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Dean Koontz: A Writer's Biography

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In this phenomenal bestseller, Dean Koontz has taken readers into the malevolent heart of the human soul, the murky place where good and evil intertwine--while remaining an enigma himself. Now for the first time, Katherine Ramsland, the acclaimed author of Prism of the Night, cracks open Dean Koontz's protective shell to expose this ruthlessly honest, ambitious, and In this phenomenal bestseller, Dean Koontz has taken readers into the malevolent heart of the human soul, the murky place where good and evil intertwine--while remaining an enigma himself. Now for the first time, Katherine Ramsland, the acclaimed author of Prism of the Night, cracks open Dean Koontz's protective shell to expose this ruthlessly honest, ambitious, and courageous artist who embodies in his own life and work the hope-filled light and frightening darkness that define America today. Based on extensive interviews with Koontz himself, this fascinating, unique portrait reveals the powerful influences--psychic, trauma, haunting secrets, troubling questions, and optimistic resourcefulness--that have shaped this gifted writer and his acclaimed fiction. Here, too, are the remarkable qualities--tenacity, vision, emotional strength, and business savvy--that have made him a success. Dean Koontz: A Writer's Biography tells a story as thrilling, poignant, and unforgettable as this acclaimed author's most powerful novels.


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In this phenomenal bestseller, Dean Koontz has taken readers into the malevolent heart of the human soul, the murky place where good and evil intertwine--while remaining an enigma himself. Now for the first time, Katherine Ramsland, the acclaimed author of Prism of the Night, cracks open Dean Koontz's protective shell to expose this ruthlessly honest, ambitious, and In this phenomenal bestseller, Dean Koontz has taken readers into the malevolent heart of the human soul, the murky place where good and evil intertwine--while remaining an enigma himself. Now for the first time, Katherine Ramsland, the acclaimed author of Prism of the Night, cracks open Dean Koontz's protective shell to expose this ruthlessly honest, ambitious, and courageous artist who embodies in his own life and work the hope-filled light and frightening darkness that define America today. Based on extensive interviews with Koontz himself, this fascinating, unique portrait reveals the powerful influences--psychic, trauma, haunting secrets, troubling questions, and optimistic resourcefulness--that have shaped this gifted writer and his acclaimed fiction. Here, too, are the remarkable qualities--tenacity, vision, emotional strength, and business savvy--that have made him a success. Dean Koontz: A Writer's Biography tells a story as thrilling, poignant, and unforgettable as this acclaimed author's most powerful novels.

30 review for Dean Koontz: A Writer's Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Donna Galanti

    Readers and writers: a gold mine of insight and information into the making of one of the world's bestselling authors . This review is from: Dean Koontz: A Writer's Biography (Hardcover)which I was lucky enough to get a signed copy of! As a Dean Koontz fan and a novelist who writes on the dark side, this biography was a gold mine of information and insight. Ramsland's background in psychology enriched this story into more of a psycho-biography. It’s a fascinating look into the life of Koontz that Readers and writers: a gold mine of insight and information into the making of one of the world's bestselling authors . This review is from: Dean Koontz: A Writer's Biography (Hardcover)which I was lucky enough to get a signed copy of! As a Dean Koontz fan and a novelist who writes on the dark side, this biography was a gold mine of information and insight. Ramsland's background in psychology enriched this story into more of a psycho-biography. It’s a fascinating look into the life of Koontz that immerses his difficult upbringing with his writing. Having read many of his books, it was a treat to indulge in the fascinating motifs behind the stories Koontz wrote - and what they represent to him. Just as interesting is how his view on the world changed over the decades he's been writing and how that has seeped into his work. As a writer, it was incredibly valuable to see how this amazing successful author has become what he is today through hard work, trial and error, dedication to learning his craft, and re-making himself - while staying true to the voice of his stories and taking tough stands to preserve his work. I highly recommend this book for writers and Koontz-lovers, not only to learn more of the private man behind the prolific author, but one man's process of becoming one of the bestselling authors of our time.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    So very glad I read this. I appreciate Dean Koontz a great deal more after reading about his life and what he had to go through. He had great determination to make it as a writer (and I think he still shows that determination today). His biography has really inspired me. Since reading this book, it has taken on a whole new meaning for me. If Dean can make it, than so can I!!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    This is a hefty book indeed and I have been wading through it for some time (measured in years I have to admit) I am not a huge biography fan however I have always enjoyed Dean Koontz even if sometimes his work can go a little formulaic (I sometimes worry that the big name authors could write a grocery list and some publisher would pay a fortune for it and put it out there - and sadly it does mean that the real classics are lost in the not so good). Now when I first started to read his work I This is a hefty book indeed and I have been wading through it for some time (measured in years I have to admit) I am not a huge biography fan however I have always enjoyed Dean Koontz even if sometimes his work can go a little formulaic (I sometimes worry that the big name authors could write a grocery list and some publisher would pay a fortune for it and put it out there - and sadly it does mean that the real classics are lost in the not so good). Now when I first started to read his work I didnt realise that is life, especially his early life was as turbulent and as eventful as some of his stories but as I learnt more then I realised he has had to really work for his place and like him or not you have to respect the dedication he has put in. Now came this book and a whole new level of details and drama was presented but this time in the words of a biographer and writer who knows the genre and the authors but has had experience enough to properly present the fact with out sensationalising them or pouring scorn on them (and yes I have read biographies where honestly I wonder why they agreed to write them since the obviously didnt agree with the author) So this book to me illuminates the man behind the best sellers and proves that not just an ordinary man can write but he can write through all that life can throw at him

