Anthony Northrup's book review of 'STEPHEN KING: Not Just Horror' and an exclusive interview with the book's author, Hans-Ake Lilja

Anthony Northrup's book review of "STEPHEN KING: Not Just Horror" followed by an exclusive          interview with author Hans-Ake Lilja.

Who could have imagined that fifty years on, author Stephen King's writing career would become a veritable universe of its own. From websites, fan clubs, fan pages on social media, film festivals, and entire book clubs dedicated to his work alone, one could discover something new indefinitely. There are even writers and webmasters who call themselves Stephen King 'scholars'. They not only read Stephen King's works, watch his many books made into films and television adaptations, they study, analize, and many times go into great detail about his work as any great scholar often does. Stephen Spignesi, Bev Vincent, Robin Furth, the late Rocky Wood, Dave Hinchberger, Glenn Chadborne, Tyson Blue, Kevin Quigley, Joe Maddrey, and myself, are several of these ''scholars' who just seem to thrive in the Stephen King universe. 

However, there is one among us who has not only studied King's works, but brings the 'constant reader' the latest Stephen King news as it happens. This would be Hans-Ake Lilja. Hans is a native of Sweden, who also resides there as well. He's also the creator, and head writer of the very popular and informational webpage, LILJA'S LIBRARY.  Hans shares Stephen King news, books, films, and has conversations with Stephen King fans all around the world!  Hans has three books published which are all about this fascinating writer,  but has had the distinct pleasure of meeting with Stephen King on more than one occasion on which he  interviewed Mr. King. To meet this esteemed author once is lucky, but to have done so more than that, it's a fan and fellow writer's dream come true! 

Hans has a new book that's just been released, STEPHEN KING: Not Just Horror. Here is my review of this new publication, and...I feel very privileged to bring you this interview with Hans-Ake Lila.

There are so many books written about author Stephen King.  His works, his life, his films, trivia books, and even one about his Dollar Baby Program (by yours truly), but Hans-Ake Lilja's new book, STEPHEN KING: Not Just Horror, takes us in a different direction than the usual books about King's works.  In this new book, Hans discusses more about the man himself. He talks about the more personal side to Stephen King. Inside this book, you'll learn about those who King has collaborated with, such as his sons Joe and Owen, author Peter Straub, and author Richard Chizmar.  

Hans also talks about how Stephen King has written a children's book (although this children's book is no fairy tale). Stephen King is not just a writer, but an actor, director, and musician, and Hans delves into these three areas as well. There's also a section that discusses Stephen King's over 40 years as a published writer, and how he has impacted the literary world.  

Although, I thoroughly enjoyed this book cover to cover, it was the two chapters with Hans' exclusive interviews with King I particularly enjoyed. Hans asks questions in these interviews that are not only professionally related, but he does ask some more personal ones as well. He asks what the fans would want to ask. I enjoyed the joking and light-heartedness in the way Hans asked, and King answered these questions. Hans really gets King to open up, and that sometimes seems to be a rare thing. Hans has packed a plethora of information into this new book. I really enjoyed this book, and it made for a very entertaining, as well as informative read. 

I highly recommend that anyone who enjoys Stephen King, or for anyone who loves to find out new trivia, points of interest, and great facts on different persons of interest, that you purchase your own exclusive copy of STEPHEN KING: Not Just Horror,  by author Hans-Ake Lilja...available at bookstores, and booksellers online, and at Amazon,com

 I hope you enjoy this interview with the author Hans-Ake Lilja. It's my express pleasure to bring it to you. 

Anthony Northrup (AN) - Thank you Hans for joining us today. Let's begin with sharing with us a little about yourself?  When did you first discover the works of Stephen King (books/films)?

 HL - - Back in 1983 I was 13 and got my first King book (Carrie) as a Christmas present. My parents thought I read too much comics and wanted me to read a book instead. Not sure why they picked Carrie as a starter, but they did :-) I read it and liked it but still thought comics were the thing. Some time later I had to do a book report in school and since I had only read one book prior (Carrie by King) I checked out King in the library and found Cujo with its cool cover and picked that one. After reading that one I was hooked and read every book I could find that was translated into Swedish. And when I had done that I read everyone I could find in English (starting with Dark Tower 3), and I never looked back.

 AN - Was it hard to find Stephen King books in your country growing up?  Since the Internet and social media weren't around back then, how did you find out about the latest Stephen King news (book and film releases)?

HL - You could find them in Sweden pretty easily, but the problem was that it took years to translate them so we were always behind the US. Dark Tower 3 took 15 years to get translated. Not that we know that back in the 80’s though. And the way we found out about new books was by checking the bookstore and one day when you walked in there was a new book on the shelf. Same for movies. Often we found out about them when they arrived at the cinemas or in the video store.

