I remember when Carmilla was having her book release party for Basement Beauty. I didn’t know what to think the book was about. Was it about a girl who was an ugly duckling? Was it a girl that was so beautiful that her parents kept her hidden in the basement so that no one would love her? What was the book about?? Well DUH Vampire Assassins!!
Total #FacePalm on a paranormal lover like myself!! This installment of Nerd Girl’s Indy Author Talk shows us the author’s political view of fiction writing and it’s a very interesting piece. Witty and insightful! I honestly enjoyed it! I hope you do as well!!
♥ Gladys #XOXOtheNerdGirl #NerdGirlOfficial
My work is political. You might find it hard to imagine how a story about vampires or an erotic short might be a political statement as well as entertainment, but as an adult and a mother of two daughters, I have started to see the world through a political lens.
My erotica is very sex positive and always consensual. Whether the pairings are M/F, F/F or M/M the characters show the deepest respect for each other and the sex is joyful and fun, and often funny too. Shame around the subject of sex is prevalent in society, causing all sorts of ills, like body policing and judging women on the clothes they wear. My world of erotica is utopian in comparison. Everyone has a voice and no one is pressured into something they don’t want to do or ashamed about something they do want to do. It’s odd, because I would say my horror is dystopian, that I create such a positive and uplifting utopian world when I write erotica, but I think it’s my escape from the horrors of my other stories and reality.
As well as body-positive and sex-positive erotica I tend to write feminist horror. My female characters are strong, well developed yet fatally flawed. Basement Beauty is a vampire tale. It might surprise you that vampire stories have always been political in nature. They have always described conflicts between social groups. Mine is no different and the vampires themselves use eugenics and strict guidelines to create a master race while the humans stumble through their short lives trying to figure stuff out as they go.
Vampires are elusive and seductive. They look like us, but they are not us. They can be monstrous or they can be liberating. But the real attraction of the vampire genre for me and the reason I wrote Basement Beauty is how much these undead creatures say, historically and currently, about the world we inhabit and society. Vampires have been representing political tensions since the 1800s. The fears their lore reflects are as relevant today as they were over a century ago.
The Class-struggle: an aristocratic vampire feeds on peasants who inevitably rise up led by the middle-class hero (Van Helsing for example), to finally destroy the predator. This storyline could have been lifted from Marx or Stoker equally. Or the fear of immigration: Dracula comes to England from Romania, bringing terror and destruction, a narrative that British fascists and UKIP are fond of repeating. The empowerment of women v the destruction of rational men: the female vampire, frequently portrayed as lesbian, embodies a fear of female agency and female sexuality that is not controlled by men. The female vampire penetrates the male (or female) victim with her mouth, this vampiric sexual organ is both a soft, inviting hole and a phallus (penetrating and dangerous fangs), the ultimate vagina dentata. Whether class, immigration or feminism, the vampire is representative of the “other” in popular fiction, the one that is not us. A force that preys on us and that we feel both seduced and repelled by.
In Basement Beauty the vampires believe they are a superior race and are separatists using humans only for food. One rogue vampire disobeys the clan and dares to mix with filthy human pigs. His behaviour is seen as a threat to the other vampires that must be destroyed. The humans are heroes, not victims as the two tales merge until, hopefully, the reader does not see any one as the other, but instead as individuals and forces to be reckoned with. The political struggles are personal struggles for survival rather than something abstract that cannot be understood.
I love the way fiction can mirror and magnify life. Literature has a great tradition of doing this and it’s one I am very proud to continue.
Carmilla grew up on a varied diet of horror. Her earliest influences as a teenage reader were Graham Masterton, Brian Lumley and Clive Barker mixed with the romance of Hammer Horror and the visceral violence of the first wave of video nasties. Fascinated by the Goth aesthetic and enchanted by threnodies of eighties Goth and post-punk music she evolved into the creature of darkness we find today.
Living in North East Scotland, she finds inspiration in the wildlife, castles and desolate places which surround her. She lives with her two children by the sea.
Her books are both extraordinarily personal and universally challenging. As Jef Withonef of Houston Press once said – “You do not read her books, you survive them.”
Signed to Vamptasy Publishing in 2012 three books in the critically acclaimed Starblood Trilogy have been published both separately as paperbacks and in one volume for Kindle, she has written a vampire tale based in Scotland called Basement Beauty and she has edited and compiled a collection of psychological horror from the best new talent in the world of horror writing “Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds”. Carmilla Voiez is a name to watch.
