Thanks to host Octavia Books of New Orleans, Stephen King entranced about two thousand of his constant readers at his first public appearance in New Orleans Saturday night. In fact, King said to the packed auditorium, that this was his first visit to the Crescent City and that he has eaten with gusto a po-boy and beignets. He said if he stayed any longer here, he would be the size of John Candy.
Here to promote his new book about the Kennedy assassination, 11/22/63, Mr. King casually dressed in jeans and a jacket, read to the rapt crowd from his newly published book. He also stated that his extensive research indicated to him that Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone assassin. King began writing this book in the 1970’s, but realized it was not the right time for it and put it aside. Now, however, is the right time, he said, primarily because he feels the presidencies of Kennedy and Obama have so many things in common. For example, he believes that Kennedy’s presidential decisions could have taken the country one way or the other as could Obama’s. He also found other similarities in their presidencies.
Stephen King asked the audience how many of us remembered exactly where we were when we received the news that President Kennedy had been shot. About half the audience raised their hands because about half of us were living then. The other half of the audience was not or was not old enough to remember.
He also talked about his previously published books and movies of them. Some of his books scared him so much as he was writing them that he had to tuck away the manuscripts at night. One of those was The Shining, for which there will be a sequel. When writing Pet Sematary, he used a personal experience as the basis of the story. He also said he was very pleased with the film casting of Stand by Me and The Shawshank Redemption.
Stephen King knows how to work a crowd. His anecdotes about being “a star” were often hilarious. He described a few occasions when he was mistaken for someone else and times when he was berated for writing “those terrifying horror stories.” Whatever he is, he truly is the master of the tale, of wit, of portrayal of the human condition, and of delicious fright! I had always wanted to meet Stephen King, and tonight I did. I was not a bit disappointed.
“I just love to be scared.” (Stephen King, 11/12/11)