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Stephen King mistaken for vandal in Australian bookstore

Bestselling American horror novelist Stephen King was mistaken for a vandal while secretly signing his own books in a bookstore in a remote Australian town.

Bestselling American horror novelistStephen King was mistaken for a vandal while secretly signing his own books in a bookstore in a remote Australian town.

No one, including King's own Australian publicist, knew he was in the country when theauthor turned up at Dymocks bookstorein Alice Springs in central Australia.

A customer saw a man walk in, open some books and write in them.

Thinking the books were being vandalized, the customer alerted store manager Bev Ellis.

"So we immediately ran to the books and lo and behold, here was the signature in several books," Ellis said.

"We sort of spun around on our heels, [saying] 'Where did he go, where did he go?'"

Alice Springs being a small town, it wasn't hard to find King. He was standing in the fruit and vegetable section of the supermarket across the road.

"So I went over and introduced myself," Ellis said. "He was lovely, very nice, charming."

King was keeping quiet about his travel plans and just smiled when she asked him if he was staying long in Alice Springs.

Ellis said she told him, "Well, if we knew you were coming, we would have baked a cake."

King signed seven copies of his latest book, Lisey's Story.

The customer who mistook him for a vandal bought one of the books, and Ellis said she planned todonate the others to community groups that can auction them off to raise funds.

Ellis said it isn't unusual for travelling authors to stop in bookstores in offer to sign some books — she's just glad she had some of King's works on the shelves.

With files from Australian Broadcasting Corp.

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