In Lisey's Story, Stephen King serves up love, suspense and the supernatural in rural Maine.
You've called Lisey's Story a special book. Why?
I think of it as a special book. I first thought it was going to be a funny book, about a guy who is going to be a big-shot writer. I wanted to show that his wife got completely ignored, but was the person responsible for all his success. I wanted to have five or six things in the background where she had actually pulled all his chestnuts out of the fire. Then this guy Dooley came on the scene and wanted the writer's manuscripts and the story took a different direction. It got more serious.
Would you say the story wrote itself?
They all do. John Irving said he writes the ending of the book first and he has to know everything that goes on. That would drive me crazy. Writing is like firing off missiles. If I get somewhere in the neighborhood, I'm happy.
Is this book a fantasy?
Well, it is and it isn't. That's up to you. You can look at this whole thing and say that Lisey's husband Scott's adventures in Boo'ya Moon are simply something that his imagination needed. I have no problem with that, except, what happened to the guy, Dooley? He's gone!
You like to write books about writers.
It's like Dick Francis writing all those books about jockeys. They say, write about what you know. I've been writing since I was 24. A lot of writers teach in order to put bread on the table. I've never had to do that. I got a chance to write about the way we use words, figurative language, where all that stuff comes from. The language pool that we all go down to and pull our mutual images from.
Do you consider Lisey's Story mainstream?
I think they're all mainstream. It's like Scott says, as years go by, all that counts is whether they are good books or bad books.
Do you think about winning the Pulitzer?
(Laughs) You always hope you're going to get a Lisey's Story. I just go out and work every day and try to do the best job that I can. Some days I thought, I just can't do this, but it was like divine grace, every day that I worked the words were there, and I knew that it was good and I kept on working.