Stephen King birthday special: Unknown facts about ‘king of horror’

Referred to as the ‘king of horror’ the author has managed to scare readers with his writings. Here are some unknown facts about King, who celebrates his birthday on September 21

  • King has published 54 novels, including seven under the pen name Richard Bachman, and six non-fiction books. He has written nearly 200 short stories, and his books have sold more than 350 million copies.
  • King sold his first professional short story, “The Glass Floor”, to Startling Mystery Storiesin 1967, while he was in school. In 1973, King’s first novel Carrie was accepted by publishing house Doubleday. More popular novels soon followed, including Salem’s Lot (1975), The Shining (1977), Firestarter (1980), Cujo (1981) and IT (1986).
  • He has a fear of the number 13, also called as triskaidekaphobia. Speaking about his problem, King has once said during an interview: “The number 13 never fails to trace that old icy finger up and down my spine. When I’m writing, I’ll never stop work if the page number is 13 or a multiple of 13; I’ll just keep on typing till I get to a safe number. I always take the last two steps on my back stairs as one, making 13 into 12. There were after all 13 steps on the English gallows up until 1900 or so. When I’m reading, I won’t stop on page 94, 193, or 382, since the sums of these numbers add up to 13.”
  • King was declared unfit for military service in Vietnam because the draft board found him 4-F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet and punctured eardrums.
  • King’s is a family of writers. His wife, Tabitha, has nine published novels to her credit. Both of King’s sons, Joseph Hillstrom Kingand Owen King are published authors. Joseph writes under the pen name Joe Hill and first book, the limited edition collection 20th Century Ghosts contains 14 short stories. Owen published his first collection of stories, We’re All in This Together: A Novella and Stories, in 2005. King also has a daughter, Naomi King who is not an author.
  • King has written two novellas in collaboration with his son Joe Hill: Throttle(2009), which appears in the anthology He Is Legend: Celebrating Richard Matheson and In the Tall Grass (2012), which was published in two parts in Esquire.
  • King and his wife Tabitha own three radio stations in their home state of Maine.
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Stephen King birthday special: Unknown facts about ‘king of horror’
  • According to Guinness Superlatives, more of King’s books have been adapted into films than any other living author.Cujo and Firestarter were released for the big screen in 1983 and 1984 respectively. It debuted as a miniseries in 1990. The Shining, released in 1980; starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall, became a renowned horror thriller that has stood the test of time. (pic: shinning)[/alert]
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Stephen King birthday special: Unknown facts about ‘king of horror’
  • In 1994, The Shawshank Redemption, starring Tim Robbinsand Morgan Freeman and based on one of his stories, became another acclaimed movie with multiple Oscar nominations. King’s 1978 novel The Stand became a 1994 miniseries with Molly Ringwald and Gary Sinise in the lead, while the mid-’90s serialised outing The Green Mile was turned into a 1999 prison-based film starring Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan.[/alert]
  • King is a lover of music. King is a fan of the Ramones, to the extent that he wrote the liner notes for the 2003 Ramones tribute album We’re a Happy Family. King sometimes plays guitar and sings in a band called Rock Bottom Remainders with fellow literary stars like Dave Barry, Barbara Kingsolverand Amy Tan. The group has performed a number of times over the years to raise money for charity.
  • King’s formula for learning to write well is: “Read and write four to six hours a day. If you cannot find the time for that, you can’t expect to become a good writer.” He sets out each day with a quota of 2000 words and will not stop writing until it is met.
  • King has also been involved in several political activists. In April 2008, King spoke out against HB 1423, a bill pending in the Massachusetts state legislaturethat would restrict or ban the sale of violent video games to anyone under the age of 18. King’s website states that he is a supporter of the Democratic Party. During the 2008 presidential election, King voiced his support for Democratic candidate Barack Obama.
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Stephen King birthday special: Unknown facts about ‘king of horror’
  • It is said that, Ronald McDonald was one of the influences for Pennywise, the scary joker from his successful novel It, which was also made into a movie recently and has been a huge hit world over. [/alert]

Compiled by Manasi Y Mastakar

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