When I was about thirteen, I entered my local public library to search for a new book. I did this about twice a month at the time, and I almost always chose a random book from the shelf. To this day, I love choosing books at random and being surprised by the story inside them. I rarely know anything about a new book that I’m about to read, and this love of surprises started when I was a teenager.

The long aisles of books in the library were always overwhelming to me, but I loved to pass by them and choose a random book from one of the many shelves. This time, I took a walk through a different section of the library and glanced over the many book spines. This book section was a lot more eerie than the others, with many of the books decorated with screaming faces and mysterious shadows. But one book stood out among all of them, because there was a cat on the cover.

Stephen King’s Pet Sematary was the first of many King books that I would read over the years. Although I don’t personally write horror (at least not for now), it was the biggest influence on my writing and the genre has stuck with me to this day.

“Why do you (we) want to make up horrible things when there is so much real horror in the world?

The answer seems to be that we make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones. With the endless inventiveness of humankind, we grasp the very real elements which are so divisive and destructive and try to turn them into tools – to dismantle themselves….the dream of horror is in itself an out-letting and a lancing…and it may well be that the mass media dream of horror can sometimes become a nationwide’s analyst’s couch.”

– Stephen King, Danse Macabre

I followed Pet Sematary with my next King choice – It. Not exactly a gradual transition, but also, surprisingly, not something that I was not able to handle. Although I have never looked at clowns the same way again, I also became fascinated with the horror genre, and especially the books of Stephen King. For the next few years, I searched for every King book I could find.


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