Thursday, July 19, 2012


I’m honored to welcome Jeremy C. Shipp to my blog today. I’m a huge fan of his work, and I can’t wait to delve a little deeper into his mind. Won’t you join me?

I was delighted when I opened up Issue #66 of Cemetery Dance and saw a story from you. Then I read the tale, “Inside,” and was totally blown away. It’s one of the best pieces of fiction I’ve read in a long time. Where did you find that story?
First of all, Peter, thank you for inviting me to your blog. I like what you've done with the place. This e-chair is cozy, and the interweb tea is to die for. Speaking of dying, my story "Inside" was born from various real world nightmares, such as factory farms. I find it more than a little horrifying when people treat other beings as if they are soulless. With these feelings swirling around in my gut, eventually I came up with the idea of a vending machine full of humans.

Tell us a little about Bizarro fiction. Where do you see yourself in this movement? What attracted you to Bizarro?

In a sense, I see Bizarro as a genre for tales that defy genre. This is a bit paradoxical, but that's OK, because Bizarro fiction eats paradoxes for breakfast (along with Boo Berry cereal and spambled eggs). I see myself on the horror and dark fantasy side of the Bizarro teeter-totter. I never think  today I'm going to write a Bizarro story or today I'm going to write a horror story. I just write whatever comes to my mind, and when I'm done I find a home for it where I can. I love the imagination and freshness of Bizarro fiction. It's an honor to be associated with the movement.

You have a wonderful and wicked, dark yet lighthearted sense of humor. It’s a strange mix, in my humble estimation, of deep meaning and utter ephemera. A brilliant juxtaposition. Where does this come from?

I'm a big fan of humor. I believe humor helps people to not only cope with darkness, but to defend themselves against it. Also, I like humor because it's funny. Humor's probably one of the funniest things in the world.

What is your personal favorite among your works? Your least favorite? Why?

I don't think I could choose a favorite story or book, but I can choose a couple favorite characters. Cicely from my novel CURSED and Globcow from my ATTIC CLOWNS collection. Cicely's a strong, caring person with a unique sense of humor. And Globcow: he's as evil as he is innocent, which is an interesting combination. I would have a lot of fun hanging out with these two (I mean, other than those moments when Globcow was eating my feet). My least favorite story is probably a horror story I wrote when I was a teenager. This story was never published (thankfully). There was way too much gore, and not nearly enough talking animals.

Why attic clowns? Tell us about these creatures and why they interest you.

It all started years ago when I bought an antique mirror at a yard sale. When I brought the mirror home, I realized that my reflection didn't look quite right in the mirror. My face was too white and my nose was too red. It creeped me out. So I put the mirror in the attic, and of course a demonic clown soon oozed his way out of the looking glass. At this point, there are about 1400 demonic clowns living up there. I'm not so much fascinated by them as I am tormented. Not a day goes by without a clown tossing a flaming pie at my face. I can't even count how many times I've been attacked by a giant rubber chicken. Anyway, I write about attic clowns in order to process these horrible yet pretty funny experiences.

That’s pretty much what I thought, but I had to ask. So, what are you working on right now?

I'm almost done with a new story collection called MONSTROSITIES. I'm also working on a novel, a screenplay, and a couple other projects.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

Other than the projects that I already mentioned, there might be a movie eventually based on my novel CURSED. Also, there's a good chance I'll start work on a graphic novel in the near future.

Who are your literary influences? And what’s your all-time favorite book?

There are so many writers out there who influence and inspire me. I love Kurt Vonnegut, Haruki Murakami, George Orwell, Amy Tan, Roald Dahl, Anthony Burgess. The list could go on and on. My favorite book might be The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. I find her innovate use of language to be brilliant.

I had the pleasure of working with you a little on your ATTIC TOYS anthology. It’s a remarkable collection. Tell us a little bit about that book and the process involved with putting it together.

I had a blast working with you and Charles Day on this anthology. The editing process involved a lot of blood, sweat and tears (but mostly blood. Who knew that toys could bleed so much?). I received so many marvelous submissions from amazing writers around the world. I'm very happy with how the anthology turned out.

What lights you up?

Monsters, animals, nice/creative people, cheesy horror movies, sporks, plushies, peanut butter, forests, nerdy stuff.

What shuts you down?

Prejudices, abuses of power, heights, parties that aren't nerdy enough, bad movies that aren't cheesy, traffic cones.

You seem to be writing a lot of short fiction lately. Do you prefer short fiction?

The thing I like about short stories is that I can finish one in less than a year. But to be honest, I love writing novels more than anything. It's a special experience, sticking with the same group of characters for so long. They become my dear friends and my dear enemies. I let my stories end when they will, and most of my tales don't need to be novels in order to be told effectively.

You’ve written brilliant novels. Tell us a little about your process with long fiction? Do you outline? How do you work?

I often start a novel by brainstorming out ideas. I'll brainstorm again numerous times as I'm working through the story. As I'm writing, I'll have an idea where I want the novel to end up, but the story sometimes surprises me and takes me somewhere I didn't expect. I like to write organically. Let the story go where it needs to go, where the fun and the horror and the humor is.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Read and write every day. Don't give up on your dreams, no matter what people might say (even if they're wearing top hats and monocles). Connect with other writers. Have fun. Write what you would enjoy reading.

What else would you like everyone to know?

1. Never insult a demon's mustache.
2. Not all Care Bears actually care about you. I learned that the hard way.
3. If an attic clown offers you a candy shaped like your head, don't eat it.

Thank you for being my guest today, Jeremy. Stay for a bit, and I'll make another pot of that interweb tea you like so much.
The rest of you, go out and buy some of Jeremy's books; he's got a bunch of 'em and they're all great. Here's a link to his Amazon Author Page where you can browse at your leisure:
Join my next week for more guests, more discussions, and more information. In the meantime, thank you for reading.


  1. I'm a big fan of Jeremy, and so is the evil little jester. In fact, the jester and the attic clown have become great friends and can be seen wandering around late at night, looking for trouble.

    Seriously though, great interview yet again, Pete. And Jeremy is a fantastic writer!!

  2. Awesome interview! I like Jeremy's style!