S2 Ep2: We all read Stephen King

Aileen is a huge Stephen King fan and has been for as long as we can remember. This week she picked a book of his for each of us to read. 

Aileen read one of King’s more recent books, Billie Summers. A crime thriller that’s something of a departure from what we all think of as a typical Stephen King novel. Aileen still couldn’t put it down. She found it engrossing and full of vivid characters with no supernatural twist. This guy really can write anything.

Alisa should have read 11.22.63 like Aileen asked her to, but instead she read The Institute. Tender-hearted Alisa is not okay with the thought of kids in danger, and this story about children being exploited by the government walked a thin line for her. It’s a testament to King’s storytelling abilities that she read the entire book, even though she dreaded the inevitable ending. This story about “the good of the many over the good of the few” dilemma was still harrowing for her, but a wonderful read.

Lauren also deviated from Aileen’s assignment and read Elevation instead of The Body. One of King’s shorter books, Elevation is an engaging thought-experiment that stayed with Lauren long after she put it down. It inspired Lauren to go down the King rabbit hole and she’s currently reading everything that he set in the town of Castle Rock.

Aileen suggested Josie read On Writing, King’s book about the craft of writing. (Was that a hint?) Not a how-to book, On Writing is more like an autobiographical account of King’s personal writing journey, and Josie thought it was a must-read for anyone thinking about becoming a writer. Full of inspiration and honesty, On Writing is a generous gift to newbies from a master storyteller.

The following transcript was translated by an AI program so unfortunately, we can’t vouch for its accuracy.

Aileen: [00:00:00] We were, so our basketball team was so awful.

Josie: And I was the worst player on it.

Alisa: I was a close second Josie.

Lauren: wait, wait, I didn’t even play. And I’ll tell you what alien knows why I didn’t play high

Josie: No, cause you were good at field hockey, but why didn’t you play basketball?

Lauren: you remember when I scored the wrong basket.

Aileen: Oh,

that was you.

Lauren: And I was so proud of myself, like I really was trying and I got it in and then everybody’s like,


Josie: Hello and welcome to fiction between friends, a podcast, dedicated to books and book lovers like us. I’m Josephine Angelini

Lauren: I’m Lauren Sanchez.

Alisa: I’m Alisa Hillfinger,

Aileen: and Aileen Calderon,

Josie: we’re four childhood friends from the suburbs of Massachusetts.

Lauren: I’ve always loved to read almost as much as we love to talk to each other.

Alisa: We started this podcast as a way to celebrate how a really good book can come into your life and change it.

Aileen: So if you’re looking for fun and engaging conversations about books, stick around.

Josie: This is fiction between friends. And we’re glad you’ve joined us.

 Welcome back. This is episode two, season two, I’m [00:01:00] Josefine Angelini and joining me are my dear friends, AileenCalderon

Aileen: Hello,

Josie: Lauren Sanchez and Alyssa hillfinger. As you may have noticed, we’ve changed the frequency of episodes from every week to every other week.

For the time being don’t worry. We will get back to doing episodes every week. At some point later this year. How’s everyone doing

Alisa: know.

Aileen: is a piece of


Lauren: Oh, no, we discussed this

Aileen: I know. We’re going to discuss it again.

Lauren: gonna be, it’s going to be a great year. I have, I have a feeling.

Alisa: I am, I’m starting off the year low so that I can raise the bar higher. Although my, my bar is not as low as some others of you that I know, but I do have COVID right now. And

Aileen: Yeah. How’s your, how’s your COVID Alyssa? How is it today?

Alisa: um, I’m, I’m pretty doped up on various medications and caffeine, so I think I’ll be okay.

Um, it’s, it’s,

a nice,

uh, shift into a different set of symptoms. So, instead of the [00:02:00] nausea and, um, incessant headache, um, it’s now just the exhaustion and then, oh my gosh. I’m just, I’m winded. It’s if you remember when you were pregnant in like towards the end and just all that extra exertion and you know, you’d go upstairs and be like, holy crap.

It’s like, I need to take a break for a second. Like, that’s just how I

Josie: Dude. I hyperventilate when I farted pregnant,

Alisa: Yep.

Josie: Alyssa’s high. Lauren’s making base stroganoff aliens wearing her high school, varsity jacket. This is a

Aileen: Everything is awesome.

Josie: Everything is awesome.

Aileen: This is our second time recording this episode

Lauren: Stephen King is.

strange. So this works well.

Josie: That’s right. This is our Stephen King episode. So Ayleen suggested Stephen King novels for all of us to read this past week. And,

Aileen: and no one, no one read that. The ones that I recommended except for Josie, Josie, Josie played by the rules.

Alisa: Yeah.

Josie: I did, but that[00:03:00]

Alisa: I tried to play by the rules, but you recommended a frickin huge book for me. And then I procrastinated my way out of being able to read it.

Josie: See

Aileen: Alyssa didn’t have it in her to read, to read a 40 pound

Alisa: No, I didn’t.

Josie: Book by the pound. He’s like, he’s like the modern day Dickens. It’s like, he writes by the pound

Aileen: instead of the

word it’s by the pound.

Josie: the Ellis. I can’t, you’re not a procrastinator. I mean, I

Alisa: I am. I’m such a

Josie: thought of you that way. I always, you were always the one who was done with your homework first. You were always like, I’m ready for today.

I was always the one that was like trying to finish my homework. Like right before school. I never had anything done, but you always seem like super prepared.

Alisa: Um, I, maybe I used to be, and now I have more of a fuck it attitude.

Aileen: You finally got smart. Welcome to the dark

Alisa: I did.

Aileen: is better over here.

Alisa: What’s the worst thing that’s going to happen. I’m as prepared as I can be. I’ll walk into it. We’ll see what happens.

Josie: Yeah. [00:04:00] Let’s wing it.

Aileen: Your standards were way too high. That’s all you have to do is lower your standards to where everyone else’s are. And then you’re good.

Alisa: true.

 And it’s much more fun.

Josie: So alien, which book did you read?

Aileen: So I read. Billy Summers,

which is a ver yes, a very recent Stephen King book. It’s from August of last year or in his giggling. Um,

and it’s, I have to say, it’s not, I love Stephen King. That’s why we’re doing this episode.

It’s not my favorite book of his, it still engrossing. I still, you know, read all 500 pages of it very quickly wanting to know what was going to happen next. But I think most people, when they think of Stephen King, if they haven’t kept up with them, think horror, they think Carrie Cujo, pet cemetery Like.

scary books.

And if that’s not your thing, you probably, yeah. You probably stay away from Stephen King, but his, he can span multiple genres. This book, Billy Summers, um, is more of like a crime thriller and it’s about a retired Marine sniper who has become a hidden.[00:05:00] And he has been hired for his last job. So this is the last kill he’s ever going to do.

He’s done after this, he’s getting paid out like $1.5 million and then he’s done. Um, and he, he has sort of decided, well, his whole thing is he only kills bad people. So we only kill someone. Who’s done something horrible very much like Dexter, if you watch it. Yeah. So I think to sort of like, when you over be like, oh, I support this kill.

