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9 Sequels Written Decades After the Original Book

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Today marks the release of Doctor Sleep, a new Stephen King novel that checks in with The Shining’s Danny Torrance several decades after his stay at the Overlook Hotel. It’s been 36 years since the original book was released in 1977, but such a time lapse between sequels isn’t as unusual as you might think. Here are nine other books that made fans wait decades to find out what happened next.

1. Psycho and Psycho II

Time between books: 23 years.
Why so long? Presumably, Robert Bloch was just busy writing other things. Extremely prolific with a typewriter, Bloch wrote fiction, non-fiction, short stories, magazine articles, movies and TV shows, and edited anthologies. Psycho II certainly wasn’t a novel celebrated by Hollywood the way that the first Psycho was. The sequel mocked splatter films, and according to Bloch, “The mere idea of criticizing their bloodbath tactics was abhorrent to them, and I was told they had no intention of doing a sequel to Psycho, let alone my story. But when advance notices of my novel generated publicity here and abroad, some resident genius suddenly had a great idea. 'Let's make Psycho II!' he cried, thus demonstrating both his creativity and his ability to count. Needless to say, I wasn't part of the time—nor was I invited to a screening.”

2. Heidi and Heidi Grows Up

Time between books: 58 years.
Why so long? Well, for one, original author Johanna Spyri died in 1901, 37 years before the sequel was written by her translator, Charles Tritten. (Spyri was Swiss.) Tritten explained that so many Heidi fans around the world wrote with questions about the fates of Heidi, Peter, and Grandfather that he felt compelled to continue their adventures. He also wrote a third story, Heidi’s Children, in 1939.

3. Dracula and Dracula the Un-dead

Time between books: 112 years.
Why so long? Because Stoker knew to leave well enough alone. It wasn’t until long after Stoker’s death—nearly a century later, in fact - that his estate allowed great-grandnephew Dacre Stoker to partner with direct-to-TV horror writer Ian Holt to write Dracula the Un-dead. The reviews are mixed, but all of them agree that if you come in expecting Stoker’s track-and-field coach great-grandnephew to have the same talent that Bram did, you’re going to be disappointed. If you’re just looking for a fun, spooky read, however, feel free to dig in.

4. Peter and Wendy and Peter Pan in Scarlet

Time between books: 95 years.
Why so long? Well, in 1929, J.M. Barrie famously left the rights to his Neverland empire to Great Ormand Street Hospital, a children’s hospital in London. To commemorate the original story’s centenary in 2004, the hospital held a contest inviting authors to send in sample chapters of a new Pan book. The winner would earn the right to write the official, estate-sanctioned sequel. The winner, of course, was Geraldine McCaughrean; her Peter Pan in Scarlet was released in 2006.

5. Rosemary’s Baby and Son of Rosemary

Time between books: 30 years.
Why so long? Ira Levin didn’t really say why it took so long to write a sequel, at least not in any interviews I can find. But like Robert Bloch, I suspect that Levin had plenty of other writing itches to scratch—from novels like The Stepford Wives to musicals and plays, his pen was never idle. I’m guessing he just didn’t feel the urge to return to those characters until later in his life. Fun fact: He dedicated Son of Rosemary to Mia Farrow.

6. The Witches of Eastwick and The Widows of Eastwick

Time between books: 24 years.
Why so long? Make no bones about it—John Updike knew exactly why he wrote the sequel: “Taking those women into old age would be a way of writing about old age, my old age,” he explained to New York Magazine in 2008. He gave the women “the physical oddities I notice in myself, the arthritic pains, the perennially imperfect teeth. I’ve been spared baldness, but in a strong hotel light, you suddenly see your awful head that you never had to look at before.”

7. Catch-22 and Closing Time

Time between books: 33 years.
Why so long? Heller thought of Closing Time as “summing up.” Though he specifically said the intent was to sum up, not sing a swan song, it did end up being his last novel.

8. Dandelion Wine and Farewell Summer

Time between books: 49 years.
Why so long? Farewell Summer was the last of Ray Bradbury’s novels released in his lifetime. Because this book and its predecessor were both based at least partially on Bradbury’s recollections of his childhood in Waukegan, Illinois, it’s easy to imagine that he was doing a little “summing up” of his own.

9. King Coal and The Coal War

Time between books: 59 years.
Why so long? The almost six-decade time span between books wasn’t Upton Sinclair’s fault. He submitted the sequel for publication in 1917, just three years after the publication of King Coal. Publishers found the sequel “insufficiently interesting” and declined to purchase it, proving that even celebrated authors aren’t immune from the cruel rejection of publishing houses. In 1976, nearly 60 years after the release of King Coal, the Colorado Associated University Press finally printed a few copies of the sequel.

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Scott Eisen/Getty Images for Warner Bros.
10 Terrific Facts About Stephen King
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Scott Eisen/Getty Images for Warner Bros.

As if being one of the world's most successful and prolific writers wasn't already reason enough to celebrate, Stephen King is ringing in his birthday as the toast of Hollywood. As It continues to break box office records, we're digging into the horror master's past. Here are 10 things you might not have known about Stephen King, who turns 70 years old today.


Stephen and Tabitha King own Zone Radio, a company that serves to head their three radio stations in Maine. One of them, WKIT, is a classic rock station that goes by the tagline "Stephen King's Rock Station."


Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Not only did he write a story about the Boston Red Sox—The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (who was a former Red Sox pitcher)—he also had a cameo in the Jimmy Fallon/Drew Barrymore movie Fever Pitch, which is about a crazed Sox fan. He plays himself and throws out the first pitch at a game.