Q. When and why did you begin writing? What inspired you to write your first book?
I began writing as a child before life and work got in the way. It was after I had my second daughter that I felt the call of creativity again. I started writing “The Ballerina and the Revolutionary” while studying Creative Writing with the Open University. But the first novel I completed was Starblood. Starblood was inspired by my life in the Goth scene and the types of characters I knew as friends.
Q. What book(s) / author(s) have influenced your life and writing?
Probably my greatest influences would be Clive Barker and his ability to create strange and unusual worlds, Haruki Murakami who is masterful at tearing at the veil between life and death in his work and Iain Banks who manages to describe perfectly feelings, moods and settings with a minimum number of words.
Q. Tell us about your characters and how they came to be? Have they been in your head for a long time?
I have lots of characters now, they all represent parts of me, but are their own people as well, very different from who I am and my experiences. I love writing male characters as if, in doing so, I can understand what it is to be male and have more sympathy for penis owning friends.
The characters from Starblood have been with me for four years now. I find it hard to let them go and after Anna and I finish the graphic novel for Starblood I’ll be creating a new script with characters from the books, like the sorcerer Paul, who seduces our hero Satori in the first book.
Q. What motivates you to write?
I need to write. I think I would go mad if I didn’t write. While it can be wonderful, being a mother of young children left me pretty well stuck in one place geographically. Writing allows me to spread my wings and soar wherever I want to go.
Q. What is the hardest part of writing?
There are two hard parts in my opinion, starting the book and getting to know the characters, and finishing the book, not the last page, but knowing when you’ve edited it as well as you possibly can.
Q. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
That if you submerge yourself in the story the characters come to life inside your head and start making demands of you.
Q. Where do you get your ideas?
Dreams, news stories, listening to conversations, letting my thoughts wander. Everything has the potential to spark a new idea.
Q. What does your family think of your writing?
My dad reads my books and loves them. The thought of my stories terrifies my mother, but she is proud of what I’ve achieved. My partner is a poet and understands the creative process and is as supportive as I could wish for. My daughters sometimes get bored of the amount of hours I put into my work.
Q. What is the best advice you would give to inspiring authors?
Just write. Lose yourself in the story and worry about editing later.
Q. What book(s) are you reading now?
I’m reading a non fiction book at the moment – Belching Out the Devil by Mark Thomas, about Coca Cola.
In 2014 Carmilla Voiez was voted Fright Venture author of the year and this is not the first time she has been awarded such a title.
Scotland based author Carmilla Voiez was awarded with the prestigious title of Horror Author of the Year 2013 by Horror Fans Asylum. She was nominated alongside 13 other horror writers from around the world.
“I was delighted and honoured to be named Horror Author of the Year for my debut novel Starblood. Winning both the popular vote and being the judges’ choice really validated all my hard work in writing this horror trilogy. I worried about the reception Starblood would receive as it is a particular edgy and sexy horror tale that plays with traditional gender roles and looks at female rage and sexuality.”
Starblood, is set partly in the beautiful Cairngorm mountains and partly in the city where she grew up, in South West England, she finds inspiration in local beauty, stately homes, the Moray Firth and woodlands around the Scottish town where she has lived the past 10 years.
Carmilla Voiez is the founder of a new horror sub-genre, FSG or Feminazi Splatter Goth, a play on the term coined by Rush Limbaugh, and the existing Splatter Punk genre. Starblood, Psychonaut and Black Sun are published by American publishing house, Vamptasy. Other horror titles include Basement Beauty and Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds. Next year she plans to release a new anthology called “Feminazi Splatter Goth”.
She is currently working on a graphic novel version of Starblood and writing the sequel to Basement Beauty from her family home in Banff, where she lives with her partner, daughters and numerous cats. Carmilla sold her Gothic Clothing business in 2012 and has been writing and releasing top selling books and short stories since then.
A Goth for over 20 years, her books are inspired by the Gothic subculture, magic and dark desires, exploring sexual obsession and violence in often hard-hitting ways.
A quote on Carmilla’s storytelling by bestselling UK Horror author.
“Carmilla Voiez is more of a singer than a writer. She tells her compelling story in a hypnotic, distinctive voice that brings her eerie world vividly to life.” Graham Masterton.
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