I maintain a personal list. Instead of remaking the work of [person], why not consider making a movie of the work of [different person] instead? My friends are probably most familiar with the “instead of Agatha Christie, why not Dorothy L. Sayers?” variant. But also on that list is Tabitha King. Her works are completely unadapted thus far. I’ve read some, admittedly not in so long that I basically don’t remember what any of the books I read were about, but instead of making another disappointing adaptation of one of her husband’s works, why doesn’t anyone try making a decent one of hers?
By all accounts, her husband seems to have been drawn to her in part because of her writing. Certainly he’s her most steadfast champion. And I have no doubt that there’s a certain extent to which it’s true that it was at least easier for her work to get read because of who he is, though I also have no doubt that it wasn’t published just because of who her husband is. I can promise you that, while I don’t actually own any of her works, I have enjoyed them more than many other books by considerably more famous people. And not ones who are famous for the ineptitude of their work, either.
I feel as though most of what she’s known for, really, is keeping her husband alive. And he did come very close to dying of his addiction, and she did save his life. As he tells it, the greatest evidence that addiction is a terrible thing and a disease is that, when she gave him the ultimatum and told him that it was the drugs or her, he asked for time to think it over. I mean, he did choose her, goodness knows, and it definitely saved his life, but I can’t imagine how painful it must have been to Tabitha in that moment. For her own sake and her children’s sake.
It’s also worth noting that, yes, she’s the reason her husband published his first novel. I’m sure he would’ve managed sooner or later if she hadn’t rescued the crumpled pages out of the trash can and demanded to know what happened next—and provided him with insight he didn’t have into teenage girls, of course—but I’m quite sure she’s also shaped his style and so forth well beyond that. She’s known as his first reader, and I’d be shocked if his second drafts weren’t heavily influenced by what she had to say.
She is a smart, funny, acerbic woman who apparently swears like a sailor. She writes fairly well. She raised three children who seem to have done pretty well for themselves despite being raised in extremely unusual circumstances—not just their father’s addiction but the family’s incredible wealth. There are, to my knowledge, no stories about the King children’s running wild the way so many celebrity children have. Possibly that’s not just the steady influence of their mother but the fact that I’m quite sure both parents were clear about how destructive their father’s life had been and how close they’d come to being raised by a single parent.