What was it like interviewing the Master of Horror, Stephen King himself?
I wouldn’t know.
My second stint on Reddit.com was not as successful as my time previous with Christopher Guest. Last Thursday, Stephen King was on Reddit’s Ask Me Anything (AMA) for a little over an hour. Now, I have to tell you. Stephen King is one of my favorite storytellers. So you can imagine my excitement logging on with all my questions ready to be copied and pasted for him to answer. Five minutes in, I was staring blankly at Reddit’s AMA home page waiting for King to login. The most recent interviewee was Elijah Wood. I refreshed the page. I refreshed it again. Then, to my horror, Stephen King had been logged in, hiding right under Elijah Wood. Sweating, I quickly added my question. Sadly, the five minutes I was being a doofus placed my question 400 or so down the line.
I tried to entice one of the most successful authors of all time further by adding more questions about the new TV adaptation of his story Under The Dome.
After about thirty minutes of waiting, I accepted my fate. Like a horror story King had written himself – I was dead, on this round of Reddit at least.
However nightmarishly disappointing, it was fun running down the literary giant. So what did Stephen King talk about to other online lotto winners? Mostly things that interested him. He commented on his favorite rock bands and movies. He talked about the process of writing and gave advice to those of us struggling. He talked about his latest acting role as Bachman on Sons of Anarchy. He was polite and playful. A little cheeky and informal. It was as if you were sitting next to him in an airport having a quick chat, which is perhaps his greatest asset as a writer. Now, I haven’t read all of King’s work, but I always feel a great sense of comfort from his writing, even if it will scare the stuffing out of me. It’s as if he’s sitting right in front of me, casually telling me a story. That style doesn’t seem to be too different outside his office either.
Interestingly, Stephen King did give some insight into why he is so adept at writing about fears. “I usually send my fears to my readers,” he responded to one questioner. When asked about his worst fear, King remarked, “Alzheimer’s disease.” ‘Nuff said.
With Under the Dome airing on TV this coming Monday night, Stephen King did comment on his stories being adapted. When asked about his likes and dislikes, he said, “I loved Shawshank. I wasn’t crazy about the Kubrick version of The Shining.” Commenting further on film adaptations, he wrote, “I never think of movie versions when I write, because that would put a border around my thinking. I just write the stories. If someone wants to make a movie, that’s fine.” Having said this, it’s clear King’s stories have found a successful voice through alternate mediums.
More so than from his books, film and TV adaptations were my first introduction to Stephen King. As a child, I watched far too many movies I shouldn’t have (I have to give my parents credit here – for those stories helped shape my twisted mind). The Shining. IT. Pet Sematary. Cujo. Creepshow. Children of the Corn. Christine. Even if the movies or TV series weren’t award winning, they kept me up at night and what else can you ask for from the mind of Stephen King? It all makes me wonder – why do so many of us enjoy being scared stiff. What is that innate, or twisted, desire that pulls us towards what we find most horrifying. Whatever the reason, Stephen King has cornered the market, keeping so many of us coming back for more.
I was certain Stephen King would seek out questions about the TV adaptation of his Under the Dome. He wrote the book didn’t he? And he’s an executive producer. Frustrated, I stared at my lonely questions, never to be answered.
Finally, a moment of clarity came over me.
He’s Stephen King! He can talk about whatever he wants!