Dean Koontz is an American author who became famous for writing suspense thrillers that have elements of horror, mystery, and science fiction in it. Some of his most famous works are Frankenstein, Sole Survivor, Watchers, and The Funhouse which all had film adaptations. Most of his books made it to the New York Times Bestseller List with 14 hardcovers and 14 paperbacks reaching the number one spot.
With over 450 million copies of his work sold and books published in 38 languages, it is appropriate for us to get to know more about this phenomenal fiction writer as he continues to captivate his readers’ hearts and minds through his work.
Where It Started
Born on July 9, 1945 at Everett, Pennsylvania, Dean Koontz suffered a difficult childhood as he was known to be beaten frequently by his alcoholic father. This, along with his mother’s courage, is said to have influenced him to write as early as his senior year at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania where he won a fiction competition by Atlantic Monthly Magazine. He never stopped writing from here on.
However, after graduating, Dean Koontz worked as an English teacher at Mechanicsburg High School in Pennsylvania where the experience opened up his eyes to the reality that those children do not receive the proper funding and the proper help they need to make it in this hard life. This honed his political outlook.
Despite being an English teacher, he was still able to write and published his first novel, the Star Quest in 1968. From here on, he published over a dozen science fiction novels. Catholic faith also influenced his works though it showed a great contrast to what he had witnessed in his own family. This is reflected in his works as most of the characters depict a struggle in faith and were noted as fallen souls.
The Supportive Wife
Writing has always been Dean Koontz’s passion. His wife, Gerda, knows this and so after witnessing Koontz struggle from his teaching work and after spending numerous sleepless days writing, she made an offer that was too hard to resist. She offered to support Koontz for five years just so he can write novels and fiction books full time. His wife also said that if in the span of five years he could not make it big, then he will probably never make it.
Luckily enough, Dean Koontz made it big with most of his novels turned into films. After the five-year mark that his wife gave, his wife quit her job to run and support his writing business.
Because of Dean Koontz interesting background and prolific writing, a psychologist named Katherine Ramsland published an extensive biography of him. By 2008, Dean Koontz was the world’s sixth most highly paid author tied with another famous author, John Grisham. They are believed to make $25 million annually.
Today, Dean Koontz lives with his wife and their golden retriever named Anna in Southern California.