Interview with LGBTQ authors of horror fiction

Interview with LGBTQ authors Franco de Rocco (gay vampire erotica) and Carmilla Voiez, (horror author) hosted by Alison Armstrong (horror author)

  1. What first sparked your interest in the horror genre? In addition to vampires, -are there any other aspects of horror that inspired you?

Franco de Rocco

My interest in the horror genre sprouted from the black-and-white films I used to watch during my solitary nights as a shy outsider in school. Instead of engaging in typical activities like my classmates, I found solace in my television, particularly in the timeless classics of Dracula and Frankenstein. The Mummy series also carved a special niche in my heart.

One movie that held me spellbound was Psycho. Anthony Perkins’ portrayal of Norman Bates was so engaging and convincing that I believe his performance was greatly overlooked.

As a young person, despite being forbidden, I was irresistibly drawn to the ‘Exorcist’ book. It was anything but ordinary, startling, and so uniquely different that I felt compelled to read it.

Horror has been a cornerstone in my life, shaping my interests and inspirations. From vampires to mummies and everything in between, these horror elements have ignited my creative pursuits and continue to do so. Lastly, the vampire genre holds a particular appeal for me due to its sensual and sexual nuances. I find the enigmatic allure of vampires enchanting. Being a gay man probably intensifies this fascination.

Alison: I, too was drawn to vampires because of their sensual, seductive, and feral allure. I agree with you regarding Anthony Perkins. He was superb in his role as Norman Bates—very multi-faceted, seeming at times vulnerable and childlike despite his homicidal insanity.

Carmilla Voiez:   One of my favourite memories as a young teen was getting to stay up late on a weekend and watch a Hammer Horror film with Dad. I think that’s what turned my fear of dolls, faces in windows, mirrors, and ghosts into something more positive and exciting. Hammer Horror vampires were sexy, elegant, powerful, and enticing to someone whose sexuality was starting to blossom.

Alison:  Like you,  my interest in vampires also was associated with the approach of puberty. Feeling uncomfortable with my changing female body, I wanted to escape its physical limitations as well as the traditional stereotypes involving women and their reproductive aspects. I was drawn to the androgynous aspects of vampires, the seductive, sensual, graceful aspects of male as well as female vampires. Whereas female characters in horror are often depicted as victims/prey, in vampire films, the women are predatory and powerful, as well as alluring. 

Since I was often bullied as a child and regarded as an outsider, I identified with the so-called “monsters” in films, who were hated, feared, or mocked. I felt like a loner, a weirdo, so I was drawn to horror films involving the uncanny, the mysterious, the otherworldly. As a child and adolescent, the world around me seemed frightening, unpredictable, so I was drawn to the uncanny, otherworldly, and surreal aspects of horror, as in shows such as the Twilight Zone.

Carmilla Voiez:   100%. I simply did not fit in during my school years, and I too felt monstrous because of that. The teen years are tortuous. There’s so much pressure to fit in, and at times the bullying did feel a lot like pitchforks and torches circling my castle. I realized about five years ago that I’m autistic as well as LGBTQ, and I have never found gender roles a comfortable fit.

  • Which horror books, films, and TV shows influenced your LGBTQ horror fiction? (You can list specific films, etc. or general types of horror, such as Gothic, slasher, psychological, etc.)

Franco de Rocco:  My understanding of vampires wasn’t formed by a single character. Instead, it was shaped by a variety of characters from different mediums. The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice significantly influenced my perception. Another major influence was the 1967 film, “The Fearless Vampire Killer,” directed by Roman Polanski. A particular character in the movie, Herbert – a gay vampire, deeply resonated with me and drew me into the intriguing world of vampires.

Carmilla Voiez:  Clive Barker has been a huge influence. I adore his mix of visceral horror, dark sexuality, and seductive magic. But the LGBTQ horror I write is influenced at least as much by non-horror authors like Sarah Walters. My work tends to be character driven and explores psychology and sexuality. My characters tend to be morally grey at best, and I love my villains.

Alison: In addition to my interest in vampires (Carmilla, Dracula, Lestat, Caleb Morley, etc.,) I love horror fiction that deals with characters and situations transcending ordinary concepts of reality, such as nightmares, insanity, and the paranormal, as featured in works by Edgar Allan Poe, Algernon Blackwood, Robert W. Chambers, and David Lynch.

            Carmilla Voiez:   I would add David Cronenberg to that list.

  • What , if any, parallels or similarities do you see between the scenarios and/or themes of these types of fiction and LGBTQ experiences in real life?

Franco de Rocco: The way vampires are shown in media has some interesting connections to the LGBTQ+ community. For example, when two same-sex vampires drink each other’s blood, it can be seen as a symbol of homosexuality. Also, vampires are often shown as outsiders, which is something many people in the LGBTQ+ community can relate to.

