|Illustration by Luke Spooner, © LVP Publications|
Welcome to The Pulp Horror Author Interview Series. Today's interview is with John Skipp who explores the fear of cosmic phenomenon in his short story "The Man Who Feared The Sky" in The Pulp Horror Book of Phobias.
LVP PUBLICATIONS: What were your biggest fears as a child? Do you have any current phobias or fears now as an adult?
JOHN SKIPP: As a teensy kid, I was scared of everything. I mean, everything. A commercial for FRANKENSTEIN in the middle of my cartoons would have me hiding under my living table, screaming. There was a box of oranges with a picture of a tiger on it in my basement. I was terrified of my basement already, but that tiger sealed the deal.
A lot of this probably stemmed from the fever I had when I was still in toddler form: a fever so intense that my dad had to JACOB'S LADDER me by throwing me into a bathtub filled with ice cubes, and which had me hallucinating like a sonofabitch. It wasn't until six or seven that I started getting into horror movies and monster comics, and get the upper hand on my fears.
These days, I'm mostly afraid of turning into an asshole…oops! TOO LATE!
LVP: In your opinion, what is the scariest or most terrifying thing you’ve ever written?
SKIPP: The piece that fucks with me hardest is the second Skipp and Spector novel, THE CLEANUP (which, incidentally, contains the bathtub-full-of-ice cubes scene). In that, I took myself to total worst-case-scenarioville. What would be the worst, monstrous version of myself? And then made him the main character.
LVP: How does your own life relate to that of the man who feared the sky? Do you yourself in the character? Share a similar dream?
SKIPP:(laughs) No, that guy's a fucking idiot. If I'm in this story at all, I play the part of "The Sky".
LVP: The Man Who Feared the Sky addresses kosmicphobia in a very personal way. What do you see and feel when you look up at the sky?
SKIPP: I love the sky, be it dark or light. I like to think we're personal friends!
LVP: What would you like your legacy to be? Or alternatively, what should your survivors engrave on your tombstone?
SKIPP: I've known the answer to this question for the last forty years, and haven't changed my mind yet. So whoever survives me? Here's what goes on my tombstone: "Well, It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time!"
LVP: Anything else you'd like to say or add? Any final thoughts?
SKIPP: Sure! I'm very excited about this book. And can't tell you how thrilled I am to share a TOC with Mehitobel Wilson, in particular. That woman's a goddam genius, and one of my favorite living writers. THANKS!!!
~ John Skipp is a Saturn Award-winning filmmaker (TALES OF HALLOWEEN), Stoker Award-winning anthologist (DEMONS, MONDO ZOMBIE), and New York Times bestselling author (THE LIGHT AT THE END, THE SCREAM) whose books have sold millions of copies in a dozen languages worldwide. His first anthology, BOOK OF THE DEAD, laid the foundation in 1989 for modern zombie literature. He's also editor-in-chief of Fungasm Press, championing genre-melting authors like Autumn Christian, Laura Lee Bahr, Danger Slater, Cody Goodfellow, Jennifer Robin, Violet LeVoit, and Devora Gray From splatterpunk founding father to bizarro elder statesman, Skipp has influenced a generation of horror and counterculture artists around the world. His latest book is THE ART OF HORRIBLE PEOPLE, and his latest screenplay (with Dori Miller) is the episode "Times Is Tough in Musky Holler" for the new series CREEPSHOW on Shudder.
Pre-order The Pulp Horror Book of Phobias (paperback or hardcover) from your local indie bookstore through IndieBound, from Barnes & Noble or Amazon now... or come see us at Crypticon in Seattle, WA and StokerCon in Grand Rapids, MI to read this story along with all the other madness contained in The Pulp Horror Book of Phobias (including limited edition autographed phobia card sets, available at conventions only)!