When life seems out of control, works seems to drag on, and the routine of it all is simply more then you can stand, what do you do? What if the government funded (along with corporate sponsors) a one year long Vacation for every citizen. You could adventure to far off topical islands, climb mountain, wear logos on your t-shirts, and have the time of your life. However, when Jeremy Shipp tells the story things may not turn out as planned.
Jeremy Shipp is a fiction writer with a twist. A twist that most writers probably posses, but may have trouble apply to their work. Jeremy adds an incredible amount of fantasy to his stories, but at the same time, through his word selection, he is able to keep sense of reality in his work. Vacation is Jeremy's first published novel, and it is creating quite a lot buzz.
Recently, Jeremy was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.
Orange Alert (OA): What can you tell us about your debut novel, Vacation?
Jeremy Shipp (JS): I started writing novels when I was 13, so Vacation isn’t the first book I ever wrote. But Vacation is the book I feel most passionate about, so I’m thrilled it’s my debut. Metaphorically speaking, Vacation is a strange journey into the festering wound of civilization. I wrote the story from my heart, my gut, my soul, and my spleen. In other words, there’s a lot of me in this story. (The ink is even made out of my gastric juices and bile.)
OA: I am fascinated by your decision to write this novel in a letter format. I feel it adds to the mystery, and also allows you to pick and choose which details to give reader and which details to omit. What was your original intent in using this format?
JS: My initial thought was something like this: I don’t want Bernard to write this because he’s trying to tell a story. I want him to write this because he needs to. Because he’s in need of catharsis. And then I thought: a letter.
OA: What have you done to publicize your debut novel that other writer's may not have considered? Do you believe that writers need to be more aggressive in the promotion of their work?
JS: I believe writers should promote their work in whatever ways they feel comfortable. Personally, I like to have fun with my promotions. If I didn’t have fun, I don’t think I’d put as much effort into it. So I’ve written weird interviews, such as one with the devil and several with insane grocery bags. I’m not sure why insane grocery bags are so interested in my work. It’s just one of those things, I suppose. Anyway, my readers are really the promotional heroes of this story. They’ve done things like write songs about my book, use my book as a divination tool, etc.
OA: Do you consider yourself a Horror writer? What are your thoughts on the genre in general?
JS: I’m aware of various genre conventions and categories, but I never force any sort of boundaries on my work, as I’m writing them. I think that’s the reason why some people have a difficult time classifying my work. Is Vacation a sci-fi book? Fantasy? Horror? Bizarro? I think it is what it is, and that means different things to different people, and I’m OK with that. I love horror. I think there are many things of this world that are horrifying, and I often feel the urge to write about them.
OA: What can you tell us about The Good People novelette? When might we expect to see it published?
JS: The Good People is a faery tale, in the sense that it’s about faeries. Not all the faeries are very nice, or very sane. It’s going to be published by the good people at Scrybe Press. I’m not sure when. Only the faery folk know at this point.
OA: What's next for Jeremy Shipp?
JS: My novella “Flapjack” is going to be published very soon, in the Bizarro Starter Kit (Blue). And later this year, my short story collection “Sheep and Wolves” is coming out, via Raw Dog Screaming Press. The collection may come with the DVD of the short film I wrote entitled “EGG.” Also, I have a few other screenplays in the works, and I’m about halfway finished with a new novel called “Cursed.”
OA: Coffee? If yes, what is your favorite type of coffee and where is your favorite coffee spot?
JS: I don’t drink coffee, but I’ve heard tell that the Jeremy C. Shipp in dimension #68472389 is a big fan. If I’m remembering correctly, his favorite is mango/dirt coffee, and he drinks it out of a pelican’s mouth.
OA: I picture you sitting in the dark somewhere with just the glow of a laptop screen listening to Bauhaus or Black Tape for a Blue Girl. Please set me straight, what type of music do you enjoy and what of environment do you prefer to write in?
JS: You’re dead on about me sitting in the dark at the computer when I’m writing. Sometimes I even turn off the monitor, so that I’m in complete darkness. OK, that part was a lie, but the rest of it’s true. I tend to listen to instrumental music, or music in a language that I don’t know very well. English lyrics tend to distract me (except for The Cranberries, for some reason). Though when I’m focused enough, I enjoy The Flaming Lips, Cat Stevens, Rilo Kiley, etc. Usually I’m listening to Japanese rock or pop. Otaku desu.