What Horror Authors Are Afraid Of

From May 7-10 I went to World Horror Con in Atlanta. I can’t even begin to tell you what a great experience it was for me. I could write a long blog post just on that alone, but I’ll spare you. Instead, I’ll share the words of horror authors (and one editor) far cooler than I.

Somehow, I worked up the nerve to approach these horror rock stars during the con and get quotes from them for this blog compilation. Everyone I met was incredibly gracious. These fourteen took the time answer the question “What’s your biggest fear?” (Note that their answers were actually voice memos, which is why they sound like speech instead of writing—because they were!)

I just thought, “How cool would it be to hear what scares some of the scariest folks around?” Well the answer is… pretty freaking cool. Their replies varied from playful to somber to simple to downright funny. I hope you enjoy perusing them as much as I enjoyed hearing them! And many, many thanks to all who contributed a quote.


“My biggest fear is the mysteries of technology. That scares me more than vampires or monsters or anything else. I’m a techno geek; I write techno thrillers. I’m always afraid that we’re not mature enough to use the technology that we currently have. My latest novel, Predator One, deals with the mysteries of drones, which is kind of ironic because here in the conference center there’s a conference going on about drone technology. So I feel like going in there and just warning them: No! And that includes AI and autonomous drive systems and all that. It scares the crap out of me because it’s so easy for someone to use it badly, and I know that somebody will.”

Jonathan Maberry (@JonathanMaberry), World Horror Con Toastmaster, New York Times bestselling and multiple Bram Stoker Award winning author of Ghost Road Blues and Rot & Ruin


Patrick Freivald (@PatrickFreivald), two-time Bram Stoker Award nominated author of Jade Sky and Black Tide

“I had a recurring dream when I was a child that actually happened over and over again until I was well into my teens, where I would be standing in place and need to move, whether it was to run away from someone or to run towards someone to help them, and I could not move. So paralysis.”

Sydney Leigh (@thespiderbox), Bram Stoker Award nominated author of “Baby’s Breath”

“Alzheimer’s. No question about it. I’m terrified of losing my mind and not being able to find it.”

Jack Ketchum (@JackKetchum), Lifetime Achievement Award Winner and multiple Bram Stoker Award winning author of Off Season and The Girl Next Door

“My greatest fear is flying.”

Kami Garcia (@kamigarcia), World Horror Con Guest of Honor, New York Times bestselling and Bram Stoker Award nominated author of Beautiful Creatures

“As a child, my recurring nightmare was about all of my teeth falling out and choking me, and I would wake up feeling choked or nauseous.”

Lisa Morton (@cinriter), Horror Writers Association president and multiple Bram Stoker Award winning author of Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween and Zombie Apocalypse!: Washington Deceased

“I guess my biggest fear would be disease and illness.”

Usman Malik (@usmantm), Bram Stoker Award winning author of “The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family”

“Clowns. Get the clowns away from me, man. I can’t sleep because of the clowns.”

Lucy Snyder (@LucyASnyder), multiple Bram Stoker Award winning author of Softy Apocalypses and Shooting Yourself in the Head for Fun and Profit: A Writer’s Survival Guide

“My biggest fear is loss of control.”

Ellen Datlow (@EllenDatlow), multiple Bram Stoker Award winning editor of The Best Horror of the Year and Fearful Symmetries

“My biggest fear as an adult is waking up and not being able to move but my mind’s all active but my body’s frozen. I’ve had that dream waking up not being able to move and it’s just terrifying. So, don’t like it; don’t want it.”

Linda Addison (@nytebird45), Bram Stoker Award winning author of How To Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend

“My biggest fear is something awful happening to my daughter.”

Lisa Tuttle, World Horror Con Guest of Honor, author of Windhaven and Familiar Spirit

“My biggest fear is being asked that question. [laughter] I hate to drive and I hate traffic. I hate traffic big-time. I don’t like to drive anymore. It’s so scary. I’ve had an accident or two. But it’s never to do with like bugaboos under your bed or monsters in your closet or stuff like that.”

Marge Simon, Bram Stoker Award winning author of Artist of Antithesis and Dangerous Dreams

“I’d say that I’ll become sort of a mindless ghost when I die. And my spirit will float around with snatches of bad memory in it.”

Bruce Boston, multiple Bram Stoker Award winning author of The Guardener’s Tale and Resonance Dark & Light

“My biggest fear is that someday people will discover that I can’t write.”

Charlaine Harris (@RealCharlaine), World Horror Con Guest of Honor, New York Times bestselling author of The Southern Vampire Mysteries


Thanks again to all of the authors and editors who shared their fears with me and my readers. You all helped make my con rock!

So blog readers, now it’s your turn. What’s your biggest fear?

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  • Regina Richards

    Terrific Quotes. 🙂 Interesting how diverse fears are. I found share several of those.

  • Peggy

    Fascinating! It was cool that these well known people admitted to being vulnerable and having sometimes unreasonable fears. I have the most unreasonable fear of being tortured and a fear of living a life with no meaning:) The likelihood of being tortured seems pretty low, and I control what gives my life meaning, so there you go:)

    • I thought so too. And really, no one hesitated to agree and only a couple hesitated to come up with an answer. I think horror writers are tapped in to fear, and so maybe it was natural to talk about. I don’t think being tortured is an unreasonable fear. Unlikely, maybe, but totally reasonable. How terrible!

