Sowing The Seeds Of The Story Tree

The Fourteenth Revelatory Interview
By Phil & Sarah Stokes, 28th August & 4th September 2006

With thanks to Julia, your help is warmly appreciated.

This time around, we concentrated solely on questions that were sent to us through the Revelations website and Clive looked through each and every one, together with a number of questions held over from the last interview too. Clive read everything and responded to as many as was possible - extending the interview to a second session to get through twice as many! Again, we've had to hold over a number of questions that we'll use again for a future interview, so if your question didn't get addressed this time, rest assured it's not its last opportunity to get answered!

Clive : "I have these questions in front of me - shall we just go through..?"

Revelations : "Yes, let's just start in and see how far we get..."

Scott Rodgie : "Clive, since I was 5-6, I've wanted to write and only that. I am now rushing towards 18 and will most probably spend a great deal of time writing in the near future. However, the ideas that drip through my head come at a much slower pace than I would consider a real author to develop them and I also have the feeling of only becoming an author when I'm 'at work', which contrasts to how I perceive you as always writing subconsciously. So my questions to you, Clive, are in what ways do your ideas develop and at what length or speed? "Also, as a side question, at what age did you seriously begin to write stories that you considered serious enough to be published, or truly begin to write for something other than a hobby?"

Clive : "The answer is there is no answer. Every project delivers itself into my brain at a different speed. You know, I'm frankly still waiting for two or three pieces of the Third Book of The Art to present themselves before I finally do that book and I'm not very good - in fact I'm useless - at sitting down and saying, 'OK, Clive, think up an idea.' I mean, that's just not how it works. I sort of have to leave myself open to whatever energies, whatever creative energies are in me, whatever chemicals move through the bodies of creative folks that get those notions going. They have their own rhythms and they can't be pushed - in fact if they're pushed they tend to run in the opposite direction! So my answer to the first part of Scott's question is - there are times when the ideas, they - boy, you know, drip, drip, drip; they come very slowly to me. There was a portion in the middle of the third draft of Scarlet Gospels where that absolutely happened and I was on one chapter for a month and a half - and that's the way... You'll remember my friend, Pat and his 'three T's' : Taste, Talent and Tenacity - yeah? That's where the Tenacity comes in, that's where the important part of being a writer is wanting to be a writer more than anything in the world, and that passion, feeding an almost obsessive - what am I saying 'almost'! - an obsessive hunger to get it right, to stand in the path of the ideas and to listen to them when they come, however outlandish they may be.
"And then he goes on - when did I start to write stories? I actually - you know this - I wrote a novel called The Candle In the Cloud when I was seventeen, is that right?"

Revelations : "Yes, just before going up to university."

The Candle In The Cloud /

Clive : "And I sent that off to a couple of publishers. I actually had one publisher who wanted to publish it but wanted changes made. I, at that time - by the time I'd started the novel, finished the novel, had it typed out, had it copied - which was all much more difficult back then, I actually paid my father's secretary the money to type out the novel - by the time I'd done all that and received the letter saying, 'Yes, we'll take the novel,' but they want to change it, I was about to go to university and it just was impossible to contemplate a university career and taking on the job of reworking the novel so I politely declined and said, 'Hopefully when my university career is over we'll talk again.' And by the time university was over The Candle In The Cloud felt so remote and I was so changed by the university experience, not necessarily for the better. I studied English and Philosophy and had drowned in words and my theatre company at that point, as you know, became a mime company - which tells you something. You know, I was just not interested in words; I'd just had too much of it. And the notion of going back again to the novel, or even starting a new one was unthinkable, so it wasn't until the plays started to really flow, which was when I was what, twenty-three, twenty-four? And then I started to fall in love with the word again and started to play around with making short stories, for the fun of it more than for any other reason, then I got back on track - so I hope that answers Scott's question."

Revelations : "Just to clarify one piece in that, almost everything in your archive of that period was directed towards the theatre as a format. But there was one significant prose work in the middle, which was Bacchus, so you hadn't completely abandoned novel writing."

Clive : "I hadn't, Phil. I don't know where Bacchus came from. I've dug hard to figure out what instincts made me do that and I don't know."

