Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Murder and Machinery: An Interview with Karen Bayly

Karen Bayly's "Foul Beasts" is just one of the mad mechanical tales featured in Murder and Machinery. Out April the 3rd. Kindle pre-orders available now.

Tell us three interesting facts about yourself:

I have Welsh and German ancestry. I have a PhD in Ethology (the study of animal behaviour). I used to act and get paid for it. 

What drew you to this particular theme? 

We like to think we are masters of the machines we create. Playing with the idea of a machine taking over or someone hijacking a machine for a nefarious purpose is always fun.

What’s the most frightening machine for you personally?

The Corporate Machine. Not a mechanical monster, but a monster nonetheless. I’m also skeptical about making androids too human. It feels like birthing a slave race. Humans are quite frightening biological machines.

Which short story authors or authors in the horror genre inspire you? 

Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Shelley, Shirley Jackson, Clive Barker.  Angela Carter wrote some excellent horror (e.g., “The Bloody Chamber”). Also, screenwriter John Logan who wrote much of the TV series, “Penny Dreadful”. He was nominated for a Bram Stoker award four times, but never won. He did win an Edgar Allan Poe Award though.

Do you have a favourite story about machines, other than The Pit and the Pendulum?

Mortal Engines—I love that cities can be machines that devour other city machines. I’m also ridiculously fond of HAL 9000. It gets a bad rap in the movie.

What does your editing process look like? 

Tedious, meticulous, and often mind-numbing. The latter probably explains why I often miss things. I do the standard developmental, line, and copy edits. I read it aloud. For longer pieces, I enlist beta readers. Yet still errors slip through. Aargh!

Do you write everything and then edit or do you meticulously plan before you write? 

I create a rough plan which gives me a few plot points as guideposts to a destination. I may even get detailed about certain parts. Then I start writing and any detail usually goes out the door. Planned plot points evolve and new ones emerge. I guess it is a bit like building a trellis for a plant to climb—you create a framework, plant the seeds, and guide the growth so that you end up with a healthy plant that reaches upward and outwards instead of crawling on the ground.

What are you working on now?

I’m editing my YA fantasy, tentatively titled “The Witch Who Wasn’t” and writing a dystopian novella about an assassin and the Corporate Machine who owns her.

Where can we find you online? 


Thanks, Karen!