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Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (13) | Trivia (130) | Personal Quotes (80)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 21 September 1947Portland, Maine, USA
Birth NameStephen Edwin King
Nicknames The King
The King of Horror
Height 6' 4" (1.93 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Stephen Edwin King was born on September 21, 1947, at the Maine General Hospital in Portland. His parents were Nellie Ruth (Pillsbury), who worked as a caregiver at a mental institute, and Donald Edwin King, a merchant seaman. His father was born under the surname "Pollock", but used the last name "King", under which Stephen was born. He has an older brother, David. The Kings were a typical family until one night, when Donald said he was stepping out for cigarettes and was never heard from again. Ruth took over raising the family with help from relatives. They traveled throughout many states over several years, finally moving back to Durham, Maine, in 1958.

Stephen began his actual writing career in January of 1959, when David and Stephen decided to publish their own local newspaper named "Dave's Rag". David bought a mimeograph machine, and they put together a paper they sold for five cents an issue. Stephen attended Lisbon High School, in Lisbon, in 1962. Collaborating with his best friend Chris Chesley in 1963, they published a collection of 18 short stories called "People, Places, and Things--Volume I". King's stories included "Hotel at the End of the Road", "I've Got to Get Away!", "The Dimension Warp", "The Thing at the Bottom of the Well", "The Stranger", "I'm Falling", "The Cursed Expedition", and "The Other Side of the Fog." A year later, King's amateur press, Triad and Gaslight Books, published a two-part book titled "The Star Invaders".

King made his first actual published appearance in 1965 in the magazine Comics Review with his story "I Was a Teenage Grave Robber." The story ran about 6,000 words in length. In 1966 he graduated from high school and took a scholarship to attend the University of Maine. Looking back on his high school days, King recalled that "my high school career was totally undistinguished. I was not at the top of my class, nor at the bottom." Later that summer King began working on a novel called "Getting It On", about some kids who take over a classroom and try unsuccessfully to ward off the National Guard. During his first year at college, King completed his first full-length novel, "The Long Walk." He submitted the novel to Bennett Cerf/Random House only to have it rejected. King took the rejection badly and filed the book away.

He made his first small sale--$35--with the story "The Glass Floor". In June 1970 King graduated from the University of Maine with a Bachelor of Science degree in English and a certificate to teach high school. King's next idea came from the poem by Robert Browning, "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came." He found bright colored green paper in the library and began work on "The Dark Tower" saga, but his chronic shortage of money meant that he was unable to further pursue the novel, and it, too, was filed away. King took a job at a filling station pumping gas for the princely sum of $1.25 an hour. Soon he began to earn money for his writings by submitting his short stories to men's magazines such as Cavalier.

On January 2, 1971, he married Tabitha King (born Tabitha Jane Spruce). In the fall of 1971 King took a teaching job at Hampden Academy, earning $6,400 a year. The Kings then moved to Hermon, a town west of Bangor. Stephen then began work on a short story about a teenage girl named Carietta White. After completing a few pages, he decided it was not a worthy story and crumpled the pages up and tossed them into the trash. Fortunately, Tabitha took the pages out and read them. She encouraged her husband to continue the story, which he did. In January 1973 he submitted "Carrie" to Doubleday. In March Doubleday bought the book. On May 12 the publisher sold the paperback rights for the novel to New American Library for $400,000. His contract called for his getting half of that sum, and he quit his teaching job to pursue writing full time. The rest, as they say, is history.

Since then King has had numerous short stories and novels published and movies made from his work. He has been called the "Master of Horror". His books have been translated into 33 different languages, published in over 35 different countries. There are over 300 million copies of his novels in publication. He continues to live in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, and writes out of his home.

In June 1999 King was severely injured in an accident, he was walking alongside a highway and was hit by a car, that left him in critical condition with injuries to his lung, broken ribs, a broken leg and a severely fractured hip. After three weeks of operations, he was released from the Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Christian Skibinski

Spouse (1)

Tabitha King (2 January 1971 - present) (3 children)

Trade Mark (13)

Usually sets stories in Maine, particularly (until "Needful Things") in the small town of Castle Rock, which he created.
Most of his lead male characters are writers
Almost always has a cameo in the movies or mini-series based on his novels
Makes references to his previous novels in his books
Horror and fantasy themes
Supernatural events happening to everyday people
Indian burial grounds
Uses single words or phrases as foreshadowing ("Redrum" in The Shining)
Children in his books often are killed such as Tad in "Cujo", Gage in "Pet Sematary", Ray Brauer in "The Body")
Many of his earlier works gave life to inanimate objects, turning them into homicidal monsters.
Often depicts small-town life, particularly in the fictional Castle Rock, as having a dark and dangerous underside to it.
Stories about small town communities facing a supernatural force.
Common theme is characters being isolated or trapped from the outside world.

