There are many books written about Stephen King, who is considered one of the greatest horror writers of all time. Authors such as Stephen Spignesi, Robin Furth, Joe Maddrey, and many others (including myself) have all written about his works. However, there is one particular author who has been writing about Stephen King for a very long time, and is highly qualified and respected in the Stephen King universe. As musician Neil Young is to music (with his extraordinary guitar playing) being dubbed the “Godfather of Grunge, author Bev Vincent is also known as the “Godfather” to those who know his name throughout the world of all things that surround Stephen King. He has been revered for his in depth writing, and for paving the way for others who have also been enthralled with Stephen King.
Richard Chizmar, is known as well in the literary world as an author of fiction and non-fiction. He is also known for his collaboration with Stephen King on the “Gwendy” trilogy
of books. Richard is also the founder, publisher and editor of Cemetery Dance magazine, as well as the owner of Cemetery Dance Publications. Recently author Bev Vincent, and author Richard Chizmar have collaborated on what is sure to be a “must have” for all Stephen King lovers. These two writing powerhouses have come together to bring the “constant reader” something new, different, and unique that has “fandom” written all over it. I’m talking about the new book, STEPHEN KING REVISITED Volume One, by author Richard Chizmar, featuring “Historical Essays” by author Bev Vincent.
STEPHEN KING REVISITED Volume One…is a new book that covers the works of Stephen King like no other book has before. It has more than a few things going on inside. First, we have author Richard Chizmar sharing his thoughts, feelings, and memories, both personal and professional about the works of Stephen King. This begins with “Carrie” (1974), and concludes this volume with “The Eyes Of the Dragon” (1984). Of course, there is so much packed in between that the “constant reader”will love.
The Introduction is also written by Richard Chizmar. It truly conveys how big a fan he is of King as well. I enjoyed reading the introduction so much that I was even more excited to start turning the pages.
The book, as I’ve previously mentioned begins with Carrie (1974). Richard breaks down each story by using several categories such as, THAT WAS THEN – where he shares his most personal thoughts, experiences, memories, where he was, what he was doing, how old he was, first time reading the story, and so on. THIS IS NOW – brings us to Richard’s thoughts now about the stories, and how it affects him today. Here he discusses his feelings, whether the story has the same impact now as it did then. He discusses his views of King’s works as an adult versus his views as a younger person experiencing King’s work for the first time. He also takes it to a depth of which were his favorite scenes, most impact scary scenes, favorite line, and whatever happened to…section. I found this particularly interesting because as fans, we’ve all wondered at one time or another…”what happened to some of our favorite and least favorite Stephen King characters”? Chizmar brings out some very good points with each story, each character, and analyzes them as well. This analysis continues throughout the entire book, leading up to 1984′s, “The Eyes Of The Dragon”.
Stephen King scholar, author Bev Vincent’s contribution of “Historical Essays” brings highlights and facts to the book. Bev gives readers the history of each story Chizmar discusses in each chapter, as well as a timeline of Stephen King’s life when he wrote each of the discussed books. This includes where King was, how old he was, what he was doing in his personal life, how each story came about, and the details of the publishing process for each book. These sections of the book are truly for the fans who want to learn even more about Stephen King’s works rather than just reading the stories. I found Bev’s essays interesting, educational, entertaining, and very in depth. I learned several facts I didn’t know before. After each essay by Bev Vincent, there is a guest contributor who tells their personal story about King’s works. I found these essays interesting and exciting to read as well. It’s amazing to see how Stephen King’s work affects other people, even the other writers who were chosen to contribute to this book.
The book continues with some of the most interesting and amazing personal stories, with Richard sharing some of his memories and thoughts on Stephen King’s story entitled, Rage. I found this one of my very favorite chapters. Another of Richard’s shared, very personal stories was in the chapter that is about the novel, The Stand. He talks about his own father, sitting at the kitchen table, in the middle of the night. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but I’ll say this, I had a tear in my eye, and a lump in my throat reading this chapter.
