PART 3 - Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, books
in cellphones and limited editions.
"Don't you guys realize that cell phones are the Devil?"
"I want people to read the books and be knocked out and I'd
like that to continue even after I stop."
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Lilja: You are also collaborating with John Mellencamp on a musical.
Stephen King: Right.
Lilja: Is that very different than writing a book?
Stephen King: We've got a guy and I'm not going to mention his name but we got a guy who looks like he's going to direct it. I'm not telling you who it is because he hasn't signed up for it yet but he's going to come down here. He's talked to John and he's going to talk to me. We're going to have lunch and talk about some things at the end of this month and then I would like to go back to work on that again, well I take that back. I worked on it so much, it's been through so many drafts that I don't really wanna go back to work on it again but maybe if I can do what this man feels comfortable with then we can get the thing off up on stage out of town. Maybe in some place like Houston or southern California and if people actually come to it and like it then we can bring it to Broadway which was always the goal.
Lilja: Do you think it might be released in some kind of book form or on DVD or something for people not living in the US?
Stephen King: I don't know, I don't think so. But my idea... what I always said to John when we were just sort of slogging along and there was like nobody got it and I said, "You know if worse things comes to worst, John, what we do is we release a package that contains the CD with all the music and the script for the play and people will buy that".
Lilja: That would be nice.
Stephen King: Yeah, it would and something like that may come along eventually and there'll be CDs with the music. The music is terrific.
Lilja: Yeah, John is a really good musician.
Stephen King: Yeah, it's very sweet and at the same time some of the pieces rock really hard and it's something that's really not been done on Broadway in my experience. You know there are plays that are kind of like the Andrew Lloyd Webber deal where everybody sings all the parts and there are musicals that here in the states we call Juke Box musicals and the closest thing to what we've got is Jersey Boys which used to be autobiography, it's the biography of the Four Seasons which is a story with a lot of music in it but that's like, almost like a bioplay you know and this is fiction and drama. It's interesting it's a kind of a one of a kind thing right now.
Lilja: You have tried to publish in a lot of formats like this musical, screenplays, eBooks, serial books and so on... Is there something left? Is there some media that you haven't tried?
Stephen King: Well, there's always the Internet. I was just delighted to read that Michael Connelly had done a kind of mini-movie of the first two chapters of his novel Echo Park. And he put it on YouTube and a lot of people watched it and it built interest in the book and I thought, "That's an interesting idea". So I can't really say, there are a lot of different possibilities. I have been approached with the idea of downloads for cell phones and I'm like, "Don't you guys realize that cell phones are the Devil?" [laughs]
Stephen King: You kind of download it and get a copy on your phone... I don't know about that one but you know I'm open to any kind of a format and I'm always interested in things because it keeps you fresh. Some of the fans gets a little bit disgruntled but that's good, too, you know. I like to upset them. It's my job.
Lilja: I think it's great that you're trying a lot of different things. I wish you would continue with The Plant on your site though.
Stephen King: Oh, but the thing is, about The Plant, is I ran out of stories. It was a great idea and people downloaded it. I think that a lot of the press was kind of discouraging about the way that that worked financially because it made them nervous but actually it was a license to coin money. There were no production costs or anything. Well, you know, you run a website. And there's a certain amount of... you know, expense involved in keeping things like that up and running but it's nothing compared to this support system, the infrastructure that it takes to publish books.
Lilja: Speaking of publishing, it seems less and less of your books have been released in limited editions now. Is that something you have done deliberately?
Stephen King: They are releasing Secretary of Dreams now and Frank Darabont is really high on the idea of doing a limited edition of The Mist. I don't like them, I don't like them. I think they are books for rich people and they're elitist and the whole idea of limiteds... there's something wrong with it, you know. The idea that people want a book that they can kind of drool over or masturbate on, I don't know what it is they want with these things but it's like they get this book and it's this beautiful thing and they go like, "Don't touch it, don't... oh God it's worth a thousand dollars, he signed it" and all this and my idea of a book that I like is when someone comes up to me at an autographing and you got this old beat-to-shit copy of The Stand and they say, "I'm sorry it looks this way" and I go like, "I'm not". It means a lot of people have read it and enjoyed it.
Lilja: But often they look very good, the limiteds.
Stephen King: Well, they do but... on the other hand my mother used to say, "Handsome is as handsome does".
Lilja: That's true...
Stephen King: A thing is better looking when it's useful and... you know something you just put up on the shelf to just look at it. Isn't that weird?
I mean... the worst one in a way and I don't... this guy is gonna read this and be so bummed. This guy Jared Walters did Salem's Lot in a limited. He basically fucking wore me down because he would come back every six months or so and say, "Please, please, please, please" and I'm very vulnerable to that if people, I mean, if he'd come to me and said that he wanted to do a Dollar Baby I would say, "Yes" immediately but this guy wants to do this big huge book with this, I don't know, incredible binding done in some endangered species or something and finally the books come out and people like Frank Darabont and other collectors just loved that book and he wants to do The Shining next and so far I've just told him, "No". Because it'd be another book like Salem's Lot. It'll weigh twenty pounds, and people will put it on their shelf and look at it and they won't actually read it.
Lilja: But I have read that book and it was interesting to get a chance to read the parts that wasn't in the first edition.
Stephen King: Yeah, I know that but on the other hand if someone had suggested to me, "Why don't you put that up on the net, the stuff that wasn't in the first edition?" I would have done that. And then people could have gotten it for free.
It would be the same words. It just wouldn't be in that fancy thing. It's like... I don't know how to say this. It's like if you see some woman and you're really hot for her, you know. I mean you got to say to yourself is it the woman I'm hot for or is it just because she's wearing a certain expensive dress? I don't know...
Lilja: What do you think people will think when they hear the name Stephen King say 50 or 100 years from now?
Stephen King: I think that they'll have some vague memory of my work and some of the older ones will have read it and it's maybe that some of the books will last, it may be that The Shining, Salem's Lot... ahh... I'm hoping Lisey's Story. That some of these books may still be read but you know what? I think that you never know, you never know what's gonna happen. You have no clue. Nobody would have believed, people would have laughed in 1910 if somebody would have said Theodore Dreiser was going to be a writer that people remember and read. But I think that my faith might be sort of like Somerset Maugham's. He was a novelist who was read wildly in his time, everybody read Somerset Maugham and he's still the record holder in terms of films made from his books. 48 movies from different books and remakes and that sort of things. I'm close to that---
Lilja: Yeah, you must be very close to that---
Stephen King: I am, I'm close to that. But nowadays if you ask people who Somerset Maugham is they'll kinda go like, "Well, I guess he was a writer...", "The name is very familiar..." so I think that that might be my fate.
Lilja: Is that the fate you would like?
Stephen King: No, I think any writer would like to be remembered and somebody who's read, you know, somebody whose work stands the test of times, so to speak. But on the other hand as a person, I'll be dead and if there's no afterlife then I won't give a shit, I'm gone. And if there is an afterlife I got an idea that what goes on here is a very minor concern.
But you know, I'm built a certain way and the way I'm built is to try and give people pleasure. That's what I do. I want people to read the books and be knocked out and I'd like that to continue even after I stop.
Lilja: I'm sure it will.
Stephen King: No, I'm not sure.
Well, it was very nice to talk to you.
Stephen King: Same here, very pleasant.
PART 1 - Fan sites, Blaze and The Haven Foundation
PART 2 - Duma Key, Jack Sawyer and The Gingerbread Girl
Copyright (c) 2007, Lilja's Library. All rights reserved. Larger parts of this interview may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission from Lilja's Library.
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