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An Interview with Michelle Gent, producer of Exorcist Chronicles, Horror Writer

by Mike Haberfelner

October 2012

Michelle Gent on (re)Search my Trash

 

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First of all, why don't you introduce yourself to those of us unfortunate enough to not already know you?

 

I’m D Michelle Gent, I’m a writer amongst lots of other things – some of which include wife, mum of two and grandma of one, local politician, ex-bouncer, biker... what else...?

 

You have recently produced the movie Exorcist Chronicles - in a few words, what is it about?

 

The movie is about a spate of demonic possessions. The Vatican are getting worried about the frightening increase in occurrences of the possessions and need to do something about it. They send out an unusual team – a Priest, Father Jan (Rudy Barrow [Rudy Barrow interview - click here]) and a Scientist, Daryl Lux (Liz Mente Bishop).

It’s a movie that has many levels of perception. If you want to look deeper into the meanings, then it’s certainly possible. Try it, have fun with it. It may take a few viewings to see everything, but I find that kind of thing fascinating. It’s been very cleverly done I think.

 

How did you get hooked up with the project in the first place, and what convinced you to accept the challenge?

 


I’m a friend of talented, award winning Director Phil Gardiner [Philip Gardiner interview - click here] and I’m always curious as to how things work, how they come together. I was lucky enough to be invited to The Stone shoot a few years ago to see behind the scenes so to speak. It was a wonderful, interesting and enjoyable week and when he asked if I’d like to produce a movie, of course I said yes! I have a bit of a rebellious streak and I don’t like the word ‘no’, so every project Phil’s invited me along to lately, I’ve been able to take the time to go. I’m not sure if he was thinking that he’d actually put me to work for a change for this one but I think it’s worked out well.

 

What can you tell us about Exorcist Chronicles' director Philip Gardiner [Philip Gardiner interview - click here], what was your collaboration like ... and how did the two of you originally meet in the first place?

 

I met Phil through a mutual friend. He brought Phil along to my house and that’s when Phil invited me to The Stone shoot at a local derelict manor house. I think the friendship grew from there mainly because I was organised enough to take along a flask and he does like a cuppa. “Would you like a cup of tea, Phil?” I asked. His eyes lit up and that was it. I was tea-maker for the rest of the week.

 

Phil is a very driven and focused man. He knows exactly what he wants on set and anyone that can help is welcome. If anyone turns out to be more hindrance than help, then he doesn’t blow up, he tells them once and expects them to get it. I was amazed to watch how he has everything in his head already. Before I was asked to become more involved in movie making, I was unaware of how much effort and thinking goes into the process. Exorcist Chronicles was certainly an eye-opener – in a good way of course!

 

What can you tell us about your cast and crew, the shoot as such, and the actual on-set atmosphere?

 

The cast and crew were simply AWESOME. I have nothing but the highest praise for everyone that worked on the movie. The professionalism was second to none. As a complete novice at producing, I was quite in awe that everyone knew what to do. They signed the release forms, waited around without wandering off so someone had to go find them – they brought packed lunches! Brilliant! I’d work with each and every one of them again at the drop of a hat.

I think the atmosphere was enhanced because of the professionalism I just mentioned. I didn’t really know what to expect, I’d never worked on set with such a large group of people but whatever I asked for, they delivered! There wasn’t a ‘no’ amongst them!

“Get in the lake” – people went waist deep in the lake! It wasn’t on freezing cold days that we filmed the lake scenes but it wasn’t Club Med either!

The atmosphere was friendly, fun and exciting. I think everyone enjoyed themselves, they all seemed to.

 

Being a writer yourself and producing someone else's vision in your field of expertise (horror), did you at all feel the urge to occasionally take things into your own hands, and did you have any creative input on the movie?

 

No. This is Phil’s movie. There’s no ‘taking things into your own hands’ – it’s not respectful and certainly not what I was there for. I was there to learn and I learned a lot .

