Horror legend Stephen King plays On the Book with Drew Barrymore, and shares incredible insight into some of his most famous works, like why he didn’t like The Shining and talks about his new novel Later!
Stephen King, the king of horror and one of the greatest storytellers of our time discusses his latest novel, Later on Good Morning America. The author also shares what he thinks his character Carrie would be up to during quarantine.
Later is available today wherever books are sold.
In the hands of Stephen King, the kids are usually all right — even if their situations always aren’t.
From Danny Torrance in “The Shining” to the Losers Club of “It,” the bestselling master of horror has written plenty of kid protagonists facing all sorts of terrifying foes over the decades. His latest, Jamie Conklin in the new novel “Later” (Hard Case Crime, out Tuesday), is a youngster who has to deal with enemies of the supernatural as well as human persuasion.
Jamie sees dead people, usually hanging out where they passed. And they not only can see him, too, they have to tell him the truth if he asks them a question. His cash-strapped mom Tia and her dirty-cop girlfriend Liz both take advantage of Jamie’s “gift,” but a more terrifying player emerges when Jamie meets a dead serial bomber inhabited by a haunting darkness that chills the boy’s soul.
Stephen King has two new books this year: “Later” and “Billy Summers.”
“I wanted to write about a literary agent because I never had” previously, King says of the story’s origins. “One client that this agent has who is worth big bucks dies suddenly. What’s she going to do about it? What if she has a kid who can see dead people and they have to answer any question that he asked? And I thought, ‘I got a story.’”
In addition to “Later,” the author also has two big projects coming this summer: the new novel “Billy Summers” (Scribner, Aug. 3), about a decorated Iraq war vet turned hitman who wants out after one last job, and an adaptation of his 2006 book “Lisey’s Story” as an eight-part Apple TV+ limited series starring Julianne Moore and Clive Owen.
USA TODAY chatted with King about his work, writing youthful personas and the effects of COVID on his storytelling.
Read the interview HERE.
“My view has always been you can call me whatever you want as long as the checks don’t bounce,” King told The Associated Press during a recent telephone interview. “My idea is to tell a good story, and if it crosses some lines and it doesn’t fit one particular genre, that’s good.”
Readers may know him best for “Carrie,” “The Shining” and other bestsellers commonly identified as “horror,” but King has long had an affinity for other kinds of narratives, from science fiction and prison drama to the Boston Red Sox.
Over the past decade, he has written three novels for the imprint Hard Case Crime: “Joyland,” “The Colorado Kid” and “Later,” which comes out this week. He loves sharing a publisher with such giants of the past as James M. Cain and Mickey Spillane, and loves the old-fashioned pulp illustrations used on the covers.
At the same time, he enjoys writing a crime story that is more than a crime story — or hardly a crime story at all.
“Joyland” is a thriller set around an amusement park and could just as easily be called a coming-of-age story. “The Colorado Kid” has a dead body on an island off the coast of King’s native Maine, but otherwise serves as a story about why some cases are best left unsolved.
His new novel has a lot of crime in it but, as King’s narrator suggests, it might actually be a horror story. Jamie Conklin is looking back on his childhood, when he was raised by a single mother, a New York literary agent. Like other young King protagonists, Jamie has special powers: He not only can see dead people, but when he asks them questions, they are compelled to tell the truth.
“Later” also features a best-selling novelist and his posthumous book, and a police detective who for a time is the girlfriend of Jamie’s mother.
The 73-year-old King has written dozens of novels and stories, and usually has three to four ideas that “are half-baked, kind of like an engine and no transmission.” He doesn’t write ideas down because, he says, if something is good enough he’s unlikely to forget it.
For “Later,” he started with the idea of a literary agent who needed to get her late client’s manuscript finished, and thought of having a son who communicates with the dead. He then decided the mother needed a companion.
