I grew up 30 miles from Stephen King’s house, (In Maine, everything is so spread out that 30 miles is nothing. We’ll drive 30 miles for a pizza.) and while I’ve never met the man himself, his presence is everywhere.
For example, the town where I went to middle school might possibly be the town that Tommyknockers is set in.
Seriously, it’s the right distance from other towns mentioned in the book and it’s the only town I know of anywhere nearby with a clock tower on the library. (Look at the picture if you don’t believe me. Doesn’t that just look like the setting for a Stephen King book?)
When I was growing up, it wasn’t uncommon to see kids as young as 10 or 12 carrying copies of Cujo or Christine around. Everyone in Maine has read at least one Stephen King book. Even those of us who generally can’t stand scary things. Even those of us who generally can’t stand books.
I studied journalism at the same college and in many of the same buildings where Stephen King studied. He was teaching there when he was writing Carrie. Some of my professors had gone to school with him and would talk about him if pushed to do so.
The connections are almost endless. I won’t bore you with all of them. The point is that Stephen King is from Maine and so am I. I’m not telling you this to brag. Lots of people live in Maine. Some of them know Mr. King personally. I’m not one of them.
What I am, is a person who grew up in a small town in Maine and dreamed of being a writer. I weeded gardens and made up stories in my head. I sold vegetables and imagined the lives of the people I sold them to. I laid under a canopy of stars on short summer nights and wondered what was out there.
The presence of Stephen King in Maine showed me that a kid like me could grow up to be a writer. And not just any writer. A famous one. A successful one. One who touched people’s lives.
In July, I’m publishing my first novel. While fame and success might be nice, I really hope that I’ll touch someone’s life–maybe through the book, maybe just by being a kid from Maine who shows other kids what’s possible.