Stephen King

American author Stephen King was born on the 21st of September 1947 in Portland, Maine. His father, Donald Edwin King, was a merchant seaman who abandoned the family when King was just two years old. This placed great financial strain on King’s mother, Nellie Ruth, and he has said that his family struggled financially when he was growing up. King’s mother moved the family around a number of times before they finally returned to Maine when he was 11 years old in order for them to look after King’s grandparents.

It was at a young age that King knew that he wanted to be a writer when he and his brother stumbled upon a number of H. P. Lovecraft short stories that had belonged to his father. King began to read immensely and has stated on numerous occasions that if you don’t have time to read then you don’t have time to be a writer, as being a writer requires you to be a prolific reader.

King managed to sell his first professional short story, ‘The Glass Floor’, to the now defunct magazine, Startling Mystery Stories, in 1967. After he graduated with a certificate to teach high school, he found himself unable to secure a teaching job. He managed to supplement his income from manual labour through selling short stories to men’s magazines. A number of the short stories from this time have been put into compilations, particularly in the collection titled ‘Night Shift’. King found some success when he was hired as a teacher in 1971, allowing him both a better salary and spare time to continue his writing.

Although King had managed to build some success with his writing, it wasn’t until his novel Carrie that he found commercial success. Although Carrie was King’s fourth novel, it was the first to be published, although it was nearly scrapped early on. King was unsatisfied with the early chapters and it wasn’t until his wife read them and encouraged him to continue writing the story that he sat down and turned what had started as a story into a full-blown novel. King managed to secure $2,500 for Carrie, although the paperback rights were eventually brought for $400,000 by New American Library, an event that launched his career as a popular author.