Released on September 30th, Camilla Voiez’ (the first book in her Starblood series hit stores, both actual and Kindle. Having reviewed the book (see the review section), Comic Crusader, caught up with Carmilla and her artistic collaborator, Anna Prashkovich, to discuss horror influences, the relationship between sex and horror and discover possible real life facsimiles of the certain characters:
CC: Hi guys. Thanks for taking the time to discuss Starblood. How did you two meet?
Carmilla Voiez: We found each other through DeviantArt. Anna was working with a games company and had the most delightful creepy artwork on her profile. We realised that our twisted souls were a perfect match for this project.
Anna Prashkovich: We found each other at Deviant art. It was like a gift from the Universe, as Carmilla was looking for an illustrator and I was dreaming of illustrating a dark graphic novel.
CC: Magic and especially in its horror sense have recently become more popular than ever. Why do you think that is?
CV: I wonder whether it’s connected to the shift from organised religion. Humans have a tendency to crave spirituality especially when the world around us feels more and more sterile. We all know everything now. Any answer is available at the click of a few buttons. But we desire mystery as much as we ever did. Perhaps this is why magic, psychosis and altered perception will always have a place in horror.
AP: The world is getting smaller and smaller, there are fewer places to discover, so it’s natural for a human being to explore the areas that were for centuries forbidden. That’s why people are eager to indulge in magic (in horror sense.
CC: Who or what were your influences when creating this book?
CV: I took a lot of inspiration from magical texts – Kenneth Grant, Jan Fries, Dion Fortune and Austin Osman Spare. There are nods to HP Lovecraft in there too and the Necromicon. The Goth scene in the UK was a huge influence and the music of Dead Can Dance.
AP: I draw inspiration from music (London after Midnight, Peter Murphy, The Sisters of Mercy, Lamme Immortelle, Mandragora Scream, early Tiamat and Moonspell). I love Clive Barker’s paintings, together with his literary pursuits, they are an endless source of inspiration.
CC: What do you think is the attraction of sex and magic, or sex and horror?
CV: Sex has been a taboo subject for centuries and the control of sexuality goes hand in hand with organised religion. It is debatable whether sex is a means to magic or magic a means to obtain sex, but the two have been tied together from before the writings of Alistair Crowley. I wonder whether it is that orgasmic high and the momentary feeling that anything is possible as the dopamine rushes around the body that makes sex a magical tool. Horror often punishes sex with death. There was a whole movement of have sex and die in horror movies that originated with Italian film makers. It can be argued that Lovecraft wove a fear of female sexuality into his texts long before then, and that vampires’ penetrating fangs have overtly sexual connotations. Is it because civilization fears the primitive and sex is our most commonly shared primitive drive?
AP: The drives of Eros and Thanatos are deeply rooted in human nature, so it’s natural to seek something dark and forbidden from time to time.
CC: What are you favourite horror movies / books?
CV: Clive Barker’s Hellbound Heart and Cabal are way up there. I love the surrealism of Dario Argento’s films, although the more recent ones seem to have lost a lot of the magic. Evil Dead, Nightmare on Elm Street and Let the Right One In are films which have stayed with me.
AP: I’m an avid fan of Clive Barker’s Hellbound Heart and the first two Hellraiser movies ( 1987 and 1988 ), Hellraiser comic series are also awesome. I really love Poppy Z Brite’s Drawing Blood, H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness and Terry Pratchet’s novel series about Death. And I can’t not mention Carmilla Voiez, as I’m totally in love with her Starblood trilogy. Japanese horror movies are really cool, really atmospheric. Also I love movies that date back to 70’s – 80’s like the Exorcist or Nightmare on Elm Street . I can watch them over and over again.
CC: Camilla, Satori seems unaware of how using magic will drive him further from his initial goal. Is the analogy of this or in fact any of the characters based on anyone in real life? Have names been changed to protect the innocent?
CV: Yes and yes. The trilogy is an analogy for the breakup of my marriage and Satori’s magic and madness are in some ways inspired by my ex.
CC: I have to say, the book reads great and looks fantastic. I hope you both receive the success and recognition your work deserves.
As mentioned above, Starblood is available NOW, in paperback and Kindle formats.