Leave it to Stephen King to find the macabre in a sunset stroll. While walking near his Florida home, the author began to imagine two dead girls standing hand in hand on the untamed road. The image stuck, and in 2005, King began work on Duma Key, his first Florida-based novel. Set on an island with a tragic past involving two young girls, the book follows Edgar Freemantle, an artistic, memory-challenged amputee who discovers that his paintings have supernatural powers.
King also drew upon his own life for inspiration. After the author suffered minor memory blips following his near-fatal 1999 accident, he sought refuge not only in Florida, but in his own creativity — not unlike Edgar. ”For a while, it was tough to remember simple things. Your thoughts are just scattered, so I wanted to write about memory and art and all those things,” he says. ”But mostly I wanted to write about dead kids coming back to life, because that’s who I am.”