Sacramento Bee Interview

Sacramento Bee logoBest-selling author Dean Koontz talks about his success, latest hit character

by Allen Pierleoni

Q: Underlying the surface action, what is the Odd Thomas series about?

A: Perseverance in the face of the setbacks in life. Also, Odd represents the best that people are capable of being, but in this fallen world we rarely ever get there. That doesn’t mean he isn’t driven to do terrible things, but he does them to protect the innocent or save his own life.

Q: Where did Odd come from?

A: I was working on another book and suddenly into my mind came the line, “My name is Odd Thomas, and I lead an unusual life.” I spent the rest of the day writing what became the first chapter of the first book. The only thing I knew about him then was he was a character on a journey to absolute humility. Where all that came from is a mysterious process I did nothing to earn. The only thing I could do was bring my best craftsmanship to it.

Q: What’s so saintly about Odd?

A: I always knew the last book would be called “Saint Odd” because in his humility he would have come to a certain completeness. He lives for other people, and his philosophy is to live in a simple, old-fashioned, chivalrous way, but to never back down.

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Amazon Fishbowl with Bill Maher

Some of you may know that Dean appeared on several episode of Real Time with Bill Maher. But today I discovered that there was a short-lived online show titled Amazon Fishbowl with Bill Maher and that the first episode from 1 June 2006 included Dean. You can still find the full original online @ and I’ve embedded the interview with Dean here. (Please keep in mind that this is streaming video from 2006 so the quality pretty much sucks.)

Dean Koontz says goodbye to Odd Thomas (Interview)

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 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET on Jan. 29, 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 @ USA Today.

Dean Koontz on Life, Literature & His New Book ‘Saint Odd’ (INTERVIEW)

Author Dean Koontz has sold more than 450 million books. He says of his best-selling success: "I’ve always been driven, probably for a lot of reasons, and one of those is, unquestionably: I've always loved the English language."
Author Dean Koontz has sold more than 450 million books. He says of his best-selling success: “I’ve always been driven, probably for a lot of reasons, and one of those is, unquestionably: I’ve always loved the English language.”

Seven books later, the tale of Odd Thomas is now complete.

It was a sad day to finish the series because I loved the character so much. On the other hand, with the first book, I made a promise to the character, and it needed to be fulfilled, and it could only be fulfilled if the series came to an end.

Now that the series has concluded, some readers might determine that you’ve just finished your masterpiece. What do you think?

(Laughs) I think there have been so many books that it gets very difficult to make those kinds of assessments, at least for me. People ask me, “What is your favorite character or book, whatever?” To a degree, you have to almost say all of them because, even though I write pretty quickly, I’m still choosing to spend a lot of time with these characters, in these stories. I will say, though, that Odd Thomas was special to me. He wasn’t always well received, though. When I turned the first book in to my (previous) publisher, there were people there who so dislike the character and the conflict that they wouldn’t even talk to me about it. In me, that triggers a certain response.

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Dean on The Crime Thriller Club

Season 2, Episode 04 – First Broadcast at 9:00pm, Monday 6 October 2014, ITV (UK)
Bradley is joined by some of the stars of the biggest crime drama shows, as they offer a privileged look behind the scenes of upcoming new crime dramas. Bradley finds out more about Dean Koontz.

Dean Koontz: By the Book

I’m guessing that this will also be appearing in the print version of the Sunday Book Review given the 7/27 date in the URL of the online version.

0727-bks-BTB-master495The author, most recently, of “The City” is a fan of Marilynne Robinson and Cormac McCarthy: “Both offer voluptuous yet highly controlled language and profound moral purpose.”

What books are currently on your night stand?

After a long day, I’m especially charmed by the lyrical expressions and well-wrought cadences of poetry — currently, “The Wild Iris” and “Ararat,” by Louise Glück, and “New & Selected Poems,” by Donald Justice, all of which I’ve read many times. I’m also reading the complete poems of Elizabeth Bishop, whose life’s work shouldn’t be new to me but is.

Read the full interview now @

Unread Books and the Ancient Enemy: An Interview with Dean Koontz

Dean Koontz 1998Here’s an interview from 1998 mostly about the film version of Phantoms.

“If you look at those movies (he cites Invasion of the Body Snatchers and the original Cat People), it was the psychological suspense of the moment that really gripped you. It’s harder to sell that to a studio these days because they don’t believe that people will sit still for that. I think they’re wrong. If there was anything I would have done more with Phantoms, it would have been to crank up that kind of psychological suspense higher than we have.”

Part of what separates Phantoms from the pack is the “less is more” attitude Koontz and his collaborators took toward the special effects. He explains, “If I were to totally translate my book to the screen, we’d need a budget three times the size of Titanic because of the gargantuan effects. Plus, I’m a little tired of movies that are nothing but effects; so are audiences. I don’t like mindless special effects movies. For people who like mindless special effects, we have a little of that. Basically, what interests me are stories that grip you and keep you. Your mind always does worse things than people can show in a movie.”

