Horror Novelist Joe Hill

Download Audio

When you're telling ghost stories, the twist is always key — the unexpected shocker that jumps out of the closet, the past, the dark. Debut horror novelist Joe Hill has loaded plenty of shockers into his new page-turner "Heart-Shaped Box."

An aging rock star collects Goth groupies and a raft of morbid momentos: cannibal cookbooks, a hangman's noose, a witch's confession. One day, on a whim, he buys a dead man's suit off the Internet — and the ghost that comes with it. And off we go. Horror happens. Lots of twists.

And then this one — author Joe Hill turns out to be the son of horror giant Stephen King. He hid it for ten years. Now he's living with it, in public and in print.

This hour On Point: Joe Hill on a heart-shaped box, and the curse of a big daddy.

Quotes from the Show:

"I decided pretty early on I was going to write under a pen name [Joe Hill, not Joe King] just because I thought it was important for my stories to have a chance to rise or fall on their own merits." Joe Hill

"I didn't actually set out to write horror fiction. When I first started sending short stories out, they were actually literary stories, and I sent them out and I got warm, friendly rejection letters from lots of editors. Then one day I started writing a fantasy story, a strange tale called 'Pop Art' ... and I had so much fun writing it ... so after that I started thinking 'maybe there's something in strange things for me'." Joe Hill

"Heart-Shaped Box is a story of a burnt-out, jaded, heavy metal musician in his 50s who has a morbid collection. He's in semi-retirement and he fills his time adding to his morbid collection of grotesque curios. He hears about a woman selling a haunted suit online and thinks this would be a good thing to add to his collection." Joe Hill

"My dad [Stephen King] isn't actually the scary guy. He's a pretty ordinary guy ... has always had an ordinary family life ... he coached little league. I grew up in one of the best small towns in America — Bangor, Maine. My dad has always been a reassuring voice for me. He's sort of the anti-fear guy in his private life." Joe Hill

"I certainly love a lot of the same kind of fiction that my dad loves, and I think that as storytellers we have similar values. I think that our voices are a bit different on a sentence by sentence, page by page level." Joe Hill


Joe Hill, author of "Heart Shaped-Box" and "20th Century Ghosts."

This program aired on March 20, 2007.


More from On Point

Listen Live