Dean Ray Koontz (born July 9, 1945) is an American author. His novels are broadly described as suspense thrillers, but also frequently incorporate elements of horror, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and satire. Many of his books have appeared on the The New York Times Bestseller List, with 14 hardcovers and 14 paperbacks reaching the number one position. Koontz wrote under a number of pen names earlier in his career, including "David Axton", "Leigh Nichols" and "Brian Coffey". He has sold over 450 million copies as reported on his official website.
Dean Koontz was born and raised in Pennsylvania. He graduated from Shippensburg State College (now Shippensburg University), and his first job after graduation was with the Appalachian Poverty Program, where he was expected to counsel and tutor underprivileged children on a one-to-one basis. His first day on the job, he discovered that the previous occupier of his position had been beaten up by the very kids he had been trying to help and had landed in the hospital for several weeks. The following year was filled with challenge but also tension, and Koontz was more highly motivated than ever to build a career as a writer. He wrote nights and weekends, which he continued to do after leaving the poverty program and going to work as an English teacher in a suburban school district outside Harrisburg. After a year and a half in that position, his wife, Gerda, made him an offer he couldn’t refuse: “I’ll support you for five years,” she said, “and if you can’t make it as a writer in that time, you’ll never make it.” By the end of those five years, Gerda had quit her job to run the business end of her husband’s writing career.