Writing, Kurosawa And Sex And The City: Interview With Me On ‘Losing The Plot’ Writing Podcast

Three posts in three days?! What fresh madness awaits.

I was interviewed for Losing the Plot podcast and had a jolly old time, I think we got on very well. We chatted about writing, writing tips, Kurosawa, The Greasy Strangler and owning up to the embarrassing stuff. Enjoy!

Episode

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Nonsensical Interview With Me In Clash Magazine

I’ve gone post mad this week! Normal business of talking about other people will be resumed shortly, never fear. However I’d like to share with you this interview I did yesterday.

It’s completely daft and doesn’t tell anyone a thing about me, but I did laugh a lot while replying to each question so it’s possible you might too. Or not, but I suppose you won’t know until you look.

Enjoy!

Interview with author Jeremy C Shipp

Hello my little slices of pepperoni. You may remember American bizarro author and all round anomalous egg Jeremy C Shipp from such books as Cursed (which got him nominated for the Bram Stoker award), Vacation, Fungus of the Heart and Sheep and Wolves.

He kindly assented to an interview regarding his work and writing in general (and to not press charges; I mean, kidnap is such a strong word) and here it is:

Which of your books is your favourite, and why?

J: One of my books that is near and dear to my heart (and spleen) is Cursed. The story was a blast to write, primarily because of the character Cicely. She’s a loveable weirdo with a heart (and spleen) of gold.

 

What impact has the Bram Stoker nomination made on your career?

J: I would say the main thing is that more readers have tried my books. Also, the nomination gave me  super powers. For instance, with the power of thought alone, I can transform sporks into slightly smaller sporks.

 

What’s the one (or more) thing you keep in mind when writing gets difficult?

J: This is your dream, Jeremy. If you’re not going to fight to live your own dream, then you’ll have to live someone else’s. And that’s no fun.

 

How do your ideas come to you?

J: Dreams, nightmares, personal events, world events, people on the street, people in the clouds, a little goblin named Bob who lives in my skull.

 

Is it possible to make a successful living from writing?

J: Yes. Mostly, it just takes a lot of work and dedication. And skill. And luck.

 

Who are your heroes?

J: Super Grover, my family, my friends, Hayao Miyazaki, Joss Whedon, Felicia Day, Kurt Vonnegut, Larry Blamire, Tree Trunks.

 

Is being a Bizarro writer a natural state of being, or do you sometimes have to push yourself to make your ideas even weirder?

J: It’s my natural state. Sometime I have to push myself to make my ideas palatable for human consumption.

 

What goes through your mind when you see your published book/story?

J: Hooray! Book! Time to sing and dance and eat chili cheese fries!

 

Did (or do) you have to do a lot of networking to get your stuff popular?

J: I enjoy entertaining and connecting with people on Facebook and Twitter, and I believe it’s on these sites that most people first hear about me and my work.

Thanks Jeremy, you may live another year. Bye!

The weirdest job interview

Hands down this has to be the weirdest job interview I’ve ever had. I’ve tried to find the name of the company it was with but I’ve not come across them, and it was back in 2007. My memory with names is cloudy like a Scottish mountain.

I like to try all different kinds of writing; scripts, comics, stories, books, so when I saw a vague ad on gumtree for an advertising firm in a nearby town I wondered if they needed any copywriters.

I applied and was offered an interview, so along I went to a smallish office building in Colchester and saw another nervous looking girl. “What time is your interview?” I asked.

“Two,” she replied. Same as mine. Odd, I thought, they must have two different interview rooms.

But no. They didn’t. A man in his early twenties and rivers of gel in his hair opened an office door and invited us both in. I wondered if we would have to fight to the death.

“This company,” he said, “gets everyone to start at grass-roots level, so we all have experience of each different part.”

I furrowed my brow. Surely everyone didn’t work in graphics, not everybody can do that?

“I’m only 24,” he continued, “and I have my own office and blah blah blah…” I began to drift away. He just went on, and on, and on about how great it was to have loads of money. It’s not my money, what do I care?

We both had to answer a myriad of questions, pretending to be people a company would want to hire. Eventually it came to an end and we went our seperate ways, but I quickly realised I had no idea what I’d just been interviewed for. The answer to every question I’d asked had floated deep within a cloud of management-speak.

However I was still pleased when I was asked back for another interview. This time there was no second girl and the gel-money-monster came to sit next to me in the waiting room.

“Today you’ll be shadowing these two,” he pointed out a male and female, both in their early twenties.

“OK,” I said, “but I wanted to ask, what exactly do you all do?”

“Different companies trust us,” he said, voice slanting into the ‘I’m giving a pitch’ tone once again, “to make other people aware of them and to raise their profile.”

“Yes,” I said, impatiently raising my hand, “but on a day-to-day basis, what would I be doing?”

“We inform the public of the companies we reperesent and let them know the work they do.”

“Right,” I snapped, getting quite cross, “so I could just stand out there,” I pointed to the window, “and tell people in the street?”

“Well, not exactly,” he said, blushing. “But anyway, go with (I’ve forgotten their names, I will call the girl Foofy and the boy Mr Fuffykins).”

So I got into a car with them, which seems a bit mental on reflection but at the time politeness forbids us from going against instruction. On the way Foofy pointed out a car she could see and told us how much she wanted one. She then informed us how close to purchasing it with all her recently earned lovely money she was. I wondered if I’d accidentally joined a cult.

The revelation came over lunch. We were eating fried chicken when I was told we would be literally trying to sell a company, or get people to sign up to it (I still don’t really understand) by speaking to them – cold-calling – door to door.

“You can do that can’t you?” asked Foofy.

“Um, yes?” I said. I still don’t know why I said yes.

We pulled into a residential area in Dunmow and I was given a jacket to put on.”I’ll take the odd number doors and you two take the evens,” instructed Foofy.

‘Speak,’ I told myself, and my voice sat at the bottom of my throat until I forced it up. “Um, I can’t do this,” I said in a weird, squeaky way.

They both stared at me. I made myself repeat it. “I can’t go door to door.”

They began to deliberate. “There’s a bus station nearby, it’s not far to walk,” said Mr Fuffykins.

“We can’t just leave her here,” said Foofy, a touch bitterly as though she wished they could.

In the end I convinced them to drop me off in town, where I had a coke and thought about things before I made my way home. The moral of the story is, when someone talks management-speak just start crying until they explain themselves.