Sad puppet clown sitting on a bench, used for the cover of Scary stuff interview with Reuben Shupp

Scary stuff with Reuben Shupp

Tis the season for scary stuff. Unfortunately here in South Africa we don’t really get excited about Halloween. I’m yet to experience this in full glory. I definitely hope to do so some day. Otherwise, wishing you all a wonderful Halloween season. And please do share you decorations and dress up snaps!!

Please introduce yourself to cosmicTaryn readers.

Hello cosmicTaryn Readers, 

I am a Navy Veteran of the Persian Gulf War. In the Navy, I was given the opportunity to view many parts of the world many us never get to see.

In the Spring of 1974, I went to France for six months because my father was in charge of a foreign exchange program in Bourges, France. When I returned to the United States, I did not know English.

I have been writing short stories since November 2020. “A Collection of Short Stories or Tales” is my debut book (May 2021).

Reuben Shupp selfie
Reuben Shupp

Ok… I’ve got to know why you chose a clown for the cover of your book.

I chose the clown as my cover because it is the premises for the first story in my collection. I think my blurb better describes what I am trying to portray.

It had to be a joke. A bad one. What other reason could someone have to send Alex a picture of the clown with the letters N-E-X-T written across it. Just a joke. Even if it was written in blood. What’s the punchline?

What would you say most motivates you to do what you do?

I have to say writing is my passion and I do not need motivation to write. I write five days a week. That is it. In addition, I write a single scene and then I stop for the day. It does not matter if it 200 words or 500 words. I stop. This is my way of keeping the creative juices going.

If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

I can not say that I would have done anything different to become a better writer as an adult. I feel I have had many of life’s experiences which is the foundation of my writing. Over the past year, I often wondered if my writing would have been different if I had started at a younger age.

Does writing energize or exhaust you? Or both?

When I sit down to start writing, I am energized. I can not wait to write the next sentence. By the end of my session, my brain is fried.

What would you say is your writing quirk?

I am not sure if these are quirks, but they are what come to mind. The characters talk to me and tell me what to write. Unless you are an author, you may not completely understand what I am saying. The other quirk I have is that I am in a constant battle with the comma. To place a comma or not to insert a comma, that is the question.

If you had to describe yourself in just three words, what would those be?

Self Description: Perseverance, Brave, Creative

Do you prefer ebooks, printed books, or audiobooks most of the time?

I have to say that I prefer ebooks over a physical copy of a book. It used to be the opposite, but my eyes have gotten older. Ebooks are just plain convenient. 

What’s the most expensive thing you’ve broken?

The most expensive thing I broke was nothing physical. It was an idea. I broke my family’s financial security. I lost my job in 2010 and my family has endured economic hardship ever since.

Is there a moment from your life where you wish you had taken a photograph?

I wish someone had taken a picture of my wife when I proposed.

Is there a way for your fans to connect with you?

If you want to connect with me on twitter, linkedin, or reubenshupp@yahoo.com 

Care to share what you will be working on next?

I am currently working on a short story collection for kids (8-12). Here is a small sample.

“Hurry up,” I say.

Brendan slams the door and says, “I’m com’n.” He is my best friend and my comrade for this evening’s adventure. He moved across the street when I was in kindergarten and we have been best friends ever since. He collects comic books like other kids collect baseball cards. His favorite is Wolverine.

I asked once, “Why Wolverine?”

He said, “Knives are awesome.”

Everyone calls me Spidey. It is not because Spiderman is my favorite comic book. I love spiders. It is not like I am going to marry a tarantula. But they are the most mysterious creatures on Earth.

Posters line my wall with creepy and hairy spiders. I have every spider book known to man. I even talked my grandmother into buying a Spider Encyclopedia set.

Last Christmas, my dad bought me an aquarium for when mom finally lets me have a real spider in the house. My brother has a hamster so why can’t I have an arachnid? Did I say it? I love spiders. They are my thang.

We get on our bikes and head toward the fair. This is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to our small town. We have one of everything. One school, one road that leads in and out of town, one grocery store (Walmart), and now we have one fair. I do not care that it is going to be here for only the weekend. Halloween is tomorrow. How cool is that?

“I’ll beat you to the fair, Brendan says.

“In your dreams.” After about two blocks, we are out of breath. It is a good thing the fair is not too far. We will never make it. Jocks we are not. Spider nerd and Wolverine fan we are.

The setting sun shimmers in our eyes as the faint music of the Merry-Go=Round echoes along the street. I look over at Brendan and say, “We are almost there.” He grins as we pedal harder.

The cool breeze whistles in my ears like a nagging mosquito. A stranger appears out of nowhere. I slam on my brakes. Brendan swerves, hops on the grass and then skids. I stop inches from hitting an old woman.

My heart skips a beat and I say, “Sorry.” Wow, I almost hit a Gypsy and the only thing that comes out of my mouth is “sorry.” I am a jerk. She peers at me and smiles showing her missing teeth.

Creepy. A chill runs along my spine. “Do not go to the Spider House,” she says. I swerve around her and catch up to Brendan.

“Weird, old, coot, let’s get out of here.” I say. Brendan nods. I glance back and the Gypsy is gone. She vanished as quickly as she appeared.

Ten minutes later, we park our bikes at the school and walk over to the fair. The Ferris Wheel’s lights blink on and off. The Merry-Go-Round music echoes in the background.

“Where do you want to go first?” I say.

“You can’t go to the fair without riding the Ferris Wheel,” he says with a grin.

“The Ferris Wheel is for kids.”

“I’ll bet all the cool kids are riding the Ferris Wheel.”

I shove him and say, “You are an idiot.” We cross through the fair and weave in and out of the crowd at a steady pace.

Brendan yells, “There she blows,” as we approach the Ferris Wheel. He points to Scott Hazelton. “I told ya. All the cool kids ride the Ferris Wheel.” I glance at the top of the Ferris Wheel. Scott and a girl sitting next to him are laughing.

“I did not know Scott had a sister?””That’s Sharon Moran, you idiot.” He punches me in the arm. Scott Hazelton is the shortest kid in our fifth grade class. All the girls get gooey-eyed around him except for Sharon. She calls him names or trips him in class. Now, it makes sense.

© Reuben Shupp

New Book update

Happy to announce that Creepy and Scary Tales: A collection of short stories is out and available at most retailers.

If you’re not a fan of amazon, please check out the other retailers stocking the book over HERE

Intertwined dragon banner used at end of blog post
Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

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