Thursday, December 19, 2013

On Your Favorite Authors’ Writer Relatives

I recently just finished reading NOS4A2 by Joe Hill, who just happens to be Stephen King’s son. I read it partly because of that, but I wouldn’t have picked it up if the premise didn’t also intrigue me.

It was interesting to read NOS4A2 because it was pretty clear where Hill developed his writing style. I believe NOS4A2 is his fourth novel, so he’s definitely not as mature as a writer as Stephen King is, but I’m confident he’ll get better. And I did really like NOS4A2! It did seem a bit slow at times, but more or less kept my attention all the way through.

I also read the short story e-book In The Tall Grass about a year ago, which was written by Joe Hill and Stephen King. It was a great little story, and now that I’ve read more of Hill’s work, I would say he actually had more influence on In The Tall Grass than King did, based purely on what I remember of the style.

Anyway, my point here is that I’m glad I picked up NOS4A2, and it’s probably not something that would have caught my eye if I didn’t know that Joe Hill was Stephen King’s son. I have to wonder, though, how much of Hill’s success is owed to his father’s fame. He’s definitely a very good writer, but there are plenty of very good writers who are overlooked and plenty of terrible writers who sell millions of books every year (James Patterson, anyone?).

It’s also interesting to me to see how similarly some related people can write, like Stephen King and Joe Hill, and how differently some related people can write, like Emily and Charlotte Bronte. (I’ve never read Anne Bronte, though I’ve been meaning to—those who have read all three, is there a big difference between Anne and the other two as well?) I’m not a big fan of Emily Bronte, but I loooove Charlotte Bronte. You’d think their styles would be a lot more similar than they actually are!

Has anyone else picked up a book specifically because it was by someone who was related to one of your favorite authors? I’ve been meaning to pick up something by Tabitha King (Stephen King’s wife), but I think she writes mostly poetry, which I’m not really interested in. And of course Anne Bronte. Other than that, though, I’ve never picked up a book just because it was by someone who was related to an author I already liked. Based on my experience with NOS4A2, though, it might not be a bad way to start expanding my horizons!

What do you think?


  1. I've never picked up a book by a person related to an author I like, but I just may pick this one up, now that I'm aware his son is writing. Talk about a hard act to follow!

  2. Joe Hill actually has a huge following at this point, going back to his first novel, Heart-Shaped Box (which is terrifying) as well as the comic series Locke & Key (amazing). I'm sure having Stephen King as a father helps get an agent and contract, but the success really is all his. Huge amount of talent (I love his writing). FWIW, Tabitha King is a novelist as well as a poet (horror/mystery, I believe), and another son, Owen King, is also a writer, with a first novel (Double Feature) published this past year. What a family!

    I recently picked up a fantasy trilogy by the son of a favorite author, and in that case, I'll admit it was strictly the family connection that made me do it!

    I guess knowing someone is related to an author I like might pique my curiosity, but the topic and genre has to appeal to me or it's just not going to work.

    So glad to hear you enjoyed NOS4A2! I can't wait to see what Joe Hill writes next.

  3. I read Heart-Shaped box a while ago, and really enjoyed it. I need to read more of his. It did make me interested to know it was his son, but the book also sounded up my alley which is why I read it. Great post!

  4. Outside of Joe Hill, I don't think I have read any books by relatives of authors. I don't think it would encourage or discourage me to read their books.

  5. I just recently read Horns by Joe Hill. I picked the book up because a co-worker recommended it. She told me about the plot and that he's Stephen King's son and I was intrigued by both. I think that's the only book I've read by a famous author's relative, but I did see that Janet Evanovich's niece, Stephanie, has a book out. The plot didn't really sound quite up my alley, though.

  6. I'm ashamed to say I had no idea that Stephen King's son was a writer! I'll need to check his books out!

  7. I have to say, I wondered the same thing when I heard that Joe Hill was Stephen King's son - that bit about whether or not he's famous because he's a good writer (which he is; I thought NOS4A2 was one of the better books I read this year) or because his dad is, well, THE writer. I have still come to no conclusions, other than asking myself if I would still have read the Joe Hill even if he HADN'T been horror celebrity progeny. To which the answer is yes. So that's...something.

  8. Oh, I love Joe Hill's work! I would have read him even if he wasn't King's son, but I did pick up Owen King's book of short stories because he was King's son (though he doesn't write horror). I've also read Owen's wife, Kelly Braffet. Her newest, SAVE YOURSELF, was pretty fantastic.

    Some other writerly relatives Kathy Reichs and Kerry Reichs - they write very different genres but I enjoy them both. Michael Palmer and Daniel Palmer are both wonderful as well - dad (Michael) wrote medical thrillers and Daniel writes general thrillers. I know I've run across others in my reading but these are the only ones coming to mind at the moment.


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