John Gibson: More matey than scary, Mr Herbert

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IT’S A slog for James Herbert. Don’t think anything different.

“Each book has been an improvement on the last. I’ve no hidden manuscripts. I’ve learned my craft with each book. It’s getting harder because I’ve used up all the words.”

We were in the Roxburghe and possibly only Stephen King was selling more horror books the world over. Herbert, who had no hidden accent either, product of London’s East End, was about to nip across Charlotte Square to the Book Festival, a capacity audience awaiting him.

A memorable interviewee, well worth exhuming from the Gibpress File, more so that he’s back on prime time television with The Secret of Crickley Hall.

“You don’t just churn out books. It’s not an easy way to make money. But it’s a nice way. It’s the best job in the world.”

At that point he had sold 15 million copies, revered by horror addicts. “When I started writing horror there wasn’t any big market for it.

“I’ve just stuck with it because I’m fascinated by the supernatural and paranormal and what scares people.’’

My last words to James Herbert OBE as he dashed over to the Bookfest: “Mind you don’t get run over. That would make a true horror story.”

Knife ‘n’ easy

Computer say John, you’re computer illiterate. I’ve no defence. That’s as may be. But at least I do know how to hold my knife and fork. The masses don’t. It’s all in the grooming, isn’t it? How you were brought up.