Driving in Neutral is all about learning to face your fears. It takes a while for Emerson Maxwell and Olivia Regen to figure that out, but fear, if you will, is the key to their romance. Halloween, while focused on warding off fearful things, is also about facing fearful candy or cookies you’ve never seen before and may be wary of trying, as with Cat Poop Cookie post from two days ago. How do you know you won’t like it if you don’t try it? It’s the idea that’s the scary thing about Cat Poop Cookies, not really the banal ingredients.
Ideas. Sometimes the idea of something is enough to spur other ideas, as my guest MJ Scott explains.
I’ve always liked the idea of Halloween but in reality, like most Aussies, it’s never been a big thing in my life. Oddly enough, the town where I lived when I was very young did Halloween. I think there was a big population of people of Scots descent in the area (Scottish dancing was also big) and that might explain it—it is, after all a Celtic festival So I have very vague memories of stumbling around someone’s house at night dressed in as a ghost with a bunch of other kids without much idea what was going on (partly because I would have been three or four). But no memories of actual trick or treating. The town I moved to after that was in a completely different part of the state and Halloween may as well not have existed.
These days, now that it’s becoming more popular here, I sometimes get kids knocking on my door (but must confess I’ve usually forgotten to buy chocolate and have to send them away) but otherwise it passes me by. Which is sad. As eating lots of candy and having fun sounds good to me!
To me, the idea of the actual origins of the festival in Samhain, a night where people prepared for the hard winter to come (which really doesn’t make sense at this time of year in Australia) and stayed by the fire warding off their fears is more interesting than the modern version. Though, as a writer, I have to say that it’s my job to open that front door and shove my characters out into the cold dark night away from the fire and the light and let them face those fears they’re trying so hard to ward off. Make ‘em earn that good harvest and happy ending.
In my next book, The Dark Side, which is book 2 of an urban fantasy trilogy, my heroine, Ashley Keenan has to do just that. Just when she thinks she’s dealt with the worst fear she had, life turns around and make her face another trial by fire. Which is when the interesting stuff always happens. Definitely no treats until she handles all the stuff life is throwing her way!
M.J Scott is an unrepentant bookworm. Luckily she grew up in a family that fed her a properly varied diet of books and these days is surrounded by people who are understanding of her story addiction. When not wrestling one of her own stories to the ground, she can generally be found reading someone else’s. Her other distractions include yarn, cat butlering, dark chocolate and fabric. She also writes contemporary romance as Melanie Scott (www.melanie-scott.net). She lives in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is http://www.mjscott.net.
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