Stephen King and Owen King say they discovered a “third voice” while collaborating on their upcoming novel Sleeping Beauties.
In a new video about the book, which hits shelves on Sept. 26, the two writers say they merged styles while passing the pages back and forth, fine-tuning each other’s drafts until the lines between their individual contributions began to blur.
“The thing is, when we finished this process we were still friends. We still got along and we were still taking each other’s calls, which was a great thing,” Stephen deadpanned.
Owen, whose other books include the 2014 B-movie filmmaker novel Double Feature and the comedy-horror comic book Intro to Alien Invasion, came up with the idea for Sleeping Beauties — a world in which all the women have slipped into a state of suspended animation, forming cocoons around their bodies that unleash them as feral monsters if disturbed.
“I said, what about a story about a world where all the women have fallen asleep,” Owen recalled. “And my dad said, ‘That’s an awesome idea,’ so I said, ‘Great, go write it.'”
Instead, the King boys decided on a collaboration, and they originally planned to develop it as a script for a TV series. The allure of a book was too much to resist, so now the story will exist first in novel form.
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Stephen King has never used ghost writers to churn out books, but he has begun collaborating more recently. He wrote two fantasy novels — The Talisman and Black House — with Peter Straub in 1984 and 2001, and he told EW last year they were considering a third installment. In 2004, he co-wrote the Red Sox book Faithful with Stewart O’Nan.
In May, he teamed up with Cemetery Dance publisher Richard Chizmar on Gwendy’s Button Box, a novella about a young girl who acquires a device that can bring great joy to her — or catastrophic destruction to the rest of the world.
King also had a long-running collaboration with Richard Bachman, who died in 1985 from “cancer of the pseudonym.”