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Stephen King in einem AOL-Chat 1996

Hier der Live-Mitschnitt:

OnlineHost:  Copyright 1996 America Online, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

OnlineHost:  Your emcee is AOLiveMC1 (Meg).

OnlineHost:  "I want to stay dangerous," Stephen King has said, "and that means taking risks."

OnlineHost:  King's latest risk is his serial novel, THE GREEN MILE, an unprecedented event in modern publishing: a complete novel, written and published in six monthly installments. The first part of the novel, entitled "The Two Dead Girls," went on sale March 25th, which means fans could start reading the book before King was finished writing it.

OnlineHost:  "I like the high wire aspect of it," he wrote in a Foreword to THE GREEN MILE. "Fall down on the job, fail to carry through, and about a million readers are howling for your blood." He also likes the measure of control the format gives him as an author: "Simply put, Constant Reader, you cannot flip ahead and see how matters turn out."

OnlineHost:  King was born in Portland, Maine in 1947, and after his parents separated when he was 2, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. King attended the University of Maine at Orono, graduating in 1970 with a B.S. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. He and Tabitha Spruce married in January of 1971.

OnlineHost:  His latest bestseller, THE GREEN MILE, is set in the deep South in the 1930s and concerns a subject that King admits has fascinated him ever since he saw his first James Cagney movie: the electric chair. Welcome to Center Stage, Mr. King!

AOLiveMC5:  Welcome to Center Stage, Mr. King!

KingStephn:  Thanks. Good to be here. This is Stephen King, and I'm here. I've never done this before, so bear with me. Also, the keyboard is strange to me, so excuse the typos.

AOLiveMC5:  We already have many questions, so let's jump right in with them.

KingStephn:  Okay. Fire.

Question:  Mr. King, of all the singular, profoundly human characters you have created over the years (despot to do-gooder to devil), with which one do you most identify? I might choose Gordy or George Stark but, then, I am merely a constant reader.

KingStephn:  Probably Gordy from "The Body" (Stand By Me). He really WAS me, with all of the names changed to protect the guilty.

Question:  Because you are a big Boston Red Sox fan, has this been a particularly depressing spring?

KingStephn:  Yeah. I've been in Colorado, working on a film, so at least I've been out of the blast-zone. The headline in the Boston Globe last week was DEAD MEN WALKING. Ow.

Question:  Could you please tell me if any more of the "Gunslinger" novels are going to be released? I've been waiting forever. Thanks for the great nightmares!

KingStephn:  I've GOT to write another "Gunslinger" book now, because it's been announced for summer of 1997 in Part 3 of "The Green Mile." I'm hoping to start this summer, but the back-story's a f*****g horror show.

Question:  Have you written all of "The Green Mile" as of this date? Thanks for visiting.

KingStephn:  Good to be here. Yeah, it's done. As of two weeks ago. I think the publisher was starting to get a little nervous toward the end. I love the way it worked out, but it's pretty grim.

Question:  I read the first edition of the new chap book "The Green Mile." Can you give us a little hint on what the mouse has to do with it?

KingStephn:  No.

Question:  Stephen, would you someday write a full blown sci-fi horror story, like "The Mist" or "Tommyknockers?" I would love to read something that rings of classic stuff from the fifties. "The Mist" as I see it, came pretty close to this.

KingStephn:  I love all that stuff, too, so I wouldn't count the possibility out. But it's always a case of writing what catches fire in my mind. Who knows what it'll be next time? I have a couple of ideas now, but mostly I'm thinking about Roland, Eddie, Odetta, Jake.

Question:  Mr. King "The Talisman" is my all time favorite book! How did it come about that you and Peter Straub decided to collaborate on it?

KingStephn:  We were drunk one night and it seemed like a really good idea. At least, that's how I remember it. If so, it still seemed like a good idea later on. I liked that story a lot. It was fun working with Peter, too. We finished it listening to "Electric Avenue," by Eddie Grant, over and over on my stereo.

Question:  Wow! It's Stephen King! How are you doing?

KingStephn:  I'm okay. Wish I had some "ZZ Top" to listen to. It's like how sometimes you just crave something Italian, you know?

Question:  Hi. What is your favorite movie made out of one of your books? Which have you been disappointed with?

