Stephen King is a prolific American author who is known for his suspense and fantasy novels. King has written several novels since his first short story sale in 1967 that have become pop cultural signposts. Every Stephen King reader has a favorite tale or series, from Christine to Cujo. His works have sold more than 350 million copies. Many of these have been adapted into movies or series for television. He has written many books, including non-fiction and over 200 short stories. King also has an alias named Richard Bachman.
Stephen King was born September 21, 1947 in Portland, Maine. He has an older brother, David. His parents Donald and Nellie Ruth divorced when he was young. When he was eleven they moved from Indiana to Durham, Maine. King went to elementary school in Durham and graduated in 1966 from Lisbon Falls High School. He attended the University of Maine at Orono where he wrote for the school’s newspaper. He also was active in Student Senate and supported the anti-war movement at UMO. He graduated in 1970 with a Bachelor of the Arts in English. His daughter Naomi Rose was born the same year.
Following graduation, King failed a draft board examination for service and was not drafted to participate in the War. He married Tabitha King in 1971. He had met Tabitha when they were students in the library stacks where they both worked. King worked as an industrial laundry laborer as a result of not being able to find a teaching position right away. He sold several short stories to magazines and finally found a job teaching English at Hampden Academy in the fall of 1971. He continued to write in his spare time while teaching.
Stephen King’s first novel Carrie was accepted for publication in 1973 by Doubleday & Co. In between the Kings moved to southern Maine due to the poor health of Stephen’s mother. King wrote what would become Salem’s Lot while the family stayed at the summer cottage. His mother died the same year from cancer at the age of 59.
Carrie was published in the spring of 1974. The Kings moved to Colorado for what would ultimately be a year, during which time Stephen King wrote The Shining, which is set in the same state. Carrie was made in to a feature film starring Sissy Spacek as an outcast high school girl who discovers she has mental powers. It is being made into a 2013 revision starring Chloe Moretz. The Shining was made into a full-length movie in 1980 starring Jack Nicholson and directed by Stanley Kubrick. Jack Nicholson won an Oscar for Best Actor for the role.
The Kings bought a home in western Maine near the lakes and returned there to live for some time. During this period, King wrote The Stand, set in Colorado, and The Dead Zone. The Shining was published in 1977 and The Stand was published the next year.
After spending some time in England, the Kings returned to Maine and bought a house in Center Lovell. They then moved closer to Bangor for a position Stephen had been offered at the University of Maine Orono teaching Creative Writing. In 1979 they returned to Center Lovell, then bought a home in Bangor. King wrote a number of additional novels from 1977 to 1980 as well. He finished Rage, Night Shift, a collection of stories, The Long Walk, and Firestarter.
Cujo was published in 1981. The book would be made into a feature-length film the same year that gave hundreds of children nightmares about a terrifying, crazed rabid dog. King has little to no memory of writing it. It was during this time period that King’s family staged an intervention for his drug and alcohol addiction. Confronted with the numerous substances he abused, King quit all drugs and alcohol in the late 1980s. He debuted as a director with an adaptation of his short story “Trucks”, called “Maximum Overdrive”.
King published the first of his Dark Tower series in 1982. The novel was called The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger. It would be followed by six more books through the years and is King’s own stated magnum opus. The story spans two worlds that are strangely connected and may be in more ways than one. Roland is The Gunslinger, a courageous man of honor with a storied past. He is pursuing the mysterious Man In Black, and meets a child named Jake who hails from Manhattan. Part John Wayne, part archetype, the series is inspired by a number of things dear to King, including spaghetti western movies and Kurosawa’s “The Seven Samurai”.
The second story in the Dark Tower series is called The Drawing of the Three”. It was published in 1987. Roland is in a bind once again, waking up on a beach filled with hungry carnivorous lobsters. Three doors appear to him that are linked to different worlds. They take him to meet different people. These include a dangerous sociopath named Jack Mort, a woman with multiple personalities named Odetta, and Eddie Dean, who is desperately addicted to heroin. Roland must navigate his way through the various timelines and worlds on Earth while just maybe being able to act in them to save a life.
