NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Pop culture consumes authors, musicians and actors and quickly moves on. Only a few have staying power, and Stephen King is one of those rare figures.
With the release this week of "Doctor Sleep," his much anticipated sequel to "The Shining," the 66-year-old King continues to release and inspire new projects more than four decades after he first started to scare the bejeezus out of everybody. A stage musical he wrote with John Mellencamp is about to begin touring the country, "Under the Dome" was a surprise television hit of the summer and a film project based on his novella "A Good Marriage" is in the works as well.
"I always knew that if I hung around that I'd get hot again," King says with a laugh. "Sooner or later everything that goes around comes around. I just thought of guys like Billy Joel. I thought if Billy Joel can come back, I can come back."
With "Doctor Sleep," King revisits a grown-up Danny Torrance and the extra creepy best-selling novel that became a milestone film for Stanley Kubrick and Jack Nicholson. In this update, Dan is a recovering alcoholic and a mentor to a 12-year-old whose shining is stronger than his own.
King spoke with The Associated Press earlier this summer about how he approached the tricky task of writing "Doctor Sleep" and the home life that has produced two more literary voices:
AP: Writing a sequel to a beloved book so many years later had to be tricky. How did you approach it?
King: When I went into it I thought to myself, if I do this I can probably never satisfy the expectations of the audience because so many people who read "The Shining," I got them while they were young and malleable, they were young adults, teenagers. I meet people all the time who say, "That book scared the s--- out of me," and I'll say, "How old were you when you read the book or saw the movie?" and they'll say 16. And if you were 16 then, you're probably 50 now and a little bit case hardened when it comes to scary things. I was curious. I wanted to see what happens to Danny Torrance, so I took my shot.
AP: What do you think of the book now that you're done with it?
King: I like it. I think it's pretty good. I kind of approached it with the idea of it's a movie sequel where the story's supposed to be different but it's supposed to have the elements of the original that were successful, and I thought that's a real challenge. Let me see if I can do something that's really good, that has some of the elements that scared people in "The Shining" and create a story that's entirely on its own and that people could pick up and read even if they never read "The Shining" in their life. It was fun to take the shot.
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