‘It’s pretty murderous’: Owen King on writing an apocalyptic shocker with his father Stephen

When Owen King, a writer of light comedy, had a ‘horrible’ idea for a novel, he knew who to ask for help. But Sleeping Beauties is not a horror, he insists – there are no ghosts or scary clowns

Two years ago, a novelist called Owen King had “the littlest germ” of an idea for a book: “What if, one day, all the women in the world don’t wake up?” He loved it, but it wasn’t the kind of thing he usually wrote. His novels, while well-reviewed, never exactly set the charts alight. Fortunately, his father – one Stephen King – was something of an expert in post-apocalyptic horror. “I thought to myself, ‘Wow, it would be just fucking horrible.’ I can tell my dad, it sounds like something he’d be really interested in.”

Discussing story ideas with his father wasn’t something he’d done before. “My dad ...