Okay. So killing a bad guy I’m in. Um, so he’s killing a bad guy. Some guy who’s. Jail for something horrible. He did. Um, so we get tired kind of by these mobsters. And part of the whole whole deal is he has to embed himself into the small town community, which is kind of a hallmark of Stephen King. It always takes place in some small town, kind of, you know, very average working class, normal people.

So he gets a house and he becomes friendly with the neighbors and the neighbors, kids, and ingratiates himself with everyone because he has to, he has to blend in for, you know, a few months until the time is right for the kill. So. [00:06:00] It, you know, you, you, you learn about all these other little lovely characters and Billy Summers has an alias and he’s becoming friendly with them and you’re getting caught up in this new world.

And part of his cover is that he is in this small town because he is writing a book, which is another thing that Stephen King loves to do. A lot of his characters end up being writers. Like he’s, he’s the master of, of taking his reality and then putting some kind of fantastical supernatural twist on that reality.

It’s one of the things I really like about him. It’s not that he’s creating this whole incredible fantasy world. He’s taking something that you’re very familiar with and then he’s putting some twist on it that you would never expect. Although that’s, what’s a little different about this book. Like it very much follows all of the tropes of, of a crime novel.

Like, it feels very familiar. Like I’m used to his books kind of spinning off into something unexpected and this one just, it just, it felt so familiar.

 Um, so Billy Summers is undercover as someone who’s writing, writing a [00:07:00] book, you know, he has office space and he’s becoming part of the small community. Um, and then I’m reading it and we get to the part where he asked to kill the guy.

And I realized there was still like two or 300 pages left in the book. And I was like, wait, what’s going on? I thought we were done. He did it job over at, you know, and there’s a twist where he’s been set up. He realized he’s been set up and then this young girl is suddenly. Literally thrown into his lap.

Who’s troubled. She’s just had a horrible experience. He saves her and it starts to become about their relationship and them, her helping him escape his situation, him helping her escape, her situation. Um, and then he needs to get revenge and get his money. Cause it turns out he’s not going to get paid. So it becomes, you know, about it kind of takes spins off into a different direction.

And while all this is going on, he’s also, Billy Summers is writing his book. So some chapters are actually Billy writing as Billy telling his backstory about being in the Marines and how he ended up being, uh, you know, uh, of hired assassin. [00:08:00] Um, so it it’s a good book. It doesn’t have anything supernatural or horror related or fantastical or anything in it, which I think would appeal to a lot of people.

I, I, I felt like I just felt, yeah, I just felt like it was so similar to other books I’d read in that


which I

Alisa: Stephen King books.

Aileen: Yeah, which I think is also a Testament to him that he can step out of his comfort zone and what he’s known for and embrace other John Rose. And I mean, this book has gotten amazing rave reviews.

Josie: But that’s the thing he has, Stephen King has a built in audience and it doesn’t matter what genre he writes. And he’s, I can’t think of that many authors whose fan base follows them into other genres. It’s, it’s very rare. you know, there’s some, that’ll cross certain lines, like if you’re a fantasy writer and you do a wild fantasy, and then you do an adult fantasy readers will go with you if you, but like he jumps genres so far.

I mean,

Alisa: right. I mean, he

Josie: he does short stories.

Alisa: uh, [00:09:00] 2004 red Sox series that he and his other author friend covered, which he then spun into another book, um, a face in the crowd that I really want to know the end of that I looked online and can’t find the end of that book. Um,

Josie: watering the end. I don’t want to read all

Alisa: well I read the synopsis. It sounds really fascinating and it’s sort of a supernatural.

And what I think is interesting is you’re right. Like Stephen King is known for his horror. At least that’s how I knew of him. And it, it, I never would have read him or considered reading him until he lean was like, no, he has other books that aren’t going to be, you know, pet cemetery or something really scary that I might enjoy.

And after reading the book that I ended up reading, I might read the book that Eileen recommended and then this other book of face in the crowd sounds really intriguing to me. Like it’s not, it’s not super creepy, but it might be kind of cool. I [00:10:00] don’t know.

Aileen: Yeah. I mean, me. Yeah. Cause he started off, it was pure horror and I don’t even remember how I started reading his books because I don’t like her. I hate horror movies. I don’t like being scared.

Lauren: I,

thought we decided it was pet cemetery.

Alisa: I

Aileen: I think pet cemetery. And I remember being terrified

that my little dog named pretzel was going to die and come back to life and eat or


because pretzel is obviously a ferocious

Alisa: Oh, pretzel was so cute.

Josie: Oh my God. What a

Aileen: loud, but yeah, she was. cute.

Um, but Yeah. he, I don’t know. I loved his books and kept reading them. And as his life changed, his books changed. Like he was in a horrific car accident or not a car that he was walking on the side of the road and got hit by a car. and that impacted the books that he was writing. I think they became more like psychological thrillers and about people being trapped in places.

Um, which actually made me wonder about you Josie and your writing and your books. And if the things that happened to You and the things that are going on in the world, do they impact what you write?

Josie: Definitely [00:11:00] I’ve had things that have happened to me in my life. Completely affected my writing. Um, I wrote a whole book, um, after I found out I had cancer and I was going through multiple painful surgeries.

I wrote a book, a thriller, which I’ve never done before called what she found in the

Alisa: Which I found scary by the way.

Josie: Did you read it

Alisa: Of course I read it.

Josie: Oh, you did? Yeah, no, it was, and it’s really gory in

the end,

Alisa: know.

Josie: there’s actually like, um, there’s, there’s a lot of blood in it and like, I’m not one of those writers. I’m not one of those readers, but it was there because that was my experience at the time.

I mean, not to get too graphic, but I had several really big, hard surgeries and there was a lot of pain in my life and I put it in a book because that’s, that’s what I do. Like that’s, what’s safe for me

Aileen: So it was, it was cathartic for you to write, to turn it into a book.

Josie: definitely it’s like. Stephen King talks a lot about being honest as a writer. Like the book that I did of his was on writing. You suggested I do on writing, which [00:12:00] is like his

Aileen: I thought you needed some help.

Josie: I know Um, now, if it was like, he talks a lot about, if you’re honest with yourself and honest with where you’re at, then that’s really all your audience needs. They don’t need big words. They don’t need for you to be this whizzbang writer. They just need to, for you to come to the page, as honestly, as you can.

And sometimes you’re going through something that’s so intense and you have to bring it with you into a book it’s not for your own catharsis. It’s just, that’s your truth. That’s my T at the time

Aileen: So, so that book, did you intend to make it a thriller or you just started writing and I know

you never just start writing, but.

Josie: Um, one, I was super high on morphine. I was on a morphine, drip, and I, it was like three o’clock in the morning. And the people in my head had all left the room at that time. Something was going on and you know, I was in a cancer ward, so there’s a lot of stuff that’s going on. Like you can hear other people going through their, [00:13:00] their pain.

