Jeremy C. Shipp is the Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of CURSED and the creator of the comic book series GLOBCOW. His shorter tales have appeared in over 70 publications including ChiZine, Pseudopod, Apex Magazine, and Shroud Magazine.
What got you interested in writing?
Years ago, while visiting a science exhibit during a school field trip, I was bitten by a radioactive bookworm. I developed certain powers, including the ability to shoot ink from my fingertips. From that point on, I’ve experienced a perpetual, insatiable desire to both devour and create books. Additionally, my father used to read classics to me and my brothers every night before bed. I fell in love with the writings of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne and Ray Bradbury. Then, in fourth grade, when I was encouraged to write a story for class, I found that I couldn’t stop. And I haven’t stopped writing ever since.
Tell us a little about your chosen genre.
More often than not, my tales bring together various elements of fantasy, science fiction and horror. These are the genres I love, and have always loved. There’s something magical about experiencing a book and traveling somewhere strange and new. The myriad realities of speculative fiction can help us reflect upon our own world, and reconsider what we think we know about truth, and life, and the universe. Also, spec fic is great because monsters and robots are cool.
What are your happiest memories in your writing career?
The brightest spots in my career so far are those moments when readers reach out to me. When someone connects with a story and feels that their journey through my little world benefitted them in some way, then I am content. For example, someone recently told me that one of my novels helped them after they lost a loved one. Such words stick with me, and never let go.
How do you handle success and failure?
I tend to respond to my successes by indulging in a celebratory bowl of chili cheese fries. On the other hand, when dealing with my failures, I often inspirit myself with a consolatory bowl of chili cheese fries. Seriously though, I see success and failure as aspects of the same long, tortuous path creators travel to share their work with the world. On this path, sometimes you pick up a coin, sometimes you fall into a pit of tarantulas. It’s all part of the process. Ultimately, as long as these failures and successes don’t distract me too much from the creative work itself, then I’m happy.
What makes you write when you’re exhausted and your fingers ache?
My muse is a translucent clown who walks upside-down on the ceiling and drops flaming rubber chickens on me whenever I stop writing. Also, writing, for me, is one of my primary meanings of life. If I go too long without creating, my soul begins to leak out and my shadow vibrates and my organs twirl.
What is your advice to young and new writers?
-Pace or move around the room wearing a jerboa mask
-Spend 30 minutes thinking up the right word
-Whisper a character’s dialogue to yourself
-Get jealous of the food your characters are eating
-Watch a spider crawling across the ceiling
-Wear lucky pajamas
-Bounce ideas off your cats
-Cry yourself to sleep
-Dream about zebras
-And, don’t be discouraged by rejections. We all experience them, and they are nothing to be afraid of. If you devour a rejection, you’ll only grow stronger and possibly develop super powers. Keep reading. Keep writing. Keep learning. If you can’t sell that first book, write more books. Write the stories that only you can write.
Are you a traditionalist or a digital? (paper or eBook)
I support the reading of ebooks wholeheartedly, though I primarily read paper books myself. I’m also a fan of more arcane methods of reading, such as summoning a fox demon who whispers novels into my ear while I sleep.
Do you blog?
I blog a bit at jeremycshipp.com, though these days I spend more time tweeting and creating other tiny morsels of online nonsense.
Do you self-publish?
My writing career is composed of a lovely mix of self-publishing, traditional publishing, and spectral publishing. Spectral publishing is when a ghost memorizes a scene from one of my books, and then acts out that scene in a haunted house over and over for eternity. So far, my self-publishing and traditional publishing ventures have proven to be much more successful.
If you have a publication or promotion – tell us.
My newest short story “The Ares Veil” was recently published in Cemetery Dance Magazine #76.
And my newest book The Atrocities is coming out April 16 from Tor.com Publishing. You can pre-order the tale now, if the spirit moves you.
And of course, you can tweet me (http://www.twitter.com/jeremycshipp) directly, if you’d like to hire one of my professional poltergeists to visit your home and break your furniture while reciting some rather compelling dialogue.