Last week I posted a re-blog of some Stephen King tips for writers, and I mentioned a friend of mine just met him in person? Good news! That friend, Nikki Hedrick, has agreed to share details of the experience.
Nikki runs 850ME, a music and entertainment company, and the Kite Film Fest. She has been an avid supporter of local and regional music in the 850 area (Northwest Florida) and has been responsible for bringing some big name performers to the area as well.
I’m still quite jealous that I couldn’t ride her coat tails and meet Stephen King myself, but with Nikki, he was definitely in good hands.
Meeting Stephen King
—from Nikki Hedrick
I’m in my 30’s. I grew up in a household where horror movies and horror books were accessible. The novel ‘IT’ helped shaped my understanding and empathy towards other’s journeys. The movie ‘Carrie’ made me feel like I could be powerful, even if I was an outsider to my peers. Through the Stephen King’s books, stories, and various adaptations of his material – I had a window to the world outside of my quiet beach-town life.
It’s not an overreach to say the King made an impact on my life. Moreover, I know I’m one of many who feels that way.
In 2011, my mom and I created 850 Music & Entertainment to support independent musicians – to support our friends. In 2012, the Destin Florida based publication The Beachcomber recruited me as a contributor.
Life’s been a little wild, but I could have never guessed the opportunity my editor Chris Manson would throw my way. He began asking how quickly I could take off a day? How quickly I could drop everything for a road trip. After a flurry of slightly confused emails, it’s revealed that he has a tentative day and time to meet Stephen King in a private setting.
The Beachcomber features a pet every issue, and Manson had gotten King’s people to agree to let him feature Molly aka The Thing of Evil.
With only a few hours of sleep in my pocket and a dawn meeting time – Mason and I made our way from Destin to Sarasota Florida – a 7+ hour drive.
We hit King’s driveway with only 2 minutes to spare. Met by the man himself with Molly on a leash, waving at us. It was real. We were there.
King was relaxed and talked easily. He handed me a couple of Molly’s favorite treats and I worked with the hyperactive pooch to get a few posed images while Manson asked questions and furiously took notes.
In arguably one of the most surreal moments of my life, I’m sitting on the floor trying to keep Molly’s attention listening to King talk about travel, books, and his routines. He posed for a couple additional photos – one of him and Molly, and a cell phone snap of all of us.
As we made small talk leaving the house, he was warm in wishing us safe travels, shook our hands, and thanked us for stopping by.
If I didn’t have the photos, I’m still not sure I’d believe it was all real. But that’s the story. The entire story, of how a small town gal managed to take photos of Stephen King… and his little dog too.