Author Interview

Author Interview ~ L. B. Shimaira on Vampires, Trauma, LGBTQ Rep and Erotic Gothic Horror Novel MY LORD

Interview Transcript

L. B. Shimaira (she/they) is an erotic horror and dark fantasy author from the Netherlands, and we chatted about her new novel MY LORD (Gurt Dog Press, 2020). Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and check out her free fiction available on Wattpad. You can also follow her author pages on Amazon and Goodreads.

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Listen to this Author Interview episode on my podcast.

L. B. Shimaira Author Bio

L.B. Shimaira is from the Netherlands, born in 1989, is married and has a daughter. She has a Bachelor of Applied Science degree and works as a research technician, where she helps develop vaccines.

She considers herself a horror addict, having been into the genre since she was a little kid. As she often finds horror too predictable, she enjoys trying to make her own works full of surprises—and avoid the standard clichés.

The majority of her works are inspired by her own dreams and nightmares, giving them a vivid sense of realism. She struggled with depression as a teen, is a self-diagnosed autistic, and received therapy for PTSD in 2019. When she states she needs to write in order to stay sane, she means it.

She currently identifies as pan grey-asexual and recently discovered she is idemromantic. She uses she/her pronouns but is perfectly fine with they/them too. Thinking about her own gender too much can give her quite the headache—especially since feelings fluctuate—so she prefers to state her sex is female while her gender is simply queer. Polyamory tends to sneak into her works, even if just a notion, and LGBTQ+ characters are always present in her novels.

L. B. Shimaira

On Wattpad, she shares some of her work. The first part of her horror novel They call him Lucius was featured by Wattpad itself for 3 years (2014-2017), and a paranormal thriller she co-wrote with the user Godhand under the name G.S. Lucent was featured for Halloween of 2019. She has won several user-run awards on the platform. She has also joined the Wattpad Stars in May 2020.

You can connect with her via various ways through www.shimaira.com.

Extract from My Lord (Gurt Dog Press, 2020)

“The cut… It hurts.”

Lord Deminas lowered himself and licked the wound a few times, his eyes fixed on Meya’s, taking in her suffering.

Meya’s nerves screamed from the sensory overload. Fucking sadist! Tears slipped from her eyes as she clutched the sheets in anguish.

The lord rose a bit and licked her neck. “Don’t forget that this is meant to hurt.” His hot breath against her ear made her feel weak.

He flicked his tongue against her earlobe, while at the same time pinching her nipple, causing her to moan softly. Meya’s mind had trouble forming coherent thoughts.

“You agreed to suffer in Gail’s stead.” He moved down again to lick the wound.

Meya winced. “I…I did, my Lord.”

He looked up, blood glistening on his lips. “If you can’t take it anymore, you may tell me so.” He licked his lips clean. “I’ll stop, however…” A devilish joy was visible in his eyes. “Gail’s punishment won’t end tomorrow morning.”

Meya swallowed. Is he seriously offering me a way out? She was quiet for a few seconds. “If… If we stop now… When will Gail’s punishment end, my Lord?”

Lord Deminas thought this over. “Tomorrow, after supper.” He lowered himself so his nose almost touched Meya’s. “Does that mean you wish for the pain to stop? Is it too much?”

Meya bit her lip. He’s enjoying this… But I’m no weakling! She kept her eyes locked on his and gathered her courage. “I don’t enjoy pain, my Lord,” she said calmly. “Yes, I want it to end, but no, it’s not too much.” She felt stronger having said that. And I’ve suffered this much already; I’m not going to quit now.

~ L. B. Shimaira

Interview Transcript

CMR: Welcome to LB Shimaira, who is our guest on the show. So would you like to introduce yourself and tell us about your work.

LBS: So my name is LB Shimaira and I write dark fiction. I’ve been writing short stories and novels and last Halloween my first novel got published. It’s My Lord, it’s erotic horror.

CMR: Is it fantasy as well, or historical?

