Gaby den Held

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INSPIRATION: Dennis Cooper 

The American cult writer Dennis Cooper can rightly be called an outsider. 
He never joined any current trend and he went on his way as soon as
 people wanted to annex him. His heroes were the poets Baudelaire, 
Rimbaud, but also Marquis de Sade. With such examples, it is no surprise 
that he writes about boys who indulge in violent sexual excesses. Rape, 
incest, necrophilia, there is no subject he avoids. An entertaining story is 
that the bass guitarist of Blur, Alex James, figured in his novel 'Guide' in 
which the latter was drugged, raped and even murdered. Alex James turned 
out to be a fan of Cooper's work and agreed to an interview with him. But 
half an hour before it would happen Alex shied away from it and the two 
never met. Despite, or perhaps thanks to, the shocking content of his work, 
he has many fans among well-known artists such as Leonardo di Caprio 
and U2. The latter is known to have their song Numb inspired by the 
eponymous chapter from Coopers novel Frisk. But of course there is more 
to it than shock value. Better than anyone he knows how to make the 
craving for love tangible in a way that, despite the extreme violence in his 
stories, actually moves the reader. Originating from the punk culture, 
Dennis Cooper lets himself constantly be influenced by alternative art and 
music movements and he also continues to renew himself. Examples are 
the two novels 'Zac's haunted house,' and 'Zac's control panel,' (2015) which consist entirely of gifs. Other works are: the semi-autobiographical George Miles Cycle (Closer (1989), Frisk (1991), Try (1994), Guide (1997), Period (2000), The sluts (2005) and The Marbled Swarm (2011).

A good writer as bad as you'll find (The Guardian)
Speaking in tongues with Dennis Cooper
Dennis Cooper: the art of fiction (Paris review)
Dennis Cooper blog

Alex Stanovsky, nascent novel: fragment

5-3-2018. Alarm
That strange calm overtook me again. A tranquility that masked the ominousness of the situation as a cloth thrown over an alarm light.

More on Alex Stanovsky
INSPIRATION: Mikhail Bulgakov

Those who know my novels will not be surprised that I am influenced by 
magical realism, surrealism and fairy tales. With magical realism, many 
people think of South American literature. But although I admire the 
novels of Gabriel García Márquez, I don't feel connected to it. 
Where do I get my inspiration from then? The answer is: Russian literature. 
I love the novel We by Jevgeni Zamjatin (1884-1937). A dystopian novel 
from which George Orwell has drawn a lot of inspiration in writing '1984.' 
But my greatest example is Mikhail Bulgakov (1891-1940) and especially 
his novel The Master and Margarita. His style is satirical with a surrealistic 
twist. He makes a superior blend of reality, social criticism and fantasy. But 
he also had to resort to metaphors and fairytale scenes because his books 
and plays were heavily criticized by the Stalinist regime. His pieces were 
even banned in 1929, leaving him without income. In his despiration, he 
wrote a letter to Stalin. A short time later, he was offered work in the 
Moscow Art Theater. He spent his days as assistant director, librettist and 
translator. His own work in the Soviet Union, however, no longer came 
through the censorship. From 1928 to 1940 Bulgakov worked on his main 
novel: The Master and Margarita. When he died on March 10, 1940, he had 
not fully redesigned his magnum opus. For decades his widow Jelena Bulgakova unsuccessfully tried to get the work through censorship. Only in 1966 a heavily censored Soviet version was published. A year later the complete edition of that masterly work appeared in Western Europe. 

Master &Margarita
Biography Mikhail-Bulgakov (Britannica)

Charlie Dark revisited

Charlie Dark is the very first manuscript I wrote, before Maan (Moon).
It’s my most sensual and emotional novel. A tragic love story, which partly take place in the cafes, streets and parks of Amsterdam and Paris. It is also a magic realistic fairytale.

Angel Floris has had a difficult childhood. He lost his mother at a young age, is ignored by his father and ends up in prostitution. As a child he finds comfort in the friendship of his companion Charlie Dark, but one day Charlie suddenly disappears. Years later, Angel thinks he has found his childhood friend Charlie again. He falls deeply in love. But is this boy the real Charlie Dark?

This story has been in the desk drawer for years. In the past period I have reread it and decided that I will offer it to my publisher for publication.
INSPIRATION: Hello earth - In der Tiefe gibt es ein Licht

'Hello earth' by Kate Bush absolutely belongs to the music that has touched and influenced me. It is part of the hallucinogenic B-side of the album Hounds of Love, named The Ninth Wave (after a poem by Alfred Tennyson), a suite of seven songs. It's a dark, almost frightening trip. A mini-opera with a horror edge. The first time I heard it I could hardly sleep afterwards, it made such an impression. The songs resounded in my head. Scary fairytales have my preference and this is one of them. One time La Bush sounds like an anxious little child, than as a furious witch. Hello Earth is the apotheosis. Here everything comes together. Up to and including the dramatic climax: the choir that sings the Georgian song Tsintskaro (known from the film Nosferatu by Werner Herzog). Then the melody descends and the both ominous and reassuring words are spoken: "Tiefer, tiefer, irgendwo in the Tiefe gibt es ein Licht." I quoted this sentence in Charlie Dark. Also as apotheosis. And as an ode.

Kate Bush - Hello earth (YouTube)
Fairy tales - Carolein Smit

There I am as a novelist. Last year I finished two manuscripts. However, only one at the time can be published. If you consider that publishing one book can take almost a year, what should I do in the next two years? The answer to that was given last week in the Drents museum. There I saw the incomparably beautiful ceramics of Carolein Smit. I looked at those shiny, beautifully detailed hares, skeletons, satyrs, wildmen and rats, and then I knew it. "My next novel will be a fairy tale!" I cried out loud to my loved one next to me. Now all my novels have fairy-like features, but I until now I haven’t written a full-blooded fairy tale. Whether that will be a bundle of stories or one story, and for what age, remains to be seen. How and if this will be published is of later care. On to a new literary challenge!

More on Carolein Smit
New novels!

A Small update!
I have send two manuscripts to my publisher last year:
Charlie Dark and Alex Stanovsky.
The last one I have written in recent years, the first is my real
debut, written before Maan (2010-2012).
And now the joyful news: they are both accepted by
my publisher. Also the financing has been arranged!
But which book will be published first? When? And who is 
going do the cover illustration?
Questions that will be answered in the coming months.

Writer in Second Life

Does anyone remember Secondlife? That once so promising virtual world that seemed to be a synonym for the future. Where important companies opened a branch office. But then, all media attention declined. Was second life dead and buried? Well, with more than half a million people participating in it: not in the least. I took the test. I made an avatar (archangel969) and moved into a writer's colony at Milkwood. Read my first findings here.

My adventures in Second Life                             
Photoreport Second Life
The illustrators of Charlie Dark

I promised to share which manuscript will be published this year. It will be... Charlie Dark!
My most personal, most sultry erotic novel about an obsessional love. My only thoroughbred gay novel. However, readers of my work will recognize the magical-realistic fairytale-like atmosphere.
And who will design the cover illustration? 
Sander & Sandor and Cliff van Thillo
For my debut novel Maan (Moon), they had designed that beautiful viewing box with the ditch as the center. That tastes morish! The photographer duo Sander & Sandor go for the cover. Cliff will make two illustrations for in the book and the typography of the coverdesign. Without a doubt this will become something special. Certainly because the gentlemen can fully immerse themselves in the atmosphere of my stories. And they know how to depict it in their own unique way. All the more reason to order my novel this fall!

Cliff van Thillo                             
Sander & Sandor