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Question-and-answer session conducted by Stephen King at a Walmart in Dundalk, Maryland on 11 November 2009. Video available at youtube.


[KING TAKES STAGE; AUDIENCE CHEERS MADLY]

MALE FAN: Stephen!

STEPHEN KING: Holy shit!

[AUDIENCE CHEERS]

FEMALE FAN: We love you!

KING: I love you too, I…I'm speechless. They told me to come up here and speak for a few minutes, and I don't really know if I can do that. The less I speak, and the more I sign, the more people I'll get, I guess. But, uh…

FEMALE FAN: We love you, Stephen!

KING: This just proves that you really can get anything at Wally-world.

[AUDIENCE LAUGHS]

KING: Thanks a lot. I hope you all watch your cars.

[AUDIENCE LAUGHS]

KING: You might forget, and there are crazy people out there

FEMALE FAN: We are crazy.

KING: And even if you locked your car, there are crazy people that have those wires, and one of them could be creeping into the back of your car right now

[AUDIENCE CHEERS]

KING: He could be waiting for you. You could be halfway home and it's raining and it's dark out there. We're having a good time now, but when you see that guy's face rise up in your rearview mirror…

[AUDIENCE LAUGHS]

KING: Maybe not so good. Any way: thank you for coming. Um…I've got a new book, I'm going to sign it, I'm going to go as fast as I can and sign for as many people as I can. Before I start, do you have any questions?

[AUDIENCE LAUGHS]

KING: Yeah…

MALE FAN: What's your favorite story that you've written?

KING: Oh, I like this one the best. I love it.

FEMALE FAN: The Shining! The Shining!

KING: I mean, if I'm going to write something that's a thousand pages long…I like this one the best. But I will tell you: I wrote a story called "the Body" that got turned into a movie called Stand By Me

MALE FAN: Yeah!

[AUDIENCE CHEERS]

KING: And there's a part in there where there's a pie-eating contest, and I really like that.

[AUDIENCE LAUGHS]

KING: Yeah, the lady back there. What, yeah…

FEMALE FAN: you said this was going to be made into a movie?

KING: Uh…I think this is actually going to be a…an HBO series, Under the Dome.

[GASPS, AUDIENCE CHEERS]

KING: You know, this is almost like a game-show. Everybody gets a free prize!

[AUDIENCE LAUGHS]

KING: What? Yeah…

MALE FAN: What's the status of the Talisman movie?

KING: Well, there's a Talisman graphic novel that's going to come out starting in about a month. But as far as a movie, I don't know. Yeah…

FEMALE FAN: Are you planning on making…writing a book about Dundalk now that you've been here?

KING: Absolutely. Dundalk is the next story, after I rode into town.

[AUDIENCE CHEERS]

KING: But here's what I really want to write about. Here's my Baltimore thing, okay: that tunnel.

[AUDIENCE LAUGHS]

KING: That tunnel's the creepiest thing. I'm in the back of a car and we go through that tunnel, and I say to the driver, "Are we under land, or under water?" And he says: "Under water. And if this thing breaks, we'll die like rats."

[AUDIENCE LAUGHS]

KING: Yeah…

MALE FAN: Any plans to continue the Dark Tower saga?

KING: I have one more Dark Tower book to write.

[AUDIENCE CHEERS]

KING: It comes in between…there's one called Wizard and Glass and there's one called Wolves of the Calla…it should be in between those two. Is my friend Rich Chismar out there? Where are you, Rich?

FEMALE FAN: I can be Rich.

KING: You can't be Rich. What, yes, little girl…

LITTLE GIRL: [How long have you been writing?]

KING: I have been writing…[pause]

[AUDIENCE LAUGHS]

KING: Well, I'm 62 now, so I've been doing this 56 years. [inaudible]

FEMALE FAN: And you look good! You look good for 62!

KING: Guy in the red shirt…

RED SHIRT: In a year or two, it's going to be 28 years since It. And It comes every 27, 28 years. You thinking about…falling up on that?

[AUDIENCE CHEERS]

KING: I'm done with clowns.

[AUDIENCE LAUGHS]

KING: I don't want to mess with them. That was about it. No more clowns. No more clowns. Uh…yeah…

MALE FAN: Do you shop at Walmart? Do you shop at Walmart?

KING: I shop at Walmart. I actually do, yeah. You know…you know when I end up in Walmart? Every year, three days before Christmas, at eleven o'clock at night. Yeah…

FEMALE FAN: Is there anything you do to find inspiration if you're having a hard time?

KING: I come to places like this. I…this scares the hell out of me.

[AUDIENCE LAUGHS]

KING: I'm used to being on my own, and there are all these people. Why? Yes…

MALE FAN: Any more comic book series coming out?

KING: Yeah, I got…I wrote a comic book with a friend of mine. It's called American Vampire, and it's set for March. And I got the, uh…the, origin-story about a vampire named Skinner Sweet. This is not much like Twilight. [inaudible]

[AUDIENCE CHEERS]

FEMALE FAN: Good!

