by Roxanne D. Howard
One of the best things about Stephen King is that he writes incredibly strong women. If you’ve only seen Shelley Duvall’s neurotic portrayal in the earlier movie adaption of The Shining, you might be thinking what in the hell is she on about? But Duvall’s performance was the decision and result of the Hollywood director wanting her to act that way; the actual character in the book was a gifted artist, intelligent, and a pro-active mother who was also gritty when she had to be. King never condescends when he writes women; they are all fleshed out people, and realistic.
After The Stand, I was hooked, and I burned my way through King’s entire works from Carrie to The Dark Tower Series, to even his golden oldie, The Eyes of the Dragon, which I got for a steal at fifty cents from a library clearance sale. It’s one of my most cherished books to this day, and has a Place of Honor on my best bookshelf. One thing that may surprise people is that Stephen King writes verygood romance. In Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass, a large portion of the book is the past story of Roland’s coming-of-age true love, Susan. King writes pretty scary stuff and everything from monsters to homicidal clowns, but one thing he never gets enough praise for is writing believable romance. My favorite couple in his books has always been Stu and Fran from The Stand. That was a proper from-the-ashes dynamic, and the chemistry between them popped off the pages.
While large-scale franchises like Twilight tap into the heroine-needs-hero-to-complete-her trope, King’s romantic relationships are between two independent, capable people (e.g., Susan and Roland), who would be just fine on their own, but find a spark in each other which makes them better together. It’s a technique I’ve adopted in my own writing; the heroine needs to have her own motivations, desires, and dreams. She’s a real person.
The one Stephen King book that has affected my writing is his memoir, On Writing. In a no-crap, cards on the table way, he gives solid, smart advice about writing interesting characters and remembering why you’re writing in the first place. A recurring theme in it is that art is a support system for life. It’s an outlet for the world, and therefore it’s the author’s responsibility. I learned more from reading that book about writing than I did from my college courses. If I were to recommend any book by Stephen King, On Writing would be it.
Check On Writing out here: https://www.amazon.com/b/ref=sv_kstore_4?ie=UTF8&node=11552285011
I’ve never had the opportunity to meet Stephen King, but I cherish that old, tattered copy of The Eyes of the Dragon as much as my first born. Maybe the gods will smile on me and I’ll get it signed one day, who knows. But I’ve taken what I’ve learned and have applied it to my novels, and it’s worked.
In my newest release with Boroughs Publishing, Sonnet Coupled, Sonnet is a driven, independent person who is also flawed. When she meets Griffith Parker, beneath the sizzling passion and fireworks, the way they complement and challenge each other as people is what lays the cornerstone for their relationship. I have Stephen King to thank for teaching me that; it’s okay for love to be messed up, because that’s what it is. But the story has to be real, interesting, and it has to grab you by the throat and squeeze hard until you’ve had enough.
What’s your favorite Stephen King novel?
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Roxanne's Newest Multicultural Romance: Sonnet Coupled
Sheltered and cosseted, Sonnet Mendoza abided by her papi’s wishes her whole life: no boys, studies first and always. Now an ER nurse in a busy Chicago hospital, medical school is so close Sonnet can taste it—just like her father always wanted. Just like she can she can taste all the things she wants, like Griffith Parker, the man of her dreams and her new housemate.
Working “graves” in a large hospital as a security guard while attending the police academy during the day doesn’t leave ex-Marine Griffith Parker any personal time, but after meeting the beautiful Sonnet Mendoza business as usual is anything but. Sassy, smart…and interested in him, too? Except, she’s made an art of keeping her distance, and she's been clear that her plans don't include him. But the heart wants what the heart wants. His wants Sonnet. He’ll put it on the line to win her.
Available Here: Amazon | Kobo