Stephen King is spilling the beans on his new book Doctor Sleep, a sequel to his 1977 novel The Shining (and the 1980 film adaptation starring Jack Nicholson). Doctor Sleep follows Danny Torrance, the son of the psychotic Jack Torrance in The Shining, as an adult working at a hospice and using his powers to help heal those in need. The novel will also explore Danny’s connections to his father, particularly the prevalence of alcoholism in his family. King’s inspiration for the whole subject arose from a bit of a strange place: a cat.

“Probably five years ago, I saw this piece on one of those morning news shows about a pet cat at a hospice, and according to this story the cat knew before anybody else when somebody was going to die,” King told EW. “The cat would go into the room, curl up on the bed, and… [t]hen those people died. I thought to myself, ‘I want to write a story about that.’ And then I made the connection with Danny Torrance as an adult, working in a hospice. I thought, ‘That’s it. I’m gonna write this book.’”

King expressed his excitement over the project but also acknowledged the pitfalls of making sequels to classic tales and defended his desire to return to the story because he was genuinely interested, not because he was out of new ideas.

“The whole sequel idea is really dangerous,” King said. “I think people have a tendency to approach them with a raised eyebrow like, ‘Hmm, if this guy is going back to where he was 30 or 35 years ago he must be low on ideas’… but I did feel in this case it was a real challenge to go back.

So how will King know if his book is any good?"

“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.”

King has sold more than 350 million books in his lifetime, many of which have been adapted into films including Carrie, The Shining, The Shawshank Redemption (from the novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption), Stand By Me (from the novella The Body) and Misery.

—Hal Sundt

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