And, um, I was sitting there and I just had this idea for a thriller and I went, that’s weird. And then I passed out and then I just couldn’t get it out of my head. And when I can’t get an idea out of my head and I, I know that means that I have to write that book regardless of it, regardless of whether or not it fits into my oeuvre or who I am as a writer.

If that idea doesn’t go away, if those characters won’t go away, I ha it’s just easier for me to write the book than to stay up every night, all night long, thinking about them.

Aileen: And you ended up writing a children’s book too, because of that experience, right. To help your daughter.

Josie: Yeah, that, that was more, it’s like a really quick, um, mommy’s going to the hospital is the title of it. It’s under my married name because I didn’t want it to get confused with me as the writer. Um, so it’s under Josie, Leon. It’s not even like. I don’t push it. I just have it out on Amazon for as cheap as possible.

Because when I was trying to explain, my daughter was two at the time and I couldn’t, I’d never been separated from [00:14:00] her, you know? And I couldn’t explain to her that I was going to be gone and children aren’t allowed in cancer wards because they’re, they’ll get everyone sick. Like it’s not just for the kids.

It’s for the people who were there. So she couldn’t even come to visit me. So I needed something like some sort of step-by-step, this is what’s going to happen. That mommy’s going to be in the hospital. The doctors are gonna take good care of her. She’s still thinking about you. And then she’s gonna come home and she’s going to be in bed for a long time.

And it’s so it’s like, step-by-step, this is what’s going to happen.

Alisa: I

think that’s so important though, because I mean, how many times have we all in our text thread been talking about parenting issues and you know, we go to our in-house expert Lauren to say like, what, what books can we bring home to give our kids access to? Because they, the kids will get out of it.

What makes sense to them?

Josie: Right,

Alisa: even if you’ve written a book for a two year old, they, they may see [00:15:00] the pictures and be able to relate to it, or they may understand some of the words. Um, I mean, in even the, because I have older kids and it’s more about, you know, the, the personal changes and, you know, how do they wrestle with body image and, um, peer pressure and things like that.

But, but I do think that being able to have books, access. To kids, into families to help bridge these experiences is really important,

Aileen: It really is. Cause we, we all parent in a vacuum and you rely which isn’t natural. You know, you used to parent with a village, like you had a huge support group every day, all day. And now we kind of do it on our own. So we rely on our friends, our family and books, because there are people out there who know more than we do and who have great advice.

I have a whole library of books on death now. Thank you, Lauren. They’ve been very helpful, but it is. It’s comforting to know that what You’re saying is something that other people have told their kids and it’s it’s okay. You know, you’re communicating in a way. That’ll make them [00:16:00] feel.

Alisa: so Stephen King.

Josie: so Stephen

Aileen: Oh yeah. That guy,

Lauren: okay. But, um, maybe this is a segue into my book, elevation. I’m just wondering, like, what was there some truth in Stephen King’s life that made him think of this book? Because it’s about a guy who basically loses all his weight,

Josie: That’s

Lauren: not as body


Josie: idea. It’s such a

Aileen: Lauren, you should, you should describe it.

Lauren: Okay. So it’s about this guy named Scott Carey and he lives in castle rock, which is a. The town that Stephen King basis, a lot of his books in it’s a fictional town in Maine. And, um, he’s a single divorced man

and he wakes up or he gradually notices. that he’s losing weight, but he’s not losing physical mass.

If you understand what I’m saying.

Josie: He’s losing weight on the scale,

Lauren: yes. So he could stand on a scale with his clothes on or naked or with like pounds of pennies in his pockets or whatever he’s still is losing [00:17:00] weight. Like his, it doesn’t fluctuate. Um, so he goes to see this retired doctor. Who’s also his friend and tennis partner.

and this guy’s like, I don’t know, this is really peculiar. And like I mentioned before,

Josie: the last

Lauren: not react enough, it’s like, so messed up. Like he needed to react more. That’s just my personal opinion.

Josie: Wow. He


Lauren: there’s other things, there are other things going on in this book. There’s a, um, a lesbian couple who just moved into the neighborhood and opened a Mexican restaurant in the town that he has some, I don’t know some issues with they, they let their dog poop on his lawn.

And one of the women in the couple, um, Dierdre just, it’s so cold toward him. And he just, he really wants to break the ice and, and show her that, you know, that he, he’s a kind man, oh, there’s a kitty. And, uh, so he really tries to do this, but she just won’t give. And, he challenges her at the annual Thanksgiving, 10 K that, you know, if I win this race because basically he’s waitlist and he can, he knows he can win it.

Right. He can just [00:18:00] basically float through this race. And even though he appears to be overweight and she’s like, yeah, you’re not gonna win this race. I’m the star runner here. It’s not going to happen. Forget it. And in the end, she falls in the race is there’s this big lightning storm. It’s very dramatic.

He picks her up and she feels through him this weightlessness. So she’s kind of like what the fuck does happened. And at that moment, um, I should preface this by saying that the people in town are less than accepting of this. Um, gay couple has been a lot of acrimony and, um, th the women feel like they’re going to have to close the restaurant because people just aren’t open to them.

They’re different. it’s caught on photo. Like there’s a photographer, catches all this when he lifts her up and put in the paper and feelings change in town. she accepts his invitation to dinner. They become really close friends and he, and the doctor confide in her and the other spouse, um, Missy, that he has.

Alisa: Yup.

Lauren: Elman’s this, this peculiar [00:19:00] element that can’t be explained. and so the king talks about their developing friendship. They become really good friends. Scott Carey starts to think about what happens at day zero. Like what happens the day that I weigh


Alisa: Does he, can he foresee that? Is he losing a certain amount of mass every day? So he can predict when that’s going to be?

Lauren: exactly. Like I’d never be able to do that math, but he can do it. And he was like, so it was like one pound a day and then became more and eventually like, just kind of, you know, and he was like, basically walking on the ceiling and, uh, he purchases a wheelchair and he straps himself in and he has this whole thing plan and, and, you know, he must be thinking about it like, well, coming to terms.

You know, I mean, basically if you know, you’re dying, hopefully you go through that process of coming to terms with this. I have no idea. I’ve never been through that. So I can’t

Aileen: Well, well, that’s interesting cause that’s, that is what’s happening. He’s dying, but Stephen King made it a very tangible thing that you can measure.

Lauren: Yes,

Aileen: Like he actually knows the day that it’s got, I wonder if that’s why he did it [00:20:00] that way.

Lauren: Hey, I never thought about that. That that’s really interesting. The interesting thing though is, I’m think interesting is the word, but,

Aileen: How many fucks do we need? How many fucks do we need to get an explicit

rating? Like one,

sock, fucks.

Josie: one,

Alisa: I think we’ve had at least four so

Aileen: Multiple Fox.

Josie: the flood gates are open. You guys.

