Bram Stoker was born in Dublin, the son of a civil servant. Although a semi-invalid as a child, he went on the gain a reputation as a fine athlete at Trinity College, where he also excelled in mathematics and philosophy. Stoker worked as a civil servant and a journalist before becoming the personal secretary of the famous actor Henry Irving. He also wrote 15 works of fiction, only one of which is very memorable - Dracula (1897). This work, involving hypnotism, magic, the supernatural, and other elements of gothic fiction, went on to sell over one million copies and is still selling strongly today. So well known has his fictional character become that today it is possible to visit the castle of Count Dracula in the Transylvanian region of Romania, a country that Stoker never visited. Several film versions of the story, both serious and comic, have made Stoker's work a part of modern mythology. His novel The Lair of the White Worm (1911) has also been made into film. It and the novel The Lady of the Shroud are, like Dracula, fantastic tales of horror.
Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine, on September 21, 1947. After graduating with a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Maine at Orono in 1970, he became a teacher. His spare time was spent writing short stories and novels. King's first novel would never have been published if not for his wife. She removed the first few chapters from the garbage after King had thrown them away in frustration. Three months later, he received a $2,500 advance from Doubleday Publishing for the book that went on to sell a modest 13,000 hardcover copies. That book, Carrie, was about a girl with telekinetic powers who is tormented by bullies at school. She uses her power, in turn, to torment and eventually destroy her mean-spirited classmates. When United Artists released the film version in 1976, it was a critical and commercial success. The paperback version of the book, released after the movie, went on to sell more than two-and-a-half million copies. Many of King's other horror novels have been adapted into movies, including The Shining, Firestarter, Pet Semetary, Cujo, Misery, The Stand, and The Tommyknockers. Under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, King has written the books The Running Man, The Regulators, Thinner, The Long Walk, Roadwork, and Rage. King is one of the world's most successful writers, with more than 100 million copies of his works in print. Many of his books have been translated into foreign languages, and he writes new books at a rate of about one per year. In 2003, he received the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. In 2012 his title, The Wind Through the Keyhole made The New York Times Best Seller List. King's title's Mr. Mercedes and Revival made The New York Times Best Seller List in 2014.