After recent sojourns into comic books, playwriting and political activism Stephen King is going back to his roots in 2013 with Doctor Sleep: the long-awaited sequel to The Shining he’s promised will “scare the s**t out of people”.
Perhaps his most famous novel (even discounting the efforts of Stanley Kubrick and Jack Nicholson), The Shining (1977) told the story of Jack Torrance, a man who takes his family to the haunted Overlook Hotel only to descend in to madness.
Doctor Sleep, which is due to be published on 24 September, picks up the story with Danny, Jack’s psychic son, who is now middle aged and working in a hospice when he becomes involved in trying to save a little girl afflicted with the evil power that gave the original its title.
King: 'going back to that creepy scary stuff'
King, 65, told Entertainment Weekly: “Basically, the idea of the story was to try and scare the s–t out of people. I said to myself, ‘Let me see if I can go and do that again.’
“I wanted to go back to that real creepy scary stuff. We’ll see if it works.”
The world’s most famous novelist recently published a passionate essay in support of the gun control following the school massacre at Sandy Hook called ‘Guns’, which appeared as an ebook.
It followed the musical ‘Ghost Brothers of Darkland County’, which ran in 2012, and 2011’s comic 'American Vampire' in marking a period of experimentation for master of America’s nightmares - though he also found time to write installment of his science fiction series The Dark Tower and a horror novella called 'A Face in the Crowd'.
Despite being as prolific as ever, the decision to return to write a sequel to one his best-loved books was, he said, a daunting one.
“When I really got serous about it, I thought to myself ‘Do you really want to do this? Because most sequels really suck,’” he told EW.
“The only two exceptions I can think to that is Huckleberry Finn, a book that is a sequel to Tom Sawyer but is really a much better book, and I think Godfather II is a much better movie than The Godfather.”
Whether he can join those in the pantheon of great sequels with 'Doctor Sleep' remains to be seen, but whatever the outcome, he confirmed it may not be the last time he revisits his back catalogue.
"I wouldn't say I'd never go back and do a sequel to anything else. I do wonder about some of the characters," he said, perhaps raising the tantalising proposition of finding out whether Paul Sheldon ever got over Annie Wilkes, Carrie’s powers ever turned up in another teenager or, worst of all, if Cujo left any puppies behind…