Biography of Stephen King: American author Stephen King was born on September 21, 1947. He writes about fantasy, crime, science fiction, horror, supernatural fiction, and suspense. His books have sold over 350 million copies. King’s works have been adapted into films, comic books, television series, and more. He has published 64 novels including seven under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman. King has received several awards including Bram Stoker, O.Henry, and World Fantasy Awards.

Early and Personal Life

Stephen Edwin King was in Portland, Maine. Donald Edwin King, his father was a traveling vacuum salesman after returning from World War II. Donald was born in Indiana with the surname Pollock, later changing it to King. When King was only two-years-old his father left the family. His mother, Nellie Ruth King raised him and his older brother David under great financial strain. While in high school, he lost interest in organized religion. However, he chooses to believe in the existence of god.

Apparently, as a child, he witnesses one of his friends being struck and killed by a train, although he has no memory of it. According to some commentators, this incident perhaps psychologically inspired him to create some of his darker works.

He attended Durham Elementary School and in 1966 he graduated from Lisbon Falls High School. King entered the University of Maine and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English in 1970. He held several jobs to pay for his education, including an industrial laundry worker, a janitor, and a gas-station attendant.

King met Tabitha Spruce, a fellow student at the university’s Fogler Library and they wed in 1971. She is a philanthropic activist and novelist. They have a daughter and two sons – and four grandchildren.

Biography of Stephen King | King of Horror
Biography of Stephen King | King of Horror

Beginnings and Career

Even though he earned a certificate to teach high school after graduating from the University of Maine, he was unable to find a teaching job. He supplemented his wage by selling short stories to men’s magazines such as Cavalier. In the year 1971, King got a job as a teacher at Hampden Academy in Maine. During 1966-70 he wrote a draft about The Long Walk and Sword in the Darkness.

In 1973, Doubleday publishing house accepted King’s fourth novel but first published novel Carrie. Salem’s Lot was published in 1975. After the death of King’s mother, the family shifted to Boulder where he wrote The Shining. The family came back home in 1975 and King completed The Stand. In 1977, King started teaching creative writing at the University of Maine. King published infrequently The Dark Tower series over four decades (1978-2012)

In 1982, King published his popular collection of four novellas Different Seasons. This is popular because three of the four novellas have been adapted into films. Stand by Me was adapted from The Body; The Shawshank Redemption was adapted from Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption; Apt Pupil was named after the novella.

In 1985, he wrote a few pages of the comic book Heroes for Hope Starring the X-Men. It was written by other popular writers including Stan Lee, Alan Moore, and Chris Claremont. In 1986, King published It, the best selling hardcover novel in the US of that year. He wrote the introduction of Batman No. 400 and expressed his preference for Batman over Superman.

Stephen King – Pseudonyms

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Stephen King published several short novels Rage; The Long Walk; Roadwork; The Running Man; and Thinner under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. He picked up that name from one of his favorite rock bands Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Stephen King dedicated The Dark Half (1989) to a pseudonym turning to a writer. Stephen King has also used other pseudonyms. He published The Fifth Quarter short story under the pseudonym of John Swithen.

Biography of Stephen King | King of Horror
Biography of Stephen King | King of Horror

Collaborations – Writings and Music

Stephen King has written two novels in collaboration with horror novelist Peter Straub – The Talisman (1984)and a sequel Black House (2001). In 1989, he produced My Pretty Pony, an artist’s book with designer Barbara Kruger. He wrote Throttle (2009) in collaboration with his son Joe Hill. Their second novella collaboration named In the Tall Grass was published in two parts in Esquire. King and his son Owen King released the novel Sleeping Beauties in 2017. Richard Chizmar collaborated with King to write the horror novella Gwendy’s Button Box (2017).

Stephen King collaborated with Michael Jackson to create the 40-minute musical video Ghosts (1996). In 2012 he collaborated with Shooter Jennings and his band Hierophant providing the narration for the album Black Ribbons. He played guitar for the rock band Rock Bottom Remainders. King also wrote a musical with musician John Mellencamp entitled Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.

Stephen King – Writing Style and Influence

Stephen King’s formula for writing books is to read and write for four to six hours daily. He says “if you cannot find the time for that, you can’t expect to become a good writer.” King writes 2000 words every day. He believes that he was made to write. “I was made to write stories and I love to write stories…I can’t imagine not doing what I do.” When asked why he writes such horrifying stories, he replies, “Why do you assume I have a choice?” He includes names of fictional books and often uses authors as characters in his stories.

Richard Matheson influenced Stephen King the most. Other acknowledged influences include Ray Bradbury, Don Robertson, Joseph Payne Brennan, H.P. Lovecraft, and more. His favorites book in order are The Golden Argosy; Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; The Satanic Verses; McTeague; Lord of the Flies; Bleak House; Nineteen Eighty-Four; The Raj Quartet; Light in August; and Blood Meridian.

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