Author: Sherry Helms
Tomorrow, September 21, is the 66th birthday of one of the most prolific authors of horror and suspense bestsellers-Stephen Edwin King. He has much to commemorate this year considering the success of his amazing new novel, “Joyland” released on 4th June–the #1 New York Times Bestseller. And the Stephen’s long awaited sequel of “The Shining,” titled “Doctor Sleep” coming out this fall.
The author of more than fifty books, including seven under pseudonym Richard Bechman, has inspired many budding and established writers. For over four decades, Mr. King has been providing us some of the most bone chilling and gut wrenching novels. Moreover, his books have also offered groundwork for several truly great movies. His masterpiece comprises Under the Dome, now a major TV miniseries on CBS. He has been the Recipient of many awards including Bram Stoker Award, World Fantasy award for Life Achievement and Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American letters.
When king was three years old, his father-a sea merchant- abandoned his family under the lie of “going to buy a pack of cigarettes”. After that his mother took him and his adopted brother David to Stratford but the family came back to their home town of Durham, Maine after a few years.
King’s writing career began when he started writing articles for his brother’s local newspaper-Dave’s Rag- although his first success as a writer came with a novel, Carrie, in 1973 which was accepted by American publishing company Doubleday. This was a bittersweet revenge story of a teenage girl with psyche powers.
However, soon after the release of this book, King’s mother died due to uterine cancer. After his mother’s death, he and his family shifted to Colorado, where King penned down “The Shining“. In 1975, King and his family returned to Maine where he finished his fourth book The Stand. Later, King admitted On Writing that he struggled with severe drinking and drug problems during the 1980s, confessing that he was intoxicated on his mother’s funeral.
During 1970s, King embarked on writing a series of interconnected stories. The collection of these stories is known as The Dark Tower Stories that is believed to be his magnum opus. The Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine first published this collection in five yearly installments starting from 1977 to 1981. With the groundbreaking success of his first novel- The Gunslinger- in the Dark Tower Series, King found himself at the top of the fantasy and horror fiction authors. He earned a huge success in his literary career that allowed him to become one of the wealthiest authors in the world. The largest part of his earning has come flowed from the royalties of his books that have sold over 350 million copies.
It has been believed that the gruesome accident that took place during his childhood with his friend, who was being hit by a train, could have been the ground of his dark and gripping creations, though king himself dismisses the idea. His early novels like The Shining, Carrie, and Night Shift focused on lower-class families struggling from minimum wage works: the late 80s work moved a little higher from working class people to middle-class people like doctors, authors and teachers; his late 90s work involved upper-class people who can easily afford a second home. All throughout, this ex-teacher from Maine with his inspiring and terrific novels has left an indelible mark upon the culture around him both highbrow and lowbrow.
Following are his major published works until now:
Tell us in comment about your favorite Stephen King novel (and why).