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Lucia

    Really excellent. Pretty amazing story. If I were teaching a college class on popular commercial fiction, this would be one of the texts. The only downside is I had to skim spoilers, so as not to ruin the novels of his I haven't read yet...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Scott Olson

    If you are a Dean Koontz fan, this biography may be of considerable interest. Written by a psychologist, this carefully researched book reveals in dramatic detail the events which shaped the life of Mr. Koontz and drove him to purse his passion for writing. Mr. Koontz grew up in a family that can most charitably be described as dysfunctional. Stuck in a bleak working-class town in Pennsylvania, in his childhood he seems to be surrounded by lost souls, ranging from the sadly ignorant to the If you are a Dean Koontz fan, this biography may be of considerable interest. Written by a psychologist, this carefully researched book reveals in dramatic detail the events which shaped the life of Mr. Koontz and drove him to purse his passion for writing. Mr. Koontz grew up in a family that can most charitably be described as dysfunctional. Stuck in a bleak working-class town in Pennsylvania, in his childhood he seems to be surrounded by lost souls, ranging from the sadly ignorant to the dangerously violent. Mr. Koontz found solace in the world of books, and from their infinite riches was able to construct purpose and meaning in his life. The story of his life and career, from poverty-stricken beginnings to spectacular success, is as remarkable as anything found in fiction. The biographer uses her considerable skills to compare the life events of her subject to the plots of his novels. One wonders "what if"--what if Mr. Koontz had come from a normal, nurturing family? The book ends in 1997. Perhaps the future will bring a new edition, adding all of the subsequent novels.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    The truly biographical portions of this study of Koontz are fascinating, but I felt that it got bogged down in somewhat overblown and repetitive psychological analysis. I also noted an error or two in the appendices which made me question the accuracy of some of the other content. Still, Koontz is an excellent writer and some of the "behind the scenes" bits were quite interesting.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Deanna

    This was a great read! I very much enjoyed reading about my favourite author. At the time this book was being written, I was a member of an email list group and the author herself joined the group and discussed Mr. Koontz and our love of his work with us. I think some of those group members even got themselves listed in the credits!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    I'm not a Koontz fan, particularly, but I'll read most behind the scenes things but unfortunately the book didn't convert me. Koontz comes across well and his life is quite thoroughly explored but the writing is generally flat and lifeless.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Charles

    Liked it. Would like to see it updated since this was published in 1997.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Engstrom

    Excellent read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bob Vickers

    Really enjoyed this. Having read all of his in print books, I really didn't know much about his background. Katherine did a great job mixing in his publishing history with his private life.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Susan McCully