LBS: It’s a bit of a blend, actually, because it’s set in a… in a made up country. That’s in Europe, because I did try to actually adhere to actual historical events, like the invasion of the Golden Horde. It’s set in that time period. But yeah, it’s a fictional country because you know it’s, it’s a fictional place with fictional laws and how things are done there. And of course, there are these kind of vampires going on there. So that’s a little bit of fantasy elements, only in my other contemporary novel in the same universe, They Call him Lucius I actually explain a bit more what it is that they are, and actually try a scientific approach to that so it would be more of a Sci-Fi than a fantasy, actually. But yeah, this one’s sets in the, what is it in the 13th century, because it’s 1200. So they don’t know what it is.

CMR: That’s really cool. I do love the 13th century. That’s my so 13th century British history is like my specialist topic. Yeah, so the medievalist by by trade in real life. But I know a lot about 13th century Wales and absolutely nothing about 13th century anywhere else. So I’ll happily just enjoy it.

LBS: I did, I did some research in it, but it was more like, yeah, more you know, different parts of Europe, what’s going on there. And also when it comes to medieval dishes. Because yeah, what the hell are they eating back then?! I don’t know. What did they sleep on because you’re so inclined to just write that they sleep on a on a normal bed but they had met this is filtered straw. For example, like that was more a thing back then. So, okay, but that is just small, small details.

CMR: And so there’s there’s quite a bit of LGBTQ rep, is that right, in your books as well. So to tell us a bit about that. Like what kind of representation do you have in your work?

LBS: Well basically I tried to stick a little bit more to what I know, so it’s bi/pan, that kind of representation. I have friends who are trans. So one of my friends actually made a character for one of my novels. It’s just a little side role at the moment, but still just kind of fun to just ask him, because I like doing it for my friends, just have them make a character in my books. And there’s also an novel that I co wrote with someone [In Sickness and in Hell] and they were basically also alter egos of ourselves and those two characters were both asexual. So yeah, we put that in. Yeah, so asexual characters as well. Also in other books, but because those books are more horror oriented, sex or romance didn’t play a big part. So it’s kind of hard to put it on paper, what the orientations are, because it’s not something that is discussed all the time.

CMR: So I wondered if ace characters in particular open up the narrative … There are different ways you can write about them and different storylines you can take. Like, as an, as an acespec person I do enjoy sex and [your characters] can also like that. But it also kind of removes those kind of narrative expectations and it kind of lets you be a bit freer with it. I don’t know if that’s something you noticed or put in. It’s a difficult question.

LBS: I don’t know, because I do find that, because actually, when I started writing My Lord, I was like, yeah, I can read erotica. I can write this. But I couldn’t [write it like that]. Too much sex is boring to me like it just gets repetitive very quickly. And also, I was really like, yeah, I need, I need a lot of story before there’s any sex because otherwise it just feels –

CMR: -weird, yeah.

LBS: Yeah. It was like, yeah, no. These characters are like, Nope. I’m quite a pantser so my characters really dictate what happens.

CMR: Yeah. And there’s polyamorous characters in My Lord, as well. Was that always going to be a thing, or did that just happen?

LBS: It was not planned when I started writing, it just kind of happened as it went long. It was this, like, yeah, no, this is, this is just how it is. Now that’s – yes, the characters have decided this, this is the thing.

CMR: I love it when characters just kind of take over in a character-driven sort of narrative and go right. We want this to happen now.

LBS: Because originally it was also just meant to be a straight book, I suppose. But nope. Definitely not. This is going to be gay now. But also the, the moment you get more in touch with your own gayness basically like good luck reeling it in in your fiction, because, nope, not gonna happen, every character now is some sort of gay.

