Tag Archive: bizarro fiction

While not battling Evil Attic Clowns and commanding an ever growing army of garden gnomes, Jeremy Shipp finds the time to write amazing stories of bizarro fantasies and all around tomfoolery. He took time out of a food fight to answer a few of my ever so probing questions.

Diaz: Your most recent novel, Cursed, was nominated for a Bram Stoker award. What did you do when you found out?

Shipp: Upon hearing the good news, I threw on my pointy red cap and dashed into my garden to dance a gnomic jig. Afterward, I devoured a celebratory bowl of chunky peanut butter.

Diaz: Did you do any special marketing in the hopes of being nominated for the Bram Stoker?

Shipp: I sent copies of Cursed to those HWA members who wished to read the novel. I also wished on three shooting stars, and I threw a magic penny into a magic well. Well, a semi-magic well, as I couldn’t find a well that was 100% magic.

Diaz: You published Cursed through an independent press, Raw Dog Press. What was your motivation for choosing an indie press over a big house?

Shipp: I’ve been working with Raw Dog for quite a few years now, and they’ve always been good to me. John Lawson and Jennifer Barnes are passionate about the books they publish, and they are always respectful toward their authors. Perhaps someday I will work with a big house, but no matter what happens, I will always be proud of my indie roots.

Diaz: Your screenplay “Egg” has now been transformed into a short film. Why make the leap from written word to film?

Shipp: Films have always held a special place in my heart, and in my spleen. As a writer, I’m significantly inspired by creative geniuses such as Terry Gilliam, Takashi Miike, Hayao Miyazaki, Park Chan-Wook. And so, I jumped at the opportunity to write a short film.

Diaz: What was the process for creating the “Egg” film?

Shipp: Director/producer Jayson Densmen read one of my novels, and contacted me about doing a project together. Eventually, we decided to collaborate on a short film. I wrote the screenplay and acted as a creative consultant. Egg can be viewed in its entirety here.

Diaz: You recently created an alter ego on twitter, TheAtticClown. What was your reason for doing this and how do you handle managing two personas?

Shipp: I created an account for the Attic Clown, because the more time he spends tweeting, the less he spends throwing moldy pies at me and slapping me with rubber chickens. The attic clown character has existed in my skull for a couple years now, and so giving him a voice comes easily for me. Handling two personas is simple enough. I just give my light side a break every once in a while and let my dark silly side take over.

Diaz: Cursed came out Halloween 2009. Do you have anything new in the pipeline?

Shipp: My newest book, Fungus of the Heart, is coming out Halloween 2010. This is a book about relationships—the good, the bad, and the weird. Mostly the weird. I’m also working on an attic clown story collection, a new novel, a comic book series, a short film, and a few other projects.

Diaz: You write a large number of short stories. What is your reason for doing this (purely artistic, to build your career, etc.)?

Shipp: Basically, I have so many worlds and characters in my head that I don’t have enough time on this planet to write about each of them in novel form. Short stories allow me to explore all my worlds. In addition to this, I love short stories. I love the challenge of writing about so much in so few words. I also love the fact that I can write an entire story in a few days or weeks. Finishing a project is a nice feeling.

Diaz: Is your process for writing short stories different than it is when you write a novel?

Shipp: When writing a novel, I tend to brainstorm and research more. I might spend a few months thinking about a novel before starting the first page. On the other claw, when I’m writing a short story, I tend to dive right in.

Diaz: You recently began teaching creative writing classes. Why take the time to do this?

Shipp: My parents are teachers. My grandmother was a teacher. Teaching is in my blood. Also, teaching these classes gives me the opportunity to help aspiring writers learn the craft and business of writing. And that’s a wonderful, satisfying thing.

Jeremy C. Shipp is the Bram Stoker nominated author of Cursed, Vacation, and Sheep and Wolves. His shorter tales have appeared or are forthcoming in over 50 publications, the likes of Cemetery Dance, Apex Magazine, ChiZine, The Magazine of Bizarro Fiction and Withersin. Jeremy enjoys living in Southern California in a moderately haunted Victorian farmhouse called Rose Cottage. He lives there with his amazing wife, Lisa, and an eccentric cat named Lattis who may or may not be a space alien. Jeremy’s yard gnomes like him. The clowns in his attic–not so much.


Rarely do I find books that:

  1. Make me look at tennis balls with extreme dread.
  2. Make me want to hug my mom.
  3. Make me lose all sense of time and space.

Cursed follows Nicholas and Cicely, two people cursed in their own way but both convinced their condition is the result of the deliberate and malicious actions of some person or entity. They form a support group for others like them and find a way to stop their tormentor.

When I got the book I sort of nonchalantly opened it thinking I would start reading it later. In what felt like only five minutes, I had read almost fifty pages, completely caught up in the intriguing dialogue and unique characters. I read pretty fast, but its been a long time since I devoured a book. It surprised me, scared me, warmed my heart, made me fall in love, and appreciate those people who don’t let normal get in the way of their happiness. No handsome young men or gorgeous galls, just normal and genuine people put in an extraordinary situation.  I would reccomend this book for several reasons:

  1. You should read a little bizarro every now and then to keep you from becoming complacent in your normalcy
  2. It’s just the right weight and size for taking out Evil Attic Clowns
  3. It’s the perfect gift for the garden gnome in your life
  4. It really is a good book