As it’s Halloween, we at The Edge thought – why not honour the King of Horror himself, with our very own KingFest? In this article (which can also be found in our print issue), Sophie McEvoy puts Stephen King under the spotlight in one of our new ‘Author in Focus’ pieces.
The month of all things spooky is upon us, and who better to murmur terrifying ghost stories to us on these chilling, autumn nights than the King of Horror himself – Stephen King. A name eponymous within the written world of horror, King has been terrifying readers across the world for more than four decades. There’s no doubt that he deserves the given title of ‘The Master of Horror’.
King has published 57 novels throughout his career, not to mention the 200+ short stories he has under his belt. A large chunk of these novels have become bestsellers, selling more than 350 million copies and earning approximately $40 million a year, according to Forbes. But why? What is it about King that has made him the master of not only horror, but also his craft?
I consider myself a writer, but not in the sense that I could sit down and write a novel. Not that I wouldn’t have the willpower to, but I could never get my imagination down on paper as well as King can. But he has still been a major inspiration for me since I can remember, mainly for his strong mindset when it comes to honing your craft. King’s formula of being a successful writer is always on my mind whenever my fingers touch the keyboard – “Read and write four to six hours a day,” he says. “If you cannot find time for that, you can’t expect to be a good writer.” With a set quota of 2000 words a day, King will not stop writing until that quota is met – a determination that I always follow when it comes to writing.
King is also one of the few writers that doesn’t take himself too seriously. For him, writing was the one thing he was made to do. “I was made to write stories and I love to write stories. That’s why I do it. I really can’t imagine doing anything else and I can’t imagine not doing what I do.” And thank God he can’t, as if it weren’t for King, so many films, television shows, and stories wouldn’t exist. From inspiration to adaptations, King is everywhere.
Carrie started the King-verse off in 1974, and since then King has written countless classics such as Salem’s Lot (1974), The Shining (1977), Firestarter (1980), Cujo (1981), The Running Man (1982), The Dark Tower series (starting in 1982), Pet Sematary (1983), It (1986), Misery (1987), Insomnia (1994), The Green Mile (1996), Under the Dome (2009), 11/22/63 (2011) and Doctor Sleep (2013).
Influenced by famous science-fiction and horror writers like H. P. Lovecraft, Robert Bloch and Jack Finney, King crafted his own unique universe through his novels, novellas and short stories. His success stems from not only his talent at terrifying readers, but his adamancy that the story should be the most significant part of the novel, rather than the author’s personality. And with his upcoming collaboration novel with his son Owen King, Sleeping Beauties, due for release in 2017, it seems like he’s got a lot more in him yet. He was even awarded with a National Medal of Arts by President Obama in 2015, so I’d imagine Stephen King isn’t about to stop anytime soon.