Lauren: the fucking interesting thing about this is that he becomes really close with Deirdre and he invites her into his, you know, into, into his real intimate. Circumstances. And he says that, you know, when this, when this, when it’s the day, I want you to be there and I don’t want anybody else there. So she comes over, he tells her, this is the day it’s going to happen. She wheels him out. She stops him from the wheelchair. He has some sort of fireworks, strapped to him and he just floats up into the air and he sets off these fireworks. I don’t know how like bolstering or something. I don’t know. And his friends just watch this [00:21:00] and he’s weightless and he’s elevated. I mean, the title’s elevation,

Aileen: He’s going up to heaven,

Alisa: so his body is gone, but his being in his soul is still present.

Lauren: no, he’s, I mean, I guess, I mean, he’s still human. So if you get to a certain point in the atmosphere, right, you mean.

Josie: Also the fireworks

Lauren: the fireworks.

So I

don’t, I’m not sure exactly how he dies. Yeah. I


Aileen: just doing the math and figuring out the physics of this whole thing.

Josie: I think he’s just like deciding this is the day I’m going to die, but we don’t know like the way that, that ending sounds to me, it’s like he didn’t actually die of natural causes. It’s like he was choosing a death

Lauren: Right. I mean, he could have stayed stopped in his wheelchair for longer. Right. But what kind of life has that?

Aileen: Well, and he wanted to avoid the unknown cause he didn’t know what was gonna happen when he hit


Alisa: I mean, you can’t have negative mass. Mass is a scalar measurement.

Josie: Right.

Lauren: So when I’m,

Alisa: [00:22:00] Sorry.

Lauren: when I was reading about this book on, I don’t know if it was the official king web Stephen King website, but um, somebody called it extraordinarily eerily Erie, and I wouldn’t say it is extraordinarily Erie. I thought that was just a little bit too much, but it was thought provoking. Um, I loved the characters.

And as I’ve mentioned before I, as Josie says, I like continuity. So it makes me want to read more books about castle rock, you know, about what is it about this town

that he write? Why does he write about this town in particular? What is Stephen King thinking about?

Aileen: Did it, did it fit your perception, your perception of Steven?

Lauren: No, I mean, I didn’t know what to expect, to be honest with you. I’m like, I, I read the stand many years ago and I loved it. Um, but that was like the only book I ever read by him. And I always, my coworkers love Stephen King. I mean, they’ll read anything by him, anything that comes out, they’re like, oh, I’m on hold for Stephen King is coming out tomorrow. And I am like, I don’t get it, [00:23:00] but now I kind of understand that because he is such a craftsman and he’s just,

Josie: Did you can really trust his story. Like he’s such a crewman storyteller, no matter what story he’s telling, you know, it’s going to be satisfying. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s really remarkable because certain people only want a type of story.

Like that’s the, they want romance, they want action. They want a courtroom drama.

But no, if he, no matter what he wants to write, it’s like his voice that people are waiting to hear.

Lauren: Yeah. That’s so true. And um, I mean, we’re talking about all his big tomes, his 40 pound books and stuff, but this book was really, really short and I so appreciated that, like I could read that and get something out of it. It wasn’t just so quick. Like I, but I was, you know, like I said, thought provoking and I still, it didn’t matter.

It was however many pages. I still got a lot out of it.

Aileen: And all the characters in his books are so relatable. You know, They’re not like rich millionaires

or they’re not fancy. They’re just everyday ordinary people. [00:24:00] So I think most of his readers can relate to that.

And it’s going to see themselves in some of the characters

Lauren: Yeah, I agree. And I don’t think he overwrites the characters. I feel like they’re very, that he just says just enough and you still get a good picture in your head, like, oh, who that person is, you know?

Josie: Well, he talks a lot in my, the book that I did about too much description being bad, because he says that you can over describe the setting. You can over describe the person, what they look like, what they’re wearing, and you want to give the reader a sense of where they are. So they know it. Like they, they feel like, but it still has to be theirs.

And I get that. Like, you don’t want somebody telling you every single detail, because if you give it to them in a flash, they just see that rumor, they see that character and then you don’t want to write, keep writing and contradict that flash. It’s like, you want that person to have that in their head for themselves.

And I really liked how he describes that process don’t go too far. Don’t blow it. People know what [00:25:00] they want. And

Aileen: it also gets boring when you have too

Alisa: Yes. Oh

Aileen: Like I don’t need to know about every single corner of the

room. Just give me a general

Alisa: a chapter on ants in Walden and how they’re


Josie: my God.

But I don’t know if anybody reads Walden for pleasure. I think we

Lauren: reads all

Josie: have to

Lauren: I’ll be right back. You guys, I gotta go check it out.

Josie: check that stroganoff.

Alisa: but I think people might have read Walden if he didn’t beat into the ground. All of the ridiculous details of the

Josie: I couldn’t get past the beans. There were all those beans in the beginning.

Aileen: Well, the man was just locked in a cabin by himself. Right. He probably had nothing else to do, but to describe every single thing that he saw.

Josie: The row went home to have dinner with his mom every weekend. It’s not like he was deep in the woods. He was like 10 minutes from his mom. Like seriously, the guy was not roughing it in the Adirondacks. He was on Walden pond. We’ve all been

Aileen: Yeah.

Josie: like, it’s like right up the street. Y’all super easy.[00:26:00]

He’s like, Ooh, I, here I am in the woods living wild. It’s not wild

Alisa: No, but you wrote like it was, and it was boring

I think it’s an example of how restrain description, according to Stephen King is a good thing.

Josie: but it’s not like he doesn’t run out of things to write about Alyssa, the book that you chose, that not the one Ayleen told you to read

the book that you chose was still here.

Aileen: Yeah. So, so the like 40 pound book that I recommended for you was 11 22 63, which I thought you would like, because it is not hard. It’s about time travel. It’s about a man who figures out how to travel back in time and decides he’s going to stop the Kennedy assassination. Um, you should still read it.

It’s a great book. It’s one of my favorites of

Alisa: And I think I, I will probably read it. Um, I

Aileen: you have 20 hours to spare.

Alisa: I checked it out of the library and it had two renewals and I went through and it was [00:27:00] renewed first and I still hadn’t picked it up. And then I opened it and I read the first three pages and I thought

Aileen: Did you have to lift weights before you

Alisa: I did. Yeah.

Aileen: Pretty Stephen King workout,

Alisa: had to put on my weight belt so that I made sure my back was supported before I lifted


Aileen: with your knees.

Alisa: and then we ended up going to have dinner with friends of ours. And I told them that I was going to be reading the Stephen King book and I had never read Stephen King and I wasn’t into horror. And our friend Eric said, oh, I also don’t enjoy horror, but I just read the Institute from Stephen King and it’s great.

Let me give it to you. You can borrow it. 550 pages as opposed to the 800 that yours was recommended. The recommended book you had for me was, so now I had these two big ass Stephen King books sitting at home on my dresser, staring at me and I, I did what I typically do. Like I, I read the first couple of pages of each one.

I read the last chapter ish of each one.

Josie: You make my skin crawl. And you say that [00:28:00] Alyssa, it’s horrible.

