Of course, Stephen King has become one of the world's most well-known authors. However, like so many others, his career started off small. Once he hit it big, King was able to surprise his mom and tell her to quit her job - in the middle of her battle with cancer, no less!
Stephen King Helps His Mother
Famed horror author Stephen King hit it big right out of the gate with his first novel, Carrie. Of course, after he sold the book, he immediately wanted to let his mother know. She had raised King and his brother as a single mother, encouraging him the entire way. While Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King died from cancer at 60 in 1973, she witnessed the beginning of her son's massive success. Even though Carrie came out in 1974, Stephen received the advance before her passing.
"The hardcover advance was small, but the paperback advance just bowled us over — it was, like, $400,000 in 1974," the writer said about his first book Carrie. "It was a huge amount of money." That's $2.2 million in today's money! Stephen knew he had more than enough to take care of his mother. So, he and his brother went to the hospital where his mother worked and told her to quit her job! While she felt severe pain from her cancer, Nellie could not afford to retire. After the advance, she could!
"And my brother and I talked a little bit about it. And we went to the Pineland facility where she worked. She was in her green uniform, green rayon uniform - never told this story before - but she was stoned, totally stoned on over-the-counter medication. She was in excruciating pain by that point. And my brother and I, we said, 'Mom, you're done. There's enough to take care of you now, because the book sold for a lot of money, and you can go home,'" Stephen recalled. "And she just put her hands over her face and cried."
While Nellie passed a year before Doubleday released Carrie, she always knew Stephen would become a success...
Nothing Without Her Support
After Stephen King's father abandoned his family early on, Nellie King needed to raise the writer and his brother alone. However, through it all, she gave them everything she could. When she realized just how much Stephen loved writing, she gave him a typewriter for his 12th birthday. Without her support, Stephen says, he could never have become the famed writer he is today. "My mother gave me room to be what I wanted to be," he said. "She didn't laugh about the ambition to write stories."
Carrie went on to become the basis of one of the biggest horror movies of all time. Today, Hollywood continues to use King as fertile inspiration. His latest book-to-film adaptation is Apple TV+'s adaptation of the novel Lisey's Story, which J.J. Abrams-produced. Julianne Moore takes on the lead role, and so far, it has earned good reviews.
Of course, everyone wants to know how King continues to write new novels almost every year. He has a simple explanation: "One of the things that I've tried to do is to keep my imagination young," he said.