Jeremy C. Shipp is the Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of Cursed, Vacation, and Sheep and Wolves. His shorter tales have appeared or are forthcoming in over 60 publications, the likes of Cemetery Dance, ChiZine, Apex Magazine, Withersin, and Shroud Magazine. Jeremy enjoys living in Southern California in a moderately haunted Victorian farmhouse called Rose Cottage. He lives there with a couple of pygmy tigers and a legion of yard gnomes. The gnomes like him. The clowns living in his attic–not so much. His twitter handle is @JeremyCShipp.
Jer: Thank you for having me! I’m a writer, a geek, a yard gnome whisperer, and an attic clown wrangler. I live in a moderately-haunted Victorian farmhouse. I enjoy short walks on the beach and candle-lit dinners in spooky caves.
Bec: What first got you interested in writing?
Jer: My dad would read to me and my brothers all the time when we were kids. That’s when I fell in love with books. And then in 4th grade I wrote my first short story. That’s when I fell in love with writing.
Bec: What are the worst struggles you think writers face, writing and marketing?
Jer: I enjoy all my struggles, so I’d have a hard time saying what’s worst. I suppose the most difficult thing is that accomplishing your dreams requires a lot of hard work and a lot of luck. The hard work isn’t so bad, but it can be difficult to create luck.
Bec: Tell us about your book/s –
Jer: My books are weird, surreal, dark and funny. My newest books are called Attic Clowns and Attic Toys, because, in my mind, the world needs more books about attics.
Bec: Are you working on a sequel/s?
Jer: I would love to write a sequel to Cursed, because those characters are so fun to be around, but so far I haven’t thought of an idea that would work. I would want the sequel to be better than the original. Otherwise I won’t write it. I’m also considering writing a comic book series about Globcow from Attic Clowns. He’s my favorite little monster.
Bec: What other projects are you working on or involved with?
Jer: I’m working on a new short story collection about monsters, a comic book, a new anthology that I’m editing. I might even create a web series in the near future. More details will be available on all these projects at jeremycshipp.com.
Bec: What’s your favorite color?
Jer: I love the color of a chupacabra’s spleen.
Bec: Do you like to listen to music while you write or have complete silence?
Jer: Every once in a while, I’ll listen to some Cranberries, but most of the time I prefer silence. And by silence I mean the meowing of cats mixed with the chortling of attic clowns and the yodeling of yard gnomes.
Bec: What’s your favorite writing snack?
Jer: More often than not, I forget to eat or drink while I’m writing. In general though, I like potato chips and fried Smurf brains.
Bec: What genres do you most like to read/write?
Jer: I like fantasy, classic literature, horror. I try to read a little bit of everything. When I’m writing, I don’t think about genre. But my books and stories usually end up getting classified as some combination of horror/fantasy/sci-fi/literature/bizarro.
Bec: Sticky or slimy?
Jer: Slimy. I love the feel of ectoplasm squishing between my fingers. And there’s nothing slimier than ectoplasm.
Bec: Do you find writing a lonely profession?
Jer: I don’t think writers feel lonely while we’re writing, since we’re too busy playing with our imaginary friends to notice that we’re taking part in a solitary activity. But of course, it’s important to socialize with real people as well.
Bec: If you could design your own army of killer Smurfs, what would it be like?
Jer: I would create a horde of zombie Smurfs that would use little pick axes to break into my enemies’ skulls. Then the Smurfs would eat their way inside. I’d also make tiny suits of armor for my zombies, so they would be pretty much unstoppable.
Bec: Country or city?
Jer: I would prefer to live in the country, not far from a big city that I could visit from time to time. I want to make my own cheese, but I also want to visit museums when the mood strikes me.
Bec: What would you share with a beginning writer?
Jer: Write, write, and write some more. Try to write every day, even if you only write a paragraph or a sentence. Don’t let anyone’s negativity discourage you, including your own.
Bec: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Jer: I would want to change my arms into dragons, so that I could have dragon arms.
Bec: There is a city of trolls living in your sink drain. Once you’ve made contact with them, how do you convince them that you’re a friend and not an enemy?
Jer: I would dump mead and grog into the drain until the trolls were drunk. And as we all know, a drunken troll will believe anything.
Bec: What do you wish someone would have told you when you first started your writing journey?
Jer: Everything’s gonna be alright, buddy. Just chill out and enjoy the ride. Oh, and here are some peanut butter chip cookies I made for you. I know they’re your favorite.
Bec: Date night: Going out to eat and drinking? Or meal at home and having your woman all to yourself?
Jer: I like to switch things up. Out to eat one night. Meal at home the next night. Then, another night, we’ll eat inside a cave and paint antelope on the walls.
Bec: Do you think having other writers as friends is a good thing for your growth as a writer?
Jer: More experienced writers can definitely teach new writers a lot about how to survive and succeed. And, of course, if you have a writer friend you respect who gives you feedback about your work, this can help you grow.
Bec: What’s your favorite book? Why?
Jer: One of my favorites is The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. I love the creative use of language in the book. Every sentence feels like magic.
Bec: Zombie hookers or zombie clowns?
Jer: Zombie clowns, because they might eat some of the clowns in my attic. And there are WAY too many clowns in my attic. Five million is too many in my book, anyway.
Bec: Who’s your favorite author? Why?
Jer: Kurt Vonnegut is one of my favorites. He wrote so many brilliant books. He was able to express complex ideas and emotions in simple and graspable ways.
Bec: Is there anything you would like to share that I haven’t asked you about?
Jer: I’d like to share my opinion about juggling babies. Personally, I believe that juggling babies is almost always wrong.
Bec: Thank you for stopping by and sharing! Best of luck with your books and future projects!
Jer: Thank you kindly! May the yard gnome and attic clown gods smile upon you.
©Rebecca Besser & Jeremy C. Shipp, 2012. All rights reserved.