Finding Myself in My Fiction by Mark Allan Gunnells

By Mark Allan Gunnells

When I was young, I devoured horror movies and novels like they were candy. I was drawn to horror because of the thrill and the imaginative power of the genre. I was rarely disappointed in those aspects, but where horror did disappoint me was in the area of representation.

All of us long to see ourselves reflected and represented in the stories we read and watch, and if you grow up straight then you have no problem finding that. Growing up gay in the 80s, that representation wasn’t really there. Kind of across the board, but especially in horror.

In fact, there was such an absence of the LGBT presence in horror, that when I started to seriously write horror myself, I did not include homosexual characters. Everything I saw around me suggested that this simply wasn’t done, that it wouldn’t be accepted. The LGBT erasure in the genre was so total that even I was erasing myself.

Luckily I got over that, with the help of writers like Clive Barker and Poppy Z. Brite, and I realized that if I wanted to see the LGBT experience reflected in the genre I loved, I had to be out there doing it myself. Setting an example, leading the way, giving hope to the writers who would come after me.

Cut to thirty years later, and while we still have a ways to go, there is much more of a LGBT presence in the horror field. June is Pride Month, and I see all over social media people celebrating LGBT horror creators, and I’ve even seen horror websites selling T-shirts with slogans like “Make Horror Gay AF.” The teenager I was would rejoice at such things.

And that is why I’m so delighted to be able to write and published books like 2B. Horror books that feature a variety of LGBT characters and doesn’t shy away from all the aspects of their lives, including relationships and sex. I am particularly delighted that there are publishers like Valhalla Books that embraces that kind of diversity and champions representation of the LGBT experience.

Looking back, it seems almost crazy that I would have tried to write myself out of my fiction and I am so grateful that instead I was able to find myself in my fiction.

Happy Pride Month everyone!


“When your ex wants you dead, they will take you to the grave with them!” -2 B

“Berkley Simmons died … for five minutes.

Berkley woke up to find himself in the hospital. He discovered that his ex is dead after a failed murder/ suicide attempt. With nowhere else to go, Berkley must return to the apartment where it all happened.It doesn’t take long for Berkley to begin to suspect that his ex never left the apartment, and still wants him dead.”

2B is available now

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