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But it doesn’t engage her nearly as much as the memoir. Learning it had made The New York Times best-sellers list excited King as much as learning that one of her songs was climbing the Billboard charts back in the day.

With her writing frequently interrupted by concert tours and activism (including work for environmental causes and Democratic politicians), the book took King 12 years to write. She was determined to do it herself without a ghost- or co-writer.

The strongest part of the book is also the most shocking. She talks of being physically and verbally abused by her third husband in the 1970s, the man who led her to the Idaho backcountry that she adores and still lives in. Even King found it hard to believe that despite fame, success and plenty of friends, she wouldn’t end the relationship the first time she was hit _ and even several times thereafter. She finally did leave, and he died of a drug overdose shortly after that, according to her book.

“It was very difficult, too complicated to talk about in a small sound bite,” she said. “My editor said to just write about it, you don’t have to include it. But I decided to include it because I want other women in abusive relationships to know that it’s not their fault and that it can happen to anyone.”

With her first book is fresh on the market, she’s already thinking about the possibility of another one.

“Now that I’m 70, I have bits of wisdom I can offer to a younger generation,” she said. “It’s not `This is the way it has to be,’ but `This is my experience, I hope this helps you.’”

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Online:

http://www.caroleking.com/legendary_demos/