Stephen King & Richard Chizmar talk to Bev Vincent about ‘Gwendy’s Button Box’. Here are some parts from the interview:
Bev Vincent: Steve, what can you tell us about the genesis of “Gwendy’s Button Box”?
Stephen King: I had the idea for the story last July, and thought it was a little like Richard Matheson’s “Button, Button,” but could be its own special thing. I liked it because it basically postulates putting the fate of the world in the hands of a child (like Trump).
BV: At what point in the writing process did you seek out a collaborator?
SK: I didn’t know how to finish it. So it just sat there until this January. I didn’t seek out a collaborator; one kind of fell into my lap. I’ve corresponded via email with Rich Chizmar for years. I sent him “Gwendy,” and basically said, “Do what you want, or it will stay unfinished.”
BV: So, set the stage for us, Rich. You’re sitting at your computer one day and you get an email from Stephen King asking if you’d like to work on a story with him?
Richard Chizmar: Steve and I email and text pretty regularly about a wide variety of subjects. On that particular day, we started talking about round-robins (multi author projects) and collaborations. He mentioned that he had a short story he couldn’t finish and I told him I’d love to read it if he ever wanted to send it over. The next evening, I remember it was a Friday and I was on my way to my son’s hockey game, “Gwendy’s Button Box” showed up with a note that read: “Do what you want with it.”
BV: When you picked yourself up off the floor, how did you respond?
RC: I sat in the parking lot and read the manuscript, and emailed Steve back right away. My response that Friday night was “Absolutely! Yes! I’d love to finish it!”—but I was also moderately terrified. I let the idea settle over the weekend and when I sat down to write my story notes on Monday morning, moderate fear blossomed into full-blown terror for about an hour or so. How in the hell was I going to collaborate with Stephen King? Right?! Thankfully, the feeling didn’t last, and the story just sort of took over and stole me away. The nerves disappeared, and before I knew it, I found myself in Castle Rock.
BV: Did you discuss story possibilities externally or did you just write and see where the story took you?
RC: The unfinished story that Steve initially sent clocked in at just over 7,000 words. I sat down and blazed through a lot of pages in the next three or four days and quickly sent them to Steve before I had a chance to chicken out. He did a pass of his own, and sent it back to me for another run at it. Then, we did the whole thing all over again—one more draft each. We did discuss some possibilities via email, but mostly we just ran with it. We each tweaked things the other had written and went off in our own directions. The whole process was fascinating and so much damn fun. That’s what I kept telling Steve: this is fun!
BV: Steve, why did you decide to return to Castle Rock? And does “Gwendy” tie in to the newly announced Castle Rock series on Hulu?
SK: I went back to Castle Rock with this one before JJ [Abrams] sold the series to Hulu, so that didn’t play a part. Mostly, I just…well…missed the place!
Read the original interview here