Guest-blog: THANA NIVEAU

Today’s guest-blog is from a new and upcoming writer, the stylish Thana Niveau (and, it has to be said, that her and Lord P made something of an elegant pair at the recent FantasyCon in Nottingham). Don’t let her own somewhat self-effacing description of herself (taken from the bio in the Never Again anthology) fool you: “Thana Niveau lives in a crumbling gothic tower somewhere near a place called Wales. She writes horror and shares her re-animated life with the mad surgeon who stitched her together from pieces of fallen women.” She is in fact a delightful woman and a joy to converse with.

Thana has a story in the Never Again anthology, as well as having a forthcoming appearance in The Black Book of Horror (see accompanying photo). She also won the Whitechapel Society’s Jack the Ripper contest last year.

Here, she tells us what started her off writing.

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Would you choose The Tell-Tale Heart as a bedtime story for your 9-year old? My mother did. I still have the little hardback collection of Poe stories I got as a birthday present that year. Naturally, I didn’t understand everything in the book, but I truly loved the scary bits. And I made her read me that story again and again. More than any other single thing, the beating of that “hideous heart” made me want to write horror.

The year before that I’d been to see Alien in the cinema with my parents. All I remember of the ads was the title sequence with the letters slowly forming over the blackness of space. I didn’t know what the word was but I thought it was pronounced a-LEEN and I was both terrified and intrigued by the possibilities. I only remember two things about the actual film: the facehugger leaping out of the egg and the scene where they try to get it off John Hurt’s face and it bleeds acid. That was enough for me. I’d already seen too much. I burrowed as far into my father’s chest as I could and I don’t even know if I made it to the end of the film. I spent the whole night lying awake in my room with all the lights on, staring in wide-eyed dread at the striated wood pattern on my closet door, convinced that it was the legs of the alien slipping down from inside the closet.

I watched everything that looked scary, and most of it scared me plenty. But then, I was already a fearful child. I was plagued by nightmares. Horror saved me. The films gave me an outlet for my anxiety. Fear became my friend. Jason and Freddy were my childhood companions. On the literary side, Poe was my first great horror love, followed swiftly by Stephen King and Ramsey Campbell. Their stories scared me silly while at the same time inspiring me. I still had nightmares, but now they were more like visits from a slightly sadistic muse. Writing all the scary stuff down turned it from a curse into a blessing.

While I’ve been writing all my life, I’ve only just begun to publish. My story From Hell to Eternity won the Whitechapel Society’s Jack the Ripper contest last December, which gave me the courage to submit other stories. My story The Pier is the first offering in The Seventh Black Book of Horror and The Death of Dreams appears in the charity anthology Never Again. I’m working on several other stories for a collection of my own, but my real love is for novels and I’ve plenty of ideas along those lines.

I hope you’ll be seeing more of me in the future!

—()—

I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that we will be hearing a lot more from the fabulous Thana in the not-too-distant future. I would also suggest that you go and find yourselves copies of both Never Again (edited by Allyson Bird and Joel Lane) and The Black Book of Horror (edited by Charles Black) as soon as possible!!

Many thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts, Thana!

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