Heart of Brass is set inside a business that everyone refers to as a specialized treatment center for unwelcome sexual desire. In practice, it’s a warren of rooms full of literal sex machines (powered by steam, of course). There’s something very compelling, both thematically and erotically, about mixing volatile human sexual desire with the fundamentally inhuman nature of machines. Which is more powerful? Which is more difficult to master? If part of your sexuality involves submission, what does “mastery” even mean? What kind of power exchange can occur between a living being and that which the living being creates?
The Facts in the Case of Miss Casimir is set in the American Northeast, specifically (though it is never mentioned in the story) southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, with its colonial history, dreary weather, nearby ports, and old schools. The setting is a nod to H.P. Lovecraft, who lived in Providence. (He is buried in Swan Point Cemetery there.)
The opening scene of the story is set at York Races in 1907. I had seen photographs of the racecourse at York from this period, with the crowds in Edwardian dress, and instantly thought it would make a perfect setting for my Lady Sally character. Most of the story is set in her residence, Rudston Hall. This is not a real house, though there is an actual village called Rudston, but it is inspired by Sledmere House and park in Yorkshire.
The setting for the story is the Flask Inn in Southwark. A London tavern was an obvious location because most of the Ranter sect was based in the capital. They were notorious, not just for their extreme sexual behaviour, but also for their drunkenness! So, a tavern was an obvious setting for an impromptu sermon by my Ranter preacher, Tobias Coppe.
Infernal Machine is set in the same universe as my novel House of Sable Locks, and about ten years after that book. Elijah and Sasha are students at the same school where my main character in Sable Locks was a student.
Basically, I had this perfectly good universe I wasn’t using at the time, so I had some more fun with it.
Mundus was colonized by humans and terraformed to be an ideal world, a kind of gilded cage for people who wanted to live within the stratified social world of the Victorian era. I like the idea of exploring worlds that are fully shaped by peoples’ desires and needs, seeing where it continues to work and where people slip through the cracks.