This answer gives me the jeebies too.
So without further ado, I'm handing things over to Vicki L. Weavil, author of the already available YA fantasy, Crown of Ice!
Things That Go Bump in Your Head:
How My Own Fears Influenced Crown of Ice
Nope, it’s not anything outside of my own mind that scares me—it’s losing my mind.
Not in the sense of going mad, although that’s scary too, but more in the case of losing my mental abilities due to injury, illness, or age.
I have seen this happen with older relatives, and it is terrifying to imagine it happening to me. I hate the thought of losing my ability to think, to question, and to communicate. Some people claim I wouldn’t be aware of how much I had lost, but I’m never quite sure that’s true. When my brilliant father’s mental abilities were severely affected by a head injury, I had this sense that somehow, deep down inside, he was deeply frustrated with his inability to think and communicate. It was as if he was trapped inside his own body; lost in a mind that had always served him well, but now had betrayed him. A truly tragic situation.
So when I wrote Crown of Ice, and had to create a terrible fate looming over my protagonist, I didn’t make it death, or even pain. I created the wraiths—former Snow Queens who failed in their mission to recreate a magic mirror by their eighteenth birthday and were stripped of their minds and wills. Immortal, they can’t even know the peace of death. They are simply mindless spirits, endlessly reliving their last terrible moments and haunting the castle where their former master, a mighty sorcerer, lives.
For my protagonist, Thyra Winther, this is a fate worse than death. She’s a brilliant young woman who cherishes her ability to think and reason, as well as her free will. The fear of failing to reconstruct the mirror—and thus becoming a wraith—drives her to do whatever she must in order to survive. It’s truly Thyra against the world (and against magical forces). Because the thawing of her heart is a danger to her entire existence, she must decide, over the course of the story, what she is willing to sacrifice for friendship and love. This is the deeper, inner conflict driving the book to its conclusion.
So, it’s quite true—I used something that scares me to torment and terrify my protagonist.
About Crown of Ice
Thyra Winther's seventeen, the Snow Queen, and immortal, but if she can't reassemble a shattered enchanted mirror by her eighteenth birthday she's doomed to spend eternity as a wraith.
Armed with magic granted by a ruthless wizard, Thyra schemes to survive with her mind and body intact. Unencumbered by kindness, she kidnaps local boy Kai Thorsen, whose mathematical skills rival her own. Two logical minds, Thyra calculates, are better than one. With time rapidly melting away she needs all the help she can steal.
A cruel lie ensnares Kai in her plan, but three missing mirror shards and Kai's childhood friend, Gerda, present more formidable obstacles. Thyra's willing to do anything—venture into uncharted lands, outwit sorcerers, or battle enchanted beasts—to reconstruct the mirror, yet her most dangerous adversary lies within her breast. Touched by the warmth of a wolf pup's devotion and the fire of a young man's desire, the thawing of Thyra's frozen heart could be her ultimate undoing.
About Vicki L. Weavil
Raised in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Vicki L. Weavil turned her early obsession with reading into a career as a librarian. After obtaining a B.A. in Theatre from the University of Virginia, she continued her education by receiving a Masters in Library Science from Indiana University and a M.A. in Liberal Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is currently the Library Director for the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She is a member of SCBWI and is represented by Fran Black of Literary Counsel, NY, NY.
Vicki’s debut novel, CROWN OF ICE – a dark YA retelling of H. C. Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” – was published by Month9Books in 2014. Two companion books, SCEPTER OF FIRE and ORB OF LIGHT, will be released in 2016 and 2017. Her YA scifi, FACSIMILE, will be published in spring 2016, with a sequel, DERIVATION, following. An avid reader who appreciates good writing in all genres, Vicki has been known to read seven books in as many days. When not writing or reading, she likes to spend time watching films, listening to music, gardening, or traveling. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and three very spoiled cats.
You can find her on her blog, on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram.