author interviews / other writers / writing

Top TEN Things That Scare Gretchen McNeil

What scares you? That’s the question I asked YA authors for this blog series. Stay tuned for interviews and guest posts as authors visit and reveal their frightening—even surprising—fears.

Today’s guest author is Gretchen McNeil, whose new YA horror novel, Tenloosely inspired by Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None—is about ten teens who head to a house party at a remote island mansion off the Washington coast . . . only for them to be picked off one by one by a killer.

What scares Gretchen? Read on to find out.


The Top TEN Things That Scare Gretchen McNeil:


1. Spiders. Holy crap. SPIDERS!!! I kinda freak the hell out when I see one scurrying across the floor—or worse, across the ceiling above my bed just waiting for me to fall asleep before it rappels down and bites my face!!!!

2. Demonic possession. Which is how Possess came about—when I decided I was going to write a scary book, I went with one of the things that scared me the most.

3. Fanny packs. And socks with sandals. ’Nuff said.

4. Sharks. After seeing Jaws as a child (thanks, Cousin Steve! Way to win Babysitter of the Year with that one!), it took my mom months to convince me that there were no man-eating sharks in the freshwater lake where we took our vacations. I’m still not sure I believe her…

5. Wide-open spaces. I’d rather walk through gang territory at night than through a field or forest 100 miles from the nearest human. It’s like space—no one can hear you scream.

6. Being on a sinking ship. This is why I hate Titanic. That ship sinks for like a whole freaking hour! Torture.

7. Did I mention spiders? My boyfriend tries to remind me that they’re good because they kill the “bad” bugs, but they move so fast and have you seen the video for “Lullaby” by The Cure? I’ll just be huddled here under the table, rocking back and forth.

8. Pajama jeans. YOU CANNOT MAKE ME WEAR THEM!

9. Swimsuit shopping.

10. Zombie Apocalypse. Hey, it could happen! And let’s face it: As a girl with the impractical shoe collection, a fluffy white dog, and literally no survival skills, I’m the first to go.

Thank you for revealing your top TEN fears, Gretchen! (p.s. Gretchen, have you read yesterday’s post?? Readers, is it cruel of me to point her to it? Make her feel better by sharing the top ten things that scare YOU…) 



Gretchen McNeil is an opera singer, writer, and clown. Her YA horror Possess debuted with Balzer + Bray for HarperCollins in 2011. Her follow-up, TEN—YA horror/suspense about ten teens trapped on a remote island with a serial killer—was released on September 18, 2012, and her third novel 3:59, scifi doppelganger horror, is scheduled for Fall 2013. Gretchen’s new YA contemporary series Don’t Get Mad (Revenge meets The Breakfast Club) begins Fall 2014 with Get Even, followed by the sequel Get Dirty in 2015, also with Balzer + Bray.

Gretchen is a former coloratura soprano, the voice of Mary on G4′s Code Monkeys, and she sings with the LA-based circus troupe Cirque Berzerk. Gretchen blogs with The Enchanted Inkpot and is a founding member of the vlog group the YARebels where she can be seen as “Monday.”

Visit her online at www.gretchenmcneil.com.

Follow @gretchenmcneil on Twitter.


Here’s what you missed so far in the What Scares You? series:

And come back Monday for more… The next author to share fears with us is: Adele Griffin, author of All You Never Wanted and more!

Series art by Robert Roxby. Email to contact the artist directly.

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4 thoughts on “Top TEN Things That Scare Gretchen McNeil

  1. 10 things that scare me : spiders, snakes, wearing pj pants in public, crowds, lack of chocolate, mice, raising teenagers, using crickets as fishing lure, tornadoes, and parachuting out of planes.

  2. Never feel the need to justify your fear of the zombie apocalypse! In the past six months, we’ve had people on bath salts, which turn them into these things with incredible strength/resistance who run around trying to eat people AND a few different people who have had to have limbs cut off because they got a flesh-eating virus. If those two things combine, you have people with rotting flesh trying to eat others. That sounds like zombies to me. :)

  3. Gahhhh cannot handle spiders AT ALL… and if you haven’t read Danny Marks’s post, dude, don’t. I am STILL freaked by that. Urgh.

    I agree on the wide open spaces. There is something about it. That, and the woods at night in the dark, esp when its a night with little moon. You really don’t know what’s out there, from spiders to everything else, and its so freak. Add all that space, even with trees, and just. Oy.

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