To say people love Stephen King is a true understatement. Let’s look at the numbers.
He has published 61 novels.
He has written approximately 200 short stories.
His books have sold over 350 MILLION copies.
Not to mention numerous literary awards and highly successful movies based on his books. With this kind of track record, King has proven that he can captivate readers and keep them coming back for more. As an author of primarily horror and supernatural fiction, he creates characters that seem real and memorable. His stories are easy to read yet exciting and fast paced, all while leaving you hanging on every page. By weaving complex plots with lots of characters, King has proven himself a master storyteller.
The Beginning of Stephen King
But Stephen King experienced humble beginnings. His father, Donald, went out for cigarettes and never came back, leaving when King was just two years old. His mother, Nellie Ruth, raised him and his brother David, by herself. The family felt great financial strain and often depended on relatives for help.
He began writing for fun while in school, contributing articles to Dave’s Rag, the newspaper his brother published with a mimeograph machine. Later, he began selling stories to his friends based on movies he had seen (his teachers found out and forced him to return the profits).
King went on to graduate from the University of Maine in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. To pay for his education, he worked a variety of jobs including janitor, gas station attendant, and a worker with industrial laundry. He earned a certificate to teach high school, and when he couldn’t find a position right away, he began selling short stories to men’s magazines. Many of these early stories have been republished in the collection, Night Shift.
His short story “The Raft” was published in Adam, a men’s magazine. After being arrested for stealing traffic cones (he was annoyed after one of the cones knocked his muffler loose), he was ordered to pay $250 for petty larceny but had no money to pay the fine. When a check arrived for “The Raft” (then entitled “The Float”), King cashed it to pay the fine.
Then, in 1973, his fourth novel, Carrie, was accepted by publishing house Doubleday to become his first novel published. King had written this book on his wife’s portable typewriter. Originally, Carrie was intended to be a short story for a magazine, but in frustration he threw the first three pages of the work in the trash. Tabitha, his wife, retrieved them and convinced him to finish the story, telling him she would help him with the female perspective. And lucky for us, he followed her advice and expanded it into a novel. He later said that with the $2500 advance he received for Carrie, he bought a new Ford Pinto!
The Rest of King’s Story
After Carrie was published, Stephen King’s career took off and he has proven to be a prolific and popular writer. He has written under several pen names and collaborated with other authors including his two sons, Owen and Joe, who both enjoy successful writing careers. King and his wife Tabitha (also a writer) have a daughter, Naomi Rachel, as well who is a Unitarian Universalist minister.
King has overcome much in his life, including alcoholism, a drug habit, and being hit by a van that tossed him 14 feet, nearly shattering his leg. Through it all, his family and grandchildren have remained a constant in his life, inspiring and supportive. And there’s no indication he’s slowing down in producing the uniquely satisfying books we’ve all come to look forward to reading!
There are so many fantastic Stephen King books… here are just a few of the most popular!
And finally, check out his latest release, If It Bleeds. These four compelling novellas (Mr. Harrigan’s Phone, The Life of Chuck, Rat, and the title story If It Bleeds) are gripping, suspenseful, and at times, outright charming, demonstrating Stephen Kings depth as one of the best storytellers of our time.