In 2004, King and Stewart O'Nan, another novelist, chronicled their reactions to the season that finally brought the World Series title back to Beantown. It's appropriately titled Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season.


You probably remember that King was hit by a van not far from his summer home in Maine in 1999. The incident left King with a collapsed lung, multiple fractures to his hip and leg, and a gash to the head. Afterward, King and his lawyer bought the van for $1500 with King announcing that, "Yes, we've got the van, and I'm going to take a sledgehammer and beat it!"


King's brain seems to be able to create chilling stories at such an amazing clip, yet he's seen his fair share of horror in real life. In addition to the aforementioned car accident, when King was just a kid his friend was struck and killed by a train (a plot line that made it into his story "The Body," which was adapted into Stand By Me). While it would be easy to assume that this incident informed much of King's writing, the author claims to have no memory of the event:

"According to Mom, I had gone off to play at a neighbor’s house—a house that was near a railroad line. About an hour after I left I came back (she said), as white as a ghost. I would not speak for the rest of the day; I would not tell her why I’d not waited to be picked up or phoned that I wanted to come home; I would not tell her why my chum’s mom hadn’t walked me back but had allowed me to come alone.

"It turned out that the kid I had been playing with had been run over by a freight train while playing on or crossing the tracks (years later, my mother told me they had picked up the pieces in a wicker basket). My mom never knew if I had been near him when it happened, if it had occurred before I even arrived, or if I had wandered away after it happened. Perhaps she had her own ideas on the subject. But as I’ve said, I have no memory of the incident at all; only of having been told about it some years after the fact."


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King, John Mellencamp, and T Bone Burnett collaborated on a musical, Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, which made its debut in 2012. The story is based on a house that Mellencamp bought in Indiana that came complete with a ghost story. Legend has it that three siblings were messing around in the woods and one of the brothers accidentally got shot. The surviving brother and sister jumped in the car to go get help, and in their panic, swerved off the road right into a tree and were killed instantly. Of course, the three now haunt the woods by Mellencamp's house.


King played rhythm guitar for a band made up of successful writers called The Rock Bottom Remainders. From 1992 to 2012, the band "toured" about once a year. In addition to King, Amy Tan, Dave Barry, Mitch Albom, Barbara Kingsolver, Matt Groening and Ridley Pearson were just some of its other members.


A photo of Stephen King's home in Bangor, Maine.
By Julia Ess - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

King writes about Maine a lot because he knows and loves The Pine Tree State: he was born there, grew up there, and still lives there (in Bangor). Castle Rock, Derry, and Jerusalem's Lot—the fictional towns he has written about in his books—are just products of King's imagination, but he can tell you exactly where in the state they would be if they were real.


Throughout much of the 1980s, King struggled with drug and alcohol abuse. In discussing this time, he admitted that, "There's one novel, Cujo, that I barely remember writing at all. I don't say that with pride or shame, only with a vague sense of sorrow and loss. I like that book. I wish I could remember enjoying the good parts as I put them down on the page."

It came to a head when his family members staged an intervention and confronted him with drug paraphernalia they had collected from his trash can. It was the eye-opener King needed; he got help and has been sober ever since.


King was an avid Lost fan and sometimes wrote about the show in his Entertainment Weekly column, "The Pop of King." The admiration was mutual. Lost's writers mentioned that King was a major influence in their work. There was a lot of speculation that he was the man behind Bad Twin, a Lost tie-in mystery, but he debunked that rumor.


A photo of Stephen King's son, author Joe Hill
Joe Hill
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Stephen isn't the only writer in the King family: His wife, Tabitha King, has published several novels. Joe, their oldest son, followed in his dad's footsteps and is a bestselling horror writer (he writes under the pen name Joe Hill). Youngest child Owen has written a collection of short stories and one novella and he and his dad co-wrote Sleeping Beauties, which will be released later this month (Owen also married a writer). Naomi, the only King daughter, is a minister and gay activist.

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Kyle Ely
Dedicated Middle School Teacher Transforms His Classroom Into Hogwarts
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Kyle Ely

It would be hard to dread back-to-school season with Kyle Ely as your teacher. As ABC News reports, the instructor brought a piece of Hogwarts to Evergreen Middle School in Hillsboro, Oregon by plastering his classroom with Harry Potter-themed decor.

The journey into the school's makeshift wizarding world started at his door, which was decorated with red brick wall paper and a "Platform 9 3/4" sign above the entrance. Inside, students found a convincing Hogwarts classroom complete with floating candles, a sorting hat, owl statues, and house crests. He even managed to recreate the starry night sky effect of the school’s Great Hall by covering the ceiling with black garbage bags and splattering them with white paint.

The whole project cost the teacher around $300 to $400 and took him 70 hours to build. As a long-time Harry Potter fan, he said that being able to share his love of the book series with his students made it all pay off it. He wrote in a Facebook post, "Seeing their faces light up made all the time and effort put into this totally worth it."

Inside of Harry Potter-themed classroom.

Inside of Harry Potter-themed classroom.

Inside of Harry Potter-themed classroom.

Though wildly creative, the Hogwarts-themed classroom at Evergreen Middle School isn't the first of its kind. Back in 2015, a middle school teacher in Oklahoma City outfitted her classroom with a potions station and a stuffed version of Fluffy to make the new school year a little more magical. Here are some more unique classroom themes teachers have used to transport their kids without leaving school.

[h/t ABC News]

Images courtesy of Kyle Ely.


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