KingStephn:  I liked "The Dead Zone" film, "Stand By Me," "Misery." I also liked "Cujo" a lot. I guess the ones I like least would include "Silver Bullet" and "Graveyard Shift." And I'm not too crazy about "Thinner," from what I've seen of it. Fingers crossed.

Question:  Mr. King, I saw you read at Symphony Space last night. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Are there going to be any new short stories published?

KingStephn:  Glad you liked the reading. I do have some new short stories coming out, and some published in obscure mags you may not have read. The best of them is maybe "Blind Willie," published in "Salt" magazine.

Question:  At this point in your career, what steps do you take with publishers with a new book idea. Do they accept it sight unseen or do you supply synopses and/or outlines? Thanks.

KingStephn:  I send 'em the book. They publish it. It's a great deal. And give me credit for this: I'm smart enough to be grateful.

Question:  How involved are you with the movie version of "Thinner?"

KingStephn:  Not much. Maybe that's good.

Question:  Steve, rumor has it you didn't have much fun on your motorcycle trip for "Insomnia." Will you ever do a book tour again?

KingStephn:  I had a BLAST on my motorcycle tour. I hate speaking in front of large crowds; scares the sh*t out of me but the trip was great. I was able to use it in a new book that comes out this fall. I love my Harley.

Question:  I know you're here to talk about "The Green Mile," but can you give us any info about "Desperation" before you leave?

KingStephn:  "Desperation" is set in the Nevada desert, and concerns a number of through-travelers on Highway 50, known as "The Loneliest Highway in America." There's a psycho cop running around out there. And I think that's all I want to say. I have to SLEEP tonight, y' know.

Question:  Do you ever visit schools, especially ones in the inner city?

KingStephn:  Yes.

Question:  Have any of your previous novels made you want to write a sequel?

KingStephn:  "Salem's Lot" and "The Shining." Just never got around to it. Things to do and people to kill, you know.

Question:  Mr. King, you had asked us in "The Green Mile" to let you know what we thought about the delivery of the story. I'd love to let you know, but I don't know where to send a letter.

KingStephn:  Send it to me. Address is 49 Florida Avenue, Bangor, Maine, 04401. You probably won't get a personal response, but I read most of the letters. By the way, the pricing on "The Green Mile" has been a sore point with some people. Please be aware that Scholastic Books publish the R.L. Stine "Goosebumps" books for a dollar more ($3.99) and they run about the same length. Also, NAL said $2.99 was the cheapest they could do it with shipping and all.

KingStephn:  One more thing. By doing six parts, I get my ass kicked by the critics six times instead of just once!

Question:  Is there a way to get a complete set of your stories in hardback at a reasonable price?

KingStephn:  Sure. Buy 'em.

Question:  Do you think electronic books will ever supplant the printed book?

KingStephn:  No. Unless you can imagine taking your laptop into the can with you.

Question:  Has it gotten easier to think of a plot and write it down?

KingStephn:  It stays about the same. My endurance isn't so great. I wrote "The Running Man" in a week, when I was 22 but it's still fun.

Question:  Will you ever do another "Creepshow" screenplay, comic book? I've had the first one since when it was first published. The movies were great, Bedelia!

KingStephn:  "BEDEEELIA! Where's my CAAAAAAKE?"

KingStephn:  Probably not. But it was pretty good, all right.

Question:  I thought "Needful Things" your most insightful. I've read all of your work. Big fan. But why such bizarre endings, e.g. "It?"

KingStephn:  Depends on what you think of as "bizarre." I never wrote an ending that didn't seem logical to me at the time. Of them all, I think I like the ending of "It" the best, with the ending of "Green Mile" a close second.

Question:  Why did you write another book as Bachman instead of as King?

KingStephn:  Because I didn't write it. Bachman did. The Bachman side of my brain, anyhow.

Question:  Hello Mr. King! Are you by any chance going to see "The Ramones" on
their farewell tour in New York City? If not, why not come to Canada this summer and see them in Barrie.

KingStephn:  Gabba gabba hey.

Question:  I have been disappointed with the way some of your books have come across in movies. How come some like "Misery" were great, and others didn't do your book justice?

KingStephn:  Sometimes the filmmakers have got their sh*t together and sometimes they just don't. That's part of the fascination. It's like a big grab-bag game. Sometimes you get a diamond ring; sometimes you get a Whoopee cushion.

Question:  When is the next installment of "The Green Mile" due out?