CMR: I feel that also. It’s been really interesting because I kind of personally have been on that that explorative personal journey. I suppose about kind of getting in touch with different aspects of myself and coming to grips with different parts of my sexuality. And I think when I first wrote The Crows it was a very straight book. Um, but it was there was something a bit off about it like, not quite heterosexual. This whole new character appeared. He was very definitely as aro-ace, probably grey ace, and then it got a bit polyamorous and went a bit off piste. Then there’s a polyamorous character in the second book who is pan, and has an open relationship with his girlfriend who is bi, and a boyfriend who is monogamous to him. So lots of different things.

LBS: Now I also forget the terms for complicated relationship structures…

CMR: Polycule? I like that one.

LBS: Yes.

CMR: V [one person with two partners unconnected to each other], Triad/Throuple…

LBS: Yes, triad, throuple, quad, there are lots of terms.

CMR: What’s the one for your partner’s partner who isn’t your partner…

LBS: Metamour.

CMR: Meta, yes. I love all of those, but it’s just really fun to kind of just play around with things like that and explore different kinds of relationships and but I also really like platonic relationships and queerplatonic relationships and things that aren’t romantic.

LBS: But are also more than just friendship.

CMR: Yeah, I just find that to be a really interesting dynamic. Do you have any of those in My Lord or other works that you’ve done?

LBS: Um, well, for myself, I only learned about queerplatonic relationships like a few months ago, and I’m glancing at my own relationship like hmm. Yeah, it’s a little bit difficult for me. I guess because I’ve always have this weird thing with romance. I’m like, romantic stuff makes me want to puke. I have an amazing partner and we’ve been together for 15 years now, and I love them a lot but it’s kind of hard to, to think about. It isn’t actually what society deems as romantic love, but I only know what I feel. I don’t know if that’s romantic, but it’s the most love that I can basically feel for person so…

CMR: Yeah.

LBS: It’s, it’s all good and amazing and we’re very happy together so that’s that’s the most important thing. So when it comes to my own books, at least in My Lord, I suppose it is it is written as romantic love. I think I guess like it’s up to the reader to interpret, I guess. Um, but, for example, the book that I co-wrote, In Sickness and in Hell, there are ace characters in that and they are living together and they basically they love each other very much and they actually want to get married and but there is, there are no sexual relations between the two. The fun thing about that book is also because nowhere is it actually said that they are ace, so it’s it’s basically all between the lines, but it’s also one of the moments that one of the characters gets very touchy in a way that she normally wouldn’t do and that actually gives away that this person is not actually who she pretends to be. Actually getting too sexual basically gives away that no, this is someone else. I really like I really like that part, but also one of the characters is actually a Cam-girl, okay. I also really like that part. Because yes, she’s asexual but she’s also a sex worker. And yeah, you don’t need to be sexually attracted to actually do these kinds of things. Anyone can be ace, and an ace person can do whatever.

CMR: Yeah I love that. Is that one published or available anywhere?

LBS: It’s free to read at the moment on Wattpad.

CMR: Perfect, I’ll be scooting over there soon. How did you find the co-writing process? I’m co-writing a book at the moment and really enjoying it.

LBS: Oh yeah, it was very different. Because basically, we spend a lot of time blocking it out and just working through looking at an outline and that’s also when I discovered that how I do my outlines also, because I’m mostly a pantser, and it is very different from how Godhand (the one I co-wrote with) did her outlines, because she does very detailed outlines, almost a chapter in themselves, and I’m more of a bullet point person. But it actually clicked very well because we weren’t that different and we just went along [like that] because it’s also a bit of a mystery. We have to put in all the elements from who done it. But those elements in there and hide all the hints. And then we had an original idea and while we were plotting it out we were thinking about how do we could do this differently. And if you do it like this, It’s more fun. It will shock the audience more, and this is so much better than this. And we avoid certain tropes if we do it like that. We did everything in Google Docs, because then you could also work together at the same time. When her character was in the spotlight, she would write that part, and when my character was in the spotlight, I would write that part, and when we were together, sometimes it was basically her writing a few lines then me writing a few lines, and stuff like that. It worked really well.

