Dean R. Koontz, known (by colleague and competitor Stephen King) as "the Stephen King of the West Coast," dissociates himself with horror, saying, "To be a horror writer, one must be a horrible writer." He is not to be confused with his fictional alter ego, horror writer Dean Koontz.
Koontz was born in Pennsylvania, under a host of pseudonyms, and conceived the plots of his first 33 novels while still in his mother's womb. His father was a chronic alcoholic who, in his attempts to "beat some sense" into the future authorial prodigy, may have caused some brain damage, resulting in Koontz's penchant for including dogs of superhuman intelligence and nobility in most of his novels, often as his protagonists' romantic interest.
He started his literary career, such as it is, by writing science fiction, publishing Star Queers in 1967. In 1970, Koontz turned his attention to what authentic, East Coast Stephen King calls "horror fiction" and what the more pretentious West Coast Stephen King (Koontz) prefers to refer to as "suspense novels." To avoid what publishers fearfully termed "negative cross dressing," Koontz used a plethora of pennames to disguise the fact that he was actually Siamese triplets, each of whom preferred a different type, or genre, of fiction and compromised by becoming a trio of "cross-genre" writers who shared a common, but ever-changing, byline and a common wardrobe of unisex clothing (except for the ladies' lingerie). His pennames, male and female, include Deanna Dwyer, K. R. Dwyer, Aaron Wolfe, David Axton, Brian Coffey, John Hill, Leigh Nichols, Owen West, Richard Paige, and Anthony North.
Koontz claims to live in a post office box in Newport Beach, California, with his long-suffering wife Glinda, the Good Witch, and his paramour, Trixie, a golden retriever, the canine author of Life Is A Bitch.
Along with sex-reassignment surgery, Koontz has undergone hair transplants so that his new hair resembles a bad toupee. Koontz said he elected these surgical procedures because he wanted to look more like his hero, the former FBI director, transvestite J. Edgar Horror.
Although Koontz loves dogs (figuratively and literally) and has fleas, he is allergic to pussies, and feline characters, both human and cat, often come to a bad end in his fiction.
His novels recycle the same well-worn plot and sometimes feature the same characters as those that have appeared in earlier books. He writes to a formula that usually includes the following elements:
- A setting in southern California
- A protagonist whose parents abused him (sound familiar?)
- An evil villain
- Implausible, illogical, and inconsistent explanations for the weird, fantastic events that occur in most of his novels
- The theme that neither love nor compassion can save one from the apparent absurdities of existence and the cruelties of life, stolen from MacBeth ("Life is a tale told by an idiot,/ Full of sound and fury/ Signifying nada")
- A "happy ending" for everyone but the villain (i. e., anyone who does not subscribe to Koontz's own simplistic view of life as a comedy, despite its ending in death, and of the world as being as straightforward and unsophisticated as a comic book or one of his own novels)
A few of his books have converted to made-for-TV movies, and others have become either Moonies or Seventh-Day Adventists. It is rumored that Koontz himself is considering joining the ranks of the Scientologists, having missed the comet that reclaimed the members of the Heaven's Gate cult. His favorite holiday is Halloween or, perhaps, Ground Hog's Day.
The author claims to reside at P. O. Box 9529 in Newport Beach, California 92658 and can be reached by extension ladder between midnight at 1:13 am, Monday through Friday except during the vernal equinox. However, his books indicate that he lives elsewhere, such as Moonlight Cove, California; Snow Village, Colorado; and/or Castle Rock, Maine.
- Bring Me the Head of Stephen King! (2006)
- I Am NOT A Horrible Writer (2005)
- Fools Rush In Where Angels Fear to Retread (2004)
- I Am 'NOT' TheI am NOT the West Coast Stephen King (2003)
- A Stephen King Wannabe (with Soul) (2002)
- The Gospel According to Dean R. Koontz (1888)
- Tombstone Ain't In Arizona (and Why No One Should EVER Say 'Ain't') (1882)
- The Simple Life and How to Live It (1776)