Lost Boy

Oh no. The moment of truth. Does he love us, or are we just sad people with no imaginations of our own...? Go easy on us, Clive.

"I have a very loyal readership, and every two years I take three weeks out of my life to go and meet the people who put the bread on my table. It doesn't seem like a bad idea."

Who Needs A Niche?

By Laura Dempsey, Dayton Daily News, 1998

"Audiences often want more than I personally want to give them. I've lost count of the number of people who've said to me, 'What does the tattoo on Harry's back in Lord of Illusions mean?' And I say, 'Well, it means that he's got a tattoo on his back!' I don't know if it's a generational thing, but I sense audiences are more dogged about such details than they used to be."

Clive Barker - Lord Of Illusions

By Nigel Lloyd, SFX, No 16, September 1996

"We were all a little anxious about that signing [a bookshop in the City, London's financial sector]. We knew there were readers at Forbidden Planet - we had a five-hour signing there - but what would happen when we got to the City? Who would turn out? As it happened, a very large number of people in suits and ties turned out. They were much less able to articulate their enthusiasm; much more quiet and reserved in the way they requested the inscriptions on their books. But after about an hour, I realised I had to completely reassess the way I judge people in three-piece suits. Because here were a bunch of people who I would have thought were readers of, what, Jeffery Archer? Maybe they'd be radical and read Elmore Leonard once in awhile. But as readers of Weaveworld and Imajica...?Here were people who showed not only great knowledge but great fondness for my work. They were there in huge numbers, and one person said something that I thought was so telling. He had two books signed and then he said, "Do a lot of people say they like the magic more than the horror?" I said, 'What do you mean?' 'Well,' he said, your magic work as opposed to your horror work'. And I said, 'Yes, a lot of people do say that'. Because they do. It's a whole new wave of Clive Barker fans who maybe liked the style of writing butdidn't like the material in the Books of Blood. But I'd never heard it put so simply before. 'The magic as opposed to the horror' Maybe I'm reading too much into a passing use of words, but the idea that these bookscontained enchantments of various kinds seemed to me to be very important. It's always important to me, the author, but the fact that it was important to these people who were coming out of their jobs in banks and so on was very significant. They were displaying their secret lives. The secret magical lives of people I would never have guessed were Clive Barker fans."

A Strange Kind Of Believer

By Stan Nicholls, Million, No 13, January - February 1993

"I find nothing more revivifying than coming away from a signing having met with the people who actually put the bucks on the table to actually buy the book. I couldn't write in a vacuum. I need the injection of adrenaline and indeed self-comprehension that comes from a guy coming up to me and saying, 'You know what I really loved? I really loved page 85.' Or when a guy comes up and says, 'I thought chapter six sucked.'I find that very fruitful, very useful. I'm writing popular fiction. I'm not writing books which are intended to exist in some literary vacuum. These are books to be sold at the Laundromat and the supermarket and the airport. I see no diminution of my art in that.You wait four hours in line and hopefully at the other end there's someone saying, 'Hi, how are you? I'm pleased to meet you.' Not 'Give me the book, I'll sign it,' but 'Hi, I'm sorry you had to wait so long.' And if you don't do that, it's bloody insulting. It would be like going to a show and finding the actors didn't care about performing it.You're always aware of the mercantile individual, because what he or she wants is just my name... on the whole I'd rather do what I did in Washington, which is draw in people's books, draw on their leather jackets."

Who's Afraid of Clive Barker?: The Titan of Terror and his Studiesin Dread Reckoning

By David Streitfield, The Washington Post, 1987

"I have yet to meet in a signing a fan of mine who seemed to be anything but a well-balanced individual who was having a good time using their imagination to the limit."

Film '88

By [], Film '88, BBC TV,1988

"I was given a book to autograph by this perfectly normal looking guy, who sounded quite articulate and self-possessed. And before I knew what was happening, he took out a razor, and slashed his arm open, ripping the razor along his veins. I put my hand into the blood on his arm and asked him, 'Do you want this in your book too?' He nodded his head. So I signed the book, planted my bloody palm print next to my signature and told him to have a bloody nice day."

Hellbound's Horror Fiction Lion

By Patrick Goldstein, Los Angeles Times, 28 December 1988

"Today I had the biggest signing ever, nearly five hours at A Change Of Hobbit in Santa Monica."

The Great Life

By George Christie, The Hollywood Reporter, 17 November 1987

"I've never assumed that anything was too appalling or too extraordinary for my readers. I've always assumed that my readers were as brave and foolhardy and sick as I am.
"So I carry on, and not for a day has it ceased to be a pleasure. And it's even more of a pleasure now because so many people are reading the stuff, and I'm getting their feedback. Having people writing letters to me is just wonderful. Writing the stories is a power trip - and the trip is that you're actually possessing people for a little bit. People that you don't even know. You're actually putting this page in front of them and saying, "Right, I'm going to get hold of you and not let go. And you don't know me, but when you're done, you're going to know some very intimate part of me." And that power trip is infinitely more important to me than money or the fame or whatever else - the fact that I'm getting into the heads of people, just like other people have gotten into my head and affected me... .I would like to think that there are a lot of people out there now who have little parts of themselves that belong to me. I like that feeling. It keeps me sleeping peacefully at night."

