Stephen King

Stephen Edwin King was born on September 21, 1947 in Portland, Maine He was a suprise addition to the family, as his mother had been told that she would never have children. His parents, Donald and Nellie King, were experiencing difficulties in their marriage, and when Stephen King was only 2, his father, a door-to-door salesman for Electrolux, left the house to buy a pack of cigarettes...but never returned. Stephen King hasn't seen his father since.

Stephen and his adopted older brother, David King, lived with their mother back and forth between Massachusetts and Maine, and his passion for writing surfaced in 1959 when he wrote articles in his brothers local “newspaper” titled “Daves Rag”. Copied on a mimeograph machine, and with a circulation of only 20 or so, Stephen wrote articles ane even his views on upcomiong television shows. Inspired by the relative success, Stephen copied some of his short stories and sold them to local people for a whole THIRTY CENTS!. Stephen actually sold some of his work at school until teachers put a stop to it.
There were many short stories written by King during these formative years, and many were actually published by the company called “Triad and Gaslight Books”. The publishers were actually Stephen and David King, along with Chris Chesley. The last of these self published works was the 2 part, 3000 word “The Star Invaders”.

Much of King’s early works were science fiction based, but because he lacked the scientific grounding, they tended to be a bit thin on detail, but still excellent for someone of his age. Stephens interest in horror writing began in 1959 when he found a box of old science-fiction and horror magazines at his Aunt’s house. Inspired by such writers as Howard Phillips Lovecraft, Robert Bloch abd Jack Finney, he began thinking more about horror writing, and published “I Was A Teenage Grave Robber” in comics review later that year. Despite this early publication, Stephen King’s first professional sale occurred in 1967 when Startling Mystery Stories accepted his story “The Glass Floor”.
King said in an interview in 1988: “I have a sense of injustice that came, I think ... My mother was a single parent. Her husband deserted her when I was 2, and she went through a lot of menial jobs. We were the little people. We were dragged from pillar to post, and there was none of this equal opportunity stuff going on at that time. We were latchkey kids before there were latchkey kids, and she was a female wage earner when, basically, women did scut work and cleaned up other people’s messes. And she never complained about it a lot. But I wasn’t dumb and I wasn’t blind. And I got a sense of who was being taken advantage of and who was lording it over the other people. A lot of that sense of injustice stayed. It stuck with me, and it’s still in the books today.”

Stephen King graduated from high school in 1966 and continued on to the University of Maine at Orono. While studying at University, he met his wife-to- be, Tabitha Spruce. He received his bachelors of science in English in 1970, then married Tabitha Spruce in 1971.

Stephen King began his work at an industrial laundromat, then became a janitor, then finally became an English teacher at Hamden Public School in Maine in the Fall of 1971. He didn’t earn enough money, and had trouble paying the bills. He wrote whenever he wasn’t working, and published Carrie in 1974 with Doubleday, after receiving a $2,500 advance for a book that Tabitha rescued from the garbage can! Carrie was an instant success, and it’s movie, released in 1976, was also popular.

The one thing that really helped the struggling Kings was the sale of Carrie, but on May 12, 1973 a simple phone call changed their life forever. Doubleday had sold the rights to reprint Carrie to New American Library for $400,000, and King was to get Half! To mark the event, Stephen bought Tabitha a hairdryer. The struggle for money had now ceased, and allowed Stephen to concentrate on his writing unlike any time in the past. Alas, Stephens mother Nellie, lived only long enough to learn of the acceptance of Carrie, but not long enough to actually see it in print.
The acceptance of Salems Lot, initially titled “Second Coming”, as King’s second book was enough to type King as a horror writer, but this did not seem to worry him. The subsequent sale of the reprint rights to NAL earned King half of the $500,000 sale price.

King’s third novel in print was The Shining, and was based on a weekend visit to a hotel. Stephen and Tabitha decided to spend a weekend away from the children, and came apon the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. Staying in room 217, King found that he was filled with dread on a number of occasions. Like many times before and after, King used real life characters from the hotel, including Grady, the hotel bartender. King said “I was able to invest a lot of my unhapy aggressive impulses in Jack Torrance...”. It was this novel that set King’s horror typing in concrete.

King chose to leave Doubleday books and join NAL (owner of Viking) for a variety of reasons - the main one being monetary. King also discovered another side effect. When they produced The Dead Zone, the cover was much more vibrant and eye catching, and the book itself had a better look and feel to the books produced by Doubleday.

Since then, he has published over 30 novels, and he has over 100 million copies in print. Despite writing about gruesome horror subjects, Stephen King has many fears (See the list above).
Stephen King enjoys rock music (i.e. Bruce Springsteen). He has many quotes in his novels from rock songs, and is in the band “Rock Bottom Remainders”. The other members of the band are Dave Barry, Amy Tan, Robert Fulghum, Matt Groening, and Roy Blount, Jr."Rock ‘n’ Roll,” says Stephen King, “continues to renew and refresh those who practice its mysteries.” Hitching their tour bus to that star, he and the other bestselling authors in the Rock Bottom Remainders spent two weeks barnstorming the East Coast - playing clubs where the customers brandished books, and clubs where the listeners brandished clubs - massacring rock ‘n’ roll classics everywhere.
Consider the man. While many of his myriad fans are more than a trifle weird, the writer himself seems to be almost studiedly normal. He wears Levis and specs, carries a ballpoint pen in his breast pocket, watches baseball and drinks Pepsi. He lives quietly in Bangor, Maine, with his wife and children. “My wife, my kids - they see me one way,” King has said, “but something happens when you write - something that’s not a normal thing. Whoever I am, when I’m walking around, that’s one person. But somebody else writes the books.”

In 1989, King signed a deal with Viking that netted him $35 million for four books, a new record. As generous as that deal was, King announced his decision to leave Viking (his publisher of eighteen years) in 1997, in order to establish a new relationship with a house willing to pay a $17 million asking price for his latest novel, Bag of Bones. He soon struck a deal with Simon & Schuster in which he would receive an $8 million advance for the 1,000-page tome, in addition to a 50% share of the profits earned from its sale, and from the sale of two upcoming works, a short-story collection and a nonfiction book about writing. King is also hard at work adapting his best-selling book Desperation for a New Line Cinema feature film.