Sunday 4 April 2021

Murder and Machinery: An Interview with Kurt Newton

Kurt Newton's "The Wedge" is just one of the mad mechanical tales featured in Murder and Machinery.

Tell us three interesting facts about yourself.

1. I went to school to become an engineer and came out discovering I was a writer.

2. My current job of over twenty years is in the field of Health Physics. In other words, I work with radiation.

3. I’m nearing retirement age and have a six-year-old who’s better at Mario Kart than I am. I hear “I beat you Dada” in my dreams. The kid will one day be the death of me.

What drew you to this particular theme? 

The inner workings of machines have always fascinated me. As a kid, I used to take things apart just to see how they worked. The same applies to people, except it’s psychological. As a writer, I try to get at the heart of the invisible machine inside us all.

What’s the most frightening machine for you personally?

A kitchen sink garbage disposal. It’s even got lips. It’s gross. And scary.

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

Three of the best short story collections (that happen to be predominately horror-based) are Ray Bradbury’s The October Country, Stephen King’s Night Shift and Dennis Etchinson’s The Dark Country. If I taught a course on the great American short story, I’d definitely put these on the reading list.

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

When I was kid, watching the movie The Time Machine with Rod Taylor and the Morlocks was mind-altering. Another was the Twilight Zone episode A Kind of Stopwatch with Burgess Meredith.

What does your editing process look like?

I hardly ever have enough time to write a complete story in a single sitting (flash being the exception). Most times, I write then I print what I have so far. The next time pick it up, I edit that then write some more, print, edit, write, etc. until it’s done. Then I print the whole thing and set it aside. It could be weeks or months before I revisit the story with “fresh” eyes.

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

Writing is visual for me, so I can usually envision what the story will look like--the setting, the mood—even before I start. Then it’s just a matter of transcribing those visuals onto paper. For longer stories, I sketch out just enough actions or scenes to keep the story interesting. I find that if I think through too much, I tend to lose interest in the story because, in my head, it’s already written.

What are you working on now?

In my early days of writing, I created an alternate future world that I’ve revisited several times. There’s a novel in-progress and several other related projects of interconnected stories. At the moment, I’m working to finish a novella I began many years ago called House of Giants, House of Ghosts that takes place in the same world.

Where can we find you online?

The usual social media playgrounds: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. I also have author pages at Amazon, Goodreads and Librarything.

Thanks, Kurt!