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Stephen King

Stephen Edwin King was born on September 21, 1947, in Portland, Maine.  His parents were Donald Edwin and Ruth Pillsbury King.  Stephen was the only natural born child in the family, which also had an adopted child, David, two years older.

The Kings lived a relatively typical life until one evening when Donald stepped out to buy some cigarettes and was never heard from again.  King recalls as a child finding a box of his father's mementoes in the attic of their home.  It was filled with sci-fi and horror paperbacks, aborted attempts to write, scrapbooks from his father's merchant marine travels, and one reel of film.  King and his brother secretly pooled their money and rented a movie projector...

    "...and there he is, Donald King of Peru, Indiana, standing against the rail.  He raises his hand; smiles; unknowingly waves to sons who were then not even conceived.  We rewound it, watched it, rewound it, watched it again.  And again.  Hi, Dad: wonder where you are now." - from On Writing

After the disappearance, King's mother raised the family with the help of several relatives and an endless string of babysitters.  The Kings left Maine, traveled throughout the United States, and finally moved back to Durham, Maine, in 1958.

King began his writing career in 1959 after his brother bought a mimeograph machine.  The two created a local newspaper called Dave's Rag, which they sold for five cents a copy.

While attending high school in Lisbon, Maine, in 1962, King joined with his best friend, Chris Chesley, and published a collection of 18 short stories called People, Places, and Things-Volume I.  King's stories included "Hotel at the End of the Road," "I've Got to Get Away!" "The Dimension Warp," "The Thing at the Bottom of the Well," "The Stranger," "I'm Falling," "The Cursed Expedition," and "The Other Side of the Fog."

A year later, King's amateur press, Triad and Gaslight Books, published a two part book entitled The Star Invaders.

After enrolling in college during what King described as a rather uneventful period of his life, he began working on a novel about some kids who take over a classroom and try unsuccessfully to ward off the National Guard.  During his first year at college, he completed his first full-length novel, The Long Walk.  He submitted it to Bennett Cerf at Random House, and Cerf rejected it.  King took the rejection personally and filed the book away.  His first small sale came with his story, "The Glass Floor," for the amount of thirty-five dollars, which was just enough to hook him on writing for life.

In June, 1970, King was graduated from the University of Maine with a Bachelor of Science degree in English and a certificate to teach high school.  His next idea for a book came from the poem by Robert Browning, "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came."  He found some bright green paper in the library and began work on The Dark Tower saga.  But his lack of income forced him to abandon the book before its completion, as he took a job pumping gas for $1.25 an hour.

Gradually, King began earning money from short story sales to men's magazines such as Cavalier.  On January 2, 1971, he married Tabitha Jane Spruce, and in the fall, he took a teaching job at Hampden Academy, where he earned $6,400 a year.  The Kings moved to Hermon, Maine, just west of Bangor.

It was there that King began work on a short story about a teenage girl named Carietta White.  After completing a few pages, he decided it wasn't very good and threw the crumpled pages into the waste basket.  But Tabitha took the pages out and read them.  She encouraged her husband to continue the story.  He did, and in January, 1973, King submitted Carrie to Doubleday.  In March, Doubleday bought the book, and on May 12, they sold the paperback rights to New American Library for $400,000.  And Stephen King, top-selling author, was off and running.

King has since gone on to create numerous novels and short stories.  Known as the "King of Horror," he has more than 300 million copies of his novels in publication in nearly 50 different languages.  

Following an accident in 1999 that left the author in critical condition with injuries to his lung, ribs, leg, and hip, King was released from the hospital and went back to his home in Bangor, where he continues to write and enjoy life.

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