On August ,1997
Clive Barker made an appearance on AOL to promote his "Tapping The Imagination" Seminar he was giving as part of the Learning Annex Series.
The following is a transcript of that interview. Unfortunately for the people who attnded, questions from the audience were not taken.

OnlineHost: Copyright 1997 America Online, Inc.

DCSF2: Welcome, Everyone, to the AOL Live Chat Cafe! We are here tonight with author, filmmaker, artist Clive Barker! Welcome, Clive, to the AOL Live Chat Cafe!
Clive Barker: Hi everybody!
DCSF2: Thank you for coming by to chat with us. ;)
Clive Barker: I'm delighted to be here!
DCSF2: Many people know you for your "Hellraiser" series, and everyone seems to want to know: Is there going to be another Hellraiser?
Clive Barker: Unfortunately, it's the most asked question in interviews and at conventions. I say unfortunately 'cause the series is now 10 years old. And I feel as though my work in books and on the screen has moved on. But, as you ask, yes, there probably will be another.
DCSF2: Much applause from the audience, I'm sure :)
Question: What direction do you see your work going?
Clive Barker: Recently, in my books at least, I have taken a turn toward fantasy rather than horror, mate. A few years ago, I published a book for children called "The Thief of Always," which proved very successful around the world and is being turned into a $50 million movie by Universal. Clearly, that's a direction that interests me. I'm also very keen to explore eroticism in my work. I recently had an exhibition of erotic paintings here in Los Angeles which was a sellout. So I think you can look forward to Clive Barker material that goes all the way from the PG to the NC-17!
DCSF2: You mentioned "The Thief of Always" with Universal Pictures. When can we expect that?
Clive Barker: The director is Bernard Rose, who directed Candyman for me,and he is presently working on the screenplay. What I've seen so far is extraordinary. If Universal agrees with me, Bernard would start shooting toward the end of this year, as a guess. By the way, for those of you who know the book, most of the action takes place in a magical house in which all things are possible. It's a kind of playground, where your fondest wishes come true. Universal has indicated that if the film is made, they'd like to recreate this house as an attraction at their theme park.
Question: When did you feel inclined to write horror?
Clive Barker: I don't get up in the morning and think, "Gee, I really want to scare someone today." Horror fiction is a publisher's definition, not mine. I would prefer to say that I write imaginative fiction which sometimes investigates dark and disturbing material and sometimes, as in the Thief of Always, takes a lighter view of life. So, to answer your question, I would say my real interest is simply writing fiction. And I've been doing that, in one form or another, since I could first construct sentences.
Question: Though you write fiction, have any of your writings been influenced by real life incidents?
Clive Barker: Yes. Almost everything in my fiction, believe it or not, has a root in something I've experienced. I really believe writers are a kind of journalist. That is to say, I need to feel something deeply - something that moves me profoundly - before I can communicate it to my audience. Now, on occasion, the root idea can be very remote from the finished article, but however outrageous the final, fantasticated tale may be, somewhere in my history lies the real inspirations for it.
Question: You've just described your process a bit. Are there any books you can recommend to help in the writing process, for aspiring writers? Or any advice?
Clive Barker: I've never read any books about the writing process which I have found particularly useful. That isn't to say that such books don't exist; I've simply never encountered any of them. One of the reasons why I'm talking to you today is because I'm presenting a lecture about the unleashing of the creative process next Saturday (Aug. 23) in San Francisco. I think that the chance to speak one-on-one with writers is probably more useful than anything that can be put down in a book. Certainly when I've done such lectures previously, those who have come along, whether they are just beginning their careers or already have something published, seem to find the exchange of views very useful.
DCSF2: Speaking of other writers, here's something everyone wants to know :
Question: Are you planning on corroborating on another book with Stephen King?
Clive Barker: I've never collaborated with anybody in book form. Nor do I have any plans to do so. Of course, working in the cinema it's always a collaborative experience, and it's one of the reasons why I make movies. But I think in all honesty that I'm simply too willful a sonofabitch to collaborate on a novel.
Question: What's your next movie going to be about?
Clive Barker: As a director, I don't know. As a producer, it will be "The Thief of Always."
Question: Are you working on any projects for television?
Clive Barker: Yes. My company, which is called Seraphim, is presently developing a whole host of projects for Fox. They are under lock and key at the moment, so I can't share their subject matter with you - but they will be rather dark.
DCSF2: We're looking forward to them. :) Now, you've also written plays...
Question: Do you still write plays? If so, do you plan on putting one out for the public to go to?
