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As one of the most celebrated and prolific living authors, Stephen King is a true literary giant. Since his first published book, 1973’s Carrie, King’s talent for suspenseful storytelling has been rivalled only by his unbound imagination. His extraordinarily restless creative urge has so far led to 64 published fictional novels and over 200 short stories. In 2023, King hosted a Q&A session on Reddit promoting the then-new TV series based on his 2009 sci-fi book, Under the Dome. For several hours, King’s online fanbase flocked to pose their questions, one of which was, “Which of your novels would you say is your favourite?”
Undoubtedly, King has been asked this question several times in the past, and as he’s constantly adding to his oeuvre, the answer is liable to change. On this day, however, King replied concisely, “Lisey’s Story.“
Lisey’s Story, published in October 2006, follows the story of Lisey Landon, the widow of a famous author named Scott. The book follows Lisey’s past and present as she begins to cope with life without her husband, who was fatally shot by an obsessed fan. As the plot thickens, Lisey starts to unearth some darkness in her husband’s family history. Although predominantly fictional, the story was conceived in 2003, when King suffered in hospital with near-fatal near-fatal double pneumonia. Thankfully, King overcame his illness, but when he arrived home from the hospital, his wife, Tabitha, had cleaned out and reorganised his study, offering a snapshot of how domestic life might continue in his absence.
Due to the story’s personal nature, King held onto the adaptation rights for several years, but after just over a decade, he decided to share it for the screen. In 2021, director Pablo Larraín adapted Lisey’s Story into a miniseries on Apple TV+. At around the time of release, King was interviewed by Entertainment Weekly, who asked the author whether Lisey’s Story was still his favourite almost a decade on.
“Yeah,” he asserted. “I would never have gotten involved with this thing at my age if it wasn’t. You know, they’re all my favourites. I love them all. Some of them are difficult children to love, some of them a little bit easier. This is a little bit difficult to love, but I’ve always loved the story, and that’s the reason I got involved.”
Continuing, King revealed that he waited for a few years to welcome the story to the screen because he wanted to helm the screenplay. “I held on to this one for myself because I thought at some point I would love to be involved with writing it and guiding it to completion, and to be able to do that is just a wonderful gift,” he beamed. “Because at my age, you don’t have a great deal of time — not to sound morbid or anything like that — it’s just the actuarial tables. So I’m glad that I held on to it, and I’m glad that Bad Robot did it, and Pablo [Larrain, series director] was the right man for the job. So, everything turned out well.”