Ginger Nuts of Horror
Chantal Noordeloos lives in the Netherlands, where she spends her time with her wacky, supportive husband, and outrageously cunning daughter, who is growing up to be a supervillain. When she is not busy exploring interesting new realities, or arguing with characters (aka writing), she likes to dabble in drawing.
In 1999 she graduated from the Norwich School of Art and Design, where she focused mostly on creative writing.
There are many genres that Chantal likes to explore in her writing. Currently Sci-fi Steampunk is one of her favorites, but her ‘go to’ genre will always be horror. “It helps being scared of everything; that gives me plenty of inspiration,” she says.
Chantal likes to write for all ages, and storytelling is the element of writing that she enjoys most. “Writing should be an escape from everyday life, and I like to provide people with new places to escape to, and new people to meet.”
Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
These questions always make me feel like I’m in one of those ‘speed dating’ sessions, where you have to cram as much information about yourself in one minute. So... here goes nothing.
The name is Chantal Noordeloos, though most people think I’m called Noodles, and friends call me Chanti. Sometimes, when I write about stuff that’s a little naughtier than usual, I can be C. North too.
The unusual last name is because I’m Dutch (Yes I live in the Netherlands too. No, I don’t wear clogs / live in a windmill / have a house filled with tulips... though I should really start doing these things, they sound far more interesting!) People ask me if I write in Dutch too, but I don’t. I’ve tried it, and it wasn’t for me. I do, however, alternate between UK and US English. I was raised with UK English, so that one comes a bit more natural to me.
I’ve been writing fulltime since 2012, but I’ve always dabbled with the written word.
So far, I’ve written for several anthologies and magazines, and am now working on my solo projects. My writing can be a little slipstream, and I’m not exactly loyal to one genre, but horror is my ‘go to’ genre which I write most often, and almost all of my work has dark elements.
Both writing and reading are an escape from reality for me, and I love taking along readers for the ride.
Do you prefer the term Horror, Weird Fiction or Dark Fiction?
That depends what we’re talking about? To me these are three different things, to be the latter two are subgenres. When I think of Weird Fiction, I tend to lean towards Bizarro. Dark Fiction I think of stories that have a dark theme, but don’t really have a lot of gore to them. Horror could be the name that brings all the subgenres together.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
Excuse me sir, do you have some time to spare to talk about the word of our lord Neil Gaiman? No?
Well needless to say, Gaiman is sitting on the throne of my author Walhalla. I’m a big fan of Terry Pratchett as well. There are a few others that I will make me nod my head with respect. JK Rowling, Douglas Adams, Ken Kesey, Anthony Burgess, Douglas Coupland, Thea Beckman (should have at least one Dutch writer in there, right?)
And I’ve met some writers in the Indie world that have completely blown me away, like Paula D. Ashe, Apple Ardent Scott and Graeme Reynolds.
What is your all-time favourite horror novel, and film?
The Ring has to be my favourite film. That really scared the crap out of me. I still can’t look at a picture of Samara without feeling she’s going to crawl out of my computer screen and kill me.
Books... hmm, this is somewhat trickier. I’ve read a lot of horror when I was young, but I can’t say I have any favourites in that. I used to read King and Saul religiously. Personally I tend to be more effected by horror short stories than I am by entire novels. Like ‘Glass Apples’ by Neil Gaiman, or Bereft by Paula D. Ashe.
If you could erase one horror cliché what would be your choice?
As a woman I guess I would like to erase the dim female victim that tends to make the stupidest choices ever, and runs around in her underwear going “Billie? Is that you?” Give that woman a brain and maybe a weapon, and we’re cool.
Which fictional character would be you perfect neighbour, and who would be your nightmare neighbour?
There is so much choice in this... I’m struggling here. Fictional characters can be anything. Who wouldn’t want to live next to Dr Who, or Harry Potter, or any other popular hero. The choice for me would be between Raistlin Majere (a mage from the Dragonlance series) and Granny Weatherwax (Discworld) as my perfect neighbours. Because they fascinate me and I love characters that are just that little different.
My nightmare neighbours... hmmm... Obvious ones would be Joffrey Baratheon and Professor Umbridge. Since I’m pretty squeamish I think I would have to go with Pinhead as my worst neighbour.
What do you think of the current state of the genre?
Oh, tricksy hobbitses! It’s ehm... a bit of a mixture of good and bad. I feel that a lot of horror is quite repetitive. People tend to hype a certain element of the genre (Vampires, Zombies... etc) and then the market is flooded with similar stories. Not that that has to be a bad thing, but I’m the kind of reader who likes to be surprised now and then. And it doesn’t have to be an original genre, but an original take. When it comes to the horror movie world, it seems to me that we’re jumping from one crappy remake to the next, and if it’s not a remake it’s often a cheap rip off, or a leap to the Young Adult genre, where classic horror monsters are turned into soft hearted Romeos (not that I even mind this, but it’s just not horror) I wouldn’t mind a little more fresh topics and visions. Maybe a few reinventions if we like to stick to the classic storylines?
What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?
The High Moor series by Graeme Reynolds blew me away. I loved them so much, I’m thinking of re-reading them soon.
Joyland by Stephen King. Sorry, I know King is god to a lot of you, and I really enjoyed his work when I was younger, but somehow I have just lost my connection to his work. I don’t hate it, but it just doesn’t do a lot for me anymore.
How would you describe your writing style?
Oh, I see you’ve decided to go with the ‘easy to answer questions.’ Lovely... argl!