“And I thought, ‘You know what, I’m going to make the love relationship female.’ Then I thought to myself, ‘Cop,’ and the cop is dirty and everything fell into place,” he says.
King, who publishes most of his work with Simon & Schuster, is part of the founding story of Hard Case Crime. Back in 2004, Charles Ardai and Max Phillips were launching a line of books to “revive pulp fiction in all its lurid mid-century glory.” Hoping for some publicity, they wrote to King and asked for a blurb. A representative for the author called and said King did not want to write a blurb for Hard Case Crime; he wanted to contribute a book. That became “The Colorado Kid.”
“I sat on the other end of the phone while this sank in and tried to sound cool, like this was the sort of phone call I got every day and twice on Fridays,” Ardai wrote in an introduction to “The Colorado Kid,” which came out in 2005. “But inside I was turning cartwheels.”
King’s passions also include politics and current events, and over the past few years he regularly tweeted his contempt for President Donald Trump. But he doubts that Trump’s loss to Democrat Joe Biden will have an effect on his work. Fiction has been an “escape” from politics, he says, not a forum.
And though he has written a famous novel about a pandemic, “The Stand,” he passed on a chance to write about COVID-19 in a work of fiction coming later this year, “Billy Summers.” He originally set it in 2020, but decided instead on 2019.
Toward the end of “Later,” Jamie observes that his writing has improved as the story went along, “improved by doing, which I suppose is the case with most things in life.” Asked during the interview to evaluate his own writing, King, the baseball fan, likens himself to an aging but resourceful pitcher.
“I’ve gotten better in some ways, but you lose a little of the urgency. In my 40s, the ideas were like people jamming into a fire door to get out. There were so many ideas, and you couldn’t wait to get to the typewriter and the words would pour out,” he says.
“Nowadays, you’re almost feeling people are looking over your shoulder and they’re apt to be a little more critical. You slow down a little bit. I’m aware I’m getting older. You lose the blazing fastball and start to count more on your changeups and curves and be a little more careful and mix them up.”
Reprinted from AP News
The prolific author Stephen King has seen many of his works adapted for film and television — including CBS All Access’ The Stand, HBO’s The Outsider and the IT franchise — and singled out the personal nature of bringing Lisey’s Story to life on Apple as perhaps one of the bigger challenges in adapting his vast library.
“Be all the way in, as much as possible, or be all the way out,” King said Friday about his philosophy for bringing his work to the screen. “There’s been a lot of projects [where it’s like] step back, write books, maybe something will come along, a passion project, and this was that, a passion project.”
Lisey’s Story marks a rare move for King, who wrote all eight episodes of Apple’s take on his 2006 horror-romance best-seller Lisey’s Story. The series, which reunites him with frequent collaborator J.J. Abrams, along with stars Julianne Moore and Clive Owen, and is due in the summer on the streamer.
“Stephen makes a great point, most anything is filmable,” Abrams told reporters Friday during a virtual panel as part of the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour. “The question is what should be — and not what can be. It’s hard to think of all the amazing stories Stephen has written.”
King noted that the personal nature of Lisey’s Story made filming the series “particularly challenging” as “it goes through so many different levels of remembrance.” The thriller revolves around Lisey Landon (Moore) two years after the death of her husband, famous novelist Scott Landon (Owen). The drama follows the unsettling events that prompt Lisey to face memories of her marriage to Scott that she has deliberately blocked out of her mind.
“Lisey’s Story means a lot to me because it’s the one I love best,” King told reporters Friday. “It’s a story about love and marriage and the creative impulse and it’s also got a kickass villain in it, which I liked a lot.”
King noted that the novel was inspired by his own experience coming home after being hospitalized with double pneumonia. Following a three-week hospitalization, King arrived as his wife decided to remodel his office. While still heavily medicated and trying to get back on his feet, he was stunned to find his office completely empty. “I thought, ‘This is what this room would look like after I die,’ and Lisey’s Story came from that,” he said.
