Saturday, May 26, 2012

Influences #12: Stephen King

I have to say, in all honesty, one of the people who inspired me to want to write books was probably Stephen King. Reading “Gone With The Wind” got the ball rolling, sure, and Poe and Byron, they contributed to my poetry while others triggered my need to write songs. Wrap it up in one big burrito and you have to add King as another prime ingredient to the whole enchilada.

I know to this point I have only released a few books with my fourth one set to be released in August or September, and thus far, they have been “hippy books” (Children Of The Flower Power, which takes place in his home state of Maine, by the way.) or “pedophilic in nature” (Last Flight Out) and now, with the release of my third book this month, “science-fiction” (Of The Light). Even my next one, (Year Of The Cat) is more of a detective, thriller, romantic/mild erotica, type.

However, while my 5th book will be book two of my five book sci-fi series, my 6th book will be a bit on the horror side. (The Wolfen Society) Or vampire. I also have another horror book waiting in the wings for me to someday release. (The Presence of Evil)

But for Stephen King, he knows horror better than anyone, I think. And I seriously doubt that I could have gone full circle in my writing if it weren’t for reading his books. And I truly believe that he inadvertently pushed me into going from poetry and music and into writing novels. While I really would never consider myself a horror writer, his works certainly opened a new world for my imaginary mind.

Born Stephen Edwin King on September 21st, 1947, he is an American author of contemporary horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy fiction. His books have sold more than 350 million copies, and have been adapted into a number of feature films, television movies and comic books. As of 2011, King has written and published 49 novels, including seven under the pen name Richard Bachman, five non-fiction books, and nine collections of short stories. Many of his stories are set in his home state of Maine.

King has received Bram Stoker Awards, World Fantasy Awards, British Fantasy Society Awards, his novella “The Way Station” was a Nebula Award novelette nominee, and 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 whole career, such as the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement (2004), the Canadian Booksellers Association Lifetime Achievement Award (2007) and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America (2007).

King's father, Donald Edwin King, who was born circa 1913 in Peru, Indiana, was a merchant seaman. King's mother, Nellie Ruth (née Pillsbury; March 13, 1913 – December 28, 1973) was born in Scarborough, Maine. They were married July 23, 1939, in Cumberland County, Maine.
Stephen King was born September 21, 1947, in Portland, Maine. When King was two years old, his father left the family under the pretense of "going to buy a pack of cigarettes," leaving his mother to raise King and his adopted older brother, David, by herself, sometimes under great financial strain. The family moved to De Pere, Wisconsin, Fort Wayne, Indiana and Stratford, Connecticut. When King was eleven years old, the family returned to Durham, Maine, where Ruth King cared for her parents until their deaths. She then became a caregiver in a local residential facility for the mentally challenged. King was raised Methodist.

As a child, King apparently witnessed one of his friends being struck and killed by a train, though he has no memory of the event. His family told him that after leaving home to play with the boy, King returned, speechless and seemingly in shock. Only later did the family learn of the friend's death. Some commentators have suggested that this event may have psychologically inspired some of King's darker works, but King makes no mention of it in his memoir “On Writing”.

King's primary inspiration for writing horror fiction was related in detail in his 1981 non-fiction “Dance Macabre” in a chapter titled "An Annoying Autobiographical Pause". King makes a comparison of his uncle successfully dowsing for water using the bough of an apple branch with the sudden realization of what he wanted to do for a living. While browsing through an attic with his elder brother, King uncovered a paperback version of an H.P. Lovecraft collection of short stories entitled “The Lurker In The Shadows” that had belonged to his father. The cover art, an illustration of a yellow-green Demon hiding within the recesses of a Hellish cavern beneath a tombstone, was, he writes, the moment in his life which "that interior dowsing rod responded to.” King told Barnes & Noble Studios during a 2009 interview, "I knew that I'd found home when I read that book.”

