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King winds real life into latest fiction


April 5, 1999
Web posted at: 1:11 p.m. EDT (1711 GMT)

(CNN) -- Is it even possible to mix the words "strange-but-true" and "Stephen King" in the same thought?

Sure, King writes some strange stuff, that much we all know. This is the man who 25 years ago unleashed a teen-age girl with telekinetic powers upon a small New England town; the man who breathed life -- and death -- into Christine, a 1958 red Plymouth Fury; the man who, through short stories, novellas, novels, screenplays and a mini-series, has defined the horror genre (and the depths of insomnia) for legions of readers.

So what in the world is a real-life, truly existing person doing as a key element in Stephen King new book "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon" -- not only in the book, but in the title?

What's going on here?

Here's the answer, in King's words:

"My idea was to write a kind of fairy-tale, 'Hansel and Gretel' without Hansel. My heroine (Trisha) would be a child of divorce living with her mother and maintaining a meaningful connection with her father mostly through their mutual love of baseball and the Boston Red Sox. Lost in the woods, she'd find herself imagining that her favorite Red Sox player was with her, keeping her company and guiding her through the terrible situation in which she found herself. Tom Gordon, #36, would be that player. Gordon is a real pitcher for the Red Sox; without his consent I wouldn't have wanted to publish the book. He did give it, for which I am deeply grateful.

"'The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon' isn't about Tom Gordon or baseball, and not really about love, either," King says. "It's about survival, and God, and it's about God's opposite as well. Because Trisha isn't alone in her wanderings. There is something else in the woods -- the God of the Lost is how she comes to think of it -- and in time she'll have to face it."

You can face it now, with an excerpt from "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon".

Play ball.

Salon Magazine: Up close and personal with Stephen King
September 24, 1998

The Stephen King Website
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