Have You Ever Loved a Spider?

Y'all are going to love today's post. Our guest is Bish Denham, who blogs regularly at Random Thoughts. If you visited her during last year's A-Z, she's the blogger who wrote about growing up in the Virgin Islands every day.

Bish has a cool new book out, and she's going to share some information about it. But I asked her a few questions first, and her answers are awesome.

Here . . . you'll see.

Thanks so much for having me, Carol. It’s a pleasure to be visiting you Under the Tiki Hut. And Anansi is liking it, too. See him up there dangling? yes...please don't let him move He’s enjoying the cool tropic breezes and sipping on that pina colada you gave him. I'm hoping it knocks him out. Now, on to answering your questions.

1.Are you afraid of spiders? If so, how could you write about one?
From a young age I was terrified of spiders. Once, when my sister and I still slept in the same bed under a mosquito net, she made the mistake of saying, “Oh look, Bish, there’s a spider.” It was inside the net, in the corner at the foot of the bed, on MY SIDE! Because I was up against the wall – so I wouldn’t fall out of bed – I trampled across my sister’s chest knocking the wind out of her. It was just a small, harmless house spider which my father caught and let go, but I was still scared out of my mind. As I grew older, I became near phobic about them. Nothing else scared me, not even snakes. But spiders? Keep them away from me. The fear of spiders lasted into my 30s when I finally desensitized myself by letting daddy longlegs crawl on me. They aren’t really spiders, but they look like them. It worked. Now I have a deep fondness for spiders and the roll they play in being beneficial to a healthy organic yard and garden. I love watching the little black jumping spiders that visit our porch in the summer and am protective of the house spider that lives in our kitchen window. I’ve learned that the vast majority of spiders are not poisonous to me and would rather run away from me than bite.

So, to answer the second part of your question, writing about Anansi the spider was great fun! I'll take your word for that :)

2.You grew up in the Virgin Islands, and now you’re a Texas woman. What are the top three things you like about each place that you wish you could combine into one place? And why?
Three things I like about the VI: 1. My family is there, sister and cousins. 2. The hills, ocean and glorious clear blue skies with huge cumulous clouds. (Okay that’s four things, but are you really counting?) no, i'm dreaming of how wonderful it sounds :) 3. All the tropical fruits I can’t get here in the states.

Three things I like about Texas: 1. My husband and home is here. 2. The overall friendliness of the people. of course! 3. The Hill Country with a river that runs through it.

If I could combine them… I’d have all my family in one place with hills and ocean. I love to swim.

3.Who would you choose to voice Anansi in an animated version of these stories? Did you hear this person’s voice in your mind as you wrote the stories?
No, I didn’t have a voice in mind as I wrote the stories. But, I think Bob Marley would be a good choice. LOVE Bob Marley's music!

4.Spiders or snakes? Guacamole or salsa? Mountains or beach?
I like both spiders and snakes, but since I wrote about Anansi, I guess I’ll say spiders! Guacamole for sure. The BEACH! Was there ever any question LOL!

5.Tell us about your next project.
The first thing is to make Anansi available in print. As for my next publishing venture, how about an exciting anthropomorphic adventure called A LIZARD’S TAIL?
From the moment he hatches, Marvin P. Tinkleberry knows he is destined for greatness. For one, he has a marvelous, well-groomed tail. For another he can puff out his throat pouch in the most spectacular way. Maybe the other lizards in his colony don’t take him seriously, but he knows the truth. It lives in the marrow of his bones; he’s going to be a hero.
When a feral cat threatens the lives of all who live at Stone Wall in the Garden by the Sea, Marvin knows it’s HIS destiny to get rid of the fearsome beast. Travelling Over the Hill to find help should be as easy as snapping up a sleeping moth. But it doesn’t take long for Marvin to see that the world beyond Stone Wall is not the same as his pampered life back at the garden. From the deadly Sucker Cactus Forest to deadly mongooses, danger lurks around every corner and Marvin will have to decide if he’s willing to be the hero he’s long bragged about being. Sounds awesome!