While much of Lisey’s Story was filmed before the pandemic forced productions across the globe to shut down, shooting was ultimately finished after many TV series returned to work. producers also noted that the pandemic makes a lot of the themes in Lisey’s Story more relevant now than a year ago. “Themes of isolation, loneliness and how we view the past come through in a different way now,” said Bad Robot head of television Ben Stephenson. Added King: “What gave me a chill was a scene where we see Lisey come into hospital room and she’s wearing a mask. I thought, ‘My God, this is what we’re all doing now.'”
Lisey’s Story marks the latest collaboration for Abrams and King, who previously teamed on Hulu’s Castle Rock and 11.22.63. The duo met during Abrams’ breakout, Lost, and have remained in touch in the years that followed. King also noted that he and Abrams have been discussing a horror anthology called Tiny Horrors.
“They’ve got a great organization and give great Christmas presents at the end of the year,” King joked of his long-standing partnership with Abrams’ Bad Robot banner. “I just love working with them. It’s been a great relationship.”
A specific premiere date for Lisey’s Story has not yet been announced.
Reprinted from The Hollywood Reporter
Nearly 35 years after the novel was first brought to life on the screen with Arnold Schwarzenegger starring, Stephen King’s The Running Man is getting new life as Paramount is in final talks with Edgar Wright (Baby Driver) to helm a new adaptation of the sci-fi story.
First published in 1982 under King’s pseudonym Richard Bachman, the story is set in the dystopian world of 2025 United States, in which the nation’s economy is in ruins and world violence is rising and centers on protagonist Ben Richards, a man desperate to make money to support his gravely ill daughter Cathy and his wife Sheila, as he enters the titular game show in which contestants are allowed to go anywhere in the world while being chased by “Hunters” employed to kill them, earning $100 for every hour the contestant stays alive and avoids capture, an additional $10 for each law enforcement officer or Hunter they kill and $1 billion grand prize if they can survive for 30 days.
The new film will not be a remake of the 1987 film but rather a more faithful adaptation of King’s novel, with the Blood and Cornetto Trilogy helmer, who has previously expressed a desire to bring his own take to the material, set to co-write the story with Micahel Bacall (Jump Street franchise), with Bacall set to adapt the script.
The new adaptation is set to be produced by Fox’s X-Men creative head Simon Kinberg and Audrey Chon via his Genre Films production banner alongside Nira Park for Wright’s Complete Fiction label.
The Complete Hard Case Crime Stephen King Collection, featuring the bestselling titles The Colorado Kid, Joyland, and his newest novel, Later, plus exclusive art cards.
Collecting Stephen King’s three homages to the classic crime pulp paperbacks, published by Hard Case Crime. This includes The Colorado Kid (2005), Joyland (2013) and Later (2021). It will also feature three exclusive art cards with alternate cover artwork for the three novels.
Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work in a fairground and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever.
A rookie newspaperwoman learns the true meaning of mystery when she investigates a 25-year-old unsolved and very strange case involving a dead man found on an island off the coast of Maine.
The son of a struggling single mother, Jamie Conklin just wants an ordinary childhood. But Jamie is no ordinary child. Born with an unnatural ability, Jamie can see things no one else can. But the cost of using this ability is higher than Jamie can imagine – as he discovers when an NYPD detective draws him into the pursuit of a killer who has threatened to strike from beyond the grave.
Pre-order HERE. The collection will be released on September 14, 2021.
This month, Suntup Editions announces the second of three iconic covers from British artist Steve Crisp. Previously, Suntup published Crisp’s first U.K. edition cover of Skeleton Crew. Now, they present the penultimate Steve Crisp cover print, the artwork which graced the first U.K. edition of Needful Things.
