How @StephenKing has influenced my #thriller writing

In the summer of 1995, a cousin of mine who I had met with at my Nan’s house started telling me about a book she had read titled, Carrie. This was the first time I had heard of Stephen King as an author, and the more I was informed of the plot I was intrigued. At just 15 years old at the time, I ended up being gifted a copy of the book – which then led to me buying his whole back catalogue. I became an instant fan.

By 1996, I had read most of King’s work, but a few novels stood out for me, and some I consider his best in my view. Carrie, will always be the novel that introduced me to his writing, so for that it’s THE most memorable. Misery, for its chilling fan-based thrills, and then followed by Rose Madder, which is a little underrated. Rose Madder, hooked me into its domestic abuse behaviours that led on one woman’s journey to escape an evil husband. It wasn’t written in a style I thought would be traditional to his other works, but it took on a fantasy and escapism setting in parts. However, it is Dolores Claiborne, that made me change my game when it came to writing novels.

At 16, having read a ton of books by King, Koontz, and Herbert, I decided after I finished James Gabriel Berman’s Misbegotten, a novel about a woman’s obsession with finding her sperm donor, I decided to become an author and write a novel myself. I had plenty of ideas and attempted to mimic the twists and horrors of King, by writing what I had titled at the time, The Shade of Darkness.

The Shade of Darkness, was a horror novel I had written about a cult who wanted destroy a couples lives by trapping them into believing their ideas and worship of the afterlife. It was all for material gain, and the cult ended up acquiring a string of houses, shares, bank balances before a mass suicide. It took almost a year to write, and then months of editing on a word processor. This processor was an electronic one with a floppy disc drive and a small LCD screen. It was hideous in comparison to using laptops and Word in today’s modern era of technology.

I submitted the novel to a few agents, had some good feedback, tips of improving the story – but I gave up. I left the complete manuscript left in a plastic folder in the loft of the house I lived in at the time. I moved out in 2001, leaving there.

After that, and a string of jobs in hospitality, cleaning, administration I still continued to read and I became a gaming blogger. My passion for writing continued into sharing my views on the latest Xbox games, but I kept thinking, what if all these 2000 word blog posts were chapters? In 2015, at the age of 35 I decided to write again. I wrote in the past tense, third person and drafted an erotic thriller. I wish I hadn’t. It was a great first attempt, but as a mix of genres between thriller and erotica, it was neither one or the other.

Learning from my first novel (I call that book zero), and feedback, the thriller aspect was clearly my strength. Proving to myself that I could write a full-length story, I also remembered King’s, Dolores Claiborne, and how it was written from the characters point of view in its entirety. This inspired me to write in the first-person narrative and include a lot of inner monologues. I had the idea for a long time about a mother and a missing son. I wrote a lot of early chapters during the idea stage in the third person but scrapped it to restart the novel entirely. This (I now call book one) has now become, Mummy’s Boy, and was published April 1st 2020 by HERA.

I might hope that one day, Stephen King might read one of my own novels. Without Carrie, Dolores Claiborne, I might never have found the inspiration to write my own. Writing is definitely a learning journey that I hope to improve. I’m just on the beginning of this process and will never give up. Hoping to improve from one book to the next with the support of my publisher, and editors. Getting a book out there is a team effort. Not just writing it (which takes such a long time) but the editorial process is where the impact hits. The structure, the words, the flaws, all laid out bare for improving.

What a journey!

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Author of dark psychological thrillers, Kickboxer, DietCoke addict & gamer. All views expressed are my own!
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