Stephen King Reveals The Lady Gaga Dognapping Case Helped Lead Him To The Story In His Next Novel

 Stephen King looking up in cameo in IT: Chapter Two.
Credit: Warner Bros.

It has been less than two months since Constant Readers everywhere first got the opportunity to read You Like It Darker, the latest collection of short stories by Stephen King, but one of the best things about being a King fan is knowing that the next book is always right around the corner. Today, we've learned not just the title of his next novel, but also what it's about and what inspired him to write it.

Stephen King is featured as a guest on the latest episode of the Talking Scared podcast, and there is a point in the conversation when King discusses what he is currently working on. It's a new Holly Gibney mystery titled Always Holly that he has been working on since February 2023, and he noted that one of the early ideas that he had for the story took inspiration from the Lady Gaga dognapping case. Said King,

I just have a tendency to stay wide open and think to myself every now and then, 'What's Holly doing now? What's Holly up to now?' And I just had this idea, and I thought to myself... well, the first thing that came to mind isn't in the book; I thought about Lady Gaga's dogs being kidnapped. And I thought this could be a case for Holly, because Holly's dealt with dogs before, but it didn't work out. It didn't work out.

With the idea of a dognapping put aside, Stephen King pointed Holly Gibney in another direction: the world of politics. Always Holly will apparently involve the titular investigator getting involved with a female politician who becomes the target of a stalker. Or as King put it in the interview,

Later on, it came to my mind that maybe Holly gets a job as a bodyguard for a woman who's a flashpoint in American politics. And I thought, 'Oh, that's a good idea! That's a good idea!' All you gotta do is add a stalker and stir. So that's at least one part of what the book's about.

Always Holly will be the sixth story Stephen King has written featuring Holly Gibney, but it will be just the third where she has been the main protagonist. She was first introduced as a supporting character in the Mr. Mercedes trilogy and returned in a similar capacity in The Outsider. She was put front in center for the eponymous novella in the 2020 collection If It Bleeds, and was most recently the hero of the 2023 novel Holly.

Justine Lupe played Holly Gibney in the Audience network television adaptation of Mr. Mercedes (starring Brendan Gleeson) and Cynthia Erivo played a much different incarnation of the character for HBO's The Outsider. On the upcoming Stephen King movies and TV front, it was announced last fall that producer Jack Bender is developing a TV adaptation of Holly, and if Season 1 of that potential show covers that whole book, perhaps a Season 2 could use Always Holly as source material.

Unfortunately, we don't yet have a release date or even window for Stephen King's new novel – but it seems like a fair bet that we won't see it hit stores before the end of 2024, so 2025 seems likely (there has been at least one new King book released every year since The Shining came out in 1977). Hopefully we'll learn more about Always Holly soon, and you can keep up to date on all King-related news with my weekly column The King Beat, which publishes here on CinemaBlend every Thursday.