004--Valentine's Day. A week of celebrations known as the Equal Love Festival was planned in the town. Devereaux and Maguire were one of the first couples to arrive in town for the ceremony.
The Equal Love Festival was disrupted when a group of protestors known as the Christian Liberation Army West or CLAW descended upon the town to oppose the giving of marriage licenses to homosexual couples. A day later gay-rights groups, led by Frances Maguire and GALE flooded into the town as well, creating a poisonous atmosphere that ultimately led to a riot.
Shortly after Devereaux and Maguire were married, a sniper shot and killed Matilda Frost, half of a lesbian couple that were also married during the festival. Devereaux suffered only minor injuries from the riot and returned to New York with his new husband.
While at the Walden Ranch artist's colony, Devereaux entered into negotiations with a new (and now-defunct) publisher called Planet X Publishing to write a series of young-adult science-fiction novels. The series became known as the Intergalactic High series, published under the pseudonym Claire McGuffin. The series spanned a dozen books, detailing the adventures of a teenager named Lilly Mitchell who is inadvertently transported to the 25th Century, where she is enrolled in a high school near the Horsehead Nebula. The series folded in 2002 when Planet X Publishing was acquired by Random House.
After the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01, Devereaux published a series of vignettes to solicit money for the families of the victims. The vignettes were distributed by the gay-rights group GALE as pamphlets urging readers to donate money to GALE's 9/11 fund and other charities. Though the pamphlets were unsigned, Devereaux later claimed ownership when the pamphlets were collected and published as an anthology to raise money for victims of the Iowa floods in 2008.4
For several years after the cancellation of the Intergalactic High series, Devereaux worked as an editor. In particular he was known to edit Roble Madobe's Puntland, which received a nomination for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2006. A complete list of books Devereaux edited is not available, though it is believed he edited at least two-dozen books over a period of three years.
In 2005, Devereaux began work on what became known as The Lifesaver, the only book to date to be published under his real name. The novel chronicles the life of a young Australian woman who comes to the United States and becomes a nurse who saves the life of an unnamed narrator and then is killed during a robbery. In the foreword to the book, Devereaux acknowledges that the character of the nurse is based on Matilda Frost, who cared for Devereaux while he was recuperating from the car accident that killed his mother.5 Critical reviews for the novel were positive and the book sold most of its first print run.
Intergalactic High Series (Published Under the Name "Claire McGuffin"):
Novels Published Under Actual Name:
Notes and References
1. Turkel, Wendy. "The Farmer's Husband." Pages Magazine, July/August 2008: 25-29.
2. Rider, John. "Chaos Erupts on Campus." Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. 30 April. 1995: B1.
3. Carver, Abraham. "Affairs of the Heart." Book Magazine, July/August 2009: 19-23.
4. Kapanen, Abby. "Writing Against Terror." The Washington Post. 17 July. 2008: C6.
5. Devereaux, Frost. Foreword. The Lifesaver. By Devereaux. New York: Vintage, 2008. ii.