1. Jeremy, welcome to IYR, it’s great to have you. How early did you become interested in writing, in particular horror writing? Were the genre movies as influential as its authors? Was there a significant turning point that got you into the dark and twisted?
Very happy to be here! It could be that I was interested in writing before I was born, but I don’t have many memories left from that time. I used to be a stink bug, so it’s likely that I didn’t write much at all. Anyway, in 4th grade, I wrote a rather long short story, and I’ve been hooked every since. My writing has always incorporated elements of horror and fantasy and bizarro. I watched a lot of strange and dark movies as a kid. Return to Oz, The Adventures of Baron Munchause, The Dark Crystal. To be honest, I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t interested in the dark and twisted. Even before I started writing fiction, my brothers and I would play games of pretend, and some of our recurring characters were the grim reaper, a friendly mummy, and a floating mouth that could devour others and send them to another dimension.
2. Is there a book you’ve published you’re specifically fond or proud of? Any you wish you could go back and pull from publication?
I am awfully fond of Cursed. Those characters were lovely imaginary friends before I finished the book and cast them away into the void. There aren’t any published books I would unpublish. I started writing novels when I was 13, and luckily I my first few books were never published. Those novels were imaginative but they weren’t ready to be read by human eyes.
3. Have you ever met any of your heroes? If so, was it a positive experience?
I’ve had the pleasure of talking with and working with many of my heroes. Quite a few of them I’ve only talked with online, but that still counts, right? They say you should never meet your heroes, but that’s not a problem when they’re lovely people. I’m still hoping that someday I’ll meet Falcor, Papa Smurf, Earthworm Jim, Pyornkrachzark, Slimer, Fizzgig and Ludo.
4. In your opinion, who are the most exciting young emerging writers in horror and bizarro today? How did you become involved with the bizarro movement, was it through Raw Dog Screaming Press?
There are so many dragon (that’s my word for awesome) emerging writers out there. Instead of listing specific names, I’m going to name a couple of publishers. Check out Omnium Gatherum and Evil Jester Press. Check out their writers. You won’t be sorry.
5. Tell us a secret about Jeremy Shipp…
I’ll do you nine better. Here are 10 secrets:
1. One of my earlobes is attached to my head and one of them isn’t.
2. I hate peanut butter.
3. When I was a kid, I believed that the only reason people ever exceeded the speed limit while driving was because their cars were malfuctioning.
4. I have never shaken the hand of another human being.
5. My brother and I once found ourselves lost in a Canadian forest.
6. The “C” in Jeremy C. Shipp stands for Cookie.
7. My dancing could be described as horrible, and that wouldn’t be very far from the truth.
8. I was once invited to sing to the president on his birthday, but I declined the invitation.
9. When watching a movie, I’m often more heartbroken when an animal dies than when a human dies.
10. My stomach is magnetic.
Half of these secrets are lies.
6. Any advice for young aspiring writers in the field? Have you learned anything from any previous mistakes as a young, reckless writer that you’d like to pass on?
1. Never give up.
2. Write from your heart, your mind, your gut, your spleen.
3. Read every day.
4. Write every day.
5. Don’t worry about rejection letters. Use them to create a papier-mâché statue of Mr. Belvedere or Horatio Sanz.
6. Find out what works best for you.
7. Write stories that entertain and interest you.
8. Don’t get eaten by a dragon.
9. Dance with Smurfs.
7. Tell us about your “plushies” and how that came about?
The main character in my novel Cursed creates plushies for a living. To be honest, I was a bit jealous of the guy, so I decided to design and create some plushies myself. I don’t sell my creations, but it’s fun making them and giving them away. And sometimes they whisper to me secrets of the universe.
Here’s a link, in case you want to look at my little monsters: http://jeremycshipp.wordpress.com/plushies/
And here’s a link, in case you want to look at a spork:
8. What’re your plans for the future?
In addition to novels and short stories, I want to write more comics and screenplays. I also have some strange new anthologies in the works. But more than all that, I want to put on a musical based on The Old Man and the Sea. My favorite yard gnome will play the old man. The Smurfs living in my garden will play the sea.