SciFiPulse recently had the honour of interviewing Kalynn Bayron. She is the author of Cinderella is Dead and the upcoming novel This Poison Heart. In this interview Kalynn talks about her influences growing up, what genres she would like to explore and her favourite superpower.
Scifipulse: How important is it that black LGBTQIA people see themselves represented in fiction?
Kalynn Bayron: It’s incredibly important. I remember being a young reader and wondering why I never saw anyone who looked like me. I still enjoyed reading of course, but there was a sense, especially in the children’s literature space, that I didn’t belong. I didn’t see parts of myself in fiction until I was a little older and read Toni Morrison and Octavia Butler. Those works were transformative for me and allowed me to consider that my identity and all the things that come with it, could stand front and center in a story.
Scifipulse: Do you have any advice for black authors looking to get published?
Kalynn Bayron: I think we understand the challenges we’ll face. Racism and homophobia exist in publishing as they do in every other industry. Knowing they exist doesn’t make them any easier to deal with. I came into this industry to do what I love and that I run into barriers simply because I’m a Queer Black woman is always disheartening. There have been times where I questioned if I could continue to do this. The thing that grounds me is knowing that what I’m doing is really important to me and also, that I’m not alone out here. I have lots of other author friends who are right here in the thick of it with me. My advice is to write what you want to write and build a community with other BIPOC in publishing.
Scifipulse: What first drew you to fantasy/sci-fi?
Kalynn Bayron: I have a lifelong love of fantasy, particularly fairy tales. I love stories that incorporate magic and fantastical elements. I think the draw comes from imagining that something magical could happen to you at any time. Fantasy is also a great space to explore themes that parallel challenges we face in the real-world. In Cinderella Is Dead I tackled misogyny, political propaganda, and heteronormative societal expectations. In This Poison Heart I wrote about generational trauma and belonging. Both stories delve into these heavy topics, but they’re wrapped in these other fantasy based story threads. I love that there’s flexibility within the genre to explore.
Scifipulse: Following on from that question, are there any other genres you’d like to explore?
Kalynn Bayron: I’m ready to jump into full-fledged horror. A lot of my work already has horror elements within it, but I want to push beyond that. I want to write something that makes people turn the lights on because they’re too scared to read in the dark!
I’d also really love to write for Marvel! Specifically something for Brunnhilde or another of the Valkyrior. We’re seeing Jane Foster in her turn as Valkyrie, the leader of a new set of warrior women, and I love it! I’d love to do something in that space, even if it’s just a one-shot deal. Marvel! Call me!
Scifipulse: Do you plot your novels or let the story evolve naturally?
Kalynn Bayron: I do a little of both. I like to plot out the main events and then do some outlining, but it always changes because as I’m writing things come up that I couldn’t have seen until I’m actually in the thick of it. I use my first drafts to flesh out the connecting points. I keep a running outline open during the drafting process so that I can change it as I go along. It’s incredibly helpful for me to have some sense of where I’m going.
Scifipulse: What stories would you still like to tell?
Kalynn Bayron: So. Many.
I literally have 8 or 9 WIPs in various stages of progress. I have an equal number of plot bunnies that need to be fleshed out but could lead to some exciting things. I’d like to see more picture books that center queer Black families and queer Black elders.
Scifipulse: What other books with queer black female protagonists would you recommend?
Scifipulse: And finally; if you could have any superpower or magical ability, what would it be and why?
Kalynn Bayron: Invisibility! I think it’s the superpower/magical ability all introverts covet.
SciFiPulse would like to extend our warmest wishes and most heartfelt thanks to Kalynn Bayron for so graciously answering our questions.
Kalynn’s website: Kalynn Bayron Author
Her Twitter: @KalynnBayron
Check out our interview with Kwame Mbalia and Prince Joel Makonnen here