Stephen Edwin King is the American author of the novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. Best known for his very popular horror novels, King also writes popular non-horror stories. King also wrote the nonfiction book Danse Macabre, which chronicles the notable works of horror in literature and cinema. King has also written under the pen names of Richard Bachman, and once as John Swithen. Many of Stephen King's stores have been adapted into movies.
Stephen King was born on September 21, 1947. He was raised by his mother, Nellie Ruth Pillsubry, with his adopted brother David. The family lived in Durham, Maine and also Fort Wayne, Indiana and Stratford, Connecticut.
As a child King witnessed a terrible accident: one of his friends was caught on a railroad and struck by a train. It has been suggested that this was the seed of King's dark and disturbing creations. King has dismissed this idea. It could also be said that this event is the seed of The Body.
King attended Durham Elementary School and Lisbon High School.
King started writing at an early age. Whilst in school, King wrote stories based on movies he has seen, and sold the stories to his friends. He teachers disliked the idea and made him return the money. He contributed to his brother David's newspaper, Dave's Rag. King discovered a box of his father's old horror and science fiction books. He read the books and became hooked.
King studied English at the University of Maine, Orono. He wrote a column called "King's Garbage Truck" in the the student newspaper, the Maine Campus. He met his wife Tabitha Spruce, and they married in 1971. King took various jobs to pay for his studies. He worked at an industrial laundry, the experience of which lead to the short story The Mangler. The second part of Hearts in Atlantlis draws from his campus period of life.
King completed a Bachelor of Arts in English, and gained a certificate to teach high school. King taught at Hampden Academy in Hampden, Maine. He and his family lived in a trailer during this time. He wrote short stories which where published, to aid his finances.
Stephen King wrote a number of novels during this time. He wrote a story about a young girl with psychic powers. He was unhappy and threw the story in the trash. His wife Tabitha rescued it and encouraged him to finish it. Once completed he titled the story Carrie, and sent it to Doubleday, the publishers. He later received a small offer to buy the story. After the real value of Carrie was realized the rights where sold for $400,000.
In his On Writing book, King states that he was consistently drunk during this time, and that he was an alcoholic for well over a decade. He states that the alcoholic father in The Shining is based on himself, although he did deny this for several years.
After The Tommyknockers was published, King realized his alcoholic and drug addictions. He sought help in the late 1980s and has remained sober since.
Stephen King lives in his Florida home in winter. His three children Naomi Rachel, Joseph Hillstrom, and Owen Philip are grown up and live on their own. Both Owen and Joseph are also writers. Naomi is a Reverend.
Stephen King's love of baseball
Stephen King is a lifelong fan of the Boston Red Sox. He regularly visits home and away games. King helped coach his son Owen's Bangor West team, which won the Main Little League Championship in 1989. This encounter is retold in the story Head Down, which appeared in the New Yorker, and Nightmares and Dreamscapes. King regards Head Down as his best piece of nonfiction writing.
Stephen King's car accident
At 16:30 on June 19, 1999 Stephen King was struck by a car, whilst walking on the right shoulder of Route 5, in Center Lovell, Maine. The driver of the car had become distracted by his dog. The car hit King, and he landed 4 meters from the pavement. King suffered a collapsed lung, multiple fractures of the right leg, scalp laceration, and a broken hip. He left hospital three weeks later. Several of Kings stories prior to his accident has involved car accidents. However, Dreamcatcher, written after the accident, features a character who suffers similar injuries to King's.
The television series Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital involves a main character, who is hit by a pickup truck, in a similar manner to King himself. King's accident is incorporated into the final novel of the Dark Tower series.
King announced in 2002 that he would stop writing. Partly due to the pain caused by his injuries that made sitting uncomfortable. He has however written several books.
"I'm writing but I'm writing at a much slower pace than previously and I think that if I come up with something really, really good, I would be perfectly willing to publish it because that still feels like the final act of the creative process, publishing it so people can read it and you can get feedback and people can talk about it with each other and with you, the writer, but the force of my invention has slowed down a lot over the years and that's as it should be. I'm not a kid of 25 anymore and I'm not a young middle-aged man of 35 anymore - I'm 55 years old and I have grandchildren, two new puppies to house-train and I have a lot of things to do besides writing and that in and of itself is a wonderful thing but writing is still a big, important part of my life and of everyday."
King has written a column in Entertainment Weekly called "The Pop of King", since 2003. In 2005 he signed a deal with Marvel Comics. He will adapt The Dark Tower series into 31 issues.
After becoming a popular horror writer in the late 1970s and early 1980s, King published several novels under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. These novels - Rage, The Long Walk, The Running Man and Thinner, contained hints to the fact that King was the author, and fans picked up on this. King admitted he was the author in 1985.
In 2006 Stephen King revealed that he has another Bachman novel, called Blaze. He plans to publish this in the future.
Stephen King's writing style
Stephen King believes that good stories cannot be called consciously and should not be plotted out beforehand. Instead he focuses on a single "seed" of a story, and by letting the story grow itself from here. King often often begins a story without knowing how it will end. King states that his best writing comes from this free writing style.
Knows for his great eye to detail and continuity. Many of this stories are linked by characters, towns or mentions of events in other stories.
King has a very simple formula for learning to write well: "Read four hours a day and write four hours a day. If you cannot find the time for that, you can't expect to become a good writer."
Stephen King's influences
King says Richard Matheson is "the author who influenced me most as a writer". King is also a fan of H. P. Lovecraft, who has influenced King's writing techniques. Edgar Allan Poe, one of the founders of modern horror writing, has also influenced Stephen King's writing.
King has claimed that the one book he wished he had written has William Golding's Lord of the Flies. King makes references to J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings in several of his books.
Stephen King is the best selling novelist in the world, and the most financially successful horror writer in history.