Carmilla Voiez:  Events in the real world—including stuff I have experienced personally and others that have been reported in the news—often end up in my stories as fictionalized events or scenes. However, the crossover tends to be more psychological than anything. Themes that reflect the experience of being an outsider, someone who is othered, appear in all my work. It’s a scary world, especially if you are seen to be different.

Alison: Yes, the outsider aspect, for me also, in terms of sexual orientation and androgyny. In addition, the fear of persecution, the feeling of lurking danger.

  • How do you feel your experience as an LGBTQ individual is reflected in your writing?

Franco de Rocco: In all truthfulness, my experiences as a sexual being are deeply reflected in my writing. My journey plays a significant role in shaping the narratives I create. As an author specializing in gay erotica, I must infuse my own life experiences into my work to provide genuine authenticity.

Carmilla Voiez:  Mostly in representation. I want to see LGBTQ people in books, therefore I write about LGBTQ people in my stories. I identify as pansexual, and my characters often have the same androgyny as the people I find most attractive in life.

Alison:  The narrator character in my Feral Rebirth series is very similar to me in that she is androgynous and attracted to women as well as men. Like myself, she wants to transcend the limitations of gender and her mortal human body. As a result, there is more emphasis on the feelings and associations evoked by sensory experiences than on sexuality itself.

Carmilla Voiez:   Alison, I suspect we have similar relationships with our own bodies. I’ve always felt more cerebral than physical, perhaps that’s why stories are such an important part of my life. My relationship with the bag of flesh that transports me from place to place is ambivalent at best. Had I been born later, I have little doubt that I would identify as genderqueer. Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, I didn’t have the language to identify the way I felt about my relationship with gender.

  • Describe one of your LGBTQ characters. What aspects of this character do you identify with, and why? What do you like best and least about this character?

Franco de Rocco:  Choosing a favorite character is difficult, but I’d like to spotlight Johnathan Cummings from the Business Trip Chronicles. He’s a middle-aged gay man who is married. His faith in monogamy crumbles when he uncovers his husband’s infidelity. He embarks on a business trip to Seattle, Washington, where he seizes the opportunity to rediscover buried emotions.

I resonate with Johnathan because I see elements of myself in him. It’s not so much his naivety but more about being a man who deeply values his relationship and would go to great lengths to preserve it. Moreover, his journey of self-exploration in Seattle is intriguing. It harks back to my days of being single when I was exploring my sexuality.

Despite his misguided decisions, Johnathan is a good man who can discern right from wrong by the end of the series. This characteristic is what I admire most about him.

Carmilla Voiez:  Satori in Starblood is bisexual and polyamorous, and he pretty much shags his way through the trilogy, but he’s looking for something—a connection—that constantly eludes him. The three main characters in the Starblood books each reflect an aspect of myself while I was writing (it was a dark time in my head). Star represents my confusion, Lilith my rage, and Satori my sexuality. I like his character because he’s absolutely useless at the start—he’s unemployed, lives with his mum, and summons a demon because his girlfriend breaks up with him; but there’s much more to Satori than what we see initially, and he is brave, charming, and highly intelligent. A saying that a friend of mine used to use about me is very applicable—”for someone with a brain the size of a planet, you do some stupid shit”.

Alison: My favorite character would be the vampire that the narrator refers to as her “Awakener.” He and the narrator assume various aliases to protect their vampire identity. He represents, to me, the epitome of vampire allure—sensual, seductive, beautiful, graceful, feral, intelligent. Convinced of his vampire superiority, he is at times overly cynical about humanity.

  •  How would you describe your style of writing and your themes?

Franco de Rocco:  My writing style can be characterized as candid and heartfelt, with a direct focus on LGBTQ+ members. I write novels and short stories for the pleasure of my community. Drawing inspiration from the gay classics that shaped my youth, I aspire to contribute to this literary space. However, my approach differs; I describe situations in their raw form, avoiding superficial embellishment. 

Carmilla Voiez:  I have been accused of concentrating too much on description and character and not enough on action. In my defence, most of the horror is happening inside my character’s heads. The mind is a terrifying place. I believe my stories are character driven, frequently cynical, sometimes hopeful, and very dark. Water and fire tend to be common motifs. My themes vary, but I keep returning to the idea that magic and perception intersect with each other.

Alison:  I   generally focus on inner realities, dreams, childhood experiences, phantom archetypes. The action in my books also tends to be more within the psyche rather than in terms of physical conflict.

Author Bios, Book Synopses, and Links

Franco de Rocco:  Emerging from the Pacific Northwest, Franco De Rocco is a renowned writer and painter who has captivated an international audience with his adeptness at weaving intricate and engaging narratives, earning him a wealth of commendations. Franco’s artistic prowess enriches his writing, providing a distinctive visual dimension. In addition to his creative endeavors, he is a dedicated family man, embracing his roles as a husband and stepfather to his two remarkable sons. His family is made complete by two cherished golden retrievers who hold a special place in his heart.

