A Researcher’s Tea Party

Guest blog by Damian Serbu

As a writer of LGBTQ+ horror/speculative fiction, I suppose operating with a curse upon me should be expected. After all, if one writes about vampires, witches, ghosts, and the otherwise magical and mysterious, such otherworldly notions might very well seep into your life. And, as with any curse, no one gets to pick the curse that afflicts them. I might find a haunting rather exciting. Or I could embrace some other horror related plague to pester me so I could at least incorporate the experiences into my writing.

But alas, no exotic trouble taunts me. Rather, the mundane fact of having been trained as a professional historian lurks in the background of my mind far too often. You see, my academic career took me down the path of earning a doctorate in History. I taught at the university level for over two decades, and I still love the field! My writing of fiction came second in my career arch and only gradually morphed into my main occupation.

And so a historian’s mind morphed into the realm of make believe, invention and fantasy. But alas the curse hit me! For all of my novels contain some form of the past, either in setting or in flash back storylines. Most obviously, The Vampire’s Angel is set in Paris during the French Revolution and The Vampire’s Quest is set in the U.S. Antebellum South. Even The Bachmann Family Secret contains family history going back to the late 1800s and Santa Is a Vampire incorporates a great deal of Christmas/Santa Claus history.

And in all cases when I write about the past, I dwell a great deal on making sure I get the scene accurate for the era. I research an inordinate amount of information to throw into the novel and meticulously edit and watch that my history accurately portrays what happened. No, I don’t let myself fudge on the truth except to incorporate fictional characters and supernatural beings and elements.

I could write a novel in half the time if I released myself from the burden of history. But I find combining my formal academic background with my fictitious worlds to be exciting. And a part of me relishes the fact I can now trick people into say, learning about the French Revolution when they innocently sat down to read a love story about gay vampires, or discovering how the Santa Claus myth was invented as they listen to Simon the Elf reveal that Santa belongs to the realm of the undead.


Damian Serbu lives in the Chicago area with his husband and two dogs, Akasha and Chewbacca. The dogs control his life, tell him what to write, and threaten to eat him in the middle of the night if he disobeys.

He has published The Vampire’s Angel, The Vampire’s Quest, The Bachmann Family Secret, and The Vampire’s Protégé, as well as Santa’s Kinky Elf, Simon and Santa Is a Vampire with NineStar Press.

The Vampire’s Witch will be released in April 2021.

Keep up to date with him at www.DamianSerbu.com.

Damian will be one of the panelists for ‘Down the Rabbit Hole: the Researcher’s Tea Party’ (Panel A2)

Check out the full schedule HERE.