What Scares You, Jackie Layton?

Jackie Layton and I often end up sitting next to each other at author signing events, given the way our last names nudge up against one another in the alphabet. Lucky for me, because I love talking with her! Last time this happened, we had a great conversation about terrifying things, and I said, “You know…I have a blog for you…” and here we are!

Jackie is the author of cozy mysteries with Spunky Southern Sleuths. She lives on the coast of South Carolina, where she enjoys walks on the beach and golf cart rides around the marsh. (And, as you’ll find out, running into scary wildlife.) Reading, gardening, and traveling are some of her favorite hobbies. She always keeps a notebook handy to write down ideas for future stories.

You can check out her latest book, Clover Covered Corpse, which is book 2 in the Texas Flower Farmer series. And then you can read on to hear more about her greatest fears…

What is the scariest thing you remember from childhood?

When I was in third grade, we moved to a new town, and our house had a basement. Before this, we’d lived in a little house that was one story. For some reason it terrified me to walk down the stairs into the basement. I imagined everything from bats to kidnappers.

What are your phobias?

Claustrophobia. I don’t like small, confined spaces. I don’t like blankets over my head. Jerky elevators scare me because what if they break down, and I’m stuck on one? If I pull on a shirt and it gets stuck on my head, I start to panic that I won’t be able to breathe. It’s silly, but that’s my worst phobia.

Is there anything you are terrified of eating?

Shellfish. I used to love eating almost all seafood, especially on vacation when it was fresh. Over time though, I started getting sick when I ate shellfish. The first couple times, I thought it was food poisoning, but when it happened the third time, I thought I was going to die. My doctor told me three times that I can’t ever eat shellfish again, and he made me repeat it.

What scares you most about the writing process?

Promoting my writing. It’s a challenge to find creative ways to market without looking ridiculous.

What is your greatest fear as a writer?

My greatest fear is that nobody will like my stories. Then they’ll give me one-star reviews. Then I won’t get contracts for future books. Then my writing career is over.

Do you have a childhood memory of your parents or other trusted adults being truly terrified by something?

One Friday night, my best friend and her dad came and picked me up to go to the local high school football game. I lived on a cul-de-sac. When I came outside, a UFO appeared over us. My friend’s dad and my friend got out of the car. The three of us stood on the street and watched it for a few minutes. When it disappeared, we looked at each other. He said, “Girls, get in the car or we’re going to be late for the game.” I think he was scared, and we never discussed it. I don’t know what it was, but the three of us experienced something that night.

“My friend’s dad and my friend got out of the car. The three of us stood on the street and watched it for a few minutes. When it disappeared, we looked at each other. He said, “Girls, get in the car…”

What animal scares you the most?

Alligators. I live on the coast of South Carolina, and there are frequent stories of people being attacked by alligators. When we first moved here, we were told alligators were only found in fresh water. Too bad nobody told the alligators.

There are also a lot of snakes around here. I’ve had friends kill snakes with guns and shovels. When I come across a snake, I just run.