When I saw the call for submissions for Fifty Shades of Decay, I just knew I had to get involved. The opportunity to write something as wonderfully and disturbingly disgusting as zombie erotica was just far too tempting to pass up.
I’m a lifelong horror fan, having spent my teen years watching classic horror movies with my younger brother, working my way through the Point Horror book series before moving on to trashy adult horror novels. But it was only 3 years ago, when I started reading Stephen King and started writing short stories that everything came together. My first horror short was published in early 2011 and I’ve been hooked ever since.
I wrote my story for Fifty Shades of Decay, entitled ‘Being Superhuman’, just after Christmas, while I was at my parents’ house. Each evening, once I’d put my son to bed, I would pull out my laptop and type away. And I delighted in telling my family what I was writing.
I’ve never tired of watching people’s faces as they process the idea of zombie erotica. They nod openly at first, but then I watch the idea sink in. Confusion, disgust, fear, and finally intrigue. That’s the best bit; the moment when they realize they actually want to read zombie erotica.
And I must admit, I’ve been conflicted myself. I’ve swung between feeling coy and embarrassed, to feeling brazen and liberated.
When I started thinking about what to write, my first priority was to break away from any cliche or overused stereotype, and that started with my characters. Cheeky, independent, capable, and sexually liberated; my female main character, Carmilla, was born. Making the most of every situation, Carmilla didn’t lament the loss of the world she knew, she viewed the zombie apocalypse as a great excuse to wear her favourite leather outfit. It’s the way I’d like to think I’d tackle the same situation, although in all honesty, I think I’d be one of the first ones dead.
I struggled a little with the erotica aspect of the story; not having written it before. I wasn’t sure how graphic to be, or what portion of the story should be sex. After a few false starts, I turned to the old adage to ‘write what you know’. I may not know erotica, but I do know horror. Once I sorted in my head that I was writing horror with a sex element, rather than writing erotica in a horror setting, the story flowed from there.
I love zombies, and I love the way they’ve changed and adapted over the years. From braindead creatures, to intelligent pack animals, to comedy stars, they’ve been interpreted in so many different ways. And it’s interesting how scared, and how fascinated we are by this back-to-basics form of humanity; people acting on pure survival instinct, instincts we repress in our need to claim ourselves as ‘civilized’.
But one thing I never thought zombies could be, was sexy. Boy, was I wrong!
Angeline Trevena was born and bred in a rural corner of South West England where she still lives above a milkshake shop with her husband, their son, and a neurotic cat. She is a fantasy and horror writer, poet and journalist. Her short stories have been published by Mirador Publishing, Crooked Cat Publishing and Angelic Knight Press. Some years ago she worked at an antique auction house and religiously checked every wardrobe that came in to see if Narnia was in the back of it. She hasn’t stopped looking yet.
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