When I started Carrie, I had finished my first year of teaching. I was working in summer at the laundry to try and make ends meet. I started writing, but after four pages thought it stank and threw it in the rubbish. I came home and found my wife, Tabby, had taken them out and had left a note: ‘Please keep going—it’s good.’ Since she’s really stingy with her praise, I did.
“When I finished it, I sent it off to Doubleday. We were having a really tough time. We had two small children. Our phone had been taken out. When the telegram came saying it was accepted with a $2,500 advance,Tabby had to call me at school from across the street. I was in the middle of a teachers’ meeting and was on pins and needles waiting to get home and hug her. Later my agent told me the paperback rights were bought for $400,000. I said, ‘You mean $40,000.’ He said, ‘No, I mean $400,000,’ and I realized I wouldn’t have to teach anymore.
“My mother was dying then, but she knew everything was going to be all right. She was old-fashioned about Carrie; she didn’t like the sex parts. But she recognized that a lot of Carrie had to do with bullying. If there’s a moral in the book it’s: Don’t mess around with people. You never know whom you may be tangling with. Ah, if my mother had lived, she’d have been the Queen of Durham, Maine, by now.”-
—Excerpt from “The Man Who Writes Nightmares,” Yankee Magazine, March 1979