Revelations : "Because it was a novel about a circus or theatre company - "

Clive : "It was, absolutely - two theatre companies, bad and good. You're right - I don't know what the instinct was; it certainly wasn't a commercial instinct. I read more literature for younger readers now than I ever read then - certainly. Occasionally I would revisit the classics that I'd read as a child, but most of the material that I read at that point was very heavy - I was into Gunter Grass, did you see that he just, at the age of seventy-eight, finally admitted he was a member of the Nazi party..?"

Revelations : "And an amazing reaction to that, too."

Clive : "I know, it is extraordinary, it is extraordinary. I mean it, well, it's a whole other subject but it is, the fact that he would leave it so long is also extraordinary."

Revelations : "Yes, curious..."

Veronica (Sweden) : "This is a direct question about being a writer. I don't know exactly how to ask this question. My biggest dream is becoming a writer and last year I had a real energy-boost of some sort and wrote a long story. The problem is that when I had written it I both wanted someone to read it and feared that someone would read it. I guess it's because it was violent and there was some sex in it. It felt as if I would expose something about myself that would make those who are close to me, look at me in a different way. It made me feel naked and vulnerable. But I knew that I needed another person's point of view for the story to evolve. Did you ever feel this about your work? And how did you overcome it?"

Clive : "I think it's important, Veronica, that you feel those feelings - that vulnerability and that need is a very healthy sign that what you're doing is truthful. And I know it sounds weird to you, the word 'truthful' in a genre which is fantasticated, full of strange, imaginary beings, but as you guys know, I've always felt that the imagination was the way that you dealt with things in the real world that were perhaps impossible to deal with in any other way. And I have certainly - to give a direct example, I published a story called In The Hills, The Cities which had two gay men as its heroes who made love, and there was a fairly graphic reference to that, to the taste of that. And I was urged by both my agent, who was gay, and my editor not to publish the story; that I would be revealing, at the beginning of my career, my sexuality and that it was not a clever thing to do, that I would alienate people and so on and so forth. I felt for a little time very naked and very vulnerable because both my agent and my editor were turning their backs on me, as it were. My editor, God bless her, Barbara Boote left it up to me. I mean, if she'd wanted to she could have said, 'We're simply not publishing that,' but she didn't do that, she actually said - there was a suggestion from her camp that I simply change the gender of one of the characters, you know, that it simply be a boyfriend and a girlfriend, but I wasn't going to go for that."

Revelations : "The theatre group was always very collective and you'd always shared your work-in-progress, so sharing the initial drafts of the Books of Blood with Pete Atkins or Doug Bradley would have been very different to handing it to Vernon Conway as your agent and saying, 'Show it to publishers' - did you feel different about the work at that stage?"

Clive : "Yes, but for a weird reason. I gave handwritten drafts to Pete and Doug. I had each of the stories typed up individually, with red covers, that's how they were originally presented, and that's when I felt - and I think this is a common feeling in writers, when you see it in type it's different and you see its frailties - and I felt a lot more exposed then. I mean, when I was showing them to Pete or Doug, these guys, we'd been working together, by then I'd known Doug for fifteen years and Pete almost as long, if they were crap they just would have told me. Pete was much more articulate about them than Doug, and I think that's in part because Pete read a lot more around the subject - Pete was voracious and still is a voracious reader. To go back to Veronica's question, that sense of nakedness and vulnerability remains with me and in weird, occasional books like Sacrament which was very close to my heart - because it had a gay hero, because it deals with a father and son relationship which was a troubled one, because it was about animals - for a dozen, two-dozen reasons, the book was very close to me and I felt very vulnerable. And that was one where I didn't read the reviews for a long, long time just because I didn't want to be hurt. And then I also felt very close to a book which fans, by and large, don't like terribly, and that's Coldheart Canyon, because it's this house that's being described in large measure and certainly this canyon that I'm looking out onto now, which is Coldheart Canyon. And the history of the house that I'm sitting in is, in a reconfigured fashion, folded into the novel so, yeah, there are certain times when you feel very, very exposed and I think that is only a good sign."

Sharon Corbett : "What [rôle] does music play in Clive's life if any, while painting or writing etc. Does it inspire in any way? If so what does he generally listen to?"

