Monday, 18 November 2013

Some silly questions with Chantal Noordeloos and review of Deeply Twisted

Chantal Noordeloos was apparently born in the Hague, and not found in a cabbage patch as some people may suggest. 

She 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 super villain. When she is not busy exploring interesting new realities, or arguing with characters (aka writing), she likes to dabble in drawing.

There are many genres that CN 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.
CN 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.”
What is your favourite sandwich? Drink? Chocolate/candy bar? (you can just pick one if you like!)
I suck at these questions, because it sort of depends on what mood I’m in. My tastes switch a lot. If I would have to choose now, I would say the ‘All 
American Sandwich’ at the Earl of Sandwich in Walt Disney world *grin*. 

My favourite alcoholic drink would be Safari, and non alcoholic I think I would say ‘Milkshake’ (preferably a peanut butter and jelly one)

Do you have a favourite place to write?

Anywhere where it’s quiet and I have a comfortable chair and computer. I honestly don’t mind. Good temperature too please.

Who or What is your personal favourite character/novel?

That I’ve read? Novel: Neverwhere. Character: Oh… that’s a tough one. My oldest favourite novel character is Raistlin Majere from the Dragonlance books.

That I've written? Novel: I've only written two so far, so I guess it would be Coyote. Actually that’s not true, because I've written more, but the other’s just aren't ready for publishing yet. Celestials would be a ‘tie’ with Coyote. Character is more difficult. I've written a lot of those. I love Coyote, but there are more darlings, like my Soulman character. I also love Lily and Holden from my upcoming Celestial series. Too much too choose from ;)

If you had a theme track, what would it be?
A bit cheesy, it’s been done before, but Sympathy for the Devil would be one of them. It stems back from my larp years. Lol

If you were to write  your “memoirs”  who would play you and key members of your life in the televised series?

I would love to see Drew Barrimore as me. And Gerard Butler as Daan… *gurrr*

And back to silly, if you could have any supernatural power what would it be?

I would want to teleport. I absolutely love traveling, so that would be awesome. I’d need to be able to take people with me though. 

So here is my review of her collection, Deeply Twisted, a brilliant gathering of short stories and flash fiction.

English is not CN first language, she is after all from the Netherlands, so I was really surprised at her command of the English language and her ability to utilize it in scaring the socks off me. Now she is the sort of lady who will try to push all the credit on to her wonderful editor but the talent must be there to start with and CN has it in bucket loads.

Soulman: Three homeless men under a bridge tell their life stories to the Soulman and his Raven, each singing their woeful tale; murderers, perverts and junkies. When the twist is revealed at the end it did feel very cathartic.  CN has such a beautiful way of describing things that even the revolting clothing and sleeping area of the homeless is made to sound gorgeous and comfortable.

The Widow: Who are the worse monsters in this story, with the casual telling of the horrors it’s hard to tell; the Widow, the naughty children, the Witte Wieven, Father or Opoe with her scary ghost stories. Such an intricately woven tale CN has managed to create her own urban legends. This little story really freaked me out. The family life she describes is harsh but real and as the story develops and explodes with the horror at the end, all the little pieces slot nicely in, giving that sense of a reality that all myths stem from.

A Taste of Darkness: This is written in a very staccato style which lends itself very well to the buildup of terror. When the final cut came I felt myself gulp in disgust.

When the Bell Tolls: In the middle of a park a strange clock tower springs up and as its reaches each hour a new surprise arrives, will the world survive? CN manages to baffle and scare all at the same time with this weird little tale.

Death Awaits You: A reflective Judge contemplates the horror she has unleashed by finding a woman guilty of murder in this brief tale of death. The crime scene report made me feel a little sick but it was nothing compared to the bedroom ceiling. CN can certainly conjure up revolting images.

Uncle Edmund’s Funeral: Very short, not so sweet but rather funny afternoon spent at Uncle Edmunds funeral!!

Victims of Evolution: This little zompoc story starts off like most, a brief snapshot of hell, how we got there, individual horrors and some observations at how stupid humanity is, this is the point that CN manages to switch positions and give a unique insight into the zombie and what happens next. I can’t go into detail without giving the plot away but it’s well told, with some wonderful emotive moments.

Little Death: Are there monsters that live under the bed? A very sad and terrifying tale of sickness; CN is able to evoke emotions that make your heart still.

The Dispensation of Jack Harrington: a club meeting for serial killers, complete with guest speakers, master classes and new member initiation. Great sting in the tail!

Deeply Twisted:  CN continues the Widow legend and adds some back story that reignited that spine tingle. Such wonderful story telling.

The Angel’s Grave: a spooky little tale about penance and redemption. Whilst it had a great build up I found the ending a little bit of letdown, especially as I now expect so much from CN.

Dinner Date: a dinner party gets out of hand, CN has a real “thing” for revenge and punishment, and it’s very awesome in how she vents it. I am impressed with her Judge/Jury/Executioner style of retribution. It has put me off scallops for a while though!

When the Heavens Cried Gold: wow, just wow. A beautiful piece of flash fiction that left me in a state of shock.

The Door: even though you can guess what is behind the door and what will happen once the hooks are free, the gore which CN presents to you is well worth the read. I so want to know what happens now!

Out of the Storm: not my cup of tea this one, it just did not resonate with me, but the description of the storm was original. 

The Message:  a messenger on a mission, this story was gripping and fast paced but then stopped abruptly, so I hope it continues later on as it was full of promised horror.

Jade: grave robbing is really not good for your health! The buildup is really good, the trouble with these short stories is that CN packs so much in I want to know more about these worlds she creates.

Your Familiar Smile: CN really knows how to wring emotions from you in this feeding/ghost story.

In the Dead of Night: oh just gross! Wonderfully, gross.

The Hungering Depths: set as observations and news reports of various happenings along a stretch of ocean CN builds the tension, never quite giving you a full glance of the monster to come. Now, THIS story she must expand on.

At the end of the book CN comments on how she came to make this collection and then tells us of her new project Even Hell Has Standards, having read the Adolf Zakernay story as a brief short that CN had out I am uber excited as it was this story that turned me on to CN to start with!

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