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updated 12/16/2011 3:47:14 PM ET 2011-12-16T20:47:14

Horror author Stephen King's efforts to raise money to help low-income Maine residents pay their heating oil bills this winter have exceeded goals.

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King announced last month that his foundation would match up to $70,000 if listeners of the three Bangor-area radio stations he owns donated that amount, for a total of $140,000.

Story: Stephen King takes on the assasination of JFK

Listeners donated $24,000, the Lerner Foundation pitched in $46,000 and the foundation kept its promise.

On-air personality Pat LaMarche says an anonymous Californian then promised another $50,000, if King matched it. The Maine native agreed, bringing the total to over $240,000.

Story: Stephen King's horror classics and lesser-known favorites

King tells the Bangor Daily News he's "grateful" to everybody who helped.

The federal government told the state it should expect $23 million in heating oil assistance this winter, down from $55.6 million last winter.

___

Information from: Bangor Daily News, http://www.bangordailynews.com

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Stephen King saves JFK’s life in new novel

  1. Transcript of: Stephen King saves JFK’s life in new novel

    ANN CURRY, co-host: Imagine traveling through time, back to that infamous day in Dallas , when President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline were stepping off Air Force One , smiling and shaking hands with a cheering crowd, then climbing into an open limousine for a short drive downtown, not knowing Lee Harvey Oswald was waiting. What if you could have done something to stop the assassination and that Kennedy had lived? That's the intriguing premise of Stephen King 's latest novel, "11/22/63." Stephen King good morning.

    Mr. STEPHEN KING (Author, "11/22/63"): Good morning to you.

    CURRY: This is a blockbuster of a book and it's a blockbuster from the beginning. Like on the front of it, which is a big, massive book, you see this picture of the newspaper that ran after JFK was shot.

    Mr. KING: Mm-hmm.

    CURRY: And on the back of the book, I think we have a graphic, that shows what could've happened.

    Mr. KING: Right.

    CURRY: That he escaped the assassination.

    Mr. KING: JFK escapes assassination. Yeah.

    CURRY: And you say it so could have been the second story.

    Mr. KING: It was so close. Lee Harvey Oswald was this disaffected loner who felt he should have been famous. He spent time in Russia , he came back to the United States , expected press to greet him at the airport when he touched down in Dallas , and when there was nobody there, he was very angry. He was a wife beater. He wasn't a guy who was very well organized, and he ended up getting the job at the Texas School Book Depository before Kennedy was scheduled to go to Dallas . And he just happened to have a position on the sixth floor. And it's almost like he won the devil's lottery.

    CURRY: I'm marveling at just how much you know about this. This speaks to your having done tremendous research to do this book, and you're not a man -- I mean, you're a man in a position who doesn't have to do that. What was -- what was the obsession? What sparked the -- what inspired you to this story?

    Mr. KING: Just that the Kennedy assassination happened at a time when America was at a crossroads. There was Vietnam . There was the civil rights movement that was taking place at that time. There was the Cold War . A lot of things were happening, and Kennedy was coping with those things with a lot of what he called great vigor.

    CURRY: Mm-hmm.

    Mr. KING: You know, he had a lot of elan, he had a lot of charisma. And when he was killed, things changed and it's impossible to not wonder what would've happened with Vietnam , with the racial relations in America , what he would've done had he lived. And the other thing that interested me is the echoes between the Kennedy administration and the Obama administration...

    CURRY: Hm.

    Mr. KING: ...in the sense that both young men, both men who hadn't had a lot of political experience who vaulted to national prominence.

    CURRY: Hm.

    Mr. KING: Beautiful wives, beautiful children, and also that whole component of people who feel almost hateful toward those people.

    CURRY: So enter then your tome in which you introduce us to the character Jack -- rather, Jake Epping.

    Mr. KING: Mm-hmm.

    CURRY: He's a high school English teacher . He uses a time bubble to go back to 1958 . He lives a number of years until that fateful day, November 22nd , 1963 , but he lives it following Oswald and Marina Oswald ...

    Mr. KING: Right.

    CURRY: ...and what their ins and -- but you know, to sort of rest your book on this...

    Mr. KING: Mm-hmm.

    CURRY: ...you had to sort of buy into the idea that Oswald was the lone gunman.

    Mr. KING: Right.

    CURRY: What convinces you?

    Mr. KING: Right. Well, I read a stack of research materials that were -- it's about as high as I am and, you know, I'm doing the book tour thing and the conspiracy people will show up because they're very wedded to the idea. And Norman Mailer said one time it's virtually impossible for to us believe that one man did this to -- and changed the whole history of the world . That's what still boggles my mind. So it's almost easier to believe that there was a conspiracy because then at least you get a sense that somebody had a plan, that this was a planned event, this murder of the president. But if you believe that one man and one place could change history, then everything sort of becomes meaningless, and people don't like that.

    CURRY: After 56 books, over four decades, nearly four decades, most of those books being about horror and suspense, you're now moving where you're -- this book you're definitely a departure. It's a historical fiction , historical thriller.

    Mr. KING: Mm-hmm.

    CURRY: Janet Maslin -- no less than Janet Maslin of The New York Times writes, "Mr. King pulls off a sustained high-wire act of story telling trickery. He makes alternative history work." Is this a sign of things to come for you? Is this what you're heading towards?

    Mr. KING: I don't know if it's what I'm heading towards, but maybe I ought to buy Janet Maslin a Porsche . I'm not sure.

    CURRY: Well...

    Mr. KING: That was a great review and I've been fortunate with this. And you know, the research stuff, it has to be as close to right as possible because there are a lot of people watching , a lot of people are going to read the book. And, you know, I want to do my job. I wanted to do my due diligence and I wanted people to feel like they were there. That was important to me.

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