Dean Koontz Biography
Dean Koontz was born and raised in Pennsylvania. To survive a difficult childhood, he turned early on to books which could transport him magically to a better world. The desire to create the same escape for others explains in part his motivation to become a writer. He graduated from Shippensburg State College (now Shippensburg University), and his first job after graduation was with the Appalachian Poverty Program, where he was expected to counsel and tutor underprivileged children on a one-to-one basis. His first day on the job, he discovered that the previous occupier of his position had been beaten up by the very kids he had been trying to help and had landed in the hospital for several weeks. The following year was filled with challenge but also tension, and Koontz was more highly motivated than ever to build a career as a writer. He wrote nights and weekends, which he continued to do after leaving the poverty program and going to work as an English teacher in a suburban school district outside Harrisburg. After a year and a half in that position, his wife, Gerda, made him an offer he couldn't refuse: "I'll support you for five years," she said, "and if you can't make it as a writer in that time, you'll never make it." Obviously, he did make it, big time. By the end of those five years, Gerda had quit her job to run the business end of her husband's writing career. Dean and Gerda Koontz live in southern California. Trixie, their beloved golden retriever was put to sleep in 2007.
Among the pseudonyms Koontz has used during his career are David Axton, Brian Coffey, Deanna Dwyer, K.R. Dwyer, John Hill, Leigh Nichols, Anthony North, Richard Paige, Owen West and Aaron Wolfe.
Q. What has inspired you most to write your wonderful books?
A. Number one, there's nothing else I can do. Number two, I need to stay out of trouble with the police, and that means keeping my time filled. Number three, I have a passion for storytelling and a love of the English language. Though you might not know that from the degree of incoherency I will no doubt exhibit in this chat.
Q. Where do you come up with your stories? Are any based on personal experience?
A. All writing is to some degree based on personal experience, especially the emotions my characters feel, the thoughts they have about life and the struggles of life. I have not, however, been assaulted by an evil clone, chased by a mutant escapee of a genetic engineering lab, or been locked in my own house by a mad computer system.
(an excerpt from a Mystery Guild interview)
A prolific author, among his most popular novels are The Darkest Evening of the Year, Odd Hours, In Odd We Trust, Book of Counted Sorrows, and Your Heart Belongs To Me.
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