How do you escape a hungry tiger? Why do ram-goats smell? What happens if you get too greedy? In this collection of ten retold Jamaican stories, Anansi the spider tricks, sings, and dances his way into and out of trouble.

But who is Anansi? It was the Ashanti of West Africa who brought the spider into the Caribbean. He clung tight to the web he wove in the minds of those who had been captured, surviving not only the harrowing passage across the Atlantic Ocean, but hundreds of years of slavery.

As a trickster, Anansi has both good and bad traits, which makes him very human. Sometimes he wins, sometimes he loses. When he wins he dances and sings for joy. When he loses, he shakes it off and keeps on living, a lesson for us all.

Bish Denham, whose mother's side of the family has been in the Caribbean for over hundred years, was raised in the U. S. Virgin Islands. She still has lots of family living there and visits them regularly.

She says, "Growing up in the islands was like living inside a history book. Columbus named them, Sir Francis Drake sailed through the area, and Alexander Hamilton was raised on St. Croix. Pirates plied the waters and hundred of years of slavery left its indelible mark. It was within this atmosphere of magic and wonder that I grew up. My hope is pass some of that magic and wonder on to my readers."

You can learn more about Bish by visiting her blog:

She can also be found on


Glad you overcame your fear of spiders.
Anansi's stories were cute. Looking forward to Marvin the Lizard's tale. Or should I say tail?
Anonymous said…
Can't wait for this one to come out..the grands will love it.
Kittie Howard said…
Anansi's stories are delightful! Marvin's destiny tickles the imagination. Oh, to be in the VI right now!
Good to meet you Bish!! I love snakes but am SCARED TO DEATH of spiders. Really manly, I know :)
Rula Sinara said…
This sounds wonderful, Bish!

I love the Virgin Islands, particularly hiking St. John. And I really miss the guineps (sp?). Yum. Incredible flora and fauna...and no snakes, right? Although I love both snakes and spiders ;).
Sounds like a great book, Bish! Spiders are pretty creepy, although I've gotten used to them here. I really don't like the jumping kind, though...you just never know where they're going to jump.
Yhea, a fellow Texan!
The book sounds fun.
Laura Marcella said…
I don't care much for spiders either–with the exception of Charlotte and now Anansi, of course! My brother tried desensitizing me by doing the same thing with daddy-longlegs one summer when we were camping...and it horrified me so much it made my fear worse! Probably because he didn't warn me ahead of time, lol. I don't dislike spiders exactly. I love watching them spin their delicate webs. I just don't want one anywhere near me!

Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines
Bish Denham said…
Alex, wait til you meet Marvin. A real character!

I hope your grands WILL enjoy it, Delores!

Kittie, I wouldn't mind being in the islands right now either. :)

Good to meet you OP! Hey, I don't tease anyone who's afraid of spiders, manly or not.

Rula, imagine having the whole island as my playground, which I did as a kid. I walked everywhere!

Elizabeth, just try to remember that those jumping spiders aren't interesting in jumping on you to bite and kill you. You're too big!

Thanks, David!

Laura... That's NOT how to become desensitized! :)
Karen Walker said…
Great interview, ladies. I am still afraid of spiders and snakes -
Shelly said…
Eek, eek, eek! Spiders! But what a great interview~
Bish Denham said…
Karen, You are not in the minority. :)

LOL, Shelly! Just remember, spiders are related to crabs. Are you afraid of crabs?
Southpaw said…
Nice interview. I like the way you overcame your fear of spiders.
I'm not afraid of spiders, but I'm still not a big fan of them. Not after my wife got bitten by a spider that's as venomous as a brown recluse and had to go to the hospital to treat herself before the skin could develop necrosis.

