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  • Helen Phifer

Stephen King and Me


It’s well known that I’m a huge fan of Stephen King Novels, especially his earlier ones. Carrie, The Shining, Salem’s Lot and It are all in my top ten. My all-time favourite has to be IT, with a group of kids known as The Losers and a terrifying clown called Pennywise I was hooked from the very first page. The horror of six-year-old Georgie Denbrough being murdered in the first few pages stayed with me for years. I was sixteen when I first read what was to become my favourite book. I remember skiving off college to read it. I was on the sofa; my parents were out at work and I was so absorbed in the story that I never heard my Dad come in. He walked into the living room, I screamed and launched my book in the air. He almost had a heart attack and told me I had to stop reading such terrible books if they made me that scared.


That was never going to happen, I would lie in bed at night tucked under the covers with a torch and a Stephen King book. So, engrossed in the world of Vampires, haunted hotels, high school drop outs and of course killer clowns that I’d be terrified to lift the covers down or go to the toilet. I went on to read so many fabulous horror stories written by James Herbert, Dean Koontz, Graham Masterton, Shirley Jackson and Richard Matheson to name a few. I think I lived through every horror scenario I could ever dream of.

I also have my love of horror stories and films to thank for my writing career today. I couldn’t get enough of the scary stories I love to read, so I decided to write my own. Eight years later The Ghost House was published. I’m very proud to say my debut book was on the shelves in W.H. Smith along with Stephen King. I’m even prouder that my little old books have knocked the fabulous Mr King off his #1 spot on Amazon several times over. Nothing cheers me up more than seeing my own books neck and neck with my hero.


Yes, all those horror stories when I was younger made me jumpy. I still scare easily if someone comes into a room without making a noise. Just ask the kids, I scream at them all the time. I do think it made me much braver as an adult, I’m not scared of the dark, walking down a dark street or a country lane in the pitch black doesn’t faze me at all. I love going on ghost hunts and exploring abandoned houses, if there’s a noise outside or downstairs I’m the first to jump out of bed to go and investigate. So, I think my love of horror novels toughened me up to a certain degree.

This last week I went to the pictures twice to see the remake of It, which was amazing. I went on the opening night after waiting months for its release. I must have read the book at least six times over the years and loved it even more each time. So, I was both excited and anxious to see if the film would live up to the book.

I was blown away, I thought that Bill Skarsgard’s portrayal of Pennywise was brilliant. The Losers were perfect and the scary scenes were every bit as scary as in the book. I came out of the movie theatre feeling more than a touch nostalgic. The film had transported me back to my teenage years where the worst thing I had to worry about was being late for the bus for college. I left feeling as if a part of my youth had come to life and it gave me such a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Are there any books which have stayed with you since your youth, or hold a special place in your heart? I’d love to know.

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