Dean Koontz on the 50th Anniversary of His First Novel, Star Quest

50 years! Wow! And to get Dean speaking on the record about his early SF work, that’s a rarity these days. But SyFy Wire has done it.

How did Star Quest come about and what was the inspiration for the story?

Dean Koontz: As a kid, all I read was science fiction. I started out with probably the Heinlein juvenile, young adult novels and then just read, read, read constantly in the field. So by the time I was graduating college it was very natural for me that that would be the genre I wanted to write it. And I had sold a number of short stories first, but I can’t remember where that idea came from for that novel. All I know is that I wrote it over a summer between teaching jobs. I had no agent, you just sent things over the transom in those days. I sent it to Ace Books and they made me an offer for it.

One thing I vividly remember is that at that time, Ace paid $1,500 for one half of an Ace Double. They came back to me and said, “We can’t pay you $1,500 because your novel is short, so we’re gonna have to pay the guy on the other side of the double, $1,750, so we can only pay you $1,250.” It was the first time I had ever sold anything in book length so I jumped at that and said, alright, I’ll take the $1,250! Some years went by and I was still writing only in the science fiction genre and was somewhere where I ran into the author who was on the other side of that double. I said to him jokingly, that because of you I had to take $1,250 instead of $1,500. And he said, “What do you mean? They told me mine was shorter. I’d have to take $1,250!” I discovered we’d each been chiseled out of $250. Which explained to me why, when I looked at the book, it didn’t seem to me that his was a lot longer than mine. And it was a little warning that there were certain publishers in the world that would save the $500 at the risk of annoying the hell out of the writer down the road. That’s my biggest memory of that. I do sometimes say if I’d just thought of calling it Star Trek instead of Star Quest, maybe I would have been famous long before. (Laughs)

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Interview: Dean Koontz Takes Readers On A ‘Techno-Thriller’ Ride In His New ‘Jane Hawk’ Series

Master of suspense Dean Koontz has done it again. Written a new series, that is, a techno-thriller from the darker corners of his imagination.

Meet his latest character, Jane Hawk, introduced in “The Silent Corner” in June and continuing  now in “The Whispering Room” and in next year’s  “The Crooked Staircase” (May).

Jane, 27, is a resourceful, street-savvy FBI agent who takes a leave of absence to investigate the apparent suicide of her husband. What she discovers is a conspiracy at the highest levels of government and the tech industry—an insidious scheme involving nano brain implants that rob people of their will, turning them into virtual slaves or maneuvering them to kill themselves in the most horrific ways.

The action is fast, emotions and tension run high, and there are casualties. Soon the resolute Jane is declared a rogue FBI agent, then becomes the nation’s most wanted fugitive. Readers are right there with her as she ingeniously survives a series of close encounters in her quest to unveil the truth one piece at a time.

At this stage in his 50-year career, Koontz, 72, is writing at his most expressive and compelling as he follows Jane on her calculated yet obsessive journey. As Koontz once told me, “I give my characters free will and see where things will go.” Clearly, there is no stopping Jane Hawk.

Koontz, a former high school English teacher, is the New York Times best-selling author of more than 100 novels (16 made into movies) with 450 million copies in print in 38 languages.

That’s superstar status, yet he chooses to live under the radar (he no longer tours, for instance) in Newport Beach with his wife of 50 years, high-school sweetheart Gerda Ann Cerra, their golden retriever, Anna, and “the enduring spirit”  of their late golden, Trixie.

I asked Koontz about the new series via email. Visit him at and follow him on Twitter: @deankoontz.

Read the full interview @

The New Yorker Magazine Special Advertising Section

2006.06.12 Interview ad- The New YorkerMissed this one when it first came out. It’s the June 12, 2006 issue of The New Yorker which contains an interview with Dean. What makes is more interesting is that the interview is actually a six-page “Special Advertising Section” that’s basically a giant ad for The Husband.


Delving into the mind with author Dean Koontz

New OCRcom logo final 3

Can you tell I’m trying to get caught up? Here’s an interview with Dean published by the Orange County Register back on December 4th.

Q. What was it like leaving Odd Thomas and his series behind to create Bibi and her brand-new story?

A. This was an extremely tricky thing to pull off and so it tests all your abilities and craftsmanship. So in a sense that’s daunting. But as always, if the character who is central to the story starts to work for you, if Bibi comes alive for you, within a day or two you’re into it and you’re not daunted anymore.

My publisher said, “I sort of fell in love with Bibi. She’s sort of a very fair, tough-minded, kick-butt kind of lady.” She’s a woman that reminds me a little of my mother and my wife, both strong women. She sort of has some of their qualities.

