Part 42 - Stephen King Published Two Novels in One Day (September 24, 1996)

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This week (September 18-24) in literary history - Aldous Huxley was hired a schoolmaster at Eaton (September 18, 1917); Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay was published (September 19, 2000); Upton Sinclair was born (September 20, 1878); H.G. Wells was born (September 21, 1866); Playwright Ben Jonson was arrested for manslaughter (September 22, 1598); Leo Tolstoy married Sophie Andreyevna Behrs (September 23, 1862); Stephen King published Desperation and The Regulators on the same day(September 24, 1996)

Highlighted Literary Story of the Week -

On September 24, 1996, Stephen King released 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 his novel 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. Since that time, King continues to write fiction and non-fiction books.

Check back every Friday for a new installment of "This Week in Literary History."

Michael Thomas Barry is the author of six nonfiction books that includes the award winning America's Literary Legends and Literary Legends of the British Isles. Visit Michael's website for more information. His books can be purchased from Schiffer Publishing, Barnes and Noble, Powell's Books, Amazon and other fine book sellers.

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