The Monster Under the Bed

Hey friends – we’re using this month to ramp up to Halloween, and we’re going to be talking a lot about scares…of all kinds! So today I want to know – besides the monsters under the bed (and the real life monsters we hear about every day), what scares your characters the most?

Julie: What a great question! Honestly, not much scares Lilly at this point in her life, except the thought that something might happen to someone she cares about. For Delia, her journey is full of things she’s afraid of, like speaking in front of people, but Lilly is supporting her through those fears. Note to self, figure out what else scares my characters!

Sherry: I love how fearless Lilly is, Julie. Since I just turned in From Beer to Eternity (the first Chloe Jackson Sea Glass mystery) I’ll tell you something Chloe Jackson is afraid of — water, but she deals with that fear in an unusual way. Sarah, on the other hand,  is afraid of a lot of things — mannequins, stalkers, sometimes Mike “the Big Cheese” Titone. But Sarah’s strength comes from overcoming the things she fears.

Barb: Julia Snowden of the Maine Clambake Mysteries handles murder investigations with aplomb. Her romantic life is a different story. In the last few books she’s learned some things about her boyfriend Chris that scare her, for him and for their future. There’s nothing to be gained by worrying, but Julia can’t help it.

Jessie: Barb, I think that is one of the things that makes Julia feel so real and relatable despite the body count! As to my characters, Edwina is worried about her economic situation and also about her reputation in the village of Walmsley Parva. She spends considerable time considering what new traumas her jobbing gardener Simpkins is thrusting upon her gardens. Beryl, on the other hand, is afraid of very little. In fact, as a celebrated adventuress, she has built her name on fearlessness. So, it is with some shock and a soupçon of delight, that Edwina realises that Beryl is afraid of children. She is less delighted to learn her friend, like so many others who served at the front during the Great War, is terrified of being trapped underground.

Edith/Maddie: I’m glad you built in a fear for Beryl, Jessie. Because who among us is totally fearless? In my books, Robbie Jordan is claustrophobic. Her fear of closed-in spaces is seriously put to the test in one of the books. Mac Almeida is a neat freak bordering on obsessively neat, and she’s afraid of disrupting her tidy life with commitment (and babies…). Rose Carroll is afraid of losing her independence, and while her betrothed, David, assures her it’s fine with him for her to continue her midwifery practice after they marry, she’s not sure it will go smoothly – especially if his mother has anything to say about it!

Liz: Love these answers, girls! For Maddie James in the Cat Cafe Mysteries, relationships are her biggest fear – and she manifests this by usually picking people who are commitment phobes as well. Here’s hoping things will turn out different for her this time…

Readers, what about you? What’s your biggest fear? Tell us below!

13 Thoughts

  1. Spiders and heights! and at this time of the year the spiders are out in force *shudders*

  2. I have a fear of heights. Think I always have and at this age don’t see it going away. I’m fine going up. It’s the coming down where I don’t feel I have control of what’s under me that gets to me.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  3. I definitely fear spiders! It’s most an irrational fear, since I know they can be helpful and mostly harmless, but I fear them nonetheless. At least I’ve progressed to the point where I can trap a spider I find inside and move it outside, even if I know it could wind up back inside at some point.

  4. I’m not that fond of spiders, myself. And any insect with multiple legs, like millipedes. It’s the way they move. Ugh.

    I’m not really sure what Sally is afraid of. But for Jim, it’s objects in eyeballs. He can face death in all it’s forms, but the sight of someone sticking a finger in their eye will freak him out.

    My new protagonist Betty is mostly afraid her fiance won’t come home from the war.

  5. Well, I’ve talked extensively here about my fears, and my protagonist, Mary, shares a lot of them (surprise, surprise). Mostly, she’s afraid that she really doesn’t know what she’s doing and that any minute all of her customers and friends will discover that, and she’ll then be exposed as the fraud she knows she deep down really believes she is, and will be publicly humiliated for all to see. Actually, I think that’s a pretty universal fear. I’ve stated it much more forcefully than most probably would, but I believe almost everyone feels deep down, at some level, that their success was just luck and coincidence and that they really don’t deserve their position and achievements.

    I think that it’s also true that we all know intellectually that it’s not so, but try telling that to your subconscious.

    But I do like the idea of giving Mary a separate, more physical fear. I have one of my own, a fear of snakes, but I’m not about to give that one to Mary, because then I’d have to write about snakes. Brrrrrraaarrrrrrggggghhhhh!!!!

    I think I’ll have to come up with something else. She’s a strong and independent character, so something that makes her weak and vulnerable could make an excellent contrast.

    I loved hearing about all your character’s fears. Sherry, I frankly hoped that Sarah’s greatest fear was having her neighborhood attacked by a giant Fluffer-Nutter sandwich. Certainly, that’s something that keeps me up at night.

    I’m going to go back to bed now. OK, I’m actually going to crawl UNDER the bed to hide. Oh, my! I hope there aren’t any monsters there!

    1. Oooh imposter syndrome! the thing a lot of people have but think they are the only one!

  6. I’ve always been afraid of water (except drinking it), even showers are scary, but obviously, I have to overcome that fear on a regular basis. I even taught aequarobics for 6 years as a antidote for my fear. Really didn’t help. I’m claustrophobic but have had to force myself to be in tight places a few times. But my biggest fear by far is becoming complacent about my sobriety. Even after 18 years, I know one slip, and I’m done for. All these fears just make me human and more empathetic. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

  7. As much as I love So Cal, I don’t like this time of year, which I have dubbed Santa Ana winds and fire season. And we are facing high winds tomorrow and Friday. Now that power companies have decided to cut power to try to prevent fires, I’m wondering just how much I will have power over the next couple of days, if at all. And if I will be able to come into work during that time or not.

    All this as today marks two years since the fire that broke out in my home town, taking my brothers house among many, many others. I haven’t dealt with fires the same way since. Even fictionally. I read a book with a bad house fire in it earlier this year, and it hit me harder than it would have before.

    1. Btw, in case you didn’t see the update, my brother and his family are in their new home. They were able to move in a month ago.

  8. Heights — I even wait for the firemen to come change the smoke detector batteries and, while they’re at it, any lightbulbs that need it. They are happy to prevent falls . . .
    I tolerate spiders, catch and release outdoors . . . and have two spider stories on my storytelling CDs. This is one I wrote, the other I tell by permission of the author.

  9. Bees, wasps, hornets, all the stinging bugs. My mother is very allergic and I’d rather not experience that.

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