We asked authors who write on the clean end of the spectrum to tell us something scary whether from a work-in-progress, a published book, or a personal moment.
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Jessica L. Elliott – This may come as a shock from the girl who writes sweet romance and generally light-hearted fantasy, but I love a good scare. Edgar Allen Poe is one of my favorite authors ever, and I’m the weird person who will watch scary movies alone at night because a) I have kids who shouldn’t be watching them yet and b) my Prince Charming doesn’t enjoy them.
My very first attempt at writing a novel back for NaNoWriMo of 2005 was a haunted library story. Unfortunately, my college computer crashed shortly after graduation and I lost everything (which as an author is horrifying). Someday I might go back to that idea and try again. For now, the spookiest my writing has gotten is in the Through the Rainbow series where Irish legends are real, and not always pleasant.
Katy Huth Jones – I have a medieval fantasy series with battles and executions, but I’ve tried to keep them PG-13 at most. The third book was written during an excruciating cancer recurrence, and I figured out why it has more scary stuff–since I was dealing with a monster in real life, my antagonist became a monster, too. It does have some scary stuff in it, as the Vandals he takes up with like blood and decorate with skulls (just like I found in the Czech Republic).
Laurean Brooks – From my WIP: Speaking of train fare, Emily felt a guilty tug at her heart. She should repay Clemons for the train ticket, since she refused to keep their agreement. She owed him that much. But repaying him meant confessing she was his intended mail order bride. Emily inhaled a ragged breath. What if Clemons already knew and was only biding his time, waiting for the perfect moment to expose her?
Patricia Snelling – In my novel Unshakable, Ruby get’s lost on Dartmoor in England when pea soup fog came down It happened to me once near Dartmoor prison. That’s real scary.
Patricia, I have to agree with you about the pea soup fog. It is real scary. Twice over the years this has happened to me, the fog suddenly reducing visibility to zero. I might only include one of those times in a current WIP called Fifty Close Calls (or I might rename the final product).
At the time, I had a job waxing floors for a nationwide clothing store. My route included the Southeastern US and Texas so I spent a lot of time on the road. One particular night—or early morning if you prefer—I’d been driving many hours already after completing my work at a store in Memphis, Tennessee around midnight and scheduled to arrive at the next store a couple hours before it opened early the next day. I began to drive into small and thin patches of fog as I approached Lake Pontchartrain just north of New Orleans, Louisiana.
But once I was over the water, the fog began to thicken. Since I was on an Interstate highway crossing a huge lake, I decided it would probably be best to just stop at the next exit rather than on the bridge. Within only about five minutes time, visibility went from about three hundred feet to about fifty and it started to get scary. But then, within a second, it was as though a sheet had been stuck to the windshield of the truck, visibility was zero. A second later, I could see about thirty feet then another second only the hood of the vehicle. I let off the accelerator and began to reconsider the emergency lane as this pattern continued many more moments. This was bad.
But the motorhome parked on the Interstate was much worse. I saw it, I swerved to the lane to my left and missed it by mere inches and somehow did not completely lose control of the vehicle and crash through the railing into the fog-covered Lake Pontchartrain. And incredibly, that one patch about a hundred feet wide was the thickest I would hit before I did finally make my way to the next exit.
As I mentioned above, this is for my WIP Fifty Close Calls or I might call the book at least my WRITING is clean. ~ Earl Chinnici