Jeremy C shipp is the author of Sheep and Wolves and Vacation. His new novel Cursed is out Halloween.
Q. Can you tell us something of your background. And what age did you start writing.
A. I was raised in a magical land called Loma Linda, and I still live there, with my wife, my kittens, and a myriad of other mystical creatures. I had a rather normal childhood, and I spent much of my time playing pretend, as I do now. I started writing novels at 13, and I've been writing about one book a year ever since.
As a kid, I saw the world as a magical, wonderful place. As a teenager, I saw the world as a horrible place. Now, I see the world as a magical, horrible, wonderful place.
Q. What is Cursed about.
A. Cursed is about an informal support group for people who are cursed. Nicholas, Cicely and the others work together to try to figure out who cursed them and why. And, like the rest of us, they want to find happiness.
Q. What inspired you to write this novel.
A. My wife inspired me. For years, she suffered from CFIDS, and much of her suffering came from how people treated her. CFIDS is one of those "invisible" disabilities, and many people didn't believe she was sick. Others, who did believe, treated her like she was less than whole. When she had to use a wheelchair, strangers called her names. These experiences affected me deeply, and inspired me to write a story that deals with disability, invalidation, and other such topics.
Q. Would you say Cursed is quite focused on friendships. Are any of the characters based on people you know or on life experiences.
A. Yes, friendship is the core of Cursed. People need love, but even more than that, I believe people need respect and validation.
There are bits and pieces of me in the two main characters. Cicely is my passionate, creative side, and Nicholas is my insecure, obsessive side. Parts of my characters are also inspired by various family members and friends and acquaintances. And, other parts of my characters come from my imagination.
Q. Who would you say is your favourite character in Cursed.
A. Cicely's my favourite in Cursed, and one of my favourite characters I've ever written. She's so weird and passionate and caring. I wish I could be as strong as Cicely. Maybe someday I will.
Q. What is your favourite part of the book.
A. I loved writing Cursed and I especially love the ending. I love how everything comes together. The ending affects me emotionally, deeply.
Q. How would you compare Cursed to Sheep and Wolves and Vacation.
A. In my mind, Cursed is much more character-based than Sheep and Wolves or Vacation. I love the plot in Cursed, but in truth, the characters are everything. The story is about their raw feelings, their hopes, their fears, their connections. Cursed is a novel about the home. And home is where the heart is.
Q. Have the yard gnomes read Cursed yet.
A. Most yard gnomes don't bother learning to read, as their society is dependant on oral and bodily communication. I did read the book to the yard gnomes though, and they enjoyed the tale. They especially liked that yard gnomes were mentioned in the book.
Q. How is your pet business going.
A. Everything's gone smoothly so far, and we're just starting to advertise. Hopefully things will go well.
Q. You have a very close friendship with yard gnomes and coconut monkeys, do you ever collaborate with them for ideas when writing a new story. :-)
A. I never collaborate directly with yard gnomes and coconut monkeys, but their folk tales have often inspired me, creatively. Yard gnomes and coconut monkeys have an animistic view of the world, and they've helped me to see things differently.
Q. Are the Attic Clowns still being mean to you. :-(
A. These days, they keep trying to bake me into banana cream pies, but they're not trying to be mean. For Attic Clowns, evil is a form of affection.
Q. Any final words.
A. Snap apple, boogie woogie, crisscross, ding-a-ling, itsy-bitsy, peanut butter butterflies.
Thanks for the interview.