Saturday, June 13, 2009

Koontz Unveiled

I’m not a rabid Dean Koontz fan, but I’ve read him. I remember years ago, dissecting one of his books so I could see how he put it together. But until I read this article in USA Today, I’d not heard much about his life.

The article talks about his childhood, but if you want to know the full story, he’s come out with a nonfiction book called A Big Little Life that tells the tale of his “difficult, impoverished childhood.” That’s only one of three books he has coming out this summer. The man is a writing whiz.

His book that is just out, Relentless, sounds like a fun, possibly scary for writers, read:
… Relentless, a thrill-a-minute nail-biter about a sociopathic book critic who's trying to kill a best-selling author (Bantam).
A Koontz stat I didn’t know is:
In his 40-year career he has sold as many novels as J.K. Rowling, the world's wealthiest author: an astounding 400 million worldwide. And that number, says publisher Bantam, is growing by 17% a year.
Those figures seem even more astounding when you consider Koontz is not big on promotion for his books:
"The whole American celebrity fascination kind of creeps me out," says Koontz, who has never done a national book tour, hasn't done a TV interview since the 1990s and has done few book signings in the past few decades.”
It’s fun to read about his new house - it’s 24,000 square feet. It’s also nice to read that he has donated millions to CCI - Canine Companions for Independence.

If you want to read about a best-selling author who doesn’t know how to do email, hasn’t flown in 30 years, sends 4,000 handwritten letters to fans each year, and tries to read every one of the approximately 20,000 fan letters he receives annually, then check out the USA Today article.
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  1. Those are absolutely astounding facts and numbers. One can only wonder at such success. Wow.

    The Old Silly From Free Spirit Blog

  2. Thanks for sharing the article - I wish it had included pictures of his house.

  3. I agree, Marvin, they are astounding!

    Bermudaonion, if you click on the link to the full article, there's one picture of him sitting on the steps. It's not much, but even the steps are interesting.

  4. I learned to write fiction by dissecting Dean Koontz's books. His earlier novels creeped me out and some were so flowery that I nearly stopped reading them, but Koontz is a master at stringing his words together and producing great plots. One of my favorite novels is "The Watchers," featuring Einstein, the golden retriever.


  5. I so agree with you about Koontz's ability to write. It's why I, too, took apart one of his books to analyze what he'd done. It's funny that you and I both did that, Jean.

  6. Now that is wild!

    At the same time, since he is not tied to the Internet or travel, he possesses a unique freedom with his life.

    L. Diane Wolfe

  7. Diane, that is so true! Think what your day would be like if you didn't deal with the Internet. Wow. You'd have more time, but it would be very different. I do believe I would miss the online connections and friends. But would love the time back.

  8. I've never read Koontz always choosing mystery-suspense over horror-thriller books, except for Stephen King. Of course. One can't write in today's world without some knowledge of the King.

    But I see that I've missed something by not reading Koontz. After I finish the second Virgil Flowers by Sandford, I'll download a Koontz. Where should I start?

  9. He writes different stuff, Gay. Relentless, one of his books coming out this year, sounds like a thriller. A Big Little Life is a biography. He even has a comic series.
    You can check him out at:

  10. I have long been a big Dean Koontz fan, although I do feel he can be fairly formulaic at times - no bad thing, necessarily.

    He has written a couple of stinkers - Tick Tock and Demon Seed come to mind - but on the whole he usually produces a fast-paced thrill ride. My favourites are probably Mr. Murder and The House of Thunder

    Good blog, and congratulations on a helluva lot of followers...


  11. Hi Brian. I don't think I've read either of your favorites. They will go on my list of books to look at. Thanks!

  12. I want to be him one day, not so much about the wealth but about the number of fans he has and how he takes care to repy to his fans. I send season greetings to a few fans at the moment and it's always good to hear that they remember a scene or a word you have written some time ago.

    In Quest of Theta Magic

  13. I think that's a good start, Enid. It doesn't seem like a lot of authors do that sort of thing.

  14. He's a very personable, humorous human being from having been a fan of not only his work, but his newsletter. I'd rather meet him than any author I can think of. Very entertaining, and his success as an author to me goes far beyond the number of titles he sells.


  15. Being from Orange County, I'm a huge Dean Koontz fan. I incorporate some of his style into my writing, specifically weaving a bit of the supernatural into our every day world so the plot is tweaked just a bit, but not too far from what we only perceive with the five senses.

    Maybe one day he'll stumble upon one of my local book signings. Naw. Better he doesn't. He'd only steal the show.

    - Steve Tremp

  16. I read Koontz on and off. I've always liked what I've read, but had friends warn me off of some. The Watches was my favorite too.

    I'm trying to imagine what anyone needs 24,000 square feet for? Frankly, I'm stumped.

  17. That is indeed a huge house, Jon. He grew up poor and now that he can afford it, he's built his dream house. The article mentioned some of the "amenities" he has in it. It's a house you could live in and not have to leave, it sounds like.


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