I found STEPHEN KING REVISITED Volume One, definitely one of the most interesting, intriguing, entertaining, and educational books about Stephen King I’ve read in a very long time. Richard opens up his heart and pours his most personal memories out onto the page (you can feel it) in every chapter. There were times I was quite surprised at some of the memories he shared. It felt…therapeutic at times. Bev Vincent doesn’t disappoint either. He brings us what we want as well, and that’s knowledge. You’ll learn a great deal from his essays, and I believe the reader will look at King’s works in a completely new light. I know I do.
Reading STEPHEN KING REVISITED Volume One is like sitting down on the porch with an old friend, sharing the memories of one love you both have. In this case the love of Stephen King. I have been reading Richard Chizmar for a few years now. I respect him. I’ve even interviewed him once. However, by the time I finished reading this book, I felt that this is more than just a book, but rather a love letter of sorts for Stephen King fans. The collaboration of these two wonderful authors, Richard Chizmar, and Bev Vincent is a perfect pairing, as were Lennon and McCartney…and we all know what great things they produced too.
I highly recommend STEPHEN KING REVISITED Volume One, for all Constant Readers, as well as a great introductory read for those who are new readers in the Stephen King universe…I promise, you won’t be disappointed.
Due to his busy schedule, I was unable to interview Richard Chizmar to discuss this new book. However, I am very honored to bring you an exclusive interview with author Bev Vincent, co-author of STEPHEN KING REVISITED Volume One.
Anthony Northrup – Tell us how STEPHEN KING REVISITED first came about, and secondly, did you share your endeavor with Stephen King, and did he have any thoughts regarding this newest publication?
Bev Vincent – The idea of revisiting King’s work was Rich’s, nearly ten years ago. When he mentioned it to King, he received enthusiastic encouragement to carry on. Brian Freeman, who coordinated the project, asked me if I would write a historical context essay for each novel to be posted before Rich wrote his reminiscences about originally reading and now re-reading that book. We launched the project on Halloween 2014.
AN – This book is a collaborative effort with esteemed author Richard Chizmar. What can you tell us about the mind melding of what I refer to as “two great authors working together”?
BV – No mind melding was required. Whenever Brian let me know that Rich was getting ready to post a new essay, I did my research, wrote up the history and posted it on the Stephen King Revisited website.
AN – With the impressive essays you’ve written in this book, I can only imagine you may have used some references of the detailed facts (event dates and other detailed information) from your prior publications. Were there other new discoveries about King that you found prior to, or during the writing of this book?
BV – There’s a list of fifteen major sources on the SKR website, and annotations throughout the essays. I have an extensive collection of primary source material that I’ve used for numerous projects over the years. I think I discover something new every time I write an essay about King’s work. At a minimum, I usually re-discover something I once knew but had forgotten.
AN – How long a process was the writing of STEPHEN KING REVISITED? Were you able to concentrate your efforts completely on this book, or were you working on other projects as well?
BV – I posted my historical context essay about Carrie in October 2014 and the one about The Eyes of the Dragon in May 2016. I worked on many other things during that intervening year and a half. We went at Rich’s pace.
AN – Going into this project, did you have certain contributors already in mind for the book? Also, with upcoming volumes will there be contributors that weren’t able to be featured in this book that you’ve considered for the next?
BV – I wasn’t involved in the selection of other contributors. That was up to Brian and Rich.
AN – With over 70 Stephen King novels, and over 200 short stories, and STEPHEN KING REVISITED being the first volume, is there any anticipated time frame for a second volume to be released yet? Lastly, with volume two, and perhaps other volumes, will these books also be a collaborative effort?
BV – I have the next six essays written and posted to the SKR website’s dashboard. Once Rich finds the time and motivation to pick up where we left off, we’ll be back at it. Given that it took us a year and a half to do the first twenty or so books, I suspect we’ll be doing this for the rest of our lives.
“Well, that’s a very long time, and many volumes to come”, Bev and Richard. This current volume has been in the making for awhile now, and has been highly anticipated. Thank you both for this truly wonderful read! Thank you, Bev Vincent for taking the time from your busy schedule as well to answer a few questions for us, it’s much appreciated.