At what point did hard drugs enter the picture?
It was probably about ’78, around the same time that I realized that I was out of control with drinking. Well, I thought I was in control, but in reality I wasn’t.
That was cocaine?
Yeah, coke. I was a heavy user from 1978 until 1986, something like that.
Did you write on coke?
Oh, yeah, I had to. I mean, coke was different from booze. Booze, I could wait, and I didn’t drink or anything. But I used coke all the time.
You had three young kids at the time. It must have been very stressful to keep this huge secret while balancing all your responsibilities.
I don’t remember.
No. That whole time is pretty hazy to me. I just didn’t use it around people. And I wasn’t a social drinker. I used to say that I didn’t want to go to bars because they were full of assholes like me.
I’m trying to comprehend how you lived this whole secret life of a drug addict for eight years, all the while churning out bestsellers and being a family man.
Well, I can’t comprehend it now, either, but you do what you have to do. And when you’re an addict, you have to use. So you just try to balance things out as best you can. But little by little, the family life started to show cracks.
I was usually pretty good about it. I was able to get up and make the kids breakfast and get them off to school. And I was strong; I had a lot of energy. I would’ve killed myself otherwise. But the books start to show it after a while. Misery is a book about cocaine. Annie Wilkes is cocaine. She was my number-one fan.
Did the quality of your writing start to go down?
Yeah, it did. I mean, The Tommyknockers is an awful book. That was the last one I wrote before I cleaned up my act. And I’ve thought about it a lot lately and said to myself, “There’s really a good book in here, underneath all the sort of spurious energy that cocaine provides, and I ought to go back.” The book is about 700 pages long, and I’m thinking, “There’s probably a good 350-page novel in there.”
It was around this same period King wrote & directed Maximum Overdrive.
My parents are unique in that both appeared in separate nonfiction books.
My mother grew up next to James Dodson, a contributing editor and regular columnist for Golf Magazine. His 1996 book Final Rounds referenced how my mother was popular in high school and went on a number of dates.
My father practiced law for years, and early in his career he worked on the Pat Allanson case, which was the focus of Ann Rule’s book Everything She Ever Wanted.
Born in 1937, Patricia Vann Taylor Allanson married at the very young age of fifteen. Her husband was an Army sergeant named Gil Taylor. Pat soon had three children, Susan, Debbie and Ronnie, and they divorced in 1971 as she didn’t enjoy the military life.
In 1973 Pat met Tom Allanson, the son of a wealthy lawyer who was as passionately interested in horses as she was. He was six years younger than her. Although she had her eye on someone else, it looked like Tom could give her everything she ever wanted. Unfortunately, Tom was married and in the process of an ugly divorce from a woman known as Little Carolyn. However, the biggest problem for Pat was Tom’s parents, Walter and Big Carolyn Allanson. They didn’t approve of Pat. They were gravely disappointed in Tom and viewed divorce as not being an option. They sided with Little Carolyn, and the relationship between Tom and his family deteriorated. There were accusations flying between both sides along with some pretty dreadful threats.
Life started to look up for Tom and Pat. They purchased a heavily-mortgaged, 52-acre farm in Zebulon, Georgia, and started their dream of raising and showing horses together. In May 1974 they were married in a “Gone With The Wind” style ceremony as he was dressed as Rhett Butler and she as Scarlett O’Hara.
The feud between Tom and his father over Pat escalated to the point that his father angrily tried to force Tom out of his life. To get even, Pat filed a complaint of sexual harassment against him, claiming that he had exposed himself to her. Tom grew alarmed over this, along with threats that he heard that his father was going to kill him, so he took out a restraining order. His father on the other hand believed that his own son was out to kill him. Someone had stolen a pistol and rifle from his home, and he was convinced it was his son. The police searched Tom’s home and came up empty-handed. The intense fear and anger continued to grow on both sides.
On July 29, 1974, while taking a trip in their car, Walter and his wife, Carolyn, were shot at by someone. They survived the attack and felt sure that Tom had been behind it. The situation between father and son grew more paranoid until August 3. On that day, Tom dropped Pat off at the doctor and then walked over to see his mother when he was sure his father would not be home. Pat had told him that someone had been calling their house all night long and said nothing. She felt sure it was Walter, so Tom felt it was time to try to straighten things out. Otherwise, he thought his father might try to shoot him off his horse in the parade that weekend. His mother was not home, but Tom felt she would be returning shortly. To avoid the possibility of running into Walter, he went to the basement to wait for his mother to return.
After receiving a call from an unknown woman informing him that Tom was at his home, Walter returned home. The electricity was off, so he went into the basement to look around. He found the switch box had been tampered with. He attempted to call the police, but the phone line had been cut. He went to a neighbor’s home to use the phone to get the police out there. When they arrived, Walter said he’d take care of the situation himself, so they left. He returned to the basement and started shooting randomly. Carolyn was home by that time. He called up to her that he had Tom cornered and needed the gun he’d just purchased, so she grabbed it to bring it to him.
When the police officers arrived once again in response to an emergency call, they found Carolyn Allanson dead on the basement steps. Through the basement window, they could see Walter laying on the ground. He’d been shot numerous times. The police immediately suspected Tom. He’d been seen there, and a man matching his description had been seen running from the crime scene.
Tom was soon arrested. When Pat told a number of lies to the attorney in an alleged attempt to provide Tom with an alibi, the situation became even more suspicious. Tom had his own story—also a lie—and it didn’t match with Pat’s story. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. At the time of the murders, he and Pat had been married less than two months, and now Pat had the farm to herself. It wasn’t long before she tried to talk Tom into a suicide pact, which he later felt sure was an attempt to get him to die so she would inherit everything.
Pat began working on Tom’s wealthy grandparents until they finally named her in their will as the primary beneficiary. Her house and barns burned down, and she forged Tom’s signature to get the insurance payments. She feed arsenic laced food to Tom’s grandparents. However, when they grew ill, Pat was caught and sentenced to eight years in prison.
“And on the subject of burning books: I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength or their powerful political connections or their great wealth, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and have refused to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles.
So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country
I appeared in the acknowledgements of a Bob Woodward book. One of my biggest claims to fame.
Last night, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver did a segment on Mike Pence. Much of it was not kind to the Vice President except when John Oliver complimented Pence on his cute pet bunny, Marlon Bundo.
Today, Pence’s family released a book called “Marlon Bundo’s Day in the Life of the Vice President”. Not to be outdone, John Oliver’s show released a book last night called “A Day In The LIfe Of Marlon Bundo”.
In Oliver’s book Marlon meets another boy bunny, and they fall in love and decide to get married. However, a stinky bug in power says they can’t get married, so the people unite and vote the bug out of office.
Oliver’s book is outselling Pence’s book, and it’s currently the best selling children’s book on Amazon. As of this writing, 97% of reviewers are giving it five out of five stars, and the other 3% are giving it one star. Here’s a sample of one-star ratings “A Day In The LIfe Of Marlon Bundo” has received:
“It was a movie about American bombers in the Second World War and the gallant men who flew them. Seen backwards by Billy, the story went like this:
American planes, full of holes and wounded men and corpses took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France, a few German fighter planes flew at them backwards, sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen. They did the same for wrecked American bombers on the ground, and those planes flew up backwards to join the formation. The formatioin flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers, and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes. The containers were stored neatly in racks. The Germans below had miraculous devices of their own, which were long steel tubes. They used them to suck more fragments from the crewmen and planes. But there were still a few wounded Americans, though, and some of the bombers were in bad repair. Over France, though, German fighters came up again, made everything and everybody as good as new.
When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were operating night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody ever again.”