The Dogs of Depression: A Guide for Happy People

The Dogs of Depression: A Guide for Happy People

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Women in Horror Month CHANTAL NOORDELOOS

Chantal has been entertaining me for two years now with her short stories and her latest novel, ANGEL MANOR. 

All the more interesting and surprising is English is not Chantal's first language, but Dutch. She has such a command of English that it is astonishing. Not only is she a talented young writer, she is outspoken, brilliant, funny and intelligent. I am so very happy to read this talented women and even prouder to have her appear on the Bram Stoker recommended list twice. A girl from my homeland, the incredibly gifted Chantal. 
  1. When did you start writing horror?
    I have been telling (and making up) horror stories since I was a child, but at fifteen I wrote my first one down. My English teacher asked us to write a short story based on a picture he had taken. The picture actually fused two different photos together; one of a bedroom, and the other of a field with wild flowers. They mixed in a strange, but beautiful, whole. Of course while everyone was writing deep and meaningful life stories, I wrote a post-apocalyptic horror story about a female survivor... because I’m a weirdo.

  2. Have you written in any other genre?
    Oh yes, I’m a total genre floozy, so I have sordid little affairs with all types of genres. I’ll write anything that’s speculative fiction. My favourite thing to do is be a little slipstream, which is what you call marrying a whole bunch of genres together.
    Of course, once I’m finished writing a story or book, and I have to submit it, I curse myself with the drama of a fantasy villain for being slipstream. *shakes fist demonstratively in the air* It’s not easy to market a mix of genres in one book. Though the readers are fine with anything as long as they like the writing, the market prefers neat little boxes.

  3. What makes you uncomfortable?
    Asking people for things.
    *pulls a face similar to Edward Munch’s ‘the scream’*
    It’s horrible.
    *whispers* “horrible”.
    And the worst thing.... I need to do it all the time in this business. I constantly have to ask people to buy / read/ review my books. Or to share my links, or vote for me for awards, or... or... or... well, I have to ask for all those sort of things.
    There are moments I just want to curl up into a little ball, hug my shoulders and sob softly. I really don’t like asking people for things.

  4. Does your family read your work?
    Ehm, not really. My husband read my Coyote novella, but he prefers reading non-fiction. My parents don’t read English, and my mother would never read my horror work. I can’t complain though, because everyone is being very supportive. My mother always buys my books and talks about me to her friends. One day I shall have my books translated, and she’ll be able to read the ones that won’t traumatise her.

  5. Does your writing make you uneasy?
    Why? What have you heard??
    Just kidding.
    It can make me uneasy at times, yes. Especially when I write horror. Much to the amusement of my peers, I’m an extremely squeamish person. If you read some of my horror stuff, you probably wouldn’t believe me. There have been times I may have needed a break from writing because I was afraid I might faint.
    Though the gore isn’t the worst. I tend to write the stuff that I have an emotional reaction to. I put my own fears on paper, and I often find myself researching things I really didn’t want to know were out there. The worst so far has been trying to write about child brides. I struggle finishing that story.

  6. Who would you say you write like?
    I’m sure you get this answer a lot, but I write like ‘me’.
    There are probably tons of authors out there that I share similarities with, but I can’t think of a single author that writes the same as I do. Having said that, there are millions of writers in the world, and I certainly haven’t read them all. There is a distinct possibility that there is someone out there that writes just like I do. I rather not dwell on that thought too long though.
  1. Who are your favourite authors?
    My absolute favourite is Neil Gaiman. He’s my hero. Slap a cape on the man, and I’d be convinced he could fly. There are plenty of authors that I admire or whose writing I enjoy. Terry Pratchett, Edgar Allen Poe, J.K. Rowling, Douglas Adams, Clive Barker, Douglas Coupland, Dorothy Parker, Ken Kesey, just to name a few.

  2. Who influences you as a writer?
    Okay, that might be a bit of an overstatement. But influence goes deeper than just reading the work of other writers.
    I’m influenced by people with sharp minds and even sharper tongues. People who are witty, and people who can dream. It’s wonderful to look around you and really ‘see’ others, really hear them.

  3. Do you remember what your first horror book was that you read?
    That depends. I’ve heard V.C. Andrews described as horror (I still can’t wrap my brain around that), so from that perspective ‘Flowers in the Attic’ would have been my first horror book.
    Personally I’d like to go with Suffer the Children by John Saul. I find that to fit my vision of horror better than V.C. Andrews does. I was properly spooked by it.

10. How old were you?
Not sure, I would think twelve or thirteen, maybe a little younger.

11. Is there any subject you will not touch as an author?
I won’t glorify hate. I will never write something that will lead a reader to think it’s okay to hate others or to harm people.
That doesn’t mean that I’ll never write wicked characters. I will write characters most foul that will truly indulge in horrible acts and life styles. They may glorify it, but I shall always put in an opposing point of view to counter this. And I do love giving the bad people their come- uppance from time to time too.

At the same time, I don’t think there are subjects I shy away from. There are some very dire topics in my repertoire. Right now one of them is ‘Child brides’. I don’t think we can turn a blind eye to the real horror in the world. (there are times I wish I could, though)

12. What was the best advice you were given as a writer?
*bites lip* so much to choose from. I think the best advice I was given was “always research your publisher”. Just because they’re a publisher, doesn’t always mean that they’ll do what’s best for your book. Make sure you look into someone before subbing. “Read and understand your contract” is another really valuable one. Or: “always make sure your work is professionally edited.” There is a lot of good advice and a lot of bad advice out there. Use your common sense!

13. If you had to start all over again, what would you do different?

I would start publishing sooner. To be honest, I wasted too many years being insecure and just writing for myself. Publishing has taught me a lot about writing. I’ve met a lot of great author friends who really helped me grow.

14. How many books do you read a year?
I don’t have a clue. I read at least two a month I would say. Though lately I’ve been ‘listening’ more to books (audio books) than reading them.

15. Do you write every day?
I work on writing almost every day. There’s more to it than just the actual writing. I spent a lot of days editing. Does that count as writing? I think so I guess. I don’t know. And now you got me talking to myself. That’s never a good sign!
Thanks for interviewing me! I had a lot of fun.

Twitter: C_Noordeloos
Blog: Website:
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