Thursday, January 24, 2013

WITA # 6: Hans-Åke Lilja

Continuing to re-print some of these old interviews I did for Cemetery Dance in the We Interrupt This Author series, here is a brief talk with Hans-Åke Lilja, who is one of the chief chroniclers of Stephen King's writing career. This interview is reprinted courtesy of Cemetery Dance, on whose website it appeared on August 16, 2010. As always, the material is a little dated.

For over thirty years, Stephen King has been the dean of horror writers, and arguably, his biggest fan is Hans-Åke Lilja, the proprietor of the Lilja’s Library website at  Mr. Lilja has collectd the information acquired over many years into a new book from Cemetery Dance called Lilja’s Library:  The World of Stephen King, available now, and illustrated by Glenn Chadbourne.  It will stand as one of the great resources for information about Mr. King’s life and work, and Mr. Lilja was kind enough to talk with us about the book and about himself.

Dead In The South - So, your book from Cemetery Dance is called Lilja’s Library:  The World of Stephen King.  Tell us about it.

Hans-Åke Lilja - It’s a collection of the reviews and interviews I had done for the site up till mid 2008 as well as some I did exclusively for the book. It’s a version of the site that you can read in bed. It also has a very nice intro by Bev Vincent and an interview (also by Bev) with me about the site.

DITS -  You are one of if not the biggest of all Stephen King fans.  What is it about his work that speaks to you?

H-AL - The main thing is that he can tell a story really well. He makes you feel for the characters. He makes you care about them. He makes you feel like you know them. And on top of that he also has the ability to take something really ordinary and turn it into something scary, in a believable way. 

DITS - How long have you been a Stephen King fan, and what got you started?

H-AL - I have been a fan since the mid 80’s when I got a copy of Carrie for Christmas. I got hooked and read everything he had written after that.

DITS - Since you have knowledge of Mr. King’s work I can only envy, what is your favorite or favorites among his many books and stories?

H-AL - Oh, that is the hard one! I can’t pick just one. I really love The Long Walk which also shows King’s ability to create great characters. Who else could write a book about people walking? I also love The Dark Tower, The Stand, IT and The Talisman. Of the shorter works I really like “Secret Garden, Secret Window” and “Survival Type”.

King and Lilja

DITS - Over the years, there have been many projects in connection with King announced that never saw the light of day, books that were never completed and movies that were never filmed.  If you could wish just one of these projects into existence, what would it be?

H-AL - That’s easy. I would love to see the animated movie version of Eyes of The Dragon that was planned some years ago. And if it were to be done today it would probably be even better since the technique is so much better. 

DITS - Do you have any ambitions to write fiction yourself?

H-AL - No. Unfortunately I have no skills for writing stories.

DITS - Now that this monumental task is completed and the book is out, what is next up for Hans-Ake Lilja?

H-AL - I’m part of another book coming out next year called The Illustrated Stephen King Movie Trivia Book that I co-wrote with Brian Freeman and Kevin Quigley. It’s a quiz book about almost every King movie done. It’s also beautifully illustrated by Glenn Chadbourne.

After that I really don’t know. I’d love to do another book about King but I need to find something that hasn’t already been written about and that isn’t as easy as one might thing… I will also keep the site going and I have some plans for it that I hope to be able to realize.

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