Alisa: and I definitely would’ve preferred to have read your book because the book that I read is about children and I, I have a really hard time with harm coming to children.

Aileen: Same ever since becoming a mom. I can’t, I can’t

Alisa: it’s uh, exactly. I’m I’m too

Josie: The walking dead. I was pregnant and we were watching that series and I was like, I can’t watch this anymore because there’s a baby in it. And I was like, I’m not going to watch zombie eat a baby. I’m Tom with the theory.

Aileen: Your DNA gets reshuffled. Once you become a

mom and weird things

Josie: Can’t see kids suffer.

Josie: Anyway. Keep it Alyssa.

Aileen: tangent.

Alisa: So I ended up procrastinating my way into having to read the Institute because the renewals for the library for aliens book ran out. So I was like, all right, fine. I’ll return it.

Aileen: The library made you do it. Those evil librarians, Lauren.

Alisa: This book is described as, a supernatural, I [00:29:00] guess it’s supernatural horror, but it’s, it’s not horror in that there’s scary creatures or monsters or things. It’s horror in that it’s something that could actually happen because people are perpetrating crimes against other people and they’re finding ways to justify it.

And so I’d say the main theme of this book is it’s okay to hurt a few for the betterment of others, like to save a greater number. And so the premise is that there are. People in the world who have telekinetic or telepathic powers and they are identified when they’re young and they are brought to the Institute and the Institute children range in age from six up to maybe six is too young.

10 was the youngest that I read about, but I think they, they might’ve said like a few younger ones could have come through the system in the years that it had been operating. So ten-year-old was Avery. He [00:30:00] was the youngest in this book up through about 16 and. These kids have these powers and they’re kidnapped from their homes and their parents are murdered and it’s all framed to look, I don’t know, like an accident or something.

And what’s interesting is Stephen King starts the book after he does a couple of introductions about, um, Samson and the Philistines and pulling down the temple so that The house fell upon the Lords and upon all the people that were there in, so the dead, which he slew at his death were more than they, which he slew in his life.

So your first introduction to this book is, oh shit, the building’s going to fall. And everyone inside is going to die. Then you turn the page. And it’s just a single page with the words, according to the national center for missing and exploited children, roughly 80,000 children are reported missing each year in the United States, [00:31:00] most are found.

Thousands are not. So you have this context for, okay. Maybe some of these kids are actually taken by the government for these underground research operations. And the idea is that there are institutions all over the world run by the government, various governments that are all in cahoots and the. are brought into the front half where they’re processed and experimented on to try to more fully develop their powers.

And it’s really gross because some of the testing that that’s going on is designed to enhance their telekinesis or telepathic powers, but then there’s sort of a side gig of tests just that they could see what would happen. And if a couple of kids die in the process, well, it’s all for the greater good of knowing what is going on with these kids, which is just gross.

and then once the kids have maximized [00:32:00] their supernatural abilities, they’re brought to the back half and in the back half, that’s where all the work is done, where they’re brainwashed into, identifying their target. So their target would be some, some figure in the world who. All right. Side note, there are also precogs.

So people who have pre cognition who are able to say, oh, Hitler in X number of years is going to try to create the Holocaust. We should assassinate Hitler or, you know, other people that we don’t know about because they were taken out before they could cause the harm that they intended to harm. So the idea is that there are these people identified in the world who are going to do great harm, and the kids are brainwashed into targeting those people.

And the kids, you know, it takes like five or 10 of the kids to literally pull their powers together [00:33:00] to cause a telekinetic or telepathic event that results in the death of one of these targets. But in the process, it destroys the kids’ brains. They end up dying and. W, you know, never to be seen from again.

And these kids are considered resources and they’re, the people in charge are like, well, it’s okay that the kids died because they did such a greater good for the world. So,

the story there’s, there’s really two characters. Tim Jamison is a cop former cop. Um, and that’s how the book opens. And the first 40 pages I’m reading along about.

Tim Jamison. And he’s kind of awesome. And it’s a real casual story and I’m like, oh, this isn’t scary. It’s kind of interesting. He’s going from Florida hitchhiking, his way to North Carolina, you meet these characters and he ends up getting a job as a night knocker in a North Carolina town. And you meet Wendy who becomes his love interest.

And she’s a deputy, but you know, she’s better [00:34:00] served at being dispatched because she really doesn’t like the confrontation with the people in the town and you meet the little town characters and I just kept waiting for the scary stuff.

Lauren: I’m just going to say the Alyssa, like how does it, like what happens? Something’s

Alisa: yes. So,

Aileen: yep.

Alisa: okay.

Aileen: Lauren’s got the knitting needles out.

Josie: she

Lauren: trying,

Josie: the ending,

Lauren: I’ve got to focus. It’s my It’s my fidget

Alisa: okay. So Lauren, while unit, I’ll tell you a story.


the first section is about this Tim Jamison and everything’s cool. And I’m loving the book and it’s easy to read and the language is descriptive, but not overly. So, and the words are, occasionally he’ll use a word that, you know, I’m like, oh, I’m not sure that I know that word, but for the most part, it’s all accessible.

And then I get to part two and you meet Luke Ellis. And the most amazing thing about Luke Ellis is that he is freaking brilliant. And that’s what time is spent developing. [00:35:00] He goes to this school for gifted kids, but he’s not on any type of spectrum. He really is just a normal kid. Plays sports is super nice.

Everybody likes him. He’s funny. but he’s 12 and his parents get called in for a parent teacher conference. And the school is like, yeah, we’ve taught him everything. We can teach him, he’s ready for college. And in fact, we’ve helped him apply. And next year he wants to go to MIT and Emerson at the same time so that he can be some type of engineer major at MIT and some type of liberal arts major at Emerson.

And he’ll probably do it on, you know, an expedited schedule and graduate both in a year and a half. So like something crazy

Aileen: What a nerd.

Alisa: nerd. And so you see the family go out to dinner at a pizza place, and they’re talking about school and you know, the mom and dad are delightful and they really clearly love their son.

And the son really clearly loves the [00:36:00] family well adjusted and they start making these little references to the telekinetic powers that he has. And it’s not anything that Luke has control over. It’s just that when he’s full of emotion, the dishes will rattle. his parents asked him how he felt about, you know, well, can you really handle MIT and Emerson at the same time? And, and he got really excited and the pizza pan flew off the table onto the floor and made a clatter and, you know, they were like, oh, okay. And they just bent down and picked it up. And like the most remarkable thing about Luke is his intelligence. Except for the fact that he’s also telekinetic.

Aileen: yeah, That.

Alisa: that, so you learn about this great family. And at that point I’m like, oh, something’s bad’s going to happen. And sure enough, that night, the, the operation in charge of harvesting, the kids shows up at Luke’s house in the middle of the night murder, his parents kidnap Luke, um, chloroform him to get him in the van, [00:37:00] get him into this Backwoods in Maine.

