Stephen Edwin King is an American author of contemporary horror, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy. His books have sold more than 350 million copies, and many of them have been adapted into feature films, television movies and comic books. King has published fifty novels, including seven under the pen name Richard Bachman, and five non-fiction books. He has written nearly two hundred short stories, most of which have been collected in nine collections of short fiction. Many of his stories are set in his home state of Maine. King has received Bram Stoker Awards, World Fantasy Awards, and British Fantasy Society Awards. His novella The Way Station was a Nebula Award novelette nominee, and his short story "The Man in the Black Suit" received the O. Henry Award. In 2003, the National Book Foundation awarded him the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He has also received awards for his contribution to literature for his entire oeuvre, such as the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, the Canadian Booksellers Association Lifetime Achievement Award and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.
• Jennifer Finney Boylan (Jennifer Finney Boylan is an American author and political activist. In 2014 she joined the facul...)
• Andrew Pyper (Andrew Pyper is a Canadian author, who was born in Stratford, Ontario in 1968. Pyper’s parents em...)
• Patricia Cornwell (Patricia Cornwell is a contemporary American crime writer. She is widely known for writing a popu...)» All Novelist Interviews
Hi everybody, Stephen King here. I'm a novelist and I'm also an executive producer on the new series UNDER THE DOME. I'm looking forward to taking your questions for the next hour or so about my work. AMA!
Hey, everybody--I have to split. Thanks for all your questions. Hope you'll watch UNDER THE DOME, on CBS, starting on 6/24/13. Long days and pleasant nights.
Long days and pleasant nights Wordslinger!
Your lesser known novel Rose Madder gave me the courage to finally leave my husband. What research did you do to get into the frame of mind as your heroine, Rosie?
Also, my son wanted me to say hi from him =)
Well, I did a lot of reading about women who were abused, and about husbands who won't let go, even with protection orders, and I went on from there. Congratulations on leaving someone who was abusive.
Mr. King, what would you say is your worst fear?
Because they're sick puppies!
The timing of this AMA... 4.15...4 + 15 = 19. Coincidence? I think not
19 is never a coincidence.
Mr King, Constant Reader here. Randall Flagg (and his many alter egos) has meddled in the affairs of many of your characters and their stories. Have you toyed with idea of doing an independent Flagg story chronicling his adventures, from his beginnings to his end(s), criss-crossing through existing novels but all from the point of view of that bastard?
Giving Flagg his own story would make him too coherent, somehow. He's the guy behind the scenes, pulling all the strings.
I live in Maine. Can you tell me the creepiest thing about the my state of residence?
The creepiest thing about Maine is the endless woods. Especially if you're lost in them with no cell phone service. ARRGGHHH.
Mr King! This will probably be the only question I pose to a reddit AMA, ever, that I will pray for an answer to. As a kid from South Africa I'm not often awarded the chance to be in contact with my idols. I started reading your novels at quite a young age, they formed my transition from comics to the grown-up world of reading, my firsts, which made them the books I have judged all other books against and found wanting. I have read almost all your books and they inspred my love for reading. I can't thank you enough for the endless hours I had with your words in my company. Especially The Stand and The Dark Tower series, especially grateful for them.
What's your opinion on Kubrick's The Shining and The Shawshank Redemption? Do you think they convey the stories you wrote well?
In light of above, which books of yours would you most like to be seen made into a film/series?
You quitting drugs and alcohol in the late 80's majorly influenced your writing (pre to post Needful Things), if we had to divide your bibliography into two era's, those which were written intoxicated and those that were not, which era's books do you like best and why?
Will we see Randall Flagg (or one of his many aliases) appear in any of your new works? He's a fantastic character.
I'm really looking forward to Doctor Sleep and the new Carrie film. Thanks again.
Your constant reader
I loved SHAWSHANK. I wasn't crazy about the Kubrick version of THE SHINING. As far as dope and booze goes, I'd like to have some of those early books back. They're not bad, but could have been better. For the record, most of the work was done straight and sober.
What actor or actress in one of your movie adaptations, do you feel most captured your own vision of the character?
Kathy Bates was a great Annie Wilkes.
I'd say the four boys who played the kids in STAND BY ME. River Phoenix was a standout.
which of your novels would you say is your favorite?
I dunno seems like a nice place to move to especially if you have children.
If you want to get rid of your children, that is.
What keeps you up at night?
not much, I usually send my fears on to my readers.
Welcome to Reddit, Mr. King.
Your fiction has done more for me than I can express. At 13 I was crippled by a neuromuscular syndrome, left bedridden and in constant pain that would last for the rest of my life. I often wanted to die up there in my bunk. Often the only company I had came from books or audiobooks, and yours, including Nightmares & Dreadmscapes, The Regulators, and Needful Things, made up many of my favorites. There were many nights when I couldn't fall asleep for the pain, and on hundreds of those nights I only found the will to live to dawn because I wanted to know what happened next to your characters. I'm 31 now and that's in part thanks to you. So thank you.
So, a question: what is the relationship between The Regulators and Desperation? Was it just throwing off the covers of Bachman by naming everyone the same? Or is there more thematic connective tissue?
Desperation and the Regulators was like a reparatory theater where the same actors played different parts. I thought I would try that once to see what it was like to tell the story two different ways with the same people. I'm glad that my books helped with the pain during that part of your life.
What do you do to help writer's block?
The only thing you can do with writer's block is wait it out. Sometimes a few stories just die. There's no explaining it. It goes with the territory.
I don't have any plans to go back to Mid-World. Sometimes I just find myself there!
Hey Stephen, big fan from South Australia here. I read my first book of yours when I was 11 - IT. I'm 21 now and have almost worked my way through your catalogue, though IT remains pretty special to me. It was the first novel of that size that I had ever read.