Trivia (130)

Newspapers reported that he has bought the van that hit him on June; he plans to hammer it to pieces on the anniversary of the accident. [September 1999]
King was accidentally hit in the back by a minivan while walking on Route 5 near North Lovell, Maine. He suffered a broken leg, a bruised lung and a head laceration. The driver of the van was distracted by his dog. King was found lying in a depression about 14 feet off the road and appeared to have been thrown by the collision. The van's windshield was broken and the right front corner of the car was crunched in from the impact of striking King. [June 1999]
Revealed that he is suffering from macular degeneration, a currently incurable condition which will most likely lead to blindness. [May 1999]
Estimated annual salary is $40 million. [May 1999]
HBO paid $1.5 million for the rights to the novel "Rose Madder". [October 1996]
Has never censored his own work. The death of Dr. Jimmy Cody in "Salem's Lot" was cut due to the demands of the editor at Doubleday, which King acquiesced to because his career was still in its infancy.
King published seven novels ("Rage", "The Long Walk", "Roadwork", "The Running Man", "Thinner", "The Regulators" and "Blaze") under the pseudonym Richard Bachman.
Portions of King's writings from when he was 9 years old appears in the 1993 book, "First Words", edited by Paul Mandelbaum, available from Algonquin books.
Supposedly created his pseudonym Richard Bachman by reading a novel by Donald E. Westlake, whose pseudonym is Richard Stark, while listening to Bachman-Turner Overdrive.
It is falsely rumored that he will not sign autographs because of superstition. Actually, he doesn't sign them because he hates the idolatry of celebrities (he also will not endorse an official fan club for the same reason). He will sign autographs now only at book signings, according to his official website. Another rumor (perhaps started by King) claims that, if sent a book to sign, he will burn it and return the ashes. This is also untrue and was debunked by his official website.
Met his wife Tabitha King while the two were working at the Fogler Library as students at the University of Maine in Orono, Maine.
Used to work for a dry cleaner before publishing his first novel.
His daughter Naomi wed her 54-year-old lesbian partner Thandeka (who is a theological school teacher) in Nashville, Tennessee. [June 2000]
Bryan Smith, the driver of the van that hit King, dies. King said in a statement, "I was very sorry to hear of the passing of Bryan Smith.The death of a 43-year-old man can only be termed untimely.". [September 2000]
Scored in the 1300s on the SAT.
Children: Naomi Rachel (b. 1970), Joseph Hillstrom (b. June 4, 1972) and Owen Phillip (b. February 21, 1977).
Wrote "The Running Man", a 304-page novel, in only ten days.
Owns three radio stations in Maine (one has been named AP Station of the Year more than once) Online at zoneradio.com
Certified by Guinness Superlatives (the "Book of World Records" group) as having the most number of motion picture adaptations by a living author.
In 1992 he and wife Tabitha King gave a donation to build Mansfield Stadium in Bangor, Maine. The only condition Stephen had was that the score board would be placed such that he could see it from his house while working. In August of 2002 he threw the first pitch at the opening of the Senior League Baseball World Series. The Kings were honored for their generosity with an inscribed stone monument shaped like a home plate.
Contributed a short monologue to two versions of the Blue Öyster Cult song "Astronomy" (from the out-of-print "Imaginos" album) on a promotional CD single.
His short story "The Man in the Black Suit" won an O. Henry Award for Best Short Story in 1996.
  • Underwent surgery to remove scar tissue and fluid


