Author of dark fantasy, horror and Bizarro. His books include Vacation and Sheep and Wolves.
Q. Would you say that your new book 'Cursed' is your best book to date and if so why?
A. I see all my books as equally powerful and successful, in terms of what I set out accomplish. In a sense, Vacation is my book of ideas. Sheep and Wolves is my book of fears. And Cursed is my book of the heart. The focus of cursed is always the characters. Their relationships, their problems, their complex thoughts and raw emotions. I feel more connected to these characters than I've ever felt with any of my other characters, because they're all made up of pieces of my heart.
Q. If you could be any character in your stories who would it be?
A. Cicely, probably. She's the one of the main characters in Cursed, and while she suffers through many hardships in the novel, I admire her passion and her perspective. When life gives her lemons, she makes yard gnome figurines out of the lemon peels.
Q. What age did you start writing?
A. I wrote a rather long short story in 4th grade, about a green alien named Chomper with an affinity toward opera. But I didn't really start writing full-time until I was 13. That's when I started my first novel, and I've been writing constantly ever since.
Q. I think Bizarro Bytes was a genius idea. Would you like to briefly explain it and entice folk to join the gnome kingdom.
A. Bizarro Bytes is a magical place where yard gnomes jig, and robotic toasters learn valuable lessons about life, and baby monkey angels sing the theme song from Charles in Charge. Bizarro Bytes is also my new subscription service. Subscribers receive 12 new, previously unpublished short stories by me, one story a month. These dark tales range from 2500 to 6000 words and are delivered via email in ebook format (PDF, Mobi, or ePub). Higher level subscriptions are available for those readers who want to provide extra support and receive special bonuses in addition to the 12 stories. These bonuses include having your name appear in one of my future stories, or me writing a story based off a title you come up with. All the details (and yard gnome art galore!) are here: http://jeremycshipp.com/bizarrobytes.htm
Q. Do you need to be in a special state of mind to write and if so what is that state?
A. I almost always make myself write a certain amount of hours every day. And sometimes my mind tells me, "I'm not feeling creative right now," but I keep writing anyway, and eventually I find myself joyously lost in my alternate realities once more.
Q. What are your writing rituals?
A. I don't have any rituals, per say, but I do enjoy being surrounded by beautiful natural environments or weird sculptures, figurines, art, toys, etc.
Q. How do you feel about the film Egg. Does it do justice to your screenplay?
A. The director, Jayson Densman, did a fantastic job with Egg. He understood my vision, and he expanded on the imagery in many compelling ways.
Q. How is the yard gnome liberation army?
A. We're on schedule preparing the hunter-gather-based eco-villages for the collapse of civillization. We're also going to be putting on a Full House musical in three months.
Q. Do you ever worry that one day you might wake up and look like a gnome?
A. I don't worry, because that already happened years ago.
Q. Your stories are disturbing, surreal and provocative, what inspires you?
A. There are many things in this world that inspire me by horrifying or heartening me. The horror: civilized social systems, disrespectful behavior, racism, sexism, ablism, animal cruelty, fat hatred, etc. The heart: my family, the acts of kindness and love I witness every day, etc.
And I'm also inspired by books, movies, music, art, creations, sporks.
Q. Why do gnomes say coconut monkeys are evil?
A. Us yard gnomes try to separate "being" from "behavior." So even if we view certain coconut monkey behaviors (like trying to eat our spleens) as horrible, we don't think of the being itself as evil.
Q. Do you really believe that yard gnomes and coconut monkeys will one day join forces and become unstoppable?
A. I'm not sure if we could ever see past our differences. But maybe, just maybe if we put on a Full House musical together, we'll learn to love each other. That's what Full House is all about, after all.
Thank you Jeremy for the interview, it was fun.