Our whole family read Fleur’s novel Midnight at the Barclay Hotel, which was a delight. Ghost hunting! A spooky hotel! Lots of Clue-like characters with secrets and shady pasts. Our son loved it, and we did, too. And Midnight at the Barclay Hotel is up for an Agatha Award this weekend (fingers crossed for Fleur!) It’s also won a ton of other awards, and been nominated for more, and if none of this is reason enough for you to go check it out, then I don’t know how to help you.
What I do know is that Fleur Bradley has some fears. Let’s find out what they are!
What is your greatest fear?
Oh, my greatest fear is, I imagine, the same one of any parent: for my kids to get hurt. Thankfully, my two daughters are grown now and are very capable of taking care of themselves. But I still worry every time I hear an ambulance and they’re out. It’s a mom thing, I guess.
I’m also afraid of heights—don’t even try to put me on any rollercoaster. When we go to any amusement park, I’m the person who waits at the exit, guarding (and eating) the snacks.
What is the scariest thing you remember from childhood?
I was so afraid of the dark as a kid. And I had very vivid nightmares, and I sleepwalked… It all worked out in the end, but I’m pretty sure I owe my parents an apology for waking them up a hundred million times. My sister liked to spook me sometimes too—she’s still into horror movies, and I’m totally not. I’ll take a mystery over anything scary any day.
Is there any fear you’ve overcome in your life? How has that changed you?
Fear of public speaking, probably. I still get nervous when I have to talk to a large group of people, but I’m not terrified anymore. Thank goodness, because since I write books for kids I have to do author school visits all the time. A group of eighth graders are a tough crowd, let me tell you. But it’s actually rewarding to talk in front of a crowd now.
Do you believe in ghosts?
For Midnight at the Barclay Hotel, I had to do a bit of research into ghost hunting, which was pretty fun. I watched lots of ghost hunting shows. Truthfully, I’m more of a science kind of person, so I don’t believe in ghosts or the paranormal a whole lot. Sometimes those ghost hunting shows do have video or audio evidence that’s interesting, but it’s not anything that makes me think ghosts exist. Maybe I’ll come back to haunt people after I’m dead, and then I’ll believe in ghosts.
Is there anything you are terrified of eating?
I’m still a little afraid of eating sushi and raw fish. I once watched some Discovery Channel show where they talked about all the tiny little worms that are in there. Sometimes you’re just better off not knowing. Like how hotdogs are made—no one should know about that.
What scares you most about the writing process?
I always worry that the book won’t be any good, that I get it all wrong and no one will like it. So far, I’m doing okay in the review department, but you never know, right? Keeps me on my toes… The most important thing is always that kid readers like it. Everything else is a bonus.
What’s the scariest book you’ve ever read? Is there a particular scene that really haunts you still?
I thought The Whisper Man by Alex North was very scary—the whole whispering thing and how the bad guy went after kids—that was terrifying. At one point the Whisper Man talks to the kid through the mailbox I believe; very creepy…
In the kid department, Hide and Seeker by Daka Hermon was pretty scary. Recommended if you want to give spooky kids books a try.
What is your favorite monster/villain?
Cookie Monster! Of course, because of the cookies.
Fleur Bradley has loved puzzles and mysteries ever since she first discovered Agatha Christie novels. Fleur is the author of many short mysteries and mysteries for kids, including the Agatha Award, Colorado Book Award, and Reading the West Book Award-nominated Midnight at the Barclay Hotel (Viking Children’s, Aug. 2020) and the Double Vision trilogy as F.T. Bradley (Harper Children’s). Her story The Perfect Alibi appeared in the Mystery Writers of America middle-grade anthology Super Puzzletastic Mysteries, edited by Chris Grabenstein (Harper Children’s, 2020). Originally from the Netherlands, she now lives in Colorado with her family and entirely too many cats.