Sun. May 29th, 2022

The American thriller writer Dean Koontz (76) has written more than 100 books, including The Quiet Corner, The Whisper Room, Strange Thomas, Watchers and Phantoms. He has sold more than 500 million copies worldwide and his books are published in 38 languages.

What was your childhood or earliest ambition?
We were so poor, and my alcoholic dad so violent, I did not expect to have a future. My first ambition was to marry Gerda. When I did that, at 21, then I became determined to be a writer.

Private school or public school? University or straight to work?
A state college. After two years of teaching English, I stopped being a writer. Fifteen years of glorious poverty ensued. When I finally put behind me everything I was taught at university about writing, I started selling my fiction.

Who was or still is your mentor?
Winona Garbrick, my high school English teacher for four years. A former sergeant in the Women’s Army Corps in World War II, she was an incredible combination of toughness and compassion.

How physically fit are you?
My doctor just said, “You are in such good shape that you will have at least 15 more highly productive years.”

Ambition or talent: what matters more to success?
Talent is an undeserved grace. You can not be proud of it. What matters is what you do with it. For me, it did not mean the pursuit of success itself, but the pursuit of getting better at writing. That’s where the joy is. The success just followed.

How politically committed are you?
Mix politics with art and all you have is propaganda, which is not something you should want to dedicate your life to.

What would you like to own that you do not currently own?
an aircraft carrier, but it’s out of my reach.

What is your biggest extravagance?
Art including Japanese bronze from the Meiji period, Chiparus bronze from the Deco period, Tiffany lamps and more.

In what place are you happiest?
At home. I did not have a stable home as a child. I cherish ours now. That’s where my wife is, where my dog ​​is, where my books are. I need nothing but food and wine.

What ambitions do you still have?
To always write better, to keep the wine cellar full of Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon and to avoid jail.

What drives you?
A love of writing, bottomless curiosity – and on special occasions, a limousine driver named Vicky.

What is the greatest achievement of your life so far?
Fifty-six years of a happy marriage.

What do you find most annoying in other people?
Constant doomsday thinking linked to the claim that, regardless of the issue, they “follow science”, when in fact their fear is based on emotion and ignorance.

If your 20 year old could see you now, what would he think?
He would be slack mouthed from unbelief. Some days, so am I 76 years old. Many years ago when Gerda and I sat down to determine how much I would have to earn from writing to make a living from it, we came up with $ 25,000 a year. It turned out better.

What object did you lose that you wish you had?
An object that is lost is only an object and not worth stopping at.

What is the biggest challenge of our time?
The same as it always is: to resist those who yearn for the power of totalitarianism, claim a vision of utopia and perfect justice, which will always turn out to be the same kind of hell. Without freedom, nothing matters.

Do you believe in an afterlife?
Yes. Quantum mechanics is full of evidence for that.

If you had to rate your satisfaction with your life so far out of 10, what would you achieve?
Nine. If they had made my once favorite brand of hiking boots as good as before, I would say 10.

Quicksilver by Dean Koontz is published by Thomas & Mercer

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