To Oh YEAH MAMA the upcoming release of my third novel, Driving in Neutral—a love story about claustrophobia— (available for pre-order!) I am running the 75 Days of Phobia series. Thanks to everyone who’s been following along and everyone who’s joined in to share. As Olivia, the heroine in Driving in Neutral says to Maxwell the claustrophobe, “Everyone’s afraid of something.” Meet Fiona Marsden. Like Maxwell, she fears small, enclosed spaces, but she’s afraid of, well, rocks — only not just any rocks…
Opals are considered by some people as unlucky with all kinds of superstitions attached to them. Apparently Sir Walter Scott is to blame for some of this due to his linking the fortunes of one of his heroine’s with the brightness or dullness of the opal clip she wore constantly. Some people have phobias about them but I couldn’t find a specific phobia name for a fear of opals. Which I don’t have. I love opals and find the fire in them fascinating.
I grew up in far west Queensland where every year we had the Opal Festival. Two hours’ drive from Cunnamulla you find the Yowah Opal Fields and a traditional part of the festival was to travel out to Yowah and go on tours down the mines or fossicking on the mullock heaps. This used to be a favourite occupation and I loved to go down into the tunnels and look for the sparkle of opal or the little clay nuggets that when split opened could contain opal.
This all changed after I worked in Brisbane for a while when I was sixteen. I was trapped in a lift for over an hour by myself but close enough to a floor to be able to talk to someone outside. Not that I considered it a problem and now lifts only cause me to have a small qualm.
It wasn’t until I went back to the Opal fields and went underground that I discovered I had developed a mild case of Claustrophobia. I couldn’t stay down in the tunnels for more than a few minutes without coming back up. I no longer live out west, but even if I travelled that way again, I’m unlikely to want to go down into a mine.
Hey, Kids! From now to 31 August 2014, For Your Eyes Only is on the Mills and Boon website for only 99 cents! Follow the link to visit the M&B site and use the promo code RWA14 http://www.millsandboon.com.au/product/9780857990723