Clive's studio, with CDs

Clive : "I have actually an awful lot of CDs, a lot of them film music and, I'm a gay man, a lot of show music - a gay man who doesn't like Sondheim should give his badge back! I find, on the other hand, very reasonably, where I've been painting the paintings for Absolute Midnight and writing Scarlet Gospels during the day, putting on the music I had been putting on, which tended to be sort of The Omen and so on - really wonderful horror music like that, or Ligeti or mood music which is deserving of stress, in the way of Diamanda Galas, I have withheld from playing that kind of music in the evenings while I paint because it makes for too grim a day! On what kind of music I listen to, well it's fairly eclectic; there's Wagner in there and there's Sondheim in there and there's a lot of Korngold and Max Steiner, the great movie composers of the 30s and 40s and a lot of more recent composers - Goldsmith and Williams, etc. It's sometimes dangerous to play songs while you are painting because songs have words and the words can send you off into a little trail or spiral of thought which is inappropriate while you're actually painting."

John Gorski (Beaver Meadows, Pa) : "Sir. I'm hoping that you can help me. I am a co-author of a screenplay that just won Best Screenplay at the Pocono Mountains film festival, and now trying solo on a horror screenplay for next years Erie Horror film festival. I am currently a member of a writing board, and have the idea in a novel format. But, I'm constantly told that I have to put the horror and gore in every scene. So here's my question, What is the formula to keep the flow going in the story? Is it necessary that the horror and gore be in every scene?"

Clive : "Let's reverse those questions - the answer to the second one is, 'Absolutely no, it is not.' Not only is it not required, it is overkill to do that - it would be destructive, in my opinion, to make a movie or a screenplay that was blood and gore from beginning to end. I mean, there are certain movies out there like that and they leave me completely unmoved. Keeping the flow going, I think there's a very simple answer to that and that is the old adage which E.M. Forster quotes: the difference between a story and a plot. A plot is: 'The king dies. The queen dies.' The story is: 'The king dies, so the queen dies.' In other words, a story is causality, a story is 'this happens, so that happens, so that happens, so that happens' and a good story is a string of pearls."

Catherine O'Brien (New Zealand) : "The Abarat books are my overall favourite - how different/difficult was it to write a series as opposed to a single novel? "His artwork is so unusual and unique - what influences his art and what training/courses has he undertaken?"

Clive : "It's very different writing a series rather than a novel - different in a lot of exciting ways. I'm able to lay little clues in the book which are like seeds which I press deep into the earth of the story which will only flower in later books. If you go back over the first two books there are lots of clues about the fact that Candy has a second person inside her, you know, starting with the fact that she has two different coloured eyes. And I try to be very honest with my readers in the sense that I really do try to lay those clues in so that if they come back to the novel they can say, 'Oh yeah, Barker was an honest man there; he gave us the information to make guesses, if you wish.' There are lots of things in Book Two which will become significant in Books Three, Four and Five but are almost casual in these early books.
"I took no training for painting. I learned oil painting by trial and error. I picked up my first oil paint when I was 44 or 45 and it was a wonderful experience because I realised I really love the medium. It was a little late to go looking for a teacher so it was just pretty much trial and error and I threw a lot of pictures away; there's a lot of pictures I simply don't like or I paint over them.
"What influences my art? My library is filled with art books. I have an endless, bottomless passion for not only looking at other people's work but hearing about other people's methodologies and also their lives. I like to read, very much, about the lives of writers and the lives of painters - in part because you're doing a comparison job in your head: 'Ah, this person also found this difficult,' - that's reassuring."

Aaron Pethybridge (Australia) : "Clive has stated that he writes his initial drafts in longhand, therefore I was wanting to find out exactly what kind of materials he uses. For instance, does he use notebooks, does he tear sheets from an A4 sized lined notepads (or tablet) which he then puts into a binder, does he write on blank paper or does he use some other method. I've read how other authors are quite fetishistic about the materials they use and I was curious about how Clive views such issues. I realise this question is somewhat bourgeois, but I always enjoy finding about writers and the methods and tools they use to create their work."

Clive : "Longhand - yes. On materials, it's called 'college rule' here, which is a narrow spaced, three-holed sheet and I buy them in packets of 200 pages; they are all loose, they're not torn out of anything. I take loose pages and I bind them in front of me on a lectern I have Clive writing... in front of me. Let me see, we've got page 3,153 of the third draft and then above it, above the file where those pages are going, hundreds of notes about things; notes to myself to change things, develop things, that I need to address in my final polish of the book. Am I fetishistic about this stuff? I like certain Pentel pens, but I'm not terribly fetishistic about this stuff, I'll write with whatever is to hand - I've been known to write on those little pads you find in hotels. When ideas come in the middle of the night, you know, you do whatever you need to do. (I don't find this bourgeois at all, I think it's a very reasonable enquiry!) These Pentels... I find them useful because Malingo, who is sitting behind me, chews the tops. And it takes a long time to chew the top, so it silences her for an hour while she chews the top!"