  • Jordan

    Beautiful post, really enjoyed hearing what other horror writers are afraid of. Mine deepest fear is the darker side of my own mentality 😉

    • Thanks! And yeah… the dark side of human nature is a pretty universal fear. I suspect that the vast majority of fears boil down to that, if we analyze them enough.

  • Jordan

    .. and demons 😀

  • Cynthia Robertson

    Some good ones here, Annie. Most are relatable, too. Funny how few fears deal with anything truly imaginary (aliens, monsters…but okay, maybe aliens are real. Come to think of it, maybe monsters are too.) – I think most of us are afraid of what we know is real, like technology, or yea, clowns.
    Hey, no one’s more cool than you, and don’t ever forget it. 🙂

    • Aw, thanks Cynthia! =)~ I thought so too about them being relatable. I agree with several of these. I found that interesting too — the mix between realistic fears vs. “fun” fears. It was even interesting just to see who went with what; only a couple of people asked me to specify which type of fear I was looking for, and only one person gave one of each. (I went with his favorite.) I’m definitely afraid of both types of things, but in very different ways. For example, I think it’s enjoyable to creep myself out about creepy monsterish things in the dark, but I hate thinking about someone I love being hurt.

  • Congrats on going to the Con and on talking to the “stars” and getting quotes!! They were very interesting. I think my biggest fear is loss of freedom – whether that means going to jail, being physically disabled, or running out of money in my old age – it’s the thing I worry about the most.

    • Thank you! They all made it easy by being so open and friendly. 🙂 Loss of freedom is a really, really great answer, and one I don’t hear often. Thanks for sharing that, Lexa.

  • Carie Juettner

    I love this! It’s fun seeing the answers all together. They’re quite diverse! And it was also fun watching you/listening to you ask the authors at WHC. One question though… What’s YOUR biggest fear? 🙂

    • Thanks Carie! 🙂 Oh man… On a more real-life note, I’m definitely afraid of losing my loved ones. For a more fun-ish one, I think after talking with you and Ashley I decided that my biggest fear is the feeling that I might not be alone in the dark when I’m supposed to be. *shivers*

      • Carie Juettner


      • A. B. Davis

        Haha. Good answer. And good question, Carie!

  • Dave Fouchey

    Very cool project, and for what it’s worth I have found authors at CON’s to be exceptionally patient people.

    • Thanks! And yes, they obviously are since they let me (a stranger to many of them) pester them with my question. 🙂

  • A. B. Davis

    It was super fun being there for the evolution of this concept, Annie. Great job! It all came together so nicely (I’m so happy you have everyone’s twitter handles and works listed!). My biggest fears are losing my mind and natural disasters–I suppose in general, this would be total loss of control. We’ll go ahead and let the Freuds out there have fun with that.

    • Thanks Ashley! It took almost as long to gather up everyone’s Twitter handles, websites, and credentials as it did to get the actual answers; this is a crazily accomplished group!!

      Losing my mind is definitely a fear of mine, too. And natural disasters are one of those so-possible-it’s-only-logical type of fears. Like, who ISN’T afraid of that?! Now loss of control… that one is pretty broad (and true) for me too, Freuds be damned. =)~

  • Melissa Crytzer Fry

    So much fun, Annie! Glad you found the courage to ask these questions! Such fascinating responses. Turns out horror writers are just like everyone else :-)!

    • Thank you! It pushed me outside of my introvert shell quite nicely. 🙂 And yes, my favorite thing about all of this is how universal most of the answers are. My suspicions certainly seem confirmed!

  • My biggest fear…spiders. Not real spiders, but those big ugly spiders they use in posters and decorations for Halloween and stuff.

    • That’s one of the more interesting ones I’ve heard. The fact that you’re not afraid of real spiders is fascinating. Thanks for sharing!

  • Katy

    I’m completely serious when I say that my biggest fear is *not* because of “The Fault in Our Stars”. One of the lead characters and I have the same fear. This would be, in a word, oblivion, though different kinds. Mine is more a fear of death.

    The thing is that I don’t believe in the afterlife (as much as I wish I could). I think that after we die, there is simply nothing because I believe that that is the absolute end. We cease to exist. That scares the hell out of me. Not any of my other fears terrify me that much.

    As such, this fear has frequently been called depressing. I simply call it motivation to live the best life I can while I have it.

    • Fear of death is the biggie, isn’t it? A lot of people have argued that the entire concept of the afterlife is created just to ease that intense, universal human fear. Regardless of your beliefs, I think most people have, at some point, been afraid to ask, “What comes next?”

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  • Was really interesting to read about other people’s fears. Mine is for sure something happening to my husband and my kids or half of the crew, and me having to stay behind to survive that.

    • Thanks! Yeah, that’s definitely one of mine, too. It’s a very realistic fear that a lot of people have to deal with, unfortunately.

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