To trumpet the September 1 release of my romantic comedy, Driving in Neutral — a love story about claustrophobia — I’m running the 75 Days of Phobias series. Today, Juanita Kees, Author of the RUBY nominated Under The Hood, embraces the light.
Thanks to the lovely Sandra Antonelli for inviting me to participate in the 75 Days of Phobias blog ‘marathon’. I’m sure there are a number of phobias in that one! Fear of exercise (marathon), fear of blogging, fear of commitment… The only way to overcome fear is to face it.
I’m an Agoraphobic, Enochlophobic Technophobe. Sounds like an alien species, doesn’t it? What it really means is I have a fear of crowded places and public appearances, and I dislike technology unless it’s in the engine of a V8 Supercar.
For years I thought I was simply anti-social and preferred to be the observing wallflower in a quiet corner at gatherings rather than the participant. It was only when I took my writing seriously that I realized this was perfectly acceptable behaviour for an author, and observing was really called “research.”
I’m also terrified of the dentist (unless he’s extremely good looking with a killer smile, gentle hands and a body like Hugh Jackman’s). Seriously, I’d rather give birth to quadruplets six minutes apart, than go to the dentist.
My real fear though is Achluophobia. Yep, this little girl is afraid of the dark. If I’m alone at night, I sleep with the radio and a night light on. It started when I was young, and I realize now that the night fears were more likely due to an over-active imagination than any real danger. A pile of washing on a chair would look like a ghostly figure, for example. I would never have my bed near a window because I once dreamt a hand came through the window and I tried to grab me. That’s a dream I remember very vividly. Mum ended up putting me in the back bedroom and put my older sister in that one so we could all sleep at night!
The fear of the dark stayed with me through my teenage years and followed me into adulthood, thanks to a few run ins with the supernatural — a poltergeist who threw things around the spare room in a fit of temper, the man who rocked his non-existent rocking chair on the veranda at night or flicked the switches on and off when you were trying to sleep, the nun who wandered around the house crying, and a visit from my late father-in-law (twice). Yep, scary…no wonder I’m afraid of the dark!
On the upside, all those experiences and the over-active imagination have helped me become a published author and a RUBY finalist (can you tell how proud I am of that title?) for Under the Hood. WooooHoooo! All those dreams and ideas now go down on paper as I work late into the dark night…with the light on.
Thanks for having me on your blog, Dr Sandra. (My pleasure, Juanita!)
Find out more about Juanita: www.juanitakees.com