from his lungs from a bout of pneumonia. [November 2003]
Once said that his favorite personal horror movie was Tourist Trap (1979), and his favorite film is Of Unknown Origin (1983).
Dogs are often described as monsters or -- the opposite -- victims in his books and films (like Cujo (1983) or Pet Sematary (1989)).
He is an avid Red Sox fan. Before the Sox won the 2004 World Series, he said he wanted his tombstone epitaph to be a single sock and the line "Not In My Lifetime, Not In Yours, Either."
He is the most successful American writer in history.
Often listens to hard rock music during the time he writes to get inspired. He also plays in a rock band himself.
A recovering alcoholic, King noted in his book "On Writing" that he was drunk virtually the whole time of writing the book "Cujo" and to this day barely remembers writing any of it.
In the 1980s he was battling a cocaine addiction. At one time his wife organized a group of family and friends and confronted him. She dumped onto the floor his trashcan, which included beer cans, cigarette butts, cough and cold medicines and various drug paraphernalia. Her message to him was: "Get help or get out. We love you, but we don't want to witness your suicide." He got help and was able to become clean and sober.
Biography/bibliography in: "Contemporary Authors". New Revision Series, vol. 134, pages 256-271. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2005.
Is good friends with horror director George A. Romero.
He belongs to a an all-writer rock band called "Rock Bottom Remainders" with other such writers as Amy Tan, Dave Barry, Scott Turow, Roy Blount Jr., and James Luca McBride. Their motto is, according to Barry, "We play music as well as Metallica writes novels".
A huge fan of Ramones, King penned the liner notes to the 2002 Ramones tribute album, "We're A Happy Family.".
Writes reviews of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series for Entertainment Weekly magazine.
Is an avid AC/DC fan.
The fictional town of Castle Rock is located in Maine. Stand by Me (1986), accidentally set it in Oregon. This is because the original story, "The Body," only mentions that Castle Rock is near Portland, without identifying which state. It is only identified as being in Maine in his other stories. The only clues in "The Body" that it takes place in Maine is the fact that the local radio stations begin with W, which, with only a few exceptions, applies only to stations east of the Mississippi River.
Many of his stories take place in or near the fictional small town of Castle Rock, Maine. The first film to be based on a Castle Rock story was The Dead Zone (1983). Director Rob Reiner subsequently named his production company Castle Rock Entertainment.
Is a member of a band called the Rock Bottom Remainders, which is composed of other writers. Besides King the members include Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson, Scott Turow, Amy Tan, James Luca McBride, Mitch Albom, Roy Blount Jr., Matt Groening, Kathi Kamen Goldmark and Greg Iles. A "remainder" is a book that has not sold well and has been drastically reduced in price to ensure a quick sale.
In 1988 he was offered the chance to write and direct A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989).
Was such a fan of the film 28 Days Later... (2002) that he bought out an entire showing of the film in New York City.
Son Joseph Hillstrom King is also a novelist. He spent the past several years writing under the pen name Joe Hill, the name of a labor leader who is also his namesake.
Fan of B-Movie Scream Queen Linnea Quigley.
Cites Sir William Golding's novel Lord of the Flies as a major influence on him. One of the chapters in that book was "Castle Rock," which later became the name of a fictional town in several of King's stories.
Worked as an English teacher before becoming a professional writer. Many of his characters are also teachers.
In his book "On Writing", he states that as punishment for making fun of Ellen Margitan, the vice principal of Lisbon High, he is sent to the offices of the Lisbon Enterprise to work with the editor, John Gould which he states is not "the" John Gould. In fact, it was "the" John Gould, famous Maine humorist and it was John Gould that helped King develop into a writer that people wanted to read.
He's a huge fan of the hit ABC TV show Lost (2004), which often makes references to his works. He even trusted J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof to adapt the "Dark Tower" series into a film series.
After watching the first cut of Rob Reiner 's Stand by Me (1986), he was said to be crying and stated it was the closest adaptation to one of his novels he'd ever seen.
A fan of J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter novels.
