The Writer's Almanac from American Public Media: "The novelist Stephen King (books by this author) was born on this day in Portland, Maine (1947). He's the author of The Shining (1977), Pet Sematary 1983), and From a Buick 8 (2002). He decided early on that it was more fun to write about giant man-eating rats than to write about the life of a gas station attendant or a high school English teacher, which was what he did before his stuff started to sell.
As a teacher, King had witnessed the cruelty of teenagers, so he wrote about a weird, miserable, high school girl with psychic powers named Carrie White, who takes revenge on all her classmates. Carrie was published in 1973 and King got $400,000 for the paperback rights and went on to become one of the most popular novelists of all time. It was King's contribution to the genre to take horror novels out of deserted castles and put them into small towns and fast food restaurants and libraries."