Rise of the Queer Vampires –


Business Trip: The Bathhouse –

Business Trip: The Grotto –

Business Trip: The Gloryhole –

Business Trip: The Brothers –

Business Trip: The Husband – COMING SOON

     Rise of the Queer Vampires by Franco de Rocco

Immerse yourself in the alluring realm of ‘Rise of the Queer Vampires,’ a fresh take on gay erotic fiction. The narrative centers around Antonio De Luca, an Italian youth grappling with his sexual orientation amidst the strict moral codes of his Catholic upbringing. His search for temporary comfort leads him to anonymous sexual encounters, providing fleeting moments of liberation.

However, Antonio’s life veers off its usual course one fateful evening when he crosses paths with a mysterious stranger who transforms him into a vampire. This sudden and dramatic change propels Antonio on a heart-stopping journey filled with danger, self-discovery, and an unquenchable thirst—for blood and love.

‘Rise of the Queer Vampires’ weaves together sensuality, danger, and suspense, crafting a tale that is as titillating as it is thrilling. Each page is brimming with erotic energy that will ignite your imagination and bring your fantasies to life.

Carmilla Voiez:  Carmilla Voiez is a British horror and fantasy writer living in Scotland. Her influences include Graham Masterton, Thomas Ligotti, and Clive Barker. She is pansexual and passionate about intersectional feminism and human rights.

Carmilla has a First-Class Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and Linguistics. Her work includes stories in horror anthologies published by Crystal Lake Publishing, Clash Books and Mocha Memoirs; a co-authored Southern Gothic Horror novel; two self-published graphic novels, and the award-winning, dark fantasy/horror Starblood trilogy. Graham Masterton described the second book in her Starblood trilogy as a “compelling story in a hypnotic, distinctive voice that brings her eerie world vividly to life”.

Carmilla is also a freelance editor and mentor who enjoys making language sing.

Godless is an amazing resource for Horror, so I’d like to link to my books there. I’ll also include my website link and my author page on Amazon UK and US.

Starblood Trilogy links (bisexual)

Basement Beauty (lesbian/sapphic)

Our Fearful Roots (gay)


Amazon UK:

Amazon US:

Starblood by Carmilla Voiez:

Satori would do anything for Star except let her go. When she ends their relationship, he summons a demon to win her back, but the demon, Lilith, has other plans, and they are drawn into a magical and violent struggle for survival.​

The first book in this horror fantasy series has bisexual protagonists and includes erotic elements – Clive Barker’s Imajica meets Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, set in the Gothic subculture in Britain.

Alison Armstrong—Alison Armstrong is the author of three literary horror novels (Revenance, Toxicosis, and Dark Visitations), a novella (Vigil and Other Writings), in addition to a collection of writings addressing women and horror archetypes (Consorting with the Shadow: Phantasms and the Dark Side of Female Consciousness). Her work focuses on inner terror, stealthily lurking, solipsistic dread and nightmare flash epiphanies. Having obtained a Master of Arts in English, she has taught composition and literature at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, MI and Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to her novels and novella (available on Amazon and other online retailers), she has had writings published in The Sirens Call as well as two horror anthologies (Book of Bones and From the Cradle to the Grave). Further information is on her Web site, .

Amazon Author Page:

Goodreads Author Page:



Dark Visitations (prequel to Feral Rebirth series) by Alison Armstrong

Visited by otherworldly beings from childhood on, Alley, a young punk musician, has experienced a life-altering transformation granting her immortality while forcing her to prey on humans. In this prequel to Revenance and Toxicosis, Alley relives the terrifying encounters and dark, brooding obsessions that led to her Awakening as a vampire.

On the eve of a successful performance, Alley is hit by a car and lapses into a coma. After she is resurrected from her deadly coma by a vampire, becoming one of the undead, Alley remembers the moments shaping her former mortal life and her desires to escape what she considers her imprisoning flesh.

She recalls her childhood visitations with the beautiful, seductive being she calls the Tooth Fairy and the sinister, skeletal entity known as Morbidy Graham, experiences, that from a young age, heighten her feelings of alienation from her peers while inspiring her creativity. When she enters puberty and witnesses a relative’s battles against cancer, Alley’s fascination with vampires and other supernatural body-transcending creatures intensifies. Repulsed by her changing female body as well as the horrors of human mortality, Alley develops obsessive self-destructive behaviors while also channeling her rage by writing angry poetry and forming a punk rock band with her best friend, Nadia.

Once she reaches adulthood, Alley casts aside her former life, moving away from her Michigan hometown to pursue a new identity in New York City as a punk performer. In NYC, she experiences for the first time a world of transgressive creativity and forms a mutually toxic friendship with the addicted musician Spitz Nevus. Driven to a reckless mania, she takes the fatal plunge that leads to her vampiric transformation and the beginning of her new life, as described in the sequels Revenance and Toxicosis.

Social Media Links:

Writings by Alison Armstrong