Today I have the distinct pleasure of interviewing Chantal Noordeloos on her latest release, Angel Manor. I met Chantal a couple years ago when she debuted her first podcast in the Wicked Women’s Challenge for Horror Addicts. Her fantastic short story podcast still haunts me to this day. Now, her novel Angel Manor, will make me think twice about inheriting old estates!
Ready to Squirm and Shiver?
Chantal has written a spectacular feat. After a truly shocking opening sequence the main plot of the story begins. A simple visit by three friends to an inherited home lures us into complacency with only minor hints at the future.
Odd happenings and non-malicious oddities have the protagonists off balance. Without giving spoilers, I can only say that by the finale the tension and drama had me thoroughly involved, and terrified.
Enough time was spent on the main characters that I understood and believed in them, without all of the tedium of extraneous information that does not help the story. Tears arose right alongside the chuckles.
We learn that what fate, or birthright, has in store for you, may not be what you expect nor want. But also realize, that for the greater good, sometimes fate makes you exactly what fate needs you to be. 😈
Where did you get your inspiration for recruiting torturous nuns? Could you include your nun-selfie?
(Yes, found my nun selfie for you, and for those who wonder: I’m wearing a white pillow case topped by black t-shirt.)
My first thought was to go with orphans, and make them spooky, but that didn’t really suit my vision for the story. I can’t tell you exactly why I chose nuns, because that would give away some of the plot, but lets just say I needed guardians, and they really suited the purpose.
I’m a fan of old-school (or is that skool? I’m not up to date on modern spelling it seems) tropes, so scary nuns fitted like a glove. It helped having them on my cover too, they’re a fantastic visual.
I loved the tension build. It was impactful at first, then a slow build of kids in an old house, escalating up to the real horror of the story. Did you find pacing a difficult task, or did the story flow into the perfect buildup? Did you write this story in chronological order? [I remember when you were writing this book how you would post certain scenes would upset you, and after reading I can understand why. Living inside your words is powerful and it shows!]
First of all… thank you *insert smiley with hearts for eyes here*
Yes, I’m a chronological writer. My OCD won’t let me write any other way *twitch*. I have actually added bits in between, though, when I thought the story needed a little more. The story itself came quite naturally to me, I let the characters guide me, if I make sense.
Having said that, I did struggle with a few things. For example, in the first draft I had way too much exposition, I tried to tell the story of all three books in one, so we decided to cut all of that out, and spread it over the other two books. It really slowed down my pacing. Sometimes less is more.
Did you find yourself entering the world of Angel Manor while writing, or did you remain a spectator looking in? What would have the other option done to you and the story?
*whispers* I saw it all happen… I was there!! *wide eyes filled with terror* [ GASP! 😥 ]
All kidding aside, yeah, I get pretty immersed in my writing, and I’ve had some rough moments. I even cried a few times when I killed someone. Not pretty a-tear-rolls-down-my-cheek-crying. I’m talking ugly crying, with weird squeaky noises and snot. It wasn’t a pleasant sight!
This is quite a different ride from Coyote – which genre do you prefer writing?
You make me choose between my babies? *dramatic back-of-the-hand-on-forehead pose* [ Yeah, I suck like that! 😛 ]
You monster! 😉
Just kidding. Ehm, well Coyote is more ‘fun’ to write. She’s just a laugh, and I get to ‘be’ a really tough life-loving bounty hunter for a few months, so I guess I prefer writing her stories. But at the same time, I do enjoy my horror.
With Angel Manor I didn’t have to hold back. I wasn’t concerned about shocking the reader, which is something I worry about all the time when I write Coyote stories. With Angel Manor I just dug into the darkest part of myself and let it all out. So there is something to be said for that as well. I think both genres are good for the soul for different reasons. [ Nods Head in Agreement ]
Can you send me a picture of you at a LARP? Can you provide me info about what you are playing/who you are with?
Okay, I’ve picked this character, Milady Catherine de Winter. I played her about ten years ago, at this event called ‘the Winter life’. I’ve provided 2 photos, one of me when I just got dressed up, the other full in the game. And yes, those are real tears. Occasionally I can get so deeply involved with my character, I can actually cry. She was a very spoiled lady, who had a manservant she was in love with (the manservant was played by my husband Daan.)
About an hour in the game, someone threw a severed hand (don’t worry it was plastic) into my lap, announcing him dead. Naturally I made quite a stink about it, and I cried my eyes out. It was a lot of fun to do.
