Even this writer gets spooked sometimes.

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We all get spooked at one time or another. As a writer, I draw on personal experience when writing creepy scenes. They stick out in my mind and I can remember exactly how I felt at the time. The tension, the thumping heart, feeling so frightened I barely dare to breathe.
On one such occasion I had been out partying with a friend. I lived with my parents at the time and she was staying over. We didn’t leave the club until late and short on money, had to get the cab we’d caugh…t to drop us about a mile and a half from my home.That mile and a half was down a deserted wooded road, not at all dissimilar to the one in the picture.
It was about 3am and there was no traffic at all and I remember it was a windy night; the breeze rattling through the trees, leaves shaking and twigs snapping, making it sound as though there was something hidden amongst the branches watching us.We walked dead centre of the road, not wanting to get too close to the woods on either side, pretending to be brave, but both of us spooked and on edge.  As we headed out of the woods and into my village, I remember feeling relief. We were back on safe ground and only a few minutes walk away from home.As we neared the turnoff that led down to my house, a figure stepped out into the road. He was close enough to distinguish as male, though his features were unclear, and he just stood there in the middle of the road staring at us.

Waiting.

I remember we both clocked him at the same time, froze to the spot and my legs turned to jelly.It was late. No one was supposed to be about and we had to go past him to get to my house.Those few seconds – and I am sure they were only seconds, even though they felt like an hour at the time – were completely terrifying.

Eventually he turned and walked to the side of the road, disappearing into the small enclosed bus shelter on the edge of the village green. Out of sight, but still there and we still had to get past him.

Slowly we crept along. Stupid, as he knew we were approaching, but we clung to each other, barely daring to breathe, let alone talk. Instead of passing the front of the bus shelter, we decided to cut around the back of it. We did so, constantly watching in case the man to reappear.

He did, just as we had passed the shelter, stepping out onto the green in our direction. All I remember from that point was both of us running and not stopping until we reached the safety of my front door.

Who was he? I don’t know to this day. My guess is he was probably a tramp and we had disturbed his sleep when he heard us approaching.

Regardless of whether or not he meant us any harm, it was still one of the most scary experiences of my life and I have never and will never go walking in the woods in the middle of the night again.

What scares you?

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As a thriller writer, it is my job to try and keep my readers on the edge of their seats by building scenes of fear and tension through my novels. To try and do this well, I take a keen interest in what scares people. Most of us share the same basic fears – death, illness, loss of loved ones and darkness, but we also have more personal phobias scaring us, ranging from things that can actually hurt us, such as wasps, knives or thunderstorms to more innocuous things like clowns or creepy looking dolls.

My biggest fear is heights and even standing on a chair makes my legs go wobbly. I have tried to do high stuff before – castle battlements, top of windmills, ladders, etc, but soon as I’m a metre off the ground I start having palpitations and feeling all faint and sick, and then start to panic that a gust of wind is going to blow me off whatever I am standing on, which is hilarious as I have two great sandbags attached to my chest and it would take a bloody hurricane to blow me off anything.

Fear of heights is a fairly rational one, but others I have are just plain stupid. Can anyone else relate to these?

Being hit by a plane. Yup. Not too keen on being in them either, but my real fear is actually having one crash into me. Cars, motorbikes, trains and buses I am fine with, but whenever I hear that low roar of an engine flying overhead, I practically crap my pants and say my last goodbyes.

Having a wasp fly up my nose and accidentally sniffing. Cos that could happen.. right?

Getting trapped in my house – either by a freak snow storm or a nuclear disaster and not having a completely full wine rack and fridge. This would explain why I always overbuy in the supermarket. If I run low on a particular product, I start hyperventilating.

Having a rat crawl up the toilet bowl when I am sitting on the loo. Now this one might sound a lot crazy people, but you Google it. IT HAS HAPPENED. The thought of suddenly feeling the twitch of whiskers against my bum cheek scares the bejesus out of me.

Since the publication of Dead Letter Day, I have been dreaming that one day someone will snap up the movie rights and make it into a film – because biased as I may be, I honestly think it would it would be great on the big screen. So add to my list a new fear.

Casting.

What if terrible actors such as Paris Hilton and David Hasselhoff were brought in to play Rebecca Angell and Rodney Boone?

The thought is enough to make me break out into a cold sweat. Yup, the thought of the vacuous Miss Hilton playing my sassy, butt kicking heroine is the stuff nightmares are truly made of. I will take a wasp up the nose any day, thank you.