Jeremy C. Shipp is the Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of "Cursed", "Vacation", and "Sheep and Wolves". His shorter tales have appeared or are forthcoming in over 60 publications, the likes of Cemetery Dance, ChiZine, Apex Magazine, Withersin, and Shroud Magazine. Jeremy enjoys living in Southern California in a moderately haunted Victorian farmhouse called Rose Cottage. He lives there with a couple of pygmy tigers and a legion of yard gnomes. The gnomes like him. The clowns living in his attic–not so much. His twitter handle is @JeremyCShipp.
1. What drew you to bizarro, and when did you know it was your genre?
I've always written bizarre horror and fantasy stories that aren't easily classifiable. I knew it was my genre when people started telling me that I write Bizarro tales. I was like, "There's a genre for what I do? Awesome!"
2. Are there any up-and-coming writers you've been watching?
I highly recommend checking out the works of S. S. Michaels, Brent Michael Kelley, and all the authors who are published by Omnium Gatherum. This is a new small press that's putting out amazing books.
3. What kind of music do you listen to when you write, if any?
I don't really listen to music while I'm writing these days, but every once in a while my muses like to break into song. They usually sing show tunes from The Sound of Music or The Music Man.
4. What's your revision process like?
I tend to obsess over every sentence, and I revise as I go along. It's a horrible, painful way to write, but it's my system. I also revise later, after I finish with the story or chapter.
5. How much do you write in a day? Is it sequential, or do you just write whatever comes to mind?
Sometimes I write a little and sometimes I write a lot. If I can write 1000 words or more, I'm very happy. For the most part, I write sequentially, but I will write snippets from the future of the story if they come to me.
6. When I think of bizarro, my impulse is to define it as a matter of style, rather than a matter of literary influence -- that is to say, you could have bizarro crime or bizarro paranormal, and an author could write bizarro even if she cites thriller or fantasy or whatever authors as her main influences--so even though it's called a genre, I don't really think of it as one.
Of course there are boundaries, but it seems to me to be less limited than steampunk, for example, which can be a style but also has heavier limitations in terms of world-building.
These are my impressions as a reader, and not a critic, so I'm interested to hear what you think. What makes a piece "bizarro", and what do you think are the boundaries of the genre? Could there be a bizarro category romance, for example?
I think of Bizarro a category for books and stories that can't be categorized. This might be a paradox, but I think Bizarro fiction is good at dealing with paradoxes. There could definitely be a bizarre category romance, or even a bizarre fantasy bromance. Bizarro fiction is only limited by Bizarro authors' imaginations, and when I think of the Bizarro authors who I know, I'm not sure if their imaginations have any limits.
7. If the zombie apocalypse happened tomorrow and there was one person on this world you could be stuck with during it, who would it be?
If I were to answer seriously, I'd probably choose a loved one. But that answer isn't very interesting, so I'll pick Snuffleupagus. I'd ride him across the ruins of civilization and we'd sing songs about friendship.
8. Okay, imagine you could rewrite Twilight, the entire series. First paragraph, go:
My name is Bella and I'm a vampire hunter.
Actually, I'm kidding. I wouldn't change a word. (Team Edward all the way.)
9. Tell my forumites why they should run screaming to the store to pick up your latest book:
First of all, if they don't pick up my latest book, the Attic Clown will transform their organs into balloon animals. And that's not a good feeling. Second of all, Attic Clowns (the book) is full of weird, horrific and touching stories. The tales taste just like rubber chicken. WARNING: reading this book may cause unicycle fever, festering laugh lines, cotton candy nightmares, rubber chicken pox, funny bone fracturing, mime breath, and projectile pie disorder.
10. If you could pick a steed that would take you everywhere, like Battle Cat to He-Man, what would it be, and what's its name?
I would ride a flying woolly mammoth named Mr. Farto, which is a family name, and has nothing to do with farts at all.
Thanks again for doing this!
Thank you! J11/29/2012 . Edited 11/29/2012 #1
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