An Unlikely Mini-Interview with Derek Manuel
Do you find clowns to be a) creepy b) downright terrifying c) mildly amusing d) laugh out loud funny e) some combination of the above or f) none of the above (please supply your own alternate adjective/description)?
I think of clowns in three dimensions: funny, scary, and sad. A clown can be all three of those things but almost certainly has to be at least two of them. If a clown can somehow be funny without being either scary or sad, I’ve never seen a clown like that.
On a related note, what is you earliest clown-related memory, and how did it scar you and or shape your view of clowns?
I’m not sure, but I think the first clown I encountered was probably the mascot for a well-known fast food eatery. That character didn’t do much to influence my views on clowns in general. I always saw him as a special case, affable and relatable in a way that real circus clowns weren’t. As an adult, I see him as the smiling face of an insidious marketing machine, almost like a mild take on the horror trope that clowns have become in recent years.
What lead you to take the particular approach to clowns you used in your story, Five Things Every Successful Clown Must Do?
My clown story came together in exactly the way stories I’m writing usually don’t. I read the call for the Journal, immediately knew I wanted to write something for it, and got down to it. I knew I couldn’t write anything about a serial killer clown, and I enjoy making monsters protagonists without sacrificing what makes them monsters. The “romance” was the last element to come to me, but it felt completely right, and the story almost wrote itself. I think I wrote a story about a clown who is funny, scary, and a little sad, and I hope I wrote a story that people will enjoy reading.
STEP RIGHT UP! GET YER CLOWNS HERE!
Clowns: The Unlikely Coulrophobia Remix is hot off the presses! So get your hot, pressed clowns today! Or if you prefer your clowns cold-pressed, never fear. A clown is nothing if not adaptable.
22 tales to horrify and delight, by authors Derek Manuel, T. Jane Berry, J.H. Pell, Jeff Wolf, Kristen Roupenian, Carolyn M. Yoachim, Mari Ness, Evan Dicken, Carlie St. George, Line Henriksen, Virginia M. Mohlere, Dayle A. Dermatis, Jason Arias, Joe Nazarre, Karlo Yeager-Rodruigez, Sara K. McNeilly, Chris Kuriata, Cassandra Khaw, Cate Gardner, Charles Payseur, Chillbear Latrigue, and Holly Schofield, with an introduction by Robin Blyn and illustrations by Bryan Prindiville.