PART 2 – Just Past Sunset, The Dark Tower and The Stand
"When I finally settled on the title I though, "gee, Unnatural Acts of Human Intercourse, that is a really good title" but they had a shit-fit."
"Well, I’d like to do something original in that field at some point."
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Lilja: You also have a collection of short stories coming out.
Stephen King: I do.
Lilja: Will it be out this year?
Stephen King: I think it’s gonna come out in…November. We went back and forth about the title. I wanted to call it Unnatural Acts of Human Intercourse.
Lilja: Yeah, I remember reading about that and also Pocket Rockets?
Stephen King: Yeah.
Lilja: Are there usually this many titles flying around?
Stephen King: You know, books with short stories are hard to title unless you name them after one of the stories and when I finally settled on the title I thought, “gee, Unnatural Acts of Human Intercourse, that is a really good title” but they had a shit-fit. [laughs]
Lilja: [laughs] Yeah, I read that the publisher thought they would have a really hard time promoting it.
Stephen King: Yeah, “We can’t sell this, we blah, blah, blah” and I said “Well, look in your dictionary man, intercourse doesn’t even have anything to do with sex”. It’s what we’re doing right now. We’re having a conversation back and forth.
Lilja: Yeah, I liked that title. I was hoping for it but I guess Just Past Sunset is good as well…
Stephen King: Yeah, it’s like Nightshift and Four Past Midnight. It has some of that vibe to it so if they like that, it’s fine.
Lilja: Is it easier to name books that aren’t collections?
Stephen King: Yes! Cause the titles always kinda suggest themselves after a while. The only time I ever had a problem was the vampire book I wanted to call Second Coming and someone said it sounds like a sex manual.
Stephen King: So, we ended up calling that one something else.
Lilja: Will all the previously published but uncollected stories be in the collection?
Stephen King: Now, I’m not supposed to talk to you about that very much… I think there’s like 13 stories in the collection, which is a good number of stories for a collection of scary stories.
Most of them are the ones that have been published in magazines but haven’t been collected. There is one story that is brand new that is called N. Just the letter N with a period after it and that’s a long story and you know, you could guess… The long stories like The Gingerbread Girl are gonna be in there and there is one other long one that hasn’t been published yet that’s called A Very Tight Place so those will be kind of the cornerstones and the anchors to it and the other ones … the stories that aren’t going to be in there are the ones that developed into novels, Lisey and the Madman and Memory. They won’t be in there.
Lilja: The first story arc of The Gunslinger comic is finished. Are you happy with how it turned out?
Stephen King: I loved it.
Stephen King: Yeah, I really loved it. They are going to do The Stand I think if we can work out arrangements.
Lilja: Yeah, I remember there were talks about The Stand about a year ago, or two.
Stephen King: Doubleday has the rights to most of that so it’s gonna go on for a while before we get that worked out but hopefully it’ll happen.
Lilja: You should also do Eyes of the Dragon. It would fit well as a comic.
Stephen King: Well, I’d like to do something original in that field at some point. You know cause there are a lot of those graphic novels things that I really like. There is one called Y: The Last Man that’s really nice. And I’d really like to try that sometime.
Lilja: Yeah, it would be really interesting to see an original Stephen King comic. What are your feelings about the next story arc; The Long Road Home?
Stephen King: I like the way…well, first of all let me say this. The first issue is terrific and the way that the arc is outlined is very good. I like that a lot. It really just takes off from the previous one so that’s nice. And Peter David and Robin Furth have really started to click and work together really well so I think it’s gonna be OK. You can never tell because, it’s like the movie, once a lot of people start working together it’s always a little unpredictable what’s going to happen but we’ll see.
Lilja: How much input have you had in it since it’s not based on something you have previously written?
Stephen King: Well, with the first one I had a lot of input because it was basically Wizard and Glass but my feelings about stuff like this are the same whether it’s movies or something like a graphic novel. The comic books are very similar to movies in a lot of ways. They become more and more cinematic as years go by, wouldn’t you agree with that?
Lilja: Yeah, I really like the widescreen format of the comics, that the frames are covering the entire page.
Stephen King: Yeah, and I love Jae Lee as an artist. I think he rocks!
Lilja: Yeah, he is very talented.
Stephen King: Yeah, terrifically talented guy. Very quiet, very modest but my idea is that either you get right in there and write the damn thing or you stand away and let people do their best work and don’t… “too many cooks spoil the broth” as the saying goes and there you are.
Lilja: Yeah, I can’t wait to see what they have done with it. Do you know if all the story arcs are mapped out? Have you given them some guidelines to navigate by?
Stephen King: Yeah, I gave them some overall guidelines and I can tell you what it is basically. You know the story Wizard and Glass, Roland and his friends are basically kids. They have just gotten their first guns and they are sent away to this cattle area called Mejis and they have all these adventures and then they go back and Roland actually shoots his mother by mistake. Which is a spoiler I guess technically but anyone who doesn’t know that hasn’t read the stories anyway so… The next time in chronological order we see Roland of Gilead is when he is in the desert chasing the Man in Black and all these years have gone by. We don’t even know how many years but it’s a lot more than a normal man’s lifespan and what I said when we sat down with Marvel was “this is the area you wanna focus on”, the young manhood of Roland and his friends with the overall story of The Crimson King and this guy who is working to overthrow all of civilization and they just took to that like ducks to water and started to build these arcs around that and I just thought it was terrific and after that I just kind of walked away from the project and I look at it and I’m really sort of an outsider at this point and that’s fine. I gave them my little railroad trains to play with and they’re doing their thing.
Lilja: Robin is very involved in The Dark Tower now; she knows probably more than you do?
Stephen King: She does, it’s no probably about it.
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PART 1 – Duma Key and a really long new book
PART 3 – The Gingerbread Girl, The Mist and The Talisman 3
Copyright (c) 2008, 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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