Joan Martinez (Spain) : "Hi Clive, I'm writing to you from Spain and first of all I'd like to give you many thanks for all your wonderful work. It's always a strong inspiration for me in a personal and an artistic way! I'd like to ask you once you have a subject in your mind to work on, how do you make your mind to 'give flesh' to this idea? I mean, how do you decide if this subject is going to be a book, a drawing, a comic-book, a movie or something else?"

Clive : "I think they tend to make their own choices for me. Clearly if I have got a story as big as Abarat, it wasn't going to be a comic book, it wasn't going to be a short novel - though can you imagine once I did think this was all going to be one book... Can you imagine the deception that was involved in thinking I could get away with that?
"The movie part of this, of course, is a lot out of my hands. Very often the people coming to me saying they want to make a movie are doing just that - they are reading something and saying, 'Hey I want to make a movie.' I have only written two screenplays that were originated as screenplays and neither of them were made. I'm not surprised now, looking back on them, they are very strange but one of them I feel very passionate about and will certainly turn into a novel at some point... - [that being] American Primitive and it's about art - I mean, is there any less likely subject for anyone to make a movie about? Talk about making dumb decisions..."

Marc Daneker : "You've spoken of a sequel to Galilee, a third book of the Art, a 3rd, 4th & 5th book of Abarat, have you considered allowing another author to complete works such as these or other ideas in the event that you don't complete them in the Title page to Clive's notes for Galilee 2 next 30 years? As Stephen King once realized was a possibility with the Gunslinger so that he set everything else aside and just wrote the Dark Tower books to their conclusion. "Weaveworld, the mini-series; PLEASE?"

Clive : "Marc suggests I get another author taking over this stuff? No, I don't think this would work. I have got a Galilee sequel, the Third Book of The Art and the Abarat books... I don't believe that it's impossible - I'm only 53 and sound of limb and mind - clearly if there's something left undone on my deathbed I may say, you know, I'll fire an arrow out of the window and whoever is struck in the head will write the book, you know? I'm joking. No, I think that the second book of Galilee, the third book of The Art, the third, fourth and fifth books of the Abarat series and the humungous massive book that I'm finishing on now, or working towards finishing on now represent such different parts of me in terms of their tone - this is without doubt the darkest book I have ever written, I'm talking about Scarlet Gospels now, and where there's some pretty dark stuff going on in, actually, The Art and in Abarat. But I'd like to think that Abarat is unique because it's me and my paintings, so it would be very hard to give it to a writer that would fit the bill and take these on.
"Weaveworld the mini-series - oh, please, oh yes, Marc, absolutely. We finally got it out of the hands of Showtime after ten years and we would love to find an English backer who would be interested in taking on these scripts, which are superb, and doing these things the way they should be done - so this is a little APB..."

Erik Pflueger (Florida) : "Since The Scarlet Gospels intends to go into the machinery of the system behind Pinhead (who built Hell, how Hell works, etc.), will there be some more exposition of Lemarchand and his puzzle box? Beyond the fact that, as The Hellbound Heart said, Lemarchand was a maker of singing birds in his time, will we learn more about Lemarchand, who he was, when he lived, why he made the box? If so, will you be using the interpretation Pete Atkins came up with for Hellraiser: Bloodlines, of Lemarchand as the toymaker and an unwitting dupe of an evil sorceror-noble, or the one used in the Book of the Damned comics, of Lemarchand as the architect/serial murderer, using human fat to fashion the boxes? Or will he be something else?
"Will there be more exposition of Pinhead as a personality? Will we see his backstory? If so, will the backstory of Elliott Spenser, the disillusioned 1920s British Army captain in Hellbound and Hell on Earth, be taken up for the book? Will it be something else? Or, perhaps, will we ever know if Pinhead, as a Cenobite, has an official name beyond, well, Pinhead? It seems a good idea, if this is the last shot we'll have at an official Pinhead story from the pen of his creator, to provide at least a cursory account of who he is and, if you please, his real Cenobitic name. I suppose one could also ask if the other Cenobites, if there will be any, would be the ones from Hellbound Heart, or the ones from Hellraiser, or something else entirely. If so, will they have names and backstories?
"I have read that you'll be fleshing out Hell, so to speak, giving it a true biosphere, giving it flora and fauna. Cool! I can't wait! But will there be any trace of the labyrinthine, Escher-like Hell that was seen in Hellbound, a film you participated in? If so, will we read of what role, say, the Leviathan god-character has in Clive Barker's Hell? Or have you decided to start over from scratch, and make the true geography of Hell, and the name of its master, something quite different? As an aside, if you are inventing a geography for Hell, will there be maps, in the manner of those accompanying Dante Alighieri's interpretation, something to give the reader his bearings? Or have you decided it is better to leave the reader to fend for himself in the dark kingdom?"

