James Herbert (b. April 8th): “I’m not just in it for the gore.”

8 Apr

James Herbert, born 8 April 1943 and died 20 March 2013, was a best-selling English horror writer who sold 54 million books that were translated into 34 languages. His best known novels are The Fog, The Survivor, and The Dark. Some of his novels were adapted for film, television, and radio.

Quotes on writing:

  1. Horror novels were written by upper-middle-class writers like Dennis Wheatley. I made horror accessible by writing about working-class characters.
  2. I’ve always suffered from being labelled a horror writer – just because I didn’t go to university, just because I still talk in my natural voice, just because I’m not as articulate as Martin Amis.
  3. I’m never going to win the Booker and I have no great literary pretensions, but I know how to write well. I do it the old-fashioned way with a pen and paper and I know my spelling and grammar.
  4. I’ve always loved comic books. As a kid, I used to read cowboy stories and historical comics about other worlds, unknown places that would take me out of myself and which helped to develop my imagination.
  5. The books are full of that neurosis and I guess people tune into that. I have a dread of sounding pretentious and try not to talk too much about what I do. Sometimes, though, it is necessary to point it out: I’m not just in it for the gore.
  6. The trick is to keep working and to get things done – just bloody well do it! Yes, you might be writing rubbish but you can always go back over it and make it a better read. With every book you do you may get to a stage where you think ‘this is silly’. That’s happened to me a number of times but I’ve persevered and got on with it.


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