Wednesday, 2 April 2014


My name is Jenna, and I'm a scareaholic.

A fear junkie. Horror hound. Whatever you want to call it. I love being afraid. I love scaring people. Anytime there's a new horror flick, I'm there opening night. I've been reading Stephen King since I was nine (thank you, unsupervised garage sale purchases). I road tripped town to Idaho for Scarywood. That was my 26th birthday pressie from my parents. I wanted to get my engagement ring from a pawn shop just for the slightest chance it had some gory history.

Lately, horror is all I've been writing. I've been burning out on Ghost Adventures and the horror section of Netflix. I've had more nightmares the past month or two then I've had in years. I see the potential for fear everywhere. Last night, for example, I stopped at Walmart to pick up a few things. I turned down an aisle that was only occupied by one other person, an older gentleman. He was tall and wide, wearing work clothes and a plaid jacket. He wore those big, clunky steel-toed boots that always seem to be caked with mud. In his hand was a tiny, fluffy yellow dress. The kind you make your six-month-old wear to a family picnic. That's it. He was probably just picking up a pressie for his granddaughter. But in my head, there is no granddaughter.

There was no one else in Walmart. It wasn't five in the afternoon, it was two in the morning. The lights are flickering on and off. The coolers are empty,the stench of sour milk fills the air. The shelves are bare. I think I'm alone. My shoes squeak on the stained floor as I scavenge for food. I haven't eaten in days. Heavy footsteps fill the air. I press my back against an empty bread shelf. I hold my breath and peek into the next aisle.

A man is at the other end. I haven't seen another human in weeks. He's old, his face tan and weathered like a crumpled paper bag. His head is covered in knotted, grey hair. His mouth is rimmed red. He walks down the aisle, his body jerking from the effort. He doesn't have a weapon. The only thing in his hand is a blood-stained, yellow dress.

And then I blink and see the man return to his cart. Among the groceries is a car seat. He smiles at me and walks on by.

That, ladies and gentleman, is how my brain works. Anyhoo. Moving on.

When I first started drafting my latest brain monster, a YA horror called THROUGH THE PALE DOOR*, I polled my facebook friends about what they were afraid of.

What are you afraid of?

Seriously. This is important writing research.

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Isn't that interesting? People are afraid of random things like balloons and foam, all the way to dying alone or leaving their children. Naturally, I cherry-picked my favorite fears and tossed them into the story. All of my characters experience one or more of their greatest fears, and many will die from them.  Friends, don't say I never wrote anything for you :D  

So now I have to ask....What are you afraid of?

*Thanks for the fab title, Rach!

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