BANGOR (AP) – Best-selling author Stephen King turned 60 last September, a milestone that forces him to accept the fact that he’s no longer middle-aged.

“I look the same as I ever did when I look in the mirror. I can still see the kid there. But people seeing you see someone who’s older.

“I went to a movie theater, and the woman asked if I wanted my golden-ager discount. I asked how old you have to be for that, and she said 65. I said, ‘Not yet, dear,”‘ King told the Bangor Daily News.

In a wide-ranging interview that touched on politics, the longtime supporter of Democratic candidates said he is backing Illinois Sen. Barack Obama for president.

“We need a big change,” King said. “It’s an amazing thing to see the two frontrunners be a woman and a black man.

“Obama has the least baggage of the two and is willing to try new things. It wouldn’t be business as usual. Also it would do wonders for us in the world community to have a black man in the White House,” he said.

Speaking by phone from his winter home near Sarasota, Fla., King recalled why he began heading south for the winter.

“In ’98, during the ice storm, I was walking my dog in our driveway and a chunk of ice dropped off the mailbox, which just missed him.

“That’s when we asked ourselves, ‘Why are we still here in the winter?’ So we decided to start coming down here.”

But he said he still regards Bangor, where he has lived for 30 years, as home.

King was getting ready to head to New York to promote his new novel, “Duma Key,” his first to be set in Florida.

In “Duma Key,” which hits bookstores Tuesday, Minneapolis building contractor Edgar Freemantle moves to Florida and takes up art after being badly injured in an accident at a construction site. But his new life takes another turn when the supernatural intrudes.

For Edgar’s ordeal, King drew on his experiences after he was struck by a van while walking near his summer home in North Lovell in 1999.

“I’d heard how creativity, how make-believe, can help the body heal from physical injuries,” he said. “I also got interested in psychic phenomena connected to phantom limbs.

The writer’s dictum is to write what you know, so I started from there. But Edgar shouldn’t be thought of as me.”

King spends his mornings in Florida writing and his afternoons taking 3-mile walks, with tennis mixed in twice a week.

“That seems to keep everything working fairly smoothly,” he said.

With spring training about a month away, King is looking forward to trips to Fort Myers to see his beloved Boston Red Sox. A pair of World Series victories hasn’t changed his feelings about the team.

“There seems to be this theory that Red Sox fans are masochists,” he said. “But if you can support your team in bad times, you can support them in good times too.

The Aaron Boone homer in 2003 seems to put New England psyches in the ICU, but winning the Series in 2004, and again last year, has taken off some of those effects.”

Information from: Bangor Daily News,

AP-ES-01-19-08 1030EST

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