Happiest Halloween! The best day of the year, and not just because it’s my birthday!
My birthday gift to myself–and to all of you–is getting to chat with Laura Ellen Scott about the things that most disturb her.
Laura is not only a dear friend, but also one of the weirdest writers I know–and that is a high compliment. Check out her books here, and also one of my favorite stories she’s ever written right here.
But what we all want to know is: What scares you, LES? Read on to find out:
What is your greatest fear?
I’m evenly afraid of illness, driving, heights, and spider babies. These are all self-explanatory, except for heights: I’m great at going up, but lose it on the way back down. I had to butt-scoot down the pyramids in Tikal, while all these Guatemalan women in high heels trotted past me. Related–after my first book tour, I developed a fear of flying. (That’s not my greatest fear, just my most inconvenient one.) I guess the worst thing would be if I was taking care of a sick spider-baby and I had to drive it to a hospital on a cliff to see the only in-plan arachno-pediatrician.
What is your earliest childhood memory of fear? Or the scariest thing you remember from childhood?
Earliest would be Uncle Steve’s fingers. There weren’t a lot of them.
This would have been my scariest memory had I known about it: There was a large, white iron crib sealed up behind the wall of my old room. I was already grown when I spotted it through a tiny hole in the paneling. When I asked my parents about it and they said, “Oh, we had nowhere else to put that old crib,” like that was a reasonable answer.
My parents were weird people who made weird decisions and weren’t very parenty. They treated me like a little crime-buddy and took me to abandoned houses to look for stuff left behind, and I was pretty scared that we would get caught by the bandits that lived there. Get it? I thought they were “bandit houses.”
Here’s a pic of a dude who thought my house was abandoned. Turns out he was stealing crap, like vases and towels, to sell at his mother-in-law’s weekly yard sale.
What is your weirdest fear?
Definitely horses. I have no idea why they don’t spend every minute of the day trying to pound humans into jelly.
What are your phobias?
Street grates and hatches. Condiments. Toddlers with pickles.
What is your greatest fear as a writer?
Two things: One, that I might get over it. Two, that I might stick with it until long after people stop reading. You’ll be able to come see me “write” as an exhibit at an historical village alongside the coopers.
What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever written?
I wrote a kind of ghost story that appeared in The Collagist called “A Picture of a Man in a Top Hat,” where the neighbor says to the narrator, “Don’t look at me, and don’t look in the shed.” That’s actually what a guy said to me on the bus one day, right as I was getting off at my house. I went inside and stared out the back window at our shed until my husband came home. I have a chapbook called Curio that’s mainly stories I wrote after people were weird to me. People are often weird to me, by the way.
What is your favorite type of monster? Why?
I love an original demon, a personal, closet-monster–like The Babadook or Frank from Donnie Darko–as opposed to the unleashed-on-society monster. Although now that I put those two side by side in my mind, maybe I just like monsters with weird eyes.
What’s worse: clowns or spiders? Why?
Clowns, because they’re a drag. I love spiders. Remember when I dreamed you had a spider baby? You never did, though. Not yet.
“Maybe I just like monsters with weird eyes.”
You are driving alone on a road at night and your headlights illuminate a man standing alone with a lantern in the middle of the road. What do you do? Also, is it more or less scary if it’s a little kid in pajamas?
Both are pretty scary because I don’t drive, so it’s extra-bad if I’m out driving at night. That man and that little kid should just dive in the ditch and cling to each other and hope I don’t plow into them.
Laura Ellen Scott is the author of four novels, including THE MEAN BONE IN HER BODY and CRYBABY LANE, the first two books in the New Royal Mysteries from Pandamoon Publishing. The series is set in a fictional college/prison town in Ohio, and the third book, BLUE BILLY, is on the way. Seriously, it really is.