1990s |

Stephen King Releases Two Books On Same Day – 9/24/1996

On September 24th of 1996, Stephen King released not one, but two novels. The first one, called Desperation, was released under his own name, Stephen King. The second book, called The Regulators, was released under his pseudonym, Richard Bachman. He may have arranged this so people would not guess that Stephen King and Richard Bachman were one and the same.

Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine, in 1947. His father exited the family when Stephen was two years old, under the pretense of going out to buy a pack of cigarettes. From then on, Stephen's mother struggled to support her two sons. The family moved around a lot, first to Wisconsin, then to Indiana, then to Connecticut. At the age of 11, Stephen returned to Maine, where his mother took care of her parents until they died. As a young adult, Stephen studied English at the University of Maine. There, he met a lady named Tabitha, who would eventually become his wife. Their daughter Naomi was born in the same year Stephen graduated college.

For a while after King graduated, he and his wife and baby daughter lived in a trailer, as he worked at various jobs to support the family. He taught classes and worked at a laundry, all while writing four novels, all of which were rejected. He considered giving up writing, but his wife encouraged him to continue. So Stephen supplemented his wages by selling short stories to men's magazines.

His first big break came in 1973, when Doubleday paid him $2,500 for the book called Carrie. A short while later, he got $420,000 for the paperback rights. The book was a huge bestseller, and was eventually made into a movie starring Sissy Spacek. On the heels of the success of Carrie, King wrote 30 more novels, all of them bestsellers. This has cemented his place in the world of literature as an award winning horror, mystery, fantasy, and science fiction writer.

Stephen King continued writing, as he and his wife raised their three children.

At some point, Stephen King, who by that time was already famous, wanted to see if writers would buy his books on the merit of the writing alone. So King created a pseudonym: Richard Bachman. Another pseudonym used by King was John Swithen. King joked that it was not him, but Richard Bachman who wrote under the pseudonym John Swithen.

Altogether, the books of Stephen King (and Richard Bachman, and John Swithen) have sold more than 350 million copies. Many of King's books have been adapted into feature films, TV movies, TV mini-series, and comic books. From his most notable works came the movies Carrie, Creepshow, The Shining, The Shawshank Redemption, Misery, The Dark Tower, It, and many others.

Despite being plagued with drug and alcohol problems for much of his life (one time requiring family intervention), and despite being critically injured when he was hit by a car in 1999, Stephen King continues to write novels and short stories today. 

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Mark Hinderberg


Retired History Professor at Vanderbilt University. Love taking a portal through time and sharing my knowledge with anyone else who loves reading about history. It is my passion and my greatest hobby.