August 1, 2003

part 1 | part 2

Clive: Hello Craig
Lost Souls: Hello Clive
Clive: How are you man?
LS: Doing ok and you?
Clive: Good, Thank you, Good.
LS: Very Good.
Clive: So should we talk?
LS: Sure.
Clive: Tell me what's on everybody's mind right now?
LS: People want to know what Clive is up to.
Clive: Well I turned in the text of Abarat 2 to a wonderfully enthusiastic reception. I have to say probably the most happy editors, because I had both of them my American and my English editor Jane Johnson and obviously it's published by Joanna Cotler, so she is my chief editor, the strongest happiest response I've had to any book I've ever written. Which is incredibly pleasing of course, and also kind of startling because it's the second book in the series. I couldn't have anticipated the level of just happiness that people have got in response to the book. That's great and a huge relief! (laughs)
LS: Well you kinda left us hanging at the end of the first book. We wanted more.
Clive: I did that deliberately, and yet at the same time, I wanted the second book not to do that. I was very determined that the second book be more of a complete experience. Sort of finish, I don't want to give to much away obviously, but to finish off some more of the narratives. There are two more books to come, so there is much more to unfold. But I want the second book to be a more fulfilling experience as a narrative than the first one could be because, by it's very nature, I'm introducing a world, I'm introducing a lot of characters. It's a very complicated world with its own quite elaborate rules, and all that had to be set up. By the time I got to the second book, that was done, that is done. So now I can roll. And I can get to the stuff which is really fun, which is the plot stuff, and the character stuff, and the primal battles which is the heart of the story, and something apocalyptic as well, because I wanted to make sure that having set up this world, I could then do something pretty dramatic to it as early as the second book. There wouldn't be a sense that you had to wait for the fourth book before anything of great scale happened. I wanted something pretty big to happen in every book. And something huge happens, well actually two or three huge things happen in this book.

So, great response. Great response from Disney too, which is fun because then they are now going to go and pursue the movie. I think they seem very committed to taking what I've written seriously and really taking a crack at reflecting it in this movie. So I'm going to meet with them in about a month's time and we'll talk about that.

In the meantime, I'm finishing up on the illustrations for the second book and just making a few edits. A few places, when I look at it a second time, I needed to be a little bit more detailed about the mythology of the place, and I wanted a few more weird touches, dark touches. The book is also longer than the first book. It's about 127,000 words as opposed to 101,000. So it's a quarter longer, which gives me the chance to tell more story. There are some very dark illustrations I've included so far. It's been very pleasing. It's been nerve wracking.

I'm very nervous when I turn in a book and those nerves don't diminish, as I get older. I don't find myself casual about it at all. I find myself, in a curious kinda way, more anxious about this because I've started something and I want to make sure I deliver, as these books go on, something which is true to a vision that I've had in my head for a long time and has taken, if you include the paintings and pictures, 6 or 7 years to come to fruition so far. So it's a lot of time. A lot of my life's energies have gone into creating this world, and I want to make sure that I give to the readers, I almost want to say spectators of the book, or books, the most intense experience I possibly can. So that is what I am doing.

That is one thing.
LS: Is the release date still looking to be late 2004?
Clive: Yeah I think it is to be September of next year so it won't be so very late, about a year from now, 13 or 14 months.

We've just turned in to the Sci-Fi Channel the first 2 hours of what will hopefully eventually be a series, called The Evil One. I'm telling you this for the first time, because nobody knows about this yet.
LS: Well we had heard of a series with the Sci-Fi channel, but the original title we had heard of was "Evil". Is this Evil? Because we have heard of that.
Clive: Nobody knows about the fact that we just turned it in.
LS: Ok
Clive: We only just did it literally today. So it's turned in, but you are right, this is Evil and now called The Evil One. I hope they don't think it is too dark. I'm very excited about the idea of taking evil as the subject and saying, Ok this is what it is going to be about. That's now been turned in as of today.
LS: What about Damnation Game?
Clive: I can't speak about a specific writer right now, but Warner Bros are bringing in the writer of a great horror movie of yore to come and do a final draft of Damnation Game.
I hate to be so coy about this, but if he gets to do it, I feel he will bring it on home and then we can make that movie.
LS: What about Tortured Souls?
Clive: Tortured Souls we have what we hope is the final draft coming in in two weeks time. Then that will go to Universal, and hopefully we'll start to make that movie, and that will be great. At least that's what we plan.
LS: What about Bloody Mary?
Clive: Bloody Mary, we have somebody, this is not a name you would know, a guy who was one of the producers on a bunch of sort of independent hits over the last couple years. He's going to come on and help us co-produce. We are going to end up getting that made next year, which is great. Not with a major studio. It's kind of interesting, looking right now at a time when 28 Days Later is up to 35 million, or something like that, and there is a lot of really wonderful Japanese and Hong Kong horror movies out there on DVD doing pretty well. I think there's a chance that really really tough scary horror will make a comeback. I think it is incredibly encouraging that 28 Days Later has done so well. Have you seen it?
LS: I have not.
Clive: You should check it out. It is being shown with 2 endings. It's a very scary movie. Zombies in particular scare me, as I've gone on record saying before, and Danny Boyle is a very visceral filmmaker. You take the guy who gave us Trainspotting and then give him zombies as a subject matter. He's the one who gave us Ewan McGregor disappearing down the toilet with his heroine.

