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An introduction to the life of steven king the king of terror

I interviewed Stephen King while I was a radio talk show host in Texas in the late s. This article is based on a transcript of that radio program.

Stephen is still writing as of He is one of the best selling authors of all time. I have added a few recent comments, which will appear in blue text. Stephen King is the unabashed king of the terror tale. For the last 10 years, his stories have consistantly appeared on every best seller list. On many occasions, he has even had two books simultaniously on the prestigious New York Times best seller list. His stories range from the ghastly and the unworldly, to the realm of near truth and the terrifyingly possible.

He has scared the wits out of millions and has firmly established himself in modern American literature. Some of his writings include: Many of his novels have become major motion pictures, with Dead Zone, Christine and Carrie being three of his more popular cinematic offerings.

King lives in Maine with his wife and children. He enjoys the "life of the back woods," as he calls it. King writes about what he knows, consequently, many of his stories are set in his "own neck of the woods. We share this sense of humor He enjoys his work and takes a great deal of pride in it. When asked if he was a storyteller, he said he didn't think he could keep an audience spellbound just by telling them a story. But, in his description of the facts behind one of his short stories, The Mangler, as told below, you will see how well endowed he is with the ability to raise the hackles on your neck with only a brief narration.

I understand you don't like to be asked why you write the kind of stories you do. I have always felt a little bit uncomfortable with that question. It's not a question that you would ask a guy that writes detective stories or the guy that writes mystery stories, or westerns, or whatever.

But it is asked of the writer of horror stories because it seems that there is something nasty about our love for horror stories, or boogies, ghosts and goblins, demons and devils. When did you start writing? I started writing seriously when I was about Do you have to be in a special mood to start writing?

I am always in the mood. Do you have a certain method that you use when you write? It usually is a set schedule. I write in the mornings, in the bright daylight. But I get most of my good ideas after the sun has gone down and the dark is on the land.

  1. What are you talking about?
  2. It is this type of turn of a phrase that has made King's writing so poular Do you consider what you write "horror stories?
  3. Quite a few of your stories deal with average people beset by great difficulties, and, in essence, you are dealing with human nature.
  4. As a child, did you read horror stories and go to see horror movies?
  5. Is the town of Jerusalem's Lot Salem's Lot a real town?

It is this type of turn of a phrase that has made King's writing so poular Do you consider what you write "horror stories? But in the back of my mind, in the closet where I keep the truth, I think of them as horror stories. A lot of them I think of as creep shows.

  • I have added a few recent comments, which will appear in blue text;
  • I started writing seriously when I was about 12;
  • I cannot conceive of circumstances under which I would participate in that sort of thing or stay overnight in a house that was reputed to be haunted or any of those things.

A few years after this interview, Stephen wrote a script for a movie by George Romero. That movie was titled "Creep Show. In a way it is my favorite story, mostly because of what it says about small towns. They are kind of a dying organism right now.

The story seems sort of down home to me. I have a special cold spot in my heart for it! Is the town of Jerusalem's Lot Salem's Lot a real town? It is based on a town in upstate Vermont, that I heard about as an undergraduate in college, called Jeremiah's Lot.

I was going through Vermont with a friend and he pointed out the town, just in passing, as we went by in the car. He said, "You know, they say that everybody in that town just simply disappeared in What are you talking about? Haven't you heard of the Marie Celest where everybody supposedly disappeared? This is the same thing.

  • If it scares somebody, I think that it is serving a valid purpose;
  • His stories range from the ghastly and the unworldly, to the realm of near truth and the terrifyingly possible;
  • His stories range from the ghastly and the unworldly, to the realm of near truth and the terrifyingly possible;
  • Yes, I got letters from people that have had peculiar psychic experiences, experiences with the dead -- sometimes fairly tranquil experiences and sometimes very terrifying experiences;
  • I have also wanted to write a really good elevator story about the fear of heights;
  • How faithfully have your stories been transferred to the screen?