Clive : "Will there be some explanation? Yes there will be some more, Erik, not a great deal, but some. We've also got, as he points out, some contradictory pieces of history here, we have some created by the Wachowski brothers in The Book of The Damned, some written by Pete Atkins for Bloodline - I'm going to ignore all of that. This book is not about Lemarchand, it's about what happens when Hell puts down its machinery, meaning the little boxes, and takes up its older ways.
"There won't be a lot of back-story about Pinhead but we will be in his head a lot. I will also be revealing his true Cenobitic name, yes, that will be there. I think it is going to be fun - there has never been a Hell like this, I can reasonably say, and it's still revealing things to me, day by day, so that's fun."

Max Lichtor : "How much of Primordium (the Romanesque City State from the Tortured Souls shorts) will we see echoed in the Hell of The Scarlet Gospels?"

Clive : "How much of Primordium will be echoed in the Hell of Scarlet Gospels? Some of it, yes, in the sense that the city is indeed a proper city. You know, this is not a mediæval vision of Hell that just looks like Hell's Kitchen, you know, with a bunch of people being boiled in oil and thrown in fires. This is a place where fallen angels have attempted to build a society and a culture for themselves. They haven't necessarily been very good at it, but they've tried and Hell is in many ways a reflection of their inability to build because the vision they needed is a Divine vision and they don't really have anyone among them... There were a few exceptions, Lucifer would be one of them but Lucifer doesn't come on the stage until towards the end...
"When he does show himself we see, oh boy, what Hell probably was at the beginning when the fallen angels decided to try and make Heaven themselves and the only reference to that is a melancholy reference - I wanted to be melancholy about it. I'm a great reader of Hellblazer, you know, the John Constantine comic, and whenever John goes down into Hell it's always fire pits and terrible monsters and so on. But you think, but what do they do the next day..? You know, my characters are down in Hell for two-thirds of the book - I had to get a sense for, how do you live down there? What colour is the sky? I have, in other words, approached Hell much as I would approach a fantasy world, asking the questions that a fantasy writer would ask of his or her world: 'What is the colour of the sky? What is the design of the buildings?' and so forth. There are patches of this huge novel that remind me of Imajica, simply because we're in this very fucking strange place with nothing quite being what it seems, and yes it's violent and yes sometimes it's scary, though it's not a horror novel in the conventional sense of the horror novel, in the sense of it having a Jericho ghastly little jump every few minutes. I have no problem with it being called a horror novel - it should be - but it's an unconventional vision of what a horror novel should be."

Christopher Monfette : "I wonder whether Jericho is intended to ever make it to the big screen. (I work in the gaming industry, so this seems ripe with Hollywood horror potential!)
"I was just last night sitting through a Cirque Du Soleil performance when it occurred to me how much of your fantastique repertoire would lend itself to that style of artistic interpretation. Considering your theatrical background and passion for the visual arts, has this kind of approach to your work ever been discussed? Which is all to say, will there ever come a day when I could buy a ticket to Clive Du Soleil?"

Clive : "Jericho comes out as a game in September 2007 and it's looking very nice, so yes there are big plans for us to make a movie of that, so we'll see how it plays as a game first.
"Cirque du Soleil, of course. The Narnia books, the 1941 Fantasia and the Cirque du Soleil are the three largest influences on Abarat. I saw Cirque du Soleil and am delighted that they have spread their wings, so to speak, to the erotic as they have in Los Angeles. I would love Clive du Soleil, I would go crazy and one of the things that we've been chewing over is what sort of work I could do to get into that world because the world of the big stage show doesn't need to explain itself but it's just a spectacle and a Cirque du Soleil lot of Cirque du Soleil reminds me of myself; I understand exactly why Chris would say that. I've always found circus, any kind of circus but particularly circuses with the sexual subtext not being so 'sub', it's this incredible sense of tension and the sublime homoeroticism of some of their act."

