King developed a passion for the macabre from a young age, with the horror comics publications from EC a particularly formative influence. He started penning his own horror stories as a high school student and in 1965 had his first independently published tale in Comics Review. King then studied English at the University of Maine, where he also wrote for the student newspaper.
King intended to pursue a career in teaching after his graduation but initially struggled to find work. He subsequently began writing short stories which he then sold to various men’s publications such as Adam and Cavalier. He continued to develop this sideline when he eventually got a teaching position at Maine’s Hampden Academy.
Originating as a short story, Carrie became King’s first novel to be published in 1973. The tale of a teenage girl who discovers and develops powers of a telekinetic nature became an instant hit. Released two years later, Salem’s Lot further established King as the new master of horror fiction.