With the impending release of my smart-assed grown up romantic comedy, Driving in Neutral—a love story about claustrophobia—I am running the 75 Days of Phobia series.
Over the last 42 days of this series, I’ve been asked, “Why did you decide to do a series on phobias?”
And my Answer? Two reasons.
The first reason. I write romance fiction, and aside from war, what’s scarier than falling in love? Falling in love impacts your entire life, your heart, your health, your personality, your day-to-day routine, your future. You risk all that you are, all that you’ve ever thought you wanted to be, for love. And that’s pretty freakin’ scary, even scarier than living your life alone.
Some fears are minor; some are the size of an elephant sitting on one’s chest. We all have little irrational fears that we understand are completely irrational. We can see the logical side of the fear —that spider is 30 times smaller than the bottom of my shoe— and look at statistics about serious injuries caused by the little muther elfers, or know that eight times MORE people die from bee and wasp stings than from spider bites, and that’s due to an allergy. Of course, with a phobia all that shoe-size and allergy logic stuff goes out the window. The thing about phobias is when you’re confronting one dead on, your focus becomes pinpointed on that terror, which escalates and keeps your attention, with laser precision, on that thing. And that one thing can reduce you to, well, a massive ball of anxiety.
Sort of like this:
Maxwell couldn’t breathe. Well, he could, but it felt as if the air was being squashed back out of his chest as soon as it went in.
“You’re going to take me down with you, aren’t you? When you pass out, and you’re going to if you keep hyperventilating, you’re going to fall on top of me.”
“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” he wheezed, bending forward at the waist to snatch his breath back as if he’d just sprinted 800 meters. Shit, he was hyperventilating.
No, he was hyper-hyperventilating.
This was ludicrous. He was nearly forty-eight years old and terrified of being in a very small room simply because it had no window and…his mind suddenly zeroed in on that important point.
There was no window.
What if the emergency light died?
What if the storm outside made the Chicago River flood into the basement of the building like it did back in ‘92?
What if the rubber-coated elevator cables, the cables suspending them in mid-air above nothingness, snapped?
Any way he looked at it they were locked in this box…trapped in this vault…enclosed in this coffin…sealed in this tomb.
Maxwell’s anxiety really takes off from this point. He’s lucky that there’s a levelheaded stranger in the tomb –I mean elevator to help him refocus his attention on something else. Which brings me to the second reason I chose to do a phobia series, which is really still the first reason. I’m not afraid of elevators, but I did meet my husband in one.
And all my attention focused, with laser precision, on him.
You can find A Basic Renovation and For Your Eyes Only, my other smart-assed, grown up romance novels here too.