Talking Terror With Clive Barker

Barker during hellraiser SFX, by Douglas E. Winter, Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone Magazine, Vol 7, No 2, June 1987

"I absolutely love enjoy the process of bringing what I have done out to the world and saying, 'This is what I did guys.' I don't understand authors who feel resentful meeting their fans or don't want to shake their hands. I mean, that's what your primary relationship is, that's what you're doing this for. A book is dead until it's read. A movie is dead until it's seen. It doesn't exist. What use is a book that isn't read?"

Boundless Imajination

By WC Stroby, (i) Fangoria, No 109, January 1992 (ii) Horror Zone, No1, August 1992

"It's a question of different markets. Guy N. Smith and Shaun Hutson have their market and it is not my market. I don't think our readerships overlap hugely. Shaun likes to take pot shots in my direction once in a while. I try not to return the favour. I can only talk from my experience of reading my fan mail and meeting my readers at signings. I see nice middle-aged ladies who have a passion for my work, young people and a lot of collectors - particularly in America - who are in their 70's. Horror is enjoyed by every kind of person."


By Sheldon Bayley, Fantazia, No 5, October 1990 {reporting "a recent TV interview"}

"I love going to the conventions and meeting the readers. To see their excitement and enthusiasm is fun. It's the exact same thing in the bookstores. Some authors may think that it's a chore, and will only scribble their initials in the book. I try to learn the name of the person I'm signing the book for. The central relationship for me is with my readers. What good is your story if it exists in a vacuum? The readers validate me as an individual. They are absolutely the central focus in my life.
"I feel that the readers are the co-creators of the books they read. The books are created twice. Once, in the imagination of the author while writing the book, and the second time in the imagination of the reader as he reads it. Novels are different from one person to another."

The Clive Barker Interview

By Mike Lackey, Marvel Age, No 107, December 1991

"There are some weird fans out here. Artists in the public eye inevitably attract people who view you as a saint or Satan. I get the occasional piece of strange mail. I think that, writing the kind of fiction I do, I attract an intensity that others wouldn't. I know that Steve [King] has had people breaking into his house, threatening his children, that sort of thing. I wouldn't say I'm worried, but I do have a guard dog. To that extent, I'm worried."

L A Gore

By Paul Mungo, GQ, December 1992

"As recently as two daysago [I was troubled by a fan]. This is always a concern. I'm not sure it's got much to do with my chosen genre; after all,John Lennon wasn't writing horror novels. I thinkthe problem lies in my desire not to be whollyunavailable. It drives my 'minders' crazy when I goto a book signing and want to be as friendly andavailable as possible with my fans. They fear formy safety. I've had a man open his veins with arazor in front of me to show his commitment to me.These things are not comforting, but I don't wantto be driven into enforced seclusion by the actionsof a small group of obsessives who forgot to taketheir medication that morning."

Horror In Books And Movies: Clive Barker

By [ ], USA Today Online Chat, The Nation Talks : Live, 31 October 2000 (Note - full text at

[On Sacrament tour] "I don't go into these things assuming everybody's going to love it. I would go in a little anxious, wanting everything to go right, wanting the people to show in size but never taking it for granted. It's always nice when people come up to the signings, have a good time and bring all their books and things. It may seem absurd that I worry about those things, but I do worry. I want it to be the best event for all the people."


By [Stephen Dressler and Cheryl Bentzen],Lost Souls, Issue 5, October 1996 (note : online at the Lost Souls site)

...other comments

Doug Winter : "Clive Barker and I did a live interview for the American Film Institute last fall. There we were, sitting before hundreds of people...television crews...all under the auspices of the American Film Institute. Clive and I were there, supposedly, to talk about horror film and horror fiction. I said, 'Why don't we talk for a while about your influences both European and American?' He threw out 'The Horror Chamber of Doctor Faustus', which is a wonderful film directed by George Franju. And I said, 'How many people have seen 'The Horror Chamber of Doctor Faustus'?' A couple of people raised their hands. Clive looked rather strangely at the audience and said 'Les Yeux sans Visage' - its original, French title - and a newspaper reporter asked, 'What title did they release it as here in America?' I said, 'Okay, how many of you have heard of George Franju?' Two people raised their hands. Then Clive said, 'What about Mario Bava?' It was like three people. We went to Dario Argento, and it was still three or four people. We were looking at each other like we'd accidentally sat down before a convention of Southern Baptists. Then Clive tried James Whale; he finally went to, 'How many of you saw Frankenstein?' Half the audience. And he said, throwing up his hands, 'Well he's the guy that directed that.' And it was pretty frightening. He and I were talking about it afterwards, and it was clear that the people who came were Clive Barker fans. They didn't know about anything else. They were just these sort of hopeless results of his own media personality... And it's an unfortunate phenomenon. But anytime that a writer becomes a cultural phenomenon like that, created in part by the mass media, you're going to see this result."

An Interview with Douglas E. Winter

By George Beahm and Howard Wornom, Grimoire, edited by George Beahm, 1990

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