Gina Penn, unabridged.

How Stephen King Saved My Life

To know me is to know I’m a Stephen King fan.

It’s no secret that I love the man’s stories. Trying to choose a favorite would be no easier than picking a favorite pet. There are certain books of his that I tend to turn to the most in times of distress but at any given time, I’m reading at least one Stephen King book.

What am I reading right now? Full Dark, No Stars. Again.

Every year in the fall months, I eagerly look forward to the latest King book. This year it’s 11/22/63. From what I hear, it’s another monster like Under the Dome but I don’t care. Personally, I prefer the luxury liner experience of a good, long read, one I can really immerse myself into instead of the typically encouraged 80-100,000 word book. These books dwarf my own “Learning To Fly” collection but I have my own massive stars on the way.

The Dark Layer, my upcoming book, ended around 155,000 words. The writers I know screamed that it’s too long. But whenever I ask readers what they think, they don’t seem to care. “If I don’t like a book,” a friend told me once, “then I’ll put it down and it won’t waste any more of my time. But if I do, then I don’t want it to end. So how is being long a bad thing?”

Anyway, I’m getting off target. King’s the man and I’m one of his biggest fans. At eight years old, my horror book virginity was popped by Christine. Eight is rather young but I’m glad I was young when I started adult books. If I had children, it’s something I would encourage for them as well. But these were more than just books with interesting characters and crazy stories. These books were escape hatches.

My childhood was rocky, and being an only child, I had no one else to talk to about what was going on. Few friends and no family that gave a damn so my books became my refuge. Christine, Cujo, The Dead Zone, The Shining, Pet Sematary, and Firestarter were my friends. Actually they were better than friends because not only did I learn from them but they never broke my toys or told lies about me behind my back. The best part? They were always, always there. No phone calls, no embarrassing admissions, no judgments. Just companionship.

I write ebooks now. Currently, I’m outlining a book called “Rainbow in the Dark” and what I hope to accomplish with this book is the same thing that King’s books did for me. I want to provide companionship to someone else out there that might be going through a tough time. I want to give them advice on how to stay strong through trials and tribulations they may be living, or surviving. Most of all, I want to give them hope. Because it can get better. Will get better.

26 years later and I’m still reading King. Here’s to the next 26.

6 responses

  1. Erik

    I can relate! Stephen King was a huge part of my childhood as well! My favorites were Salem’s Lot and Pet Cemetery!

    June 25, 2011 at 2:44 pm

  2. Penny

    I think all the reading made you who you are today. I look forward to reading you next ebook!
    your number 1 fan :0)

    June 25, 2011 at 3:26 pm

  3. Growing up I loved a good fantasy. My friends of the book world consisted of The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe, Terry Brooks line of Shanara novels, The Lord of the Rings, and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. It wasn’t until this year that I finally gave horror a chance and started with King’s Duma Key because my Partner was reading it and we could enjoy it together. Then with your reccomendation I moved onto Under the Dome, which I now one of my favorite books.

    I follow in the same thought that if you enjoy the story, you’re kinda sad as you come to the end knowing the enjoyment is almost over. I say the longer the better.

    I do have to thank you for the reccomendation on Under the Dome. It really had an impact me as a true blue fantasy lover to be able to enjoy horror so much and I just don’t think that anyone other that King could have swayed me to the dark side as well as he. Maybe that is except for you. I’ll be waiting anxiously for The Dark Layer. In fact, I want to record the audiobook. 🙂

    June 25, 2011 at 11:20 pm

  4. Stephen King is awesome!! I must admit though I haven’t read many of his books. So need to do that! I do have heaps on my TBR list 🙂

    June 26, 2011 at 1:39 am

  5. Thanks for stopping by my blog, Gina!

    I was an only child too, and we moved around a lot, so I spent a lot of time reading. No internet back then, lol. I skipped from kids’ books to adult books too. Lots of historical fiction, and then I got sex ed from the Clan of the Cave Bear books at 10 or 11, haha. I don’t think my mom remembered how graphic they were. *g*

    July 9, 2011 at 12:59 pm

  6. Gina … I think you picked a pretty good role model. And you’re right not to pay any attention to others about the length of your book … I’m dyslexic and am lucky to finish a book in month, but my wife is a prolific reader and I’ve seen her actually pick up two books she is considering and pick the heavier one. Keep at it!

    July 15, 2011 at 11:07 am

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