 AN - You had an opportunity to meet and speak with Stephen King a few times. What was the first thing that popped in your mind when he agreed to speak with you in your first Stephen King interview?  Were you more, or less nervous the second time you interviewed him? 

HL - “Is this really going to happen?” I think it was the first thing but then I got very focused on the questions. I know I would have time to ask quite a few but still wanted to ask the right one. I was less nervous the second time, still nervous but less than the first time.

 AN - How would you best describe Stephen King to those fans who don't get the opportunity to meet him? 

HL - You know how you say don’t meet your heroes; they might not live up to your expectations, meaning maybe they are idiots? Well, King is the hero you do want to meet. He is very kind, humble and down to earth. He was very easy to talk to.

 AN - Let's talk about your new book, STEPHEN KING: Not Just Horror.  How did this project get started, and how long was the process? 

HL - My Swedish publisher wanted me to write a book about King (something I had thought about myself) but to do it I wanted to find an angle that was new. I didn’t want to write a book about a King that already existed. Like the great books by Bev Vincent for example. If that was what they wanted they could just buy the translation rights for Bev’s books. But then I realized that what people get most surprised about when I do lectures about King is that he writes stuff that isn’t horror. That in turn led to the idea for the book. And as the title says, I wanted to get people aware that King does other things than horror. Once I had the angle I wrote the book pretty quick. Maybe in a few months.

AN - How does this book differ from your other books about King?

HL - Quite a lot I would say. My first book, Lilja’s Library – The World of Stephen King: The Book (2010) is a collection of reviews and interviews from my site. The Illustrated Stephen King Movie Trivia book (2013) I wrote with Kevin Quigley and Brian Freeman and it’s a trivia book. Shining in the Dark (2017) is a collection of stories by other authors that I edited. So compared to those first three books you might say that Not Just Horror is the first book that is all me. All my books are quite different from each other.


AN - What can fans look forward to who want to pick up a copy of your new book?

HL - They get an easy read book about stuff that King has done that isn’t horror. Hopefully they learn something new and get entertained on the way.


AN - What chapter did you enjoy writing most and why? 

HL - This is hard. They were all fun in their own way, but I think I enjoyed the Rock star chapter the most. I learned a lot about The Rock Bottom Remainders when I wrote that.


AN - Stephen King will be celebrating 50 years this year as a published writer, and the 50th anniversary of his bestseller, CARRIE.   What are your thoughts on this amazing milestone anniversary, and thoughts on CARRIE the novel?

HL - It’s some time since I read that book but it’s next on my reading list (how could you not read that book this year?). I do remember it as a good debut novel though, and I look forward to reading it again. I think it’s amazing that King has been publishing books for 50 years and that I was here to experience it.


AN - Your webpage, Lilja's Library, is the leading website for all information about Stephen King and latest news.  How does that make you feel personally, bringing fans news and updates about the world's greatest writer?

HL - It feels great. I had no idea how big the site would be 28 years ago when I created it. And the fun thing is that when I created it I was just creating the site I wanted to read. I didn’t find it, so I created it, and then when I realized that a lot of others felt the same way I knew I was doing something right. I hope to keep going for many more years and maybe celebrate with something fun in 2 years when the site celebrates its 30-year anniversary.


AN - You have another new book about Stephen King coming out. Share with us what you can about that, and when we can expect it?  When will it be in English and/or available in America?  Will you be writing more books about King or possibly about his sons, Joe and Owen?

HL - Yes, my next book is called Stephen King: Stories From Five Decades of Storytelling and focuses on the fact that King celebrates 50 years as a published author this year. Its format is similar to Not Just Horror, but its content is divided into 5 sections, each focusing on one of the 5 decades he has been active. It’s being released in Swedish on April 4, and I hope to have it out in the US during the year as well. I don’t know any details, yes but that is the plan.


AN - Lastly, besides the obvious, what do you enjoy most about Stephen King the man?  What is next for Hans-Ake Lilja?  Where can readers pick up a copy of STEPHEN KING: Not Just Horror ?

HL - As for Stephen King the man I really like is that he is still a down to earth man even though he is famous. I love that he continues to write stories that we can read, and I hope that he continues for many, many years to come. For myself I have a new book coming out, Not Just Horror is spreading around the world, and I have a bunch of lectures on Stephen King coming up, so I’ll stay busy. Not Just Horror can be found wherever you buy your books... So go get it :-)

AN - We certainly look forward to all your future projects Hans. Thank you so much for joining us today!  Stephen King fans, and constant readers alike can pick up a copy of STEPHEN KING:Not Just Horror,  at all your favorite book stores,  online booksellers, Bear Manor Media Publishing, and don't forget to Follow Lilja's Library at

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