If I did have an idea and mentioned it, Phil would either take it on board or explain why it wouldn’t work. I don’t recall any specific occasions but that’s what he’s like.

 

As far as I know, Exorcist Chronicles was your first movie as a producer but will almost certainly not be your last. So what can you tell us about some of your future projects?

 

I’ve been asked to produce Phil’s next project – Paranormal Possessions – and I’ve jumped at the chance for that.

I’ll be making my debut as Director late this year/early next year on one of my own creations – Dusty the Demon Hunter. I’m working on the screenplay and looking for the characters – Dusty especially has to be just right.

I’m Editor of Awesome Online Magazine and I’m going to continue with that, it’s a great magazine, a very eclectic mix and I love working on it. http://www.awesomeonlinemagazine.com 

My first love, of course, is writing and I have a few irons in the fire. I will be adding to the series in my Werewolf stories with Ancients and Gods – Bloodline of the Werewolf probably late this year. Another Dusty the Demon Hunter story is on the cards – possibly a longer, novella-sized story which will go to print as well as being available on ebook format. I have a story about vampires rattling around in my head that is screaming at me to get it onto paper but the project I’m most excited about – apart from the movies of course – is my new character. Celtica Diamond is proving to be FABULOUS! I can’t tell you much about her except that she’s as feisty as Red/Hazel and Dusty and she’s as hard as nails. Diamonds and Deviants is coming soon.

 

With Exorcist Chronicles' Philip Gardiner [Philip Gardiner interview - click here], you have recently worked - as an actress though - on Awesome Killer Audition. What can you tell us about that movie, and of course about Michelle Gent, the actress?

 


Oooh D Michelle Gent – Actress... I’m not so sure that works really. I’m not good at ad-lib, I can’t deliver lines well and I get flustered easily in front of the camera. I think I prefer to leave the acting to the talented actresses that we have already. Awesome Killer Auditions was fun and I worked with some real talent but I’m not brilliant at acting... I’m not even good. I did enjoy filming Ghost Attack on Sutton Street though.

 

You have also written the story for the upcoming Twisted: The Devil in her Mind. What is that one about, and how did that project come into being?

 

I was asked to help out on a project that the beautiful and exceptional Mel Denholme was producing [Melanie Denholme interview - click here]. I was asked if I had any ideas for the plot and storyline. I always have ideas and was pleased to help. I honestly didn’t realise that I would be given the accolade of writer on the project though. That really did come as a lovely surprise! Twisted: The Devil in her Mind is a psychological horror. It shows how the mind can make a person believe things that are not real and work against the body rather than the natural instinct to preserve. I really enjoyed working with Mel on the project but I didn’t have anything to do with the screenplay so the movie isn’t down to me at all, it’s Mel and her production team that deserve the praise for that.

 






First and foremost, you are of course a writer. So what can you tell us about your books, your writing style and such?

 

My books... well, I always try to write for me. I’ve been reading for a long time now and I know what I like. I’m finding that there are a lot of people who share my opinion and also like how I write – thankfully.

I love dark and dangerous stories, situations and storylines that make the reader feel as though they are there alongside the character and just as vulnerable. I also love history and researching my stories to give them that added tension because it’s based in reality gives me a great deal to write about.

Deadlier... than the Male was my first foray into writing properly. It’s a large novel, set both 500 years ago and in present times. It tells the tale of a young woman who is singled out as a mate for a werewolf. She is bitten and turned for him and is then married to him. Because of circumstances and coincidences, she is set to be the Prophesised One – a Wolf that will lead their society into a ‘New and Bloodier Age’. Deadlier is the first part of Hazel’s story. She faces adversity with courage, determination and sometimes sheer bloody-minded stubbornness.

Cruel... and Unusual is a stand-alone title I started writing while waiting for Deadlier to be published. It’s still werewolf oriented and set in Victorian times, with Hazel in the middle of it all once again. She is teaching a protégé the ways of their society so that he doesn’t bring any unwanted attention down on them. The last thing a society of werewolves needs is for humans to figure out that they have predators in their midst – they’d be up in arms and would destroy the werewolves.