    Excellent book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Yvonne

    "I want to say to the reader," Koontz states, "Take my hand. We're going to go through this terrible place, and things will happen that are to horrifying to think about, but it's going to be all right at the other end. There's going to be meaning and a purpose to this. Trust me." Having been in some of those terrible places and having come out the other side all right and now slowly discovering the meaning and purpose I can relate to the statement above. I have never read any of his books "I want to say to the reader," Koontz states, "Take my hand. We're going to go through this terrible place, and things will happen that are to horrifying to think about, but it's going to be all right at the other end. There's going to be meaning and a purpose to this. Trust me." Having been in some of those terrible places and having come out the other side all right and now slowly discovering the meaning and purpose I can relate to the statement above. I have never read any of his books (although I have now picked a handful to try) but I am always fascinated with the back story and he certainly has an interesting story to be told. Circumstances decide our present but our own will to survive, succeed and thrive is what will turn a negative into a positive. We can't change our genetics or circumstances we were raised in, or which we find ourselves in at times, but if we believe that there is purpose and meaning, even in the hardest moments, we will overcome whatever is necessary to survive. That inner faith in ourself is hard to cultivate and maintain but the reward for doing so far outweighs being passively accepting of what life hands out. As Koontz says our Destiny is determined firstly by genetics, secondly set in our stars when we are born as life has spiritual purpose and thirdly how we choose as individuals to exercise our free will. You do shape your own destiny through the choices you make. A solid biography which gives insight to aspiring writers on the craft of writing and also hope in general that no matter how terrifying the circumstances there is a way through it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Scribblescribe

    This book was barely alright. I will give it 2 stars. I feel as if it gave me a lot more insight into why Koontz writes the way he does. Someone else said that the psychological analysis was boring/lacking. As a psychology major, I would agree. The psychologist Katherine Ramsland uses too much Freudian analysis on Dean Koontz's works. I don't care about subliminal or unconsious images and Dean Koontz hates Freud, so it's almost an affront to Koontz for Ramsland to use Freud so blatantly. Also, I This book was barely alright. I will give it 2 stars. I feel as if it gave me a lot more insight into why Koontz writes the way he does. Someone else said that the psychological analysis was boring/lacking. As a psychology major, I would agree. The psychologist Katherine Ramsland uses too much Freudian analysis on Dean Koontz's works. I don't care about subliminal or unconsious images and Dean Koontz hates Freud, so it's almost an affront to Koontz for Ramsland to use Freud so blatantly. Also, I don't want to know about every single thing Koontz has written. The man has written a lot and it was very tedious to get through this book because every single plot was reviewed from each of his short stories in his early writing career up to his big NYT Bestsellers in 1997. Spare me the tedious details. Also, I came to the conclusion that Dean Koontz needs a hobby because it seems all he does is write. It would've been nice if the author had balanced the biography with and adventure Koontz had been on, or a travel experience, or a hobby other than writing that he enjoyed. No. All we get is continual analysis of his writing and his squabbles with overly cautious Editors as he tries to make a name for himself with not enough forrays into his family biography. The forrays, as I have noted, could have been supplemented with something else though. It made Dean Koontz out to be one-dimensional and (in my opinion) boring because there weren't enough interludes to his writing career. That being said, this book is valuable for understanding why Koontz writes about the themes that he writes in his novels repeatedly.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gareth

    Extremely interesting book about DK's writing methods, his adventures in publishing and the recurring themes in his books. I was worried that it was going to be a "tragic childhood" misery-athon but whilst his sociopathic father is a main theme, it's handled without bathos. An encouraging book for would be authors.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Annette

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mark Silva

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tabi

  19. 4 out of 5

    Krissy Nanninga

  20. 4 out of 5

    T.J. Shortt

  21. 4 out of 5

    Donna

  22. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

  23. 4 out of 5

    Grace O.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Thoufeek

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jenna Rashae

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Putnam

  27. 5 out of 5

    K. Pereira

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Owens

  29. 5 out of 5

    sheila scott

  30. 5 out of 5

    Delanna Sprowes

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