In November, I was offered an opportunity to work with the Savannah Book Festival as a social media intern (i.e. create/maintain their Facebook page). I quickly jumped at the chance to have a link to the “inside” of the book festival and hopefully get a chance to see King. I quickly learned that my new position didn’t come with any free tickets or super-secret passes that could give me access to King. Again, I was disappointed.
But, somehow things always seem to work out for me. This internship has turned out to be an amazing experience for me as a writer. I have had to study all of the 40+ authors we have coming to our quaint little city. All of them are amazing—I have a stack of books by my bed that continues to grow as I learn more about these writers and their stories. I’ve been able to personally connect with some of them through my Facebook and Twitter posts—just this morning I had two authors Tweet me about how they are looking forward to meeting me at the festival. And for a small town girl, that’s pretty freaking cool.
I have to find the answer. So, I began making a list of reasons why he would come. My first rule in solving this kind of mystery is to follow the money. But I mark that off my list immediately. Stephen King doesn’t need money and I can’t imagine that the book festival has enough money to make King do anything he doesn’t want to do.
Then I look at the next obvious answer—King must know someone at the book festival. Jack Ramanos is on the board for the book festival. He was also a chief executive officer for Simon and Schuster for over 20 years (King publishes with Scribner who is an imprint of Simon and Schuster). Before his gig with them, Ramanos was with Bantam books—so was King. I’m guessing they most know each other. For whatever reason, Ramanos settled in Savannah when he retired from the book publishing business. I think his presence has a huge impact on the fact that the book festival is able to recruit big-name authors, and I am curious about the extent of his relationship with King.
So, maybe the Ramanos connection has something to do with King’s visit, maybe it doesn’t. So, then I have to think, “What else would draw him to Savannah?”
There are a couple of other authors at the festival who have a connection to King. First, Stewart O’Nan is coming to promote his latest book. O’Nan wrote a non-fiction book with King titled “Faithful.” Maybe King wanted a chance to hang out with his old buddy?
Then there is the author Spencer Quinn who is coming to the festival to promote his book series about Chet the dog. Through my research I learned that Spencer Quinn is also Peter Abrahams—a bestselling thriller writer and “Stephen King’s favorite suspense novelist.” I wonder who signed on first?
Then there is the John Mellencamp connection. Mellencamp reportedly has a home near Savannah and folks see him at Tybee Island every so often. King and Mellencamp teamed up and wrote a musical titled “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.” Fans have been anticipating the debut of the musical for quite a while. The venue for the release was finally moved from New York to Atlanta, because King says Atlanta “feels like home.” Why would he say that? I’ve never been to Bangor, Maine but I imagine it doesn’t “feel” like Atlanta.
Maybe King has followed suit with Mellencamp and bought a home here in Georgia and that’s why it feels like home? I’m beginning to wonder what other authors and publishing house gurus own a home around Savannah.
|King and Mellencamp at news conference in Atlanta|
There is something about Savannah that is contagious. I know I fell in love with the city when I first came here in 2003. And for writers, this place is paradise. There are so many interesting people and events here and then there is the ghostly, creepy vibe, too. It’s a city full of beauty, mystery, and stories. So, it should have been obvious to me that Stephen King would want to come here. And perhaps, like me, he may decide to stay for a while.