I know K.L. through her work with The Big Thrill magazine, where she is assistant editor and writes wonderful and thoughtful articles about crime fiction authors and new releases. (She even made me look good.) She also reviews books for the Washington Independent Review of Books and Library Journal, among other places. Because she’s so good at interviewing people, I wanted to turn the tables on her! So here we are—and here we go. What scares K.L.? Read on and find out…
Is there any fear you’ve overcome in your life? How has that changed you?
My five kids are grown now, but when they were teens, my greatest fear was that one of them would derail their lives by getting pregnant (or getting someone pregnant). It happened with two of my girls when they were 16. With the first one, the fear was visceral, like a huge fist had grabbed my insides and twisted, leaving me terrified of the future for my daughter and my family. But then something happened that was even worse than a teenager having a baby—the teenager losing the baby. My daughter had a stillbirth when she was about six months along. The experience brought our family closer together and taught us that as long as everyone is alive, we can figure out a way to get through anything. My grandson’s death gave us a unique perspective that we still hold on to.
What is your greatest bodily fear?
I am terrified of suffocating. My father choked to death, as did a young cousin, so I’m supersensitive to the danger of a clogged windpipe. Either choking to death or suffocation because of drowning are both right up there at the top of my fear-factor list.
What is your greatest fear as a writer?
I’m most fearful of writing something no one wants to read. Although writing is cathartic to “get things off my chest,” and it’s part of my DNA to put words on paper (or the computer screen), the main point of writing is to leave a mark on readers. If no one reads what I write, what’s the point?
“I’ve also developed a strong respect for Ouija boards.”
I was so pleased to hear that my short story “The Long-Term Tenant,” originally published in the July/August 2019 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, won the 2020 Thriller Award for Best Short Story. Thanks so much to the judges, to International Thriller Writers, and to my fellow nominees.
excited to feature LynDee Walker today on What Scares You. She’s pretty
awesome, and she’s super nice, and she’s crazy prolific. In fact, in the time
it’s taken me to write this intro she probably already drafted three novels.
Her novel Leave No Stone, from the Texas
Ranger Faith McClellan series, is a finalist for a Thriller Award this
year, and she’s constantly hanging out on the bestsellers list on Amazon.
SCARES HER, you ask?
Read on to
your greatest fear?
of my children. It’s probably cliche to say that as a mom, but it terrifies me
to my bones. That was the inspiration for the first Faith McClellan novel,
actually, which was originally written partially from the victim’s mother’s
point of view.
your earliest childhood memory of fear?
Jaws. I was probably three, and sitting
in my mom’s lap eating sweet tarts, when the shark popped up out of the water.
I sucked a piece of candy down my windpipe and nearly choked. I’ve been afraid
of sharks ever since. I got over the fear of the candy, though.
there any fear you’ve overcome in your life? How has that changed you?
of public speaking—I have always been able to talk with anybody one on one, but
until I was 30, I couldn’t speak in front of a group if you paid me. When I
took a job as a meeting leader at Weight Watchers, I had to figure it out
quickly, and conquering that fear has given me more confidence in myself and my
voice, and probably by extension, the confidence to try writing fiction in the
your weirdest fear?
the swimming pool. It’s really random, but when we’re swimming and the idea
strikes me, my heart pounds until I’m out of the pool.
Weirdest fear: “Sharks in the swimming pool.”
believe in ghosts?
I do, I’m
pretty sure we had one when I was growing up. So many things would happen
inexplicably in that old house—bread falling off the counter, appliances coming
on when no one was even in the room…I never felt afraid, but there was
How do you deal with fear?
something I can control in the situation and focus on that. And if I can’t find
a focus, I hide under the covers until the scary thing has passed.
scares you most about the writing process?
total pantser, so every time I start a new book I’m afraid this will be the one
that falls apart in the middle and doesn’t get finished. So far, it’s
unfounded. Yes, I just knocked on wood after I typed that.
have any horror movie deal-breakers?
I’m not a
fan of the jerky, sort of stop-motion-esque animations of villains (like
Pennywise in the new theatrical versions of IT), and I don’t like blood
just for the sake of it being bloody (I never got into Saw, for
example). But well-done horror movies like the old original Halloween, The
Haunting of Hill House, or Get Out are some of my favorites to
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
The Stand—I usually manage to avoid germs, I get along with almost everyone, and I can fight off just about anything to protect people I love. I think I could both fit in with a survivors’ group and hold my own against Mr. Flagg.
LynDee Walker is the Amazon Charts bestselling author of two crime fiction series featuring strong heroines and “twisty, absorbing” mysteries. Her first Nichelle Clarke crime thriller, FRONT PAGE FATALITY, was nominated for the Agatha Award for best first novel, and in 2018, she introduced readers to Texas Ranger Faith McClellan in FEAR NO TRUTH. Reviews have praised her work as “well-crafted, compelling, and fast-paced,” and “an edge-of-your-seat ride” with “a spider web of twists and turns that will keep you reading until the end.”
she started writing fiction, LynDee was an award-winning journalist who covered
everything from ribbon cuttings to high level police corruption. Her work has
appeared in newspapers and magazines across the U.S. Aside from books,
LynDee loves her family, her readers, travel, and coffee. She lives in
Richmond, Virginia, where she is working on her next novel when she’s not
juggling laundry and children’s sports schedules.
Kudos to EQMM, which has four stories on the list of finalists! Here’s the list:
Hector Acosta — “Turistas” (Down & Out Books)
Michael Cowgill — “Call Me Chuckles” (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
Tara Laskowski — “The Long-Term Tenant” (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
Lia Matera — “Snow Job” (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
Twist Phelan — “Fathers-in-Law” (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
I don’t often like my short stories after they’ve been published–I mean, I like them ok, but I mostly just see errors or things I could’ve fixed. But I’m particularly proud of “The Long-Term Tenant,” and I’m so pleased that it’s been recognized in this way. It was a really fun story to write–I’ve always found the desert a spooky place where anything can happen.