Getting spooking with Heather Marie Adkins
It’s October and that means one thing – Halloween! Okay, for me it means Halloween, but for many others it means spooks, frights, and other things that go BOO in the night. One thing that is sure NOT to frighten you is the yummiest witch since Willow Rosenberg – Heather Marie Adkins. Let’s get spooky with Heather!
JW: I’ve always been drawn down the darker paths. Be it horror movies, books, music, clothing, people – you name it. I believe this started when I was a young boy and discovered I had guardian spirits watching over me. I remember so clearly seeing a ghost-like figure hovering over me with a stove-pipe hat and kind face. At that moment all of my fears of the unknown seemed to wash away. After that, all I cared about watching was horror. My life was filled with frights and I loved it. Every year when the leaves began their slow march to death my heart seemed to spring to life and I was a new boy – thrilled with the idea of scaring my little sister, coming up with the coolest costume, drawing the Groovy Ghoulies, and watching as much Sammy Terry* as I could take in.
*Sammy Terry was a local Indiana fright-fest ghoul who had a weekly show introducing horror films.
Now, I am living one of my dreams of being a writer of horror. Of course, as everything else, it goes much, much deeper than that (six feet deeper to be exact.)
HA: You’re a lad after me own heart, Jack. My favorite time of year is autumn — particularly October. Even before I started down my Witchy path about ten years ago, I loved Halloween. Haunted houses… dark, windy nights… the glow of Jack O’Lanterns on front porches… there is just something innately magical about the Halloween season. Every year as a child, I looked forward to October.
Of course, becoming a witch proved to me just how magical Halloween is. But now, I don’t call it “Halloween” unless I’m talking to the Muggles – I celebrate Samhain. On the old Celtic calendar, Samhain marks the beginning of the Celtic New Year and one of two points in the year when the veil between this world and the next is thinnest. It is the Sabbat (Pagan holiday) on which most pagans attempt to contact those they have loved and lost. It is also a time known for eerily accurate divinations for the coming year, and a holiday that marks the remembrance of our ancestors.
I think even if I hadn’t become a witch, Halloween would still have influenced my writing. Like you, I am fascinated by ghosts and the paranormal. One of my favorite parts of October is watching all the “true” ghost stories on television! Many of my novels have aspects of the paranormal – there are ghosts and a “mythical” hunt in “The Temple”; “The House” (which is currently being rewritten) is a ghost story; “Underneath” is a horror short about an underground civilization long thought dead…but not. Those are just the published stories; I have numerous works-in-progress that are paranormal. It’s in my blood; and for the last ten years, it’s been a part of my spirituality.
JW: I confess, I’m a muggle. The only magic in my life lies in the books I create. And many of those books are a direct result of my attraction to the spooky. “True” ghost stories are so fascinating. Personally, I’ve had a few paranormal incidents in my life. The one that really stands out happened one summer during undergraduate school. I was living with three others in an apartment in Indianapolis. It had been a fairly rough summer and hose guardian angles had already made their presence known. Well, I was in for a real treat and my roomies were in for a nice scare.
After a rather long, emotionally challenging day I came home to the apartment, with only one thing in mind — getting some rest. After filling the roommates in on the situation, I decided it was time for a nap. So I lay myself down on my mattress and begin to drift off to a much more peaceful place. As I was drifting off I saw a glistening face rushing toward me as if it were about to overtake my body. As soon as the ghost-like specter washed over me I was awakened by the screams of my flat-mates (pardon the British-ism there). When I opened my eyes the covers on my bed were at my chin — they weren’t there when I went to bed. And when my eyes focused on my roomies, they were all standing above me with the look of fear on their face. Why?
The covers slid up my body without my help.
HA: Eesh. That’s enough to make a girl want to run and hide. Maybe have a strong drink. Turn on all the lights.
And I forgive you for being a muggle. Muggles can be cool
I’m a wimp, big-time. Sure, I can write about talking to ghosts, like I did in “The Temple”. In “Underneath”, I have ghosts who aren’t quite so ghost-y…and do some not very nice things. One of my WIPs is even told BY a ghost. But when it comes to the idea of coming face-to-face with a transparent ghoulie? Shudder. I would run and cry like a little girl.
My brushes with the paranormal haven’t been quite so creep-tastic.
My dad swears up-n-down that it’s in our blood for members of my family to sense spirits. We don’t necessarily see them, but boy, can we feel them. Now, I’ve never seen a ghost to verify that my feelings are anything substantial, but I’ve had these feelings throughout my life. When I went away to college, our campus was said to be highly haunted. There were places I couldn’t venture by myself because the feelings were overwhelming. Particularly the downstairs dressing rooms of the Performing Arts school building — heebie jeebies.
One memorable trip to Mammoth Cave did, however, prove I wasn’t crazy. Upon entering the cave, I told my then-boyfriend that I felt a masculine presence that was “protective” — come to find out later in the tour, I wasn’t the only person to say that over the years. They had found the body of a Native American man, killed in a rock slide many moons ago. They believe he haunts the cave, making sure tourists get in and out safely, so the same fate doesn’t befall them. Spooky. My ex never doubted my “feelings” again.
While I like the scary movies of Halloween, I rather prefer the “true” stories. Ghost Hunters is one of my top favorite shows of all time. I also enjoy Paranormal State (though it is a bit dramatic), Celebrity Ghost Stories, and A Haunting. Those are my kinda shows!