Right? So this is now back in a small town in Maine. And in the Institute, they have recreated his bedroom exactly to his, with the exception of no windows, same posters are on the wall. Same toys are on his dresser, same trophies, same clothes, everything is his room. So when he wakes up, he’s really disoriented, but he knows.

Something’s not right. So he ends up spending three or four weeks in the front half and he meets other people, Kalisha, Nick, George Iris, and then eventually Avery shows up and they all have varying powers of either being telepathic or telekinetic. And,

what ultimately ends up happening is Luke orchestrates an escape.

And when he escapes, that’s how he ends up joining forces with Tim Jamison and you get the kid and the cop overlapping their [00:38:00] stories. and then ultimately during the escape, but then. You know, like big reveal of taking down the Institute and trying to destroy the, the whole network. Um, it requires all of the kids in the Institute.

So Avery’s the 10 year old and he’s the most powerful of them. He is able to use his telepathic powers to not only communicate with everyone inside of the Institute in Maine, but to also reach out to other institutes around the world, to be able to tell all those kids, Hey enough is enough. Let’s, let’s bring this down.

And so there’s only four kids that escape Kalisha, Nick, Avery and Iris. Um,

Aileen: They’re like 500 characters in this book.

Alisa: there are quite a few.

Aileen: You’re doing a good job of

remembering them.

Josie: Yeah. You’re having no problem. Keeping them clear, which is such a great sign of how, like, just the [00:39:00]

level of writing here, just

Alisa: He gives enough detail in there. You see their personalities and then that’s what makes it so sad when

what happens is the four of them escape, but Avery and then a bunch of the other kids are still inside and they’re literally holding hands in order to join their, their powers.

And they cause the building to levitate and then crumble down. So just like Samson and the Philip Philistines, Avery raises the building and then they all have it tumbled down and they not only kill everyone inside the building. And that’s many more than just the few that they would have killed, you know, had their power has been used to, you know, assassinate these individual characters.


Aileen: So I tried to give you this really nice book about

time travel and saving, historic figure. And you went for the scientific experiments

Alisa: I know it was very [00:40:00] disturbing.

and it was my own procrastination that, that got in my way. It was very



Josie: Have you ever heard of robbing Peter to pay Paul? So you didn’t read the 800 page book. You read the 600 page.

Alisa: I know

Aileen: Wait, but did. you, you still enjoyed it even though it sounds a little traumatizing.

Alisa: And I think that my takeaway from this is that I like the way Stephen King writes and I would be interested in reading other stories that he has because I enjoy the way he presents his, characters and his setting. he’s very clever. there was nothing really gory about the tests that the kids were undergoing.

You were never given so much information that you could really, picture it in your head, in it in a way that you were like, oh no, I, I, I have to put this down and

Josie: Yeah. He’s not being exploitative with it. He’s not like,

Alisa: Yeah. It wasn’t over the top gory.

Josie: it’s a hard line to walk, like to make people sympathize and make people feel. Outrage, you know, like when you feel that [00:41:00] anger, that a character you love is being hurt without going overboard on like the violence porn. Cause that’s, it’s really hard to do that.

How do you make it? So it’s visceral for the reader, but at the same time, you’re not, you’re not, you’re not exploiting your own characters for this cheap thrill type of thing. it takes a lot of sensitivity

Aileen: something about his books. Like they, there are so many TV shows and movies that have been made out of his books.

Josie: Because, so his, since his fan base will follow him anywhere, like they’ll read whatever he wants. They’ll, they’ll probably watch whatever TV show or movie is made out of it. And being able to take your readers you know, into an, another format is actually pretty difficult.

 I was just thinking about this Billie Eilish. She wrote a book. I mean, she’s got like a billion followers. She’s a huge star, but not that many people bought her book because it’s hard to get your fan base to follow you into another area. I mean, Stephen King is just such a solid storyteller that, I mean, his [00:42:00] work is very easy to adapt.

He’s very visual and he’s very much like he just writes good stories. You want to, you want to see them?

Aileen: Like I think, I think a pro probably a lot of people don’t realize that stand by me was based on one of his

Alisa: no idea.

Aileen: Right. Cause it doesn’t seem like it would be a Stephen King story.

Lauren: It’s so well-written

Josie: I love that.

Aileen: I

actually haven’t read that I need to, and the green.

Alisa: The green mile really?

Lauren: I forgot

Josie: I forgot about that one

Aileen: Yeah, that was, that was. like a, like a series of short books or something.

We actually have a couple of them. Yeah.

Josie: It seems like it because there are so many storylines and like, he, he mentioned it in, um, on writing, he talks about just like the characters and such on how he made JC, like Jesus Christ. Like he made, um, the initials for the guy. What was this? John coffee has the same initials as Jesus Christ and him, he was just talking about thematic elements that you could pull in.

He’s like other people might not even notice your thematic elements when you’re [00:43:00] using them. He’s like, but they’re there for you. And they’re there to add, like this continuity to the whole

Aileen: Yes. So the green mile, um, it was one volume per month. There are six volumes.

Josie: Ah, that’s like one of those old, they used to do that in science fiction and fantasy. They used to release basically like a couple of chapters at a time. And then, you know, you put the book together, with pulp fiction, they did that a lot and that’s like, sort of, that’s what he grew up reading. He grew up what I learned about what I learned about Stephen King for one writing, we’re going to meet now.

That’s why transition. No, but he, you know, his, the on writing is basically his writing. It’s like how he got into writing. So what I noticed about this was that it’s not a manual for writers. It’s basically. He can’t even tell people how to write without telling a story. I mean, that’s how much of a storyteller he is.

So he’s telling the story of how he became a writer and what he went through in his life. And he’s unfailingly honest, like he starts from when he’s a little kid [00:44:00] and he doesn’t pull any punches. He grew up poor single mom, you know, he and his brother basically just used to go and play in this empty lot, which turned into, uh, the setting for all of these books that he wrote.

Like, it’s like this empty forest blot with like a Creek running through. It is his visualization for all of these multiple settings that he’s used in multiple books. And he talks a lot about. Himself and his family and his drug addiction, and even the car accident, not the car accident, but being hit by a truck.

He, that happened to him while he was writing on writing. when he was about two thirds of the way through writing this book, it was when he almost died. And then he came back to it and there’s like an epilogue where he goes through the whole accident and what he went through and how writing sort of I don’t want to say he never says writing saved my life, but for him, writing and life are so intertwined and it’s that like one doesn’t come without the other. He’s been doing it for, since he was like six or seven years old. [00:45:00] And he really humanizes the process. He’s probably the most popular writer ever. I guess I can say that I’ve got hell, I’m just going to say it.

He’s the

most popular writer or.

Aileen: I hope we help him out in his career and get them a few more readers.

Lauren: Yeah, because he’s really,

Josie: know, we’ve really


Alisa: nice. If people knew who he was.

Josie: I know he deserves it. I mean, he really does. The, guy’s not only written a ton of books. He’s written a ton of great quality books, but he’s also on writing for me was just, I felt it would just be wonderful for young writers, people who are just coming to it, to look at it and be like he had, when he was a kid, he was trying to get published in all of these scifi magazines and fantasy magazines that he loved to read.

