Metro newspaper interview, August 20, 2003

Hell to Pay is novel No.51. Are you just going through the motions now?

No, because my writing's getting better. But I'm honest enough to admit that what I do is sell a commodity that people want. I don't have any ambition to win the Booker Prize because I'm happier selling truckloads of book.

Having written horrors about slugs to serial killers, what actually scares you?

What scares me now is different to what scared me when I started writing. Hell to Pay is about a child getting kidnapped, and that's definitely grown out of fear I have about something terrible happening to my family.

Does appearing on stage with Iron Maiden make you a rock star novelist?

I would have said yes 20 years ago! I've known Iron Maiden for years and I scare them, while they deafen me. Although most people's perception of a novelist is an old bloke in a cardigan, I'm still more of a reprobate carrying on in leather trousers.

Why do you think heavy metal and horror attract the same kind of audience?

Well, heavy metal is frowned upon by the music industry the same way the literacy establishment frowns upon horror. Plus, the lyrics are often similar to slasher novels.

We hear you own two pairs of Michelle Pfeiffer's shoes?

That is true, I brought them through a legitimate dealer. I'm not stalking her of anything. I just like owning things she touched. Why? Because I think she is a brilliant actress. Although I'd be slavering wreck if I ever actually met her.