One day they were there and then one day a relative came over to look for someone that they hadn't heard from in awhile; and all of the houses were empty. Some of the houses had dinner set on the table. Some of the stores still had money in them. It was covered in mold from the summer damp and it was starting to rot, but nobody had stolen it.

The town was completely emptied out. I get inspiration, a lot of times, from very commonplace things that just strike a chord and develop themselves in the subconscious.

Sometimes it's something a little bit more sensational than that. As an example, there is a story in the book Night Shift, called 'The Mangler,' about a laundry machine that takes on a sort of malignant life. I worked in a laundry for about a year and a half after I got out of college. It was the only job I could find to support my wife and our first child. There was a fellow there that had no hands or forearms. He simply had hooks. This is one of the things that they don't tell you about when you become management.

You have to wear a tie.

  • Still, I will be giving 3 stars;
  • It is the reaction you have to the idea that a machine could literally, physically come alive and want to suck people in and grind them up;
  • We share this sense of humor He enjoys his work and takes a great deal of pride in it;
  • Which means for the first twelve or fourteen weeks of a woman's pregnancy, she can abort her fetus.

It was this fellow's tie that did him in. It was just after World War II and he was working around the machines. The steam ironer and folder is the machine the workers call the Mangler, because that is what it will do to you if you get too close to it or get caught in it. This fellow bent down to pick something up and his tie went into the machine. He reached down with his left hand to pull his tie out and his hand went into the machine.

Then he put his right hand around his left wrist to try to pull it out and his right hand got caught. As a result, he lost both hands and forearms and was lucky not to have died.

His hands were replaced by hooks. And people wonder why I don't like ties! Thirty years later, when I worked there, he would go into the men's room, during the summer and turn on the hot and cold water and run it over the hooks. He would then come up behind you and lay the hooks on the back of your neck.

That's what gave me the inspiration for that particular story. I always think of the machine at the end of the story, which sort of becomes possessed by a demon and escapes from the laundry and goes through the streets, as sort of having escaped because it had "pressing business.

MacDonald came to do the introduction? His field is so far from your own.

  1. A few years after this interview, Stephen wrote a script for a movie by George Romero.
  2. We have unsettling remnants of Atlantis. As much as I loved the concept at first, my emotion on that turned around.
  3. But still, it is valid and we have a need for it.
  4. We have as much proof, furthermore, barring some technological development that does not exist now, as we are ever going to have. What do you think?

When we were putting the book together for Doubleday, my editor asked me who I would like to do the introduction if I could have anyone in the world. I said that it was off the wall, but if I could have anybody I would like to have John D.

MacDonald because I had cut my teeth on his stories.

Bare Bones: Conversations on Terror with Stephen King

I still think that of all the people doing top fiction today, he is the best. He was my model as a kid. If there are people out there that want to write, all you need to do is read 20 of his stories to get an idea what it takes to make a story kick over. Would you ever participate in a seance? I would NOT participate in one under any circumstances. Not even if my wife died and a medium said she had a message from my wife.

I cannot conceive of circumstances under which I would participate in that sort of thing or stay overnight in a house that was reputed to be haunted or any of those things.

We are too close as it is to a world that is incomprehensible. And the time comes when you and I and everyone who walks the face of this earth has to enter that world. We will know then, and I can wait. Are you interested in psychics, ESP and similar areas? I am interested in it and I think now in the latter half of the twentieth century we have enough documentation so that anyone that doubts the psychic experience is an actual empiric reality is on the level with a person who continues to smoke two or three packs of cigarettes a day and denies that there is a link between smoking and lung cancer.

The documentation is there.

See a Problem?

It can barely be questioned any further. We have as much proof, furthermore, barring some technological development that does not exist now, as we are ever going to have. It is simply the preponderance of evidence; it precludes the doubt almost entirely. What is your personal feeling about reincarnation? I don't believe in it. I don't like the idea that I am going to come back as an ant or a sparrow if I don't get along in the great karma of life. As far as where I go when I die, the concept that I am simple going to flick out, like a light bulb, to me is not only spiritually impossible to believe, but logically it is laughable -- the idea that we simply die and nothing happens.

Now, as to what does go on, that is something else.