And he got turned down over and over. Cause he was like six and seven and it, you know what I mean? He’s a kid and he’s sending in these stories and he’s trying, and he kept his rejection letters on a spike hanging right over his bed. And when that spike filled up with nose, he made another spike and he kept putting them on people said, notice Stephen King, like even Stephen King went through a phase where he has writing was not good [00:46:00] enough to get published. Granted it was when he was a child, but it’s

Lauren: It’s still, probably better than some writers.

Josie: no, And he says, you write, he admits like even I’ve written bad stuff. You know, it’s like everybody misses sometimes. And I think that that’s just so encouraging for him to share that with a young writer, because he, his approach to all of this is that you can’t make a bad writer, a good writer.

I don’t think you can. A good writer, a great writer, like you’ll know, I’ll never be Tony Morrison. I’ll never be as good as she is. Period. I’m fine with that. But if you can, right, you can get good and you can get better and you can get really good. You may be, will never be one of the grades. Like you’ll never be a Shakespeare, you know, Cormac, McCarthy or something like that.

But you can get really good if you keep working on it. And if you keep reading, that’s another thing that he says, he reads like 70 books a year, which is insane.


Aileen: must spend a lot of

Josie: great. He does. He, and that’s another


Aileen: life,

Josie: [00:47:00] he says, but it isn’t, it isn’t because he has his family close to him. So every day he goes to write and that’s, it’s his job.

Like he goes to his office, he shuts the door and he sits down from nine to 12. And in that time he writes 2000 words is what he says, which is insane. Guys. Like I write 2000 words when I’m like killing it at the end of a book. And I like,

Aileen: how many do you how many words do you usually write?

Josie: I aim for like a thousand a day, like somewhere around there, like today, this morning I got like six 80 or something like that.

And that’s fine. Cause I’m just starting off a book and it’s always slower. And I pick up my writing pace as the book goes on because it’s just coming out of me. I write every day too. And I think this is great advice. Shut the door, sit down and write. Don’t wait for the muse to come to you. You do your job.

And the, the writing will come and he has all of these sections, just like you were saying, Alyssa, that he sort of,

his outline is in his actual finished product. So [00:48:00] he has a section that says like prologue and then CV. And then he has chapters within CV, which has like his background of writing. And then he’s got the toolbox section.

There are all these, so he breaks up his books into what I would do in an outline

Alisa: Right. Does he have a

table of contents in that one? Does he have a table of contents? Because he does not have a table of contents in my book. And that drove me nuts because then I had to start at the beginning and just keep reading forward.

Josie: you’re like, dang it. I don’t know where I am in this book, but he says that he’s not a plotter. Like he’s, he

talks a

lot about, uh plotters and pants or he’s a pantser he just sits down and he writes, he is, I, you know, and he says that he doesn’t trust plotters and I get what he’s saying, but I think that that’s just because he’s so good, like he can Intuit story and others of us need to sit down and give ourselves the skeleton before we can go in and flush it out.

And he just knows what the skeleton should be without even [00:49:00] having to sit down and think about it. And I just, you know, that’s just the way his brain works. I see it in his writing. I see that structure in his writing, even though he says he’s not, he doesn’t outline his outlines right there on the page.

Like I can see it. So it’s, I guess it’s just like a different way for your

Aileen: he must have to do it to some extent because his stories have so many subplots and so many characters there. You have to like outline that somehow to keep

Alisa: His brain

Josie: Maybe he keeps it all in his head. Yeah. He’s just got to keep it. I know that he can see it and he kind of keeps it all in his head and maybe he just has this internal map that tells him now’s the, now’s when I need a turning point. And that’s the scene that I’m going to write today. Also he writes as quickly as he can because the story kind of like spills out of him.

And then he goes back and puts more layers on it in his rewrites. Like my rewrites are more like cleaning things up, taking things out. Actually I rarely rearrange and I rarely add an entire new storyline to my books when I’m doing my second draft.

Aileen: [00:50:00] W when is your second draft before it goes to your editor or based on their notes?

Josie: I usually what I’ll do is I’ll write and then I’ll give it to my beta readers, which are the people that I trust, who know writing, who know me. I’ll listen to what they say. I’ll do around, uh, notes on it to clean it up, just to make sure that the, that the book makes sense. I don’t really consider that my first, second draft it’s after I give it to my editor.

So one of the ways that he works, he writes, he lets it sit for six weeks in a drawer. He doesn’t touch it. He goes and works on something else. And then he comes back to it and does a full rewrite before he gives it to anyone else. He says, so for him, that first draft is like, it’s his a storyline. And then he comes back and he said that the, his second pass is for thematic elements.

It’s tiny. It’s like the B storyline. It’s like all of the, the second. Like when you think of the major plot, the B storyline is the smaller plot that ties into like larger life lessons, like formatic stuff. he doesn’t need to sit down and say, this is my act one.

This is my act two. This is where my turning point needs to be. He just [00:51:00] knows it. And he just jumps in and does it, I could not do that. I need to know where I’m going before I sit down and

Alisa: Well, it seems like a lot of his work with stories within stories. It, I kind of envision it as if, if each story is like a strand. He very much is. Oh, a pretty complicated braid, you know, like overlapping and network intertwine and all of that he has in his head. Is it? It’s not linear it, at least it doesn’t seem to be linear.

Josie: Right. It makes sense to him. I’m sure. this book is not a manual on writing is not a manual for a new writer to come into it. He’s got very great. He’s got great advice. Every time you see an L Y word, every time you see an adverb, get rid of it,

Aileen: Adverbs or evil.

Josie: adverbs are evil.

You’re telling your readers how to feel rather than making them feel it. You know what I mean? He’s totally right. Everybody. He always says, listen to your editor. He says it like three times over and over again, listen to the people that you trust, do their [00:52:00] notes. Like just obviously you’re not getting your point across the first time.

If they say this isn’t working, even if it kills you do the note. And I totally agree with him. and then he says everything is up for grabs. Like everything that people tell you as a rule, he’s like, it’s, if it doesn’t work for that book, it doesn’t work. And the number one thing that this book is, I think is it’s food for writers.

It’s not going to teach you how to be a better writer, it’s so generous. It really is generous of him to be so open about his life and his stress. And what writing has meant to him to be an inspiration to other writers so that they can have the courage to go and do it. what a great guy he’s got to be.

I mean, seriously, he’s just, it makes you feel like, damn, I could do that. Like I could write a book, you know? And he says, basically, it’s not like anyone can cook or anyone can write. He’s just saying, look, you gotta, you gotta work hard for it. And this is the work that you’re going to have to do.

And this is what it’s going to, this is what it took me. This is how long it took me. This is how many people supporting me. It took like, you know, his wife is just his, guiding [00:53:00] light and his backbone. Like his wife has bled him through so much life, shit and through writing shit. it’s just so cool of him to write this as well.

