UPDATE: A thorough interview about Shriek posted on Clarkesworld, conducted by Neddal Ayad.
Shriek: An Afterword first came to me while working on the first chapbook edition of The Hoegbotton Guide to the Early History of Ambergris. The chapbook included a note from Janice Shriek before what would eventually become the glossary in City of Saints & Madmen), explaining that this was just a fragment of a much longer work, to which she would be attempting an afterword. The glossary already held a secret: which was, if you read it carefully and followed the cross-references you would find that Duncan Shriek and Lacond were the same person, and that Duncan was hopelessly in love or lust with a woman named Mary Sabon.
Shortly after finishing the Hoegbotton Guide, I was in correspondence with Thomas Ligotti–at the time a somewhat terrifying experience, for a young author, and also because HE TYPED HIS ANSWERS ALL IN CAPS. Ligotti was generally supportive, but pointed out that Pale Fire had an emotional resonance that The Early History lacked. This point, I think, mistook The Early History for something else, but it got me thinking about Duncan and Janice and Mary Sabon, and how there was an emotionally resonant story hidden within The Early History.
I wasn’t quite sure what form the story would take, so I decided to do a draft as another Hoegbotton pamphlet–exactly as if Janice were writing a short afterword to The Early History.
At the time I had a manual typewriter I liked to use because of the pressure and sound of the keys. The first page was just a Hoegbotton Statement of Purpose with some later notes written on it.