CMR: Yeah that’s really similar to what we’re doing, we are using Google Docs too. My co-writer is in America –

LBS: So was mine!

CMR: – It’s quite fun because you wake up in the morning and there’s like a new section and it’s like a little present.

LBS: We also had timetables, because we were trying to do updates. Like, what was it again every week or two times a week. So we actually had those deadlines to actually push us to keep writing.

CMR: So! My Lord is published by Gurt Dog Press, and it’s also got a mental health issues as well represented, is that right?

LBS: Yeah, mostly trauma and PTSD.

CMR: Okay, and why did you choose to explore that kind of representation?

LBS: Well, basically it’s the things I am most familiar with. I had therapy for PTSD in what was it, 2019. So, and that’s also when I actually discovered that the, you know, this is not new. This has been growing for some time and now it just – the volcano erupted, basically. And I really became disabled. I couldn’t work and I had to get therapy, and after a few months of that I was able to slowly get back into work and, yeah, I’m working full time again. I’m also out of therapy now, but I can really recommend therapy. I should have done it sooner. I started writing because it was for me, a form of therapy in itself. And because I used to have a lot of bad dreams and nightmares, and writing those down helped me to process them. And yeah, also puts stuff that I was dealing with that I had trouble with. I put it into my stories also as a way to help process them because hey, look at this character. Look, they are working through it. They can beat this shit. So can I. You’re kind of projecting yourself into your characters and and viewing how they deal with it and how they work through it and then yeah, it kind of helps you deal with it yourself.

CMR: Yes, definitely. I am. I think I did a little bit of that in my stuff as well. But I kind of, I was distanced enough from this situation and the emotions and all of that, that I could go, okay, I want to kind of Gothicise my depression and my complete inability to understand things like friendships and interpersonal interactions and I kind of put it into like the antagonist character. And I kind of pushed it to its, its extreme – like how extreme can I make this? And came up with this character that I absolutely love but is like, just the most traumatised character.

LBS: We love our characters like that.

CMR: People do like him, and it’s concerning because he’s…

LBS: …going to say, he’s a bad person, yeah.

CMR: He’s an anti-villain, so yeah. He kills people.

LBS: Bad boy.

CMR: Yeah exactly.

LBS: Lord Demiras is like that.

CMR: I really liked the the extracts that I read and the bit that I’ve read out on the show. He sounds like a character I’m going to need to know better.

LBS: I did try to actually write him as someone that has to grow on you. I’m going to let you keep being afflicted about it, like, do I like this person, is he good or bad, and he kills people like… Yeah, difficult, at least that’s how I wanted to write him. No clue if I succeeded because on Wattpad [beta version] there were people who were people who instantly liked him, and there were others to who didn’t like him, even in the end they were still like no, I don’t want him, go away.

CMR: Yeah, I think, I think with those kinds of characters it depends on what your readers’ experiences are, I think if they get that character or get something about them, they’ll resonate with them in a particular way. And I think maybe people who have had different life experiences will not resonate with that character in quite the same way.

LBS: That’s true for all characters though.

CMR: Oh, for sure. Yes.

LBS: Also, when you use it with your character, people like it because he’s this traumatized depressed villain. And yes, there are people who are going to be fawning over that person because I’ve seen enough people do that, but they’re also going to be the ones who say, you know, this, this is a horrible person for everything he does and… yeah. No.

CMR: He’s just, he’s just a dick. Yeah, so it’s it’s a bit of a mixed bag, I think, with those sorts of characters, but it’s sometimes the most fun to write.

LBS: Definitely. Also to read, because those are characters with depth that have some actual meat in the characters, it’s not a one dimensional character like no, there’s more to them. I got multiple facets and multiple sides and I actually liked that when a character has more to offer. You’re not just writing a character you [the reader] has to hate – like, no, make them more interesting, give them more sides, make them more complicated and three-dimensional.

