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Tabitha King

Many people, even great Stephen King fans, are not aware that Tabitha is also an author. She may not have written as much as her husband, but she is far from unsuccessful. Many say she is just as captivating as Mr. King and has been known to weave some of his characters into the periphery of her stories. So this page is dedicated to the all too often overlooked Mrs. Tabitha King.

There is a full biography below the list of her works. For more information on the hit-and-run accident mentioned and a short interview with the Kings, follow the Accident link. To read about their difficult first years and the bomb-fanatic incident, follow the Interview link.

Links : Bibliography :


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1979 - Married to the Bogeyman
1996------ short article
1996------ included in Murderess Ink: The Better Half
1996---------- of the Mystery

1981 - The Blue Chair
1996------ short story
1996------ included in Shadows 4 anthology
1996---------- (edited by Charles Grant)

1982 - Small World

1983 - Caretakers

1986 - The Trap
1996--- a.k.a. Wolves at the Door

1989 - Pearl

1994 - One on One

1994-- Mid-Life Confidential

1994-_ Playing like a girl: Cindy Blodgett and the
1994------ Lawrence Bulldogs season of '93-'94
1994---------- Boston Globe article

1995 - The Book of Reuben

1998 - Survivor

1994--- Djinn and Tonic
1994------ short story
1994------ included in The Best of the Best anthology
1994---------- (edited by Koster and Pittman)

2006 - Candles burning
1994------ co-authored by the late Michael McDowell

Tabitha's novels Caretakers, The Trap, Pearl, One on One, and The Book of Reuben are all part of a series set in Nodd's Ridge and continue into one another. Ideally, these would be read in order as originally published.

Tabitha Jane Spruce was born in 1949 in Old Town, ME, daughter of a store proprietor and devoted Catholic and sister to three other girls: Margaret, Stephanie, and Marcella. After high school, Tabitha entered college at the University of Maine at Orono where she sold some of her poetry and, in 1969, met Stephen King at a college picnic. They worked together in the Fogler Library on campus and fell in love with the help of a poetry workshop they both attended.

They received permission to get married on December 29, 1970, and officially tied the knot on January 2, 1971, in a catholic church in Old Town. Tabitha graduated the following May and, unable to find a suitable position, was forced to work at a Dunkin Donuts in Bangor. Later that year their first child was born, Naomi Rachel. Tabitha's husband also faced employment concerns, working at an industrial laundry until a teaching position opened, and with their limited resources they could afford only a house trailer. They persevered, however, and Tabitha's husband Stephen kept writing at night and on weekends, filling page after page on an Olivetti typewriter.

On June 3, 1972, they received a second child, Joseph Hillstrom. By now Stephen was teaching but funds were still close for the family. Several of his short stories had been published, with meager proceeds, but Tabitha continued to encourage him and, that fall, even saved a rough draft of one of his novels from the trash. The novel was subsequently published and turned into a best-seller, the first of many. Years later she wrote an introduction for a new printing of that first novel, the story of a tragic girl named Carrie.

In the spring of 1973, they received an advance for Carrie and moved from the trailer permanently. Years passed, they moved and moved again but always returned to Maine. And in April of 1977, Owen Phillip was born, their third and final child.

In 1981, Tabitha published a novel of her own, Small World, which hit bookshelves in 1982 and was followed by seven more novels and two short stories, the last appearing in 1998. Though she acquired a dedicated following, she has published nothing since that year, perhaps due in part to her husband's grievous accident in 1999, which will be discussed later.

A significant donation to the Old Town library in 1989 prompted officials to re-name it the Tabitha Spruce King Library. The Kings contributed large sums to several projects, both in Maine and elsewhere, and continue to do so through a charitable foundation set up in their name. They operate two local radio stations, which were threatened to be shut down before the Kings intervened, and a small printing press.

Stephen King's fame brought its share of fanatics into the King's lives, perhaps none more frightening than their visitor in 1991. He broke into the house while Tabitha was home alone and confronted her with some sort of sack, proclaiming there was a bomb inside. The crazed man said he came there to kill them because Stephen had stolen his aunt's story and published it as Misery. Tabitha escaped without harm and the man was apprehended. His bomb turned out to be a box of pencils and paperclips in a pillowcase but the terror he inspired prompted the Kings to increase their security. Nothing on that scale has happened since.

Their lives were not free of close calls, though. In June of 1999, Tabitha's husband was severly injured in a hit-and-run accident. After months of recovery and physical therapy he managed to walk without crutches, a feat the doctors doubted was possible immediately following the accident, and today seems as healthy as ever. Tabitha, of course, helped him every step of the way.

They say behind every good man stands a good woman. In this case I would certainly agree. For more than three decades Tabitha has stood by her man, through blue-collar life in a run-down mobile home and bomb-waving fanatics, through endless book-signings and untold numbers of strangers following them across the country. It comes as no surprise, then, that Stephen has dedicated more stories to his "Tabby" than to anyone else.

Today, they split their time between homes in Maine and Florida. And while Tabitha's husband leads a relatively public life, she retains a good amount of privacy. In my research I found no references to her birthday, where she was raised, or myriad other details. Her life remains her own. But people around the world appreciate everything she has done, as a mother, as a partner, as an author. She may be overlooked by many but, once discovered, she is not easily forgotten.

Thank you for coming. Don't forget to visit the other links.