25 Fascinating Facts About James Herbert, the Horror Author

It may surprise you to learn that James Herbert did not write his first book until he was 28 years old.

In March 2013, the sad news of James Herbert’s death in his Sussex home was announced, leaving many fans of the horror genre mourning.

Here are some intriguing facts about the horror author:

James Herbert was born on April 8, 1943, and passed away on March 20, 2013. He was born and raised in London, England, with two siblings, Peter and John.

His father, Herbert Herbert, was a stall-holder at Brick Lane Market in London, and James grew up in the Whitechapel area of the city, where Jack the Ripper once roamed.

The area he grew up in was heavily damaged during the WWII bombing raids.

At school, James was known for his storytelling abilities and passion for drawing, painting, and writing.

He received a scholarship to attend St. Aloysius Grammar School in Highgate at the age of 10 and studied graphic design, print, and photography at Hornsey College of Art.

As a teenager, James explored his musical interests and was involved with a band.

He became the Art Director and Group Head in an advertising agency, and in 1967, he married his wife Eileen, with whom he had three daughters: Kerry, Emma, and Casey.

James preferred to write his first draft on a “jumbo notepad” by hand.

His first book, The Rats, which took him ten months to write, is about mutant, flesh-eating rodents that roamed London. It sold over 100,000 copies within two weeks of publication.

James went on to publish 23 novels, which have been translated into over 30 languages.

In 2010, he was awarded an OBE by the Queen and the World Horror Convention Grand Master Award by Stephen King.

The Rats was made into a film called Deadly Eyes in 1982 by Canadian filmmaker Robert Clouse and was also a video game for Commodore 64 and Sinclair Spectrum.

Samuel L. Jackson and Kate Beckinsale both starred in adaptations of James’ novels, Fluke (1995) and Haunted (1995), respectively.

In 2012, The Secret of Crickley Hall, a three-part television adaptation of James’ novel of the same name, was released and starred Suranne Jones and Tom Ellis.


1. Who is James Herbert?

James Herbert was a British horror author who wrote 23 novels, including “The Rats,” “The Fog,” and “The Secret of Crickley Hall.” He was born in London in 1943 and passed away in 2013. Herbert is considered one of the most influential horror writers of his generation and his work has inspired many other authors and filmmakers.

2. What was James Herbert’s first novel?

James Herbert’s first novel was “The Rats,” which was published in 1974. The book tells the story of a London overrun by giant, man-eating rats. It was an instant best-seller and established Herbert as a major force in the horror genre. “The Rats” has since been adapted into a movie and a comic book series.

3. Did James Herbert write any non-horror books?

While James Herbert was primarily known for his horror novels, he did write a few non-horror books. These include “Once” (2001), a romantic thriller, and “The Ghosts of Sleath” (1994), a supernatural detective novel. However, it is his horror novels that he is most remembered for.

4. How did James Herbert come up with his ideas?

James Herbert was known for drawing inspiration from his own fears and anxieties. He once said, “I write about what scares me.” He also drew inspiration from real-life events and the news, often incorporating them into his novels. For example, “The Fog” was inspired by the chemical leak at Seveso, Italy in 1976 and “The Rats” was inspired by the garbage strike in London in 1970.

5. Did James Herbert win any awards?

Yes, James Herbert won several awards over the course of his career. He was awarded the OBE (Order of the British Empire) in 2010 for his services to literature. He also won the British Fantasy Award for Best Novel three times, for “The Rats,” “The Magic Cottage,” and “Haunted.” In addition, he was awarded the World Horror Convention Grand Master Award in 2010.

6. What is James Herbert’s legacy?

James Herbert’s legacy is his contribution to the horror genre. He was one of the first writers to introduce graphic violence and gore into horror literature, paving the way for later writers like Stephen King. He was also a pioneer in the use of real-world events and locations in horror fiction. His influence can be seen in the work of many other writers and filmmakers. He will always be remembered as a master of horror.

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