Controversially, King once wrote a complimentary "Blurb" for the back cover of L. Ron Hubbard's book "Fear".
When it was discovered in 1985 that he and Richard Bachman were one and the same, he retired the use of that name. He resurrected Bachman about a decade later, using the name as the author of The Regulators, a companion piece to his own novel Desperation. Since then, he has issued other new novels using the name Bachman, with the dust jackets jokingly claiming the books to have been a posthumous discovery by Bachman's widow. Bachman is said to have died in 1985 from "Cancer of the Pseudonym".
Adaptations of his work have featured two generations of Sheens and Sutherlands. Kiefer Sutherland appeared in Stand by Me (1986), while Donald Sutherland appeared in 'Salem's Lot (2004). Martin Sheen and Ramon Estevez both appeared in The Dead Zone (1983) and Emilio Estevez appeared in Maximum Overdrive (1986).
Will allow aspiring film-makers to purchase the film rights to any of his short stories (and only short-stories, not novels) for a dollar. The resulting films are sent directly to him and, if he enjoys them, placed on a shelf marked "Dollar-Babies.".
His novels are frequently adapted to the screen by Frank Darabont, Mick Garris, and Rob Reiner.
In 2009 he fulfilled a lifetime ambition, expressed in Salem's Lot, of being interviewed in Playboy Magazine. The Magazine also published a poem by King, entitled "The Bone Church", which featured the immortal line "And balls to your grinning face!".
His characters frequently meet other characters from other Stephen King books. In Tommyknockers, for example, poet Jim Gardner encounters Jack, from The Talisman, on a beach.
The description of the character Ben Mears, in Salem's Lot, is taken from King himself.
Plays guitar in the group The Rock-Bottom Remainders, a band made up entirely of novelists.
As a little boy he had a recurring nightmare in which he entered a room and saw a suicide victim hanging from the ceiling. He later incorporated this scene into an early book, Salem's Lot.
Several actors have made multiple appearances in television and film adaptations of King's work. Ed Harris was in Needful Things (1993) as well as The Stand (1994) and a segment of Creepshow (1982). His wife, Amy Madigan, appeared in The Dark Half (1993), which also featured his Needful Things character. John Cusack made a brief appearance in Stand by Me (1986) and later starred in 1408 (2007). Kathy Bates starred in Misery (1990) and Dolores Claiborne (1995) and later had a cameo in The Stand (1994). Gary Sinise starred in The Stand (1994) and had a cameo in The Green Mile (1999). David Morse played Brutal in The Green Mile (1999) and also played Adult Bobby Garfield in Hearts in Atlantis (2001) as well Capt. Brian Engle in The Langoliers (1995). Rob Lowe had major roles in both The Stand (1994) and TBS' of 'Salem's Lot (2004). Timothy Hutton starred in The Dark Half (1993) and also in Secret Window (2004). Thomas Jane starred in The Mist (2007) and Dreamcatcher (2007) alongside Morgan Freeman, who was also in The Shawshank Redemption (1994). Both Jeffrey DeMunn and William Sadler were in The Shawshank Redemption (1994), The Green Mile (1999) and The Mist (2007). Harry Dean Stanton appears in Christine (1983) and has a cameo in The Green Mile (1999). J.T. Walsh has a cameo in Misery (1990) and appears in Needful Things (1993). James Cromwell appeared in The Green Mile (1999) and 'Salem's Lot (2004)(TV)' the previous version of which featured his wife, Julie Cobb. Miguel Ferrer appeared in The Stand (1994), 'The Shining (1997)(TV)', and 'The Night Flier (1997)(TV)'.
Famously disliked Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980), which was adapted from his novel of the same name. King was opposed to the casting of Jack Nicholson who, in his opinion, did not accurately portray the gradual descent into madness that the book had described. He also lamented that many story elements, some of them autobiographical and important to King, had not been included, such as alcoholism and his father issue. King therefore produced a mini series of The Shining (1997) that follows his novel more closely, but is generally regarded as inferior to Kubrick's interpretation.
His novel Misery is about a writer with a recurring character in a long series of books, who is in a serious car accident after finishing the last book in the series. King was himself in the middle of an ongoing series; The Dark Tower; when he was hit by a truck in 1999. Surviving that accident is what ultimately prompted him to finish the series. He has recently decided to write one more book in the series, to be entitled The Wind in the Keyhole, due for a 2012 release. In Misery, the writer also decides to continue writing his series after surviving his encounter with an obsessed fan.
