Interview with Chloe Yates

Piercing The Vale

Piercing the Vale Featuring Chloe Yates

I enjoy the writing of Chloë Yates. There is an irreverant humour that really appeals to me. So it is a pleasure to ask her a few questions and find out a little more about her.

Q. How would you describe your writing and who does it appeal to (other than me)?

A. In broad terms, I suppose I write dark fantasy; sometimes it’s more on the horror side, sometimes it’s a bit comedic, and sometimes it’s a combination thereof. I’d like to think there’s an underlying misrule to my work, with a hearty dose of oddness. I’ve found that it appeals to Archbishops, cranky grandmothers, the Lord of the Dance, and astronauts. Exclusively those. I’m not expecting to make the bestseller list.

Q. Your poem in Piercing The Vale is very different from everything else I’ve read by you. Can we expect more of this?

A. I became a bit conscious of some folks not taking me seriously, which is fine, but a bit irritating to be pigeonholed so early. The fact is I want to try everything. I want to and I can. I want to write romps, and epics, to create something harrowing and something bittersweet. I want to tell love stories, grand stories, and small, personal stories. I want to raise gruesome greenies and wild adventures. I want to write poetry that breaks your heart and poetry that makes you want to sing the lines, and I live to impress the world with my rhymegasms. So, in simple terms, I guess you could say all bets are off.

Q. It is shameless plug time. What do you have out right now and why should we buy it?

A. Check out www.chloeyates.com for all the latest news about where you can grab my work. My latest piece is the poem in Piercing the Vale. You should buy it if you think you know what I am and what I have to say. It will prove you wrong. I like that shit. (You should also buy it because it’s a very good anthology and Fox Spirit rules. Fact).

Q. What goodies do you have in the wings for the near future?

A. I’m currently working on a short story/poetry collection for Fox Spirit, which is actually volume 2 of the Feral Tales Trilogy. It’s not so much a riff on Fairy Tales, although there will be quite a bit of fairy tale and mythological bumpfery, but the central idea is to go back to the essence of such tales – the cautionary. Whether you can work out what the warning I’m giving is, is entirely another matter. I’m from the Ron Swanson School of didacticism.
Keep your eye out for the upcoming Eve of War, the follow up to FS’s BFS nominated Tales of Eve. I’ve a story in that and also one in Respectable Horror, edited by the exquisite Kate Laity. Now that’s something a bit different. I think you’ll be surprised again. I’ve also got stories in the last couple of Fox Pockets. One has my longest title to date. They’re… well, you’ll see.

Q. If you could put on a skin mask and be somebody for a day who would you choose and why?

A. The very idea of being someone else is off-putting – and other people’s bodilies give me the heebie-jeebies. I know and understand my hang-ups and fixations, having to cope with someone else’s would be brain melting. The grass is almost never greener. Although, Guillermo del Toro. His world must be brain melty in the good way.

Q. You’re stuck on a desert island and you only have five books to read. Which five would you choose and why?

A. This is too hard. It’s like you’re trying to break my brain. Let me think.
1) Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley. I read that novel for half a dozen different classes at Uni, and each time I got something different from it. A cracking story too.
2) Smoke and Mirrors, by Neil Gaiman. This book broadened my idea of what short stories could be. There’s so many different kinds of story in there and I don’t think I could ever get tired of it.
3) The Complete Works of Shakespeare. My coconut headed friends, who I would make from strips of coconut tree bark and leaves, and I could act out the plays.
4) The Book of Symbols, by The Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism. Gods, I love this book! Not only are the pictures splendid, the information contained therein is fascinating without being too weighty to plough through. Plus it’s pretty hefty so it could probably crack a coconut if necessary. Just in case there’s no rocks on the beach.
5) Can I count the Fox Pocket series as one entity? I think I should be able to. I’ve not been over greedy elsewise. I want them because they are fabulous, and not just because I’m in all but one… no, really, I’m telling the truth. So much goodness.
But what about Jane Austen? Or Jane Eyre? And there’s no Stephen King in there (I’d take either The Stand or The Talisman, fyi) I have been greedy now. I’m not ashamed.

Wolf At The Door by Theresa Derwin

Wolf At The Door by Theresa Derwin

I’ve read a few stories by Theresa Derwin and I have always enjoyed her take on zombies. I’m not sure anybody else would have written a romantic comedy for zombies. I was looking forward to reading this to see what else the author could bring to the table.

I have read too many stories that fail at writing a period story to take anything for granted. This book manages to somehow manage a tone that suggests Victorian to me without resorting to obvious and heavy handed word choices. There was a light touch to the language that made me think the author had an old soul.

If the author had left it there this would have been a solid collection of stories, but she didn’t. There was a time warp between stories that was surprisingly easy to detect just from the author’s voice. Each time period had a completely different sound in my head. I didn’t need to think about the specific words or any titles about when a particular story was set. Everything I needed was there just below the surface.

I really enjoyed this book and will probably come back to it at some point to enjoy the voices.

 

 

Riding The Centipede by John Claude Smith

Riding The Centipede by John Claude Smith

I bought this book mainly because I enjoyed Autumn In The Abyss by the same author. As I started reading this I thought I was going to write a lazy review citing the obvious Burroughs influences. The more I read this book the more it got inside my head. There is an odd flow to this book. The prose slithered a slimy path across my consciousness. It tickled that part of me deep within my lizard brain (pun intended) and genuinely made me question my perception of reality on occasion.