So what else is on the list?
LS: Dread.
Clive: Dread we have a draft, and again I hope that's a movie we can get going next year. The same with an extraordinary draft of The Midnight Meat Train, which we have just turned in. These will all be independent movies. When I say independent, I mean they won't go thru a major studio most likely. That will give us a certain latitude in the making of them, which I think is useful. Particularly useful for The Midnight Meat Train, because the subject matter is so intense. It's a story readers really like. I still get a lot letters about that story. I want to make sure that if we do it, or rather when we do it, we do it justice. That really means doing it as a hard R, none of this PG-13. Not that I necessarily have anything against PG-13 horror movies. The Ring was PG-13 wasn't it?
LS: Yes it was.
Clive: It was pretty intense, but I think it's just easier if you can just go the whole distance. I think there is a taste coming back in the audience for the really intense experience, which is great.
So what else is there?
LS: Ectokid.
Clive: Ectokid I don't know where that is right now. That one's kinda dropped off my radar. Anthony will probably tell you more, but I don't really know where that is.
LS: What is going on with the collaboration with Jonathan Davis of Korn?
Clive: Now we are just waiting on Korn. I turned in my pictures. They've begun their composing. All the deals have long been done, so now it's just a question 2 things that need to be done. They need to finish their composing in line with my pictures and they have to give me one piece of music to which I will then paint a picture. So it's a sort of reciprocal creation. They will write most of the music in line with the pictures I have already painted. Then there will be one piece of music that they will give to me, which I will use for starting off place for a painting.
LS: Another thing we always get questions on is Weaveworld.

Here's an interesting one. The head of Showtime has just retired. I think retired is the word you'd use. I don't think he's going on to another job. I was told just before I went off to Seattle, the new guy is a huge fan of the material, so my hope is we'll find it will become the mini-series that we all hope it will. We have someone who wants to direct, a place to go shoot it, and it's been a long journey. And we have a marvelous teleplay. Ahh teleplay is such an old fashioned word isn't it? Umm…script for television. I've always said this was the way to do this particular book because you take a book, which many people are very fond of and it would be reprehensible to cut it down into something that would be a reasonable 2-hour entertainment. The only way to do this would be a miniseries.
I don't know if you ever saw the BBC version of Gormenghast, which they did. It's on DVD. It's really wonderful.
Have you ever seen it?

Gormenghast - DVD


Gormenghast - book

Gormenghast DVD


Gormenghast Novels

LS: No.
 Clive: It's by Mervyn Peake, a great English fantasy novel, actually a trilogy of English fantasy novels. Huge sort of Lord of the Rings size, and the BBC did a really marvelous adaptation. It's just a wonderful wonderland they created. Christopher Lee was in it, Ian Richardson, and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, a bunch of really wonderful guys. Go to and look up Gormenghast you'll get all the dates for it, but I think it should only be about 3 or 4 years old. It's 6 hours long and it's wonderful You enter this world. And you are in this place and you are in this fantasy world. I think only the mini-series can really do that and so I am hoping, hoping, hoping that is what we will end up with. So I'm still optimistic.
LS: The last thing I get a number of questions about is Lord of Illusions
Clive: The sequel, the on going story?
LS: I was talking about the series, is there going to be a sequel?
Clive: Well the idea is that we will take the D'Amour character and we will do more with him for television. And then eventually we decided this would be better as a movie. So I think we are trying to figure it as a movie right now. That is why I am using the word sequel. Again that is something Anthony will be able to illuminate more, but that is something we are certainly contemplating right now.

Meanwhile, now that I have finished the second book of Abarat, I am just putting together this collection of short stories before I start Abarat 3.
LS: That was my next question.
Clive: This will be basically an anthology of new stories including the final Hellraiser I've been promising myself I would write for a long time. My farewell to that whole mythology even as somebody else continues to make the movies I wanted to be able to close that door once and for all. I should say close that box once and for all. That's why I'm going to do that as part of this anthology, which will than also contain a number of stories that are now out of print. So it will be a mixture of the old and the new. Then I will go straight on to Abarat 3, knowing that 2 huge projects wait in the wings. The huger of the two being the 3rd Book of the Art, which sort of itches at me to just get to. It's sort of interesting that in the time since The Great and Secret Show was written a lot of stuff has come along both in areas of fiction, like the Matrix, and in the area of physics and science which has given me fuel for thought for this debate which goes on in those books between the world of reality and the world of dreams. In a curious way the longer it actually takes me to reach that book, the more anxious for that book I become. And that's not a bad thing. I think it's going to be a big book.
The less huge of them, though still not a sure book, by any means, is the Galilee book, which is heavily structured in my head. But they're both year and a half long books. They're big projects that are very strong in my head. I wish I could clone myself. It would be very useful. So I think that is probably where we are.

 part 1 | part 2

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