What Scares You, Teel James Glenn?

Happy Halloween! And what better way to spend the best day of the year than chatting with Teel James Glenn about his greatest and strangest fears! Teel is a writer, actor, stuntman, and–I hear–is pretty scary with a sword.

In other words, don’t piss him off.

Also in other words, I bet he’s a blast to have at a party!

Find out more on his web site and check out one of his most recent books, Callback for a Corpse, part of the Maxi and Moxie Mystery Series.

He also has some pretty fabulous stories to tell. So let’s get to it…

What is your greatest fear?

Being homeless. I was for a time after my apartment was flooded out. It was a humbling experience that even with freelance income it was difficult to be able to climb back into the “regular world,” and it drove home how close any of us are to that possibility at any time. I guess it explains why I am a semi-hermit and love sitting like Smaug amongst my books in my Wordcave.

What was your worst nightmare?

I have a vague memory of a nightmare of being trapped in a frozen basement with people trying to hack their way to me but moving in slow motion. I suspect it was after seeing a Twilight Zone episode, but I couldn’t swear to it.

Is there any fear you’ve overcome in your life? How has that changed you?

Talking in public. I know—I stand up in front of strangers and spew words all the time. But I am actually terribly shy and have to psych myself up every time I go out in public. I was/am a wallflower. In high school I had to make a deliberate attempt to find a “public persona” and Groucho Marx was my model—hence my continued smart-assery…

Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not?

Yes. Absolutely. I have had a number of “encounters” and for a time functioned as a medium, so I feel I believe and have had experience with survival beyond the flesh. No sense in preaching about it, and I never try to convince anyone else, but for me, that unknown country from whose bourn no traveler returns is not scary.

What are your phobias?

I developed a fear of heights after finding a friend who had been tossed out of a fifth-story window—before that, I could do high falls and rappelling. Not since, even with therapy.

What’s something that most people are afraid of that you are not?

Fire. I’ve done fire burns for stunts, and while I recognize it is dangerous, I really don’t have the immediate terror most have.

What is your greatest fear as a writer?

Repeating myself. Mediocrity. I strive to challenge myself, which is why I switch genres frequently, so I am not treading over the same territory; even in the series I write I try to move to fresh places in that particular world so any given tale or series can be reduced to a formula.

Do you have any horror movie dealbreakers?

I can’t bear to see children in jeopardy. Being a father and having spent 30 years teaching young kids, that is a definite deal breaker—why I could not watch a popular TV show that was essentially built around torturing kids.

Second would be depictions of rape—again, having counseled and taught self-defense to survivors it gets my hackles up…

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

I am Legend by Richard Matheson. The deep, absolute loneliness of the main character, to me, was the most horrifying thing that could happen to anyone.

People often say death is their greatest fear. What are your feelings about death/dying?

I have no fear of dying.

As I believe in an afterlife, I don’t view it as any kind of an ending, just a disruption and change from one state to another. I do fear dying before I finish any given work—or before I can secure a future for my daughter with some level of success, but death itself has no terror.

Living to be feeble—that terrifies me.

Do you like Halloween?

I’ve spent most of my life in costumes and playing other personas, so Halloween is sort of a busman’s holiday for me—lol

I do love the fact that in the U.S. it is embraced by so many—at least up here in the Northeast—and love to see kids trick or treating—it is some of my fondest childhood memories, going door to door with friends.

“I’ve spent most of my life in costumes and playing other personas, so Halloween is sort of a busman’s holiday for me.”

What’s scarier: attics or basements?

Basements. I was flooded out of one and live in one now. Hey—wait…

What’s more terrifying to you: freezing to death in a blizzard OR dying from extreme heat, lost in a desert?

Desert. I hate the heat and being parched to death scares me way more than freezing—at least with that, I’d sleep across to death…

Teel James Glenn has killed hundreds and been killed more times–on stage and screen, as he has traveled the world for forty-plus years as a stuntman, swordmaster, storyteller, bodyguard, actor, and haunted house barker. He is proud to have studied sword under Errol Flynn’s last stunt double and been beaten up by Hawk on the Spenser for Hire TV show. He did over two hundred episodic appearances on soap operas, 70 feature films, and 60 renaissance festivals all over the country. His poetry and short stories have been printed in over two hundred magazines including Weird Tales, Mystery Weekly, Pulp Adventures, Space & Time, Mad, Cirsova, Silverblade, Heroic Fantasy, Blazing Adventures and Sherlock Holmes Mystery. His novel A Cowboy in Carpathia: A Bob Howard Adventure won best novel 2021 in the Pulp Factory Award. He is also the winner of the 2012 Pulp Ark Award for Best Author. And he was a finalist for the Derringer short mystery award in 2022.