This character went a little insane, and I ended up running into the woods at night. Because Daan’s character was dead, we decided to make new characters and ended up playing a trio (a friend of ours joined in) of terrible highway men (I had my tooth blackened out and everything to look the part)
Let me add a picture to that one as well. It was a lot of fun, robbing and shooting people, until I died. Then I brought Milady de Winter back. The event that followed, my character woke up in the nut house… not really surprising, huh?
I always like to envision my cast as real world characters. If you had a chance to cast your main players – who would they be? Can you provide me images?
Recently I’ve decided that Jennifer Lawrence would make an awesome Coyote, so I’m sticking with that. As for the Angel Manor cast, I haven’t thought of that. I could see Tom Hardy or Nick Zano as Logan or something… because, you know… purrrrrr. *wiggles eyebrows*
Maybe Kat Dennings as Freya. Bam’s hard, I would make her a mix between a young Lori Petty and Christina Aguilera.
Now for some fun & silly questions with Chantal 😯
What is your favorite D&D game to play with your family?
We play a lot of different role play games. With Elora (who is now seven) we strictly play AD&D, because (despite people believing you need a satanic priest as your Dungeon Master…. And the story teller actually holding such an insidious sounding title as ‘Dungeon Master) it’s the most child friendly of the games we have. [ Our daughter enjoys playing D&D with us. She is eight now. So proud! ]
I obviously love playing Deadlands (that’s where Coyote comes from, she used to be my role play character). There are numerous other favourites, like Pathfinder, Mage, Shadowrun. But my top two games have to be Firefly and In Nomine. Those are just the best.
What is the biggest difference between Cosplay and LARP? If you like cosplay, who is your favorite character?
Errrr… no speako no Cosplay. Just kidding. I really enjoy looking at Cosplay, mind you, I’ve just never done it. I could think of some characters I would like to dress up as though. Emma Frost would be awesome. Or Tank Girl. If I would have the body of a pornstar I would totally dress as Lady Death or Harley Quinn, but I don’t… and I don’t want to frighten the children.
What is your favorite funny internet Meme?
What’s the most blatant lie you’ve ever told? And why?
You know I’m actually struggling with this one. Not saying I never lie, but mine tend to be either white lies, or miscommunications. I think the most blatant lies I tell are saying ‘I don’t mind’, when I really do mind, but just don’t want to be a whiny cow about something.
If you were going to commit the perfect murder, how would you go about it?
I would have to not be in the room when the person died, because I can’t stand blood or death, and fainting next to the person you just murdered is hardly perfect. I guess I would have to go with hiring someone else. They can be as creative as they want about it, as long as they never tell me, or get me busted. [ I LOVE it! A horror writer who does not blood and death 🙂 ]
How much impact does your childhood [or your marriage] have on your writing?
Sheesh, hitting me with the tough questions, are ya? I think I take more inspiration from my daughter Elora’s childhood, than I do from my own. I borrow bits from my real life for stories, but I don’t think they change my stories too much.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I have no idea, this writing business is strange. It’s a weird mix between running and standing still. A pretty big roller coaster ride, if you ask me. Where I would like to be in ten years is with a lot of books out, a solid fan base and a steady income. Maybe the promise of a movie or television series based on one of my books. That would be great. I would love to get out there more, do readings, give lectures, be among the readers. That’s what I dream of.
Since we write horror, I love to ask this question. What is your most desperate fear and how do you confront it?
I fear everything. Hahaha. It’s a bit of a joke amongst my peers. The reason why I write horror is because I can always think of something I find scary. Of course there is that subtle difference between “eek, now that’s scary” and “ARGL, save me!! I will never sleep again.”
One of my worst fears is scary little girls. Samara from the ring spooks me so much, I can’t look at a picture of her without cringing. [ For me, it’s the little boy in Grudge that gets me every time! ]
Am terrified of dead things too. When there is a live mouse in the house, I’m the one who catches and releases it in the wild… but as soon as it’s a dead one, I scream like a little girl and wait for my husband to clean it up.
Otherwise my fears are pretty standard: the dark, spiders, heights, that sort of thing.
It really helps writing about fears though, it can exorcise my inner demons. In fact, I used to have this nightly fear, then I wrote ‘in de dead of night’, which is basically what I kept envisioning at 3 A.M. and suddenly I didn’t think about it anymore. So… *waves pom poms* yay for writing (and for being unhinged enough to being able to write)
Where Can We Connect with Chantal?
Chantal Noordeloos (born in the Hague, and not found in a cabbage as some people may suggest) 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.
Chantal Noordeloos 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.”
Chantal started her career writing short stories for various anthologies, and in 2012 she won an award for ‘Best Original Story’ for her short ‘the Deal’.