Stephen King 'nervous' about reaction to Shining sequel

Stephen King talks to arts editor Will Gompertz

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Stephen King has admitted he is nervous about the reaction to his forthcoming sequel to his novel The Shining.

The US author told the BBC he expects 95% of the reviews for Doctor Sleep to be a comparison between the two books.

"You are faced with that comparison and that has got to make you nervous", he said, "because there is a lot of water under the bridge. I'm a different man".

He admitted visiting literary websites to see what fans were saying about the book ahead of its publication.

Now aged 65, the veteran author said he thinks the quality of his writing has improved since he wrote The Shining at the age of 28.

"What a lot of people are saying is, 'Well okay, I will probably read this book but it cannot be as good as The Shining'. But I am obviously an optimist and I want them to say when they get done with it, that it was as good.

"But what I really want them to say is that it is better than The Shining".

'Love creates horror'

Speaking to the BBC's arts editor Will Gompertz, King voiced his concerns that people who read the original story of the Torrance family's terrifying experiences at the Overlook Hotel when they were younger will have the same expectations of Doctor Sleep.

"The fear is that people will come back expecting that kind of scare as grown-ups and that just never happens. I wanted to try and write a more adult book."

King added that people are more difficult to scare today as they "have gotten a lot more savvy about the tricks that novel writers and film-makers use to scare them with".

Jack Nicholson in The Shining The Shining was made into a movie by Stanley Kubrick, starring Jack Nicholson

But he does believe it is still possible to scare people "in a really honourable way, if they care about the characters".

"What I want the audience to do is to fall in love with these people, and really to care about them and that creates the suspense that you need. Love creates horror."

King, who has published more than 50 novels, admitted critics are kinder to him now than when he started his career.

"Little by little the wind changed a little bit. I think a lot of what happened was, that a lot of the old timers, the critics who really greeted my work with disdain died off and the people who are critics now, I know I scared the hell out of them when they were kids and they kind of respect that," he said.

Doctor Sleep follows the young boy who survived the horrific events of The Shining.

King said he decided to write the book because "people kept asking" him "whatever happened to that kid from The Shining?"

In the book, Danny Torrance has become a care worker in a hospice, who uses his psychic 'Shining' ability to help people who are dying move from this world into the next.

He meets a little girl who also has the Shining and is pursued by psychic vampires who live on the essence of children like her.

Doctor Sleep will be released on 24 September 2013.

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