Citizens of Shadow came to me immediately when I started writing. It was just there, handed to me without a second of questioning or doubt. It has always, always been Citizens.

Beguiled by Night was not so evident. It took awhile for that one to come, and my original title was incredibly long and complicated. Now long and wordy titles seem to be quite the rage, but in 2018, when Beguiled was just a little caterpillar of a book, long titles were frowned upon — so I abandoned it. I’m keeping it a secret because I might still use it someday 🤭

So. The significance of the title, Citizens of Shadow. What does it mean? Yes, vampires naturally live in the shadows, in darkness, under cover of the night… but this title is actually a metaphor for anyone who can’t live free and in the open, for whatever reason. How many Shadow Citizens walk amongst us, cloaking their true selves? How many people live their lives in obscurity — behind closed doors, behind curtains, behind untruths, in the dark — because it’s too dangerous to be exposed?

This is a crucial motif in both books, but especially in Citizens — because here we see Vauquelin facing the tragedy that results from running from himself all these centuries. And listen, mes amis: it isn’t just about hiding the fact that he’s vampire.

I’ve said time and again that I believe vampires are the perfect allegory for a number of misunderstood and marginalised people. In my and

’s vampire universes, vampires are not… (ahem) straight.

I never tagged Beguiled by Night as queer horror although it has queer representation: specifically, Vauquelin. He has encounters with men, but the driving relationship in the book is with a woman. Does this invalidate Vauquelin’s queerness? Absolutely not. In Beguiled by Night, Vauquelin identifies as pansexual (demi-pansexual, if you want to get really specific). Being in a relationship with a woman does not make him less pansexual or less queer. But queerness is not a focus of the story: it is simply how Vauquelin is, as real and true as the fact that he is vampire. And something happens in Beguiled that plants a seed for him to explore his sexuality even further in Citizens.

Citizens of Shadow, however, is indisputably a queer novel. It has heavy themes of exploring self-identity and how problematic labels can be for LGBTQIA+ individuals, even for people who don’t question their own place on the spectrum.

All of this comes into focus within the lens of gothic horror.

I am honoured to be a part of the Queer Horror Renaissance, and especially to bring more of Vauquelin’s story to the world.