Marc Shapiro is a published short story writer, comic book writer, poet and who has sold short form screenplays to filmmakers in the UK, Toronto and New York. He is a former horror and science fiction media journalist for Fangoria, Starlog and countless other national and international outlets. His first collection of short stories, Stories Of High Strangeness will be published November 1 by Chupa Cabra House.
DM: Tell us a little more about your short story collection "Stories of High Strangeness."
A little bit of horror, a little bit of science fiction, some of what I consider hyper reality and some of what I consider unclassifiable. It’s not all blood and guts and carnage. There’s character, humor, sadness, irony and hope. The way I write is quite natural and simple. An idea hits me, I mentally play around with it and finally write it. I rarely write with a specific genre in mind. If I get a literary boner behind an idea that’s when my keyboard shifts into overdrive. "Stories Of High Strangeness" is a crazy quilt time line of where my head was when the stories came to life. But as most writers will tell you, I’m as sane as anybody.
DM: What was it like transitioning from writing nonfiction for Fangoria to writing fiction?
Again it was all very natural. The horror and science fiction journalism I did paid my bills for a long time. But then I started writing unauthorized celebrity biographies about people like George Harrison, Justin Bieber and Tim Tebow and I was making enough money to live comfortably without the magazine work so I pretty much stopped cold. And when I did I found that I had the extra time to move into other areas like short stories , comic books and poetry. I discovered I was pretty good at it, started getting published and the rest, as they say, is history.
DM: How do you like working with Chupa Capra House?
They’re great. The publisher, Timm Tayshun, is very writer friendly and straightforward in his dealings. It’s not like the big publishing houses which can take forever to make a decision on a project. If he likes something, he publishes it. His contracts are very generous to the writer and everything is spelled out. I read the entire Chupa Cabra House contract and signed it in less than five minutes. Chupa Cabra House is the perfect host.
DM: What's the best advice you can give or have heard for writers just starting out?
Be serious. There’s no half stepping allowed in the world of professional writing. Talking about being a writer is not going to get you laid or get you rich. You’ve got to pour the proverbial blood, sweat and tears into it. Quite simply write all the time, everything and anything that sets your literary heart a flutter. And when you’re not writing, read everything and anything you can lay your hands on. It also helps if you have a supportive spouse because writing can be a harsh mistress if you’re going it alone. (Love you Nancy.)
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