The acclaimed author answers some personal questions

I’m as interested in romantic love as anybody else,” confesses Stephen King. Aw, what a softy. The 51-year-old horror specialist and Bangor, Maine, resident, married 27 years to novelist Tabitha King, was recently caught cowering in his new publisher’s midtown Manhattan offices, where he offered a few bons mots about his favorite female counterpart (Life Support’s Tess Gerritsen), how moviemakers ruin his novels (”Too much blood, too much violence, too much gore!”), and — attention, Farrelly brothers — the all-time grossest bodily fluid (”badly infected pus”). Frankly, we can think of nothing scarier than getting whipped by a leather-jumpsuit-clad Amy Tan (during performances of their under-rehearsed musical group, the Rock Bottom Remainders). But apparently, we’re gravely mistaken.

1. Is hell other people?

No, I’d say hell is repetition. It’s having to do the same thing over and over again.

2. What about psycho fans?

There’s Stephen Lightfoot, who thinks I killed John Lennon. I guess the scariest thing a reader ever did was that he broke into our house and said he had a bomb. It was a bunch of paper clips wired up to pencils…. What scares me is when a whole bunch of [fans] are together. I was out one night in this area, and I hear all this god-awful shrieking. The New Kids had been at Radio City, and, like, Donnie Wahlberg had gone out for a sandwich or something, and this mob of pubescent girls were shrieking after him, There he is, there he goes! I wouldn’t like that kind of fame.

3. Are you afraid of pubescent girls?

Yes, for all sorts of reasons. Not only can they rupture your eardrums, there’s probably more rampant unfocused sexuality there than anywhere else in the world.

4. Who’s really Scary Spice?

It’s not the same since Ginger left. There is Posh. You can’t ask a guy my age which one is the scariest. You’ve got to ask which one is the sexiest. Posh is the sexiest.

5. Why can’t I ask which one is the scariest?

At my age, they all look a little bit scary.

6. What was scariest about turning 50?

You say, ”An exception is not going to be made in my case. I’m going to get old.” Fifty is the age where you stop fooling yourself that if you just eat granola nobody will notice.

7. What would be the worst way to die?

Being burned alive. Roasted over a slow fire. Or buried alive, that’d be a nasty way to go.

8. Do you have a fear of flying?

I’m terrified of it. I’m not in control. I don’t understand what makes it work. It doesn’t seem like it should stay up there. I don’t even like to drive in a car unless I’m driving.

9. How do you sleep at night?

We do the usual things to try and keep intruders out of the house, but do I have bodyguards and stuff like that? No.

10. So what do you do to relax?

Play my guitar. Go for long walks. Dream about Posh Spice…nah.