What Scares YOU?

  • By Tara Laskowski
  • October 31, 2022

We all have something that freaks us out…

What Scares YOU?

Fear is intensely personal. What scares someone can illuminate a lot about their experiences, philosophies, and personality. Fear doesn’t define us, but it can be incredibly interesting to talk about.

That’s why I started my twice-monthly Q&A series, “What Scares You,” on my website three years ago. I wanted to chat with writers, but I didn’t want to do the same-old, same-old interview series where we discuss the writing process, ideas, and current reads.

Nope. I wanted to know what terrifies them, what keeps them up at night, what makes them uncomfortable.

Incredibly, people are into this. They are willing to spill it — their phobias, their nightmares, their worries.

And it’s fascinating.

I learn about fears I’d never heard of before (such as trypophobia!), recognize that some of my own fears are shared by many others, and get to know writers, readers, and editors in a unique way.

To date, I’ve done 70 “What Scares You” interviews, and I’m now an expert in fear.

Okay, just kidding. I’m definitely no expert. But I have noticed a few things:

  • Writers have been largely scarred by the movie “Jaws.” There are many, many folks out there who will not go in a body of water without checking first for fins.
  • Basements are way scarier than attics.
  • Stephen King is truly the master of horror.
  • Parents are universally terrified about something happening to their kids.
  • Lots of people live in haunted houses, and most of the time, they are totally cool with it.

I’ve also heard some intense stories that have stuck with me. Check out Richard Thomas’ horrifying childhood experience and the big, dark “oops” that his son almost regretted forever. Hannah Mary McKinnon has a pretty terrifying collection of masks you won’t want to miss. I loved book reviewer Dru Ann Love’s and writer Heather Levy’s encounters with ghosts (shiver!). And even my son (then 8 years old) has shared his fears.

There’s a lot to be scared of in this weird world, but I find comfort in talking about the common fears that bind us, that allow us to relate to and empathize with one another.

Being scared is an emotion, and all emotions are natural. So, let’s celebrate what scares us — because it’s also what makes us human.

Tara Laskowksi’s debut suspense novel, One Night Gone, won the Agatha, Macavity, and Anthony awards. Her second novel, The Mother Next Door, was called a “polished and entertaining read” by the New York Times. Tara is a Halloween baby and is happy to talk to you about your fears whenever you’re willing.

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