I have read many authors. King. Barker. Koontz. Irving. Larsson. These are only a few and I couldn’t possibly name them all. But who it has always been about, and who it always comes back to for me is Stephen King. Ever since I bought Misery for my brother all those years ago. A birthday gift if I remember correctly – because I was now a fifteen-year old with a job, I’ll have you know!
He failed to read it, but I was hooked, becoming what King calls a ‘constant reader’. I mean, who wouldn’t be after you’ve met the likes of Annie Wilkes? She is perfect in every way. In every way I like, that is. And therein is what draws me, and people like me, to King, I think. Not that I turn from the sunshine totally, but because I’m drawn to the darkness just a little bit more. It’s not for some, sure, but for me his influence began right there, in my teens.
Mr. King, as I have said before, became my Vader.
Not Anakin. Vader.
It wasn’t until my twenties that he blew my mind, though. When I began to understand the enormity of what was unfolding before me and that I’d been invited to the dance without even knowing; when I realized Randall Flag from The Stand was in fact the wizard from Eyes of The Dragon. As I said: Mind. Blown.
My own writing, for what it’s worth, is far from Uncle Stevie’s but he is still very much a part of the words I put to page. I haven’t a Dark Tower like King, nor will I ever, but I do have Bishop Rider – a man trying to save himself by saving others, and the main protagonist from my collection, A Better Kind of Hate.
Born of influence, I truly believe I would not have met him if not for my brother’s lack of interest in a birthday present I would end up taking for myself.
I will never reach the heights of Stephen King, no, and I know as much, but if I ever have the chance to meet him I hope I’d be able to articulate the influence he has had upon me and my life.
If not, maybe I’d find a way to put those words into a story…
Maybe I’d ensure it ended in revenge…
Bio: Beau Johnson has been published before, usually on the darker side of town. Such fine establishments might include Shotgun Honey, Out of the Gutter Online, Horror Sleaze Trash, Spelk and Story & Grit. His collection, A Better Kind of Hate, is available now via Down & Out Books.
Are you a crime writer? Would you like to write a short piece about one of your formative influences? If so, drop me a line via the contact form on the About page!