MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Horror writer Stephen King couldn’t resist autographing a few books while vacationing in Australia. But it nearly got him in hot water.

The manager of a bookstore in Alice Springs in Australia’s Outback was alerted that someone was defacing books this week. But when Bev Ellis checked the books, she saw King’s signature and knew it was no vandal – that it was Stephen King himself.

Ellis, who tracked the author down in a nearby supermarket, told the Herald Sun newspaper in Melbourne that King signed seven copies of his latest work, “Lisey’s Story.”

She said she didn’t consider King’s surprise visit and book signings to be particularly eccentric. “Lots of authors do it,” she said. “They’ll come into the shop and check if their works are on the shelves. If they are, they’ll often sign a few copies.”

She told King, who is from Bangor, Maine, that if she’d known he was paying a visit, she would have baked him a cake.

As for the books, a customer purchased one of them right away on Wednesday. The rest will be auctioned off with the proceeds going to charity, Ellis said.

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