In 2011, his fondness for the Harry Potter books came full circle, when it was announced that Potter director David Yates and screenwriter Steve Kloves would be making a new adaptation of his novel The Stand.
His memoir "On Writing" has been praised by Roger Ebert as the most useful and insightful book about writing since The Elements of Style.
A rumor circulated for years that he did not want to complete his novel "Pet Sematary" as it frightened him to do any writing for it. King or Doubleday (the publisher) may have started the story and while not exactly true it is partially based in fact. King fell into a depression while writing it and had no desire to complete it while feeling the strong melancholy.
George A. Romero was one of King's childhood heroes. The two are now close friends.
Suicides have occurred in three of the houses the King family have lived in.
The first author to have three simultaneous titles on the publishers weekly list: Firestarter, The Dead Zone, and The Shining.
In October 1995, King broke his own record by having four books hit the NY Times bestseller list: Skeleton Crew, Thinner, The Talisman, and The Bachman Books.
All three of his children as well as his wife have followed his footsteps into writing.
Writes three drafts for every book.
His favourite way of relaxing is to take a bath while smoking a cigarette, and listen to a Red Sox game on the radio, propped on the sink. He would also drink a beer during the days when he was an alcoholic.
King played guitar (badly) in a high school band. He would often change the lyrics into something gross (but funny) on the spot.
In later years, movie studios and production companies snapped up the film rights for King novels before the books saw print, e.g. Delores Claiborne.
King writes for 3-4 hours a day. He used to write 2000-3000 words a day, now he can only manage 1000.
King once flew on a plane that ran into turbulence. The oxygen mask came out, and his seat was ripped from the floor and he landed on his side, still strapped in. It was a while before he could get on a plane again.
Against abortion because he likens it to abandonment, something his father did to him when he was a child.
Never answers his own phone.
He will never co-author a book with his wife, because he feels that if they ever did, it would lead to divorce court.
In 1993, King played with the Rock Bottom Remainders to sell-out arenas.
King has a deal with Castle Rock; they can have his work for a dollar, but he gets script approval, he approves the director, cast approval, and he can pull the plug anytime, no matter how much money was spent. He gets 5% of every dollar, so in the case of The Green Mile (1999), he made 25 million dollars.
King gets depressed when people say The Stand is his best book because that was written three decades ago and implies he hasn't written anything as good since.
When King was hit by a van in 1999, he was lucky not to have been killed outright. While in recovery, one of his lungs had collapsed, he had four broken ribs, a gash to the head that needed 20 stitches and his spine was chipped in eight places. His right leg almost had to be amputated but doctors managed to save it. The only thing undamaged in the accident were the lenses in King's glasses; he later replaced the frame.
During King's recovery after being knocked down by a van in 1999, he was appalled when he was hooked up to a morphine drip, what with his former past as a drug addict. He didn't become re-addicted by doctors keeping him below the recommended dose. He could feel the craving bubbling to the surface, but this time experience prepared him to recognize the danger signs. By the time he came home, he had lost 40 pounds. None of the nurses cracked any "Misery" jokes but he said he would have appreciated the dark irony. He could only write for up to an hour and a half every day, so he spent the Winter in Florida; the warm weather would aid his recovery. He still needs to walk with a cane though. After accepting a literary award in 2003, he had a relapse and had to spend another month in hospital. He weighed 160 pounds and nearly died. Tabitha took the opportunity to refurbish his office.
The one thing King is reluctant to write is an autobiography. The nearest he's ever come to that is the CV section of his non-fictional book On Writing.
Has a fear of therapists. He had to conquer that fear during the worst stages of his alcoholism and drug addiction.
Has a fear of flying. He once suffered an injury on an airplane when it flew into turbulence, which no doubt exacerbated his fear.
Because of his past drug abuse, he can't remember anything about writing some of his books, e.g. Cujo. Its something he will always regret.
