Time for another Stephen King news update, don’t you think? Recently we saw the publication of King’s latest novel, Fairy Tale, and I have news about the next adaptation, which launches this week. In addition to those items, I’m going to talk about two associational projects, one of which involves yours truly and the other that involves someone from New Brunswick in Canada—and it’s not me!
Fairy Tale came out on September 6 and entered bestseller lists in the #1 position. I discussed the novel in an earlier post, which you can read here. A week later, it was announced that Paul Greengrass would adapt, direct and produce a feature adaptation of the novel. Greengrass is perhaps best known for the Jason Bourne films. If you haven’t started reading it, USA Today has just launched a book club and Fairy Tale is their first selection.
The short story “Willie the Weirdo” finally showed up in McSweeney’s #66. It was “scooped” by the French translation, “Willie le Zinzin,” last year.
King appeared on the French literary program La Grande Librairie last week, which you can watch here, and he reviewed Celeste Ng’s novel Our Missing Hearts for the NY Times a couple of weeks ago. He will be the recipient of The Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence in conjunction with the Cheltenham Literature Festival, where he will be interviewed remotely by BBC Radio 4 journalist Mark Lawson.
What comes next? Nothing has been announced, but King mentioned Holly Gibney in a tweet in August so it looks like we might see Holly sometime in 2023.
We learned last May from a Losers’ Club Podcast that King had written a novella called “Rattlesnake,” which he described as a sequel to Cujo. My suspicion is that he will wait until he has four novellas to collect before that is published.
The Netflix adaptation of Mr. Harrigan’s Phone launches on Wednesday, October 5, 2022. Based on the trailer, it looks like it will be a faithful adaptation, and Donald Sutherland is perfect as the eponymous phone owner.
Other adaptations? Things seemed to have died down after a fairly frenetic 2021. The anticipated ‘Salem’s Lot feature, originally slated to hit theaters this October, was pushed to April 2023 and then vanished off the schedule altogether. There were recent reports of reshoots and test screenings, so it probably hasn’t been shelved. We can only hope it will reappear on the schedule, maybe for next October, which is a better fit than April would have been.
Pictures of a sign outside the door of a writers’ room for Welcome to Derry, the It prequel, showed up on social media, but there’s been no news about the series since then. Speaking of It, look for a parody of that novel on a “Treehouse of Horror” episode of The Simpsons in October. You should also check out the documentary Pennywise: The Story Of IT, which has great interviews with the surviving cast members along with some terrific, never-before-seen behind-the-scenes material.
IMDB lists “The Boogeyman” as a 2023 release. The Regulators has been optioned as a film, which should be interesting if it ever happens. There’s been no official word on whether Chapelwaite has been renewed for a second season, although the creators have plans for a follow-up.
A different sort of adaptation: AMC Networks has announced a collaboration with DreadXP and game developer DarkStone Digital to produce a video game based on Creepshow, although it won’t see the light of day until 2024.
I’ve interviewed King a few times over the years. The first time was for The Dark Tower Companion. He and I interviewed each other for the audio version of Flight or Fright, which was cool. I also interviewed him and co-author Richard Chizmar for a couple of the Gwendy books.
As many of you know, I have a new book out: Stephen King: A Complete Exploration of His Work, Life and Influences, published in conjunction with King’s 75th birthday. I’m a member of the International Thriller Writers organization, which always promotes members’ new releases in a monthly newsletter called The Big Thrill. The managing editor came up with the idea of having King interview me for the newsletter and, to my surprise, King agreed to do so. It became the issue’s cover story and you can read the Behind the Lines article here. It includes a scan of a letter King wrote me, back in 1982.
I’ve been interviewed a number of times about the book, including by Blu Gilliand on this site. You can find links to them on my website page for it, along with some reviews and links to places where you can purchase the book, including a couple where you can order signed copies. I have been gratified by the response to the book thus far.
People have focused on many different aspects of King’s novels over the years. Much ink has been spilled about the tie-ins and crossovers among his books and stories, for example. Others have written about King’s use of music and lyrics in his work. I wrote an essay for the Poetry Foundation about his lifelong association with poetry, including a discussion of characters in his books and stories who write or quote poetry.
Theresa Carle-Sanders, who now lives in my home province of New Brunswick (which shares a long border with Maine and also many of its traditional foods), decided to focus on what people eat in King’s books, which led her to create Castle Rock Kitchen: Wicked Good Recipes from the World of Stephen King. The book, published on October 4, includes a foreword by King in which he discusses the nature of Maine food, his food-related childhood memories, and ends with a somewhat gross food-related joke.
Castle Rock Kitchen is introduced by Mrs. Garraty, Ray’s mother in The Long Walk, who writes about her history with food as a native Mainer, then provides a folksy list of cooking and shopping tips associated with the recipes that follow. She also introduces each of the sections: Breakfast, Dinner (aka Lunch), Supper, Fish and Shellfish, Vegetarian, Side Dishes, Baking and Sweets, Drinks and Cocktails, and Basics. Charming, rustic, mostly food-related photographs by Jenny Bravo illustrate the 246-page book.
Each recipe is related to one of King’s works, with a food-related excerpt at the top of the page. “Life-Sentence Oatmeal,” for example, features a quote from “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption.” The recipes also have a sidebar in which “Mrs. Garraty” comments on the recipe and its inspiration. “I’m sure Mrs. Tozier fed her son, Richie, well, which is more than I can say for most of those other parents in Derry.”
The recipes are detailed enough that even an amateur in the kitchen should be able to execute them without too much problem. The measurements are precise, with very few “dashes” or “to taste,” the kinds of things that stymie amateur cooks like myself. Some of them, however, are quite intricate and take a significant amount of time to prepare. You can check out some of the recipes here.
Carle-Sanders reveals herself to be more than a casual reader of King’s work. Only someone who has pored over virtually every word would be able to come up with references to a briefly mentioned frittata from Under the Dome or Ralph’s four-egg omelet from Insomnia. She details her process in the book’s afterword. The recipes are inspired by works exclusively set in Maine from as early as Carrie, ‘Salem’s Lot and The Shining to as recent as Elevation and The Institute, including short stories and novellas. I’m not much of a vegetarian, but I really want to try the Holy Frijole Enchiladas. The recipe for Roadside Fiddleheads reminds me of one of my mother’s favorite meals—a taste for which I never acquired.
The book does not contain any of Stephen King’s own recipes, which might be a good thing. He took a lot of heat (but didn’t get out of the kitchen) for his recent posting of a recipe for microwaved salmon. His recipe for “Lunchtime Gloop” was published in the Maine Bicentennial Community Cookbook a couple of years ago and the Riverdriver’s Cookbook before that. It’s guaranteed to clog your arteries! In one of the recipe’s appearances, King says his wife “won’t eat it, in fact, doesn’t even like to look at it.” Gloop also appears along with King’s recipe for bread in the book Lit A’ La Carte: Favorite Recipes of Famous Authors.
Although the recipes in Castle Rock Kitchen are all inspired by food items mentioned in King’s work, they aren’t scary or gross or campy. Many of them had me salivating as I read along. Carle-Sanders’ decision to adopt a persona gives her lots of flexibility about how she describes the recipes and preparation instructions. It’s a handsome volume and I can see myself trying out many of the recipes as a reminder of the northeast and its unique cuisine.
I have a giveaway for the book on my Twitter feed. Act fast—it ends on October 3. That’s today!