Please note : For anyone who hasn't yet read Coldheart Canyon, this interview has major spoilers - you have been warned...!
Revelations : "I've had a horrible feeling, as we're talking, that maybe the McFarlane Tortured Souls have come about as a result of some of the procedures you were talking about with the beauty products..."
Clive : "Ha! Aren't they amazing, by the way?"
Revelations : "Yes, we've been trying to visualise them standing on a shelf next to some Disney merchandise from The Abarat and seeing whether the models go together...!"
Clive : "Well, they won't. In fact they may devour one another... What I was going to say was the other thing that people do here, they use physical means as a means to aid their chances in the world. They get little nips and tucks, they get their teeth taken out so that their cheekbones protrude more, all of these various things. They get collagen injections in their lips and that's a particularly naked one right now which just drives me nuts!"
Revelations : "Maybe there's something good about living in England..."
Clive : "Right - but you still have to look at those movie stars. I mean, there are a couple of women going around right now - and I won't name names - but there's one in a very, very big movie this summer who has got collagen and you're going to say, 'Why did you do that?'"
Revelations : "If it's who I think you're talking about, it's not the only piece of her anatomy that's puffed up in this film."
Clive : "Well that's also true, it is that same lady, and you're right, her bust size has increased a couple of sizes as well and it may seem ungentlemanly of us to be talking this way, but she's made a public display of herself with this. Extraordinary."
Revelations : "So you're not tempted into any of these beauty parlours yourself?"
Clive : "No, I'm a writer and I'm allowed to get old and grey and wrinkled and crinkly."
Revelations : "You're still too much of the Brit at heart."
Clive : "I think I am, but I also think its just a different feel if you're a writer. I think if you're a writer, the marks of age are part of the proof that you've been in a battle. A battle with deadlines, a battle with your imagination sometimes."
Revelations : "So you see yourself just growing old and more distinguished?"
Clive : "I like that, Sarah, I like that. I'll take distinguished. Distinguished old fart..."
Revelations : "It's interesting to see, going right back to the beginning of your publishing career, that Stealth Press are about to put together the Books of Blood in one volume at last."
Clive : "Stealth - in one volume; I've just supplied the cover photo. And we're doing something which I'm going to tell you - you get this information first."
Revelations : "Very kind."
Clive : "It's something sort of outrageous. I said to my husband, I said, 'What shall we choose for the author photo?' And he said, 'Well, everyone is a Book of Blood; wherever we're opened we're red - you should be nude.' And I said, 'You're kidding!' And he said no, 'cos he had done these pictures of me in Hawaii which look like pieces of statuary, and I said 'Huh, that works OK.' So this'll be the first full-frontal author photo! ...in the limited edition, only in the limited edition."
Revelations : "Only for the people who can pay for that kind of privilege!"
Clive : "Who can pay for the privilege of seeing Barker's dick! Actually, I think it's entirely consistent with the content of the book. The book is about showing everything."
Revelations : "Yeah, I was wondering whether putting them all together is going to help dispel that 'horror writer' tag once people actually see the flow from the early horror through to the more fantastic, the more subtle things that were in the later volumes, that they've never seen that progression."
Clive : "I think it will. I think the other thing it will do, honestly, is it will be this 800, 900 page book; it will just be this defiant volume that will say, well, you may not have noticed this, guys, but this guy was really trying every different trick in the horror areas and has now moved on from there. Because I think that the Books of Blood collected like that will be incredibly authoritative. And I was excited by that... I think it's a great thing for them to be doing."
Revelations : "It's great that it's finally happening - and Barry Hoffman at Gauntlet Press looks like he's got some good stuff from you too."
Clive : "Yeah, we're doing some great stuff with Barry - my husband's doing a book, I'm doing poetry to go with it. His book is a book of photographs, amazing photographs, and I'm doing prose and poetry pieces to go with it, to go with the photographs - so that's going to be amazing. Rizzoli has just invited me to do something with them in the way of photographic books too. So we've got lots of people talking to us about visual stuff, which is nice after having painted, as you both know, and drawn for years and really just kept all this stuff to myself, I think in the next 2 or 3 years people will see a side of Clive Barker which you knew existed all along but which most people don't notice."
Revelations : "It sounds like, unlike the three years between novels this time, we're going to have quite a lot to see from you."
Clive : "A huge amount - I mean the Stealth edition will come out at the end of this year, the first Abarat book will be out next year, plus obviously Coldheart Canyon in paperback. The collection of short fiction will be delivered at the end of this year, which will include the Harry D'Amour/Pinhead story which will bring an end to Pinhead once and for all."
Revelations : "Oh you hope so - you can only hope and pray so."
Clive : "Oh I hope so, my love, you don't know how much I hope so."
Revelations : "I think maybe we do!"
Clive : "Yes, exactly! I'm writing his death scene, whether they choose to take account of that in the movies is up to them, but I am writing his death scene and, after which I will have no more literary or cinematic dealings with him whatsoever."
Revelations : "Have we got any TV coming from you?"
Clive : "Yes we have - in fact, this afternoon I'm going to talk about the Lord of Illusions series, the Harry D'Amour TV series which is going to come from MGM. We have Saint Sinner which is a show I'm doing for the Sci-Fi Channel - it's not based on the comic."
Revelations : "Oh, it's not?"
Clive : "No, I just love that title! We'll probably start shooting that towards the end of this year. We have a script for a movie called Bloody Mary which will be turned into us next week, which is a story which we found, actually, in the pages of a Miami newspaper and just loved, I don't want to tell too much more about that. It's a pretty hard-core horror story. And then Warner Brothers, as you know, are doing Damnation Game."
Revelations : "Yeah, we started seeing some big names attached to that, some very big names."
Clive : "So did I, I don't know where they came from - I assume those names came from Warner Brothers."
Revelations : "They made us worry for the film, and certainly for the story."
Clive : "They worried you? They worried me! I think at one point I saw Paul Newman and I saw Sean Connery, who else did you see?"
Revelations : "Certainly those were the two big ones..."
Clive : "Yeah, I don't think either of them are very likely, frankly! We have a $45 million movie here!"
Revelations : "It's just not going to happen, is it. We saw Dame Maggie Smith and Kim Basinger also looking for roles in it."
Clive : "I don't know where either of those people could fit in the movie, do you?"
Revelations : "No - I can't see it, Oh, I guess I can see Kim Basinger if she's gone downhill a bit!"
Clive : "Right! But it's really hard to see where these things come from. Obviously somebody's given some thought to this - it isn't just names pulled out of a bag."
Revelations : "Yeah, because this cropped up in a few places."
Clive : "I completely agree, it was a weird thing. Weird... We still have high hopes for Weaveworld, but, y'know..."
Revelations : "You've always had high hopes for Weaveworld, but y'know..."
Clive : "But, y'know!"
Revelations : "We've had that on the site for so long under a title - "
Clive : " - that says 'Pending...'"
Revelations : "..it's got the Monty Python quote from The Search For The Holy Grail which says this is in danger of making Ben Hur look like an epic..."
Clive : "Yes, exactly - that's exactly right! But we've got lots going on, as you can hear; we will take Thief of Always out... Oh and Ectokid, the comic, has just been sold to Nickelodeon, the movie - which I will produce, so we have Ectokid, Abarat at Disney."
Revelations : "What's happened since Peter Schneider's gone? Was he the great champion for that?"
Clive : "Which is regrettable - he was a good guy - but there's a lot of good guys there and our... we've had no bad experiences there so far, they've been really super, so I'm cautiously optimistic that it's all going to work out well. And the book I'm incredibly excited about. I am coming within 2 weeks of finishing the book and in a way, the thing it will remind you most of will be Weaveworld, because it has a wild imagination and it has great villains and it has some big ideas floating around in it, you know?"
Revelations : "Is it like Weaveworld would have been if you'd kept Cal as a little boy?"
Clive : "Yes! Well, Candy is 15 just going on 16, so she's not little little... There's 300 [Abarat] paintings here, man."
Revelations : "Are they not in Disney's vault yet?"
Clive : "No, I'm saving them for you! I guarantee, and I'm not joking about this, I guarantee that when you come in and you see these pictures your view of who I am will change instantly - there will be one big change where you will go, 'Oh. My. God...!'"More from Clive on Coldheart Canyon