WHEN he was
3, King's merchant seaman father went to get a pack of
cigarettes and was never seen again. Because of or in
spite of this event, the boy wrote his first short
story at 7 and, well before he discovered his dad's
hidden cache of pulp horror-fantasy novels, became a
'50s horror movie fanatic. Things lightened up a bit
when he joined the football team and a local rock band
and sold two $35 stories to a mystery magazine.
As a high school English teacher, King collected
rejection letters for his first two novels before
receiving a $2,500 advance for Carrie, which his
wife had rescued from the trash can. He was 27. The book
and subsequent movie were hits, and he embarked on a
wildly prolific and lucrative career as a writer. So
far, he's sold over well over a hundred million copies
of his terrifying tales what he calls "fearsomes" to
become the richest writer in world history. He is
predictably ranked among Forbes'
highest-grossing U.S. entertainers.
In 1989, King signed a deal with Viking that netted
him $35 million for four books a new record. As
generous as that deal was, King announced his decision
to leave Viking (his publisher of eighteen years) in
1997, in order to establish a new relationship with a
house willing to pay a $17 million asking price for his
latest novel, Bag of Bones. He soon struck a deal
with Simon & Schuster, in which he will receive an
$8 million advance for the 1,000-page tome, in addition
to a healthy 50-percent share of the profits earned from
its sale, and from the sale of two upcoming works, a
short-story collection and a nonfiction book about
writing. King is also hard at work adapting his
best-selling book Desperation for a New Line
Cinema feature film.
A gentle, cheery family man who lives in a
twenty-five-room house near exciting downtown Bangor,
Maine, the master of the macabre enjoys bowling, poker,
and getting together with Dave Barry, Amy Tan, Robert
Groening, and Roy Blount, Jr. in a "hard-listening"
band (so dubbed by Barry) called the Rock Bottom