Read the full interview @ Lybarger Links.

Interview re: The City on

The City (Cover 2)Dean Koontz’ “The City”: A World Full of Mysterious Promise
We live in an age where we believe that science and technology have made us aware of all that is, but the world is a deeply-layered place, of which we understand only the tiniest part.

By Leo Brunnick, June 30, 2014

Dean Koontz sat down with Leo Brunnick (founder and CEO of Patheos) to talk about his latest novel, The City.

This new release continues Koontz’ tradition of writing stories that are exciting and thrilling and scary, while at the same time full of hope and meaning. The City is a story told through the adult eyes of Jonah Kirk as he relates some things that happened to him and his family when he was a boy. Set in a prototypical American city in the 1960s, The City tells a tale of the evil that is present in the world, but also shows that evil can be offset by the far-greater goodness and love that is also there, even where that good is often quiet and unnoticed, and makes the headlines far less often. Avid readers of Koontz’ work notice the strong spiritual messages and symbolism that permeate his work, and in The City Koontz gives a view of the world, of divinity, and of the power of love that readers will find very moving. Expect to cry a lot when reading this book …

In many of your books, and perhaps increasingly so as your work progresses, you show the presence of the Eternal, of Divinity, in nature, animals, relationships, and moments. How do you express that in a story like The City?

The stories I write—aside from the specifics of the story itself—talk about the operation of grace in our lives, which I see around me all the time. And the older I get, the more I see it. I think as you get older, and if you keep yourself alert and aware of what’s going on around you, you gain some wisdom, and it helps you see that.

With The City I wanted to tell a story that was about all the different types of love that exist, about the reality of evil, and about the magic that cities that comes from the operation of grace in our lives.

The City started as a much smaller book—basically as an e-single to help promote my previous book (Innocence) – with the connection being that this was in the same “universal city.” But as I started telling the story, I became enchanted with the voice of the character, this young piano prodigy Jonah Kirk, and about fifty pages into writing I realized this was going to be a novel. As I wrote, I had one of those experiences that writers can’t call forth on demand, and which certainly don’t happen to me very often—what psychologists call being in a “flow state” where it seems like you’re hardly writing the piece, that you’re more of a conduit for it. It made the experience of writing this book exhilarating from beginning to end.

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Dean Koontz: Oh Behave!

Oh BehaveJust found another show on Pet Life Radio titled “Oh Behave!” which interview Dean back on 3 Novemebr 2008.

Say the name, Dean Koontz and it is understandable if you shudder involuntarily. After all, it is strongly advised to read many of his books with the lights on – unless you like being spooked. But Koontz chats with host Arden Moore about one notable – and delightful exception — his latest release, Bliss to You: Trixie’s Guide to a Happy Life. Discover how a Golden Retriever named Trixie brought out the best in this world-renowned suspense author, why Koontz describes dogs as “beauty without vanity” and more on this special episode of Oh Behave!

Listen, read & download the episode @

April 2013 Interview @ Sliver of Stone Magazine

InnocenceDean Koontz, who recently finished a novel–INNOCENCE– was interviewed by M.J. Fievre for Sliver of Stone Magazine.

M.J. Fievre: Dean Koontz, I’m a big fan. I love your work for its unabashed brand of storytelling, the Odd Thomas series particularly, pushing well beyond the boundaries of the expected, into intricately designed worlds with bodachs and silent ghosts, and even elements of science fiction. In an interview with Publishers Weekly, you mentioned that you give your characters free will, “just as God gave it to us.” Are there really no limitations you place on your work and the places you’re willing to go?

Dean Koontz: When a story suddenly takes an astonishing turn that I never anticipated, I sometimes pause to consider whether the twist is over the top or in some other way damaging to the narrative. If it isn’t just a gee-whiz-this-would-be-cool idea, if it comes out of giving the characters free will and letting them evolve, it is in my experience always a good direction to follow, even though I may be wary about where it will lead. Recently I finished a novel that had an experimental structure, an unusual first-person voice, a philosophical point of view contrary to that found in most of the pop culture, and some surprises of an epic nature that required careful preparation to sell to the reader. I expected pushback from some editors and publishers here and/or in other countries, but the book has been received with unalloyed enthusiasm everywhere, as one of the best things I’ve ever done. If I’d kept the characters on a tight leash and been timid about letting the story expanded to the farthest corners of its potential, editors might have liked it, but not as much, and it would have been a lesser piece. The biggest rewards, creatively and even financially, require risk, sometimes a lot of risk.

Read the full interview @