JW: I do love a good haunting. What I find interesting, though, is why there is such a willingness by so many to embrace the existence of ghosts, but not of other “super-natural” phenomena. This even goes for religion. So many are willing to believe a man was brought back to life, but then those same people refuse to believe spirits might well walk the Earth. Of course, I’m not knocking religion … I just find it an incredible curiosity.
And, call me crazy, but of all things on the planet, the one occult-related thing that would possibly scare me is Voodoo. I fully understand Voodoo was born of religious beliefs from Africa and it should not be feared. But there is some powerful magic out there and I would never want to cross a practitioner — else I become one with the zombies that inhabit my novels.
Outside of that, most of my fears are irrational ones like poverty, the man, and skirts going out of style.
Oh the horror!
Speaking of horror. What really (and I mean really) scares you? Is it a monster? A lunatic waiting in the bushes to snatch you up for human trafficking? I hate to admit this, but the thing that really scares me the most is not being able to control my own destiny. I think that’s why I went the indie route with publishing. It’s not that I have control issues, it’s that I want to have final say over a product that was born of my imagination, heart and soul. The idea of someone stealing that away from me is frightening.
That and rednecks. Okay, maybe not rednecks.
Redneck zombies. Now that is something to be feared.
HA: Redneck zombies weren’t on my to-be-feared list before but they are now. Thanks, Jack.
I love that you bring up the whole Christianity and not believing in spirits thing. My mother converted to Catholicism six years ago and has become deeply involved in her church. Now, if you’re me, you would expect her mind to completely close-up as the church thus brainwashes her of all freewill. Instead, the woman amazed me one day only a couple months ago by telling me she believes in ghosts.
Wanna know why she believes in ghosts? “If I’m meant to believe in the Holy Spirit, well, doesn’t it make sense that I should believe in all spirits?” Bless her heart. Big hugs for my Momma. More big hugs because she buys me witch stuff like it’s going out of style.
You shouldn’t fear Voodoo. Magick is a very real, very powerful thing, yes–whether it’s done by a Voodoo practitioner or a Witch. The very idea that there are energies in this world that can be manipulated by people is enough to worry anyone who thinks those people are out to get them (ugh, such an awkward sentence). But, here’s my theory–the Universe isn’t going to allow omnipotent, eternal power to those who will use it only in negative ways. The Universe is like a big scale. Are you familiar with Maat? She’s the Egyptian goddess of balance and morality. Along with my personal favorite Egyptian god, Thoth (of knowledge, writing, and the magical arts), these two deities weighed the souls of the dead. Maat would place the soul on the scale against the weight of her feather in order to determine who would travel safely to the Afterlife. I see the Universe as doing this behind the scenes with the dark and light–when the dark begins to outweigh the light, the Universe heaps on the goodness. And vice versa. This is a world of balance.
What really scares me? The pitch dark. I know, I know–what kind of wuss is afraid of the dark at 26 years old? This wuss. I sleep with a nightlight on. I freak out if I have to go into our backyard in the middle of the night (usually because I’m chasing my dog who won’t come inside). It’s a terror that has always ruled my life. I wish I had some eerie story explaining WHY I’m so afraid of the dark but I don’t. I firmly believe it’s a leftover from a past life.
JW: That is incredibly fascinating. I love taking of deities and balance and power. I believe the one true struggle most humans suffer from is balance. So few actually have balance in their life. I’m not really speaking of a balance between the pedestrian work/family or or the accumulation of wealth vs. the accumulation of humanity. I’m talking about the balance of such issues as male/female, good/bad, drifting sould/fettered body — more important issues that reach beyond our mortal coil and the daily grind.
I think life has become so fast, so shallow, and so corrupt that we can no longer see into our own looking glass to realize what we are truly missing. What I fear the most is never finding that balance…living a constant struggle and never having peace to offer my soul.
I love, love, love that you are a witch and so proud of that (as you should be.) People should be more free to embrace who and what they are without having to suffer the slings and arrows of man’s narrow mind and scope. All of those unique things about us, those things that make us who we are — those are the truth, those are the things that make us fascinating. Not being able to embrace those? That is real fear.
World, Heather Marie Adkins is precious cargo. Not only is she an insanely gifted writer, she is a unique human being you should want to get to know. And October is the perfect spooky month to embrace her — witchy warts and all. I kid…she has no warts, in fact she’s quite lovely.
HA: My spirituality is the single most important thing in my life; even writing comes second. I’ve always been proud of who I am and unafraid of what anyone may think. Many people don’t even bother understanding what true witchcraft is before judging — they’re too hung up on Hollywood’s evil, greeny versions. Those people aren’t worth my time. No one has a right to judge anyone, ESPECIALLY if they don’t know anything about the thing they’re judging.
I agree about the lack of balance in this world. Too many people get hung up on things that just don’t matter. And balance is essential to maintaining inner peace. I’m guilty of losing my balance! But I recently made a commitment to myself to find it again — and maintain it. Thoughts are magickal — if you believe you will fail, you will fail. If you believe you will succeed, you will succeed. That is magick at it’s basest form. Sometimes, even a Witch needs to remind herself of this.
I once had a wart on my big toe. Does that count?
Heather Adkins is an independent fiction novelist and avid bibliophile with the library to prove it. She is the author of paranormal mystery *The Temple* and romantic fantasy *Abigail* as well as upcoming chick lit novel *Constant State of Disaster*. Her current projects include a horror novel with a ghostly protagonist, a collection of paranormal romance short stories, and the first in a new witchcraft mystery series. A practicing Witch, Heather lives in North Central Kentucky with a house full of animals and the love of her life–all of whom drive her crazy. She can be found daily (mostly) at her blog.
Underneath (free short story)
The House (free short story)
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