Several years ago my assistant buzzed me and said, “Stephen King on the line for you.”
I have any number of friends who would pull such a prank, but I fought the urge to say, “John Grisham here.”
It turned out that it was really him. We happened to have the same audio reader (a brilliant voice actor named Frank Muller) who performed our books on tape and disc. Frank was about my age but had married late and had kids the age of my grandkids. In the fall of 2001 he’d had a horrible motorcycle accident and was left severely brain damaged. I showed up on Stephen King’s radar because we were both trying to help out. He had called to suggest other ways we could assist the family, including visiting Frank in rehab.
During the conversation I said, “It may surprise you to know that I’m a reader of yours.” I told Stephen that while I wasn’t into horror fiction, I had read many of his short stories and that The Green Mile was one of my favorite novels.
He said, “It may surprise you to know that I’m a reader of yours.”
Surprised doesn’t begin to describe it. Frank had given him copies of some of the Left Behind series.
Stephen and I enjoyed a nice chat and then spent a day together a few months later at Frank’s rehab center. We began an e-mail relationship that continues to this day, and we still laugh about having our driver swing through McDonald’s drive-through so we could enjoy Big Macs on the way back to the airport.
The May/June issue of Writer’s Digest reunites us, on newsstands this month.
(Frank Muller died last year.)
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