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Dean Koontz

Born on July 9, 1945, best-selling author Dean Koontz has written more than seventy supernatural and science fiction thrillers, including The Bad Place (1990) and Mr. Murder (1993).  But life for Koontz hasn't always been filled with success.  He grew up with an alcoholic, schizophrenic, abusive father who held forty-four jobs in thirty-four years.  He was fired from most of them for punching out his bosses. 

The Koontz family was poor, and Koontz often spent time living with relatives and friends of the family.  He became obsessed with comic books and science fiction novels and began writing books himself, selling them for a nickel apiece to friends and neighbors.

As a young man, Koontz married his high school sweetheart, took a job as an English teacher, and wrote whenever he had the chance.  He published his first book, a science fiction thriller called Star Quest, in 1968.

Over the next eighteen years, Koontz wrote fifty-four novels, none of which was a bestseller.  They were books with titles such as Demon Child (1971) and The Flesh in the Furnace (1972).  He used ten different pseudonyms because he was publishing several different books each year.  He finally made the hardcover bestseller list with his novel, Strangers (1986), about a group of people across the country who slowly realize that they've been brainwashed by the government.

Koontz continues to publish books, although he has made it a point never to go on a talk show or do a nationwide book tour because of his fear of flying.  Despite that fact, almost every book he has published has been a bestseller, and he has sold more than 200 million copies worldwide.  His most recent book is The Taking, which was released in May 2004.

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