Alisa: well, and it

Josie: And to give it to other

Alisa: well that, and you know, it’s like a little window into who he is and if he has such a following with people who want to read his books, it’s, I mean, it’s the perfect indulgence, I guess, for his fans to be like, oh, I can get to know him a little bit better.

Josie: And you really do come away from it feeling like you know him, his number one thing is be honest. You know, the first words that go through your head, don’t go to the Saurus and look up a word that you’d never use. It’s going to end up sounding phony and improve your, your vocabulary by reading more.

And then when that word, when that big word comes to you, then use it like, you know, like don’t be phony is basically the, the root of all of his writing. Be as honest as you can.

Aileen: Which really comes across And is why he’s probably so popular, But also just revealing the fact that writing is hard work, because I think it’s real easy to think that it’s just magic. That just some people are [00:54:00] born to be are amazing writers from day one and they go off and they can just magically write books.

I mean, hearing you talk about this, I’m like, oh my God, I don’t think I can ever write a book. It sounds so hard.

Josie: it’s not it’s writing. The book is, is, is just work. It’s just work. And there, there are ways to get that work done, having the ideas he does say right off the bat that I don’t know where ideas come from. it’s put into your brain and they just fall in there. And he’s absolutely right. He was like, one minute, two things that aren’t related at all will come together in your head and it makes a story for you and he’s, and I totally get what he’s saying.

it was the perfect way to describe it. It’s like, you got this thing over here, you got that thing over there. And then just one day it makes sense to put them together and you see this flash of the whole story and it’s like, yup. That’s

Aileen: Or even if you’ve ever done like a free writing assignment and you just sit and just write without thinking, suddenly things will come out of your head. And you’re like, I don’t know where that

came from.

I wasn’t thinking that it just came out. I was just writing without thinking. And suddenly there’s a, there’s a story, the beginning of [00:55:00] a story there,

and then you have to finish it.

Josie: yeah. And then you have to finish it and that’s the work, but he says, nobody knows where their ideas come from. So stop asking me that. And I totally, I totally got that,

Aileen: He also has an amazing imagination.

Josie: yeah.

Aileen: I mean, there’s something very unique about him.

Lauren: Oh, for

Alisa: Yeah.

Josie: Anyway, I can’t that just having read this made me go. for someone who’s already written a bunch of books. Like I already, I already knew all of this stuff. Like I knew the basic guidelines of what he was talking about. Like shut your door, it’s a job, get your job done, meet your deadlines.

You know, I get all that stuff, but it was so inspiring. I felt like for somebody who was struggling with, am I a writer? Am I not a writer? Read the book and it will give you so much like, Hey, I can do that. You know? Cause he’s just so. It’s such a city supportive. He just puts it out there. Like I’m not some genius.

I grew up in a small town. I was okay in school, not great. You know, I had problems in my life. I was, [00:56:00] he had problems with drugs and alcohol and, you know, he’s sober now, but he went through, he was just like a dude. He’s a dude that worked a lot of blue collar jobs. He was a janitor. He, his wife worked at Dunkin donuts.

It’s like,

Aileen: It should change his biography and his book, Stephen

King, a dude who writes.

Josie: He’s just like a dude who

Alisa: Regular dude who writes

Josie: it brings it down to like ground level. And I felt like that was just so cool of him. A great guy.

Anyway, I’m so glad I read it.

Lauren: Good.

Aileen: Thank you for reading the book. I suggested Josie.

Josie: welcome to

Aileen: Thank you for being the one who followed the assignment.

Josie: It

Alisa: you inspired the book that I read.

Aileen: Okay. There we go.

Lauren: I couldn’t get a copy,

Josie: Lauren’s like, don’t, don’t be mad at me.

Lauren: but I am reading it now. I’m reading it now.

Josie: I really enjoyed that.


Alisa: final thoughts.

Josie: thoughts, on Stephen King. Do you want to go first?

Aileen: Yes. Uh, I’ve always loved him. I actually, Billy Summers was one of his first. I haven’t read him in a few years. Um,

so it was nice to go back and read them [00:57:00] again. And I think I would recommend him to anyone who likes to read. And if you think of horror, when you think of Stephen King, just go through a list of his 64 books, read a summary and check it out.

Cause it’s not all hard. They’re all, a lot of them are really thought provoking. They really tie into what’s happening in culture and society. And there’s so many interesting characters and I don’t know, I think there’s, there’s a reason why he’s so popular. There’s, there’s something for everyone.

Josie: And Lauren,

Lauren: I just want to, yeah. I want to thank you Leanne, for recommending that we do this because I’m kind of on a kick now. And it’s been a while since I’ve been able to find, um, an author to read like an actual physical book. I listened to books a lot. Um, so this has been a game changer for me, things.

Aileen: You’re welcome.

Josie: Alyssa. What are your

Alisa: Yeah, same. I would not have read Stephen King if Eileen hadn’t recommended it. And I will say that I recommend the Institute. It’s not a horror, you know, conventional horror story. Um, so I think if anyone’s looking to get into Stephen King and they want something interesting and [00:58:00] compelling thought provoking, but not horror, traditional scary, I would recommend it.

Um, and this definitely will be a springboard for me into other books of his thanks, Ilene.

Aileen: you’re welcome to.

Josie: And it was just, for me, reading on writing was wonderful because I thought, you know, I, this is something that I, a young writer really should read and I’m happy to recommend it to anyone who even thought maybe once they might want to write a book, just read Stephen King’s on writing and it’ll bring it down to ground level for you. So that was awesome. Thanks you guys.

Thank you

Aileen: again.

Lauren: Yes,

Josie: Thank you guys

Alisa: Stephen King.

Aileen: hope they recorded this


Lauren: oh, it

Josie: Totally did. I’m looking at it and I think it was better the second

time. I really do.

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3 comments on “S2 Ep2: We all read Stephen King

  1. Shauna says:

    So glad you are back! Hope you are all well! I really feel I need to get more into Stephen King. Serious FOMO lol! I have read some of his old ones like Pet Semetary and have enjoyed his short books like The Body. I have loved the movies based on his shorter stories as well. Stand by Me, The Green Mile, and The Shawshank Redemption are among the best book adaptions in my opinion. My biggest problem I have had with him is I feel he adds a lot of unnecessary side story. If I remember correctly, in The Body, Gordie grows up to be a writer and there is a huge section of the story devoted to a story he wrote when he grew up. It added nothing to the main story and could have been cut out. I did struggle through the first half of his books but they get so good after that halfway point! The Stand is on my TBR and maybe I will try to tackle it this year.

    1. Lauren says:

      Hi Shauna! I also put down The Body when I reached the side story! What is it about that? My theory is that I am teleported back to 1986 and have Stand By Me playing in my head and I’m really getting into it! But then this odd story pops up in the middle and messes it up. Maybe I will skip that side story and finish the book. I’ll let you know!

      1. Shauna says:

        I’m so glad I’m not the only one!!

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