Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Eeeeeeeek! (Mary Strand)

This month at YA Outside the Lines, in honor of Halloween, we’re talking about what scares us.

If we’re supposed to talk about what scares us in the context of writing, I’m going to fail this assignment. My bad!

People tend to think of me as fearless. Being considerate and all, I tend to let people think whatever they want to think of me, even (or especially) when they’re wildly wrong and I’m secretly laughing at them.

On a macro level, I guess I am pretty fearless, because I’m never afraid to do what I want to do, and I’m never afraid to stand up for myself and what I want. Too many women in particular say they’re afraid to make waves or stand up for themselves, especially with their spouses/partners/cabana boys/kids, but that’s a really foreign concept to me. I can probably thank my mom for never letting fears like that even enter my mind.

But on a micro level? A random list of some things that scare me:





Sleeping in a tent (unless the tent is inside a room with deadbolts)

Spiders and really all bugs, especially speedy ones

Reenacting the shower scene in Psycho in real life

The Birds: ditto

Being alone in my house in the middle of the night


You think I'm kidding, but no.

Pretty much all other animals, too

Forgetting lyrics and/or chords while performing onstage

People who put raisins where chocolate chips should go (kidding) (somewhat)

Really, really, really tight spaces

Horror books or movies (so they’re a hard pass)



When I was a kid, I was afraid of tall buildings falling on me. No idea why.

I’ve also had two bouts with agoraphobia (not recently, thank God), in which I struggled to leave the house, which is particularly weird for an extrovert like me, but I came up with clever ways to resolve that, my favorite of which involved Punch Pizza.

I’m not afraid of Punch Pizza. I’m also cool with clowns.

So ... what scares you? (Besides my monthly blog posts, of course.)

Mary Strand is the author of Pride, Prejudice, and Push-Up Bras and three other novels in the Bennet Sisters YA series. You can find out more about her at


  1. This is fascinating! Have you ever written a book with an agoraphobic character?

    1. Holly, no! But even as it was happening, I thought to myself that it might come in useful in a book some day.