During his tutorials, they discover a murdered woman. She is the victim of a brutal attack which has left her throat sliced almost to the bone.

Instead of worrying about her new protégé bringing unwanted attention down on them, Hazel now has to worry about Jack the Ripper bringing hordes of police, vigilantes and press into the arena.

Blood on the Moon is the third in the series and I set it entirely in present day. I also set part of it in the derelict manor house where Phil Gardiner filmed The Stone.

I have a short story series out on ebook too – I mentioned Dusty the Demon Hunter earlier.

 

What got you into writing in the first place, and where do you draw your inspiration from?

 

I have an over-active imagination I suppose. I don’t know where the ideas come from. I can be riding in the car and just looking out of the windows (passenger of course) and I’ll see a scene and imagine it as the setting in a story – that happened for one of my favourite scenes in Deadlier, a pack of werewolves in wolf form explode from the tree-line to rampage across the fields.

I suppose I’m very lucky, I like to twist things and write about the consequences of that twist.

To be brutally honest, I got into writing because I had chosen a long line of badly written books and I got so fed-up with the formulaic writing that I threw it onto the table and thought “I can write better than this!” It took two years to write Deadlier and longer to teach myself how to edit and improve my writing. It took longer still to get published.

 

You are publishing your books now with Gingernut Books. What can you tell us about them, and your efforts to get your books published in the first place?

 

I had a long and frustrating journey to get published. I did as I was supposed to, sent manuscripts off to agents, publishers and the like and waited... and waited... and waited. Sometimes the MS (manuscript) would be returned with a note saying that it wasn’t what they were looking for and sometimes it would be returned without it even have been looked at.

I spoke to someone in a well-known publishing company who advised me to cut the book in half (past and present) which I dutifully did. It took six months and a few reminders from me for her to reply with the usual: it’s not what we’re looking for.

Gingernut Books came about because of Phil Gardiner (and now the circle is complete). He came to visit to advise me on how to get published. His advice was that I can do this myself. I spoke to my husband who has always supported me and he set up a Publishing House, bought ISBN numbers, set up an account with a printer and world-wide distributor, learned how to make covers and six weeks later, Deadlier was delivered as a proof copy. I had my book in my hands!

Self-publishing is not for everyone. I knew that my story was good. I had read it times over and hadn’t become bored or jaded with the story so I knew it could stand the test of others reading it – well, I hoped it could. I only had to self-publish Deadlier though. The rest are what’s known as ‘Traditionally Published’ because Gingernut Books now publishes my work.

 

As far as I know, one of your creations, Dusty the Demon Hunter, is now on the verge of being adapted for the screen. What can you tell us about that endeavour of yours?

 

Dusty is a real fun character to write. She’s a half-demon teenager with a kick-ass attitude and a Ducati. I started writing about Dusty one Saturday evening (I know, sitting at home on a Saturday night... how Rock Star am I?). It was almost as though she came over, sat at the side of me and dictated her story. It just kept on coming. I know the phrase is over-used but this one really did write itself. When I looked up from writing, I had 8,000 words written. I try to write two to three thousand words a day so that was phenomenal. She is so much fun that Phil suggested making the movie. I was bowled over. Of course I couldn’t say no to that, could I?

 

You are currently also the editor-in-chief of Awesome Online Magazine. What can you tell us about the magazine and the philosophy behind it?

 

Awesome is a wonderful concept, it’s more about getting as many people’s work seen by as many readers as possible rather than just being the ‘usual’ type of magazine. It has a massive range of articles, as varied and eclectic as the people that contribute and the whole point is that everyone’s links are included so if you’re interested in seeing more about the contributor’s work, you can click their link and take a closer look.

http://www.awesomeonlinemagazine.com

 

Pretty much all of your books and films are of the horror variety. A genre especially dear to you, and why (not)?