Clive Barker: In the last two years, I've published through HarperPrism two collections of my plays. One is called "The Incarnation," and the other called "Forms of Heaven." At the beginning of these volumes, I invited theater companies, whether amateur or professional, to mount these plays and present them to the public. I've offered the rights of this material for the princely sum of $1. The result has been a whole host of productions. In fact, one of the plays, the History of the Devil, is presently being performed in Portland. There are upcoming productions in New York, the Midwest, Chicago, Australia and Canada. I have no plans at present to write new plays. That's not because I've lost interest in the theatre; it's just a function of a very full schedule.
DCSF2: Everything returns to the same topic... :)
Question: What was your inspiration for the Hellraiser series?
Clive Barker: 12 years ago, having survived two horrendous experiences as a screenwriter, I decided to take the jump into directing something myself. Never having been given the chance to stand behind the 35 MM camera in my life, I knew nobody was going to trust me with a significant sum of money. I reckoned that something under $1 million might be a plausible amount for somebody to give me to make a movie. I had just published a short novel called the "Hellbound Heart" (which is in print from HarperCollins). I decided to adapt the piece to the screen. I cast one of my best pals from my theatre days, Doug Bradley, as the villain. We jokingly referred to him as Pinhead. The name stuck. The rest you probably know. In fact, I remain delighted and h surprised that our $900,000 movie still has an audience ten years later. I've been told - and you out there may know better than I whether this is true - that the new movie "Event Horizon," which opened this weekend, looks suspiciously like "Hellraiser" in space!
DCSF2: You've also directed "Nightbreed" and "Lord of Illusions".
Question: Do you plan to direct more? Do the films affect your creative process as a writer?
Clive Barker: Very good question. I think in some ways being able to express myself cinematically allows me to be more literary when it comes to writing. What do I mean by this? Well, there's a kind of writing style which is very "cinematic." You know what I mean - short sentences, short scenes, not very much description - the kind of books you pick up at an airport and leave on the plane. I don't like that kind of writing very much. I like sentences that have music and poetry. I like characters to be rich and contradictory. I like the descriptions detailed. In short, what I like about books is very often the things which make them very different from the cinematic experience. I would have to say, therefore, that the chance to make movies has, I believe, made me write less cinematic books.
Question: In light of that, what is your favorite story that you have ever written? What about a favorite novel of someone else's?
Clive Barker: My favorite novel of all time is Moby Dick. Of course, despite the fact that there was a movie made of it, it's totally unfilmable. As far as my own work is concerned I try not to play favorites. They're all my children and I sweated up a storm to get them on to the page. But if I had to choose? I suppose my favorite book would be "Imajica."
DCSF2: Your "children" have certainly scared many successfully ;)
Question: As one of the publisher-deemed "masters of horror," what, if anything :), scares YOU?
Clive Barker: That's a tough question, because, in one sense just about anything that can be found in the pages of the New York Times is scary stuff. I know it's an obvious answer, but the news contains terrifying reports every day. As far as material for books is concerned, I tend to need some supernatural element to really get my juices going. I think and believe that the world is filled with mystery; things, events, images and revelations, which probably by their very nature do not make it into the pages of the New York Times. We live in a culture which - despite the success of the X-Files and Spielberg - is still rational at its roots. We tend not to want to know about the mysteries that flutter and flicker at the edge of our experience. But, one of the great pleasures of being an author of my reputation is people like to share their secret experiences with me. Over the years I've come to realize that even in a world in love with the rational, extraordinay things are happening to ordinary people like us all the time.
DCSF2: We have time for one more question and an interesting one at that: Earlier you mentioned exploring eroticism, and you just now mentioned the supernatural...
Question: Do you consider yourself a spiritual person, or a person of the flesh?
Clive Barker: Why should there be two separate options? Is it not possible that our experience of the flesh - the tingle in our nerve endings, the profound feelings that sexual excitement arouses in us - should not be mostly connected with our spiritual selves? Whatever divinity made us - and I believe we were made for a great and perhaps unknowable purpose - that divinity gave us the potential for physical and sensual bliss, which, when we are moved most deeply, leads us on to profound spiritual feelings. In other words, to answer your question, when I am at my most physical I am reaching for the divine.
DCSF2: That's all we have time for. Thank you, Clive, for visiting us at the AOL Live Chat Cafe.
Clive Barker: You're very welcome
DCSF2: We look forward to seeing you "in the flesh" at the Learning Annex lecture in SF on Saturday, August 23rd. For more information, please call 415-788-5500. The course # is 4240. 1pm this Saturday in San Francisco. Thank you, everyone, for joining us with Clive Barker. We look forward to seeing you there!

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Updated 8/31/97