|Born in 1947, Stephen King has become a household name all over the world. His mother raised him and his brother after their father deserted the family in 1950. In high school, King began to write short stories, his first published work appearing in 1968. He attended the University of Maine, graduating with a B.S. in 1970. Up until his first novel appeared, King had worked in an industrial laundry, as a janitor, as well as an English teacher. CARRIE, his debut, was met by a largely indifferent public in 1974. It wasn't until two years later, after King's second novel 'SALEM'S LOT and the filmed version of CARRIE, that King became a major player in the horror field. THE SHINING, his 1977 haunted hotel novel, began a litany of bestsellers, including THE STAND, THE DEAD ZONE, PET SEMETARY, DOLORES CLAIBORNE, and many others. King's work is regarded as instrumental in bringing about a resurgence of interest in horror fiction in the 1970s and '80s. An extremely high percentage of King's voluminous literary output has been filmed, with varying degrees of success, but all serving to carry the name of Stephen King far and wide. He has written nonfiction, given lectures, acted in films, and continues to produce huge novels nearly every year, all of which become instant bestsellers. As an bizarre sidenote, during the summer of 1999 while walking along a back road in Maine, King was struck and seriously injured by a minivan whose driver apparently lost control of the vehicle while being distracted by his dog--thus creating exactly the kind of news item that might have inspired several of King's own novels.
|While most readers know him as Ed McBain, the renowned author of the 87th Precinct series, Evan Hunter was born Salvatore Albert Lombino and remained that throughout his boyhood and early adulthood in East Harlem and the North Bronx. Lombino spent two years in the U. S. Navy before attending Hunter College in New York, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1950. After leaving college, he held a series of odd jobs that included lobster salesman, reader at a literary agency, and high school teacher. He began his career in publishing in the early '50s under a variety of pseudonyms, none of which stuck until he wrote his first novel, FIND THE FEATHERED SERPENT (1952), under the Evan Hunter byline. At the urgings of his publisher, who claimed that Salvatore Lombino was too hard to pronounce and would hurt book sales, he had his name legally changed to Evan Hunter. Ed McBain was born shortly after Hunter produced the bestseller, THE BLACKBOARD JUNGLE, in 1954. An editor at Pocket Books thought Hunter might do well as a crime writer and designated him the successor to the company's popular mystery writer, Erle Stanley Gardner. Before Hunter penned the final pages of COP HATER, the first of the 87th Precinct novels, editors suggested he create a crime writer pseudonym to prevent damaging his career as a literary author. Appropriately enough, the setting for Hunter's most famous series of books is as fictional as his mystery writing alter ego. While based on his knowledge of New York City, the 87th Precinct is in fact an imagined location, a thinly veiled version of the city he knows so well. The series became one of the first in the mystery genre to feature a cast of characters as the focus, rather than a singular protagonist and include themes such as violence, drug dealing, corruption, and the search for justice in a chaotic, brutal world. Despite his success as a police procedural revolutionary, Hunter has, over the years, remained loyal to his true--or chosen--self by producing four children's books, two short story collections, three plays, more than 22 novels, and the screenplay for the Alfred Hitchcock classic "The Birds."