Stephen King: 10 Amazing Facts About the Master of Horror

Stephen King master of horror

One of the bestselling authors of all time, master of horror Stephen King has been flying off bookshelves for nearly five decades. Here are 10 amazing facts about the author…

1) Stephen King’s dad left early on

When King was 3, his father told his mother than he was going out for a packet of cigarettes. He never came back, and left his wife to raise their two sons alone. 

2) King’s dad had a flair for writing too

When rummaging around in the attic, he found a bunch of rejection letters from magazines addressed to his father. His dad had written short stories, too, and had submitted them to gentleman’s magazines. None of them had gotten into print. 

3) King’s mum couldn’t afford a babysitter

When King was young, his mother couldn’t afford a babysitter for he and his brother, so when she had to leave them to go to walk, she would tell them to read to each other. She’s quiz them on the book when she got back to ensure they’d done their reading. 

Red and Andy in The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Castle Rock Entertainment

4) Stephen King was a teenage grave digger 

When he was a teenager, King bagged himself a job digging graves at the local graveyard. He’d get $25 per grave, which was pretty good pocket money back then. 

5) Dave’s rag 

At 13, Stephen’s older brother David found a mimiograph machine and started making his own newsletter called Dave’s Rag, which he sold locally for a nickel. Stephen wrote TV and film reviews for the newsletter. 

6) King got $35 for his first story 

Stephen King would submit short stories to fiction magazines. He first payment came for his story The Glass Floor, which got published in Startling Mystery Stories. He was paid $35. 

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7) King threw Carrie in the trash 

King had started a short story about Carrie White – a troubled girl with telekinetic powers – which he intended to sell to Cavalier magazine. However, he wasn’t pleased with how it was going, and tossed it in the trash. His wife fished it out and insisted he finish it. He went on to receive $200,000 for the paperback rights. 

8) King had no phone when the publishers tried calling 

When Double Day decided to publish Carrie, they couldn’t call King to let him know. He and Tabitha were so strapped for cash, they had to get rid of their phone to save on the bill. So, instead, they had to contact King by telegram. 

9) Stephen King dreamed of a pink Cadillac 

When he was at college, King would always say, ‘when I sell my first novel, I’m going to buy a pink Cadillac.’ When Carrie sold, he actually bought a red, white and blue Cadillac. However, he was too humble to drive it back to his hometown to see old friends, so he bought a rusty $100 pick up truck to make that journey. 

10) King sold the rights to The Shawshank Redemption for $1

When Frank Darabont approached King about obtaining the rights for his novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, King sold him the rights for one dollar. After watching the film, he loved it so much, he framed the dollar and gave it back to Darabont, with the message, ‘in case you ever need bail money.’ 

There you have it – 10 facts about Stephen King! If you love horror books, check out 10 Facts About James Herbert.