#RespectYourElders: Stephen King, 71, is a world-famous author of horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy stories. He’s also an advocate for up-and-coming writers in his home state of Maine.
After working his way up from relative poverty in a working-class town in Maine, today, King is one of the best-selling authors of all time. He has published 58 novels, six non-fiction books and approximately 200 short stories.
King decided at a young age that he wanted to write horror stories for a living. In a 2009 interview with Barnes & Noble Studios, he told the story of how he found that inspiration. He and his brother were exploring the crawl space behind their apartment where many of his father’s things were stored. There, he found a collection of paperback novels, including H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Lurker at the Threshold.”
Of that discovery, he said, “I knew that I’d found home when I read that book.”
Through high school and then college at the University of Maine, he continued to read and write horror. In 1967, his first short story “The Glass Floor” was professionally published in “Startling Mystery Stories.”
Through the rest of the 1960s and early 70s, King wrote and sold short stories and taught English. Then, in 1974, his novel “Carrie” was published. The rest is history.
In the 1970s, King became a household name with his horror novels in addition to “Carrie,” like “Salem’s Lot,” “The Shining,” “The Stand” and many, many more. A lot of his stories have also been adapted to popular movies, including prison dramas “The Green Mile” and “The Shawshank Redemption.”
King recently made news when the largest daily newspaper in Maine, the Portland Press Herald, announced they would no longer publish reviews of local authors’ works. He publicly expressed his disappointment in this decision on Twitter to his more than 500 million followers, saying those authors relied on the exposure of those reviews to make a living.
So, citing the challenges newspapers face today, the Portland Press Herald said they’d keep running the reviews if King could help them bring in 100 new subscribers. With King’s help, the newspaper received about 200 new subscribers in less than 48 hours, and the local book reviews were saved.
In the more than 50 years since he was first published, audiences still love King’s stories, both written and on screen. In 2018, his new novel “The Outsider” was named one of the best horror books of the year. This year, a new adaptation of “Pet Sematary” starring John Lithgow and the second part of the latest adaptation of “It,” starring James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader and Bill Skarsgård, will both hit the big screen.
In the interview with Barnes & Noble Studios, King said, “I’m built to try and give readers satisfaction. I like to tell stories, and I like to make people excited about what I do.”