Terrifying Inspiration from The King of Horror: Some Books of Stephen King

shelved under Fiction

It was under the covers as a ten year old that I first came to read Stephen King, the flashlight shaking as I read about vampires in a small town and my love affair — manly and respectful — with Stephen King blossomed. I consumed everything he wrote and when, some sixteen years later, I went through a divorce, I used his influence to pick up a pen and start writing myself. This list charts the books of Mr. King that had the biggest influence on my own, all be it, fledgling writing career.
So get comfy, grab that flashlight and lets take a walk in the dark. And if you feel something breathing on your shoulder — best not turn round!


'Salem's Lot

by Stephen King

Written as a homage to the works of the Tales From The Crypt comics that Stephen King grew up reading and Dracula, 'Salem's Lot is the first book I was introduced to and instantly I was hooked. What ten year old boy wouldn't be? There were monsters in the dark and not all of them had long pointy teeth. I remember walking round my own small town looking at all the old characters a little differently from then on.

This book also appears on Vampire Novels To Sink Your Teeth Into


On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

by Stephen King

When I became serious about pursuing writing as a career and not just a way to pass a night, I looked high and low for books to aid my writing skills. Some taught the fundamentals, some taught story structure while others used up 150 pages and didn't say a damn thing, but not On Writing. Stephen King's book has been hailed as probably the best book about the craft of writing ever written and I agree. It's actually two books; the first is a memoir about his life and the decisions made in his writing career; the second is all about the craft of writing and has a few good tips to ensue if not publication, then at least a finished manuscript.

This book also appears on 33 of the Best Books about Writing Fiction


Bag of Bones

by Stephen King

This is another book I could read time and again, and usually delve into it to help reinvigorate my own writing. Following a writer whose wife has recently died, the story takes the reader on an emotional journey as Mike Noonan tries to overcome his writers block in the small lakeside cabin the two of them shared many times. King's usual slow buildup and explosive finale are especially haunting in this ghostly love story.



by Stephen King

Having suffered from this awful affliction on a few occasions, I relished to see what Stephen King's twist on this illness would be, and I wasn't disappointed. The usual minutiae of everyday people's lives suddenly take on new meaning as little bald doctors appear waving rusty scalpels and sever the ties that bind us to the earth and only Ralph can see them, thanks largely in part to his insomnia. This book certainly kept me up at night!


Lisey's Story

by Stephen King

Probably Stephen King's most personal book, Lisey's Story was the hardest for me to actually read. It took several attempts to get into the story because it didn't 'feel' like a Stephen King book. Not at first, at least thanks in part to the constantly shifting timeline where characters would think back to past events, and in that event think further back. Let's be honest, I got lost, but stuck with it and found a story of utter love and near poetic writing.


Duma Key

by Stephen King

The story was so powerful, I devoured this novel in a single sitting. Again, what appear to be normal events take on twisted, sinister connotations as the story of an amputee turned painter unfolds. People reviewing art always say pictures mirror life, in this case it is life that mirrors the paintings as they foretell horrendous events. A great story about friendship, sacrifice and the need for something in our lives to keep us sane.


Needful Things: The Last Castle Rock Story

by Stephen King

It was this book that inspired me to set my own in a small town based loosely on my home town of Ossett in the UK. A cast of many all with their own lives, all ensnared by the greedy fingers of Leyland Gaunt and his small shop of wonders against, Needful Things is a story about the dangers of needing what we want and wanting what we need told as only Stephen King can.