Riding with the King

On April 26, 1991, Stephen King spoke at the Landmark Theatre in Syracuse, New York. Thirteen-year-old-me was in attendance. Mr. King was kind enough to sign my tattered mass-market copy of THE DARK HALF. It'd come out not long before, so I hadn't yet read it to pieces, as I had with all his other books.

Thirty-one years later, that copy of THE DARK HALF still has pride of place in my living room.

In addition to producing an unparalleled body of work, King's commitment to championing his fellow authors turned me on to writers such as Elmore Leonard, Michael McDowell, Anne Rivers Siddons, and Donald Westlake, to name but a few.

When I became an author, I thrilled to see King sing the praises of talented friends such as Lou Berney, Meg Gardiner, and Scott Von Doviak. And, as someone whose first three books were paperback originals, his work with Hard Case Crime meant the world to me, because it served to shine a light on writers like me who toiled in relative obscurity.

In my wildest dreams, I never imagined getting the chance to tell Stephen King a story of my own, much less that he'd consider it worthy of praise. To say I'm honored would be the understatement of a lifetime.

Thankee-sai, Mr. King, for everything.