In simple terms this story assumed that all the drug-fueled warped writing of authors such as Burroughs were not just ravings. They were founded in a reality. The search for the ultimate hit was actually a search for the entrance to somewhere else. A dimension with different rules where insects rule and mankind was tolerated.

There were three strands to this story that slowly converged to create a twisted knot of realities. I was really grateful that the author put the character title in the chapter titles. That made it really easy to put myself in the right place as I started to read each chapter.

I only have one negative thing to say about this book. It uses one of my most hated words. Every time I hear or read the word impactful I cringe. It makes no sense to me but in the context of this story I guess I can cope as it hits the contrary nature of the conjoined realities.

Piercing The Vale edited by Adele Wearing

Piercing The Vale

WARNING! THIS REVIEW IS INHERENTLY BIASED AS I AM IN IT.

This was difficult to write. Part of me wanted to scream “LOOK AT ME”, whilst the rest of me was thinking how crap my story sounds compared to those around it. This isn’t about me though. This is about another fine book in the Fox Pocket series. I can’t talk about this series without mentioning the cover art. I love them all and this one may be my favourite one so far. I’ve asked the editor several times if there is any chance of a poster version of all the covers.  Sarah Anne Langton really makes these books stand out.

This book contained some really interesting stories. There were some very different perspectives and a nice variety of length and paces to each story. My personal favourite was by Connected by Alasdair Stuart which was short and punchy. The biggest surprise for me was the poem by Chloe Yates. I had to read it a couple of times to get the rhythm but the emotion was  powerful and serious. Yes I just said Chloe Yates has written something serious. The first time through I was expecting a cock joke at the end. I’m glad there wasn’t as it would have spoiled something quite magical.

Objectively I enjoyed this book and although not my favourite in the series there was nothing that I didn’t enjoy reading. Casting aside objectivity you should buy this book. No really, BUY THIS BOOK. Hopefully I’ve got that out of my system and will not be spamming links every hour.

Space Raptor Butt Invasion by Chuck Tingle

Space Raptor Butt Invasion
This was a first for me. I can quite safely say that homoerotic space erotica was not a genre I thought I would ever review. I bought this book in part because of the whole Hugo award 2016 drama but mainly because when I looked up the author on wikipedia the titles of his his books were pure gold. For that alone I was willing to give this book a punt (that is not a euphemism).

Tingle has a very straighforward and to the point style, usually the point of a throbbing member. The only way I can describe it is as a short scene from an adult movie in written form. The characters and scene are set and then the erotica begins, and usually climaxes (pun intended) in a loud and messy fashion.

I couldn’t help feeling there was more too it than that. Part of me was thinking that Raptor could be an analogy to a screaming drunk female and the rest of me was wondering if the raptor in question was an anthropomorhic personification of a Velociraptor. The nasty predator that hunts in packs. That lead my mind in to further think what if there was a whole pack of them and not just one.

This story really wasn’t my cup of tea but I enjoyed it and it was something I never thought I’d read much less review. I used the term homoerotica above but I’m not sure that counts between species. This book was all about the erotica with just enough science fiction and story to get you interested.

Fury: A supernatural horror novel by Joan De La Haye

Fury by Joan De La Haye

Fury was a deeply disturbing and at times uncomfortable book to read. The sexual violence that kicks this story in to action was cleverly written to convey how truly nasty it was without needing too much exposition. My warped little mind took all the hooks and made things much more horrific.

Angela had a bad day. A night out with her friends  goes badly wrong when she was lured away by a honeypot working for a criminal gang. What happened to Angela was beyond what anybody should ever have to endure. Something happened at that moment and Angela’s spirit was released to gain revenge on those that had wronged her.

There was an interesting counterpoint in this story. Another victim called Alice experienced her ordeal in a completely different way. Her journey had no less peril and in a different way was just as disturbing. I was left wondering whether her situation was down to her personal desires or whether the Stockholm Syndrome was more of an influence. Either way her life looks set to be tumultuous at best.

I still think Requiem in E# is my favourite story by Joan De La Haye, but this one is clean, snappy and has a nice flow to it.

In An Unknown Country Edited by Adele Wearing

In An Unknown Country

This book is the seventh in the Fox Pockets series of books. These books are smaller than a Kindle and fit nicely in to cargo pockets with room to spare.

This book was had a really unusual feel to me. It felt like a travel log. That is if a dark force gave Bill Bryson glimpses in to places no mortal mind should ever see and twisted the entire universe to fit the cruel and disturbing holiday wishes of an unknowable entity. I don’t think this was a deliberate theme and was all just part of my twisted little mind but it does show how reading this book got inside my thought processes.

I would normally try and pick out a couple of stories that I enjoyed the most in an anthology but I’m not going to. I found that although these stories had very different characters, themes and settings there appeared to be a cohesion and equality amongst the writing quality. There were no obvious peaks and troughs making this a smooth and easy to read book.

This is an ideal book to spend 15-20 minute chunks reading short stories without getting frustrated about having to try and pick up the plot. This was exactly what I needed to get me back in to the habit of reading new books again.