CMR: Definitely, I think that just it adds so much to the whole experience of reading. I like it when you give the reader space to read between the lines and figure out why they’re like that. Like, oh, this thing happened in the past, and so that makes sense as to why they’re responding like this now. I love stuff like that, it’s my favourite thing.

CMR: So was there anything you found difficult to write for any reason?

LBS: Um, one of the things that I actually did get stuck on were the sex scenes because I have to be the certain mindset to be able to write that kind of stuff. And sometimes it was just like, how do I write this and how do I make it actually interesting and boring and not just, yeah. Not something a 14 year old with no sexual experience would write. I’ve got plenty of experience, that’s that’s not even the problem, it is just how do I put it on paper and make it actually interesting to read and look like something good, rather than it being written horribly. I don’t have that much experience reading sex scenes, because most of the books I have, have none, so. Yeah, that was quite a challenge to do.

CMR: Yeah, I find it difficult, I kind of do the fade to black. There are no sex scenes in The Crows so that was something I avoided. But yeah, it’s hard, isn’t it, and like I think especially when you read if you do read sex scenes and you’re like, you can kind of get a feel for what’s well written, and what’s really not. I think it’s hard when you’ve got like a book that’s kind of sold itself on being very erotic and then you realize that they have to sustain it for like 400 odd pages of the novel or something like oh my god like…!

LBS: How to put it with My LordMy Lord is… kind of a slow-burn. So don’t expect something to happen by Chapter 5 or anything like that.

CMR: Like for me anyway slow burn definitely works better with erotic kinds of things because I think slow burn is erotic anyway. Definitely the anticipation aspect.

LBS: And then you have also the yearning of putting characters together like, dude, get it over with already!

CMR: No. Not for another 15 pages. Yeah, I love it. And I think we’re out of questions! Yeah, that’s been fantastic.

CMR: Do you have anything coming out soon or any promotions that you want to make us aware of anything we should know?

LBS: Um, yeah I am planning a certain quiz for My Lord which might be up and available by the time this podcast episode airs, so there’s that. Basically, you have to read the sample pages that are free online, answer a dozen questions, and for everyone that gets them right, I will pull a winner. And you get a free ebook. So I have that plan. Otherwise I am basically working on the outline of the sequel. And I’m also trying to silence my other work in progress, a dark fantasy. I keep writing it, I’ve been writing it since I was 15. At the moment, it’s again on hold because I had it on Wattpad and I drafted it again because it’s like, yeah, no, it’s still not good enough. And I want to add some more. And with that book, I also want to explore some more sides to the LGBTQ characters. And also where it comes to gender, I want to explore something there. And I want to look more at qpr [queerplatonic relationships] which we mentioned them earlier. I want to keep that book a little bit closer to my own experiences and push more of my own experiences in there and also make the main character I was already writing, a bit closer to myself, and I want to see if I can actually make her autistic in the way that I am. I started that book when I was like 15 so it’s been 15 years now. I completed this once before. It was 140 K words when it was done, the finished version, and I fully drafted it and then I started rewriting it and I think it was no around 38 or something that I drafted it again. This was a full rewrite. So I hope I can save, whatever. But yeah, it’s a big book, and probably will be a series because I have ideas for 2-3 books with that already. But yeah, those characters have been in my mind for 15 years and they really want to get written. Their backstory is also getting very much fleshed out. And yeah, I really want to write those books as well. But there are so many ideas and so little time to actually write stuff.

CMR: Yeah, I think that’s a universal… so many ideas, so little time.

LBS: If anyone if anyone wants to pay me to become a full time writer, please do.

CMR: Yeah, what’s your Ko-Fi or PayPal?

LBS: I don’t have one actually – I do have a PayPal but it’s not noted anywhere.

CMR: I guess the best way to support you is to buy your book!

LBS: Yes, actually!

CMR: So thanks for joining! It’s been really fun. I’ll put all your links in the blog post that’s going up under my Author Interview page! Hopefully see you soon on social media!

LBS: Yes we’ll be talking! See you!


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