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alarm or interest you?
SK: Right now, it’s all
about Amazon, Nook,
iBooks and the burgeoning e-reader market.
This both interests and
alarms me. Some writers have begun referring to Amazon as “the
Death Star,” and I don’t
buy that. Publishers will
have to adapt to the technology, because the
technology isn’t going away.
CC: You’ve written across many genres,
including horror, fantasy and mystery. Do you
wish you could shake the ties to horror specifically or drop all ties to genres in general?
Along those lines, do you see a blurring of
genres these days?
SK: As a rule, I don’t worry about genre. I
just want to tell a good story, with characters
that interest me and my readers. The whole
concept of genre seems a little bogus to me.
I don’t see why you can’t have romance and
steamy sex in a supernatural novel, or a few
big scares in a romantic novel. Or a Western
with robots (savvy readers will know I actually
did that one).
CC: What is it about fear—the kind found
between the covers of a book that can stick
with readers for days, months or longer—that
motivates you to write and that keeps your fans
eagerly awaiting every next novel of yours?
SK: Oh, when it comes to terror, I never
worry about the reader. I try to scare myself,
feeling that what frightens me—like a clown
in the sewer, or giant rats in an abandoned
mill—will scare others. Striking fear into readers’ hearts isn’t really my prime motivation,
anyway. What I really want is to pull the
reader in, and give him or her an immersive
experience. Basically, I want to own the reader
for the length of the story.
CC: As an author, do you prefer to be involved in the cinematic retelling of your stories? Is it challenging to relinquish control of
SK: If I’m involved, I give it my level best. If
I’m not, I give those stories a hug and a kiss
and wish them well in the world of movies or
TV. It’s both sad and liberating—like sending
a kid off to college. C
but when I do, it’s John D. MacDonald and
Ed McBain. I also plan to go back and read
the George R.R. Martin Thrones books. I
love Tolkien, Dan Simmons, Meg Gardiner,
Peter Robinson, Jonathan Franzen … the list
goes on and on. I’m looking forward to the
new David Mitchell, and I’m reading my way
through Emile Zola.
CC: By all accounts, you’re a willing adapter
to technology, especially regarding the written word—e.g., e-books, Twitter. Do you see
any such technology as a detractor from or
enhancement to the reading experience?
SK: The technology is all pretty good,
from my point of view, although the fearless
reader needs to “learn” each new innovation.
Reading an e-book isn’t quite the same as
reading a print book. Neither is listening to an
unabridged novel on audio, although both are
rewarding. Learning Twitter has been tougher
for me, and I’ve made some missteps, but it’s
also been rewarding. I love the idea of expressing thoughts in compressed nuggets. It’s a
valuable skill. Elmore Leonard would have
been great at Twitter. I would have followed
him immediately, just to see what he’d say.
Also to deconstruct how he said it.
CC: You have certainly witnessed changes
in the publishing industry. What trends or
rumblings happening right now, if any, either
The Costco Connection: On your website
you say, “I was made to write stories and I love
to write stories.” What is it about writing that
appeals to you, keeps you at the keyboard day
in and day out?
Stephen King: I love the art of make-believe. Each book (or story) is an exploration.
I love to follow the path into the heart of the
story, because there are always surprises there.
I never know how a thing is going to come out.
CC: What is a day without writing like for
you? Does it ever happen?
SK: I always feel at loose ends during those
hours between 7: 30 a.m. and noon, when I’d
otherwise be working. Time off between projects is absolutely necessary, but I think I get on
my wife’s nerves, puttering aimlessly around the
house. The question makes me think of a lyric
from Jackson Browne’s song “The Load-Out,”
where he says, “We just … wander around
backstage. … The only time that seems too
short is the time that we get to play.”
CC: One of your pieces of advice for writers
is to read as much as possible. Who are some
of your favorite contemporary—and classic—
authors and why?
SK: There’s so much to read, and so little
King of horror
time. I’m reading Lauren Beukes now (Broken
Monsters), because her first one (The Shining
Girls) was awesome. I don’t reread stuff much,