Friday, 30 December 2011

An Interview: Antoinette Bergin

Filing Words is proud to have Antoinette Bergin, author of Bedtime Stories for Children You Hate, with us for a chat.

Firstly, and I have to put this in before I start asking questions, Antoinette (Nettie, for short) has self proclaimed on her own website that: You might know me as the founder of "Nettie's Law," a piece of legislation that swept the United States a few years ago. Oh, alright. I'm not the founder of "Nettie's Law." Apparently, I'm the reason for it. "Nettie's Law" states that children's caregivers must undergo extensive psychiatric evaluation before becoming live-in nannies (even if they've worked for the bloody Queen!). It's currently under some sort of civil rights appeal and I've no idea why they've slapped my name on it.

We’ll find out how much of that is true in a moment, but first, I must lay down my hammer in respect of the real reason that she is here; Bedtime Stories for Children You Hate.

If you haven’t read it, it is time to leave here, follow one of these links to Amazon (US is here, UK is here) and purchase it. If you’re here, it’s because of the word horror – it’s what I do, and trust me… if you like my twisted tales of strangeness, you’ll love this.

Take this as my review:

Rolling in at the length of a good Novella, Bedtime Stories for Children You Hate is most definitely not for children you even remotely like. As charmingly, and, dare I say it, bedtime story-ish as it reads, it reads like Mr. King himself has just awoken from a Grimm nightmare. It is a rollercoaster of I didn’t see that coming, mixed in with Oh my God, did it really say that? I read it in one sitting, and although there are some formatting issues with the production, I couldn’t tear myself away.

So without further ado:

FW: Antoinette, welcome to Filing Words. I won’t beat about the bush with this. How much of it is true? Did you really skew American Legislation, or is it all ‘smoke and mirrors’?

AB: Although I'd love to take credit for being the cause of something like “Nettie's Law,” I must confess it is fiction. Antoinette is a character I created originally for stand-up comedy performances. I quickly learned that I loved writing the material but dreaded being on stage. Hence, my book was born (or forged in the fires of Hell, whichever way you prefer to think of it).

FW: Assuming that BSFCYH is all fiction (and I hope it is), where on earth did you come up with the deliciously dark twists?

AB: One of the stories is actually true but keeping to my evil nature, I shall not tell you which one. As for the rest of them, it's just how my mind works. Even as a child I was tilted to the dark side. Perhaps I'm genetically predisposed or was deprived of oxygen in the womb. I don't know. I do know, however, that writing a straight-forward story with a happy ending would probably kill me.

FW: And are you influenced (and by whom) in what is clearly, the horror genre? (To all my regular readers: I know horror is not a genre, but what else am I supposed to call it?)

AB: My dad was my first influence. He sort of gave me quiet permission to embrace the humor that could be found in weird, horrific, and morbid situations. He gave me the most wonderful copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales. Later, when I saw what Disney had done with some of them, I felt ill. I will also profess here and now my love for all things Stephen King and Tim Burton, save and except for the remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Awful. Just Awful.

FW: So what’s next? Is the mooted More Bedtime Stories coming? A novel? More Nannying (Eek!)?

AB: No Nannying! It is perfectly safe to leave children with me as long as you're not particularly concerned with the condition in which they are returned to you, but it's really not what I do. I am working on More Bedtime Stories for Children You Hate and I had good intentions at Halloween and Christmas to write freakish holiday stories but life kept getting in the way. Rest assured (or uneasy) that the world has not heard the last of Antoinette Bergin!

FW: I’d like to thank Antoinette for being with us, and wish her well for the future, and of course, part with only these words:

Go. Go and buy it now. (But don’t read it to the children… please God, no.)

Antoinette Bergin can be found at her website, here, and her blog, here. She is an inspiration to the Nanny, claimant of Nettie’s Law, and an author who, by my estimation, will shock and scare us all, in whatever she serves up to us as dinner in the future.

Thank you for joining us.

‘Til next time…

(PS: Buy it. US here and UK here. I loved it.)

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