Count Stephen King among those not swooning over Edward Cullen.
In what should have been a controversy-free interview with USA Weekend to promote his latest book, the horror master has slammed Twilight creator Stephenie Meyer's writing prowess...by flat-out saying she has none.
What started with an innocent question on the recent juggernaut success of fellow mainstream writers Meyer and J.K. Rowling quickly devolved into a full-scale denouncement of the former's skills.
"The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can't write worth a darn," he said. "She's not very good."
Leave it to an author not to mince his words.
Possibly sensing the worldwide fallout from inflaming millions of Twilight loyalists, King went on to say that while Meyer's writing may bite the big one, her storytelling is compelling...at least to a certain, less experienced, segment of the population.
"People are attracted by the stories, by the pace and in the case of Stephenie Meyer, it's very clear that she's writing to a whole generation of girls and opening up kind of a safe joining of love and sex in those books. It's very exciting and it's thrilling and it's not particularly threatening because they're not overtly sexual.
"A lot of the physical side of it is conveyed in things like the vampire will touch her forearm or run a hand over skin, and she just flushes all hot and cold. And for girls, that's a shorthand for all the feelings that they're not ready to deal with yet."
While King seemed to reserve his choicest words for Meyer, she wasn't the only best-selling author eviscerated by him. On the contrary, King declared Perry Mason author Erle Stanley Gardner "terrible," Dean Koontz "sometimes...just awful," and James Patterson "a terrible writer" who is nonetheless "very very successful."
You know, the opposite of what King now is with Meyer fans.
(Originally published Feb. 4, 2009 at 2:54 p.m. PT)