Needless to say, any time I see one of those guys (and not the harmless ones) they get stomped into the ground.
Melissa said…
What a fun interview! I don't like spiders, but I think I'd like Anansi. Best of luck, Bish. :)

Hi, Carol. *waves*
Carol Kilgore said…
Hi, All! Great to see you here.

Bish...crabs? Really? Thank God spiders don't have claws!
Linda G. said…
Sounds like a lovely book, even if spiders do scare the bejeezus out of me.
This sounds like such a cute story! I'm impressed that you overcame your fear of spiders. That day still hasn't happened for me. Thanks Bish and Carol!

Robin said…
You, with your fear of spiders, remind me of Batman. In the first (new) Batman movie we learn that he chose the bat as his symbol because he had been afraid of them. Maybe YOU are the superhero???
Bish Denham said…
Thanks, Southpaw!

I can't blame you Beer... I'd stomp on 'em too!

Melissa, At least I picked a rascally spider to write about. :)

Yes, Carol, crabs.I hope you don't start having nightmares!

Linda, All Anansi wants is your food. :D

Well, Empty Nester, I realize spiders aren't a favorite, but Anansi is different. He'd friendly and sly.

Me? A superhero? Thanks, Robin! However, the truth is, I'm just a regular female. I figure if I can overcome my fear most anyone can.
L. Diane Wolfe said…
Oh, I can't wait to see the next one, Bish!
DMS said…
I love how Bish was able to conquer her fear of spiders. Awesome! It was also fun to learn what she loves most about the two places she calls home. I read and loved Anansi and Company and her next book sounds fantastic too! Yeah for Bish!
An interesting post that I enjoyed reading.

Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.
J.L. Campbell said…
Nice interview, but you can keep the spiders.

A Lizard's Tail sounds like a good adventure tale. Looking forward to that one.
Jo-Anne Meadows said…
I used to be terrified for spiders but then I had a daughter who was more scared than me so I had to suck it up and deal so no longer terrified just mildly scared
Helena said…
What a funny, sweet interview! I didn't mind spiders too much as a kid, except for the one tarantula I saw that scared the life out of me (way too big and squishy and scary and hairy!), and to this day I won't even look at photos of them.

Anansi sounds charming. I'll check it out.
David Oliver said…
It was an interesting read. I know many spiders are beneficial. That said, I want them to stay away from me and I'll return the favor.
Shelley Munro said…
A very timely post since I've just started researching spiders for my current WIP. Your story sounds delightful, and I enjoyed your post.
Bish Denham said…
Thanks, Diane!

Jess, Anansi and I enjoyed the time we spent with you.

Thanks for stopping by the Tiki Hut, Andrew.

Joy, I'm already looking forward to getting my lizard story out into the world.

Good for you Jo-Anne! We are proof that it can be done!

Helena, I hope you do check out Anansi and that you enjoy reading the stories!

Thanks for visiting, David. And yes, spiders definitely have their place.

Thanks, Shelley. I hope your research goes well and that you enjoy it!
cleemckenzie said…
Here's to that print version. I think it will be a big hit! After reading your stories I can't imagine you were ever afraid of spiders!
Bish Denham said…
But I was, Lee, I was. :)
Susan Kane said…
Not afraid of spiders, but snakes? Oh boy.

There is a song from way past: I don't like spiders and snakes/ but if that's what it takes/to love you...

How can Marvin make this journey? That will be a great question and a great answer!
Terrific interview, ladies!

These tales sound delightful. I think my grandchildren will love them. (Um, me, too!)
klahanie said…
Hi Carol and Bish,

It's delightful to note the celebrity that is Bish on your wonderful site.

What a brilliant, thoughtful interview. Now, no fear of spiders. This is good. I shall go and check out the itsy bitsy spider...

Gary :)
Lynda R Young said…
Being trapped in a small space with a spider? Eek!!
Anonymous said…
I'm glad Bish is working on more stories for us to read.