Raphaël Lucas (France) : "According to previous (and old) interviews, Clive has to write three books about Boone and the Nightbreed? Does he have some plans to conclude the story of Cabal (novella, book, comics...)? Or has he definitively abandoned this world ?"

RIDD13 : "One of my BIG questions is will there be sequels to Cabal????"

Jonathan Kui : "Back in 1996, you had mentioned at a Fangoria convention in New York that you were hoping to write a literary sequel to Cabal... Is that project still in your plans?"

Clive : "I was thinking about Boone and the Nightbreed... I have not definitely abandoned this world. No world is ever abandoned, as long as there's a god of writing and the ideas keep coming and my hands work, I will hopefully get there one of these days. I have two more tales in note form about Boone and the Nightbreed, all of which will be about the same length as Cabal so, side-by-side, they'll make a nice big volume, but at the moment there's so much else going on..."

Mark Brindley : "What has happened to the Abarat films (1st one was due late 2004 wasn't it?)"

Amity Carrasco : "I am an avid Abarat fan and heard through the grapevine that there was going to be a movie coming out in '05? I checked almost everyday from January of '05 until December. I heard nothing on it since then and I was wondering if there was a source I had not checked. If it is at all possible I would love to know more about the upcoming movie."


Clive : "Abarat will be a movie but I am fighting very hard for them not to try making it too soon. We are no longer making Abarat with Disney, that is now official, the work is back in my hands and my ownership, I owe them nothing. I suppose you could say there were creative differences, I don't know. Certainly the way they wanted to do it was not the way I wanted to do it. I realised a short while after getting into the deal with Disney and I'm glad it's come to this conclusion where we can make this movie. Though I have to tell you, there was a man called John Harrison, who did Children of Dune for Sci-Fi channel and a bunch of other movies, and who has just done a really smart version of the bookend tale from The Books of Blood; it's really very, very good. John has done a very fine draft of Abarat which covers Books 1 and 2.
"In about six months I'll be writing the third book and I'll be writing the third and fourth books back-to-back; we'll really have this narrative on a roll and these paintings are getting made. As you know there's a lot of paintings now, certainly enough now to start my imagination going - and actually the painting part of it is the hardest part - so we have about 500 paintings that are part of that mythology which could form part of the narrative element for Books 3, 4 and 5.
"My thing to the filmmakers is, 'Wait until I've written Book 5 and I've delivered everything and then make your movie.' The reason I say that is because Candy doesn't age significantly - she ages maybe three years across the five books and if you're going to do this properly then the actress can't age overmuch either and you've got to have all the books written and all the screenplays written before you start."

Mark Tallen : "Clive, is there a strong chance that we could see publication of an expanded Klepp's almanac? It would be a marvellous addition for fans to add to their Clive Barker book collection and a great companion to the 5 Abarat volumes! My guess is that the audience and therefore the market is there for such a book, even if it was a limited print run of a few thousand. I know that you have mentioned doing this before in a previous interview, perhaps it could be done between volumes 4 and 5?"

Pete Mesling : "Have you ever considered publishing a small pronunciation guide to the worlds you've created? It's obvious that a great deal of thought goes into the naming of your characters and settings, and most of the time they roll off the tongue as if they belong to an ancient language that we all secretly know. But then there are the more difficult ones (did Peter MacNicol get everything right in his abridged reading of Imajica, for instance?). Maybe this wouldn't be such a big deal if long passages from your fiction didn't scream to be read aloud!"

Clive : "Yes, there is a very good chance that we will at some point do an expanded Klepp's Almanac. I think it would be a very valuable tool, as does Mark here, yes, in a limited run - I think that's right too, so yes. Along with that probably would go a pronunciation guide, though I try to say to people, 'You know what - it can be whatever you like it to be,' but people actually do seem to like a guide."

David Anderson : "I was wondering if Clive still had hopes of getting another D'Amour movie made. Harry is such a great character and I was wishing we'd be able to see those stories that never got the green light. Like, could he make Vipex, the Showtime pilot, or the Lord of Illusions prequel as a comic if those movies have fallen by the wayside?"

