Significantly few people can influence a genre like Stephen King. Dubbed the ‘Master of Horror,’ King has been writing for decades and has established himself as an icon in the literary space with timeless works like Carrie and It among his most influential novels. Such is his reputation that he has become synonymous with the word “horror.” However, King has proven over the years that he is more than just a one-trick pony.
The bestselling novel was born in Portland, Maine, the home to many of his works’ settings. When King was a toddler, his parents separated, prompting his mom to raise him and his brother alone. He would travel to Indiana and Connecticut through the years, where his father was living, until his mother decided to settle down in Durham, Maine. King’s grandparents were incapacitated, and his mother was swayed to caring for them. Simultaneously, she worked hard to provide for her children.
When Stephen King graduated high school, he would pursue an English degree at the University of Maine, where he wrote for the school’s paper and ran in the student government. During his studies, King would take on various jobs to pay for his education. He would find work as a janitor and gas pump attendant, among other occupations. At nineteen, King published his first short story, “The Glass Floor,” which was featured in Startling Mystery Stories, an American pulp science fiction magazine.
Upon graduating, the young author had no luck searching for a teaching position, taking a job in the laundry instead and writing stories in his spare time. While the pay was not enough, King managed to get by with his stories. Selling them to men’s magazines, the young author would slowly build toward completing several of his novels.
In 1971, Stephen King would marry Tabitha Spruce, a fellow alumnus from the University of Maine. That same year, he finally found the opportunity to teach high school English, spending his evenings and weekends working on his novels. Throughout his early career, King managed to complete several novels. However, the first of his works to be published was Carrie. When Carrie hit the bookshelves in ’73, King’s editor informed him that the paperback sale would provide him with enough to leave teaching to become a full-time novelist.
Carrie paved the way for King’s career and became the starting point for his career as a horror writer. Shortly after the novel’s release, Carrie was adopted into the big screen. The success of the movie prompted the author to delve deeper into writing full-time.
Toward the end of summer that year, King and his family would relocate to southern Maine to be closer to his mother, whose health was slowly declining. During that time, he published his second novel, Salem’s Lot. Following his mother’s death, the author would take his family to Colorado before returning to Maine, where King purchased a home.
Towards the 2000s, King would get into a car accident. While he managed to survive, the author would take the event as an inspiration to start a charity to fund the medical centers that helped him. Additionally, he took the event and incorporated it into his Dark Tower series.
Since his first publication, Stephen King developed a reputation for writing novels and stories at an incredible speed. He is a popular figure in the literary space and Hollywood, collaborating with the father of the zombie genre George A. Romero in the hit anthology Creepshow. While broadly famous for his contribution to the horror genre, King would later be praised for his storytelling abilities.
The author’s works have played a significant role in pop culture, creating memorable quotes like “Here’s Johnny!” from Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining and creating timeless nightmares like Pennywise the Clown and Cujo. King’s works have also influenced other authors and entertainment pieces like Stranger Things.