While Joe Hill writes under a shortened version of his real name, his father is the famous horror writer Stephen King. However, Hill’s doing pretty well himself.
Hill admits he is not the writer his father is, saying “he’s faster, has more confidence, a better instinctive narrative sense.”
“His writing is so beautifully relaxed, it’s sort of effortless.”
However, according to a report by the Daily Mail, Hill’s novels are doing very well in their own right. Reportedly, he has several awards for his fantasy, mystery and horror writing, and has three New York Times best-selling books, “Heart-Shaped Box,” “Horns” and a vampire thriller titled “NOS4A2.”
According to his author page on Amazon, Hill is also a two-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award and a past recipient of the Ray Bradbury Fellowship.
Daniel Radcliffe fans will remember the film, Horns, starring the Harry Potter actor. Reportedly, Hill is a big fan of J.K. Rowling, and was thrilled when Radcliffe starred in the movie about a young man who develops devil-like horns after his girlfriend dies, with the town accusing him of her murder.
He said he watched segments of the movie with his three sons and had to cover the 12-year-old’s eyes a few times as some of the movie is “pretty raw.”
Speaking of his writing, Hill explained that he has had over a decade of rejection slips for four failed novels and that he refused to use his family name.
“I was afraid a publisher would publish it regardless of whether it was good or not, because they saw a chance to make money on the connection.”
He added that people would say the book only got published because of who his father is, and that in that scenario, “your career is over.”
Hill’s full name is Joseph Hillstrom King and he says he was advised not to follow in the footsteps of his famous father Stephen. King has sold 350 million books over his career including stories that have been made into some remarkable movies, including The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile.
Hill explained that the worst piece of advice he ever received was in high school, when a friend told him, “You shouldn’t become a writer, you’ll never get out of your dad’s shadow.”
Hill says he’s glad he didn’t listen to that friend because he “would have missed out on having a hell of a lot of fun.”
Speaking of his childhood, it sounds like he had no real career choice. Hill said he was a “really weird, not terribly social kid,” and that he lived in his head. According to Hill he was “boiling with story ideas” and he had to do something with it, adding, “I was pretty much writing every day by the time I was 12.”
Of course, he had the best teachers in both his father, Stephen, and mother, Tabitha King, who is also a successful writer. Hill recalls one summer, when he was around 16 years of age, when he wrote a crime novel about a heist. He said it was 300 pages long.
“These guys steal a T-Rex skeleton from a museum for a collector. I would write five pages and my dad would edit them. We’d sit down and he’d talk about why he had crossed out some things and added others.”
As reported by Fosters, Hill’s latest novel is The Fireman, an epic tale of a virus sweeping America that infects people with beautiful black-and-gold markings called “Dragonscale,” before they spontaneously burst into flames.
Reportedly the story focuses on a pregnant school nurse, Harper, busy trying to live through the apocalypse.
— Changing Hands (@changinghands) May 12, 2016
Reportedly, Harper and her husband Jacob are struggling to survive when Harper discovers an ally known as the Fireman, who is reportedly an Englishman who dresses like a fireman but isn’t actually a fireman at all.
Hill went on to say he still gets his parents’ feedback for new work. “My mom just wrote me a pair of emails back about ‘The Fireman‘ and she said, ‘You missed this, you dropped that, you blew this…”
Reportedly, The Fireman was inspired by a real-life natural disaster, similar to the huge fire recently experienced in Canada. Hill said that when he started writing the novel, people were talking about who would be the Republican candidate and asking if global warming is real and at the time, half of Texas was on fire.
— Joe Hill (@joe_hill) April 18, 2016
Hill said that his novel taps into the fears we all have about the world coming to an end as “Donald Trump stokes the fires of racial hatred in America, wars continue across the planet and diseases such as Zika and Ebola spread with shocking speed.”
Despite the fact that people are worried about the end of the world, novels and films featuring the apocalypse in various forms are still popular.
Hill said, “When you have good things in your life, it’s natural to be afraid of it being taken away. Fiction has always been a safe playground to explore ideas and questions that make us uncomfortable. ”
Speaking Stephen King as a father, Hill said there is a joke he tells of his father settling his kids down for the night.
He said King asks his children, “Would you like Daddy to tell you a story?’ And the kids all run out screaming: ‘No Daddy! No!'”
Speaking more seriously, he said King told great bedtime stories when they were kids and a lot of them were about Spider-Man, a character Hill always loved.
“The stories were graphic and obscene. Spider-Man would go on vacation, eat bad food and get diarrhea and be fighting a lizard, while his pants fell off!”
Hill remembers how he and his brother and sister howled with laughter at these amazing tales as they grew up in Maine.
“Spider-Man’s wearing this adult diaper but he gets punched in the stomach and there’s this horrific ripping sound… we’d shriek in horror because it would’ve been better if Spidey had died! So my dad never told scary bedtime stories, he told hilarious ones.”
Joe Hill’s latest book, The Fireman, is on sale now at bookstores and on Amazon.
[Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]