In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Stephen King shed some light on his buzzed-about sequel to The Shining
According to the article, the book—titled Doctor Sleep—takes place decades after the events of the original book. Danny Torrance, the telekinetic boy who narrowly escaped his mallet-wielding, alcoholic father in the previous novel, is now a middle-aged man working at a hospice. There, he employs his abilities to help comfort and ease the suffering of his patients.
Though King is careful not reveal many plot details, the interview does reveal that Danny happens upon a young girl named Abra (named, according to King, after the female character in John Steinbeck’s East of Eden) who he takes under his wing. The two are then pursued by a nomadic group called The True Knot who feed off those with psychic energy. All the while, Danny struggles against the notion that he will “inherit” his father’s madness.” Oh, and there’s also a cat that can see into the future.
King said the idea of a sequel was a long-time in the making.
“When the [sequel] idea would pop up in my mind I would think, ‘Now Danny’s 20, or now he’s 25. … I wonder if he’s drinking like his father?’” he said. “Finally I decided ‘Okay, why don’t I use that in the story and just revisit that whole issue? Like father, like son.’”
That being said, King said he was by no means unaware of the pressure and attention that would come with writing a sequel to one of his most well-known and well-regarded works.
“When I really got serous about it, I thought to myself ‘Do you really want to do this?’ Because most sequels really suck,’” he said. “The only two exceptions I can think to that is Huckleberry Finn, a book that is a sequel to Tom Sawyer but is really a much better book, and I think Godfather II is a much better movie than The Godfather.
More than anything, King claims he wanted to return to the “balls to the wall” scariness of his earlier novels.
“Basically, the idea of the story was to try and scare the shit out of people,” he joked. “I said to myself, ‘Let me see if I can go and do that again.’”
The book is set to be released on Sept. 24 through Scribner.