Hill recently earned a lot of recognition after his series Locke and Key hit Netflix.
It is never easy being the child of a famous person and it becomes even harder for those children who choose to enter the family's line of work. There are constant comparisons, the accusation of nepotism, and if your career doesn't take off, you become the butt of all jokes. So when Joe Hill, son of the literary giant Stephen King, decided to pursue a career as a science-fiction and horror writer, he hid his family connections completely.
If you are also a fan of Netflix's Locke and Key, then you will notice Hill's name appears more than once in the credits. Apart from being the director and one of the executive producers of the series, Hill is also the author of the graphic novel of the same name. It seems more than clear that horror storytelling is in his blood and he is also doing a brilliant job at it.
Apart from Locke and Key, Hill is known to have written acclaimed novels, short story collections, and comics since his breakthrough in the mid-2000s. And he has achieved all the fame and success without any help from his father. In an interview with The Telegraph, he said, "I lacked a lot of self-confidence as a teenager. When I went into writing, I had to know that if someone bought one of my stories they'd bought it for the right reasons – that it is a good story – and not because of who my Dad is."
In fact, Joe Hill is a pen name. During the beginning of Joseph Hillstrom King's career in 1997, he decided to adopt a pen name so that he can build his career by himself rather than being compared to his father who has written books like Carrie, The Shining, It, The Mist, and a lot more. If our generation knew Stephen King via books, today's generation knows Stephen King through movies and numerous brilliant Netflix adaptations of his work.
By 2007, Hill publicly confirmed that he is indeed Stephen King's son. Before he made the news official, there were multiple rumors floating, and his identity was disclosed by Variety in a blurb. According to Hill, all the book deals he received was without any association from his father. By then, he had written 20+ published short stories, including his first one, Heart-Shaped Box. The novel reached No. 8 on The New York Times bestseller list. There is no doubt Hill has made it and he has made it all on his own.
He said, "I once had a friend who said it would be a grave mistake to go into writing as I would never be able to escape my dad’s shadow. I’ve always been glad I never listened." If you see Hill's pictures, it comes as a huge surprise that he kept his lineage a secret, since he is a spitting image of his father, with the same straight black hair, thick eyebrows, and the intense stare. It is as if he was hidden in plain sight.
He said, "I never kept a journal or anything like that as a kid, but I would write stories every day. I used to come home from school to find my Dad working in his office and my Mum [Tabitha King, also a celebrated novelist] working in hers, so I just thought that was what you were meant to do."
Since he grew up watching straight-to-video horror films with his siblings, Naomi and Owen, Hill's talent for conjuring original fantasy narratives was mindblowing. In school, he was already known to have written several full-length books, which he now considers to be abysmal. He said, "As a summer project when I was about 16, I would write a book and give my father five pages every day. We'd sit there when I got home and he'd edit it, then we'd talk about those changes together. I learnt from him about the power of rewriting, which I haven't forgotten."
Since then, after more than two decades, his career was firmly established. Naomi and Owen also went on to become successful authors. Hill cheerfully concluded, saying, "We all share manuscripts and talk about what we're working on, so it's this big group where we can bounce ideas off each other and get concrete, page-by-page help. My Mum even went through The Fireman and crossed things out. I read my Dad's new work if I have time, too, but he's so fast now that his first drafts tend to be pretty much what gets published."