Is King More Personal

Does Stephen King make a deeper connection with his readers than other writers?
Question -- do you feel like you know Stephen King better than other authors?

I  found myself thinking about this as I read The Stand.  A character named Joe appears on the scene -- a child who doesn't talk but sure likes knives!  Larry Underwood is not a fan of  the kid.  I thought, "I wonder if Joe is a tribute to his son.  Probably same age when it was written."  Then I began to think how much I know about King.  Strange.  I didn't seek to know anything.  That's  the truth!  I just read books.

But I don't know Tom Clancy's kids names.  If I work real  hard I might come up with Dicken's  wife's name -- but I don't remember.  I did see Dicken's biography on Biography channel, but it was so cut up and scattered that it offered nothing.

But  without much extra effort you learn a lot about King and his family.  For one thing, that's because  his introductions and commentary's are  always so chatty and personal.  For another, his writing itself is very personal.  Scattered  throughout novels are  personal  nods.

Is it just that I read more King?  I read Anne Rice's books for a while.  I know she had a husband who died and a son.  And I read a book about her return to Christianity (before she un-returned!).  But still, there's not that  sense of personal connection.

Seems the more you know about an author,  the clearer their  narrative voice becomes.  I suspect one reason readers go back again and again to certain authors is because they feel a connection to them.  I know, and disagree with, King's politics.  But actually knowing where  he's coming from helps me understand what he's writing about.

Now I'm not advocating crazy fandom!  In fact, I don't make any attempt -- or want to -- meet King or know him.  I'm just a reader.  It worries me when I see how crazy people get for a signature in a book or. . . more.  But a "constant reader" as King calls us slowly learns more  and more about the artist just by reading.  Of  course, King has made himself  available for about 1.6 billion interviews!  So that helps.  He speaks often on an array of subjects.

One of the things I really respect about King is his love for his wife.  Does this make him a better writer?  Probably not.  But my respect for his treatment of his wife gives me a deeper appreciation for his work.

Now I have read a couple biography's on King.  But  here's an interesting thing: His biography's all follow the same trail!  They focus on his writing career (as they should) instead of personal interactions with family.  By the way, George Beahms "Stephen King, America's Best Loved Boogieman" is the best bio out there.

Think about all the stuff  you know about King.  Isn't that strange?  Do you know that stuff about other authors?  Did you go out trying to find out those things, or did the information just come bit by  bit as you read.


  1. Stephen King makes himself more available to his audience than any other writer I've seen.

    I'm not talking about personal appearances. I'm talking about in his books.

    Many authors will talk about story ideas and the writing process in lectures that most of us will never attend. King usually gives it to his readers with the book. I love that!

    I've dedicated my professional career to communications and I can tell you the most effective way to connect with any audience is the sharing of personal anecdotes. King apparently knows this because he's certainly connected to his audience through those he shares in his afterword essays.

  2. Brian,
    You're right, the best connection is through personal stories. That's why in preaching I constantly use stories -- and the best stories are ones that are funny and personal.

  3. Indeed. I don't think there's any doubt that King's ability to make his life story a ... well, a STORY ... is a massive part of the reason why his fans connect with him and become as devoted as they are. As WE are, I suppose I should say.

  4. Well, it's sort of funny. It's interesting to know I'm not the only who got the idea he was gaining a better insight into King the man, the more he read King the writer. There was a time when I might not have been able to say how it is what you know about King might be right.

    When I started to study psychology, it began to make a lot better sense, to me at least. The funny thing is, I now also think I have a better idea of Joe and Owen King.

    Does anyone else get that from reading King's kids books?