While King didn’t directly contribute to the writing on this go around, he did personally edit the book and approve of Chizmar’s work, provide notes, and applauds his use of some of the horror master’s iconic characters.
The original book told the story of a 12-year-old girl who received a box that will allow the user to gain great fortune, but it has tragic consequences elsewhere. Now, we’re flashing forward 25 years and get to see what happened to this girl. On top of that, he also gets to bring in Norris Ridgewick from ‘Needful Things’ who has gone from being a deputy to the town’s sheriff.
King didn’t just write the book and contribute some notes but also is providing the forward to it. For his interest in the tale, he shares that, “I was very curious to see Gwendy all grown up and very pleased with the result. I think readers will be, too. I was very curious to see Gwendy all grown up, and very pleased with the result. I think readers will be, too.”
As to Chizmar’s idea for the book, it didn’t start off with a direct pitch as he shares that:
“I wasn’t pitching Steve, I emailed him and just said, “Hey, I saw Gwendy however many years later, and she’s an elected member of Congress, living in D.C., and the button box shows up again.” That’s all I wrote him. And I just looked at the email that he sent back. He said, “That’s a cool idea, very cool.” “
King already had his work cut out for him while working on a new book with Holly Gibney from both ‘Mr. Mercedes’ and ‘The Outsider’ so couldn’t dive in but wanted to know more. After the novel came together, Richard says that:
“He sat down, and he read it. And then, wonderfully typical, generous Steve did a line edit for me. He went through page by page. And I had my favorite author, best-seller, Stephen King, as my editor on this.”
We’ll see that time has passed for Gwendy since the first book and what we can expect on that front is:
“As the very first chapter says if anyone had asked Gwendy even 18 months earlier if she thought she’d be living and working in D.C., serving the American people and the state of Maine, she would have said, “No, you’re crazy.” But it’s the path that her life took. She wrestles in this book again with how much of her life, and all the good things that have happened to her, are her own — and how much is still coming from that button box.”
As the story continues, Gwendy is quick to ask herself “Why did the box come back to me? Richard Ferris [the man in the black hat] said I would never see him or the box again. So why now?” and that is a question I’m sure we’ll all have in mind as well. As to when the story starts, “It opens in D.C., in December, right before the congressional three-week break for the holidays. That’s when the button box shows up.”
As to King’s reaction to Chizmar bringing in one of his other established characters?
“I thought he was going to tell me, “Rich, that’s great, but just put it in a drawer somewhere, because I can’t have you writing about my town.” But he read it, and I’ll save the email I got for my kids, because he was just like, “It was a treat to read about my people and my place through someone else’s eyes.”
This sounds like an excellent chance for fans to have another visit to Castle Rock and experience the more of both Gwendy and button box!
Are you eager to pick up a copy of ‘Gwendy’s Magic Feather’? What are your thoughts on Stephen King stepping back to just edit and add a bit of a guiding hand on this outing? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
You can purchase ‘Gwendy’s Magic Feather’ from Cemetery Dance Publications and in audio format by Simon & Schuster Audio on November 19th, 2019!