That's exactly what happened with today's guest. I kept hearing everyone talking about "Chantal Noordeloos this" and "Chantal Noordeloos that" and finally I decided I just had to friend her on Facebook. And it's been quite a whirlwind ride ever since. And because I am a river to my people, you, dear blog readers, are now going to be treated to but a mere tip of the iceberg that is knowing Chantal with our next Women in Horror Month interview. Enjoy!
About Chantal Noordeloos:
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 favourites, 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."
You can follow her on Amazon, her website, Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter.
SK: What are your horror bona fides?
CN: *points with wide eyes* Look over there!!! *runs away*
Sorry… that was my very subtle and mature way of saying… I don’t think I have any. Don’t get me wrong, I respect a lot of horror writers. Clive Barker, for example, is an excellent author… but I’ve read about one book and maybe three novellas/shorts by the man, so I can’t really call him my ‘authorly hero,' can I? It’s not like I have a little shrine with his image on it, like I do for Neil Gaiman… wait… what? Who said that?
As a young pup I used to read a lot of John Saul. And as much as I enjoyed his work, he’s an author of my past, not one that I have strong fuzzy feelings for right now. I don’t pray to him, like I pray to Pratchett…. I mean… eh…
All kidding aside. As much as I love horror, I don’t really have any great examples in the genre. There are some excellent books out there. I really recommend people to look into some of the small press/ or indie writers in horror, since that’s where some of the most spectacular hidden gems can be found.
SK: Who or what terrifies you?
CN: I’m scared of everything. It’s nothing short of ironic that I write horror stories. Part of me thinks that’s why I write horror… I’m really good at being afraid.
I’m a real hero at 3 in the morning, when I have to go to the bathroom. You know… when you accidentally catch a glimpse of something moving in the corner of your eye, which turns out to be your own image in the darkened bathroom mirror, and you start wondering how you would react if you saw your own face change? It’s moments like that where I’m most inspired to write horror stories.
SK: Are there unique challenges to being a woman in horror or do you feel like gender is irrelevant?
Wow… that just got all serious, didn’t it?
See this is where I would love to laugh and say ‘no.’ In fairness, when I’m writing I don’t feel any difference. And I’m quite lucky that I am surrounded by a lot of amazing people, who appreciate me for my work, and not my ‘feminine parts.’
But… (and these are not the type of big but(t)s I like)… there are challenges. Still too many people are gender biased within certain genres (it’s not horror alone, and I’m sure guys suffer in romance a bit too, so I’m not trying to make women look like victims here… we’re not, we’re tough cookies.) Horror is definitely one of them. It’s not as bad as science fiction (which I also write,) the genre that seems to be the king of misogyny, but it can still be pretty bad. At least in horror our peers tend to stick up for us.
I have had people tell me to my face (well, my internet face) that they refuse to read horror work by a woman. Not just one person either. I’m sure I would get a lot more of this if I wasn’t actively trying to stay away from certain threads and topics. But I have been told that women are just not capable of writing as gruesome as a man. Whoever thinks that… I invite you to read my novel ANGEL MANOR. Please tell me how soft and sweet it is.
It’s not easy finding your place in some of the writing communities as a woman. We are often judged by the most irrelevant things… like our appearance. People have called women in horror many things. We’re judged because we’re not attractive enough, or because we’re too attractive and that means we don’t have talent, but only sell books with our looks (like it works that way *rolls eyes*) If we show any type of sexual confidence, we’re slutty, sad, needy or are trying to hard. If we don’t, we’re prudes that probably don’t dare to go very far in our writing… and thus the perfect example why we shouldn’t be read.
It’s also more difficult to become seen. Women are often not included in lists of ‘best horror authors’. So many ‘classic top ten’ lists will exclude Mary Shelley, who was one of the founders of the freaking genre. It’s getting better though, and I believe things like ‘Women in Horror Month’ are a big key in helping to get women on the map and acknowledged.
So, yes… there are challenges, and quite a few, but we’re overcoming them. Slowly, but surely.
SK: Who are your favorite female horror icons?
CN: Ohhh there are so many to chose from. I really love a good female villain and monster, so I’ll start there!
Samara is one of my absolute favorites. One of the few characters in horror films that still terrifies me. Great character. She’s the perfect ‘creepy little girl’, which happens to be my favorite monster.
Aside from films, I love the urban legend girls, like Bloody Mary, de witte wieven (which are a Dutch myth), and I’m always a fan of the ghostly bride.
SK: What are you working on/promoting currently? Why should folks check it out?
CN: Well… I promote all my work, of course *winks*. My latest released work is the second story in my EVEN HELL HAS STANDARDS collection, called WRATH. Why should folks check it out? *scratches head* I think it depends on what said ‘folks’ are looking for. The EVEN HELL HAS STANDARDS series is definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever written. It’s about real human horror, which can be quite the slap in the face. Not everyone will enjoy that. If you’re looking for ‘lighter’ topics (aka straightforward gore and horror tropes) I would suggest picking up either ANGEL MANOR or DEEPLY TWISTED (which is my short story collection). Coincidentally, the current project I’m working on is the sequel to ANGEL MANOR.
About ANGEL MANOR:
A beautiful house – with a dark and deadly secret.
When Freya inherits her mother's childhood home, she sees it as an opportunity. A chance for a new life with her best friends, as they convert the crumbling mansion into an exclusive hotel.
Instead, they'll be lucky to escape with their lives.
As the first hammers tear through the bricked up entrances, a dark, terrible and ancient evil stirs beneath the house. An evil that has already laid claim to Freya and her companions' souls.