Stephen King is returning to his roots with a sequel to one of his greatest novels, The Shining. The new book is called Doctor Sleep and EW recently sat with King to talk about it…
Doctor Sleep is quite the big talk since it was officially announced last year and will have much more coverage leading up to its release in September. The novel is a sequel to The Shining that follows a 40 year old Danny Torrance and a tribe of psychic vampires.
EW recently caught up with Stephen King and published a lengthy interview, where King talks about his reason for writing a sequel now, re-reading The Shining after all these years, and there’s mention of a ‘Salem’s Lot Easter egg:
At what point did you first consider reviving this character from The Shining?
Every now and then somebody would ask, ‘Whatever happened to Danny?’ I used to joke around and say, ‘He married Charlie McGee from Firestarter and they had these amazing kids!’ But I did sort of wonder about it.
What finally inspired you to explore that question seriously?
Well, the other thing people would ask me is, ‘How come [his father] Jack Torrance never tried AA?’ Because he was this total dry-drunk in the book who never goes anywhere near a meeting. One of the things you hear from people who go into AA, or people who have substance abuse problems, is they say it runs in the family. … When the [sequel] idea would pop up in my mind I would think, ‘Now Danny’s 20, or now he’s 25. … I wonder if he’s drinking like his father?’ Finally I decided ‘Okay, why don’t I use that in the story and just revisit that whole issue? Like father, like son.
The Shining is probably high on the list of favorites among your readers. Did you find that intimidating when deciding to write a sequel?
When I really got serous about it, I thought to myself ‘Do you really want to do this? Because most sequels really suck.’ The only two exceptions I can think to that is Huckleberry Finn, a book that is a sequel to Tom Sawyer but is really a much better book, and I think Godfather IIis a much better movie than The Godfather.
How did you get over that?
I’m not going to kid you — I felt a little bit like Rocky Balboa going up against Apollo Creed! [Laughs] It’s got that kind of reputation. A lot of people who got scared to death by The Shining, they’ll come up to me and say, ‘I read that book when I was at camp when I was 12,’ or ‘I read that when I was in high school at 15, and it really scared the living crap right out of me.’ And [while writing Doctor Sleep] I’m thinking, ‘Those people are now in their 40s and they’ve been exposed to Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees and other stuff. It crossed my mind that they might read the new one and say, ‘Well, this isn’t so scary. I thought he was a scary guy!’ And it’s not so much that I’ve changed, but that they’ve grown up and matured. And they aren’t such easy targets!
I imagine you had to revisit The Shining before starting. How was that experience?
For the rest of the interview, please check out EW:
Other Horrific Musings: