Inside Stephen King’s Writing-Obsessed Family

Just one member is not an author

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 31, 2013 1:34 PM CDT

(Newser) – In Stephen King's immediate family, just one member is not a professional writer. King's wife, both of his sons, and his daughter-in-law all have published books to their names; his daughter, the outlier, is a Unitarian Universalist minister. An extensive New York Times Magazine profile on the family calls it America's "first family of letters," noting that writing is the "family business." As kids, Naomi King, Joe Hill, and Owen King passed the time by reading books out loud to their father and each other, discussing literature, critiquing each other's work, and playing storytelling games. Joe, at the ripe old age of 11, started writing two hours every single day (weekends and holidays included), just like his dad. Even daughter-in-law Kelly Braffet, who married Owen, grew up an obsessive Stephen King fan.

The profile takes a look at each member individually: Tabitha King, who was her husband's biggest support during his early, struggling years as a writer and who threatened to kick him out years later if he didn't kick his addictions first; Naomi, who was born with an adrenaline deficit and thus can't truly appreciate her father's horror novels; Joe, who took a pseudonym and didn't even reveal his true identity to his agent for eight years, in order to stay out of his dad's shadow; Owen, who has no interest in writing horror because his dad's many movies left him a bit "squeamish"; Kelly, who says she was too nervous to speak in front of her idol and future father-in-law for the first two years she knew him; and of course, Stephen himself, who likes to ask his 10-year-old grandson such macabre questions as, "So if I had a stroke, what do you think I should do? Should I go into a nursing home? Would that be the best thing?" The full profile is worth a read.

Stephen King watches with his son, Joe Hill, during Game 1 of the American League Championship baseball series between the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox, Oct. 12, 2007, at Fenway Park in Boston.
Stephen King watches with his son, Joe Hill, during Game 1 of the American League Championship baseball series between the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox, Oct. 12, 2007, at Fenway Park in Boston.   (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
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