Multiple Stephen King novels have been adapted for television or made into movies over the years. Along the way, they’ve become pop culture icons. Christine, a movie about a car come to life, was made in 1983. The Dead Zone, starring Christopher Walken, also came out that year about a man developing the power to see the future after waking from a coma.
Children of the Corn debuted in 1984 and led to an impressive seven sequels. Firestarter also became a feature film starring Drew Barrymore in 1984 and later became a tv series. Stand By Me was made into a movie in 1986 and enjoyed wide critical success. King’s Running Man was made into a 1987 film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as a contestant in a dystopian television game show where the winners regain their freedom.
Other notable movies include Pet Sematary, a spooky thriller about dead pets come to life, and 1990’s Misery, which Kathy Bates won an Oscar for as the kidnapper of a famous author. Shawshank Redemption earned rave reviews and The Green Mile grossed over $135 million at the box office alone featuring Michael Clarke Douglas as a doomed inmate with special abilities.
Books in order of publication by series:
Dark Tower Books
|The Drawing of the Three||(1987)|
|The Waste Lands||(1991)|
|Wizard and Glass||(1997)|
|Wolves of the Calla||(2003)|
|Song of Susannah||(2004)|
|The Dark Tower||(2004)|
|The Wind Through the Keyhole||(2012)|
Green Mile Books
|The Two Dead Girls||(1996)|
|The Mouse on the Mile||(1996)|
|The Bad Death of Eduard Delacroix||(1996)|
|Coffey on the Mile||(1996)|
Bill Hodges Trilogy Books
|End of Watch||(2016)|
|The Long Walk||(1979)|
|The Dead Zone||(1979)|
|The Running Man||(1982)|
|The Eyes of the Dragon||(1987)|
|The Dark Half||(1989)|
|The Green Mile||(1996)|
|Bag of Bones||(1998)|
|The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon||(1999)|
|From a Buick 8||(2002)|
|The Colorado Kid||(2005)|
|Under the Dome||(2009)|
|Cycle of the Werewolf||(2019)|
|The Breathing Method||(1984)|
|My Pretty Pony||(1989)|
|The Library Policeman||(1991)|
|Secret Window, Secret Garden||(1991)|
|Four Past Midnight: The Sun Dog||(1993)|
|Sorry, Right Number||(1993)|
|Umney’s Last Case||(1995)|
|The Shawshank Redemption||(1995)|
|Riding the Bullet||(2000)|
|A Face in the Crowd||(2012)|
|In the Tall Grass||(2012)|
|A Good Marriage||(2014)|
|Gwendy’s Button Box||(2017)|
Short Story Collections
|Stephen King’s Creepshow||(1982)|
|Four Past Midnight||(1990)|
|Nightmares and Dreamscapes||(1993)|
|Hearts in Atlantis||(1999)|
|Secret Windows: Essays and Fiction on the Craft of Writing||(2000)|
|Everything’s Eventual: 14 Dark Tales||(2002)|
|The Secretary of Dreams, Volume 1||(2006)|
|Just After Sunset||(2008)|
|Stephen King Goes to the Movies||(2009)|
|Full Dark, No Stars||(2010)|
|The Secretary of Dreams, Volume 2||(2010)|
|The Bazaar of Bad Dreams||(2015)|
|If It Bleeds||(2020)|
|The Best American Short Stories 2007||(2007)|
|The Best Horror of the Year, Volume 4||(2012)|
|Six Scary Stories||(2016)|
|Flight or Fright||(2018)|
|Storm of the Century||(1999)|
|The Talisman, Vol. 1: The Road of Trials||(2009)|
|American Vampire, Vol. 1||(2010)|
|Nightmares in the Sky||(1988)|
|Hard Listening: The Greatest Rock Band Ever (of Authors) Tells All||(2013)|
|Hearts in Suspension||(2016)|