Please welcome Fiona and Matt, as they celebrate the new release of their co-written YA horror novel: Splinters! We've seen Fiona here before as she released Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know Of) earlier this year, and both Matt and Fiona are agent and publisher mates of mine.
As Fiona hosted me for my Dependent blog tour, asking me about my fears...I thought turnaround was fair play and stuck her with the following questions:
What frightens each of you and why? And where do you feel safe?
Here's Fiona's response:
The flashiest and most obvious answer to what frightens me is G-force. I have severe barophobia, the fear of changes in gravity. I have issues with things like amusement park rides, elevators, airplanes, anything that makes it feel like gravity isn’t working the way it should.
Why? Am I afraid of death or injury by falling? Am I afraid of being literally crushed to death by gravity? No, nothing so pseudo-rational. I’m afraid of the fall, not the landing.
So… what? So I have an irrational phobia that’s a pain when I go to Disneyland. I got a pretty cool horror short story out of it once, if I do say so myself, but that’s about all the material a fear of gravity has to offer, a short story. On its own it doesn’t seem all that meaningful.
It wasn’t until my early twenties that I started to figure out that, hand in hand with my less dramatic fears of failure, wasted time, anesthesia, riptides, and excess calories, my barophobia was a symptom of my fundamental fear of losing control.
So, having figured out the root of the problem, I’m all better now? Um… no. I can’t switch off being a control freak any more than I could stop loving books. It’s who and what I am, and I accept the problems with the advantages (hey, I do have killer willpower). I’ve been able to work on some things, learned to stress a bit less, and I’d dare say I’ve kicked my tendencies toward disordered eating, but the barophobia remains, too irrationally ingrained to be removed by rational thought.
What awareness of my issues does allow me to do (other than share them honestly with blog readers), is understand a large part of what frightens people. There are many more people with fears like mine, if to different degrees and with different manifestations. As a horror author, I’ve found that a large part of frightening people is figuring out exactly how much of the illusion of control to give them (or their surrogate main characters), and when to take it away.
Like giving the rebel teens of Prospero homemade flamethrowers and Tasers to fend off the superpowered monsters who run their town.
Where do I feel safe? Other than with my amazingly patient, compassionate and understanding husband at my side, my coziest safezone is with my fingers on the keyboard. As well as making me a better horror writer, my fears are part of what make me a writer in the first place. As every control freak hates to hear, the one thing we can hope to control is ourselves, our own thoughts and reactions to the world. What better way to stave off the fear of powerlessness than by getting to purge, organize, analyze and understand my own thoughts, and then reshape and use them to make something positive and new, into the best story I can tell?
Thanks Fiona! And here's what Matt had to say about his fears:
I could go into a full list of rational, adult fears and why each of them gets to me (failure, loss of a loved one, etc.), but we all know that’s not what you want to hear. We all have those rational fears, and they’re not much more fun to read about than they are to actually have. No, if you’re reading this,
you want to hear about our crazy, irrational fears that
make us seem more like little kids than responsible adult authors.
So, let’s bring the crazy.
The biggest one for me has always been Chucky. Yeah, the killer doll. The fictional one (though truth be told I don’t know of any real killer dolls, which is probably a really good thing). When I was three I caught a good chunk of the original Child’s Play on TV, and, well, in my impressionable young mind that was afraid of pretty much everything, I got a little warped. Flash forward two decades, me in my mid-20’s, a huge fan of horror and all things creepy, and still Chucky gave me the willies. I could stand the most hardcore horror, and the briefest image of him still gave me the sweats and a faster heartbeat.
I’m better now. One day I made myself sit down and watch the movie and now it’s one of my favorites, but damn if I still don’t get that kneejerk reaction sometimes when I see him.
You see, I’ve always had an active imagination that’s always gone past the realm of rational, understanding thought. Even when I know something is fake, that it’s all just smoke and mirrors, I have a hard time not letting it get to me if it just manages to tickle my scary bone. Perfect example? The first time I saw Cabin Fever, I didn’t drink tap water for three days. I knew it was safe, that it wasn’t infected with some strain of flesh eating bacteria that would rot my flesh off the bones, but damn it if it didn’t make me pause anyway.
I was 18 at the time, for what it’s worth.
I’m a lot better, and a lot more cynical right now, so these sorts of things haven’t been an issue for a while, but I gotta say, sometimes it feels good to let these irrational fears in, since they do have their own way of helping the rational fears feel just a little bit smaller.
Thanks Fiona and Matt! Matt, I'm glad you got over the tap water thing...not easy surviving without, well...water. It's rather essential. Hope to have you back again!
You can find more about this quirky pair on their respective websites...
You can find F.J.R. Titchenell online here:
You can find Matt Carter online here:
And more about Splinters here:
And now, if you'd like to win a copy of Splinters, click on the giveaway below. Good luck!