King attended Durham Elementary School and graduated from Lisbon Falls High School, in Lisbon Falls, Maine. He displayed an early interest in horror as an avid reader of EC‘s Horror Comics, including “Tales From the Crypt“(he later paid tribute to the comics in his screenplay for “Creepshow“). He began writing for fun while still in school, contributing articles to Dave’s Rag, the newspaper that his brother published with a mimeograph machine, and later began selling stories to his friends which were based on movies he had seen (though when discovered by his teachers, he was forced to return the profits). The first of his stories to be independently published was "I Was a Teenage Grave Robber", serialized over three published and one unpublished issue of a fanzine, Comics Review in 1965. That story was published the following year in a revised form as "In a Half-World of Terror" in another fanzine, “Stories Of Suspense”, edited by Marv Wolfman.

From 1966, King studied English at the University of Maine, graduating in 1970 with a Bachelor Of Arts in English. That same year his first daughter, Naomi Rachel, was born. He wrote a column for the student newspaper, The Maine Campus, titled "Steve King's Garbage Truck", took part in a writing workshop organized by Burton Hatlen, and took odd jobs to pay for his studies, including one at an industrial laundry. He sold his first professional short story, "The Glass Floor", to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. The Fogler Library at the University of Maine now holds many of King's papers.

After leaving the university, King earned a certificate to teach high school but, being unable to find a teaching post immediately, initially supplemented his laboring wage by selling short stories to men’s magazines such as Cavalier. Many of these early stories have been published in the collection Night Shift. In 1971, King married Tabitha Spruce, a fellow student at the University of Maine whom he had met at the University's Fogler Library after one of Professor Hatlen's workshops. That fall, King was hired as a teacher at Hampden Academy in Hampden, Maine. He continued to contribute short stories to magazines and worked on ideas for novels. It was during this time that King developed a drinking problem, which stayed with him for more than a decade.

On June 19, 1999 at about 4:30 p.m., King was walking on the shoulder of Route 5, in Lovell, Maine. Driver Bryan Smith, distracted by an unrestrained dog moving in the back of his minivan, struck King, who landed in a depression in the ground about 14 feet from the pavement of Route 5. According to Oxford County Sheriff deputy Matt Baker, King was hit from behind and some witnesses said the driver was not speeding, reckless, or drinking.

King was conscious enough to give the deputy phone numbers to contact his family but was in considerable pain. The author was first transported to Northern Cumberland Hospital in Bridgton and then flown by helicopter to Central Maine Medical Center, in Lewiston. His injuries - a collapsed right lung, multiple fractures of his right leg, scalp laceration and a broken hip - kept him at CMMC until July 9. His leg bones were so shattered doctors initially considered amputating his leg, but stabilized the bones in the leg with an external fixator After five operations in ten days and physical therapy, King resumed work on “On Writing” in July, though his hip was still shattered and he could only sit for about forty minutes before the pain became worse. Soon it became nearly unbearable. King's lawyer and two others purchased Smith's van for $1,500, reportedly to prevent it from appearing on ebay. The van was later crushed at a junkyard, much to King's disappointment, as he dreamed of beating it with a baseball bat once his leg was healed. King later mentioned during an interview with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross, that he wanted to completely destroy the vehicle himself with a pickaxe.

During this time, Tabitha King was inspired to redesign his studio. King visited the space while his books and belongings were packed away. What he saw was an image of what his studio would look like if he died, providing a seed for his novel “Lisey’s Story”.

In 2002, King announced he would stop writing, apparently motivated in part by frustration with his injuries, which had made sitting uncomfortable and reduced his stamina. He has since resumed writing, but states on his website that: "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.”

On February 16, 2010, King announced on his website that his next book will be a collection of four previously unpublished novella‘s. The book is called “Full Dark, No Stars”. In April of that year, King published Blockade Billy, an original novella issued first by independent small press Cemetery Dance Publications and later released in mass market paperback by Simon and Shuster. The following month, DC Comics premiered American Vampire, a monthly comic book series written by King with short story writer Scott Snyder, and illustrated by Rafael Albuquerque, which represents King's first original comics works.

King's next novel, “11/22/63“, was published November 8, 2011, and the eighth Dark Tower volume, The Wind Through The Keyhole, was published in 2012. King's next novel is the upcoming sequel to “The Shinning” (1977), titled Dr. Sleep, scheduled to be published in 2013, and King is currently working on “Joyland” a novel about "an amusement-park serial killer", according to an article in Sunday Times, published on April 8, 2012.


Source: Wikipedia -
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