I'm only afraid of medium or large spiders.
Jan Newman said…
Nice to see you here, Bish. Good answers. Congratulations on your book and best of luck with the next story. Both sound intriguing!
Beyond Acadia
VR Barkowski said…
I wish real spiders were as adorable as the one on the cover of ANANSI AND COMPANY and maybe I could overcome my fear, too.

Sound like a delightful read, Bish. Thanks for sharing this with us, Carol.

VR Barkowski
When I see a spider, I tend to scream as if it were a serial killer. lol

And I'm not a big fan of snakes, either.
mshatch said…
Awesome interview and I love the sound of A Lizard's Tail :)
Mason Canyon said…
Bish, your book sounds delightful and the cover would make it hard not to pick up. Wishing you much success.

Carol, thanks for the introduction to another great author and book.
Carol Kilgore said…
My pleasure, Mason. I love her cover!

How's everyone doing? Just so you know ... watch out for the cabana boys. One of them threw a snowball at me this morning! Yes, it's that cold at the Tiki Hut.

But the weekend promises to be GORGEOUS - perfect Tiki Hut weather!
Bish Denham said…
Susan, Marvin has quite a time of it, making that journey!

Thanks, Susan (the second one!) I'm betting both you and your grandkids will enjoy these stories.

Oh, Gary... Delighted you think Carol and I are brilliant!

Lynda, just try to remember it's probably more just as, if not more, scare of you than you are of it.

Bish Denham said…
Medeia, I've got a few waiting in the wings. :)

Thanks Jan!

VR, Anansi's adorableness is all due to the talent of Adrienne Saldivar, who did the artwork!

You are not alone, Stina. :)

mshatch, I'm hoping Marvin will be as well received as Anansi has.

Thank you so much, Mason!

Carol, this has been great fun! Thanks for having me and Anansi visit. I hope the rascally spider has been behaving himself. :)
Nas said…
Sounds like a wonderful story for all my little ones.
Lexa Cain said…
The VI sound lovely. It amazed me that you're scared of spiders and wrote a book about one! Ironic. I don't mind spiders as long as they aren't ON me or crawling in my direction. I wish you much success with your book!
Tara said…
I'm not too bothered by spiders (gardening will cure that quick!) but snakes or lizards... *shudders*

Best of luck with the book, Bish--it sounds so great. :)
How nice to see Bish and her book here.

My favorite spider: Charlotte, of course!
Austin Towers said…
Great interview, Carole :) Despite that, I am still not a fan of spiders! I love the cover illustration though!! x
Christine Rains said…
Wonderful interview. I admire your bravery of letting daddy longlegs crawl on you. I couldn't even do that! :)
Bish Denham said…
Nas, Kids of all ages will like it. I hope you do too!

I used to be terrified of spiders, Lexa, but not any more. Even if I still were, Anansi is such a rascally character, I'd still be drawn to him. :)

Tara, I absolutely adore lizards. Snakes don't bother me any more than spiders do.

Charlotte will always be the crown jewel of spiders, Theresa!

Thanks, Austin! Being a fan of spiders isn't easy, I know. And you are not alone.

Christine, you kind of make me smile... you who write a kind of horror... and you're afraid of spiders? You know I'm teasing right? :)
LD Masterson said…
I was afraid to open this post in case I'd run into a picture of a big hairy spider (I'm not doing as well with my arachnophobia) but this book sounds delightful. Lovely interview.
Jennifer Shirk said…
Ack! I don't like real spiders, but I did LOVE LOVE LOVE Charlotte's Web. So your books sounds great!
Anonymous said…
When I learned Daddy Longlegs were blind and harmless, they didn't bother me any more. Black widows, on the other hand...
Carol Kilgore said…
LD - Arachnophobia here, too.

Jennifer - Charlotte was a spider??? Oh, noz! LOL :)

Milo - I didn't know Daddy Longlegs were blind.
Jemi Fraser said…
Spiders have never bothered me - but I'm SO impressed with how you overcame your fear. No way am I letting snakes crawl on me *shudder*