From Maine to Oregon, his books have mastered the shelves of all libraries. Readers can find racks and racks of novels from Dean Koontz, the man critics call “The Master of Suspense”.
Ten best-selling novels have helped him reach a level that only a few living authors have surmounted. With new books appearing each year, many of his works have been transformed into movies. From Lightening to Life Expectancy, Koontz has managed to become a top modern novelist.
However, his origins are more unassuming. Born in the diminutive town of Everett, Pennsylvania, Dean’s childhood has rather been unhappy. Being raised by an often ill mother and alcoholic father, it was natural that Koontz wasn’t encouraged to become a writer.
Both parents saw no worth in books alongside the fact that neither felt writing was a secure occupation. Koontz composed his stories and began selling them, despite his parents’ lack of support, at the tender age of eight for just a nickel. He won a wristwatch and $25 at the age of twelve after winning a nationwide essay contest.
Afterwards, he attended and successfully graduated from Shippensburg State College, now known as Shippensburg University. In his senior year, Koontz proceeded to win a fitness contest which was sponsored by The Atlantic Monthly. On October the 15th, 1966, Koontz married his wife, Gerda. He also began working with the Appalachian Poverty Program. He proceeded to write on nights and weekends before joining a suburban high school near Harrisburg, PA as an English teacher.
His career was launched due to an offer made by his wife that she would support Koontz if he decided to start writing full-time for five years, at the end of which she expected him to be successful. Koontz accepted the offer and his wife quitted her job so that she could manage the business part of the now successful career of her husband.
Dean Koontz has continued to pen his short stories and novels for an ever widening audience since the past thirty-six years. Him and his wife moved in 1976 to California, where they, alongside their dog Trixie, resided in Orange Hills. Although Koontz continues to work with meticulous insistence on excellency, the couple enjoys a comfortable life without children.
Image courtesy of: art-sheep.com.