To celebrate the upcoming release of my third novel, Driving in Neutral—a love story about claustrophobia—I am running the 75 Days of Phobia series. For Tracey O’Hara, author of fantasy with bite and the Dark Brethren series there’s one thing that gets her… hopping with fear.
I can handle spiders and snakes – can watch Eight Legged Freaks and Anaconda over and over without even a wince. Loved it when Shelob attacked Frodo in Lord of the Rings (by then I was a little sick of his whinging by that time). Loved it when the giant spiders came out of the forest in Harry Potter. And TOTALLY adore Anaconda (the first one – not the second). If there is a spider to be captured and put outside I am the one to do it. I am respectfully cautious of snakes – after all some of them can kill you – but they don’t make my skin crawl or my heartbeat explode.
No my fear is worse. Much, much worse. Apparently it has a name – actually 2 phobias cover mine debilitating panic and anxiety. I suffer from Ranidaphobia and Bufonophobia, the fear of frogs and toad. Yes – I know. Nuts right. But they just give me the total heebies.
When growing up in North and Far North Queensland we often had an outside toilet. As you may or may not know, North QLD is absolutely infested with cane toads. There is nothing worse than stumbling through the dark to the dunny (that’s the outhouse for you not in Oz) in the middle of the night and standing on a toad. They feel totally icky underfoot – even if you are wearing shoes and standing on them doesn’t seem to affect them at all. And they don’t hop away either – the hop at you – little buggers.
And the frogs. Many a time I have been sitting in an outdoor toilet with nothing but a torch to attend my essential bodily functions and a freakin’ frog has landed on me with a horrid cold sickening plop. Or worse – they have been hanging out under the lip of the toilet and…. Can I leave it to your imagination because I am getting clammy skin just writing this.
I must say – my anxiety over frogs has probably lessened over the years. I can actually look at them in a glass terrarium now. But if they were out with me – I don’t know how I would cope. But toads – I could never get used to them.
Find out more about Tracey and her books: www.traceyohara.com