Wouldn’t it be nice to have dreams like that?

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BOOK TALK

Wouldn’t it be nice to have dreams like that?

Many books have come to authors in their sleep, but unlike most folk, they have the talent to turn them into reality

Sunday Times Book Editor

Every now and again we run a column on the Lifestyle pages of the Sunday Times called “Jacket Notes”, for which we ask authors to write about the backstories to their books.

It amazes me that inspiration comes in so many varied forms — from events and crimes to dreams and nightmares.

One of the more famous origin stories, which gives me chills just thinking about it, is how Stephen King came upon the idea for The Shining. In September 1974, King and his wife, Tabitha, checked into the Stanley Hotel in Colorado; as King described it, a “grand old hotel”. He said: “When we arrived, they were just getting ready to close for the season, and we found ourselves the only guests in the place — with all those long, empty corridors.” He also states on his website: “Wandering through its corridors, I thought that it seemed the perfect — maybe the archetypal — setting for a ghost story. That night I dreamed of my three-year-old son running through the corridors, looking back over his shoulder, eyes wide, screaming. He was being chased by a fire-hose. I woke up with a tremendous jerk, sweating all over, within an inch of falling out of bed. I got up, lit a cigarette, sat in the chair looking out the window at the Rockies, and by the time the cigarette was done, I had the bones of the book firmly set in my mind.”..

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