Clive : "Another D'Amour picture? Well, let's see what people feel about what happens to Harry in this book, The Scarlet Gospels, which is so radical; he's a very different human being at the end of the book than he is at the beginning, so I'll leave that one open, if I may?"

Mark Tallen : "Clive, is the story of The Scarlet Gospels set before or after the events in Everville? I know it's the last time that you will write about the lead Cenobite Pinhead but obviously not the last time you will write about Harry D'Amour. I am curious to the chronological order of the events in Harry's life."

Clive : "Very good question, Mark, it is set after Everville."

Revelations : "So then as you're writing him are you thinking about where he is going to go in the third book of The Art?"

Clive : "Absolutely... and this change..."

Steven Cook : "With his short story Scapegoats from the Books of Blood, why did the spirits who were writing on McNeal's flesh suddenly decide to change their writing style?"

Clive : "I wanted to see whether I could write successfully in the first person as a woman. And it was also me describing a place that I knew very well and I was interested in writing about that in the first person."


Jayme : "I have a question about Chickentown, USA. You see, I am also from Minnesota, like Candy Quackenbush (although I can't say that I'm from rural area, being that I live in the suburbs of the Twin Cities), and I was wondering how Clive Barker came up with his idea about having the setting taking place in Minnesota. Did he just wake up one day thinking 'Hey! Minnesota of course! What an excellent idea for Candy's hometown!' Or was it just a place he decided to make up in Minnesota (which is understandable for him, being a fantastic and highly imaginative writer)."

Clive : "I actually did a lot of research to figure out where I wanted to put Chickentown. There are some chickens in that state. It has a lot of water but was nowhere near the ocean, which was necessary in order for people to be surprised when there's a big wave coming in. It's a state that has always welcomed me and where I've always found people absolutely charming and fun and so again, I felt comfortable there - it seemed like a good place."

Parikshit Ghosal (India) : "My suggestion to Mr. Barker is that please try to publish more books frequently. I literally count the days for the publication of the next book by Mr. Barker. Autumn of 2007 (The Scarlet Gospels) cannot come fast enough for me. In the meantime my question/suggestion is that please try to publish the short story collections before that time. I can live with the fact that a new Clive Barker book is coming out after every 2 years, if possible."

Clive : "He wants me to publish my books faster - my answer is, 'Boy, if I could, I would!' I mean I am today on page 3,228 of The Scarlet Gospels, I've done three drafts of it and I'm sure Parikshit can do the calculations. I will be publishing the short story collection in the not too distant future. My general attitude I suppose, in summary, would be that yes, you could have books a little faster if I speeded over a couple of processes, the checking processes and the things I do to polish it but the books you would get as a result would not be as good and I think I owe you the best I can give you. The Scarlet Gospels has taken a long time to write and I want to be respectful of it."

Leonard Niblock : "In various interviews you have mentioned that you map out your novels chapter by chapter before actually writing them, but rarely is there much mention of what those changes actually were. I think it would be interesting for many fans (and especially me) if you could treat us to some insight as to what some of the more significant changes were, and why, so that we can see how your stories evolve."

Clive : "I don't map out chapter-by-chapter, I map out a full structure and depending on the novel, if I have structural problems with the first draft before I start the second draft I will do, not maybe a chapter-by-chapter breakdown but certainly a sense of where the hell this is going so that I don't repeat the mistake of the first draft. How significant are the changes? Huge. I'm on the third draft of Scarlet Gospels. If you were to compare that with the first draft, they are two completely different novels. They have largely the same characters in, but their processes are completely different and that's because you hone in. I think Peter Straub actually once said somewhere in the process of writing a novel he realises what he's writing about. I would completely concur with that, that's exactly my experience. I'm writing and I'm writing and I'm trying to find my way through this and then suddenly I go, 'Oh yeah, that's what it's about.' Sometimes it may be after the book is published and I'll look at it and say, 'Oh, that's what it was about!' "Some wise person once said the last person you should ask about art is an artist and I think there's some value in that observation; I think that maybe you should put that at the beginning of all these answers!"

Abarat (Book Three)
Abarat (Books Four and Five)
Abarat as a Movie
The Scarlet Gospels
Cabal sequels
The Art 3
The Books of Blood
Weaveworld TV

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