Today I’d like to introduce you to Jeremy C Shipp. Jeremy is the Bram Stoker nominated author of books such as CURSED and VACATION.
1. Your latest collection of stories, Fungus of the Heart, is dedicated to your brother and “all the other monster lovers of the world”. As a fellow monster lover, I know just how vivid and tinged with nostalgia those early encounters with monsters can be. Tell us a little about your first experiences of the world of horror etc?
Monsters were a big part of my childhood. I initially fell in love with strange creatures thanks to creative geniuses such as Jim Henson, Terry Gilliam, George Lucas. When we were kids, my brothers and I would play pretend, and some recurring characters included a friendly mummy, the grim reaper, and a floating mouth that could eat people and send them to other dimensions. Another memory that I hold close to my heart was the time my brother Joshua and I spotted a ghost dog in our backyard.
2. Your work has been nominated for a Bram Stoker award. That must have been a huge kick?
When I heard the news, I was surprised, elated. I even peed a little in my Smurf pants.
3. Your bio states that you live in “a moderately haunted Victorian farmhouse called Rose Cottage”. Do you really believe in ghosts or is that just for spooky effect?
I believe in ghosts because they believe in me. It’s only fair, right?
4. Exorcist or Saw?
A good exorcist is hard to find, but they’re quite effective when it comes to dealing with antisocial spirits. If your ghosts are only mildly annoying, then a high-quality spiritual saw should do the job. If we’re talking movies, The Exorcist is a dear friend, and Saw is an amusing acquaintance who I talk to if I run into him.
5. What compels you to write?
Writing seems to be my natural reaction to living on such a weird planet. The process of writing is cathartic, empowering. Writing gives me the opportunity to touch minds, hearts, spleens, and other internal organs.
6. Does it come easily to you?
Ideas come to me easily and effortlessly, but writing an actual story is a frustrating, painful, beautiful experience. I tend to obsess over every sentence, every word. Sometimes writing is the last thing in the world I feel like doing. But I’d never give up writing stories. Writing is my double rainbow.
7. I’ve already mentioned your latest collection of stories. Pick a favourite from the collection and tell us about it and its beginnings/development.
One of the stories in the collection that I’m especially fond of is “Boy in the Cabinet.” This is the story of a boy, a death cat, an anthropomorphic Styrofoam cup, and other creatures. In the story, the Boy in the Cabinet must face his fear of death and change, and enter the wide, wide world. The Boy in the Cabinet is a character who’s been a part of my life for many years. My family often plays a game that involves making up little stories, and the stories I write are almost always about the Boy in the Cabinet. The poor boy has died a number of times. I felt sorry for him, so in Fungus of the Heart, I wanted to give him a chance to get out of the cabinet for a while, and get a chance at a happy ending.
8. Finally, what are you working on now?
I’m currently working on a new horror story collection as well as a middle grade fantasy novel. There are other projects in the works, such as a musical stage play based on my short story “Nightmare Man.” I’m also trying to organize a civil war reenactment using yard gnomes and coconut monkeys. Not as easy as it sounds.
To learn more about Jeremy, visit his website.