Interview by by Lisa M. Collins

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

I was wondering where you get your story ideas?

I get my story ideas everywhere, even the strangest places. Because I’m a very visual person, I tend to be inspired by things such as pictures, buildings and even random people I see in the street. We were recently in a German theme park and my husband turned to me and said “You’re world building, aren’t you?”

I was. I love it when objects tell me stories. Books can inspire me too, though not as much as visuals do. There are books that will trigger something in me, and I will want to work with that. That’s why I always have a notebook (or a phone in which I can take notes) with me, so I can always write down what I come up with.

I find it hard to switch this off, and it’s not always fun for the people around me, because I can get very distracted.

What is the usual process for your fiction writing? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I so desperately try to be a plotter. There are even times that I try and write out each chapter, but as I start writing, I forget to check the chapters, and I let the story guide me. I’m not a complete pantser though, I need to know certain steps, and I need to know the ending.

Redo Front
In a way I feel like a time lord *chuckles*, there are certain steps in time that can’t be changed… everything else is fair game.

Once you have an idea that sparks your imagination do you research your idea or do any world-building exercises, or do you just begin to write and see where the Muse takes you?

I do world building. If it’s a complicated world, I’ll even run my ideas by other people, because I want it to really work, and will need a second and even third opinion. I am also a big advocate of research.

What is your daily writing like?

I’m boring as hell. I tend to get up around 8 am, then I work until my daughter comes home at 3:30 pm. Unless I have to pick her up from school, then I have to stop at 2:30 pm. I eat my lunch behind my computer. I don’t get a lot of work done after Elora is home, so I tend to do a bit more PR than actual writing. Then when she goes to bed at 7 pm, I get back to work and work until I’m too tired and then I go to bed. This is an average routine. In the weekends I work less hours.

Are you a full time writer? If so when did you make the decision and what factors led to the decision? If you are not a full time writer…Is your plan to one day being a full time writer?

Yes I write fulltime. I made the decision 3 years ago to quit my job, but I only seriously started writing 1 ½ year ago. Before that I was doing all these little jobs here and there, because I was too scared not to have a solid income. Then I let it go and focused on writing.

What lead me there? Well, we could afford to live of one job after my husband got a promotion. He told me that I supported him when he wanted to study, so now it was my turn to live my dream. And I did, I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was fifteen.

Can you tell us about your experience working with your current publisher? (Any other publishers?) (Or your self-publishing experiences?)

Working with Tip My Hat is great. I’m somewhere in between small press and self published. Daan, my husband, wanted to try his hands on publishing because he is a marketing expert, and I’m his first experiment. He has great ideas about ‘new publishing’, and that’s the reason why I agreed to go along. I’ve had some experiences with Indie presses before, but working with Daan is very different. At the same time, it’s not as ‘easy’ for me as people may think, I can’t just get away with what I want, the same way self publishers do. I don’t have a say in everything, and I know very little about the actual publishing part of it. I don’t know what my sales figures are or anything like that.

Tip my Hat works with great people who are very professional. I’m absolutely in love with the skills of my editor, Apple Ardent Scott. She knows how to point out the parts in my work that could be better, and she gives me enough freedom to rework them so that the work doesn’t lose my ‘voice’.

What is your current release and (without spoilers) tell us about the new book or series. Can you tell us about some of your other writing and any appearances or signings that you have planned?

The most recent release that’s out there is Deeply Twisted, my horror collection. It’s currently on the ballot for the Bram Stoker Awards (Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection), so I’m really hoping I’ll get at least a nomination. Fingers crossed

The next release will be ‘Pride’, which is the first story in the ‘Even Hell has Standards’ series. There will be seven stories of various sizes that will make up the series, each story will present one of the sins. I’m working with my personal concept of Hell, which is a little different, and I want to really put the emphasis on the horrors of humanity, rather than work with ghosts etc. Though there will be demons of course, but I like to think they are original too.

While I’m working on Pride (which is now in the editing round) I’m working on a dark fantasy YA story called Alleria. It’s at the proofreaders at the moment, because I feel I need to do more with the story, and fresh perspectives can give me the right inspiration.

Other than that I’m working on the second novel for the Coyote series. This one will follow Coyote: The Outlander, and be called ‘Coyote: The Clockwork Dragonfly”

As an author what inspiration or advice would you give to a writer who is working to make the transition to Author?

coyotecut out
The first thing I always say is: If you want to be a professional, then act professional. Writing is a sensitive job, and it’s often very ego driven. People put their heart and soul into work, but in order to be part of the writing world, you need to be able to accept critique and look at your work with a professional eye. I’m a big advocate of editors, I really think it makes all the difference. Make sure you have a good editor too. It’s annoying when there is work out there that is filled with mistakes, it can turn off your readers. Make your work as good as you can make it. Don’t rush it. If you doubt, don’t publish, work on it some more. It’s very hard to get rid of a bad reputation, once you built one.

Another thing I think is important: be nice to people. Despite that most of writing feels like a solitary job, it really isn’t. You need formatters, editors, but most of all… you need readers. Without them, a writer is really nothing. Treat people with respect, don’t freak out when you get a bad review, don’t argue with people who don’t like your work. Just take from it what you can and move on.

Who is your favorite author, and can you recommend a book by that author?

Neil Gaiman. He’s my hero. I have several others but he’s my absolute fave. Neverwhere is my favorite book by him, but I love the Sandman graphic novels with almost the same passion.

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