Tessa Wegert writes the Shana Merchant series, which takes place in the Thousand Islands. I love these books. They are creepy, atmospheric, twisty, and tense, with a great cast of characters. The third in the series, Dead Wind, was just published this month (buy it here!) and I hear she’s finishing up Book 4, which means more, more, more!
You can also learn more, more, more about Tessa’s fears right here:
What is the scariest thing you remember from childhood?
I was a pretty serious sleepwalker as a kid; I once walked right out the back door of our house and apparently hung out in the driveway until my dad clued in and retrieved me. I never had any memory of those nocturnal adventures, so I spent a lot of my waking life afraid of what I might do the next night. Now I have a daughter who sleepwalks and who once walked out our back door in the middle of the night, too. I might have gotten over those early fears, but let me tell you, they all came rushing back the second I found my kid sobbing on the front porch in her nightgown.
What is your weirdest fear?
I’m terrified of swimming in dark or murky water, which is only weird because I do it all the time both in the Thousand Islands — where my mystery series is set — and in the Long Island Sound, close to where I live. Swimming at night is the absolute worst. I’m sure it’s perfectly safe, but I can’t shake the feeling that there’s something creepy lurking down in the weeds.
What is your favorite monster?
I’m a big fan of the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park fame. Love the books, love the movies. Those are monsters I might actually be excited to meet.
Do you have any horror movie dealbreakers?
Most horror movies are dealbreakers for me! I write about abduction, murder, and serial killers, yet I have a hard time mustering the courage to sit through a scary movie. Thrillers I can do all day long, but throw in ghosts, creepy abandoned houses, or a lot of gore, and I’m out. Back in the days of video stores, I couldn’t even walk down the horror aisle without getting nightmares. Honestly, I blame Disney’s The Watcher in the Woods, which I saw way too young at a sleepover. I still haven’t fully recovered.
“I’m terrified of swimming in dark or murky water.”
How do you deal with fear?
I write about it. I’m an anxious person, and I’ve found that channeling my biggest fears and worries into a story relieves the pressure on my mind. There are certain topics I’ll never touch, probably because I’m also a bit superstitious, but crime and death? Those things I explore in my books all the time, and it really makes me a much calmer person.
What is your greatest fear as a writer?
I suspect that many writers feel this way, but every time I sit down to write a new book, I’m afraid I’ll discover I’ve forgotten how…like that the ability to string coherent sentences together has completely vanished. I’m also terrified of breaking a hand. I just can’t imagine dictating a book — at least not effectively — so I’m really careful to protect my fingers.
Tessa Wegert is the author of the Shana Merchant series of mysteries, which includes Death in the Family, The Dead Season, and Dead Wind. A former marketing strategist and freelance journalist, Tessa’s work has appeared in Forbes, The Huffington Post, Adweek, The Economist, and The Globe and Mail. Tessa grew up in Quebec and now lives with her husband and children in Coastal Connecticut.