Edition 13: Interview with Jeremy C Shipp
Interview by Sophie Yorkston
Tell us a little about yourself? What are you like to meet?
I am a cat-loving, spork-wielding, tea-drinking primate living in a haunted house. The first time you meet me, I’m like Bashful, one of the seven dwarves from Snow White. The next time you meet me, I’ll be less shy. I’ll be a combination of Doc, Happy and Dopey.
You write dystopian, horror and bizarro fiction. Do you find that it overlaps and which is your favourite to write? Which is your favourite to read?
My stories are funhouse mirror reflections of the real world. And what is more dystopian, horrific and bizarre than our planet. Everything overlaps, in stories and in life. Where there is horror there is often comedy. Where there is the mundane there is often the bizarre. Beneath a utopia is the dystopian underbelly.
As a well-recognised writer of bizarro, how would you describe bizarro fiction to someone who’d never read any before?
Bizarro fiction is a classification for stories that can’t be classified.
You’ve done a bit of it all; editing, writing, teaching, podcasting, blogging. How would you say these helped you professionally?
I like to stretch my imagination in as many different directions as possible. I’m not sure how helpful this is, on a professional level, but it is fun and scary and satisfying. As an artist, I’m always trying new things. Creativity, to me, is about learning and growing and failing and succeeding.
You have quite an online presence across a number of different platforms. What does this involvement mean to you?
Social media is a great venue for spreading good tidings, cheer, humor, strange ideas, etc. On a professional level, the online world can be very helpful. More often than not, ethereal realms like Facebook and Twitter are where people first discover me and my work.
You’ve been using Kickstarter recently to fund fiction? How would you describe your experience with crowd funding?
Kickstarter is a fun process. You get to pitch an idea directly to your readers, and then they decide whether or not the project comes to fruition or not. It cuts out any sort of middleman.
You’re prolific when it comes to writing. What projects are you looking at for 2014?
I’m editing a new horror anthology called THE YARD GNOMES OF THE APOCALYPSE. This will be out soon. I have some stories forthcoming in various magazines and anthologies. I’m also working on a couple new novels.
Where does the inspiration for your writing come from? Any favourite resources? I notice the attic is a common theme. What are you hiding up there?
Inspiration comes from the little things that happen in my life, the big things that happen in my life, world events, nightmares, my imagination. My attic is full of monsters. If I stop writing about them, they might escape.
You’ve published with a number of smaller publishers. How did you find that experience?
I do enjoy working with people who care about art, people who don’t have dollar signs tattooed on their eyeballs. Small publishers, for the most part, do what they do for the love of literature.
What’s on your ‘to read’ list right now?
My ‘to read’ list is an enormous scroll that stretches across countless forest and deserts and mountains. Some books that I’ll be reading in the near future: THE INIMITABLE JEEVES, WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE, THE ODYSSEY, ULYSSES, SAINTS, BOXERS.
What questions would you like interviewers to stop asking you?
Interviewers are always like, “Jeremy, why are you so talented and handsome?” And I’m like, “Please, I’m not THAT talented or handsome.” And they’re like, “Oh, yes, you are. You’re like some combination of Colin Firth and Kurt Vonnegut.” And I’m like, “Stop it. You’re making me blush like Bashful from Snow White.” And they’re like, “No, Jeremy. We’ll never stop.” Yeah, I hate that.