Author Interview: Jeremy C. Shipp

atrocitiesA few years ago, I took an online writing course taught by Jeremy C. Shipp, author of gothic, dark fantasy and horror literature. I learned so much and still have my classwork and lectures. Jeremy talks about his latest works:

How did you decide to become an author?

It’s the same old story, really. When I was in fourth grade, my teacher asked the class to write short stories, and at that moment I found myself possessed by an assiduous poltergeist with an affinity for clowns and fiction writing. As one might expect in a situation like this, the short story ended up not very short at all. I’ve been writing almost constantly ever since. At 13, I wrote my first novel, and at 18 I was published for the first time, and somewhere in my 20s, I wrote my first good story.

How does your professional background help with your writing?

Most of my professional experience has been writing-related, from my BA in Creative Writing to the work I’ve done as an author, editor and writing instructor. Beyond all of this, I would say that my non-writing-related jobs have been just as vital when it comes to my actual fiction writing. I have tiled floors, and painted houses, and delivered food, and worked as a substitute teacher. I have learned more about human beings working jobs like this than I ever did in a classroom.

Can you tell us more about why you wrote your latest books?

I wrote The Atrocities primarily because there aren’t enough books out there that feature capybaras wearing tutus. In addition to this, I have always been quite a fan of gothic fiction, and I have long admired authors such as Charlotte Brontë and Shirley Jackson and Daphne Du Maurie. Even as a baby, I would shape my mashed potatoes into castles and hold long conversations with ravens. Eventually, I developed a desire to create my own gothic-inspired piece saturated with grotesqueries and beauty, and that’s how The Atrocities was born.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

  • Watch The Garbage Pail Kids Movie at least twice a day.
  • Remember that a rejection letter is merely a reminder that you’re giving yourself opportunities to succeed.
  • When you’re feeling stuck, bounce ideas off the nearest poltergeist.
  • Experiment with your writing style and process, and see what works best for you.
  • Wear a Hamburglar mask while you sleep.
  • Don’t take any one author’s advice as gospel.

bedfellowWhat are some upcoming publishing projects you are working on?

I’m currently writing a sequence of arcane words that when read under a blood moon causes every hat in a 50-yard radius to be transmogrified into a jerboa. So far I don’t have a publisher for this sequence, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed. In other, more factual news, I have a new Tor release called Bedfellow coming out in November, 2018.

Here’s what the back cover has to say about the book:

When the . . . thing first insinuated itself into the Lund family household, they were bemused. Vaguely human-shaped, its constantly changing cravings seemed disturbing, at first, but time and pressure have a way of normalizing the extreme. Wasn’t it always part of their lives?

As the family make more and greater sacrifices in service to the beast, the thrall that binds them begins to break down. Choices must be made. Prices must be paid. And the Lunds must pit their wits against a creature determined to never let them go.

It’s psychological warfare. Sanity is optional.

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