Hates being famous. He's also uncomfortable in large crowds.
Since the publication of Carrie in 1974, his books have never been out of print; a rare feat for an author.
Repeated the first grade because of frequent absences.
On the night King's mother died, his son had a terrible choking fit at home. He's had a fear of choking ever since. His mother's death drove him further into drink.
Because The Shining came from a very personal place, King managed to write the book very quickly. The subject matter hit so close to King that he took time out from it to work on his next novel, The Stand.
King invented the pseudonym Richard Bachman to see if he could market books without the attachment of his more famous name.
King used to listen to rock and roll when drafting a novel; now he doesn't need to.
Not long after 9/11, someone left a package on King's doorstep. The bomb squad were called in and incinerated it. It turns out it was King's novel, It.
King has a library made up of 17,000 books; he's read them all except for any new additions.
A big fan of detective stories.
The first American to win the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Booksellers Association.
When touring with the Rock Bottom Remainders, they needed extra security because of King's presence.
Before he wrote Carrie (his first published novel), King wrote a few practice novels first under his pseudonym Richard Bachman. He called them "trunk novels".
Regularly listens to audiobooks, because he believes no book exists until its done in audio.
King owns two neighboring houses in Bangor. He wanted to build an underground tunnel with a trolley you could ride between them. When asked why, he replied, "because I can".
Read many stories about people being buried alive.
He'd like to direct a film now that he's totally sober.
Would like to write a novel about the thing that scares him the most, spiders.
Hit the No 1 bestseller list 36 times, and is still disappointed when he doesn't.
King suffers from insomnia and later wrote a book about it.
Does some of his book tours on motorbike.
The one question King hates to be asked more than any other by the fans is "Where do you get your ideas?".
By 1987, the King family lived in a 24-room restored Victorian mansion.
King is critical of people who write about Maine and didn't grow up there.
Bryan Smith, the van driver who hit King in 1999, had a history of driving offenses and his license had been suspended three times by the time of the accident. He was indicted for aggravated assault and driving to endanger. He later died of a drug overdose.
Has a fear of the number 13, which is called triskaidekaphobia.
Prefers to be called Steve.
Had the idea for the Dark Tower series before he was an established author.
Suffers from high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums. These spared him from being drafted into Vietnam.
King's first novel Getting It On was sent to an editor and then sent back for revisions four times. In the end it was still rejected, but it taught him much about the editing process. His second attempt The Long Walk failed as well. It wasn't until his third novel, Carrie, that he finally got a book published.
People will often camp outside King's house to get a view of the great author. A man named Erik Keene broke in April 20, 1991 at 6:00am. He threatened Tabitha with a bomb, claiming King stole the idea for Misery from Keene's aunt. She ran to a neighbour and called the police. They found Keene in the attic and the bomb was a dud. He was arrested and sentenced to 18 months in jail before he was extradited to Texas for a parole violation. The King's increased security by extending a wrought-iron fence around the yard gates with access codes as well as CCTV.
King is down to three cigarettes a day. He's kicked alcohol, cocaine, painkillers, but he's still addicted to work and goes into similar withdrawal when he's not working.
A huge fan of author Neil Gaiman.
Is a big fan of the series ''Lost''.
Is an avid comic book fan.
Has named J.K. Rowling as his favorite author.
Has declared that this will be his last year of writing novels. His books will be published for the next few years, but he has vowed to quit the job in numerous publications on numerous occasions.
Teaches a course as part of the Writers in Paradise Winter Term at Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, Florida. [January 2006]
Has denied rumors of retirement saying that "The Dark Tower" series made him want to retire but he loves writing and cannot retire. Is preparing to release a new novel "The Colorado Kid" in October 2005. [March 2005]
Writing a column for the back page of Entertainment Weekly magazine called "The Pop of King". [July 2003]
Father of Joe Hill.
Father of Owen King.