Originally published in 1991, Needful Things was billed as “the last Castle Rock story.” Since 1991, King has returned to Castle Rock only a handful of times, including the short story “It Grows On You” (published in King’s 1993 collection Nightmares and Dreamscapes, which, according to King, serves as an epilogue to Needful Things) and the novella Elevation (2018). Needful Things remains one of the beloved works in King’s bibliography and serves as a sensational send-off to one of horror literature’s most famous fictional towns. For the first U.K. hardcover edition, Steve Crisp gives us a peek into the window of the dreaded store that is the title’s namesake. Now this iconic artwork can be enjoyed for the first time without cover text, as a beautifully printed giclée print.
All prints are hand-signed by Steve Crisp. Exclusively available through Suntup Editions for your private collection, and limited to just 50 signed copies per size, worldwide.
Stephen King fans discovered this week that the writer’s new novel is called Billy Summers and it will be published by Scriber on August 3.
Billy Summers concerns a killer for hire and the best in the business. But he’ll do the job only if the target is a truly bad guy. And now Billy wants out. But first, there is one last hit. Billy is among the best snipers in the world, a decorated Iraq war vet, a Houdini when it comes to vanishing after the job is done. So what could possibly go wrong?
How about everything.
Per the book’s publisher Scriber, Billy Summers is “part war story, part love letter to small town America and the people who live there, and it features one of the most compelling and surprising duos in King fiction, who set out to avenge the crimes of an extraordinarily evil man. It’s about love, luck, fate, and a complex hero with one last shot at redemption.”
You won’t put this story down, and you won’t forget Billy.
Read the excerpt HERE courtesy of Entertainment Weekly.
For the 14th title in Series III of Little Books, Borderlands Press gives you a fantastic offering from publishing Living Legend, feature film producer, and bestselling writer, Richard Chizmar.
Black House: A Screenplay written by Richard Chizmar (with Johnathon Schaech) based on the bestselling novel by Stephen King and Peter Straub. Commissioned by Akiva Goldsman, Academy Award winning writer and producer of A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man, and The Dark Tower. Never produced because of complications with The Talisman rights.
A series of murders has begun to plague the town of French Landing, Wisconsin. The murderer is dubbed “The Fisherman”, due to a conscious effort by the killer to emulate the methods of serial killer Albert Fish. Like Fish, French Landing’s killer targets children and indulges in cannibalism of the bodies. Two victims have already been discovered as the story opens, with a third awaiting discovery. The nature of the crimes, and the local police’s inability to capture the killer, have led people all over the region to become more anxious with each passing day, and certain elements of the local media exacerbate the situation with inflammatory and provocative coverage.
After the events of The Talisman, Jack Sawyer has repressed the memories of his adventures in The Territories and his hunt for the Talisman as a twelve-year-old boy, though the residue of these events has served to subtly affect his life even after he has forgotten them. Jack grew up to become a lieutenant in the Los Angeles Police Department, where his professionalism and uncanny talent have helped him establish a nearly legendary reputation. After retiring from LAPD, her re-settles in French Landing, Wisconsin.
When the Fisherman begins to terrorize French Landing, the police all but beg “Hollywood” Jack Sawyer for his assistance and are surprised when he flatly refuses—fearing that involving himself in the investigation may break his sanity. When a fourth child is taken by the Fisherman, events no longer allow Jack to remain aloof. It quickly becomes apparent to him that the Fisherman is much more than a serial killer. In fact, he is an agent of the Crimson King, and his task is to find children with the potential to serve as Breakers. The fourth victim, Tyler Marshall, is one of the most powerful Breakers there has ever been, and he may be all the Crimson King needs to break the remaining beams of the Dark Tower and bring an end to all worlds. As the Fisherman also proves capable of “flipping” into The Territories, Jack Sawyer is the only hope of not just French Landing, but all existence.
This screenplay has never been published or even seen by anyone for ten years. It is a vital piece of the King/Straub tapestry that deserves to be shared and read.
Limited to 750 copies numbered and signed by the screenwriters. Pre-order HERE for $30. The book will be released on March 6, 2021.