Dean Koontz

by OMB Staff on July 18, 2008

Dean KoontzDean Ray Koontz (born July 9, 1945 in Everett, Pennsylvania) is an American writer.

He is best-known for writing many successful novels that could broadly be described as suspense thrillers, but which also frequently incorporate elements of horror, science fiction, mystery, and satire. Several of his books have appeared on the New York Times Bestseller List, with ten hardcovers and fourteen paperbacks hitting number one. Early in his career, Koontz wrote under an array of pen names, but since the 1980s has written mostly under his own name.

When he was a senior in college, Dean Koontz won an Atlantic Monthly fiction competition and has been writing ever since. His books are published in 38 languages. He has sold 325,000,000 copies, a figure that currently increases by more than 17 million copies per year.

Ten of his novels have risen to number one on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list (ONE DOOR AWAY FROM HEAVEN, FROM THE CORNER OF HIS EYE, MIDNIGHT, COLD FIRE, THE BAD PLACE, HIDEAWAY, DRAGON TEARS, INTENSITY, SOLE SURVIVOR and THE HUSBAND), making him one of only a dozen writers ever to have achieved that milestone. Fourteen of his books have risen to the number one position in paperback. His books have also been major bestsellers in countries as diverse as Japan and Sweden.

The New York Times has called his writing “psychologically complex, masterly and satisfying.” The New Orleans Times-Picayune said Koontz is, “at times lyrical without ever being naive or romantic. [He creates] a grotesque world, much like that of Flannery O’Conner or Walker Percy … scary, worthwhile reading.” Rolling Stone has hailed him as “America’s most popular suspense novelist.”

Dean Koontz was born and raised in Pennsylvania. 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.” By the end of those five years, Gerda had quit her job to run the business end of her husband’s writing career.

Dean Koontz lives with his wife, Gerda, and the enduring spirit of their golden retriever, Trixie, in southern California.

Sources:
Wikipedia contributors, “Dean Koontz,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Dean_Koontz&oldid=226225312 (accessed July 18, 2008).

Dean Koontz Website – The Official Site, http://www.deankoontz.com (accessed July 18, 2008).

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