What scares the master of terror? His fears include - among other things - flying, "squishy things," rats and snakes, paranoia, the unknown, and the process of dying (what one goes through just before death).
He has written several novels and myriad stories that have never been published and likely never will be.
King's favorite movie of 2004 was Maria Full of Grace, an Oscar nominee.
King has discontinued his book-signing-by-mail process. He will, however, continue to share his John Hancock in person at designated book signings.
For years, King played guitar in the band The Rock Bottom Remainders.
He and his wife split their time between houses in Maine and Florida.
They own two radio stations - FM 100.3 WKIT, rock and roll, and AM 620 WZON, sports - as well as a small publishing company, Philtrum Press.
King's first story to be published was titled I Was
A Teenage Grave Robber,
re-named for publication as
In A Half-World of Terror.
The Kings contribute to the American Cancer Society, provide scholarships for high school students through Hampden Academy, and donate to many other local and national charities.
King's favorite book by his own hand is Bag of Bones.
King was hit by a van in June 1999 and suffered serious injuries. In 2000, the driver, Bryan Smith, died of unknown causes.
In 1977, the Kings moved to England but stayed only 3 months of the year they originally planned.
King, a wild baseball fan, is a die-hard supporter of the Boston Red Sox and wrote a book about their 2004 season.
King enjoys bowling, poker, and playing guitar. And writing, of course.
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Stephen Edwin King was born in Portland, ME, on September 21, 1947, two years after his parents had adopted David. When he was only 2, his merchant seamen father went out to buy a pack of cigarettes. His father never came back. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, IN, where his father's family was at the time, and Stratford, CT. When he
was 11, his mother brought him and his brother back to Durham, ME, for good.
He wrote his first story at the ripe old age of 7 and had his first piece published in a magazine when he was 12. He attended grammar school at Durham and then the Lisbon Falls High School where he joined the football team and a local rock band. But he never gave up on what he loved doing most of all...writing. He graduated high school in 1966 and his story The Glass Floor was published by Startling Mystery Stories the very next year.
He went to college at the University of Maine at Orono where he served as a member of the student senate and wrote a weekly column for the university newspaper, The Maine Campus. He also came to support the anti-Vietnam war movement on campus. Immediately after graduation from UMO, the draft board called him in for examination. He obliged but, due to high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums, was classified as a 4-F (meaning he would be among the last called for enlistment).
In the stacks of the Fogler Library at UMO, he worked alongside his wife-to-be, Tabitha Spruce. He graduated from UMO in 1970 with a bachelor's in English, but was forced to take a job at an industrial laundry while searching for teaching positions. On January 2, 1971, he and Tabitha married. After a time at the laundry, he moved on to janitoring then, in the fall of 1971, became a high school English teacher at Hamden Academy. He never stopped writing. Between attending a high school and teaching a high school, he wrote several novels, but received only rejection notices from the publishers he approached.
In the summer of 1973, he moved his growing family to southern Maine, renting a summer home on Sebago Lake in North Windham for the winter. The following spring saw the publication of a novel that his wife Tabitha rescued from the trash. The novel was Carrie.
In the fall of 1974, he and the family moved to Boulder, CO, and lived there just under a year. In the summer of 1975, he bought a home in western Maine where they lived until 1977. Then they went
to England for three months and returned in December and bought a house in Center Lovell, ME. In the autumn of 1978 they moved to Orrington so he could teach creative writing at UMO. They returned to Center Lovell in 1979 and the next year bought a second winter home in Bangor, keeping the Center Lovell house for a summer home. Luckily, all this moving didn't phase his writing abilities; in fact, it often inspired him.
In the years that followed Carrie, amid the many relocations, he and Tabitha raised three children (Joseph Hillstrom, Owen Phillip, and Naomi Rachael) while King penned hit after hit. Scores more short stories, novellas, novels, and screenplays entertained the public, some written under the pseudonym Richard Bachman and at least one under the pseudonym John Swithen. Now the hallmark of the horror genre, King maintains one of the brightest, most amazing careers in modern literary history.
A Personal Commentary
Anyone who has picked up a Stephen King book and read it with a reasonably open mind knows how he can find truth - not to mention excitement - in both everyday and unusual situations. I believe part of that talent comes from his ability to pour himself into every word. Scenes and characters draw from people and places he knows, giving them both familiarity and liveliness, difficult qualities to capture. I think that is one reason he has remained so popular. Even if a reader doesn't care much for monsters and the unexplained, they can still enjoy his books. The unnatural aspects, central as they may be to the plot, often seem secondary, actors moving in the background and met only occasionally. Focus lingers on the main characters and their convincing portrayals. I believe readers begin to identify with the characters, their lives, dreams, struggles...and fears...in the words he writes. It becomes almost real, something that could have happened. And there lies King's success.
It never fails to amaze me how he takes emotions, experiences - lives, really - and transforms them into words without sacrificing their magic in the process. Ultimately, I think that is why America loves him (and hates him) so much. He is able to do what few others can, though many try. On the subject of dislike, from those I have spoken with personally I find those who do not like him fall primarily into two categories: the jealous and the ignorant. The first is pretty obvious, they wish they could write as he does or at least claim his bank account. As for the ignorant, well, most refuse to give him a chance. I belonged to the latter group for many years, ignoring him as best I could and offering only disdain to those who recommended his work. Then, one desperate summer with nothing else to read, I found Cujo and realized how childish and judgemental I'd been. I joined the ranks of fans and finally became a Constant Reader. My only regret was the years of ignorance that kept me from his work.
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