Personal Quotes (80)

I've killed enough of the world's trees.
I'm a salami writer. I try to write good salami, but salami is salami.
Each life makes its own imitation of immortality.
When asked, "How do you write?", I invariably answer, "One word at a time".
I recognize terror as the finest emotion and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find that I cannot terrify, I will try to horrify, and if I find that I cannot horrify, I'll go for the gross-out. I'm not proud.
I am the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and fries.
For every six crappy poems you read, you'll actually find one or two good ones. And that, believe me, is a very acceptable ratio of trash to treasure.
People want to know why I do this, why I write such gross stuff. I like to tell them I have the heart of a small boy... and I keep it in a jar on my desk.
[asked why he hasn't personally directed more movies] Just watch Maximum Overdrive (1986).
[on playing the role of Jordy Verrill in Creepshow (1982)] If I had written it for myself, I would have put in at least one sex scene!
Rob Reiner, who made Stand by Me (1986), is one of the bravest, smartest filmmakers I have ever met, and I'm proud of my association with him. I am also mused to note that the company Mr. Reiner formed following the success of "Stand By Me" is Castle Rock Productions . . . a name with which many of my longtime readers will be familiar.
If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time or the tools to write.
Like anything else that happens on its own, the act of writing is beyond currency. Money is great stuff to have, but when it comes to the act of creation, the best thing is not to think of money too much. It constipates the whole process.
I love the movies, and when I go to see a movie that's been made from one of my books, I know that it isn't going to be exactly like my novel because a lot of other people have interpreted it. But I also know it has an idea that I'll like because that idea occurred to me, and I spent a year, or a year and a half of my life working on it.
I know writers who claim not to read their notices, or not to be hurt by the bad ones if they do, and I actually believe two of these individuals. I'm one of the other kind - I obsess over the possibility of bad reviews and brood over them when they come. But they don't get me down for long; I just kill a few children and old ladies, and then I'm right as a trivet again.
If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn't bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.
Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.
I've had a deal for years with Castle Rock Entertainment that goes back to Stand by Me (1986). I have told them that you can have my work for a buck. What I want from you is script approval, director approval, cast approval, and I want to have the authority to push the stop button at any point regardless of how much money you [the production company] have invested, because none of the money you have put in has gone into my pocket. What I get on the back end, if things work out, is 5% from dollar one.
Books and movies are like apples and oranges. They both are fruit but taste completely different.
[on directing Maximum Overdrive (1986)] I didn't get the job because I went to film school. I got the job because I'm Stephen King. If you become famous enough, they'll let you hang yourself in Times Square with live TV coverage.
[on film adaptations of his work] I don't feel any urge to control after I sign a piece of paper. I say, "See you later. You have what you need and I have what I want. As long as the check doesn't bounce, you and I are quits."
[from his acceptance speech for the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, 2003] I salute the National Book Foundation Board, who took a huge risk in giving this award to a man many people see as a rich hack.
I know a few writers who claim not to read reviews, and I actually believe one of these individuals. I am the opposite: I anticipate bad reviews and brood over them when they come. But then I just kill a few children and old ladies and I'm right as a trivet again.
[on the death of Michael Jackson] Strange man. Lost man. And not unique in his passing. Like James Dean, Elvis Presley, Kurt Cobain, Heath Ledger, and a dozen others we could name, he just left the building far too soon. Because, man oh man, that guy could dance.
I didn't believe there was justification for going into the war in Iraq. And it just seemed at the time, that in the wake of 9/11, the [George W. Bush] Administration was like this angry kid walking down the street who couldn't find whoever sucker-punched him, and so turned around and punched the first likely suspect. Sometimes the sublimely wrong people can be in power at a time when you really need the right people.
When Robert Bloch died, the only thing that anybody really remembered about him was that he wrote Psycho (1960), which became the famous Alfred Hitchcock movie. And whenever I'm introduced, I'm the guy that wrote "The Stand". When my name comes up in the blogs these days, it's usually in relation to H1N1: "He was the guy who thought about the flu!"
You can still reconcile the idea that things are not necessarily going to go well without falling back on platitudes like "God has a plan" and "This is for the greater good."
I'm in the supermarket one day with my cart, and there's this woman, about 95. She says, 'I know who you are. You write those stories, those awful horror stories . . . I don't like that. I like uplifting movies like that 'Shawshank Redemption'. So I said, 'I wrote that.' And she said, 'No, you didn't.' And that was it. Talk about surreal. I went to myself, for a minute, 'It's not very much like my other stuff. Maybe I didn't write it!'
(About seeing Carrie (1976) for the first time) In the row in front of us there were two huge African-American men. Two-hundred and fifty pounders at least. They're screaming like children. They're grabbing each other around the neck and one of them says to the other one, "That's it, that's it. She ain't never gonna be right". And I looked at my wife and I said this movie's gonna be huge.
Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength, and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is how important it is to have a boyfriend.
I was addicted for most of the 80s. Its not a terribly long time to be an addict, but it lasted longer than WW2.
[why he disliked Jack Nicholson in The Shining] Jack Torrance as written was someone who was a nice guy that then went over the edge, not someone who flew the cuckoo's nest from the outset. There was no moral struggle at all.
Having kids allows you to finish off your own childhood, but from a more mature perspective.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
Never write a book whose manuscript is bigger than your own head.
