Stephen King’s New Monster

Stephen King is getting into the historical fiction genre. According to The Wall Street Journal,

Stephen King’s new novel, 11/22/63, set to be published Nov. 8, follows Jake Epping, a high-school English teacher in a small town in contemporary Maine. Jake travels through a mysterious time portal to 1958, aiming to stop Oswald from killing President John F. Kennedy. Set almost entirely in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the narrative tracks Oswald’s movements in the months and days leading up to the Dallas shooting, and features historical figures such as James Hosty, the FBI agent who investigated Oswald; Bonnie Ray Williams, Oswald’s co-worker at the Texas Book Depository, and George de Mohrenschildt, a Russian geologist and friend of the assassin.

I like Stephen King’s perspective on book advances (though I am guessing he wasn’t against them in the early stages of his career):

In the 1990s, Mr. King was collecting advances of around $16 million a book. He now calls those advance sums “grotesque.” “They were ridiculous,” he says. “It became almost like a d—-measuring contest—my advance is bigger than your advance. For a guy like me or a guy like Tom Clancy, John Grisham, Dean Koontz, Janet Evanovich, why do we need an advance?”

When he left his publisher, Viking, 14 years ago, he traded gargantuan advances for his current deal with Scribner, granting him much smaller advances and roughly half of the profits. Most authors get 10 to 15% of royalties. If a book does phenomenally, he stands to earn multiple millions.

A humorous anecdote from the piece:

He’s also grown wary of his more ardent fans. He says he spends less time in his Bangor home now because tourists cluster outside the gate and snap photos. When he goes on book tours, fans find out where he’s staying and camp out outside. “It’s very unsettling,” he said. “They always call you by your first name—’Stephen, Stephen, over here. Just sign this one baseball.’ Then it turns out they’ve got about 19,000 other things.”

I find the history of the JFK assassination fascinating. I’ve put 11/22/63 on my reading list. Will you?

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