Stephen King says new story took 45 years to write

Stephen King fans can celebrate the arrival of his latest collection, You Like It Darker, which offers a chilling mix of new and old tales. But one story in particular holds a special place: “The Answer Man,” a lost gem resurrected after an incredible 45 years.

King, known as the “King of Horror,” spoke with NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly about the collection and the unique journey of “The Answer Man.” He started writing the story in the 1970s, but it became a forgotten casualty of his creative process. The revival came about thanks to a recent archival effort, where King’s nephew unearthed the half-finished manuscript from a desk drawer


This discovery sparked a renewed creative spark in King. He saw an opportunity to connect with his younger self, describing the experience as “calling into a canyon of time and listening for the echo to come back.” By weaving his past ideas with his present experience, King was able to complete the story, creating a bridge between his 30-year-old self and the seasoned writer he is today.

“The Answer Man” isn’t the only story in the collection with a fascinating backstory. King also revealed that the concept for the novella “Under The Dome” originated from a partially written manuscript lost in the 1970s, later revisited and completed decades later.

Beyond the chills and thrills, You Like It Darker offers a glimpse into King’s creative process. The inclusion of “The Answer Man” highlights his ability to revisit and refine past ideas, showcasing his growth as a writer.

The collection also features news for fans of upcoming King adaptations. Osgood Perkins’ film adaptation of the short story “The Monkey” has secured domestic distribution by Neon, promising a 2025 release.

For aspiring writers, King offers valuable advice in Esquire’s “What I’ve Learned” interview series. He emphasises the importance of consistent work ethic, remaining humble, and learning to move on from creative dead ends.

With You Like It Darker, Stephen King delivers a chilling collection that not only entertains but also offers a fascinating look into the mind of a literary master. From resurrected tales to glimpses into his creative process, this new release is a must-have for Constant Readers everywhere.

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