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A Point of Pride: Interview with James Lefebure


James Lefebure is a Scottish-born, Liverpool-living horror author. Splitting his time between watching horror, reading horror and writing horror, he can often be found arguing with people that Jason would whoop Michael. His two novels The Books of Sarah and God In The Livingroom have proven to his long-suffering, fantasy-reading husband that James will probably never write a story about dragons or an orphan with a destiny. He’s a part of two LGBT horror anthologies—We’re Here and The Horror Collection: LGBTQIA Edition. He can be found on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. He does have a Twitter, but doesn’t understand how it works enough to use it.  His website has recently been launched and contains more information on where to find him.


What inspired you to start writing? 


I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a young horror reader. (I blame Christopher Pike and R.L Stine). Although, life got in the way and I didn’t sit down and actually write my first book until the pandemic hit. I was working in the NHS at the time so had to go into work, but couldn’t see anyone after my shift. So, writing became my outlet to help get my head out of the stress of working in a hospital during the outbreak.

What was it about the horror genre that drew you to it? 

I love that at its core, horror is about examining the most human elements of yourself. It’s about fear in its most primal form. It’s not enough to just be scared, it makes you examine what it is that’s scaring you. I think it shows the core truth of anyone when they’re in a situation that is making them confront their biggest fears. 

Do you make a conscious effort to include LGBTQ material in your writing, and if so, what do you want to portray? 

In my books, I’ve had LGBTQ characters. In the Books of Sarah, the prologue has a young gay man called Albert. He struggles to survive a really homophobic upbringing and family. My whole goal with him was to explore “real world” horror. That it’s not always monsters under the bed that scare people. Sometimes the monsters are closer to home! Albert pops up again in my 2nd Book of short stories The God in The Living Room. I can’t say too much about him, as it’s linked to events that happen in Books of Sarah. But I wasn’t quite finished with Albert’s story so needed to expand a bit more on him. 

My current book, Sense of Self, which is a full-length novel, has a gay man as the protagonist. I wanted to write about how far people, especially gay people, have to change who they are to fit in. Caleb is searching for love and a community. Unfortunately for him, he just happens to find it in a cult that worships an ancient sea deity.  

What has writing horror taught you about the world and yourself?

That sometimes what can upset the reader isn’t what you think. There are parts of Books of Sarah that I find upsetting as the writer, but the feedback that I’ve received is that it’s not the bits I expected people to be upset about that actually gets them! There’s a soup scene which I knew would be polarizing, but there’s parts that I didn’t write to get a reaction from but some people have commented that it’s upset them! 

For me, it’s shown me that deep down I’m an optimist! Despite the heavy nature of both my books, I always strive to get the best for my characters. It doesn’t always end that way, but it’s what my goals are for all the characters I’ve written. 

How have you seen the horror genre change over the years? And how do you think it will continue to evolve?

I’m a child of the 80’s and the whole straight-to-video generation. I’ve seen horror go from practical effects, boobs and lots of gore (which is all brilliant in itself) to the more “elevated” horror of the last few years. I say this as someone who’s two favorite horror movies are Friday 13th Part 6 and Hereditary. I like that horror has always been willing to push the envelope when it comes to what can be classed as horror. I’ve seen it a lot in horror literature as well. Writers like Daniel Volpe (Left To You) explore the long-term effects of the Holocaust, while also making you worry about a demon in a basement. The sub-genres that are available in horror now are fascinating; with splatterpunk becoming more noticed, it’s interesting to watch some of the reactions of readers claiming that it’s gore for gore sake. It’s not. It’s just pushing another boundary and envelope on the horror genre.  I also love that female-led horror has been getting a chance to shine. I’m a huge fan of gothic horror and find that women such as Catherine Cavendish are excelling in that genre. 

How do you feel the LGBTQ community has been represented thus far in the genre, and what hopes do you have for representation in the genre going forward?

It’s a tricky question because horror’s not always had the best relationship with the LGBTQ community, especially in the 90’s! But lately there has been some great stand-out moments for queer horror. Things like the Chucky TV series being so mainstream are helping to push LGBTQ horror into the spotlight. I think with voices like Erica LaRocca having such an amazing presence in the horror world at the moment, horror is getting some strong proud voices. 

Who are some of your favorite LGBTQ characters in horror?

Steve and Ghost from Lost Souls by Poppy Z Brite were my earliest introduction to LGBT characters in horror, so they will always hold a special place in my heart. I can’t not mention Andrew and Eric from Cabin at The End of World. I know it can be a difficult book for some people, but it absolutely blew my mind (and heart) when I read it. 

Who are some LGBTQ horror authors you recommend our audience check out? 

Erica LaRocca, Clive Barker (obviously!), Billy Martin (previously known as Poppy Z Brite), Aaron Dries. Mick Collins is also a brilliant voice for bisexual horror. His titles are fresh and very memorable! 

What is one piece of advice you would give horror authors today?

Gay characters can be just as flawed as straight characters. Their sexuality really doesn’t need to be the only defining feature about them! Write us as messy! Trust me—we’ll love you for it!


And to the LGBTQ writers out there who are just getting started, what advice would you give them?

Your voice counts. Never be afraid to embrace that. have to be separate activities! 

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