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Author Extraordinaire

Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine in 1947, the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his parents separated, Stephen and his older brother, David, were raised by their mother. Part of his childhood was spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family lived at the time, and then in Stratford, Connecticut.

When Stephen was eleven, he went to Durham, Maine, to live with his mother. He graduated from the University of Maine at Orono in 1970, with a B.S. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. King met his future wife, Tabitha Spruce, at the Fogler Library where they both worked. They were married in January of 1971.

Stephen made his first short story sale to a mass market men's magazine shortly after his graduation from the University. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men's magazines. Many of these were later gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.

In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. Writing in the evenings and on weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels until the spring of 1973 when Doubleday & Co. accepted his novel Carrie for publication. A major paperback sale was soon to provide him with the means to leave teaching and write full-time. Stephen moved his family to southern Maine at the end of the summer of 1973. That winter, he wrote his next hit, Salem's Lot.

Carrie was finally published in the spring of 1974. That same fall, the King family left Maine for Boulder, Colorado. During their short stay there, Stephen wrote The Shining, which is set in Colorado. King then moved his family back to Maine in the summer of 1975, and purchased a home. He finished writing The Stand at that time, much of which is set in Boulder. The Dead Zone was written shortly thereafter. In 1980, King settled his family in Bangor, Maine where he lives today.

Many of King's works have been adapted for the screen, including: Carrie, The Dead Zone, The Shining, Christine, Salem's Lot, Firestarter, Cujo, Pet Sematary, (for which King wrote the screenplay and had a bit part as a minister), and Misery, as well as several others.

Stephen was the victim of a near-tragic auto accident in 1999 and many feared he would never write again. But by his own words in the following excerpt from a Time Magazine interview, King has put all those fears to rest:

"I am aware that a lot of people have been concerned about press reports that I am either not writing or not able to write. Most of these reports are the result of material taken out of context in the Dateline interview Tabby and I did. What I said--and I believe the actual interview makes this clear--is that I found it extremely difficult to find my way back into writing after the accident. That battle was fought in July however, and I feel that I won a conditional victory.

"Since the accident I have finished my book on writing, I have written a novelette called Riding the Bullet, and have begun work on an original miniseries for TV. This is called Rose Red and is an expansion of a screenplay I wrote some years ago. I have also begun talking with Peter Straub about finally writing a sequel to The Talisman -we jokingly called this project T2, although I doubt if there will be a part for Arnold Schwartzenegger. My endurance is much less than it was, and my output has been cut in half, but I am working.

"I hope that this sets some fears to rest, and believe me when I say that I am very touched by the expressed concern. I am touched, in fact, that anyone cares at all, one way or the other. Now get out there and do something nice for someone else."

-Stephen King, 2 November 1999

 

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An Interview With Stephen King - By Janet Beaulieu

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Riding the Bullet is a Scribner/Philtrum Press publication.

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