What Scares You, Kellye Garrett?

I’m excited to end the year of fear with my agent sibling Kellye Garrett. Kellye’s won or been nominated for nearly every major crime fiction award out there, and for good reason. Her books are funny and smart, so I was curious about her dark side. I wanted to find out what really freaked her out. This interview does not disappoint!

What is your greatest fear?

Fear of failure. It’s the reason it took me thirty years to write my first novel.

Do you believe in ghosts?

I didn’t until my Dad unexpectedly passed away the day before Easter 2018. If you use Snapchat you know that it will put filters on two people in a frame. I had Snapchat up because my niece and nephew love the filters. I was the only one in the frame, but Snapchat put a filter on me and the empty space next to me. A week or two later, I was lying in bed with my computer open next to me just super depressed trying to figure out everything in regards to his funeral. Wrapping up someone’s entire life is not an easy thing. I put my head down and when I brought it back up, a picture of my Dad had opened itself on my laptop and was smiling at me. So I truly believe that my Dad was sticking around right after he died to make sure we were okay.

Another reason is that we noticed my niece and nephew would randomly have glitter on them when they were babies. And the joke became that someone from heaven came to visit them. I will very randomly have glitter on me after major events—both good and bad—and I see it as a sign that one of my ancestors is reminding me they have my back.

Have you ever had any paranormal experiences or premonitions? How did you deal with it?

I have premonitions but about silly stuff. Like why can’t I have a premonition of the lotto numbers??? But no, instead I’ll suddenly think “Oh, I should buy a new flatiron” and then a week later my flatiron dies. Like I said, I don’t have sexy premonitions that I can use for my financial gain.

Is there anything you are terrified of eating?

I’m the world’s most boring eater, like I don’t like ketchup, mayo, etc. So pretty much anything. I definitely wouldn’t eat anything that’s still alive though.

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever written?

The first word of any book.

Do you have any horror movie dealbreakers?

I’m from the generation where Freddie Krueger killed you in your dreams and there was very little blood. (Though it made me afraid to sit on toilets as a kid because he killed someone while they were using the bathroom once.) So the transition to torture porn has meant I haven’t seen a horror movie in years. The last one was Hostel, and there’s a scene where someone blowtorched a person’s face. I was practically crying.

What’s the scariest book you’ve ever read? Is there a particular scene that really haunts you still?

Not traditionally scary, but I remember reading a James Patterson book twenty years ago that had a scene where the bad guy puts a worm up the victim’s (REDACTED). As someone with an overactive imagination, that scene still freaks me out years later. The reason I love cozies and lighter-weight crime fiction is that I can get my mystery fix without being traumatized.

worm in grass

“I remember reading a James Patterson book twenty years ago that had a scene where the bad guy puts a worm up the victim’s…”

What is your favorite monster/villain?

Let’s go with Michael Myers. Who doesn’t love the strong, silent type?

In which post-apocalyptic scenario are you most likely to survive and thrive: 28 Days Later (zombies), The Stand (sickness kills all but a few), or The Last Policeman (asteroid hits Earth)?

Hmm. Let’s go for The Stand. I consider myself an extroverted introvert. I’m single with no kids and have been working from home since March, so I think I’d do okay in a world with less people. I’d move into a library and just spend the rest of my days reading books.

Kellye Garrett’s Hollywood Homicide, about a semi-famous, mega-broke black actress, won the Anthony, Agatha, Lefty, and IPPY for best first novel. It’s also one of BookBub’s “Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time.” The second, Hollywood Ending, was featured on the TODAY show’s Best Summer Reads of 2019 and was nominated for both Anthony and Lefty awards. She serves on Sisters in Crime’s national board and is a co-founder of Crime Writers of Color. Her next project is an #ownvoices domestic suspense novel about a woman looking into the overdose death of a one-time reality star found within blocks of her house—her own estranged younger sister.

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