September 24

This Day in History

Literary

Sep 24, 1996:

Stephen King releases two books at once

On this day in 1996, blockbusting bestselling author Stephen King releases two new novels at once. The first, Desperation, was released under King's name, while the second, The Regulators, was published under his pseudonym, Richard Bachman.

King was born in Portland, Maine, in 1947. His father abandoned the family when King was two, and his mother struggled to support her two children. King was sickly as a child and developed a love for books. He studied English at the University of Maine, where he met his wife, Tabitha.

After college, the couple lived in a trailer while King taught school, worked in a laundry, and churned out four novels, which were rejected. Discouraged, he gave up on his fifth novel until his wife encouraged him to try again. In 1973, Doubleday paid him $2,500 for the book Carrie, about the bloody revenge of a high school outcast. A few months later, he earned $420,000 for the paperback rights. The book was a huge bestseller, as were his subsequent 30 novels. He also wrote six novels under the name Richard Bachman, and 14 collections of short stories or nonfiction. King's books have sold 300 million copies to date.

Despite his success, King has struggled with his own demons. In 1988, he joined Alcoholics Anonymous, stating "I never met a drink or drug I don't like." In June 1999, he was taking a walk near his Maine home when he was hit and critically injured by a car. Six operations were required to repair his hips, pelvis, ribs, and other broken bones. Meanwhile, he managed to write a novella, several short stories, and a memoir. In March 2000, he released a new novel, Riding the Bullet and the The Plant available over the Internet. Since that time, King continues to write fiction and non-fiction books.

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