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It's Halloween, a time when ghosts, goblins and assorted ghouls are everywhere. So when better to check in with the master of horror himself, Stephen King, whose next book, four novellas called Full Dark, No Stars based around themes of retribution, arrives Nov. 9?

“They're all new and fairly powerful, I think,” says King, 63. “I suppose I'm prejudiced.”

While he plugs away on his next book at his estate in Bangor, Maine, King tells us about some of what's on his mind:

Romantic vs. not-so-much vampires

Guess which type King prefers? “Twilight and True Blood are about romance, they're about love,” says King, a fan of the bloodthirsty vamp. “The audience that the Twilight books reach, obviously it's turning their dials to 11, but for me, vampires are takers.”

Not so mad about

King calls critical TV hit Mad Men “by far the most overrated show on TV because it was really never anything but soap opera. There must be a reason that people like it — at least the critics do.” Instead, he'd rather watch old episodes of Lost or FX's Sons of Anarchy, on which he recently had a guest appearance.

All in his head

“People ask me whether I use a notebook, and the answer is no,” says King, author of more than 40 books. “I think a writer's notebook is the best way there is to immortalize really bad ideas, whereas the Darwinian process takes place if you don't write anything down. The bad ones float away, and the good ones stay.”

King of confidence

The king of horror doesn't stress about getting pegged. “I never liked this idea of some writers saying, ‘Well, I'm going to write a serious novel now,' or ‘I'm going to explore different characters or different methods of work.' I'm happy with where I am.”

Getting a buzz on

“I'd like to try everything that I possibly can, and when you do something different, sometimes it buzzes you all over again,” King says. “You know what, it's nice to push your limits a little bit.”

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