FEMALE FAN: Alright!

FEMALE FAN: Thank you!

KING: Anybody in the back? I've got to get signing here pretty quick. Oh yeah, go ahead, man. What, yes, go ahead…

MALE FAN: Do you ever scare yourself?

KING: Do I ever…son, I'm scared right now.

[AUDIENCE LAUGHS]

KING: Yeah, I scare myself sometimes. You write this stuff, and it —

MALE FAN: How `bout those crab-cakes!

KING: — it's okay in the daytime, but at night… Go ahead, in the back there…

MALE FAN: How `bout those crab-cakes! Crab cakes!

KING: Crab-cakes. What about `em? All I know is that you say that, and I think of my mother-in-law.

[AUDIENCE LAUGHS, CHEERS]

KING: Bada-bing! Ah, she's a nice lady. Yes ma'am…

FEMALE FAN: What author would you stand in line for?

KING: What author would I stand in line for? I'd sit in line for Richard Adams, the guy who wrote Watership Down. The book about the rabbits. I was in Denver, and I stood in line for about three hours. And…here's the thing…he had the sweetest signature you've ever seen, it was just beautiful. Yes…

FEMALE FAN: I have a question. I want to know which character has scared you the most, that you've written.

KING: What character scares me most…I think probably the Crimson King, from the Dark Tower books. I wouldn't want to meet him. I wouldn't want to meet him. Go ahead…

MALE FAN: Are there plans to do Insomnia as a movie?

KING: No plans to do Insomnia. Yeah…

MALE FAN: [inaudible] Is there a specific reason why you don't do this more often?

KING: Uh…I'll tell you why. Actually, in all seriousness, when I look out at everybody here, I'd like to sign a book for everybody, and I just, you know, start to slump. Also, I'm not…it's very strange to have people looking at you. I mean, at my house, they only…at my house, they only look at me when somebody needs to take out the garbage, or the dog shit on the floor. Yeah, back here…

FEMALE FAN: How's your hip?

KING: How's my hip?

FEMALE FAN: Yeah.

KING: It's not too bad, not too bad. I'm…I'm…you know, people applaud. I come out at one of these things, and I don't whether they're glad to see me, or just happy I'm not dead.

[AUDIENCE CHEERS; CHORUS OF "BOTH"]

KING: Either way, it's great. Both. Thanks. Yeah…

FEMALE FAN: If you could trade one of your years, and go back and do it over, what would you do?

KING: No, it's…you play it, and…once it's played, it's played. I'm happy with what I've got. I mean, everybody would change something if they could, probably. Yeah…

FEMALE FAN: How many attempts did it take before you were first published?

KING: Oh…I wrote a book when I was 18, called The Long Walk, and I sent it around to a couple of publishers, and nobody took it. And I wrote two or three other books after that. A couple were published under the Bachman name, and there was one that was so terrible that it's never seen the light of day. Yes ma'am…

FEMALE FAN: Hi. Um…do you have very vivid nightmares?

KING: Do I have nightmares? Yes, sometimes I do. Mostly I pass them on to other people.

[AUDIENCE LAUGHS]

FEMALE FAN: And we thank you for it.

KING: Two or three more, and then I'm going to sit at that table and bop `til I drop. Yeah, ma'am…

FEMALE FAN: How did you like the adaptation of "1408" [inaudible]

KING: I thought that was terrific. She asked about 1408. I thought that was good, I thought…scary. It was kind of like the Shining on crack.

[AUDIENCE LAUGHS]

KING: Yeah, in the blue…

MALE FAN: Can I pass this up to you? Can I pass this up to you?

KING: Can you pass that up to me? NO.

[AUDIENCE LAUGHS]

KING: Yeah…

MALE FAN: Your personal assistant, Marsha DeFilippo, needs a big raise.

KING: She needs a big raise. He's talking about my assistant, says she needs a big raise. I didn't hear that.

[AUDIENCE LAUGHS]

KING: Yeah…

MALE FAN: Do you have another Bachman book?

KING: Uh, he's dead. Bachman's dead. But sometimes somebody finds a manuscript. There might be one more. One more, yes sir…

MALE FAN: Any chance at all of Cell being made a movie?

KING: I think that…I just finished a screenplay for Cell. So maybe it will get done. And, uh, I got so many complaints about the end of the book that I changed everything. But, uh, I like the zombies, I like the phoners, and, uh…yeah, so, I think so. Listen: thank you very much. I'm going to sign. Some of you have been on your feet for a long time. Thank you for coming on a rainy night. And: thank you for supporting me and my family, because there's nothing else that I can really do. This is it. Thanks.

[KING STARTS OFF STAGE, RETURNS]

KING: I'm going to sign for a couple of these people that are stuck in wheelchairs down front, then we'll get going.

MALE FAN: Absolutely.

MALE FAN: Alright!

[KING LEAVES STAGE, BEGINS SIGNING]

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