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