Ehm... My writing style. I guess I would have to go with ‘varied’, ‘slipstream’ and ‘character driven.’ I tend to go for third person, past tense narrative, but I like to explore. It depends on the story I want to tell. I like to mix the real with the unreal, and draw a lot from myths, legends, religions and fairytales. One of the things I struggle with most, is staying within one genre, I just enjoy mixing things up a little. I’ve had my work compared from Joss Whedon’s firefly to Clive Barker... so... yes... varied...
Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?
All reviews have an impact on me. I am ashamed to admit I’m a ‘cry baby’ when it comes to reviews. Well, when it comes to good reviews. They leave me as a puddle of sobbing human on the floor. I’ve not had very bad reviews, just a few sneers or finger tapping here and there, but even they have been reasonably positive. I’m sure my time of haters and trolls will come.
What’s your favourite food?
Anything made by Heston Blumenthal (my favourite chef) I had the good fortune to eat at his restaurant ‘The Fat Duck’ for my 36th birthday. It was mind blowing.
Who would be on the soundtrack to your life story?
I would have to have a compilation album. Skunk Anansie for some of my more angry moments, Macy Grey because I can be a lewd girl, Violent Femmes for a bit of humor, Rammstein for some passion, Veruca Salt for quirkiness, NIN for a bit of angst, Billy Holiday for the dark times, Missy Higgins for the steady moments, The Pierces for a bit of fun, CoCoRosie for some insanity... I’m probably missing a ton of them.
What’s the most important lesson you have learned about writing?
I could harp on now about the ‘show and not tell’ lesson I’ve learned, or how to plot my character arcs better... etc. But to be honest, I don’t have one lesson that stands out above another. I guess what I did learn is that being a writer is nothing like I had ever expected it to be. People really underestimate what it’s like to be a fulltime writer. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done, and it’s at the same time the worst. It’s a very emotional profession.
What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?
While I find the editing phase always very challenging (I go through multiple rounds of it, first I do a bit of self editing, then I work with an editor) but the worst would have to be the marketing around the writing. Getting people to read your books... it’s hard and frustrating work. You need to have perseverance and thick skin. The world isn’t always fair.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I’ve always been very creative, but I’ve learned to hone some skills during my writing journey. It’s really ‘fulfilled’ me as well, I used to have to find ways to still my creative hunger, but writing has given me a peace of mind.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Honestly... I’m fifty shades of blond when it comes to all these computer programs. I don’t really use them. I use Microsoft word (for writing and notes) and my little note pad and a pen that I carry everywhere. Sometimes I make notes on my I-phone.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Just put the story on the paper... you’ll get the rest in the edits.
Who is your favourite character from your book and why?
Which book? ;) From the Coyote series I’m going to have to go with my heroine, Coyote. She is just soooo much fun to write. Female bounty hunter who is funny and a little sassy, and smokes cigars, I get to be a little mischievous when I crawl into her skin.
From my short stories in the Deeply Twisted collection, I think I would like the character of the Soulman the best. I created my own mythological being with that, and he was very enjoyable to write.
In the Even Hell Has Standards series, I would have to vote for Lucifer. He was so awesome to put on paper, I loved his complexity.
How about your least favourite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
This is difficult, because I like all the characters I write in some strange way. Whether they are good or evil, you put a bit of imagination in them. Actually I have one character that I absolutely hate. ‘Kitten’s father’ in Even Hell Has Standards: Pride. He is so disgusting that I can’t find any redeeming qualities. I struggled putting him on paper, that whole scene made me feel ill. I can’t tell you why, because... spoilers, Sweetie.
Fame, fortune, or respect?
Damn you! Why do I have to choose? I want them all. I just want to write books that touch people, and have a nice following of readers who love to wander through my imaginary worlds. And I want to get paid for doing so. You choose what that falls under ;)
What piece of your own work are you most proud of?
That’s like asking a mom ‘which one of your children do you like best?’ I can’t answer that. I know some writing is probably better than other writing, but I’m proud of everything I’ve put into the world.
And are there any that you would like to forget about?
I have some work out there that’s not that well edited, from the beginning of my career when I was still very naive about writing, publishers and editors. I didn’t get to see them before they were published, and when I did, I felt a little sad. Having said that, I’ve used most of those stories for my own collection, after given them a polish and hiring a good editor.
For those who haven’t read any of you books, what book of yours do you think best represents your work and why?
I think that would probably be the ‘Even Hell Has Standards’ series. It represents very much how I think and write.
Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
Most recently published is the first short story called ‘Pride’ for the Even Hell Has Standards series. I’m currently juggling four projects. I’ve written a YA dark fantasy novel that I’m tweaking before I send it off to an editor. The Coyote sequel ‘The Clockwork Dragonfly’ is in the final stages before I send it to an editor. I’m writing a haunted house novel, where I’m exploring my more ‘gory side’ and I’m working on the second instalment for Even Hell Has Standards, which is called ‘Envy’.
What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do?
“I happen to be best friends with a big five publisher. Would you like me to introduce you?”
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT CHANTAL BY FOLLOWING THE LINKS BELOW
Sometimes life brings out the worst in a person, but Adolf Zakerny was born for evil. After a life of torment and murder, all in the name of Hell, it’s time for Zakerny to take his place amongst the demons. Will the blood he spilled appease the charismatic Lord of Hell, or will Zakerny’s Pride come to a fall?
‘Pride’ is the first of seven short stories in the ‘Even Hell Has Standards’ series, where Chantal Noordeloos takes the reader through the darker side of human nature, and it’s road to redemption. This is Hell as you’ve never seen it before.
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