 

This is true. I do adore the scare factor. I think that we’re too secure in our cosseted lives these days. There’s not much out there that hasn’t been dissected by science, proven to be false and explained away. What is there to fear anymore? That’s what I like to do... make people scared to go out at night, not for fear of being mugged but for fear of being eaten! I would love to think that someone somewhere has read my work and thinks there’s more to what I write about than at first appears. I want people to believe the myths of yesteryear and even perhaps the ones of not so very long ago. What’s wrong with getting the nerves jangling by our imaginations? The heart needs a little work-out every now and then, why not from reading and letting the writer whisk you off to somewhere or somewhen where the things that go bump in the night can actually harm you if you’re not very careful?

 

Writers who inspire you?

 

Stephen King – one of my all time enduring favourites. He writes about things that scare him so they’re certainly going to scare Joe Public!

Terry Pratchett – what a wonderful imagination! I adore how he writes normal, everyday things into his books and doesn’t just put a different slant on them, he twists, turns and pulls them inside out before sending them out into his books. If you read them closely enough, there are a lot of the classics written into his work.

Edgar Allen Poe – The Raven, need I say any more? Or should that be: Need I say “Nevermore”?

Loads of writers inspire me; I take a little something away from every book I read. I’m currently a reviewer for The Historical Novel Society and the standard of work that I’m reading is impressive.

 

And since this is primarily a movie site: Your favourite movies?

 

I haven’t seen many movies lately, especially this year – far too busy. 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later terrify the holy hell out of me – as do ALL zombie movies – including Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland. I just can’t watch them, yet I can’t not watch them if that makes sense? The Grudge, The Ring and others like that... yeah, they’re watchable but don’t give me the heebie-jeebies like the zombies do – especially now the zombies RUN! UGH Freaky!

I suppose I’m a kid at heart and I have to confess that I enjoy action movies best but I am terrible for picking fault. Continuity errors, research mess-ups and spotting exactly who-dunnit or the twist at the end make my movie experience worthwhile. For example, I went to see one high profile movie on its release and was utterly disappointed when the character pulled out a photograph – at the time the character was around, photographs weren’t possible. It would be another hundred years at least before the first photographic image was produced and another fifty after that to enable photographers to ‘fix’ the image.

I like the Mission Impossible-series, The Avengers, Batman and the like, movies where I can watch the action, follow the plot (if there is one) and just enjoy.

 

... and of course, films you really deplore?

 

I don’t usually do this, but since you asked so nicely...

Twilight – I watched the first movie with my daughter, she was ill and asked me to watch it with her. Yeah, I was ill after. There’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back.

Does no one else think that a century-old man, still at school, re-doing his education in order to meet girls is NOT creepy – in a bad way?

Not to mention the fact that entire groups of screaming 30 and 40 something ‘soccer moms’ were one step shy of stalking teenagers from the movie! If there were whole groups of 40 year old men lusting after ‘Team Hermione’ or ‘Team Bella’ I believe people would think that really perverse!

 

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I don’t like romantic movies. I don’t like the flowery romanticised ‘harking back to days gone by’ bodice rippers - then again, I don’t like reading that kind of thing either.

 

Your/your movies'/your books' website, Facebook, whatever else?

 

http://www.exorcistchronicles.com/

www.gingernutbooks.co.uk

http://www.gingernutbooks.co.uk/d-michelle-gent.html

http://www.dmichellegent.co.uk/blog.html

https://www.facebook.com/DMichelleGentAuthor

@ShellGent

http://www.awesomeonlinemagazine.com

 

Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

I can’t think of anything at the moment except to thank you for the interview and the chance to answer your fabulous questions.

If anyone wants to ask me anything about any of the topics I’ve spoken about here – or ones that I’ve not – feel free to get in touch via Twitter, Facebook, my Publisher’s site or even my Blog – I’ll answer if I can.

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...

 

Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!

 

Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner

 

Jetzt kaufen bei
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