I remember searching for other books of yours in the computer system of the library at my primary school (imagine my disappointment when the query came back empty). IT opened my mind up to new ideas and made me want to read and write so much more than I ever had before. For that, I say thankya.
I recall you saying at some stage a while back that you would like to write sequels for all your novels at some stage. Is this still the case? I'm curious to know whether or not Pennywise, or at least the creature behind Pennywise, may come back as a primary antagonist in a future story.
Thanks again for everything!
I don't think I could bear to deal with Pennywise again. Too scary, even for me.
You’ve written a lot of novels that have been adapted to the screen. How often do you anticipate your work being adapted into a film? Are there any books you never want to see adapted?
I never think about movie versions when I write, because that would put a border around my thinking. I just write the stories. If someone wants to make a movie, that's fine.
Sai King, I am a huge fan. Keep up the great work. I would love to hear your thoughts on the progress being made toward bringing The Dark Tower to either movies or television. Which do you think could convey the story better? Are you a fan of Ron Howard's idea of splitting it between the two? Thankee sai!
I like the idea of doing the DT books as films, and the adventures of the younger Roland as TV. I like changing it up and trying new things.
Hi Stephen, it's great that you're doing one of these. I'm a huge fan of your work, especially The Stand! My question is as follows, if you were able to "unpublish" one of your books and make one change before releasing it again would you do it and if so why? Thanks.
If I were to "unpublish" a novel...hmmm. There are some I'd probably rewrite, but unpublished? Probably not even ROSE MADDER, which has always seemed less than successful to me.
Hi Mr. King. I am absolutely amazed that you are doing an AMA.
I want you to know that you are the most influential man in my life after my father. You changed my life. When I was a kid, I wrote stupid, funny stories to amuse my friends. It wasn't until I was in 8th grade that I knew I wanted to be a writer. That was when I read The Green Mile. After I finished wiping the tears from my eyes, I thought to myself, "I want to make people feel the same way he made me feel. He made me believe these people, this world, all of it, is real." Thank you.
My question is about The Eyes of the Dragon. Will we ever find out what happened to Thomas and Dennis? The story says they find Flagg, and there is a very small mention of them in (I think) Wizard and Glass. Yet we never see the outcome of that encounter. Is there any chance they have twinners in The Stand or The Dark Tower? Do you have any plans to tell us? Thank you.
Yes, I might go back there. I wrote a sequel to THE SHINING, so anything is possible. As a general rule, I don't revisit. Too many new stories to tell.
Hi Mr. King,
do you have any advice for an aspiring author on how to approach the publishing industry? How did you deal with rejection before you became a household name?
I just went on to the next story - there's no way to deal with rejection other than to continue on, banging on the door.
Hey, Mr. King. "Cell" ranks in my top five favorite novels from you. Last I heard, a film adaptation with Eli Roth directing was in the works. Are there still plans for bringing it to the big screen that you know of or perhaps a miniseries of some kind, such as on HBO?
Edit: I can't wait for "Under the Dome"!
I think John Cusack is going to make CELL.
I started reading The Dark Tower when I was in rehab for the 2nd time. To this day I tell everyone that part of my success at staying sober was thanks to these stories. They took my mind so far away from the pain and struggle I was going through in real life, connected me with these characters I grew to love, and just entertained my struggling brain when it needed it the most. I thank you for this....and I could really never thank you enough.
My question is one that I'm sure everyone is wondering after The Wind Through The Keyhole. Will there ever be more Dark Tower books/stories? Do you ever feel you can ever really let this group go or will you always want to continue their journey?
Again thank you for being the most amazing story teller ever and for creating the most amazing characters and bonds of friendship I've ever come across!
I'll probably come back to them, sooner or later. I never seem to be able to leave the world of the Dark Tower. Congratulations on staying sober a day at a time, glad that my book inspired you.
I won't ask you where the ideas come from, don't worry. But, I was wondering, how do they formulate exactly? It is a scene, an image?
A whole story?
Also, do you think about the plot all day or do you really just unleash the beast once your fingers are on the keyboard?
Sometimes it starts with an image. With JOYLAND, I kept coming back to a boy in a wheelchair flying a kite on the beach. Eventually I looked farther down the beach and saw an amusement park. That image became JOYLAND, which is out now.
Hi there! Rural New Englander here. As a child, I lived for a long time in middle-of-hell-nowhere Ossipee, New Hampshire, so it always seems to hit home when I read your stories. Do you feel that sudden violence or terror in these quiet little places stands out as more horrific than if it happened in a city? What is it about these places that make them so hard to place and strange?
I know Ossipee well, drive through there once or twice a month. I write about country places and people because it's where I grew up. Also, the more out of touch a place is, the more likely that strange things might happen and go unobserved by the outside world.
First off, thank you for creating such an interesting and well-populated world of characters. I don’t typically re-read books, but I find time to revisit one or two of your novels per year. Something about the cohesiveness of your universe draws me back.
My question is about your acting, believe it or not. How did you end up doing the segment as Jordy Verrill in Creepshow? My friends and I always loved how funny you were in that bit, especially considering you haven’t really done any acting before or since (outside of cameos in your own adaptations).
Thanks for all you do!
George Romero asked if I'd take a shot at playing Jordy. I said yes, with the caveat that he should fire me if the dailies looked bad. I never expected an Academy Award nod, and boy, was I right about that.
Hi! Here's my first question:
If you could move one of your book characters to real world and meet him/her, who would it be?
Not Annie Wilkes. I'd guess if I could move any character to the real world, it would be Danny Torrance in The Shining.