You have to be a little nuts to be a writer because you have to imagine world's that aren't there.
A short story is like a stick of dynamite with a tiny fuse; you light and that's the end.
[his novel, The Stand] My "Lord of the Rings" of the American landscape.
[on cocaine] One snort, and it owned me body and soul.
Writing is the only thing I'm good at. I could never do another job.
Book tours are like a pillow fight with all the pillows treated with low-grade poison gas.
As a kid, I didn't talk much, I wrote. I'm not used to externalizing my thoughts other than on paper, which is typical of writers.
One of the reasons that I live in Bangor is because if somebody wants to get to me, they have to be really dedicated.
I'm the Big Mac of authors.
[on his past career as a teacher] Teaching school is like having jumper cables hooked to your ears, draining all the juice out of you.
You should do sex, never write about it.
People ask me when are you going to write something serious, but that's a question that hurts. That's like walking up to a Black man and asking how it feels to be a nigger.
[writing outside the horror genre] Writing on a non-supernatural level is like learning to talk after you've had a stroke.
[his religious beliefs] I've always believed in God. I also think that the capacity to believe is the sort of thing that either comes as part of your equipment, or at some point in your life when you're in a position where you actually need help from a power greater than yourself. You simply make an agreement to believe in God because it will make your life easier and richer to believe than not to believe. So I choose to believe.
[on his fear of the number 13] The number 13 never fails to trace that old icy finger up and down my spine. When I'm writing, I'll never stop work if the page number is 13 or a multiple of 13; I'll just keep on typing till I get to a safe number. I always take the last two steps on my back stairs as one, making 13 into 12. There were after all 13 steps on the English gallows up until 1900 or so. When I'm reading, I won't stop on page 94, 193, or 382, since the sums of these numbers add up to 13.
All those addictive substances are part of the bad side of what we do. Writing is an addiction for me. Even when its not going well, if I don't do it, the fact that I'm not doing it nags at me.
I have nightmares when I'm not working. What doesn't come out on the page just comes out some other way.
My brains used to work better. I wrote something last week and I looked at it the other day and thought it familiar, so I went back 100 pages and found I had duplicated myself. Paging Dr Alzheimer.
I'm the hood ornament of the Remainders.
Good work gets better when its read aloud, and bad work is mercilessly exposed. Its like shining a strong light on facial structure. Even good makeup won't hide bad writing.
Give away a dime for every dollar you make, because if you don't, the government's gonna take it.
There's always a market for shit. Just look at Jeffrey Archer. He writes like old people fuck.
I'm never sure why people are interested in my life when there are more interesting people in the world.
The appeal of horror has always been consistent. People like to slow down and look at the accident. That's the bottom line.
The day that I deny my identity, the day I'm not who I say I am, is the day I quit the business forever. Close up shop, turn off the word processor, and never write another word. Because if the price of what you do is a loss of your identity, its time to stop.
Charity begins at home.
My writing is more effective now I'm sober, and I feel more creative. I went through a period where I felt a bit flat, like a cup of Seltzer water where all the bubbles have departed. But now I feel like myself again, only with wrinkles.
The worst advice I've ever received is don't listen to the critics. I think you should, because sometimes they're telling you something is broken that you can fix. None of us like critics, but if they're saying something's a piece of shit, they're right.
I'm afraid of everything.
I have a permanent address in the people's republic of paranoia.
[on his fear of flying] The flight you have to be afraid of is the flight where there's nobody on who's afraid of flying.
[why he likes having peripheral vision] The part I want to keep, as a man and as a writer, is what I see out of the corners.
[about retiring] You know how when you're on the turnpike on a hot day, and you always seem to see water at the horizon? That's my year off, right there! Whenever I get there, its always a little further along.
[about On Writing] Its like the town whore trying to teach women how to behave.
When asked why am I so prolific, I say it's because I'm not dead or divorced.
[Neil] Gaiman is simply put, a treasure-house of story, and we're lucky to have him.
Making people believe the unbelievable is no trick; it's work... Belief and reader absorption come in the details: An overturned tricycle in the gutter of an abandoned neighborhood can stand for everything.
Once you get to a certain age you've got to try expanding your field. You've got to try new things, and if you don't you tend to get conservative. I always say you dig yourself a rut and then you furnish it.
I can't think of any books right now that would be comparable to The Exorcist (1973).
I believe everyone is mentally ill. All people angrily screw up their faces like children or talk to themselves when they think nobody's looking.
Any one who thought high school was the best time of their life is totally fucked up.
I get my ideas from everywhere. But what all of my ideas boil down to is seeing maybe one thing, but in a lot of cases it's seeing two things and having them come together in some new and interesting way, and then adding the question 'What if?' 'What if' is always the key question.
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 have grandchildren 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.
[on why he became a writer] The answer to that is fairly simple - there was nothing else I was made to do. I was made to write stories and I love to write stories. That's why I do it. I really can't imagine doing anything else and I can't imagine not doing what I do.
If you are not careful and diligent about defending the right of your children to read, there won't be much left, especially at the junior-high level where kids really begin to develop a lively life of the mind, but books about heroic boys who come off the bench to hit home runs in the bottom of the ninth and shy girls with good personalities who finally get that big prom date with the boy of their dreams. Is this what you want for your kids, keeping in mind that controversy and surprise -- sometimes even shock -- are often the whetstone on which young minds are sharpened?

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