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Dean Koontz
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Dean Koontz   Dean Koontz is one of the most-read authors in the world with over 400 million books sold. Over twenty of his books have hit #1 on The New York Times bestsellers list, and several movies have been made from his writing. His work has been nominated for the Hugo, World Fantasy, Prometheus, British Fantasy Society, and Bram Stocker Award. He frequently incorporates elements of horror, science fiction, mystery, and satire in his writing, and Rolling Stone has hailed him as "America's most popular suspense novelist."

Buy Dean Koontz's Books at the following locations: (downloadable audio books) (independent bookstores)
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This episode originally aired on 01/21/2010 with the following authors:
Note: The following interview has been transcribed from The Author Hour radio show. Please excuse any typos, spelling and gramatical errors.

Interview with Dean Koontz

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Bonus Question(s) that Didn't Air on the Live Radio Show

Note that you can also listen to this while you read it.

Matthew Peterson: Hey, guys, Iím going to stop real quick and tell you a little story about this interview. Youíve probably noticed that Dean Koontzís main interview sounded a little different than the rest of the show and from the bonus question. Basically what happened was that half-way through the interview, I looked down and realized that my recorder wasnít working. Whatís ironic about this was that I was anal about making sure the equipment was working before the interview, and because of that I inadvertently caused the glitch myself. Fortunately for me, I was also using a little $15 device that I stick in my ear as a backup that records onto my laptop. So thank goodness for that little backup. My paranoia and redundancy has paid off. Moral of the story: Donít mess with something thatís already working and always have a backup solution. Alright, so hereís the bonus question.

Let me ask you a bonus question. One book that we didnít mention was A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog. And I have a feeling that has a little bit of you in it as well. What made you decide to write about your dog, Trixie?

Dean Koontz: I was actually approached by a publisher who wanted to make a deal for me to write a memoir of Trixie. They knew that Iíve got this line of childrenís books coming from Putnam that star Trixie, and sheíd written some of her own that had sold very well as non-fiction, and Petsmart this summer did a whole thousand store test marketing thatís A Good Dog, Trixie products. So all that was known to the publisher. And they were intrigued: ďHowís this dog becoming this little industry?Ē You know, after she passed away.

Matthew Peterson: [laughs] Yeah.

Dean Koontz: And everything Trixie earns, out of all of her books go to K9 companions for independence, which provides assistance dogs to the disabled, so I think they were intrigued by that. And I jumped at the chance. I wanted to write about this special creature. I had always planned to do it, but I thought it would be years down the road.

Matthew Peterson: How has Trixie affected your writing? You know, while she was alive? I hear she made a big influence on your life.

Dean Koontz: Very large influence. I talk about this in the book, but Iíve always been a very optimistic person. Iíve always lived the belief that happiness is a choice. And Iíve been the least cynical human being youíve ever met.

Matthew Peterson: [laughs]

Dean Koontz: My wife always said, ďYou never met somebody you didnít like.Ē And she would always warn me about certain people: ďYouíre making a mistake.Ē And Iíd say, ďNo, theyíre just fabulous.Ē And then of course, it would be a mistake; she was right.

Matthew Peterson: [laughs]

Dean Koontz: So, I had become, without realizing it, kind of cynical about betrayals that you experience in life. And Trixie came along and by her sense of wonder in everything, by her great good humor, by her stunning intelligence, she opened the door to wonder in my mind again and banished my cynicism. And that has come through in all the books Iíve written ever since she came with us. And I took on much bigger challenges than I had taken on before with books like From the Corner of His Eye, which was a book that I wouldnít even have tried before--but has done a lot of good for my career and is one of the books Iím happiest with.

Matthew Peterson: Well, I used to have some dogs when I was younger and I know what youíre saying. They make a huge impact. And my dog passed away as well, many years ago. Do you foresee yourself getting another dog?

Dean Koontz: Oh, we waited eight months. We were in kind of deep grief, and people who donít have a dog that had a great relationship donít understand that, but both my wife and I were. And I knew we would get another dog, but she didnít know if she could risk the loss again. And then after about eight months she said, ďIíve gotta do it.Ē And so ten months after Trixie, we got a new dog, Anna, who came from CCI. She was a release dog out of their program. And sheís a golden female like Trixie. And she was here several weeks and we were just having a great time with her and they called me up--they were going to send me all of her adoption papers--and nobody realized it until they prepared the adoption papers and did her background that her grandfather was Trixieís litter mate.

Matthew Peterson: Oh, no way! [laughs]

Dean Koontz: Sheís Trixieís grand niece. And in a program of many, many breeders and thousands of dogs over those 10 or 12 years, itís just sort of incalculably amazing that we should end up with her grand niece.

Matthew Peterson: Awesome! That is really cool. Well, maybe sheíll be a writer dog someday too. [laughs]

Dean Koontz: I think one dog writer in the family is enough.

Matthew Peterson: [laughs]

Dean Koontz: You know, I catch Anna working differential equations and reading the math books. So I think her talent goes another way.

Matthew Peterson: Goes in that way. [laughs]

Dean Koontz: Yeah.

Matthew Peterson: Youíve been a big influence on a lot of authors.

Dean Koontz: Yes, [laughs] hopefully in a positive way.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, yeah. Well, I know you started out, you know, with a little bit harder times. I read somewhere that your wife said, ďWell, Iíll give you a few years to work this out.Ē

Dean Koontz: Five years she said.

Matthew Peterson: ďFive years to work this out.Ē And it worked!

Dean Koontz: Yeah, it almost took all five years, but it did work. [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, my wife is kind of doing the same thing for me right now. [laughs]

Dean Koontz: Well, if thereís two of you pulling the wagon, it certainly makes a big difference in life.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah.

Dean Koontz: But we never imagined it would be what it was. You know, our biggest goal when we did that was to think that maybe I could earn $25,000 a year writing and do something I love. And we never ever imagined it would grow as big as it did. So Iím thankful of that every day.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, a dream come true.

Dean Koontz: Yep.

Extra Material That was Cut from the Radio Show Because of Time Constraints

Note that you can also listen to this while you read it (you'll need to fast forward past the bonus questions).

Dean Koontz: And if pleasing yourself means people like it... wonderful. Thatís what itís meant for, and if one day it means they donít like it, then thatíll be a turn of the career. And weíll see. I could fall flat on my face, but thatís part of the thrill of writing. It maybe could fail utterly and then [laughs] that would be exciting in its own way.

* * * * * * * * * *

Dean Koontz: And a lot of times that has to do with budget considerations. I worked with a good director on The Face of Fear, but the budget problems were so horrendous that you couldnít actually create what was necessary.

* * * * * * * * * *

Dean Koontz: [referring to the movie Hideaway] And in that case I didnít write a script, but you can in some cases write the script, be a co-producer, and still lose control of it entirely. Itís such a collaborative medium. And I think thatís why I donít like it. With the Frankensteins, I originally began those books with the idea that I would be working with collaborators. And I had two good ones. They both did their jobs, delivered scripts, and I ended up not using anything in the script.

Matthew Peterson: [laughs]

Dean Koontz: And I learned that--hereís another character flaw of mine, and thereís a long, long list of them--I just donít collaborate well. And I think thatís what turns me off Hollywood so much.

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