Read it all @

The Secrets of their Success interview

Dean KoontzI’ve always resisted the cliché, ‘Today’s guest needs no introduction.’ And there are two reasons for that: for one thing, it’s one of those remarks that needs qualifying, and in so doing I think I’d end up at odds with the aforementioned claim. For another, those who need no – or little – introduction often provide the meatiest substance for an opening paragraph, and my guest today is no exception. Frankly, we’re in the presence of greatness – honestly, it’s true. He’ll shake his head at me for using such lofty rhetoric, I know, because despite his vast achievements he seems to have remained somehow unpretentious – at the very least down-to-earth. And in case you’re wondering at the magnitude of said achievements, permit me a small instruction. Go to Wikipedia and search: ‘Best-selling fiction authors.’ You’ll see a list populated by such revered denizens as William Shakespeare, Leo Tolstoy, Agatha Christie and a host of other authors endlessly cited by literature professors the world over. Well I’ll tell you something: today’s guest currently occupies the number seventeen spot on that roster, and by the figures quoted therein has sold around 400 million books. Take into account that some of the literary heavyweights above him on that list have been in print for several centuries, and that’s quite an achievement. But – every achievement starts somewhere, so to tell us how it all began allow me to hand over to the one and only: Dean Koontz.

“I was writing stories when I was 8 and selling them to relatives and neighbors,” Dean says. “I was writer, agent, and publisher all in one – and, I am quite sure, also a pest. I wrote in high school, and one of my English teachers, Winona Garbrick, encouraged me. In college, I won a top prize in a national college-student writing contest sponsored by the Atlantic Monthly, and I sold that same story to another magazine for $50, which was more money then than it is now and which allowed me to buy about a hundred paperbacks.

“We were quite poor, and therefore through high school I had held part-time jobs of one kind or another, during which I realized that I would never be happy working under a boss. After college, during the two years I taught school, that realization was reinforced on a daily basis. The education bureaucracy frustrated me. My wife, Gerda, said, “I know you want to write. I’ll support you for five years, and if you can’t make it in that time, you’ll never make it.” To this day, I am humbled by her generosity and her faith in me. I accepted her offer – and was immediately labeled a lazy, shiftless bum by many in our families!

“So you might say that in the early years, I was inspired by the need to be my own boss and to work at a task I loved instead of at some job that had no purpose for me except to pay the bills. During a lonely childhood, in a dysfunctional family, books had been my escape and salvation; therefore, to make a life of books was as close to bliss as I expected to get in this world.”

Read the full interview @ The Secrets of Their Success.

Dean Koontz says goodbye to Odd Thomas

Saint Odd 3DDean Koontz is one of the world’s most popular novelists, with 450 million books sold worldwide. In recent years, his series featuring Odd Thomas — a young fry cook with paranormal powers, including the ability to see the spirits of the “lingering dead” — has been particularly popular, with 20 million copies sold to date. Now the series is ending with its seventh installment,Saint Odd (currently No. 4 on USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list), in which the character returns to his hometown of Pico Mundo, Calif., to fulfill the destiny foretold in the series opener in 2003.

Koontz will be the featured guest on a special online video chat with fans from 1-2 p.m. today, sponsored by USA TODAY and Intercast. In the meantime, we caught up with Koontz, 69, for a phone interview from his home in Newport Coast, Calif.

Q: Is the ending of the Odd Thomas series a sad occasion for you?

A: When I finished the first one, Odd Thomas, I thought, “This is liable to be more than one book,” but at most I thought it would be a trilogy. But the character just had dimension after dimension that I found fascinating. In book two, I thought, “He’s on a journey to absolute humility,” which I didn’t know how I was going to write about since I don’t have an experience of absolute humility myself. (Laughs.) In the first book, he lost the love of his life, and got a little card from a fortune-telling machine that said, “You are destined to be together forever.” And I knew that was a promise that had to be fulfilled. I thought, “I can’t keep him going forever, no matter how interesting he is.”

Read the full interview @ The Baxter Bulletin.

The City: Dean Koontz veers from type with this tender, character-driven story.

The City (Cover 2)I call him the poor man’s Stephen King, which is ironic, because Koontz is probably one of the wealthiest authors alive.

So I picked up The City, convinced I was in for more of Koontz’s crafty if slightly formulaic storytelling.

I was very wrong.

In The City Koontz paints the unusual coming-of-age story of young Jonah Kirk, son of a talented lounge singer and grandson of a true piano man. Young Jonah learns about the mysteries and the beauty of his city through a very diverse crowd of friends… and enemies.

Read the full review @ Women24.