KingStephn:  April 29th. Be there. Aloha.

Question:  How is writing a serial novel different than writing one that's fully contained in one volume?

KingStephn:  There was less margin for screwing up. It had to be right the first time.

Question:  Any chance you will update the lives of the foursome in "The Body," a.k.a., "Stand By Me?"

KingStephn:  Gordie's a writer. Chris is dead. And that's about all there is. Kind of sad, really.

Question:  I thought that "Insomnia" was an excellent book. Where did you get the idea for the story from?

KingStephn:  I go through spells of insomnia myself. During one of them, I got the idea for the book. And while I was writing it, I hardly slept at all.

Question:  Steve, I really enjoy listening to your books on tape. Do you plan to record anymore yourself?

KingStephn:  Yes, the next "Gunslinger" book. I'm hoping that Steven Weber, who plays Jack Torrance in the remake of "The Shining" we're doing in Colo., will read either "Desperation" or "Regulators" on tape. Those tapes, at the publisher's request, will probably be 4 hour abridgments. Uck, but it's the reality of that end of the business.

Question:  Heya Steve. How do I know this is really you? Anybody could be typing this stuff.

KingStephn:  That's right, sweetheart, but it's really me. If you don't recognize my style by now, you came late.

Question:  Mr. King, do you enjoy doing bit parts in your movies, such as "The Stand?"

KingStephn:  Yes. Good thing I don't have to earn my living as an actor, though, isn't it? I played a part in the new "Shining," as well. A 6 hour miniseries, coming soon to an ABC affiliate near you. Just how soon, I don't know. Probably February of '97.

Question:  Mr. King. Well, you were right on in the foreword to "Green Mile."
I'm not sure whether to hate you or love you for it. What kind of feedback have you gotten so far?

KingStephn:  Most feedback has been good. I hate that people think I'm doing it for the money though. Mostly, it just seemed like such a totally cool idea. Make 'em WAIT for it, "heh heh heh." But most people seem to be going with it. Thank God. None of us (me, the publisher, agents, etc.) knew what would happen.

Question:  Have you seen Steve Spinessi's "The Complete Stephen King Encyclopedia?" Does it feel weird that someone wrote such a LONG book about you?

KingStephn:  I sort of dislike that book.

Question:  I wish you would PLEASE do the next book for the "Dark Tower" we have been waiting a long time to find out what happens to our pals! When are you going to finish it ?

KingStephn:  I'm going to TRY to write "Wizard and Glass" this summer. If it happens, it will be out in the summer of 1997. I know a lot of what happens. Mostly now it's a matter of gathering my courage and starting.

Question:  Is "The Regulators" and "Desperation" actually tied together, like rumors say?

KingStephn:  Yes. They are like fun house reflections of each other. The same characters populate each book, but they have been shaken up, turned inside out, and stood on their heads. I don't know how else to describe it. Think of the same troupe of actors performing "King Lear" one night and "Bus Stop" the next.

Question:  Is it true that you wrote "Cat's Eye" in one night?

KingStephn:  God, no. My fucking head would have exploded.

Question:  Today started reading Part I of ""The Two Dead Girls" and just flipped to the back where I read about the contest. I'd like to win even though I have all your books. Why the contest anyway? Just curious.

KingStephn:  It was a publicity ploy from the publisher. Publicity, publisher. Publisher, publicity. Geddit?

Question:  Are there any plans on making a movie out of "The Library Police?"

KingStephn:  Not right now.

Question:  Do you know the ending of a book when you begin writing?

KingStephn:  Not always. And even when I think I do, it has a way of changing. Sometimes that's worried me, sometimes it's not. With "The Green Mile," I had no idea how things would turn out, but it never concerned me. I just sort of stood back and let it happen. I love it when you can do that, when the book starts to drive itself and I can be a passenger.

AOLiveMC5:  Unfortunately, this will be the last question of the evening:

Question:  Do you get nightmares? What scares you? I still can't read "It." I get nightmares thinking about it!

KingStephn:  Sure, I get nightmares from time to time. The best of them, or maybe I mean the worst, I try to pass on to my readers. Thank you all for coming. It was my first time. Thank you for being gentle. Goodnight.

AOLiveMC5:  And thanks for some great questions, audience! Thank you Mr. King. This was a delightful session! Night everyone! Pleasant dreams, "hehehehe."

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