Monday, May 21, 2012

Origins: Salem's Lot by Stephen King

THE book
That's it. Right there in that photo. That's the actual physical book that started it all. That's my totem.

Salem's Lot by Stephen King.

The book that made me want to be a writer more than any other book I had read prior to it.

That's a photo of the very first horror novel I ever bought as a teenager. I took the photo today. I have kept that book for all these years. How could i ever get rid of it?

Salem's Lot kicked my ass.

When I read it, I decided it was the best book ever written. It certainly was the best book I ever read. And I thought I had read some good books up to that point.


The writing of Stephen King did something that no other book had done to me before: it made me believe everything in the book was real. As in, it very possibly could have happened.

You see, I had been a big fan of fantasy novels, Dungeons & Dragons, and comic books up to that point. Anything that was magical or super-human did it for me. But I always knew there were no dragons or wizards or superheroes roaming around the streets of suburbia. Or anywhere else in the world. Not really. No matter how badly I wanted it to be true.

For some reason, everything in Salem's Lot seemed so darned plausible to my teen-aged mind. All the characters were down to earth. They had to drive cars to get from place to place instead of teleporting of leaping over tall buildings. They ate dinner together, they fell in love. They swindled, betrayed, over-promised, and struggled just like real,people. And at the beginning of the novel, there wasn't anything magical about Salem's Lot at all. It was just Regularville, U.S.A. No wizards, no superheroes.

With true genius, Stephen King ever so slowly hinted that strange forces were coming to Salem's Lot. Evil forces. And it took him half the book before any character or even the narrator actually uttered the word "vampire." Because everybody knows there's no such thing as vampires...until the evidence in front of you becomes incontrovertible.

In Salem's Lot, the characters, and me, became convinced that real, actual vampires had come to the Lot. Not Saturday matinee monster movie vampires in black and white. The real thing. And they were evil as hell.

I imagined that if such amazingly strange things could happen in Salem's Lot, they could possibly be happening in my own home town, right under my least I hoped they were.

Salem's Lot taught me that magical things seem more believable, more actual, in stories that are set in the familiar, everyday world that we all know. Fantasy novels set in strange, faraway places are so alien, they're obviously fake. I mean, the only place I've ever been on this planet that even remotely resembles Xanth is Disneyland. We all know Disneyland is pretty awesome. But it ain't Xanth.

Salem's Lot, on the other hand...hell, I grew up there. You probably did too.

The other thing Salem's Lot did, besides enchanting my fertile young mind with the possibility of the impossible, was make me dream of writing books just like it. Even if I didn't have the skill back then to pull off such a feat. As a teenager, I could barely write four pages, let alone four hundred.

Well, now I'm all grown up, and have managed to write my own fat book about the possibility of the impossible, right in the heart of Suburbia. You may have heard of my novel. It's called NIGHT Walk.

Several of my friends have finished reading NIGHT Walk and they have all raved about it.

Like Salem's Lot, NIGHT Walk deals with weird-ass shit happening to everyday-people in suburbia. Twilight Zone comes to suburbia. My favorite genre.

NIGHT Walk will be officially released this summer.

In the meantime, if you want to dive in and read NIGHT Walk NOW, drop me an email:

davidhudnut AT gmail DOT com.

I'll send you some sample chapters.

And by the way, what's your totem book? Or totem object? What got YOU going, that you still keep with you? Share a comment, if you like.


  1. Wow. I didn't know it was Salem's Lot for you. Yeah, I loved that book too. I don't think I have a totem object. Strange since I love to make objects, but I guess it more the ideas in my head that I cling too. I just love the ideas of old, quirky and mysterious things that I'll never really figure out----but that's what makes them so fun.

    BTW, thanks so much for all your many fun and interesting comments on my blog about the weekly bunny paintings. It means a lot to me. Not to mention, you crack me up! I've said that before haven't I? Heeeheeeheee!

  2. Thank you Melissa! I aim to entertain!

  3. I really dug The Stand and the whole Dark Tower series... made me want to create my own world to play with!